Most of the money I make from blogging comes from affiliate marketing. Put simply, affiliate income is a commission a blogger earns from a manufacturer or retailer after recommending a product or service that a reader buys using a specific link from the blog post. It doesn't cost the buyer anything extra.
I was slow to get started with affiliate marketing. I blogged for quite a few years without monetizing My Creative Life at all. I'd seen blogs monetize with multiple pop-up ads, awkward product placements, and off-topic sponsored posts that made me cringe and I swore I'd never do that. And I haven't, 2600+ posts later. There are no pop-up ads, no promoted products that I don't actually use and love, and no sponsored posts. While I could make a lot more money if I plastered ads all over the blog, promoted anything people would pay me to, and accepted sponsored posts, that's not what I like to read and therefore not what I want my blog to be. The only ads you see are ones that I've chosen specifically to complement a certain post. For example, at the end of the instructions to make this panda craft, you'll find an ad for four kid-friendly books about pandas.
You will see a lot of affiliate links on my blog, particularly in the supply lists for craft tutorials. You'll also see this image on the sidebar, directly beneath my photo:
If you click that image, it will take you to a dedicated page with links to each of my affiliate partners. They're all companies I've worked with for a long time and I feel 100% confident in recommending them to you.
When you follow a link, either from a graphic or text, and then make a purchase, the company uses the unique tracking code on the link to credit my account for your purchase. They then give me a percentage of the sale price (typically ranging from 2% to 10%). After a few months (during which the company makes sure the products aren't returned or weren't purchased fraudulently), my commission locks. When those locked sales add up to a specified minimum, I get paid. Since most of what I promote is inexpensive, like candy eyeballs or a pack of pipe cleaners, 2% of the sales price is usually just pennies. But enough pennies add up to dollars.
There's one more thing to explain about affiliate marketing that some people don't know. If you click on my link and immediately buy something from that store (even if it isn't the item I'd advertised), I get the commission for it (after it locks). However, if you click on my link, put an item in your shopping cart, leave the site, and then buy it later, I may or may not get credit for the purchase, even if it's exactly the item I'd promoted. With Amazon, if you don't buy it right then, I don't get the commission. Other stores may have a 7-day cookie, or even a 30-day cookie, meaning that the website remembers that you originally arrived there from my website that many days ago, and will still credit me with your purchase.
If you would like to support this (or any other) blog, the best way is to use the affiliate links when you shop. If you don't make the purchase right away, return here first to re-click the link, and then make the purchase. Again, it doesn't have to be for the specific item I'm promoting. For example, if you follow my link to Diamond Dotz Freestyle, and instead end up buying books about crochet, I still get the commission.
If you have any questions about affiliate marketing or monetizing a website, ask in the comments or send me a message at email@example.com.