7 Ways Get More Money from Your Blog by Optimizing for Affiliate Sales

You've put up Adsense ads, you've blogged every day, and you haven't earned a dime.  Welcome to the complaint I hear most from bloggers today.  With so many courses selling the dream of earning a full-time living from home, it can be very disappointing to learn that the earnings can equal pennies -- not paychecks!

I won't lie and tell you that any of these ways to earn will happen over night.  It may takes years, but -- if you start now -- you'll be in a better position later to earn from these tactics for earning more affiliate revenue from your blog.

Affiliate optimization.  

If you've been blogging for awhile, you should know which posts are getting the most traffic, are ranking high in search, and are doing well on social.  If you don't, here are some basic steps to take.

1. Use BuzzSumo to see which of your posts are the most viral.  Use the free version to put in your domain and see what pops up!  In my case, it's easy to see that a post on a faith-based movie I reviewed was popular on Pinterest, probably because I shared a homemade fried ravioli recipe with big photos!  I need to make sure that this post is optimized according to my checklist (below).

Sort the columns by social type to find out which of your posts are doing well on Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more!  Be sure the top 3 in each category are being optimized.

2. Get started with Google Webmaster Tools.  Ever since the Google Keywords tool and Google Analytics has been hiding search information, it's been harder to know what search terms are bringing people to your site.  By signing up for Webmaster tools, however, you can see what your articles are ranking at.  My tools show that I rank high for a review of an over the counter arthritis product, so I'll be want to be sure to optimize that first.

Not sure how to install or use the Webmaster Tools?  Here's a great tutorial for beginners.

3.  Take advantage of heat maps and content analyzing tools from SumoMe.  I love that they have a free plugin that can track where people are clicking on my page (heat maps), as well as a tool that tells me how far down my readers are going on the page.  Both are important pieces of information in our optimization.

Now it's time to optimize.  Here is the checklist I use to make sure I have all the affiliate opportunities I can in one post.

1. Disclose.  Did you make sure that readers know, either in your post, or via a clearly displayed site-wide disclosure, that you could earn money when people shop through your blog? If you don't, I recommend BlogLegally's guide to affiliate disclosure for bloggers.

2. Hyperlink photos.  One thing heat maps taught me is that people love clicking on photos, especially if they resemble a button or screen.  To be sure that anyone clicking a photo or graphic is taken directly to your affiliate page (and not to a new window with just the photo in it), hyperlink your photo to your final destination.

3. Use "no-follow" tags on all affiliate links.  You don't want to get pinged for this from Google. Be sure any links going to an affiliate site do not pass on Google juice.

4. Link product descriptions.  If you are talking about how you saved big on toilet paper, link that phrase to your affiliate link.  Do no more than 1-2 links per paragraph, and decide if you want to set a limit per article, as well.

5. Include a call to action. At the end of your post, ask readers if they want to save money or buy the next big thing.  Link to where they can shop and tell them so.  Something like "If you want to save money and get free shipping for a limited time, you can shop Amazon now." Link to the store name with your affiliate link.

6. Update your most popular posts weekly.  If you are writing about a hot sale, and that post is in your top post list from BuzzSumo or Webmaster Tools, you'll want to update the deals mentioned in it at least weekly.  I did a post on Amazon Prime Pantry where I mention a specific deal and change it out with a current one every week.  It has earned me a consistent stream of sales since I started taking just 5 minutes a week to do this.

7. Create affiliate links where they didn't use to be.  I have several product reviews written from 5 years ago that are doing very well on Google Search.  At the time, I agreed to link to the manufacturer's website.  Enough time has passed, however, that I feel comfortable switching out those links for my own affiliate links to store fronts.  Unless you have made an agreement (usually through a paid placement) that you will keep the links the same, this is a good way to increase revenue without much additional work.

What affiliate programs and networks do I use?  Since my sites have modest, but loyal traffic, I don't quality for every program out there, and some just aren't worth my time.  My favorites currently (and top earning) are:
(And yeah.. these are referral links...)

What affiliate networks are you a part of? How will you use this optimization list to get more revenue this year?

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