Side note, I use affiliate links as examples in this post. If you click ’em and buy the product, I get commission, which helps keep up this blog, so thank you!
I have been wanting to start a sort of blogging advice/tips series for a while. I have a whole list of things I’d love to talk about, but I never quite had the right name for it. I thought about “blog happy” but I am pretty sure that someone has already used that, and it didn’t quite work for me.
But ho! Today, as I was setting up affiliate linking (finally), and getting ready to tell you guys all about why I’m starting to use affiliate links and how you are correctly supposed to do such things, it came to me. Simple and effective. This new series will be called (as you can see) “Blogging: Behind the Scenes” and will get into everything I can think of that could help a blogger improve her (or his) blog. It’ll be mainly focused on fashion blogging, since that’s what I do and have done for six (or more…?) years, but there will be things that can be applied to any blog.
And, disclaimer, I’m not a pro at this. But I keep getting questions about blogging so I figured it was time to offer up what I do know and have discovered in my research. So here we go!
A while ago, I mentioned that I am vastly narrowing down how I work with sponsors, and who I work with. Generally when I worked with a sponsor, it wasn’t a paid post — I got free stuff, and that was it. Which is fine with me, since my blog isn’t really something I aim to make a bunch of money from. And I wanted to showcase my own style, my own choices, and not forced choices from websites that might not really be my style (or produce good, solid fashion), so sponsored posts these days are far and few between.
I’d never given affiliate linking a thought until recently, when a gal in a blogging group I am part of shared this post about how she’d made a great amount of money via affiliate linking. And, while I have no expectations that I will ever make that much through links, it got me thinking.
I had to ask myself: why don’t I affiliate link? The answer was pretty simple — I don’t want people to feel like I am constantly promoting crap just to get money. But one of my most popular posts – from when I dyed my hair red – generated the question over and over again: “what product did you use/where can I get it?” and affiliate linking in that case would be pretty great, for them and for me.
So I signed up for the Amazon Affiliates program, and I’ve updated a few posts with affiliate links. And then I set out to write this post, for two reasons.
One, to be completely open with you guys about any changes you might notice on the blog. And two, to fill you in on what I’ve discovered about how to correctly link affiliate links. Because I didn’t really know the right way to do it, and a few people I’ve talked to didn’t either!
Let’s talk about that second reason first. (I know. I didn’t think it through.) Side note, I am using an affiliate link to Landline (the book in that picture up there) as an example.
The vast majority of bloggers, when affiliate linking — and if you aren’t aware, affiliate linking means you will earn a commission if someone clicks through and purchases that product — usually just highlight the text and throw in a link, such as “buy here” so that if a reader wants to get something they wore or used, they don’t know how much it will cost or where it came from. This is totally wrong. And I did this for years — although, my affiliate links were for store credits — without knowing it.
The FTC regulates that consumers should not have to click to know how much something costs. So, to properly affiliate link, your link should look like this: “buy Landline (or, buy here) ($9.51)“. And, if it was a sponsored item in that post and you are linking to it, instead of just saying “Landline, c/o Amazon” you must say “Landline was provided free of charge from Amazon ($9.51)“. C/o, according to the FTC, does not cut it.
You must also state that you are using an affiliate link (or that a product was provided free of charge) before any affiliate links.
Beauty V Brains is where I learned all this, and her post is probably a lot more informative (and has a few other things about affiliates). You should read it STAT if you get sponsored stuff or do affiliate links! (This is also a great post about affiliate links.)
On to why I started using affiliate links.
Simply put, this blog doesn’t pay for itself! I have been self-hosting this blog through Dreamhost for four years. And while it doesn’t cost a ton if you break it down by months, over the last four years I have put $476 into hosting alone, not to mention the hours it takes to photograph, edit, and write posts. And as my time gets shorter and my budget gets tighter, it’s going to take some help to keep the self-hosting going.
As well, I would love to start reviewing makeup products of my own choice. Sponsored beauty posts are just not my thing. There’s a time limit that is difficult for me to keep with given life at the moment, and a limit to what sort of products I can choose. So, I would love to have a way to do my own makeup reviews, free of the constraints that sponsorships put on it. Plus, I feel like when it’s a sponsored post, people won’t take you quite as seriously.
All that to say, if you want to support my blog and see something I’ve used and linked that you want to try (or read, because I’ll link books, too), I would be over the moon if you bought it with my affiliate links. You will see changes in my posts, mostly the ones about books — as I will link ’em on Amazon — or makeup. I’ll have that disclosure before any affiliate links, and the price of the product after the link.
And, I’ve added affiliate links to my Book List page, so if you’re considering reading a book I’ve reviewed, I would love it if you grabbed it through that page or the review post.
So that’s that! Do you have any questions about affiliate linking? Did you learn something you didn’t know?
I will eventually be writing about choosing and designing your own blog theme, honing your photography skills, creating post content, working with sponsors, and the importance of SEO. So if you have questions about any of those things, ask away!