Affiliate marketing is a great way to monetize your blog.
Some bloggers are so successful at promoting affiliate programs/products that they make a six figure income just from that!
But as you will find out quickly, there is an overwhelming amount of affiliate programs out there and finding the good ones is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Plus, there are so many different categories to choose from that it can get really confusing.
The biggest thing to remember when choosing your networks is to stick to what you are writing about. Since this post is about food blogging, I’m sharing with you the programs and networks that have brought me the most success. I have used every single one of them and found that they have good conversion rates.
If you would like a bigger list, I have added more programs you can join at the bottom of this post.
Bookmark this page so you can come back to it as often as you need to!
When Should I Start Advertising and Selling Stuff On My Blog?
How about right now?
You don’t have to be a seasoned blogger to start selling!
While some bloggers will tell you to wait a few months before adding banners and links, I say do it as soon as you can. There’s no reason why you can’t start making a few bucks today!
If you don’t have a blog yet but are seriously thinking about starting a career in blogging, check out my post How To Start A WordPress Blog On Bluehost to learn the basics of working in WordPress. I show you step by step how to create a Bluehost account, what plan is the best and most economical, how to fire up WordPress, choose a theme and how to use the WordPress dashboard.
How many affiliate programs should you join?
That’s up to you but I personally believe that the more you join, the more successful you will be!
Having different streams of income for a food blogger, or any other type of blogger for that matter, is important. The reason being that businesses close all the time. If you are only pushing one product and that product suddenly goes bankrupt, then you will be in big financial trouble my friend.
Promoting many different affiliates means that if one source of income dries up, there are other ones still generating cash flow. It’s a way to protect yourself and make sure that there will always be a little money on the table.
How should you promote Affiliate Programs?
As organically as possible and as honest as possible.
I know it sounds simple but there is a fine line between sounding like an advertisement and being genuinely excited about a product.
Many of us will also want to post banners and links everywhere – we see dollar signs and get excited about the possibilities of earning a living as a blogger.
I totally get it because I’ve been through it! Making $30 per month is no fun, especially when you are busting your butt delivering free content for people to consume. It can get frustrating.
But remember that too much advertising can easily turn visitors away.
Now, I’m sure you are looking at my blog and thinking “but don’t you have a ton of ads on yours?”, and the answer is yes. But I also have half a million visitors coming to my blog every single month. This means that I can afford to lose a few if they get annoyed by my ads and my bounce rate won’t change that much.
If you are new at food blogging, keep your ads in the sidebar for now and at the bottom of your posts (not throughout). You can use links within your posts to push products. Putting banners in your newsletters is totally fine too. Once you get past 100,000 page views per month, you will have more options for advertising. But that’s another post I will be covering in the future.
My other recommendation is to test banners and links by keeping track of where your sales are coming from. If you see a sudden spike in income, find out which post, link or product is having success and repeat that formula throughout your other posts.
1. BLUPRINT – High Conversion Rate with Generous Commission
Bluprint, formerly known as Craftsy, is a well established online platform with over 13 million subscribers.
What makes it so popular is the sheer volume of classes they offer. Over 1,300+ in-depth classes in more than 20 categories including quilting, knitting, cooking, dance, yoga, music, art, and photography. Their motto is Pursue your passions, hone your skills, and learn from 600+ experts amongst a community of like-minded makers, seekers, and doers!
What’s in it for you:
There are so many different ways to promote their classes and so many different commission tiers that I would need to create a separate post for it!
In a nutshell you get:
- 75% commission of first-time class* or DVD purchases by new customers (30-day cookie)
- 15% commission of class* or DVD purchase by existing customers (5-day cookie)
- 15% commission of physical product** purchases by new customers (30-day cookie)
- 4% commission of physical product** purchases by existing customers (5-day cookie)
- $5 for every Bluprint trial signup (15-day cookie)
- $15 for every Bluprint monthly membership signup (15-day cookie)
- $25 for every Bluprint annual membership signup (15-day cookie)
- $15 for referring a friend who is accepted into the affiliate program
Plus, their support team is there to help you win so make sure to develop a good relationship with your sales partner. She will guide you every step of the way with special affiliate newsletters and promotional ideas.
You can also contact someone directly at Bluprint who will work with you on coming up with the best strategies to sell products on your blog. Since they know their products inside out, they can provide you with some really helpful tips!
I have been using Bluprint as one of my affiliates for about 5 years and promoting them has been effortless. I make at least one sale every day!
2. SHE MEDIA – MOST Diverse Portfolio of Monetization Opportunities
SHE Media (formerly SheKnows Media) is a digital media company created by and for women with approximately 60 million unique visitors per month. You can decide to just monetize your website or blog, or participate in sponsored campaigns on your site or on social media.
I was with Blogher, one of their flagship sites for several years and it was great! They often contacted me with sponsored post offers and I was able to get some traffic by sharing some of my posts on their site. My reason to leave was simply because I wanted to join AdThrive, the company I currently am with for advertising, and couldn’t remain with both.
Everyone is super helpful and easy to get in touch with.
Sovrn is an ad network that pays based on CPM (cost per thousand). Basically, you get paid a certain amount of money for every thousand impressions an ad is viewed. Visitors on your blog don’t have to click a banner in order for you to make money, which is great for food bloggers!
I’m saying this because most people visiting food blogs are looking for recipes, not stuff to buy. So the chances of them clicking on one of your banners is very low. If you are with an ad network that pays based on CPC (cost per click), you will be making peanuts because they will only pay whenever someone clicks an ad.
I know this because I was with Adsense for a long time and made zero money. Meanwhile, photography blogs and insurance blogs were making a fortune because their visitors were looking to purchase something and clicked on their ads.
I’ve had great success from using Sovrn, they were my top earner until I joined AdThrive (which requires a minimum of 100,000 monthly page views to join). I highly recommend these guys!
4. Healthy Wage
Healthy wage is a program where participants get paid to lose weight.
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that but basically participants put in the amount of weight they want to lose, how long it will take them to lose it, and the calculator will show them how much money they could win. Participants who reach their goal within the allotted time frame, get paid the projected winnings.
As you can see, it’s a pretty interesting concept that may be appealing to some of your readers who are looking to shed a few pounds. This is an easy post to write for your blog, just talk about the company and how unique their program is! Remember to try them first, you can let them know you are doing research for a post and not looking to win money. Most companies will give you temporary access to check out and try their program.
Commission rate is $50 per Healthy Wager signup, $30 per Team Challenge signup, and 10% second-tier commission.
This is another ad network affiliate that has done well for me.
The set up was easy and the CPM rates were good (although not as high as Sovrn). My only problem with Yellowhammer is their interface – it’s not user friendly and there is very little analytics available so you can’t see what is working vs what isn’t.
The payout is also a bit of a pain as you have to send them an invoice if you want to get paid. But maybe things have changed since I was with them, it was a few years ago after all.
6. Gourmet Ads
I was with Gourmet Ads for almost a year and things were good – not stellar – but comfy. It’s the same system as Sovrn and Yellowhammer, the only difference is they only display food and cooking related ads.
One of the most famous – if not the most famous – affiliate program out there!
Amazon Associates was the second program I joined and I still use them for every post I create. It’s easy to use and I’ve had a lot of success with it.
The way it works is you make commission (between 4%-8%) for every sale you make on your blog.
So say I link the words fish sauce to a fish sauce sold on Amazon. Well, every time someone clicks on the link and orders one, I make commission.
What’s also great is if the user clicks on your link but doesn’t purchase the fish sauce, you will still make a commission from whatever they purchase during that visit.
Amazon is great because it’s a household name. People trust the brand so they aren’t afraid to purchase things from there. I guarantee you will be making money with them!
Shareasale is an affiliate network with over 2,000 merchants.
The registration process is automatic and once you’re inside you get to choose which merchants you would like to promote. You have to send a request and wait for their approval before you can start promoting them. I haven’t been declined once so far, it’s really not that hard to get accepted. Payments are consolidated into one paycheck and the minimum is $50.
Most of the brands I work with are with Shareasale. I like how their dashboard is set up (straight forward) and that I have so many different tools available to use to promote my products.
9. Fresh Direct
Online grocery shopping is huge right now! You can easily make sales by creating a post about the benefits of using a service such as Fresh Direct. Or talk about online grocery shopping and how it’s the new way to save money.
But before you promote them, remember to try them once so you can talk about the program with honesty. Never promote a product you haven’t tried since it won’t sound genuine. You need to be excited about it and the only way to sound truthful is by having a personal experience with the product or service.
I always order a product or use a service before promoting it. Not only is it better, it also makes it easier to talk about.
Swoop is an affiliate company specifically made for food blogs – and they are amazing! All you need to do is place a code in the header of your blog and Swoop will insert an ad within the content of your site, typically in an article or a recipe, when it finds a contextual match. You can also choose to only display Swoop ads (like I do on my blog) in your recipe cards as opposed to throughout your posts. I think every food blogger should use Swoop – it’s non invasive and you are guaranteed to make a few bucks every month.
VigLink specializes in in-text advertising. This means it converts words from your posts into affiliate links and if a user makes a purchase, you earn a referral commission from it. I briefly used VigLink so I cannot say much other than it was pretty easy making a few cents here and there.
They have a good reputation and many bloggers seem to be happy and successful with them. My reason for not using them is simply that I already have many other links and ads on my blog.
Additional Food Affiliate Programs For Food Bloggers
Restaurant Affiliate Programs
Restaurant.com – Restaurant.com offers the best deal on more than 62,000 restaurants and providers across the US. They also offer gift certifitcates ranging from $5 to $100, and allow customers to save at thousands of restaurants across the country with just a few clicks.
Wine Delivery Affiliate Program
Winc – is the #1 Personalized Wine Club in the country. Winc works directly with small production winemakers from around the world to bring wine lovers the highest quality bottles at various price-points.
Healthy Eating Affiliate Programs
California Tea House – California Tea House is a gourmet loose leaf tea company that carries the highest grade loose leaf tea and custom, flavored tea blends.
Matcha Source – Matcha Source sells premium matcha green tea powder from Japan and related accessories.
Katz Gluten Free – Katz Gluten Free features an extensive selection of products, to meet the culinary demands of every gluten-intolerant individual. Their products are 100% pure, all natural high-quality and fresh ingredients, with no preservatives added.