My company has done pretty well with affiliate advertising over the last couple of years by creating high-quality content about a product or service that has an affiliate program and including appropriate affiliate banners and links in those articles. For example, you can read a review I did of Lending Club’s peer-to-peer lending service on my site, P2PLendingNews.com. The article ranks pretty well for the search term “Lending Club Review” and makes $50 – $200 per month in affiliate commissions.
You can insert affiliate links into your posts manually, but I would really recommend against that. Companies have a tendency to change what ad network they’re working with over time, so you could find yourself in a situation where you have hundreds of links to update. Fortunately, there are some good plugins which allow you to automatically insert affiliate links into your blog posts. One that I’ve used for a couple of years is MaxBlog Press Ninja Affiliate (not an affiliate link). It works well enough, but costs $37.00 to buy. Since I purchased the product, I figured out that you can combine two plugins to do what MBP Ninja Affiliate does for free:
GoCodes – Go Codes is free a WordPress plugin that lets you create links that redirect to your affiliate URLs. This is a must have plugin if you’re doing any kind of affiliate ads. GoCodes makes your URLs a lot cleaner (i.e. http://www.example.org/lendingclub/ instead of https://www.lendingclub.com/landing/partner.action?partnerID=75118&AID=10884849&PID=5329850) and makes them updatable if the company you’re working with ever changes ad networks.
SEO Smart Links – SEO Smart Links is a plugin that will automatically insert links into your posts. When configuring the plugin, you simply have to enter in a list of keywords you want to create links from and what URLs you want them to link to. For example, every time you reference Amazon.com, you could automatically link that to your GoCode link for Amazon. The plugin also lets to specify how many times you want links to appear in a given page and gives you the option to exclude certain posts.
SEO Smart Links has since come out with a premium version that they want $79.00 for (totally not worth it), but the free version is still available. If you want to fork over money you don’t have to for a plugin that automatically inserts affiliate links into a post, just go buy Ninja Affiliate for $37.00.