Hello fellow bloggers! In this post, I share some of my favorite blogging tools that increased my traffic and dramatically improved my affiliate sales! This post contains affiliate links, so if you choose to purchase one of these tools, I may or may not receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks for letting me share my favorite blogging tools with you! Happy Blogging!
Many new bloggers type optimistically on their laptops, sharing blog post upon blog post that they believe will help them rake in the cash as an online entrepreneur. You post affiliate links….you share on Facebook…you pin your little heart out on Pinterest….AND STILL NO RESULTS. What feelings come to mind here?
Here are the cold facts: just because you write it, doesn’t mean they’ll come.
I spent months blogging about things that I felt passionate about without making a single dime. And although there was an enormous amount of satisfaction that came from sharing my passion for healthy and happy living, I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that all my hard work was still leaving my pockets empty. I became jealous of big-shot bloggers on Pinterest and was nearly ready to throw in the towel.
But, instead of shutting my laptop and calling it quits, I decided to do some more research on affiliate marketing. I knew the basics: only share products you believe in, target the right audience, write passionately about why others will love this product too….and the list goes on! Despite this knowledge, I couldn’t help feeling like there was something missing.
If you need help uncovering the basics of affiliate marketing, visit my post on How I Made My First Affiliate Sale.
Let me start by saying that Pinterest is golden.
A business Pinterest account is a MUST HAVE for bloggers looking to monetize and drive traffic. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using Pinterest to grow your blogging business. Was it Pinterest that brought you to this post today?! I wouldn’t be surprised!
Nearly all of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I pulled most of my pinning strategy from Pinterest Ninja (an AMAZING investment tool, by the way) and tweaked it ever so slightly to ensure my most popular pins were routinely being pinned to my most popular boards. I joined A LOT of group boards. And, I mean a lot. This may be your most time-consuming step, but well worth the effort. The more boards you pin to, the more pinners you’ll reach.
One key tip I want to share with you is the importance of manual pinning. Although this might sound archaic in a world of Board Booster and Tailwind, I find that my most successful pins are ones that I spend time manually pinning to my group boards. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Tailwind and still rely upon my pinning schedule and interaction amongst Tailwind tribes. But, I see a dramatic increase in both page views and affiliate sales when I manually pin on Pinterest. Manually pinning requires patience, time and a little bit of effort, but it has been a game changer. This is where Pinteresting Strategies comes in. It has been monumental to my success in driving traffic! And for me, more traffic has translated into a dramatic increase in my affiliate sales.
In Pinteresting Strategies, Carly from Mommy on Purpose focuses on the importance of manual pinning – she went from 0 page views to over 200K in just a few months! Carly is an expert on all things Pinterst. On top of that, her eBook includes her personal email address. You’re getting a personal connection to one of the most successful bloggers out there (and, yes, she actually answers your emails!). She also recommends pinning a few third party viral pins to your own boards every day. Think maybe 5 per day? This helps draw viral traffic to your own boards, helping you gain Pinterst followers.
Make multiple pins for each post.
Pinning the same pin over and over will get monotonous. And, if you’ve noticed, Pinterest is starting to broadcast your most recent pins right on your page.
You definitely don’t want the same pin taking over your home page. On top of looking unprofessional, viewers will be less likely to follow you if it seems like you’re just fishing for traffic. This is another instance where Pinteresting Strategies helped me in creating a pinning game plan for my blog.
Because Pinterest is my main source of traffic, I needed a way to gain more followers without spamming up my boards. I decided to create several different pins for each of my posts, rotating them among the different group boards I pin to. I love branding my pins and I tend to gravitate towards a unified look with my graphics. [You can read more about pin branding here.] But I also recommend trying out different styles and mixing up the wording a bit. See what style brings the most traffic and build off of that.
Creating new pins is actually one of my favorite aspects of publishing a new blog post, but it can be quite difficult if you don’t have experience with a graphic design program like Adobe Photoshop. My favorite go-to is PicMonkey – it is awesome! It has fully customizable templates for creating visually stunning pins that are sure to catch the eye. Choose anything from single-photo pins to fully laid out collages. Simply click the photo below to create an account. If you’re looking to create very basic pins, the free features should suffice. I like thePicMonkey Royale option because you have access to different fonts and settings to help make your pins stand out.
Here are a few examples of how I make several pins for one blog post.
If you need help designing visually appealing pins, you may want to take a look at my post on How to Create the Perfect pin!
Group boards are the key to massive traffic. Traffic supports affiliate sales.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. I joined A LOT of group boards. And, I mean a lot. This may be your most time-consuming step, but well worth the effort. The more boards you pin to, the more pinners you’ll reach. I spent hours online searching for group boards open to new contributors. Joining new group boards takes a lot of patience and some perseverance. Huge group boards are constantly getting bombarded with new requests. I found that if I follow instructions for joining the boards, I am often met with an accepting response a few weeks later. I would start with group boards that have the option of emailing the creator directly or requesting admission via their website. Those tend to get you a quicker response. In my personal experience, most group boards that have you comment on a recent pin were unlikely to get back to me. This may not be the case for everyone, but I definitely had more success reaching out to board creators via website or email.
While it is definitely true that you don’t need massive traffic to make good income with affiliate sales, it definitely helps. The more traffic I have, the more affiliate sales I see. Therefore, it makes sense for me to focus my efforts on driving traffic to my site as it translates into sales.
Because I spent so much time researching group boards for myself, I thought I’d save you the trouble and share what I’ve learned! You can find a list of amazing group boards open to contributors by clicking here.
Include links within your posts.
My last piece of advice is to links to affiliate products or similar topics within your post. If you look back on this blog post, you will see that I strategically placed my affiliate links within the content. This makes it easier for the viewer to click and learn more, and gives context to the product. Viewers are more likely to purchase a product when they receive an honest review from a source they trust. Creating pins on Pinterest that link directly to a “shopping cart” check-out will NOT translate into sales. It looks (and is) desperate and deceiving! Give people a reason to want to purchase the product. Provide an honest opinion and only share products you love. If something worked for you and you want to endorse it, thats great! Just be sure to include a disclosure of the affiliate links within your post. You wouldn’t like to be tricked into buying something, so don’t do that to your readers.
Affiliate marketing may seem like a ton of work, but it is possible to make a healthy income from affiliate sales without being one of those big-wig blogging bosses you see on Pinterest! If you’re BRAND NEW to affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you purchase the Affiliate Action Plan. This eBook is affiliate marketing 101 for the new blogger looking to monetize. Read more about my review of this blogging tool here.