What Are Affiliate Links and How Can I Make Money From Them?

What Are Affiliate Links and How Can I Make Money From Them?

What are Affiliate links?

Affiliate links are special URLs that allow tracking of traffic and activity to an advertisers website. By using affiliate links you can earn money. Some affiliate programs pay you a percentage of each sale you drive whilst others pay you purely for traffic and others pay you per lead which could consist of something as simple as an email sign up. To get started with creating affiliate links you’ll have to sign up to an affiliate program. Basically almost all the major online stores are part of some form of network or run their own form of affiliate program which makes it possible to monetize a lot of your content, especially if you’re writing say a product review or feature post. Still don’t fully understand? Well say I write a review, I link to a product on Superdrug and someone who reads my post, clicks on the link and purchases said product, I would receive a percentage of the sale. Affiliate links don’t cost the buyer anything, they pay the same price as they would if they’d have gone directly onto the website. It just means that I essentially get a reward for sending a sale to the website (also known as referring them)

How Can I Use Affiliate links?

Do you run a blog where you share links to online products or shops? Or perhaps you are active on Social Media when it comes to sharing deals and discount codes? Well affiliate links are well worth looking into. You’re basically sharing the same links however, you are getting compensated for any conversions that go through your links.

How Much Money Can I Make From Affiliate Links?

It really does depend on two things. The first is your audience. If you have a large or very engaged audience who often trust what you say and purchase product recommends then you can make a good little bit of extra cash. The second is to do with the links you share. Some companies (or merchants as they’re known in the affiliate world) can pay anywhere from 1% of a sale even up to 50% or more. Other merchants will pay a set price per lead or conversion which could be anywhere from £1.50 to £30.00+. Then there are merchants who pay-per-click which means you could earn 3p, 10p, £1.00+ per click that you send. Generally though unless you’ve got a massive audience or you are part of an affiliate program that is providing you with generous commission, you’re not going to be making thousands of pounds, or whatever your currency may be.

Affiliate Networks:
  • Skimlinks – A blogger favourite. Skimlinks have a £7 threshold before you receive payment which I find easy to hit. Their browser extension makes it super easy to quickly create monetized links in a flash and their site is very, very easy to use and understand.
  • Affiliate Window – Affiliate Window has lots and lots of programs as well as access to upcoming discount codes and offers for you to promote. Affiliate Window has a £30 threshold before they’ll pay out but if you are someone with an active site, this is quite easy to hit. The only thing I will say about Affiliate Window is that its interface can be a little confusing however, it is easy to get your head around with a bit of practice. It is packed full of great tools, merchants and banners. Much like Skimlinks, Affiliate Window also have a really handy browser extension to help you quickly create your affiliate links.
  • Share A Sale – Share A Sale is a network that I’ve recently joined so I haven’t had too much experience with them. Having said that, I can tell you that they are a US based company so they pay in dollars. They also have a $50 payment threshold which is paid on the 20th of each month. From experience I’ve found a lot of the companies on the network are understandably US-based, although there are some programs available for us UK-based lot. If you’re looking to sign up to smaller programs, then Share A Sale might be worth signing up to, especially if you’re based in America or you promote a lot of US items or services.

There are many, many other affiliate networks about. A quick Google search will bring up lots and lots. Do be sure to check the reputation of each network and be aware that different networks target different locations and different niches. You’ll probably also find that sometimes merchants are signed to more than one network, this is totally normal but keep an eye out for the conversion rates they offer as sometimes they’ll offer a higher conversion rate through a different network which is a little sneaky but it means that you could receive higher commission.

Affiliate Jargon:
  • Merchant – This is the company or brand who produces products or services for the affiliate to promote. They’re essentially an advertiser. For example, Superdrug is a merchant.
  • Affiliate – This is a person who promotes products or services in exchange for compensation for the sales or leads that they drive. For example, I am an Affiliate.
  • Affiliate Link – This is a link that contains a unique code which allows the tracking or traffic and activity to the merchant’s site.
  • Affiliate Network – An affiliate network is a third-party program which manages multiple merchant affiliate programs. Affiliate networks provide technology for creating track-able affiliate links, they allow both the merchant and the affiliate to see link performance, they also have the responsibly of paying affiliates and often act as an unbiased middle man between both parties so that neither gets ripped off and both get treated fairly. Essentially affiliate networks are paid to promote products and services by merchants.
  • Conversion – A conversion is the action of a user completing a certain task. This could consist of someone simply purchasing a product or it could even mean them signing up to an email subscription list, filling out a form or clicking on a certain area of a page. It really does vary from merchant to merchant but from experience I’ve found a lot of the time merchants consider a conversion a product or service sale.
  • PPC (Pay-Per-Click) – This means that you (the affiliate) will be paid for every link click your affiliate link receives, regardless of whether someone proceeds to carry out a transaction or not. From my experience I haven’t found that many PPC affiliate programs which is probably due to the fact that it isn’t that cost-effective to the merchant which is totally understandable.
  • CPM (Cost Per Mille) – Cost Per Mille basically means cost per thousand. This means how much it costs the advert to be displayed 1,000 times. Sometimes merchants may pay based on a CPM basis. For example, for every 1,000 impressions (views) a certain link or advert receives you’ll be paid £3, if the link/ad is shown 10,000 times then you would receive £30. CPM is usually a term used by merchants when planning/negotiating advertising budgets and campaigns.
  • EPC (Earnings-Per-Click) – This means your average earning per click. You can find this out by dividing the amount of money you’ve made (commission) by the number of clicks the link received. For example if I made £200 commission from a link which received 2000 clicks the EPC (Average Earnings Per Click) would be 10p.
  • Conversion Rate – A conversion rate is a percentage worked out by Conversion divided by Clicks/Impressions. Example if a link had 1,380 clicks/impressions but only 1 conversion then the conversion rate would be 0.07%

Disclosure and Authenticity:

For me one of the most important things when it comes to affiliate links is being transparent and honest, by this I mean disclosing the fact you use affiliate links to your readers or audience. In my eyes there is nothing at all wrong with earning money from affiliate links. It doesn’t harm anyone, nor does it cost the people who go through your affiliate links anything. However, I think it is essential that you make people aware that you may receive compensation. Although the laws on sponsored content and affiliate links aren’t entirely clear, I personally think that we should all be disclosing. 1. Because inevitably in the future as online money-making methods become more and more popular, laws will become more enforced and clear so you don’t want to be getting yourself into trouble and 2. You don’t want to deceive people and lose trust. For me, I have the Skimlinks disclosure badge in my sidebar and I also have a disclosure in my Contact/PR page. When it comes to sharing affiliate links on social media due to character limits I tend to use #aff which means that the link that the social media post contains is an affiliate link. Other hashtags you can use include #ad #paid #paidlink.

Another thing I’d like to mention is that if you are thinking about using affiliate links, be sure to do so naturally. On Raspberrykiss and on Social Media I only ever share affiliate links that I think my readers will find of use and links that are relevant. I don’t just share any affiliate link nor do I share them with compensation in mind, I simply replace links that I would normally share with monetized links.

Do you use affiliate links?

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2 Comments

  1. Shannon Wilson
    Author
    15th November 2015 / 11:51 am

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  2. Stephanie Hartley
    15th November 2015 / 7:17 pm

    I don’t use affiliate links because I’ve never understood them but this post means that I might just sign up! Thank you so much!

    Steph – http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com