Affiliate links are a hallmark of influencer marketing and a primary source of income for those bloggers and influencers who have taken their work full-time.
And while affiliate links and affiliate link programs, to outsiders, represent a means of passive income, for those who run their own website and make a living off such programs, it’s actually very hard work! Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

Analyze Your Site Traffic

It starts with a website. Before you even consider signing up for an affiliate program like rewardStyle, for instance, you’ll have to work toward building a website that receives regular traffic.

By today’s industry standards, the average CPM or cost per one thousand impressions (for websites we measure in page views) can range from $1-$10. It depends on your audience and negotiation skills.

We’ll play it safe and use $1 as our base CPM. In order to earn $100/month, you would need to generate at least 100K page views. That’s a lot!

Now, your affiliate links sponsor is not going to ask you how many page views you generate, nor does it care, but for your own gauge, know that you won’t solicit any clicks if nobody’s visiting your website!

Take a Page From Klinkerbell

You’ve proven to yourself that you are driving traffic to your website. Okay. You’re ready to chose an affiliate link program and generate affiliate links to pepper all over your site. Not so fast! 

You need to sell your affiliate links. There’s no such thing as truly passive income. If your goal is to fill your website and blog posts with affiliate links, you’ll need to generate useful content around those links.

Remember, your readers won’t want to feel as though they’re being sold to. They, do, however, look to you for advice: whether that’s curating styles or finding impressive online discounts.

Be smart about how you present your affiliate links to readers. Don’t overwhelm them. Take a look at Klinkerbell, a Chicago-based blog focused on edgier fashion trends. Below, we’ve excerpted a great example of affiliate links done right:

Raise your hand if you are itching for a beach vacation! With the semester almost over for most of us, and summer well on its way, I am beyond ready to throw on a bikini and lay on the beach. But you gotta look cute while laying around doing nothing, right? 
Today I am sharing a few of my favorite bikinis for under $150 so you can be beach bum ready once summer officially hits. (Find the full example at
example affiliate links
 Do you see any links? They’re couched behind the photos! It looks clean, it reads as authentic advice, and each curated suggestions fits in with her personal brand. Klinkerbell doesn’t make any recommendations she wouldn’t consider for herself.

Choose an Affiliate Link Program

You’ve got a website. You’ve got a personal brand. Most importantly, your website is full of great content (how else does anyone generate traffic?). You know to be relatively subtle when including affiliate links within your posts. Now, it’s time to pick the right platform and get to work. Klinkerbell uses rewardStyle, which, in my opinion is very easy to set up. I suggest you check it out!


The wonderful benefit of affiliate link programs is that the majority of platforms are free to join.

The only costs you’ll have to put up include your own marketing spend. Are you ambitious and willing to dole out a few dollars on Facebook ads? I say it’s worth it. In fact, for those who make a living off generating online revenue, you’ll want to market yourself actively through multiple distribution channels.

For more suggested affiliate programs, check out Kit Graham’s post, How to Become a Full-time Blogger.  For more tips on how to continually drive traffic to your site that converts, check out these posts:

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved.