If you want to monetize your food blog but haven’t tapped into affiliate marketing, we’ve collected six of the best affiliate programs to get you started.
Food blogging can be extremely fun and rewarding, but there are few food bloggers out there who wouldn’t mind making an income off their hard work, whether it’s a little extra spending money each month or enough moola to follow your passion full-time.
Most monetized blogs engage in some form of affiliate marketing. But what does that mean? Very simply put, it’s when you make a commission from promoting other people’s products and services. How you promote the products might vary (such as links, buttons or ads) and how you are paid might vary (they might pay per click, per engagement or per sale), but the basic idea is the same: You make money helping others sell their wares.
There are a tons of upsides to joining affiliate programs: They are super easy to set up, most of them are free, there’s very little risk, and you can make a steady income simply by getting traffic to your site. You also don’t have to be a full-time blogger to jump in — these programs are made for anyone.
Of course, there are also some downsides to consider and understand as you get started: You aren’t always in full control of the ads on your site, ads could possibly affect your journalistic integrity, and your site might not have enough pull yet to be very profitable. Also, affiliate program scams absolutely exist, so be sure to start with a well-known partner — like the ones below.
Amazon Associates is one of the very oldest, biggest and best-known affiliate programs — it’s also established, easy and makes for super-organic advertising. Just link to Amazon when you’re raving about a product or ingredient, and you get a percentage of the profit from anything your readers buy after clicking the link (even when they don’t purchase what you linked to).
rewardStyle connects you to over 4,500 lifestyle brands — including a food and beverage category. Working with them as an “influencer” also allows you access to helpful tools that can help improve your success, and they help you earn money through social media accounts, but you do have to apply to join.
Focused on food-related ads, Gourmet Ads pays by how many people view their ads instead of how many people click on them (or how many people are converted). They are currently partnered with over 2,000 food and lifestyle publications — and they have a strong support team if you’re new to online marketing.
Another one of the biggest players in the affiliate game is Skimlinks. Their model involves the blogger installing a simple bit of code into their website that then automatically inserts appropriate hyperlinks into your content — and then you get a cut of any profits.
Who doesn’t love Target, and who doesn’t also accidentally spend $100 there when you stop in to get milk? Their affiliate program is very similar to Amazon’s — and they offer up to an 8 percent commission on any sales that originate from your posts.
Another of the largest and most well-known affiliate marketing programs, ClickBank is popular for having a huge base of products and services to choose from, as well as high (up to 50 to 70 percent) commission rates. On the downside, adding the ads to your website takes a few more steps than some of your other options, and you’ll have to navigate through some spammy products to find things that are worthy of promotion.
This affiliate program connects you with over 2,500 high-quality merchants and allows you to choose your individual advertising partners, along with their individualized programs. There are great food and beverage merchants to work with, and you can search either by brands you like or by the type of commission you’re looking for (by lead, pay per click, commission percentage, etc.).
You can use multiple affiliate programs at once — just consider how many ads you want on your site and how your audience may be affected by your affiliate links. But try starting with one to learn the ropes to find your comfort level (and to start getting paid).