Choosing The Best Kind Of Affiliate Marketing For Your Website

July 23, 2008

Making Money Online

affiliate marketing diagram

With so many options for affiliate marketing,
which do you choose?
(Items above are clickable)

So you got a blog and want to start earning enough money to support your Starbucks fix each week through the use of affiliate marketing and ads.

But if you’re like me, you don’t want to slap any ol’ product on your site and send your visitors to who knows where.

Yes, I’ve been working on ways to monetize this blog and I’d like to share with you some thoughts I have on this topic because to be quite honest, most of my options out there for affiliate marketing violates many rules I go by when creating a brilliant website.

Although I’ve only been blogging for about 9 months or so, I’ve had my share of time in designing websites and providing business advice to entrepreneurs. Anyone who knows anything about marketing knows you need to focus your product on something your target audience wants or will listen to, otherwise it will be ignored.

And by all means, don’t confuse them!

In other words, if you blog about being an entrepreneur and succeeding online (like my blog), you should focus your affiliate links to products or services that would benefit the kind of readers who read your blog.

The Problem I Have With Google’s AdSense

Google’s AdSense tries its best to generate links to websites that relate to the content you write. When people click on those links, you earn a small profit.

But the problem I have with AdSense is you don’t know who’s website you’re linking over to. How am I suppose to know the sites my blog is recommending will provide any value to my readers? Am I doing them justice by sending them there?

Or . . . am I wasting their time. I don’t know. Do you care?

It’s as if those links are there for one purpose and one purpose only, to earn me a Starbucks coffee.

My Take On Kontera (a.k.a. ContentLink)

ContentLink is another pay-per-click tool that works a little differently than AdSense.

Instead of placing a few links in one or two chosen spots by you on your blog or website (like you do with AdSense), ContentLink recognizes the value of placing targeted affiliate links in your content where your readers have no choice but to notice them.

But that is the exact reason why I prefer not to use ContentLink – it gets in my reader’s attention away from my message and disturbs them. Like I’ve always said, you have to design your website for humans first, otherwise it doesn’t matter how many affiliate links you have.

Can you guess why?

Questions I Asked Myself For Monetizing This Blog

  • Why do I want to monetize this blog?
  • Who are my readers? What are their backgrounds? What are their needs?
  • Do I care what products or services my blog recommends?
  • What’s my limit on affiliate links before my blog gets “too busy?”
  • How should I display my affiliate links and where? How will they get noticed?

David Hobson wrote an articled called, Three Most Common Mistakes of an Affiliate Marketer in which he shows us how many affiliate marketers fail because of:

  1. Incorrect Product Choice
  2. Same Old Messages (i.e. selling the same product everyone else does)
  3. Their Too Afraid (afraid to try something new and stick with the usual)

My Decision And Direction Of Choice

Sticking with what I know about

how people view and read my website, I decided to stick with affiliate links (not on this site) that I feel will provide value to my readers and shy away from random generated links which send them to who knows where.

So What Is The Best Kind Of Affiliate Marketing For Your Website?

To keep it simple, laser focused products and services that appeal to the kinds of people who read your blog are the best affiliate programs to sign up for and advertise. This is Marketing 101. Otherwise, it’s hit and miss and clutters up your website.

Ok so I admit, I’m relatively new to affiliate marketing on blogs (but not marketing in general). What advice do you have and what have you learned works well and doesn’t work well for you?


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About John Hoff

John is the lead instructor inside the Blog Training Classroom Video Course. He's been blogging since 2007, authored a WordPress Security ebook, and was recently featured at Niche Profit Classroom as an affiliate rising star.

View all posts by John Hoff

15 Responses to “Choosing The Best Kind Of Affiliate Marketing For Your Website”

  1. Barbara Swaffordb Says:

    Hi John,

    What a great explanation. I use mostly Google AdSense on one blog, but on my blogging blog, I only display a handful of ads. I have one for WP Blog Host :) , and a few others. I tried AdSense on that blog, but I think it made it look cheap.

    I don’t like the inline link ads either. Although I signed up for the services, I’m afraid it will disgust my readers and they might leave.

    With blogs, we walk a fine line. We want to cover our overhead, but we don’t want our blogs to look cluttered either.

    I do like Amazon. They are a well established company that provide a good product and service. It’s great that we can hand pick the books that display.

    Barbara Swaffordb’s last blog post..Interview With Lorelle VanFossen – Part 3 – Content: Is Good, Good Enough


  2. Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach Says:

    Don’t forget about eBay too!

    They have a super affiliate program you can use to monetize your blogs very well indeed.

    Data points,


    Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..Let weirdly-clad HE-wenches help you to….Make money WITH your blog tutorial


  3. John Hoff Says:

    Ahh…my two Barbaras! I love you guys, uh, women ;)

    @ Barbara Swafford – I signed up for Google’s AdSense and pondered on it for a day wondering if I should put it on my site or not. In the end I decided not to, however, I do admit people make money off it. I guess I just feel it wasn’t right for this site.

    @ Barbara Ling – Ah yes, eBay! Great point.

    It’s funny because as I was writing this article I had you in mind (I can say you most definitely know how to monetize a blog and I knew you’d have something to add). I’d like to invite you, Barbara, to come back here and leave a few links to blog articles you’ve written that people might find useful for starting affiliate marketing on their blog. You have many articles on your blog that I think can help people better learn how to monetize their blogs.

    I’m sure you have a great one about eBay. Thanks.


  4. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi John – I only really started monetizing my blog and so far the results from adsense are poor. But Adsense works extremely well for me on another site. I guess it really is trial and error. I like the amazon widgets you use – they really stand out. I don’t use amazon too much, because when I first started using them years ago, it took a long time to make enough to buy a book with what I made. Yet some people – eg Darren Rowse do quite well from Amazon.

    I think I might give ebay a try as Barbara suggests. I tried Kontera and it didn’t do well, but I’d be willing to give it another shot now that my traffic has increased.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Oops – I Sank A Business


  5. John Hoff Says:

    I think you hit it on the nose Catherine when you said, “trial and error.”

    Like any marketing online, you have to test. What works for some, doesn’t work well for others. I think I too will checkout eBay’s affiliate networks soon.


  6. Sterling Says:

    Good info. The Amazon option is especially appealing because there are books on any subject, so any niche blog could use it.

    At the moment I’ve been searching for a good affiliate tracking software to start our own affiliate program for a client’s shopping cart. Anyone have any recommendations?

    Sterling’s last blog post..The #1 Problem With Small Business Websites


  7. John Hoff Says:

    Hi Sterling. Welcome over to my blog :)

    I haven’t worked with many programs myself other than using Google Analytics to track outbound clicks (to view if someone clicked on a banner or not). Sorry, that’s one area I’m not much help in myself.


  8. Al at 7P Says:

    Hi John – came over from Liz Strauss’s “Blog to Show”. When I saw your entry, I recognized it from Barbara’s blog!

    This is a great article. I agree with Google Adsense and their random ads. Sometimes I’m offended with some of the ads they put on my blog – they had this one dental ad with a picture of a skull with gummed teeth. If Google screens their advertisers, they certainly have a low bar.

    This is a great article and I’m glad I came on by!

    Al at 7P’s last blog post..Jump Right In!


  9. John Hoff Says:

    Hello Al, thanks for stopping by and thanks again for the stumble.

    Oh man that’s just weird. You should have taken a screen shot and blogged about it LOL.

    That’s my biggest problem with AdSense, I have no control over it and this is MY website, my blog.


  10. Janice Cartier Says:

    John- So glad you wrote this. I want any affiliate marketing I do to be an endorsement. Not just a money grabber. :)

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..Unplugged, Pencils and Poetry


  11. John Hoff Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you anymore, Janice.

    I suppose these days most experienced bloggers and online entrepreneurs know the deal with AdSense/AdWords, but what message are you giving out to newbies or possible clients? They might think you’re recommending those sites.

    Poor Al (comment above), his visitors might have thought his site was about dentistry or archeology LOL.


  12. Janice Cartier Says:

    Yes. Sort of like playing the slots that one. :)

    I am looking for affiliates or associates for things I cannot do with out , materials , supplies, good info.. anything that really reinforces what it is I am actually about. But that is picky me. I am probably more PBS than mainstream network.

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..Unplugged, Pencils and Poetry


  13. John Hoff Says:

    Hey I like that . . . paralleling a blog to a tv network.


  14. Janice Cartier Says:

    :) Me too. Thanks.

    Janice Cartier’s last blog post..Unplugged, Pencils and Poetry


  15. Pro wrestling gear Says:

    Thanks for the article. I have to say that affiliate marketing is one of the best (if not best) business models out there. Little direct customer contact, no support needed for products, just about as hands off as you can get. :-)


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