So your home business blog is doing pretty well. Hundreds or thousands of visitors flock to your site each day, dedicated readers who return nightly to absorb your profound wisdom on life, foreign policy and the human condition. They're receiving your priceless insights into the world, and you're not making a dime. All that hard work isn't doing anything for you except maybe making you feel good about enlightening the world, but come on! There's got to be a way to also benefit financially from all your hard work.
It's time for you to hear about affiliate marketing.
Simply put, affiliate marketing is a partnership with other websites. You put a link on your site to their site and get paid for each click, registration and sale. If you use affiliate marketing well, you can generate a high Return on Investment (ROI) with respect to the amount of time and effort invested in your home business blog. Used poorly, however, affiliate marketing can just be a waste of space on your site. Here are some tips on how to use affiliate marketing as more than placeholders.
1. Make the links relevant.
Your readers come to your blog for a reason. They come to read about your exploits in the jungles of South America or your forays into the vicious world of international politics. Chances are readers in these areas aren't going to want to go to a site selling Barney toys. Things they might be interested in are products that will save the jungles of South America or a book about an international diplomat. You don't have to totally exclude the random Barney toys, because maybe some tree-huggers are into Barney, but make sure that most of your affiliate marketing links are related to your content. Users will be more likely to click them.
2. Imbed affiliate marketing links in your articles.
If you just discovered a great charity for saving the jungles of South America that has an affiliate marketing program, include the link in the body of one of your articles. Links on the side can get lost by resized windows or ignored completely as useless advertisements. Anything within an article, however, will be read and considered, because the author of the article, whose opinion the reader respects, feels that the other site is useful or worthwhile. The reader will be more likely to visit the link, and you'll be more likely to make money.
3. Change the affiliate marketing links.
This is especially important if you have a returning user base. If your affiliate marketing links never change, people will not go to them because they will be old news. Always be on the lookout for new affiliate marketing opportunities that you can take advantage of. New links will add mystery and intrigue to your site. Users will be more likely to notice changes than to let the links simply fade into the background.
4. Make text of the affiliate marketing links exciting and inviting.
Most people aren't going to click on a button that says 'Click here.' Other than pure curiosity, which admittedly should never be ruled out, there is no incentive for users to follow these directions. "Save the South American Jungle From Certain Slaughter" has a much more enticing ring to it, what with the alliteration and all, and is sure to get your tree hugging audience interested. Along the same lines of interesting and exciting, whenever possible include some kind of picture or banner with the links. A list of blue underlined words on the left hand side of a page is tough to wade through; a banner with a forest fire draws immediate attention, and drawing attention to your links should be the goal of any affiliate marketing plan.
5. Don't rule out unpaid opportunities.
Some affiliate marketing programs are simply an exchange of links, a 'you link to me, I'll link to you' deal. While these don't directly make you money, they do increase traffic to your site, and increased traffic means more money. While your marketing plan obviously can't be using all this kind, they can be useful in boosting traffic, and through traffic, revenue.