If you’re a WordPress blogger, there are dozens of ways to monetize your blog. One of the most profitable methods is to promote affiliate products, for which you make a commission. I’m going to talk a little about promoting affiliate products and ultimately explain how to add affiliate links in WordPress.
In the course of this post, I’ll discuss:
- An overview of affiliate marketing.
- Joining an affiliate program.
- Setting up affiliate links.
- How to add affiliate links in WordPress
By the end of this post, you’ll understand the basics of setting up WordPress to start earning through affiliate links.
Affiliate Marketing Overview
Affiliate programs provide a way to earn a commission by promoting products and services. The affiliate (a blogger) sends traffic to a business (a merchant) via links in their blog posts. If someone clicks the link and makes a purchase as a result, the merchant pays the affiliate either:
- A percentage of the sale as a commission;
- Or a pre-agreed fixed amount.
Affiliate marketing can be a very lucrative way to monetize your blog. You’ll need a lot of traffic to make a lot of money, however even bloggers with a small following can bring in some income through affiliate sales.
As an affiliate, you can organize direct relationships with merchants, but most bloggers choose to join an affiliate network because:
- Affiliate networks offers hundreds merchant programs for you to join.
- As an affiliate you have a mediating relationship with the affiliate network rather than dozens of merchants. It’s a lot easier for you to manage than working direct with a merchant.
- Affiliate networks provide a central point for communication and information about merchants and any promotions they are running.
Affiliate networks make the act of promoting affiliate products a far simpler process than working with merchants directly.
Joining an Affiliate Program
In order to start marketing with an affiliate network, you’ll need to apply for an affiliate account and be accepted. Once accepted you’ll be able to see all the affiliate programs the network offers. However, you have to apply and be accepted by any merchant before you can promote their products and receive commission for affiliate sales.
There are hundreds of affiliate networks you can join, some of the ones I use are:
If you don’t have accounts with affiliate networks, set them up now!
Setting Up Affiliate Links
When you’ve been accepted into an affiliate program, the network will provide you with the means to promote merchant offers on your blog. These might include:
- Text links.
- Content links.
- Banner images.
Each of these include special links that track any visitors you send across to the merchant site along with whether or not these visits resulted in a sale. The tracking links is how affiliate sales are detected and commissions assigned to you specifically.
So… when you’re all set to go, here’s how to add affiliate links a WordPress blog.
How to Add Affiliate Links in WordPress
There are several ways how you can add affiliate links to your WordPress posts when you’re a member of an affiliate program. You can:
- Add them manually into your posts.
- Use a plugin.
Whichever method you choose, you’ll need to use approved links in your affiliate network account from the merchant you want to promote.
How to Manually Add Affiliate Links in WordPress
In the case of content and banner links, you just copy the code supplied by in your affiliate account and paste it into your WordPress posts in a custom HTML block.
If you want to use a link from text in your post, use the text link URL supplied by the affiliate merchant. Select the text you want as the link, click the link icon in your paragraph block and paste the tracking URL in the URL field as below.
You need to make one modification to your links for anything you promote because these are seen as “sponsored” links.
In 2019, Google announced it was changing the way it looked at links, with particular focus on links seen as sponsored (i.e. someone is making money from them) or generated by users (i.e. blog comments).
The recommendation from Google now is that affiliate links should be tagged in HTML with the “sponsored” attribute like this:
<a href="https://example.com" rel="sponsored">Link example</a> <a href="https://example.com" rel="noreferrer noopener sponsored">Link example</a> <a href="https://example.com" rel="noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow">Link example</a>
There’s a detailed explanation of Google’s current advice on nofollow, sponsored and ugc attributes on the Moz blog. It’s important you adhere to what Google wants to see here.
If you don’t disclose your links in this way, it is possible that you’ll incur a Google penalty… nobody wants that believe me!
If you add text or image links manually into your posts, you’ll have to convert the WordPress block containing the link to an HTML block to add the sponsored attribute to your link.
When you’ve converted your block to HTML, add the sponsored attribute in the rel= area of you href tag by including the word “sponsored” like this:
The sponsored attribute must appear between the speech marks of the rel=”” tag.
How to Add Affiliate Links with WordPress Plugins
It can be a pain to go through all your posts and pages adding affiliate links to WordPress manually. This is the reason I started this post actually.
I’m beginning to monetize SideGains right now, and with the number of posts I have I need a more efficient way to add affiliate links. This is why a plugin might come in handy.
I’m currently researching two I’ve been recommended:
As I understand, you can configure both of these plugins to create affiliate links automatically. This means you don’t have to manually find and edit each post where they might appear. This will be a big timesaver!
I’m going to trial them both and then report back in this post on the one I choose. I’ll include reasons why I’ve opted for one over the other and add a guide on how to use it to add affiliate links site-wide.
Long-term, this’ll be far easier than manually updating every instance where an affiliate link will be helpful for my visitors.
That’s all for now.
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Need more information? f you have any questions about how to add affiliate links in WordPress, please leave me a comment below.