If you had to guess what the most common mistake I see new affiliates make, what would you say? I bet a couple popped in your head right away, such as “being too pushy” or “not disclosing”. Those happen all the time for sure.
But in my day-to-day as an affiliate manager, the biggest, craziest and most ridiculous mistake I see bloggers making – that seriously affects their earning potential – is forgetting to use their affiliate links.
Now, you may be thinking, “Umm, Justine, why would someone NOT use their affiliate link?”. Before you fight me, hear me out.
As a blogger, you have a million things to do, right? Each week, your to do list might look something like this:
- create amazing content
- design graphics
- network on social
- send newsletters
- answer emails
- discuss partnerships
- guest post
- work on products
So when you’re not in the habit of creating content around affiliate products, such as a product review, it’s easy to forget to link to one in a regular post.
For example, Cindy the business blogger joined the Studiopress affiliate program a while back and used her link to review one of their WordPress themes. She found it in her ShareASale dashboard and it was specific to that theme.
A few months later, she’s getting set to publish a huge guide to WordPress. In the guide, she mentions a different Studiopress theme she really likes. She can’t use the same link as last time because it points to a different theme, so this is where Cindy has a dilemma. She can go login to ShareASale and find the right affiliate link for this theme, but she can’t remember her password and figures it’ll take at least 5-10 minutes to sort everything out.
Since she’s been working on this guide for a looooong time, she desperately wants to ship it and decides to skip the process. “It’s just one time” she thinks.
The thing is, if you want to monetize your blog as an affiliate, you need to be diligent about linking to affiliate products as often as possible. You never know what piece of content will take off and net you the highest affiliate earnings. Could have been that guide, Cindy.
That’s why I track all my affiliate links in a Google spreadsheet. Every time I get approved for a new program, I login to my affiliate dashboard, grab my affiliate links and stick them in my spreadsheet. Sometimes a program just has one link pointing to the main website. Other times, you’ll find lots of links. So try and grab all the ones you plan to use – you can always add more later.
While the spreadsheet makes it easy to FIND my affiliate links, it’s annoying to have that doc open every time I’m writing a new post. Plus affiliate links can be so darn ugly.
That’s where WordPress plugin Pretty Link saves the day. With this simple plugin, I can quickly create vanity URLs (aka links that look pretty) so I never have to refer to that spreadsheet again when creating new posts. I now use that spreadsheet as a master link file, so any time I have new links I add them there first to ensure I have a backup in case something happened with Pretty Link.
Here’s how Pretty Link transforms your links:
Let’s say your Studiopress affiliate link is: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=XYZXYZ&b=123456&m=12345&afftrack=&urllink=studiopress%2Ecom
With Pretty Link, I can turn that into: http://justinegrey.com/studiopress
Now, every time I’m writing a post that mentions Studiopress, I just have to remember my own website (easy!) + /companyname. With the premium version of the plugin, you can even take this one step further and automatically change words in your posts to affiliate links. For example, if I wrote Studiopress, it would link it for me with techy magic.
To help you take action, I whipped up a quick video tutorial to show you how to install & use Pretty Link (the free version). Enjoy!
How do you manage your affiliate links? Let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to subscribe for bonus tutorials, guides and templates in my Affiliate Library – go now:
Since I teach awesome people like you how to use affiliate marketing in their business, it’s only natural that some links in this post are affiliate links. That means I personally use and love the product. If you purchase through my link, I’ll earn some wine money 🍷 which I promise to drink while creating more helpful posts like this 🍷