Affiliate marketing sounds so simple. Just find a program, sign up, grab a link, and make money. But as with child rearing, telling a joke, and golf, it seems that it should be a lot easier than it really is. Finding trustworthy programs and keeping your links live can be difficult and detract from what you should be doing: attracting users with awesome content. Here is a roundup of some affiliate plugins for your WordPress website that will make the process easier and bring in the cash.
SkimLinks is really two services masquerading as one. The first service offering is SkimLinks, which converts your website’s links into affiliate links. The second service is SkimWords, which converts target keywords in your website’s content into affiliate links. With their powers combined, the Skims allow you to easily and quickly turn your existing content and traffic into revenue sources.
Pricing: Depends on the service. For the SkimLinks service and its auxiliary tools, they take a 25% commission. For SkimWords, they pay you “an amount per click that is dependent on a number of factors, including how often clicks result in sales, the value of each sale and the cost-per-click rate negotiated with each merchant”.
PalTip is a pretty straightforward meta affiliate program which gets strong marks for its ease of use and installation. In addition to converting your content links into affiliate links, PalTip also integrates with Acobot to allow you to add affiliate linking to your chat robot. You do have a chat robot, right?
Pricing: PalTip takes a 50% cut of your sale’s commission.
Similar to Skimlinks and PalTip, VigLink is a service that turns your website’s existing links and content into profitable tie-ups with affiliate marketing programs. Unlike PalTip, though, it also offers link insertion, where it transforms individual words in your content into affiliate links. Finding it difficult to know which of those three to go with? Read a discussion here about whether Skimlinks or Viglink is better with representatives of both companies facing off.
Pricing: To quote, “For all existing links we affiliate, VigLink takes a 25% cut of the commissions a publisher earns. Commissions for inserted links vary and depend on the brand, merchant and product, as well as how often the click results in a sale.”
The granddaddy of them all, Amazon.com has long run one of the most successful (single-site) affiliate marketing programs out there. Easy to join, simple to install, and with a near limitless range of products, their affiliate marketing program features on an immense array of websites and has spawned a number of quality WordPress plugins.
Pricing: This gets complicated…here is their summary.
(I tried to find a watchable video for Amazon Associates. I really did. No such thing exists. Just acres and acres of marketing pitches from “Affiliate Marketing Experts” with products to flog.)
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ShowSpace is not an affiliate program or program aggregator like those above, but rather is intended to allow you to display products (affiliate or not) that you have found on the web in an attractive widget on your WordPress website in a sidebar or post/page. However, it has been specially designed to work with existing affiliate programs like Skimlinks, VigLink, and Amazon Associates so the products listed will still be available for commissions. My favorite feature: the widget is intelligent and it will automatically feature products that are selling well and drop products that are no longer available.
Pricing: They charge based on the number of products you would like to display. The first ten products are free. After that, they charge (USD$5 for the next 10 products or USD$9 for the next 20 with greater discounts available for larger volumes).
Like with ShowSpace, SellFire is not an affiliate marketing program or program aggregator. What it does is to allow users to create and place a store on their website that sells nothing but affiliate products (it requires that you do sign up for one of the big affiliate networks). How does it do that? SellFire’s search engine allows you to search for and select products that the affiliate programs (the ones above that you have registered for) offer. Once you have selected the products, you simply add them to the store, customize the look of the store, and then publish the store to your WordPress website.
Pricing: The Basic product, you can insert 3 stores, is free. Their Professional product tier (unlimited stores) costs USD$9.99 per month while the Premium product tier (unlimited stores and API access) costs USD$49.99 per month. More info here.
YieldKit is an affiliate marketing program aggregator that offers two excellent services: YieldLink and YieldWord. YieldLink converts your existing links to affiliate links, while YieldWord converts keywords on your site into affiliate links. If this sounds an awful lot like SkimLinks and VigLink, that is because it is pretty much identical to those two. Even costs the same. Then, how does one choose between them? One popular method is to go by where most of their team is located: if you are in the US, go with VigLink; if you are in the UK, SkimLinks; and if you are in continental Europe, YieldKit. Alternatively, try all three and see which one works best for you.
Pricing: YieldKit takes 25% from each commission earned through YieldLink. For their YieldWord service, “a variable amount of money is paid to you, depending on the type of campaign and the performance of your keywords”.
The Escalate Network is kind of unique in that it is the only affiliate marketing network to make this list. Most affiliate networks just offer the products and then let users and other vendors figure out how best to serve them up. Not Escalate Network. They have created a plugin that allows publishers in the Escalate Network to view existing offers, post them, and then track them – all from within their WordPress sites. A further bonus: the Escalate Network makes a point of being a family friendly network of advertisers and publishers, so there are no creepy ads. You know which ones.
Pricing: N/A. Escalate Network is an affiliate network, so not really comparable to the others. The plugin, either way, is free.
Do It Yourself
OK, so putting together your own solution is technically not the same as a dedicated WordPress plugin. On the other hand, hacking together your own stuff doesn’t come with fees and restrictions like those others services/plugins and also doesn’t make you dependent on some third-party service. If you feel like trying to make an affiliate display solution on your own, you can: