So now, you've started your own blog and you've written a few solid posts. Yay! Congratulations! For most of you, that means that now you're probably looking to earn some money. And that's great! I love that I can do something I really enjoy from the comfort of my home and make some money to boot and I want to show you how you can do it, too. And it's so, so EASY! A few weeks ago, I showed you how to make money using ShareASale for your blog so this week, I'll be teaching you to make money blogging using Commission Junction!
Commission Junction (aka CJ Affiliate by Conversant) is one of the largest affiliate networks out there. There are two types of people who use Commission Junction – publishers and advertisers. Advertisers are the companies, brands, and people who are offering you the opportunity to share information about their products or services and paying you to promote them. A publisher (what you would be as a blogger) is the person who makes a kickback every time you write about or share a merchant's product or service and someone uses your link to buy it. It is beyond easy to get set up to become a Commission Junction publisher partner. Here's how to do it:
Sign Up For Commission Junction
To start, just sign up for the publisher program. Big Fat Tip: The requirement for page views or visitors to become a publisher with Commission Junction is minimal so don't worry about having huge traffic to join.
Next, choose your language, country, and currency and click “NEXT”. Then, you'll be asked for information about your blog. There's A LOT of it so make sure that you give yourself some time (and have all your banking/tax information available) to do it. After you've filled everything out, click “Accept Terms”. You'll be emailed your log-in information with your username and password.
Search And Sign Up For Merchants
Next, you'll be able to check out all the advertisers and find ones that you'd like to promote on your blog. The sky's the limit on how many advertisers you can promote and what types you sign up for. Big Fat Tip: At first, I'd stick with advertisers that fit your blog's niche – it will help you to focus on products and services that you can easily promote. You can always look for “outside the box” advertisers later when you are more comfortable with the process of promoting affiliate links. Use the search engine on the left of the page to find advertisers (which you can do by clicking on “Advertisers” while logged into your Commission Junction dashboard).
Find advertisers by typing keywords to help you find specific advertisers or products. For example, I frequently write about weddings and pregnancy so I'd start by putting those into the search engine and seeing what comes up. If you're still at a loss for what keywords to use, you can also try searching advertisers by categories.
Reading The Advertiser Details
When you find a company you're interested in, check out the general details of their publisher program. The general details show up in the advertiser search and are a great way to get a quick idea on if a company would be a good match for you. The name of the company is on the left and to the far right there will be a link to join the program (it literally has a big green “+” sign) and if you’re already enrolled, there will not be a green “+” sign but there will be icons for when you were accepted, getting links, getting product, and when your program expires. In between that information, you can see how much you'd make for each sale (when someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase). Big Fat Tip: You can also click on the whole advertiser tab to see even more specific information about the program.
Promoting Your Affiliate Links
Once you've been accepted into a program, there are several ways to monetize your affiliate links. The easiest way is to toss up some banner ads and be on your way. You can do this by visiting your Commission Junction dashboard, clicking on “Advertisers”, selecting “My Advertisers”, and then clicking on the “Get Links” icon. Click on the “BANNERS” option in the search engine.
Now you can every single banner available to you from this advertiser. Use the search box above to narrow down banners by size, keywords, and category. To get the HTML code for that banner, just click on the “Get Code” icon and a box will appear where you can highlight and copy the entire code (with the image and link) to paste into your blog in the “TEXT” view. Big Fat Tip: Banner ads are nice but don't convert as well as in post text links. I try to add a few banner ads to my sidebar but I also like to include them at the bottom of individual posts.
The best way (i.e. the biggest opportunity to convert clicks into sales and MAKE MONEY) is to use text links. You can do this by visiting your Commission Junction dashboard, clicking on “Advertisers”, selecting “My Advertisers”, and then clicking on the “Get Links” icon. Click on the “TEXT LINK” option in the search engine.
Now you can every single text link available to you from this advertiser. Use the search box above to narrow down links by keywords and category. To get the HTML code for that link, just click on the “Get Links” icon. A box will appear where you can highlight and copy the entire code (with the textand link) to paste into your blog. If you'd like to change the text that appears in your post then just paste the whole code in the “TEXT” view, switch back to the “VISUAL” view, and change it to the word(s) you want. Big Fat Tip: Randomly linking your text is posts is great but you'll see more conversions if you create tutorials or round-ups that specifically showcase the products and services.
Disclosing Affiliate Links
Always, always, ALWAYS add a disclosure at the TOP OF YOUR POST (before the first outgoing affiliate link) that tells your readers that you are using affiliate links. It's the law. Big Fat Tip: JUST FREAKING DO IT.
How will you be using your Commission Junction links to make money?