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Advertising on Blogs – Affiliate Programs

Use-it’s look at affiliate programs is worth a read if you are considering adding advertising and income sources to your blog.

An affiliate program is a way for sites to pay for incoming traffic: when site A links to site B, there is some mechanism for site B to pay a referral fee to site A, depending on who follows the link and how valuable they are to site B. Site A is called an “affiliate” of site B, because it is associated with site B and uses it to provide a service to its users.

The most famous affiliates program was introduced by with the launch of the Amazon Associates in July 1996. Amazon currently has about a quarter million sites in their affiliates program. In the case of Amazon, the referral fees work as follows:

* fees are only paid for users who buy books at Amazon during the visit that results after having followed a link from the affiliated site
* the fee is usually 5% of the sales, though it can be more for certain books if the site linked directly to the product page for that book

So, for example, if you follow this link to and buy a book there, I will get 5% of the price of the book.

In the case of Amazon, the affiliated site does not get anything if the user doesn’t buy during the first visit but decides to return and shop later. Other affiliates programs are more advanced and pay based on the life-time value of the referred customer and not just based on his or her initial purchase. It obviously requires more programming to keep track of users over time, but all marketing theory certainly tells us that life-time value is more important than individual sales, so hopefully we will get more affiliates programs to take the long view in the future.

With so many different affiliate programs out there, offering different options, it helps to understand how they work and which will work best for your blog, before committing.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen


  1. Posted June 23, 2006 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    How would you include advertising in your wordpress blog on your own? I am familiar with html, but not familiar with php. I was looking to include a gif image in the sidebar with a link to advertisers? I have searched the web high and dry but continue to only find get rich quick schemes and muck.

  2. Posted June 24, 2006 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Currently, you can’t have advertising on a blog, though a full version WordPress blog is open to anything. Maybe soon you can have one here, but so far, no javascript, no access to templates, etc., required for adding ads. A link and/or link/graphic gets you no hits in the $$$ clicks.

    And thanks for enjoying what I write so much. 😉

  3. Posted August 17, 2006 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Maybe this link is helpful:

  4. Posted December 13, 2006 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    There are a lot of WordPress plugins that allow you to embed adsense or even clickbank affiliate links into your blogs. Then again when you presell products using your blogs, you generally increase your conversion rates even more when your blog doesn’t have a ton of advertisements that are yelling at your visitors…

  5. Geoff Dodd
    Posted February 22, 2007 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    The good thing about most Word Press blogs is the clean appearance and absence of AdSense and paid ads. It is probably The Internet as it is ‘meant to be.’

  6. Posted May 3, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    One tool that any affiliate marketer should not be without is an affiliate link cloaker. The service I’ve started at will cloak your affiliate links and help fight against affiliate link hijacking.

    I hope this helps you guys, I’m adding a bunch of really cool features to this site to help make it the very best. Please let me know if there is anything you want to see or any comments on our service.


    Chris Morris

  7. Posted June 29, 2007 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Affiliate marketing is tricky and people tend to rush to make money, what people conveniently forget is to build relationships first with the customer, marketing online or offline, the principles are same.

  8. Jeff G.
    Posted September 17, 2007 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Affiliate programs rock. Some work and some don’t. But when you find the winners, run with them.

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