Back in the day when I started blogging, I used sidebar ads as a primary revenue stream. And by revenue stream, I mean something like $30/month. I blogged because I loved writing, so that $30 was huge to me. This is the story for so many people who started blogging back when a blog really was more of an online diary. Now blogs can look like a diary, or a totally polished and professional website. Blogs are also avenues for MULTIPLE revenue streams. One of my favorites is through affiliate programs. I want to share my top affiliate programs EVEN if your audience is small.
I’ll share why I first USE each of these and then why the affiliate program is great. I will be using affiliate links IN this post, which only makes sense. (If you aren’t 100% sure what affiliate links are, it means that if you buy something using my link, I will get a referral bonus for letting you know about the product or service. This is at NO extra cost to you!)
My big rule of thumb with affiliates is that you shouldn’t recommend products you don’t use or wouldn’t use. I could see recommending a product you love but outgrew (think: blog hosting), but generally speaking, USE IT. These three programs are ones that I use and love, which might make your top list different from my top list.
The Top Affiliate Programs (Even If Your Audience Is Small)
ConvertKit. Every blogger, writer, or entrepreneur I know uses an email service provider. (If you aren’t using one, start now!) I believe email is the backbone of every blog or business and bloggers are becoming more and more savvy about this. I am SUPER passionate about ConvertKit and have seen my list more than triple since moving and seen my open rates rise steadily. I wouldn’t share the program if I didn’t believe in it, but here’s why I’m so excited to share it:
- ConvertKit is AWESOME. (Read my post on why I think ConvertKit is awesome.)
- Their affiliate payout is 30% of what the people who sign up under you make. EVERY MONTH.
What this breaks down to is this: if someone signs up under you for the cheapest plan at $29/month, you will get about $8.40 every single month. This beats the pants off any other affiliate program, which pays you one time. Currently, I have just a few affiliates and not only is my email free, but I get a check. Every month. Again, let me stress: I only have a few affiliates and still make money. Monthly.
If you are waffling about email service providers, this is a great reason to get off the fence. The features are insane and you can actually get paid rather than paying for email every month. WINNING!
Sign up for ConvertKit HERE. (This is my affiliate link!)
BlueHost. I hear many bloggers talking about the importance of hosting your blog somewhere with more of a concierge service. What I can say is that I’ve used BlueHost for three years, host several site with them using their newer cloud service and everything works. I live-stream webinars with upwards of 50 people and my site can handle it. My blog’s biggest month of traffic was over 100k and my blog held up. If you want hosting you can count on, use Bluehost. For their affiliate program, you receive $65 for every person who signs up under you.
Sign up for Bluehost HERE. (This is my affiliate link!)
Ultimate Bundles. As a total nerd bout learning, I love the Ultimate Bundles! These are bundles (duh) of ebooks, courses, and even some physical products. The Ultimate Bundle creators offer several themed bundles a year—always with GREAT content! They also provide training on writing copy that sells and on how to engage your current audience. Their payout is 40% per bundle sold. Even when I barely promote the bundles, I always make a few sales. The sheer amount of content sells itself. They cover everything from healthy eating to photography to writing, which means they can work for a variety of audiences.
Sign up HERE. (This is NOT an affiliate link!)
One of the fantastic things about affiliate programs is that you can create posts and content that are evergreen and make sales passively. I made almost $200 this week in affiliate sales and I didn’t promote one thing. People used either posts where I wrote about products I use or love or went to my resource page and click through links there.
A last note before you head off to join new programs: Always disclose affiliate links! This is a legal requirement of the FTC. You can do this naturally and openly without turning people off. When I see people using affiliate links without disclosing (this is the kind of thing you notice after blogging for years), I lose trust in that blogger. I feel like they are hiding something from me that they KNOW they should be telling me. Be up front and honest. Thank your readers for supporting you through affiliate purchases. Don’t break their trust for a few dollars.
(Ps- Thanks so much for supporting my blog through my affiliate programs! You help keep the lights on.)