If you read my blog then you see I will include ads and advertising links on my site. I’m not in favour of sticking an ad in the middle of my posts because I like to focus on my writing first and foremost. But something has to pay for my web presence and to keep Raisiebay running. I do this by using affiliate programs and you’ll find them in the side bar and at the bottom of my posts. Or occasionally I might single a program out and tell you more about it.
I’m going to break my rule for no advertising in the text for this post because I want to give some examples of how the ads work.
What is an Affiliate Program?
Basically, it’s just advertising for someone. But by putting their products and links on your site they can be tracked so that when someone makes a purchase you get rewarded. Often the rewards are small, but they can add up. I generally make enough money to cover the costs of my hosting so thank you to everyone who has even clicked a link. It never costs you any extra and I can often bring you special offers and codes to make your purchase even cheaper!
I use a couple of programs but my favourite is Awin. Here’s an affiliate link 🙂
Awin is one of my preferred programs because it’s easy to use and there are many advertisers to choose from. You get to choose how and when you get paid. For example I get paid monthly so long as I’ve earned more than £50. You can also get paid in Euro’s or Dollars if you advertise from other Countries.
Awin has a plugin on WordPress which automatically changes all your links from them to affiliate links. You can also have them highlighted or with a little asterix after them but I chose not to do this as it seems to affect all my none affiliate links. I do always tell my readers if I am including affiliate links in my post. There was a time when this was not necessary, but readers need to know when they are clicking an advertisement.
How to Use Affiliate Links
There are a few ways to use affiliate links. One is to place ad images (creatives) These are generally available from the affiliate site and you just copy the code and the ad appears on your site. Which is what I did with the Awin banner above and the ads in my sidebar.
You can also include a link in your text. For example, look at these gorgeous baby shoes I found at Dotty Fish. When you include links like this you really need to tell your readers that it is an affiliate link. Some companies usually pay for click throughs to their site too, but the amounts are really small, you need a LOT of people clicking through to make any money.
One of my favourite ways of using affiliate links is to write about the site and the lovely things you can find there. I do this quite frequently with Etsy which has to be one of my favourite sites for quirky and beautiful gifts. Sometimes I will write a shopping guide for a special events like this special Valentines Post. I tend to do one for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas too. I can’t help myself, I love browsing the site and sharing what I find. These posts can be incredibly time consuming, but I enjoy doing them and if they make me some money then it’s worth it. Plus, I like to think I’ve helped someone find a perfect gift for someone else, or even themselves.
You can also do a competition post from your favourite affiliate program. Sometimes they will provide you with a little something to give to your readers in return for a dedicated post. I find chocolate does really well and I love to run a choccy competition, like this one here. (It’s over now, I’m just sharing an example.) But giving something away attracts a lot of visitors, and a few will click through and buy something which earns you commission.
My Favourite Affiliate Programs
I think that affiliate programs that fit in with your site are often the best ones. If you write gift guides a lot then think about making them pay, if you have a hobby or particular interest then look for a program that will work for you. You don’t need a niche blog but carefully placed ads will bring in a little extra cash.
Sometimes, writing gift guides and dedicated posts can become dated. Someone might come across one and click through to find that the item has now sold out or is not longer available. However, by clicking through from your site if they go on to find something else to buy from the site you will still earn commission from it.
I tend to do really well with my gift guides and dedicated posts. There is always something that gets a click or two. But I often think carefully about what ads to go at the end of my posts too, because these get clicked a lot especially if they have some relevance to the post.
The ads in my side bar I like to keep refreshed. I check the affiliate program site regularly for new ads and ideas.
I also think carefully about which programs I want to join and check through them often. If I haven’t used a program in a while then I’ll drop it. If I see something doing well, I’ll use it more. I also check that the program is still collecting clicks and paying it’s bills. (You do have to be careful that the program has a good history of paying, some just disappear and you never get your money.)
I’ll now share with you my top five advertisers for this year, remember, these are the ones that work for me and my blog. Choose carefully who you decide to advertise for.
The Centre of Excellence do many different courses for adults and kids. I wish they’d update their creatives (ad images) though! I do really well with people signing up through my ads, and I also have a code RAISIEBAY466 which gives my readers 70% off any course.
I just love Etsy so much, and they even run competitions for their affiliates, I won a £500 voucher last year! I think when you love a site you advertise it more, which is probably why I earn more from it. They are also pretty good at updating their creatives.
I love to crochet and Deramores is my go to store for wool. I guess this is why it gets a little more promotion, but probably more on my other blog At Home A Lot where I talk about my passion a little more. I love that Deramores creatives update by themselves.
Who doesn’t love chocolate. Cadbury’s feature a lot in my posts and I feel a special connection seeing as I live so near their original factory. (I can log in to Cadbury World on Facebook from my sofa!) The Gift shop online is a great place to order gifts and I do so often when I should get off my sofa and go to the shop! Their creatives are not updated often, but they do have ones for most special occasions. This one above is from 2020, but appropriate this year too! (Darn it, I’ve just added the link and now I’m on the site drooling over the new Caramilk, quick, hide my debit card!)
Dotty Fish sell gorgeous baby shoes, shimmy shoes (For toddlers) and baby slippers. They recently kindly gifted me some of their adorable shoes for my great nephew which proved to be popular with some of my readers. Sadly, they don’t have any creative banners on the affiliate program so I’ve just included a picture of one of their new arrivals.
I hope you have found this post on affiliate programs interesting. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them. I’d also be interested to know what affiliate programs work for you.
I think it’s pretty obvious, but I’ll state it anyway. This post contains affiliate links that may earn me a little money if you click through and purchase something. There will be no extra cost to you so thank you for supporting my blog.
And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has ever purchased anything from any of my affiliate links.