Whether you’re looking to make some extra cash to take your family on a holiday vacation, or are just trying to catch up on bills so Christmas isn’t so stressful, your blog is the perfect avenue to accomplish your goals. I personally want to pay some bills in advance (so I can rest during winter break), fund a trip for my 30th birthday, and buy my mom a plane ticket so that she can spend Christmas with her sisters in a much warmer climate. I’m biting my nails thinking about it all. Time to hustle!
It’s that time of year again; we’re all shopping. This means your readers are, too! That means it’s time to maximize your affiliate sales (mostly so you can get through the January “slump”).
Brands are all fighting to get to the top of the pile this holiday season, which puts bloggers in a unique position to deliver the best value for a brand’s money right now. If you’re newer to working with brands and don’t know where to get started, check out my list of blog networks to join. Please keep in mind that you must meet a certain criteria to be accepted into networks and selected for campaigns. Having at least 10,000 unique visitors and 2,000 followers on your strongest social media platform is a start. Also, engagement and a sense of community is always awesome and may also get you off the hook for having lower numbers. It’s not always about numbers, so don’t let that discourage you!
How to Increase Holiday Blog Traffic
Increasing holiday blog traffic is simple! It’s much simpler than it is the rest of the year, in my opinion at least. Everyone is searching for and pinning recipes, gift ideas, and DIYs. If you blog about any of these things, you’re golden!
When you create your blog posts, make sure you always have a pinnable image. What I mean by this is a vertical image rather than a horizontal one (though you can have both, just make sure you have at least one vertical image in each post), because they perform better on Pinterest.
Older pins have more “juice” on Pinterest, so go back through and repin some of your older pins to get them going again. Look at your highest performing posts from last year. Go in and revamp your posts with better images, and make sure you’re utilizing SEO to the best of your ability.
Also, don’t forget to add content upgrades to your posts! If you haven’t used content upgrades to grow your traffic yet, now would be a great time to start. Content upgrades are freebies that grab your reader’s’ attention and get them to sign up for your email list. As you grow your email list, you will notice your traffic and your income grow as well. I highly recommend ConvertKit for emails. Plans start at $29 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers, and while that is more than what you’ll pay to start with MadMimi or MailChimp, you really can’t compare them with ConvertKit because they’re so different. While all three platforms are user-friendly, ConvertKit makes it the easiest to create a marketing or drip campaign that can make you a significant amount of passive income.
If you haven’t signed up for an ad network, now is a great time to do so since your traffic will be higher and so will your earnings. While you’re waiting to be approved for an ad network, go ahead a use Adsense. A great spot to put Adsense is after the content of each of your posts. You can edit your theme template or use a plugin like Ad Inserter to automatically insert ad units throughout your blog.
But not so fast…
Before you can handle a surge in traffic due to the holidays, you have to make sure you’ve got secure hosting. There are many options out there, but some blogger favorites are:
WP Engine – The customer service with WP Engine is second to none. The plans are based on your traffic and resources used, so check them out first! If they don’t fit with your goals and budget, try A Small Orange. I know they both are having awesome Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales, so hold out for that if you haven’t signed up for hosting already or looking to switch hosts.
If you do decide to sign up for hosting using my affiliate links, I will do a complementary WordPress installation for you!
Get 5 months free using coupon code cyberwknd on annual plans with WP Engine! Expires 11/28/2016.
Don’t Be Afraid of Affiliate Links
Even if you don’t normally post Amazon deals, don’t be afraid to post them from time to time (especially Lightning deals). You readers are already shopping on Amazon, so by providing your affiliate link you’re going to help them get their gifts in a more efficient manner all while earning 4% (or more! Up to 12% with Native Ads) on everything they purchase through your link. The best way to do this is through unique roundup posts or posting the deals periodically on your Facebook page.
Other affiliates I like to use include Shutterfly (Share a Sale) and ShopSense. Craftsy and Cricut are also good programs to join for crafters, so you’ll grab the DIYers right before Christmas! I also like linking subscription boxes like Candy Club. There’s a subscription box for pretty much everyone now, so you can grab the people buying for their “hard to shop for” family and friends.
If you’re a business blogger, WP Engine offers a great affiliate program where you can earn $200 per sale!
Bonus: Some affiliates will work with bloggers on sponsored posts – a new one for me, but I’m loving it!
The keys to success with affiliate marketing:
Always be 100% honest. Never promote a product you wouldn’t stand behind. Even though it’s not your product, you’re putting your stamp of approval on it. Don’t say you like something just to earn a buck.
Read the rules for each affiliate program before advertising for them. Some don’t allow certain things (like posting links via social media or bidding on keywords), and if you break the rules you won’t get your pay out!
Know your readers. If you know your readers and interact with them on a daily basis, you’ll know which products you should be recommending to them.
Don’t be spammy. While including affiliate links in every post you put out is fine, make sure you’re spacing them out in your posts and delivering real value instead of just selling, mmkay?
You don’t want to promote other brands
I feel you, I really do. You could create your own product. If you’re on a time crunch, digital and print on demand products are a quick way to put a product out to sell. You could create seasonal printables and embellishments, a holiday cookbook, or t-shirts to sell. I took my own advice by creating a few shirts and other items that can be found at the Sophistishe Shop!
What’s your best tip for improving your blog income for the holidays? I’d love to hear your ideas! Leave them in the comments.
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To support my blogging efforts and site expenses, I do insert relevant affiliate links into my posts. Thank you for your support.