As we said in a previous post – Should You Put Affiliate Links On Your Author Website? – it’s not a bad idea to put some well-balanced affiliate links and advertisements to earn extra money with your author website, as long as you don’t overdo it or make it so your visitors are bombarded with ads instead of quality content.
There are as many different affiliate programs as there are products for sale online so you want to be sure you are selective and stick with reputable companies who pay you when they say they will. Sometimes it’s ok to go with smaller companies, but it’s better to stick with the well known ones, at least to start with.
You may want to keep it simple and just put up some ads from Google Adsense. You can choose to put up just text links or both image and text – which alternate for you. This is one of the easiest things to do where you earn a few cents when your links are clicked on. Be sure to read the rules – you don’t want to lose your account and any accumulated earnings from not doing so.
Google Adsense is by far the easiest, set-and-forget way to earn money with your author website, and is one of the most reputable companies out there.
Also, you know you have to add lots of great content to your website and you have an awesome idea to write about one of your favorite books and include it on your website. There’s no reason why you can’t put an affiliate link to Amazon. It doesn’t cost your visitors anything, and it can earn you a couple bucks, while adding content to your website. Just be sure that you balance out your content so that you’re offering your readers as much value as possible and not simply trying to sell random ‘things’ or you’ll definitely turn off your readers and lose them.
If you decide to put up a list of recommendations of other books in your genre for your readers, you may want to use Amazon affiliate widgets for these. This makes it so that even if you’re giving recommendations for other author’s books or products in your genre, you can still earn a little from it while showing readers what other books that are similar to your own. This is great a little marketing tip with added affiliate earnings.
Either alternatively, or additionally, you can sign up with an affiliate merchant network, such as CJ or ShareASale. There are quite a few other networks out there, but these are two of the most popular. I have used them both and made decent earnings from both, but I no longer use CJ and only use ShareASale because I like them a lot better. Just my personal preference, but I think ShareASale is a much more user friendly platform, especially since CJ went through some changes a few years ago when they moved away from the Commission Junction name and I no longer prefer to use them. To me it’s like Pepsi and Coke, you always prefer one over the other.
Basically, a an affiliate merchant network, which is free to join, gives you access to thousands of other businesses who use them as their affiliate network. It never costs you anything and you just pick businesses within the network who you want to promote, they approve you or not, based on the information you provide, and then you have access to their affiliate links all within a single account.
When you earn affiliate income from any/all of your different merchants all of the money is also accumulated into a single account and when you reach the payment threshold you receive a single payment. This makes it super easy and you only have to file a single W9 for the network company instead of one for each merchant.
Think of it like Amazon where you can promote any product on their website, except it’s specific businesses, where you can link to their products or services, instead of a single product. You can join as many as you want, each one being approved by the individual business, but just don’t join more that you’re going to actually promote or it isn’t worth it for you or them.
If you want to try ShareASale – you can sign up here:
Independent Affiliate Programs:
Some companies that you currently do business with might already have their own independent affiliate programs as well. Or you might find out that they use a merchant network or that their products are available on Amazon. This is a great way to start out because you’ll be able to write about a company you already know and trust, instead of having random advertisements.
To find out if your favorite business has an affiliate program the best thing to do is go to the very bottom of the page and look for a link in the footer. If they have an affiliate program, this is generally the first place to look. Some companies also call them “referral programs” – some do this because they think that the word affiliate sounds negative in some way. Or in some cases they don’t actually offer a monetary payment, but where you accumulate something like points that are worth a discount on their products. Just be sure to check what it is you’ll be earning and read all the fine print before you join.
Hopefully that’ll give you a decent start on how to earn money with your author website and also gives you some awesome ideas as well. If you have any questions or need some ideas, feel free to ask – I’m more than happy to help in any way that I can!