Southern Mom Loves: 6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #1 Affiliate Marketing

6 Ways to Make Money Blogging: #1 Affiliate Marketing

Thursday, September 11, 2014

This post contains some affiliate referral links.

If you're a blogger, you know how much time and effort goes into blogging. It's not just writing, but also photographing, editing, designing, promoting, networking, pitching, organizing events, etc., etc., etc.. It's a full-time job getting your blog high in your reader's lists, and you're likely also losing money with hosting and domain costs.

If you've been wondering how to monetize your blog, I can help. You won't get rich quick, but you'll start by making enough to cover your blogging costs and your time. :) There are many bloggers out there who make a full-time income, and then some, but it takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. Using these methods, I hope to start earning a full-time income from blogging while also being able to stay at home to care for my family.

I get asked constantly how I make money online, so I thought I would share everything in one place. It became a monster of a post, and was hard to get through, so I broke it up into 6 easy-to-digest pieces starting with my #1 income stream: Affiliate Marketing.

#1 Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate Marketing is one revenue stream that a lot of bloggers either don't understand or don't use properly. Many bloggers see it as "spammy", but used correctly, and within your niche, it can be helpful to both yourself and your readers.

If you're a mommy blogger, you wouldn't recommend senior vitamins to your readers, and if you're a beauty blogger, you might want to stay away from recommending baby items. Although it all depends on what you write about, what your readers want to read about, and the authenticity and helpfulness of your recommendation.

Sometimes being an affiliate to a company has perks that no one else has access to, like advanced notice of sales, coupon codes just for your readers, and huge contests that aren't posted about anywhere else.

In affiliate marketing you make money primarily through sales from your links. You can also get offers for paid posts, reviews, social media posts, and referrals. I've compiled a list of popular affiliate platforms and programs with a note of the opportunities they offer.

The best way to bring in an income is to use them all. Your paycheck for each one may not be enough to support you, but combined, they can equal a tidy sum. I'd also like to note that it's slow to start, but don't give up! My payout for each of these has steadily increased month after month.


With Advowire, you earn money by posting to Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. The dash contains a list of merchant's campaigns with the messages already written. If there's a green circle beside it, you're able to share. Just click the circle, preview the message, and if you're okay sharing it, click share and the platform shares it automatically to your social media.

The amount you're offered is based on your "Buzz Bonus Level."  Just signing up through the site, you start out on "New", but if you sign up under someone, you can start out on "+2%." Once signed up, you can invite others as well.

To get paid, your account must reach $50, and they pay through Paypal.

Amazon's Affiliate Program is one of my smallest earners. It would be great if you recommend a lot of products on Amazon, or if you do Gift Guides. Lots of people do well, but you have to put in the work. You can turn any product link on Amazon into an affiliate link, but there is no cookie, and people have to place the items into their cart on that visit.

You can choose to be paid via Amazon Gift Card, Direct Depost, or Check and the payout amounts must reach $10, $10, & $100 respectively.

The Diet To Go program is not just an ambassadorship, which usually just means that you advocate for that brand, you earn money by getting people to check them out ($ .25 per click-through), or to sign up for their food delivery service ($50 for new sign-ups.) Once you apply and are approved, they require you to do a review of their service (at no cost to you) in order to become an ambassador. Sold!

You can post to a blog and your social media about their services and their foods (which were voted tastier than a lot of other food delivery services). To apply, follow the link above.

As for payment terms, you can set up in your account whether you'd like to be paid via a bank transfer (free), Paypal (free), or a check (for a $5 processing fee.) You can also choose when you're paid, either when your account reaches a threshold (min. $50), or on the 1st or 15th of the month. I love the flexibility there.

Another network that many have success with is the ebay partner network. Just like with Amazon, you link to items on ebay.

You're paid through Paypal when you earn $25 or more.

Another of my favorites is Izea. They offer sponsored tweets, Instagram posts, blog posts, and it's free but well worth upgrading account to $1/month to get more bids. As it is, Free accounts get 3 bids a month, while for $1/month, you get unlimited bids.

The way it works is this: There are opportunities listed, you click to bid on one that fits with your demographics or niche, you enter a bid amount (there are usually minimums and maximums listed), and you tell them why they should choose you. Easy.

Izea payments take about a month to process, but once it's in your bank, you can cash out via Paypal. The plan structure is as follows: For the FREE plan, you can cash out once you've reached $100, or pay the $3 early cash out fee. For $1/month plan, You can cash out at $50 or pay the $2 early cash out fee. There's also a plan for $5/month that offers a $25 cash out, and a $1 early cash out fee.

*NEW* Linqia

Linquia is the best of the bunch so far. I had heard so many recommendations from other bloggers that I had to see what it was about. I always receive the highest-paying opportunities through them.

The way it works is thus: 1. You get notified of new opportunities via email. 2. Opt in to opportunities. Curate and share the brand's story and content among your readers. 3. Monitor detailed reports on level of click through you have achieved. Be rewarded for results.

You're paid at the end of each campaign via Paypal.

This is another of my favorites because it's not just Affiliate programs, but you can also apply to write articles and host giveaways too. They're small, but I've watched them get bigger and offer more opportunities as time goes on, so this is a platform to watch.

With Mom's Affiliate, the cash out is $50, but it won't take long to get there. They pay via Paypal, and there's no long processing period. Once you're paid by the company, it shows up in your dash and you can cash out anytime.

*NEW* Neoreach

Neoreach is similar to programs like Advowire and IZEA in that you share their content on your social media. The difference is that it's paid per click, like the Style Advocate program. This is a great way to earn quickly, because there are no actual sales, you only need to craft your posts to get people to want to click through. Easy-peasy.

The cash out is $15, which is fantastic. There's nothing worse than having to wait to get paid. They pay via Paypal also, so no waiting for a check.

You can use Postpresso for a blog or a vlog. Postpresso is a platform designed to save you time when writing an affiliate post, and affiliate links can even be inserted into videos. With their platform (which looks like a post editor), you can search for the items you're writing about in the sidebar, add the link and a photo with a click and save a ton of time.

Their cashout threshold is $50, and payments are via Paypal.

Shareasale is the best linkshare network I've found, and I've tried a few that didn't even make it on this list. It is my #1 earner and has so many other perks that I've listed them below by merchant.

I've heard a lot of bloggers say that they don't make anything with them and can't figure out how. There is a trick: You have to apply to shareasale first. Once you're accepted, you then apply to different merchants that you want to represent. That is the key. Shareasale is a platform that represents thousands of merchants, but you must apply to each merchant you want to work with. Once approved for a merchant, you get access to their links and banners, and you can use these like any other affiliate program...but some merchants offer additional perks. But how do you find out which merchants offer these perks? You can apply to all of them and see, or you can keep reading. ;)

When I was first thinking of writing this article, I applied to hundreds of merchants to find the ones with the best extra offers; See a list of those below with what they have offered me so far. Once you're approved for the merchant, you will start getting these offers intermittently via email. Remember to sign up for shareasale first!

Note: They will ask you in the application how you will promote them. I always tell them the name of my blog and how I'm willing to share (via blog posts and sidebar buttons usually.) You can copy this and paste it into each consecutive application you fill out, and it's a real time-saver. You're welcome. ;)
  1. Adidas - Paid posts, reader contests
  2. Blurb - Make a free ebook for review, paid posts
  3. Buy Seasons - Frequent paid posts
  4. Celebrate Express - Frequent paid posts
  5. CustomInk - paid posts, paid banner placement
  6. Diet to Go - Free meals for a day promo for readers
  7. Gazelle - High commissions, paid posts
  8. GroopDealz - $20 credit to shop for a review post, paid banner placement
  9. Groovy Lab In A Box - Reader contests
  10. IdealShape - Products for review and to give away
  11. Little Passports - Product for review, paid posts
  12. Madison Reed - Product for review, paid posts, paid banner placement
  13. ModCloth - Frequent paid posts
  14. Reebok - Paid posts, reader contests
  15. Shutterfly (bundled with Tiny Prints, Treat, and Borrow Lenses) - Frequent reader deals
  16. Stella & Dot - Paid posts, paid banner placement, great stylist referral fees and reader specials
  17. Tea Collection - Frequent paid posts, paid banner placement
  18. Warby Parker - Paid posts, used to offer a paid review post, but not sure if still doing that.
With shareasale, you choose a payment trigger amount, which is the amount your account reaches for them to send you payment; Starting from $50 up to $1,000. They do either Direct Deposit, or they'll send you a check, and you can choose your mailing method.  There is a 30 day processing timeframe on everything you make, and once that payment is locked (not processing), they'll pay you on the 20th of each month.


With Shoutly, you choose a campaign from their marketplace, which are mostly books, but the commission amounts are pretty huge for the products. You can sell these anywhere, from a blog to a Facebook post, and the cash adds up pretty quickly.

The payout threshold is $100, paid weekly via Paypal.

skimlinks is, frankly, genius. This is another that I've just begun because of recommendations from other bloggers, and I can't believe I put it off so long. It is simple: You add the code to your website template html (there are instructions if you need them), and skimlinks turns your product links and keywords into affiliate links automatically! They have over 17,000+ merchants, Amazon, ebay, Macy's, Kmart, Dell, & Best Buy are a few, and you're approved for all of them once approved for skimlinks. Their code then searches all of those merchants for their links, and you don't have to do a thing but write your posts.

They pay via Paypal at the end of the month as long as your account balance is $10 or more.


I hope this post has been helpful, and I'd love to hear about your successes! Please leave me a comment below or you can email me at! Good Luck!

Laptop Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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