Monday, April 16, 2012

How Bloggers Make Money Online with Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs have been around a long time. I signed up with Amazon's program way back in 1996. But in spite of their ubiquity and long history, what I have found in talking with my friends, is that not many people outside the affiliate community understand how these programs work. For example, when people see Amazon ads on a website or blog, many assume that Amazon pays for the ad in the same way advertisers pay for ads in newspapers or magazines. But that's not how these programs work.

Here's how affiliate programs are different from other types of advertising. 

  • Merchants, such as Amazon.com and others you see advertised on my blogs, do not pay bloggers or website owners for advertising space.
  • Merchants, except in very rare cases, do not pay us for clicks on their ads.
  • Merchants do not approach bloggers and ask to advertise on their blogs. Bloggers choose affiliate programs they want to work with and submit requests to join. Merchants then review the website or blog and decide whether to accept or decline the offer. 
So how do bloggers make money working with these companies?
Bloggers get a commission on sales referred to the merchant by way of a link from our website or blog. It doesn't matter what you buy from the merchant, whether it's a product a blogger recommends or something else that catches your eye when you visit, the blogger receives a commission on all sales.

How much do we make on those sales?
That varies, depending on the merchant. From what I've seen, most companies offer commissions that range between 4-15%. Most of my sales earn 4 to 6%.

(Although affiliate marketing has the potential to provide considerable income to bloggers in certain niches, it typically is not a huge money maker.)

Affiliate programs are a win-win for both readers and bloggers.
Ideally, the situation is this: You are looking for information and find a blog that provides what you are looking for. You get the information for free. At the same time, you need to do some shopping of one sort or another. When you follow a link from that blogger's site to Amazon or another affiliate merchant to do your shopping, the blogger gets paid a small commission. The merchandise you buy doesn't cost you any more than it would otherwise and your purchase has helped support the person who provided you with the information you needed. Everyone benefits!

Here are banners for my current affiliates:

FootwearEtc.com

WrightStuff.biz

EverywhereChair.com has the right chair for you!