My Love/Hate for Affiliate Programs
Back in 2010 when I started this blog, there was just Amazon Associates. There still is actually, but for fashion blogs there are now many other fashionable options.
After Amazon Associates I’ve tried many programs: Fashion Traffic, Shopstyle, Beso, Skimlinks, ShareASale, Paid on Results. And I hate them all.
It’s true that affiliate programs can help you make that extra buck that is really useful when it comes to buying that new WordPress theme to make your blog look decent, or to pay the hosting fees to keep your blog alive. (You know that I recently had to move from Bluehost to Siteground because my blog was ridiculously slow and that costed me extra money).
Are the Earnings Worth the Amount of Work?
When we talk about small and medium sized blogs, it is often not. It’s not worth it. Unless you have a very shopping focused blog, and all you do is post shopping lists and finds, you are not going to make any big money with affiliates. Or at least, I am definitely not. Not to mention that my blog actually takes a stand against consumerism, I love upcycling and I’m planning a DIY weekly column. So affiliates are also a bit against my principle, too.
Working with affiliate programs is also excruciatingly annoying: you have to look for your products and most of the times the sites are slow, like Reward Style. You often don’t even find what you’re looking for, and you end up choosing products you don’t really like for the sake of getting a revenue out of your suggestions. This is unfair for your work and for your readers.
What Affiliate Programs I Use
I am currently using Reward Style and Paid on Results but I have already grown tired of the second, because it’s not very user friendly and it’s just for very limited brands and shops. Reward Style is ok because you are very likely to find the products you were going to suggest to your readers anyway, but here are the cons:
– the website is slow and likely to crash (and I use Chrome with the last version of Mac OsX and only Reward Style’s site dies on me all the time!)
– you have to check each and every affiliate link before using it because more often than not they are already expired. What does it mean? The product is sold out, the link isn’t working, or it links to a different product. Very disappointing for your readers!
– links expire. Even the ones that work at the beginning, usually expire within a couple of weeks. That means that you’re most visited posts, i.e. the oldest ones, with more SEO juice and that rank highest on Google organic searches, are not making you any money. You need to spend a lot of time checking them and editing the links, most of the times linking to products that aren’t the same in the pictures you put in your post for example. It’s a huge time loss. Huge.
So I’m definitely thinking of alternative ways of monetizing this blog, because I love it and I don’t want it to become an expense and a burden instead of a great experience and something I can be rewarded for because I do it well. I will probably keep my Reward Style account open and use it occasionally (at the moment I just use it for my Get the Style Of series) or try again with Amazon, because my content is once again drifting more and more towards lifestyle and I genuinely suggest books all the time, so I might as well make a few bucks out of my reader experience! And I also love Amazon, I buy there at least twice a month!
How do you feel about affiliate programs? Do you have any suggestion? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Hey, it's Elisa, founder of styleonvega.com. I'm a social media strategist & consultant by day and blogger by night (honing my multitasking skills since 2006 ;). I'm an atypical Italian, freedom lifestyle advocate and modern spirituality enthusiast. Feel like we could get along? Join me just above this box or get in touch with me on Facebook or Twitter.