4 Ways To Make More Money As An Affiliate Marketer

4 Ways To Make More Money As An Affiliate Marketer
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In my last post I gave you some tips on how to make money blogging. In this post, I’m going to focus on how to make more money as an affiliate marketer.

This post is aimed at those who already have a blog, and have maybe experimented with some form of advertising already – but likely with little success.

That’s OK! Most bloggers don’t find their online money making groove for quite some time, and as long as you keep trying, you’re making progress.

I’ve written this post with affiliate marketers in mind, but when I look back at it, it really applies to anyone who makes money from their blog with any form of advertising.

So here you go, here’s 4 ways to make more money as an affiliate marketer.

4 Ways To Make More Money As An Affiliate Marketer

1. Testing What You Promote

Picking a product to promote can be difficult, but the best starting point is to refine your niche. Think about who you’re writing for and create a buyer persona for your blog audience.

Picture one person that you consider to be the stereotypical reader of your blog. Most people already know pretty much who they’re trying to reach – but if you don’t, take a second to think about it right now…

Got it? Good.

Now think of what kind of products would that person be interested in buying.

For example, if you write about fitness, your readers might be interested in any of the following;

  • Online fitness courses
  • Training programs
  • Supplements
  • Exercise equipment
  • Magazine subscriptions

You can pick any of these and test marketing them. The key word here really is to test what works and what doesn’t.

If you promote a particular product for more than a month and you still don’t have any bites – it’s probably time to switch it up. Make sure you use a link tracking service (like bit.ly) for free to see if you’re getting clicks or not.

If you’re getting clicks but no sales – then the product, or some part of the product provider’s website is the problem. If you’re not getting clicks, then something on your end is the problem.

You can actually promote several products, but I would stick to no more than 3, otherwise your blog starts to look like a spam sales site. Consistently promoting the same products will provide recognition to your readers and make them more likely to buy.

Use The Product

Used Shoes

My next biggest tip is to actually use the product you’re promoting. Too many people make the mistake of promoting products they don’t care about and have never even used.

They’ll write bullshit reviews and recommendations simply because that’s what an affiliate marketing course taught them. Well it’s time to stop.

Sincerity in your blog is key to gaining and maintaining an audience. You’ll find it easier to write, and your audience will thank you for your honesty.

I use BlueHost for my hosting and I’m happy to promote them because I’ve used 50+ different hosting companies over the years and they’re the ones I always go back to. I’m happy with their service and so I have no problem referring new customers to them (even though they don’t actually pay the best commissions).

Start being honest with your reviews and product mentions and you’ll see a noticeable difference in sales.

2. Testing Ad Positions

testing positions

There are so many different places you can place ads on your site. You can test different places on the page to test your ads and see how they perform to find the ideal spot to place them.

No one likes ads. Let’s just make that clear.

So if you’re going to place graphic ads on your site, you’d better not cover the whole site in them – it’ll cheapen the look and feel of your blog exponentially.

Here are a few places that you can test placing ads on your blog;


Placing ads in the sidebar is pretty much the standard when it comes to blogs. It’s a great spot for catching desktop readers’ attention – however, in the mobile age, make sure that your ads are effective across all devices.

Most blogging templates push your sidebar below the post (I know mine does) – and so it’s much less likely to be seen.


The go to spot for magazine style blogs. Header ads can be effective because they’re right there at the top of the page, right in the reader’s face.

Header ads work well because on mobile they usually show at the top too – but just make sure they’re sized properly and show up right. Make sure the text is readable and any images can be made out.

Footer (Don’t do it)

Some people place ads in their footer. Don’t do this.

Most people don’t scroll as far as the footer unless they want to contact you and can’t find the info.

In The Content

Probably the most effective implementation. You can use plugins with WordPress to show text or banner ads at the beginning, middle and end of all your posts.

Or, you can incorporate affiliate links casually in your posts.

This is effective because people will see the ads as they read the article – but be careful, be sparing with your ads. Too many ads packed in and you’ll start turning your readers away.


Annoying but proven to be effective. Popup ads are worth testing, but make sure they can be closed by the user easily.

3. Testing How You Promote

As well as different places, there are many different forms to display your ad in – some which will be much more successful than others.

Testing the format of your ads is key to getting clicks on those ads. Track everything, see what works then do it again.

Here are just a few ways you can display your ads on your blog;

Image Ads

Image ads are probably the most popular. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words” – and they’re right.

You can tell way more of a story and attract much more attention with a vibrant picture ad.

Text Ads

These are best for inserting into your actual blog posts/website.

Text ads allow you to seamlessly incorporate your promotions into anything you write. For example, every time I write about BlueHost, I make sure I put an affiliate tracking link with it.

Email Marketing

If you’ve been doing this for a while, you probably already have a decent email list. If you don’t – now’s the time to start.

Get a free account with MailChimp and start collecting email addresses and sending emails for free. You can either promote products directly to your email list, or you can direct them to an article which promotes it.

Typically, the strategy of linking to the article works a lot better than just sending an email promotion.

Social Media

The same goes for social media as it does for email marketing.

Use social media for promoting articles, or just straight up promoting products. For example, you could post an Instagram picture of you holding the product and put a discount code in the post text so people can go and get a discount, and you’ll get paid for the referral.

4. Writing Useful Content Opposed To Sales Copy

Give Great Content

No one likes being sold to. Buyers like to be in control and think it was their idea to make a purchase.

Ditch the sales pitch.

Write content with the aim of helping people, and give your affiliate links some exposure at the same time – you’d be surprised how many more people will buy from you simply because you gave an honest summary of a product as opposed to hard selling it to them.

You can still be obvious; you don’t have to hide that you’re promoting a product. Most people understand that you need to make money to fund your blog and so won’t mind buying from you.

For example, you can still post an article titled “My Review of *Best Product Ever*” and have a good response. Or equally, you could write a post of “5 Best *Affiliate Niche* Products Available” and provide useful information that way too without putting it in a “review” format.


The secret to success with affiliate marketing (and really any kind of marketing) is to test and exploit.

Keep testing things and tracking things to find out what works – then take what works and times it by ten.

If it still works, times it by ten again, and rinse and repeat until it no longer works.

The reality check for you here is that affiliate marketing does take hard work.

It’s only the minor few that make millions while they sleep without doing anything (and even then that’s not strictly true). Most affiliate marketers post their “revenue” – i.e. how much they made in sales, not what they took home in profit.

Anyway, that’s just my 2 cents!

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other tips for success with affiliate marketing?

Tom Watts
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Tom Watts

Blogger from England, living in Canada. I blog about blogging, SEO, Social Media, Web Design etc. Monday lover, coffee consumer. The glass is always half full. Read my full story here: Read More
Tom Watts
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  1. Excellent post Tom, especially about the positioning of ads when you take mobile into account. Thanks for sharing

    • Tom Watts says:

      Thanks Keith – mobile is already so important and it’s only getting stronger. Currently this blog’s traffic is around 60% mobile, so I know sidebar ads likely won’t work the best for me. However, I mainly promote hosting and desktop software – so mobile users aren’t going to want to buy that anyway (or at least are much less likely). So you need to think about what you’re promoting in combination with where. Hope to see you here again soon!


  2. Really well written post Tom!

    The last two tips are especially useful. I would also suggest that you track all your links to see which areas bring in the most clicks, that’s what I’m doing now and it’s pretty insightful. I guess online business is all about tweaking and squeezing in those clicks and sales.


    • Tom Watts says:

      That’s right, Timothy! You should be tracking all of your traffic sources and building/capitalizing on your successes. That’s exactly what it’s about, testing and tweaking and exploiting.

      Thanks and hope to see you here again soon!


  3. Sarah Lentz says:

    I’m trying to share this on Twitter, but your Twitter button just reopens the same article under a different tab. Maybe it’s something with my computer, but this is the first time it’s happened to me on your blog. Just wanted to let you know. 🙂

    • Tom Watts says:

      Hi Sarah – huh, that’s weird! I tried it and can’t replicate that problem 🙁 which Twitter button were you using and what internet browser are you using?

      Thanks, Tom

  4. Lynda Kenny says:

    Good post about affiliate marketing Tom. You are right to encourage people to test the product and write reviews rather than a salesy post on their blog.
    Great advice for anyone wanting to know more.

    • Tom Watts says:

      Absolutely Lynda, if you’re selling anything, the best policy is 100% honesty – even if you can make a sale based on false promises, you won’t get repeat business. Businesses are built on repeat business.

      Thanks, Tom

  5. its all about testing what works and doesnt work. each person has to learn to test test test. thats what marketing is about. thanks for all these awesome tips

  6. Roy Miller says:

    Tom, I like your advice about actually using the product that you are promoting and giving valuable content and not just a sales pitch.

    • Tom Watts says:

      Thanks Roy, I think it’s so important to be genuine with affiliate marketing. It’s so easy to tell when most people haven’t even used the product – and unfortunately there are some that still succeed despite their shadiness. Hope to see your face here again soon!


  7. Hey Tom,

    Great article.

    This post should be mandatory reading for all new affiliate marketers ( and some not so new!)

    So many affiliate marketers flounder and fail because they d not follow the ideas and tips you have presented here.

    In particular, so many folks simply promote something based on the “gravity” stats from ClickBank or the look of the sales page from a vendor. They never purchase and use the product so they are basically ignorant of what it can really do for their prospects – and t it always shows!

    Thanks for sharing your expertise Tom – awesome content as always mate.

    Best wishes from the remote Thai village marketer


    • Tom Watts says:

      Hey Again Peter,

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Yes, unfortunately all of the courses I’ve come across recommend just finding the most popular, easiest to sell product and selling the hell out of it.

      Sure, that may work sometimes, but how do you sleep at night knowing you’ve sold a product you know nothing about to customers you’ve lied to?

      I think it’s much better to focus on 2-3 products you actually use and would recommend to people anyway, and then just get paid for your recommendations.

      Thanks for stopping by, I’m actually heading over to your blog now 😉


  8. Kashem says:

    All of the tips are excellent. But especially, I like the suggestion to be sincere most. Thanks a lot.

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