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When I told my husband that I wanted to monetize my christian blog, he freaked!
Monetizing a christian blog is somewhat of a taboo topic within the christian community after all.
It is seldom talked about in depth and while most look at their blogs as a ministry from which they do not wish to monetize, there are others who hope to monetize to help cover the cost of running a blog. For others it is a way to help provide additional income for their families. This week on the blog we will be talking about christian affiliate marketing and how you can monetize your christian blog.
To Monetize Or Not To Monetize
A decision to monetize your blog is a choice that should not be taken lightly. It is a decision that you should pray and consult God about.
1 Timothy 6:10, N.I.V says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” You see, monetizing your christian blog can result in blurred lines. We can start off with good intentions but in desiring to monetize we unintentionally make money our God and lose sight of our mission.
Think about it, when you just started your blog, you may have been just solely focused on spreading the word. But as the attraction of money came into the picture, you might find yourself instead of writing what God has placed on your heart, you write on things that will generate an income. You lose focus of your original Why. I have personally struggled with this for a while and I am sure I am not alone. I have asked myself the question several times, should I trust God with meeting my needs instead of monetizing the ministry he called me to? Should I separate my ministry from my business?
Many questions, but I am not sure I have all the answers. If you visit a doctor or a lawyer, they are compensated for their services. Why should ministers or those in ministry be any different? 1 Timothy 5:17-18 N.I.V says, ” The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”and “The worker deserves his wages”.” I will leave you to ponder on those words.
Personally, I don’t believe there is anything wrong with monetizing a christian blog, we just need to tread with caution and do it honestly and not compromise our values. Most importantly not lose sight of why we started our ministry. But hey, that’s my personal opinion, doesn’t necessarily mean it is right for you. An affiliate program does not have to be faith based for you to promote it, but it should however line up with what your audience wants. You should take the time to review the products you affiliate yourself with to ensure that it lines up with what you believe and are not pointing persons to products that could influence their faith. If after prayerfully considering monetizing you have decided to take the plunge, the following beginners guide on how you can get started with affiliate marketing can help.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply advertising another persons products or services and earning a commission every time some one makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link to the product.
There is little to no investment required to get started and you don’t have to think about stocking a physical product. This makes it an awesome way to monetize your blog. Before we dive much further into monetizing, let us explore some terms you will likely come across when it comes to affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing Terms
Affiliates – Content Creators who are using their influence to encourage their community to make a purchase through their direct affiliate links.
Affiliate Link – This is a unique tracking link that is provided by your affiliate program. This link keeps track of your promotional efforts and identifies your sales so they can compensate you for sales made through your link.
Affiliate Program – A commission program set up by a merchant or company within an affiliate network. Example, Ultimate Bundles Affiliate Program.
Affiliate Dashboard – A reporting portal that allows you to review your affiliate statistics such as clicks and commissions earned. You can also find your affiliate links in your affiliate dashboard.
Affiliate Manager– Manages the affiliate program for a merchant.
Commission – A predetermined percentage or amount that is paid to the affiliate once terms outlined by the merchant are met. Commissions usually start at around 5% to around 50%. it varies by affiliate programs and is determined by the merchant.
Affiliate Disclosure – A disclaimer that brings to your readers attention that you are using affiliate links. You are legally responsible to disclose, so don’t forget to include disclosures, when using affiliate links. It is an ethical way of letting your readers know that you are either being compensated in someway for recommending a product or brand. Or that you stand to be compensated should they make a purchase through your link. I would highly recommend reading the Federal Trade Commissions FAQ Guide which outlines answers to some commonly asked questions when it comes to endorsements. Also ensure that you read the affiliate program requirements for affiliate programs that you join. Some programs like Amazon require you to use exact wording as part of your disclosure. While some programs restrict the platforms on which you can market their product
These are just a few of the terms you will come across once you get started with affiliate marketing. Click here for a more comprehensive glossary of terms.
How to Become a Christian Affiliate?
Becoming a christian affiliate is super easy. You can apply to individual programs through affiliate networks such as ShareASale or you can apply through the affiliate application which is usually listed on the merchants website. Once registered, you can apply for affiliate programs from merchants such as: FaithBox and Dayspring.
Simply go to Google and type in the name of the company followed by affiliate program, that usually does the trick. Once you apply, they will review your application and tell you whether or not you have been approved.
Don’t be disheartened if you are not approved, you can always try again at a later date. When applying, I would suggest adding a note for the reviewer letting them know why you may be a good fit for the program. When I just started affiliate marketing, I wasted a lot of time applying to way too many programs. Take it from me, start with 1 or two programs that you really love and give it your all. In the process, you will find out what works and what doesn’t. This prevents you from getting overwhelmed and allows you to focus and track the methods that give you results. Once you have found your groove and process you can always add other programs and replicate your process.
The products that you promote on your blog don’t necessarily have to be faith based but should tie into what your audience actually wants. You could promote other merchants that you love such as your web host or other tools that you use to operate your blog.
How to Earn Money With Christian Affiliate Marketing
Know this, christian affiliate marketing isn’t a get rich scheme, but it is possible to generate income from your blog from affiliate marketing. Here is what you can do to start promoting those affiliate links. Write a blog post that speaks to what you like or don’t like about a product. Include results and screenshots if possible. They say a picture is worth a thousand words after all. You can add your link to related articles, include it in your resource library. Promote it to your list, add it to your sidebar, Share it on Pinterest and your social media channels. You could even do a video review. The options are endless, put your self out there and get creative.
If you are looking to start earning right from the get go, you can get started with programs like Shopstyle Collective that pays per click. Yes their portfolio mostly includes fashion and lifestyle brands but you can still use them as a faith blogger. You just need to think outside the box, for example you could show your audience how to create a prayer corner and link to the products like you used to create that space.
I think the number one key to having huge success with monetizing your blog, is traffic and authority.You gain authority by becoming a trusted resource for your audience whether that is through creating tutorials and guides or just simply answering questions in your niche. With time and consistency, you will start to develop your own loyal blog tribe and know what products and programs are a good fit. However, as you work on building your credibility and blog, you could consider getting started with Pinterest Affiliate Marketing.
Affiliate marketing isn’t simply just inserting a few affiliate links on a blog post and then money will just start flowing. Check your analytics and send out surveys to learn more about your readers.You need to ensure that your affiliate programs line up with what your audience actually wants. Here is a great post on Why Every Blogger Needs An Avatar and how you can develop one.
Affiliate Programs You Can Consider Joining
Dating Divas – I adore the Divas! They specialize mostly in date nights for the family, think date night printables. It is not just for those that are married or have kids. They have other products as well such as their Girl’s Night Out Party Pack. They also invest time in training their affiliates and provide graphics to make promotion a breeze.
Ultimate Bundles – Another one of my favorites! Ultimate Bundles release various bundles throughout the year that range from photography to blogging. I generally look forward to their blogging bundles as well as their ultimate homemaking bundles. The bundles normally include e-books and courses at a special bundle rate. Quite the opportunity to get various courses to propel your blog at an affordable rate instead of paying full-price individually. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle generally have a few faith based courses and e-books perfect for the homemaker. Let me let you in on a little insider secret, even if you don’t plan on promoting the bundles, still join the affiliate program, you will be able to grab the bundle at an extra discounted rate. The Flash Sale for the Genius Bloggers Toolkit is coming up on May 14-15. Be sure to watch out for the sale so you can snag some awesome blogging courses for a reasonable price.
You can also consider becoming affiliates for products from your fellow bloggers.Here are a few that have affiliate programs for their e-books or courses.
Other Ways To Earn Money With Your Blog
Launch Your Own Product / Service
Do you see a need in the online community that you can fill? Why not launch your own product. You use a platform like SendOwl to sell your product as well as to setup an affiliate program. You can also consider offerings service such as blog audits, coaching or even web design. An alternative could be branching out and getting involved in freelancing, becoming a social media manager or Virtual Assistant. If you are interested in freelancing you can try websites like Fiverr and Upwork for opportunities.
Memberships are a great way to set up a more constant stream of revenue. If you are good with design, you could launch a monthly printable membership,or even bible journalling devotionals, photography bundles, accountability sessions. The sky is the limit, tap into your expertise and what your audience looks to you for.
Is speaking more your speed, perhaps you could launch a speaking ministry. If you are a prospective speaker, why not learn from someone who has been right where you were a few years ago? Sheila Wray Gregoire has been speaking at conferences and women’s events all over North America for over a decade, and she’s even created her own event for churches that’s so successful that she spends a lot of her year in her RV delivering it across the United States.She is a blogger, speaker an award winning author. You can check out her blog at To Love Honor & Vacuum.
She wants to teach other people what she’s learned about how to craft a talk that changes lives, how to get those first speaking engagements, and how to set yourself up to generate word of mouth. She has launched a course called Launch Your Speaking Ministry to help prospective speakers start their ministry, including writing their first talk, finding their first engagements, and generating more speaking leads.
Workshops can help to boost your credibility and also a way in which you can earn income with your blog. For example, if you are into Bible Journalling, you could teach persons the ins and outs of Bible Journalling, show them the supplies they need, as well as include a devotional series then charge them a fee for the workshop.
You can search for and join influencer networks such as Activate by Bloglovin. While their website isn’t faith based, they do have offers that can be tailored for a family lifestyle blog. Alternatively, you can pitch to brands that you love and see whether they would be interested in collaborating. Before pitching, you may want to consider creating a media kit for your blog.
So, here is what I want you to takeaway, affiliate marketing is not a get rich scheme, however, it is possible to make money with your blog and blog about your passions at the same time. I would love to hear from you. What are some ways that you have incorporated affiliate marketing?