How to Include Affiliate Links Effectively

Most people start blogging as a hobby; a way to share their interests with the world. As their blogs start to become more popular and take up more of their time, it’s natural to want to get something back for their efforts. Hosting costs money, and researching and writing interesting blog posts can start to feel like work after you’ve been doing it week in, week out, for a long time.

Some bloggers make money from CPM advertising, but this doesn’t work in all niches. If your niche is not a high traffic, high paying one you may do better from affiliate links instead of advertisements that pay based on the number of impressions you generate. The challenge is figuring out how to include those links without alienating your visitors.

Add Value to Your Blog

Your readers come to your blog because of your charm and wit, or the quality of the information you post. If you stop posting the kind of content that your visitors love and replace that content with a series of thinly veiled infomercials, then you will alienate the people that made your blog successful in the first place.

Instead of looking for ways to shoehorn affiliate links for specific products into your blog, write the kind of content that you would normally produce, and look for affiliate links that fit those posts, for example:

  • Product reviews – don’t be scared to write negatively about products. If all you ever do is praise and promote products your readers will get suspicious.
  • Diary-style posts – if you got a lovely product for your birthday, mention it, and provide a link for other people to buy it.
  • Tutorials – include links to both free and paid products that you mention in your tutorials. Not every link has to be one that generates revenue.
  • Interviews – if a respected figure in your industry agrees to an interview, link to some of the products that they have worked on.

Don’t include affiliate links in every post you make. Your core readers don’t want to feel like they’re being sold to every time they come to your blog. It’s important to continue posting the kind of casual, personal content that drew your early readers in to your blog. Include some affiliate links in your sidebar, and link between your own posts so that newcomers will find your affiliate content, but don’t over-emphasize that content.

Managing and Cloaking Your Links

Keeping track of your affiliate links can be difficult, especially if you are promoting a lot of products. If you use WordPress, install a plugin such as PrettyLink to manage your links for you. PrettyLink doesn’t just make it easier to add links to your posts, it also act as a link shortener, making it less likely that people will see your affiliate tracking code in the link and remove¬† it to deprive you of commission.

PrettyLink keeps track of the number of clicks that each of your links generates, and will even automatically add the nofollow attribute to your affiliate links. You can semi-automate the addition of links to your blog posts, saving you time and making managing multiple affiliate programs much easier.

Crispin has been writing about affiliate marketing for years and is currently working with the affiliate marketing network ClickSure.