Bloggers rarely make money from just blogging. Today, bloggers make their money from a variety of different streams, including digital products like courses and e-books, sponsorships, freelance writing gigs, and—one of the biggies—affiliate marketing.

Many bloggers are curious to start affiliate marketing once they gain traction on their site. As the number of people going to their homepage and their posts increases, so too do the number of people clicking on links. The amount of money they make from affiliate sales can go from spare change each month to paying for dinner and drinks on a regular basis to covering rent and all the way to being a full-time income—when done correctly.

But for many bloggers, starting to use affiliate links feels strange. You want to include products and services but you also don’t want to feel like a sell-out.

Here’s the truth: you’re not a sell-out for wanting to make money from your passion. Don’t let anyone tell you that! When done correctly, affiliate marketing can be an honest and natural way for you to generate income from the content on your blog. Just remember that you have endless possibilities in what you can promote and how you can promote it.

  • Sell Products In Your Online Store

    There are a number of websites and plugins that will allow you to create an e-shop. This is a place where blog visitors will click and see products that you sell, either of your own or from other stores. Why not round up some of your favorites that relate to your niche and put them in one convenient place for your audience?With selling products like this, it’s vital to have excellent images. People respond positively to great pictures that truly show what the product is all about, so make sure the images of the products on your site are eye-catching and intriguing.

  • Blog About Products Or Services

    You can use affiliate links directly in your blog posts, and you can even create blog posts dedicated to certain products. Successful bloggers who make money from affiliate sales will often sprinkle affiliate links throughout their posts as they see fit. Others will write review posts about the products they use and include affiliate links at the end. Either way, you can do what you do best—blogging—and simply include the links for sales.When blogging about products or services, make sure your opinions are genuine. People will stop believing you if every affiliate link you include goes directly to something you love and rave about. Construction criticism is an important player here, so share the positives and the negatives so people know what to expect.If you tell everyone that the cat scratcher you got from one site is the best you’ve ever had but it’s actually wobbly and poorly made, you’re going to have a lot of audience members wondering why you recommended a junky item. They’ll stop trusting you and your opinion, and that means they’ll stop buying what you share. Instead, focus on valuable reviews and posts that give your readers a realistic view of what the items are.

  • Sell On Social Media

    Blogging is more than just writing. As you start affiliate marketing, remember the other facets of blogging, too—namely, social media. Whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever other platform works best for you, find ways to incorporate certain affiliate links there. This is a chance for you to reach out and connect with people that might not check your blog on a regular basis. It’s also possible for people who have never even heard of you before to discover you through the web of social media posts.Get an idea of what social media platform your audience uses, and start there. Many people like to use Facebook, since it’s the most widely used social media site, but it’s far more important to go with what’s the most fitting.

  • Forums

    If you want to reach people outside of your blog, hopping onto forums is a great way to go. You can sometimes reach a huge audience with very little effort. Thousands of people use Reddit, for example, and if you have something valuable and interesting to share, you can quickly direct people back to your blog.Always look up the rules of a forum before posting affiliate links, but if it’s okay by the guidelines, then post away! The best bloggers find themselves in forums also when they’re not selling, though. They are interacting with other people, commenting on threads, and sharing things that aren’t affiliate links. This way, they become an active and trusted member of the community, so when they do decide to share affiliate links it doesn’t come off as too sales-y.

  • Email Your List

    A blogger’s best and strongest weapon that they wield is their email list. With a long email list of people interested in what you have to say, you can easily make sales that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.Newsletter campaigns should be similar to what your blog posts follow—not just selling and promoting affiliate links, but providing valuable information in an honest way. It should be obvious, but don’t just fill up your newsletters with lots of links and images and hope to make a ton of sales. It’s just not going to happen. Instead, share your best tips, insider advice, and even personal anecdotes along with affiliate links. This will engage your audience and get them more interested in purchasing.