Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular and proven ways to make money online. In a nutshell, you send potential buyers to a merchant and if they end up buying, you earn a commission.
It’s easy to get started promoting affiliate products. There are typically only two steps:
1. Join an affiliate program. There are many available, but the most popular is probably the Amazon Associates program.
2. Get people to click on your affiliate links. You can send your links to the subscribers on your email list, or display them on your website which is what we’ll talk about in this article.
What’s An Affiliate Link?
An affiliate link is a special URL that tells the merchant who referred the customer. With that info, they can then pay out commissions to their affiliates – hopefully you!
Affiliate links look just like any other links. They begin with
http:// and clicking it sends you to a website. Here’s an example affiliate link: https://amzn.to/2Fo36ZZ
Like any other links, you can customize the anchor text e.g. Apple iPad Pro 11-inch 64GB. You can also make a clickable image with your affiliate link.
Let’s learn how to use affiliate links in your WordPress website.
Find Your Affiliate Link
Once you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’ll be provided a unique link (URL) that tells the merchant the who to send commissions to when someone buys from that link. Affiliate links may be product-specific where the URL leads to a specific product, or general where a single URL applies for the entire site.
Display Your Affiliate Link
Now that you’ve found your affiliate link, it’s time to place them on your website. There are a hundred ways to do this, but this article will focus on the most common methods.
Plain Text Link
A plain text link is a simple link within the content of your website. For example, I would really like a Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones for my birthday. That was an affiliate link right there, and my birthday is in July btw.
To add a plain text affiliate link to your content, use the Insert/Edit link button in the WordPress post editor. Paste the URL that you’ve copied into the link toolbar, then press Return or click Apply to set the link.
An image link is an image that you can click, like this:
Adding an image link is almost identical to adding a plain text link. Select the image in your post editor and then click the Insert/Edit link button in the toolbar.
You can also make the image link to your affiliate URL when adding it from the Add Media pop-up. Before inserting the image, choose to link to a custom URL and paste in your affiliate link.
In Your WooCommerce Store
Many don’t realize this, but you can actually list affiliate products in a WooCommerce store. Affiliate products behave like “regular” products, except that clicking the “Buy Now” button sends you to the affiliate URL instead of a product page on your store.
To add an affiliate product to your WooCommerce store, add a new product as usual. In the Product data options box, change the product type to External/Affiliate product. The Product URL field will appear and you can paste in your affiliate link there.
Best Practices for Affiliate Marketers
Disclose Your Affiliate Relationships
Website owners and bloggers who make money from affiliate marketing must clearly disclose that you earn a commission from the links on the page as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s disclosure requirements. While the FTC’s jurisdiction is limited to the United States, it is good practice to be clear and transparent to your website visitors. Doing so will actually help enhance your recommendation and increase website visitors’ trust in you. I recommend that you take the time to also read these articles:
- How to Turn Disclosure Into a Selling Point – Copyblogger
- Are You Disclosing Properly? – Amy Lynn Andrews
Mark Affiliate Links As ‘nofollow’
Google has a very strict stance on paid links. If it thinks your site is being paid to link to another site in an attempt to manipulate it’s search results, your site will get penalized. You should declare that your affiliate links be disregarded in Google’s search ranking algorithm.
The way you do this is to add the ‘nofollow’ attribute to your link. Google knows about the popular affiliate programs like Amazon Associates, but it doesn’t hurt to be extra careful and follow this step anyway.
You can do this with the free Ultimate Nofollow plugin. Once you install this plugin, the link toolbar will include a checkbox to include the ‘nofollow’ attribute to links you add to the content.
Alternatively you can also manually edit the link in the Text mode of the post editor. Modify the link to include
rel="nofollow" and you’re done.
<a rel="nofollow" href="https://amzn.to/2Ix23Gq">headphones</a>
You’re All Set To Start Affiliate Marketing!
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative way of making money from your website. To be a successful affiliate marketer, consider growing your website as a review or a resource website. Get to know your audience so they trust you and so that you know relevant products to promote. Learn up about search engine optimization to get your reviews ranking highly in the search results. FYI we have a plain-English guide on how to use the Yoast SEO plugin.
I highly recommend the Affiliate Marketing The Smart Way course (yes, that’s an affiliate link!) if you want to grow as a marketer. It’s taught by Pat Flynn who has built a reputation for himself as a successful and honest affiliate marketer. The course is part of the Fizzle community, so start the free trial to get the course for free.
And of course, there are lots of plugins available for WordPress to help you with your affiliate marketing. The most popular ones are Earnist, Pretty Links and Thirsty Affiliates (no affiliate links here 😉).
I hope this article has given you a good introduction to affiliate marketing. All the best with it and enjoy the ride!