Six years ago my world changed in a moment.
Up to that moment, I was a young wife and working professional who could go anywhere and do anything on a whim.
After that moment, I was a young mother completely responsible for the life and health of another human being.
It was humbling and terrifying and exciting all at once.
As I held my newborn boy in my arms, the thought of “going back to work” was the farthest thing from my mind. But the reality of having two full-time incomes and no kids go to one income and a baby (with more to come) was impossible to ignore. We made it work, but knew we didn’t want to stay in that place.
You know which place I’m talking about, right?
The paycheck-to-paycheck place. The “You’ve got to be kidding me! The car needs what? And it costs how much??” place. The “I don’t think we’re going to be able to make it for Christmas” and “thank GOD for hand-me-downs” place where money is tight and stress is high.
Nope. We definitely did NOT want to stay there.
I was able to work on and off from home on a part-time basis (which helped), but I started to feel trapped. Tired. Bored. I thought: of all the things life can be, boring should NOT be one of them!
I craved flexibility and freedom, so I went out to get it.
I read and learned everything I could about blogging, wrote post after post during my baby’s naptimes, obsessed over SEO and my blog design, put ads in my sidebar… and wondered when the money was going to start rolling in.
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Not that I expected to get rich.
But I thought there’d be something coming in after several months at the grind. What was I doing wrong?
It wasn’t long before I realized that blogging – at least profitable blogging – doesn’t actually work that way.
The ads that I thought would be bringing home the bacon were actually a waste of space on such a new blog, and there was actually a MUCH BETTER way for me to be making money as a new blogger.
As Ruth Soukup teaches in Elite Blog Academy, if you have a new blog or low traffic, ads are most likely not going to be the best income stream for you.
Thankfully, I realized that there was a much quicker and easier way to make money with my blog.
The Quickest and Easiest Way For Mom Bloggers to Make Money
So, what is this diamond in the rough I found that enabled me to make money from my blog naturally and easily?
It’s called Affiliate Marketing, and it’s probably not what you’ve heard it is.
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission (money) for referring buyers to products and services. As a busy stay-at-home-mom of 4, this is now my #1 favorite way to make money blogging because it requires very little time to get rolling and, if done properly, still has huge potential for making a lot of money.
No products to create or services to provide that suck hours out of your day. No writing half-hearted sponsored posts just to make a one-off buck or randomly placing ads in your sidebar and crossing your fingers that someone clicks them.
Affiliate Marketing the Right Way (Because There is a Wrong Way)
Unfortunately, lots of bloggers do affiliate marketing all wrong, which causes them to make NO money and LOSE trust with their readers. Don’t let that be you!
Here are some “Dos and Don’ts” you should know if you want to be successful with making money from affiliate marketing on your blog:
Do ThisBest practices for using affiliate marketing on your blog
- DO: Be an affiliate for products and services you already use and love. This makes recommending them easy and natural.
- DO: Sign up for affiliate programs that are a natural fit for your blog topic and that will serve your audience
- DO: Present the affiliate offers in helpful and authentic way, like you would to a friend (non-salesy!)
- DO: Include your affiliate links natively in your helpful blog posts, emails, and videos where appropriate
- DO: Comply with the law and properly disclose that you use affiliate links. Common practice is to include a notice at the top of your content, but you can see the full FTC guidelines and recommendations for disclosure here.
Not That!Don't make these common affiliate marketing mistakes!
- DON’T: Personally recommend products and services that you haven’t used just to make a buck (you’ll lose the trust of your readers)
- DON’T: Sign up for every affiliate program under the sun. It gets too confusing to track them all and remember which ones to include in posts. I recommend signing up for 5 – 10 core affiliates to stay focused and effective.
- DON’T: Get too pushy or salesy with promoting affiliate products. No one likes to be sold to (this is why people dread buying a new car or walking through the perfume & makeup section of a department store). Remember the “friend rule” from the “Do this” section.
- DON’T: Just put affiliate ads up in your sidebar or random places on your blog and expect to make good money.
- DON’T: Try to hide the fact that you’re an affiliate for the products and services you recommend. Not only does this violate the law, but it also violates the trust of your readers. Not worth it.
Steal These 5 Affiliate Marketing Hacks From Smart Mom Bloggers
As a blogger, there are countless ways you can use affiliate marketing to make money with your blog. Here are five real-life examples from bloggers who are using affiliate marketing successfully on their blogs:
Write a blog post focused on reviewing a specific product or service.
Ashli from The Million Dollar Mama demonstrates this perfectly in her review of the Living Well Planner.
In her post, “How to Organize Your Whole Life With The Living Well Planner”, she explains what she was looking for in a planner and why the Living Well Planner was the perfect solution.
It includes several pictures and examples of how the planner would be useful to her readers, making it a great example of an effective review post that earns affiliate income.
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Write a how-to article that helps your readers solve a problem or reach a goal.
This article about going paperless from Abby over at Just a Girl and Her Blog is a great example of how to write a helpful tutorial that also earns money from affiliate marketing.
The post is packed to the brim with step-by-step advice and helpful resources. Affiliate earnings come from recommending products like the scanner (Amazon), Evernote and The Paperless Home ebook.
This type of post is perfect for earning affiliate commissions since it helps her readers solve a very specific problem and also has several opportunities for including affiliate links in a natural and authentic way.
Present a list of products or services that will help your readers in some way.
BuzzFeed made the “list post” popular, but you can make it profitable! Here’s a great example from the blog What Moms Love:
Instead of another puny list of ideas, What Moms Love compiled a whopping 87 ways for moms to entertain their kids on a rainy day. Filled with bright, colorful pictures and easy-to-follow instructions, this post goes over-the-top in delivering value to its ideal reader.
The affiliate links that are sprinkled throughout the post accomplish two things: 1) They make it super easy for readers to get what they need and, 2) They earn the blog easy profit from commissions.
4. This vs. That
Put two different products up against each other and declare a winner.
Showdowns have drawn crowds since the Wild West, and blogging is the perfect platform to pit one thing against another in an epic head-to-head match.
Try comparing two similar products or services that your readers are interested in and break them down into nitty-gritty detail. Chantal of Busy Blogging Mom does this in her post about two popular but competing Pinterest schedulers, Tailwind and BoardBooster:
In her post, Chantal discusses her experience with trying both services out, the pros and cons of each, and which one she ultimately decided to go with.
Since she’s including the features and benefits of each in an objective and factual way in order to let her readers decide, she’s able to use her referral links for both services – bonus!
Record a video to answer questions your readers have that would work naturally for making money with affiliate income.
Jordan Page of FunCheaporFree.com recorded this video to answer her #1 asked question from her fans on social media:
In the description of the video on YouTube, it has affiliate links to all the products used in the video. This is a fun, entertaining, and super helpful way to deliver value to her audience and make money.
How To Find Affiliate Programs for Your Blog
Now that you know how to do affiliate marketing the right way, it’s time to sign up for some affiliate programs and start making some money for yourself!
But how do you find them?
Here are my 3 best tips on how to find affiliate programs for your blog:
1. Scope out your competition!
Visit other blogs in your niche and see what affiliate offers they’re promoting. Check their sidebar and read through their blog posts with pen and paper in hand (or Evernote).
2. Google it mama!
Search “Product Name Affiliate Program” for the products and services that you already use and love. Also search things like “affiliate programs for bloggers” to see a whole ocean of opportunities.
Send an email to the product or service you have in mind asking if they have an affiliate program. I found one of my own top earning affiliate partners this way!
If you want to get the ball rolling right away, be sure to download my free report below: “5 Popular (& High Paying) Affiliate Programs For Mom Bloggers”.
There are a lot of different ways to make money blogging: ads, sponsored posts, selling products and offering services, to name just a few. But all of these methods have the drawback of either taking a lot of time and effort to setup and maintain or they only make you pennies when you’re starting out.
Affiliate marketing is the only blog monetization method that works great for new bloggers, takes very little time to set up, and also has great potential for making you a lot of money (which is why it’s perfect for busy moms!).
If you want to be successful with affiliate marketing on your blog, remember to stick to the “Dos & Don’ts” from the table above and use the real-life blog examples in this article as inspiration to create your own profit posts!
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