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Four ways to implement affiliate marketing into your WordPress business

Affiliate Marketing

Let me take a wild guess.

You want to add a stream of income to your business, but you don’t want to sell your soul to the deceptive devil to do so. You have seen some WordPress professionals make extra money with affiliate marketing, but you don’t want to put out a bunch of “reviews” that only give your affiliate link to a product you may not even like.

Is that you?

You are probably like the user on Reddit who said this,

Sick of affiliate reviews. Why is it so hard to find quality and honest reviews. (self.Wordpress)submitted 2 months ago by desem-

This goes for wordpress Themes, Frameworks and plugins. Every review i read now days either comes to no conclusion because its a bs affiliate article, it is a sponsored review or the reviewer isn’t reviewing it well, eg: says “both themes are fast” or “theme is seo optimized”, when the theme obviously won’t do anything special seo wise.

What reviews do you guys trust/where are some good impartial review sites?

Where are the impartial reviews? Are you as sick of a review of a theme that you would never recommend in a million years? Yeah, me too…

There’s got to be a better way, no? When I set out to write about affiliate marketing for the MainWP blog, I wanted to wade through the noise and get to something useful.

This article will discuss four ways you can implement affiliate marketing into your WordPress business without feeling slimy. First, however, there is a caveat. Remember, there is always a caveat.

Let’s get started, shall we?

But before we go into that …


Let’s begin with a word of caution before moving forward. Ready?

Build Trust with your audience

First, you need to have an audience, obviously. You need to have an audience that trusts you. As Anil Agarwal says at Problogger,

Trust is the online currency. If you want to make more money? Start building trust and make others like you. How can you do that?

It takes time, and it takes lots of engagement. According to Brent Wehmeyer, there are four ways to facilitate trust:

1. Share Your Story

2.Be personal, not dry stuffy & corporate

3.Be authentic

4. Be Honest – share real results


Another way to facilitate trust is to follow the FTC guidelines. CodeinWP gives an excellent guide for following the FTC guidelines,

It’s also very important to think about disclosure. Guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) state you must clearly disclose your affiliate relationships on your blog in a way which can be easily noticed by readers. This means you need to make it very clear to readers from the outset that if they click the links in your post and purchase, you’ll get a commission. Note that having the disclosure after the post or on a separate page is considered inadequate; your disclosure must be clear and available before a reader starts looking at the post. The FTC guidelines apply to all websites promoting to US citizens – so if your site has US readers (it almost certainly does) you should comply.

Now that you have built traffic, facilitated trust, and followed the proper disclosure guidelines, we can proceed to ways to implement your affiliate marketing links.

Promote tools

One of the easiest ways to implement affiliate links is by adding links to your website’s content. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most popular ways is to put them in a blog post.

Take a look at this blog post by Andrea Whitmer of Nuts and Bolts Media. She writes a blog post about why she separates Hosting, Domains, Email, and DNS. With each product, she includes an affiliate link. Notice her disclosure at the beginning of the post.

Nuts and Bolts Medai
Nuts and Bolts Media

Another way is to add banners and links in prominent places on your website. You see this executed on the ProBeaver website. Davinder has added some of his affiliate links at the top of the homepage.

Screenshot: ProBeaver
Screenshot: ProBeaver

Many affiliate networks have no issue using social media to promote your links. In fact, Trello encourages sharing and gives you a free month for a conversion. I have shared my affiliate link for Beaver Builder on social media. Check with your affiliate marketing program to make sure it is an approved method.

Send info to your email list

Most affiliate programs will let you send to your list about the product. The good thing about selling to your list is that you have established a rapport with members on your list. The engagement level is often higher on your email list.

Kim Doyal uses this often. The WP Chick emails her list daily and will frequently talk about tools that make her business more efficient.

Here she is talking about a new tool from Thrive Themes.

What Henry Ford would have though about WordPress page builders
Email from Kim Doyal

If you can build a list, have a good relationship with your list, and have products that will solve their problems, then you can talk about the benefits of the product and send them your affiliate link.

Webinar + combo with an affiliate

About a month ago, I got an email in my inbox from Erin Flynn. She was hosting a webinar, at least I thought she was. It was an actually a partner webinar with a member of the Convert Kit team talking about how to grow your email list.

The topic was right, so I signed up. There was some useful information and, of course, some outstanding deals to get started with ConvertKit. Now, I am not sure what level of connection you have to have with a partner to host a webinar, but Erin was able to do this, probably, because she has a good list.

If you have a good list and a good relationship with an affiliate, you might convince them to host a webinar for your list.

This isn’t an unusual idea as Neil Patel mentions it in his Affiliate Marketing Guide,

Third, you can use joint venture webinars to make a lot of sales in a short period of time, while simultaneously growing your email list and creating new content.

Webinars aren’t easy to run, so if you can get your affiliate company to host the webinar, it will help handle some of the work.

Use when customers sign up for partner

As a WordPress designer, you undoubtedly recommend certain products to build and run your customer’s website.  You probably have a go-to host, a favorite contact form plugin, or something else that the customer needs to purchase.

One of the easiest things you can do is sign up for that product’s affiliate program and send that link to your new or current customer so that they can go purchase what they need.


Is it possible to utilize affiliate marketing without being slimy? You bet!

You have to build the trust of your clients and put away useless reviews that do not draw a conclusion (see rant above from Reddit). Only do reviews for products you love and recommend.

You can implement affiliate marketing for your WordPress business in your own content, in your emails, through joint webinars and when you need clients to purchase hosting or a plugin.

What are some of the ways you implement affiliate marketing for your WordPress business?

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Todd Jones
Along with being the resident writer for MainWP and content hacker at Copyflight, I specialize in writing about startups, entrepreneurs, social media, WordPress and inbound marketing topics.
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