Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Freelance Writers

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Freelance Writers from KrissiDriver.com

This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.

If you’ve spent any time reading blog articles for either entertainment or research, you’ve probably seen plenty of examples of affiliate marketing at work (though you may not even realize it!). 

 

What is affiliate marketing?

“Affiliate marketing” is the process of linking out to certain products or services in exchange for a small commission. This happens when someone uses your special tracking link to make a purchase. The buyer doesn’t pay more for the product, but you do get a small kickback from the seller for “referring” a new customer to them through your link.

Although the commissions aren’t usually very sizable on their own, they can add up over time, especially as new readers click through your blog posts. It’s a great way to make passive income, or money that you keep earning without having to continue to work for it. 

All you need to do is use an affiliate link when you mention a product or service (and disclose when affiliate links are used). When someone clicks on your link and buys the product or service, you earn a percentage of the price. Even smaller blogs can see a little additional income each month from affiliate links when done correctly. Here’s what you need to know. 

 

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Freelance Writers

To get the most out of your affiliate marketing, be sure not to overwhelm your readers. Even if it’s not your product you’re advertising, no one likes reading a “salesy” blog post. You should work to incorporate affiliate links naturally within your content when appropriate. Don’t force them in just for the sake of it – your readers will be able to tell! 

That said, the best affiliate programs are ones that relate to your niche and work effortlessly within your content. Here are some examples: 

  • Your website hosting service or domain provider. If you have your own website, you have a great opportunity to plug an affiliate link whenever you mention the service providers you use. SiteGround, WordPress (those are two of my affiliate links!), GoDaddy, DreamHost, and many of the big-name domain and hosting services offer affiliate programs that are easy to plug on your site or in a blog post. 
  • Your website elements. Did you have a graphic designer create your logo, or buy a custom theme to use for your website? Many of these businesses have their own affiliate programs! Even if you purchased from a smaller company, it’s worth asking to see if that’s something they offer. I create all of my website graphics and images myself with Canva and built my websites with the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. (As you probably guessed, those are both affiliate links.)
  • Amazon. One of the most common affiliate programs to join is Amazon Associates. It’s easy to sign up for and super flexible: Not only do you make a commission when someone buys a product you linked to, but you also make a commission when a user purchases anything from Amazon after clicking to the site with your link, even if they don’t buy the original product. 
  • Any websites whose products or services you use regularly. This will depend on your industry, but if there are any tools or products that are necessary in your niche, it’s worth checking to see if the store or platform you bought yours from offers an affiliate program. You can make money just by recommending products and services you already use and love! 
  • Online classes or courses that you recommend. Many online learning platforms like Skillshare also have affiliate programs, which is great because you can appeal to a wide variety of audiences when you recommend online classes. 

 

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Freelance Writers from KrissiDriver.com

 

Words to the Wise

Affiliate marketing programs often have strict rules about how and where you can use their links. If you break those rules, you risk being banned from the affiliate program altogether. Make sure you understand the rules of any affiliate program you join and keep track of the regulations to stay in the green.

In addition, as I mentioned at the beginning, you need to disclose when you’re using affiliate links in order to abide by FTC regulations. Check out the FTC website to make sure you’re doing it correctly. 

Although it can feel salesy to announce when an affiliate link is being used, a simple explanation of what those links are and why you’re using them can go a long way. After all, your readers don’t pay anything extra to use your affiliate link. 

The key is to use affiliate links only for products or services you really, truly stand behind. The last thing you want to do is recommend things you’re not sold on in the name of making an extra buck. Your readers will appreciate your integrity, and they’ll be more likely to click when they see an affiliate link on your blog. 

 

While it takes some time to make serious money from affiliate programs, it’s a low-effort, no-cost way to give yourself additional streams of passive income each month. Even if you don’t have a sizable following, affiliate programs are worth pursuing. After all, you never know how quickly your business will grow, and one day you’ll be grateful those links are there! 

 

Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle

Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle from KrissiDriver.com

If you’re thinking about starting a side hustle or own a fledgling business, you might be so concerned with the day-to-day that you forget to plan for the future. But if you don’t have a road map in front of you, how will you know where to go? It’s important to set goals for your business to keep yourself on track, especially in regards to income.

Setting income goals for your business will help you achieve sales and find clients beyond what you ever thought possible. However, if you set random goals without strategic planning, you’ll risk throwing off your trajectory. 

Here’s what you need to know about setting income goals for your side hustle. 

 

1. Set business goals first.

Before you can set an income goal, you need to know what to expect from the business itself. Where do you see your side hustle a year from now? Five years? Ten years? There’s no shame in keeping a side hustle as just a hobby for a little extra pocket money, but if you want it to become your full-time job, you need to set some business goals as well as income goals.

In order for your business to grow over time, you’ll need ways to “scale.” This is a term that’s thrown around often in the entrepreneurial world and it’s often misunderstood. When we’re talking about “scaling” a business, we’re not talking about starting or even growing a business. “Scaling” means being able to take on more work without sacrificing much in terms of income or in other areas, like time management or working yourself to death.

Brainstorm additional products or services you can offer in the future as your business expands. If you anticipate hiring other team members or contractors, how many, and when? Will you want to offer any special bonuses to your team? All of these will factor into the income goals you will need to set in order to succeed. 

 

2. Check your history. 

Next, take a look back at your business’s sales over time, if any. How much money have you been making so far? What seems realistic to expect for next month or next year if things stay the way they are? 

If your projected income based on your sales at this point isn’t as high as you hope, don’t worry. This is just an estimate of what you can expect if your business continues at the level it’s currently functioning at. Your goal should be to grow! 

 

3. Factor in expenses. 

For this step, we’ll need to look to your past as well as your future. What have your expenses been so far? Don’t leave anything out, no matter how small. Even the tiniest expenses can add up over time, costing you money and throwing off your estimates. 

Now think about new expenses that you can anticipate as your business scales. Those new hires we thought about in step 1? This is where you’ll need to think about how to pay them. If you want to rent a spot in a coworking space, how much would that cost in your area? Do some research and pull up realistic figures so you’ll know what to expect. 

 

Setting Income Goals for Your Side Hustle from KrissiDriver.com

 

4. Pick an end goal.

After you take those expenses into account, it’s time to think about the fun part: Profit! How much money do you want to be making from your side hustle per year in an ideal world? 

Add your profit to your expenses and factor in some leeway for emergencies. Be sure to take year-end taxes into account, too, based on your country’s taxation laws. You’ll need to pay taxes on your earnings every year.

Add all these things up and the final figure is the amount you’ll need your side hustle to make each year in order to meet your goal. 

 

5. Create milestones. 

By this point, you might have an end goal so large that you can’t imagine ever reaching it. That’s okay! Even the biggest goals can be achieved if you just put one foot in front of the other. The key is to divide your end goal into smaller milestones that are easier to achieve.

You can choose quarterly goals, monthly goals, or even weekly goals if that’s feasible for your business. The key is to match up these income goals with your business goals so you’re growing your business over time. What can you do this week, month, or quarter to find more clients and boost your income? 

 

6. Write it down.

It’s no secret that actually recording your goals somewhere makes it more likely that you’ll actually work toward and achieve them. In fact, it’s science.

Once you’ve gotten much of the background information worked out, write down your goals. I would even go as far as encouraging you to literally write them somewhere you can see them. In this day and age, it’s easy to record something digitally on a spreadsheet, in a Google doc, or an iOS note. I’m particularly guilty of this myself. 

But physically writing things down helps us to better remember whatever it is we’re trying to remember and give it more power. 

Putting these things somewhere you’ll see them often will further reinforce those goals in your mind. You’ll be even more likely to put in the work needed to make things happen. Trust me – it’s made all the difference for me in my business.

 

While setting income goals for your business can feel overwhelming at first, the key is to do your research and use real numbers in order to project the final figure. No goal is too lofty to aim for. 

As the saying goes, shoot for the moon! Even if you don’t hit your goal, striving for greatness will lead to more success than you could otherwise achieve. 

 

Pin It on Pinterest