Today's featured sponsor: Linkshare

Hello fellow bloggers, how would you like to earn some extra income from your blog?  Sure there is Google Adsense and similar services (like Adhitz and Chitika), but in my experience, you can be waiting for a long time before people click your ads (especially if you have little or no traffic to your sites), and plus job security can be poor at Adsense too as you never really know when you will get the dreaded message saying that your Adsense account has been disabled.  It happened to me too and I thought I was on good terms with Adsense too as I know better than to click my own ads, encourage people to click the ads, etc but I lost the account anyways.  Luckily there are other affiliate networks you can join too.  In this post, I will be talking about Linkshare.  


I have been using Linkshare for several years now myself and it can be a useful affiliate network to use if you want to make money promoting products and services for various companies.

Pros of Linkshare:
- lots of well known companies use Linkshare.  Some noteworthy companies includes: Walmart, Pet Smart, Gamestop, Hallmark, Sierra Club, Microsoft Store, and many others
- It can be easy to choose ads that relate to your site.  Not all affiliate networks has that featured (for example Adhitz and Adsense ads do not always match up with the content your site is about).  For example, notice that most of the ads on this site are pet stores and other animal and video related sites.
- No timelimit to generate leads and sales (at least for most offers).  At Commission Junction, for example most affiliates have 6 months to generate at least one sale or lead to remain on good standing at Commission Junction.  At Linkshare there seems to be no limit, though some advertisers do have time limits on their programs (such as  the Sierra Club, Shop the Bunny, and the Microsoft Store).
- Many affiliates offer plenty of tools and resources to promote their products and services, such as banner ads, rotating ads, text ads, lead capture forms, as well as direct linking to specific products you want to promote.
- Variable commissions.  Some companies offer bigger commissons than others.
- The minimum payout threshold is rather low (usually as low as $25).  Compare that with Adsense, for example where you have to earn at least $100 before you can recieve your first paycheck.  They usually send you a paycheck the following month too.

Cons of linkshare:
- You almost have to think of Linkshare as a commission based sales job.  In order to make money, you have to generate sales and leads (for clients that pay on a per lead basis).  The more you sell the more you make.  Sadly generating sales can be easier said than done.  Too often people can click on your links but not buy anything or become a lead.  I don't really know how to better encourage people to buy from the companies you are promoting (hey if I did I'd be rich by now and probably wouldn't need all of my part time jobs).
- For this reason, Linkshare is not recommended for low traffic sites.  You will probably want to get at least 100 hits per day minimum (preferably 1000 hits or more per day) for best results.  The more traffic, the better.
- Since Linkshare ads require cookies to properly track sales, some people have ways to block cookies and that can make it tricky to get credit for sales sometimes.
- You do have to apply for the merchants you want to promote on your site and they can reject you if they want to (many have their own requirements and conditions for promoting their stuff).  You will probably want to choose several advertisers you want to promote for best results.

Are you interested in trying out linkshare?  Here is how you can take advantage of this system:
1. Click the banner above for linkshare and complete the sign up (alternatively, you can click here to join).  Note that sign up is free, though you do need a website or blog to promote it.  Blogger can be useful here since you can host ads on your site.  Alternatively there are plenty of web hosts where you can build a website at low costs (for example, did you know that Global Domains International offers its webhosting services to people for as low as $10/month?)   At GDI, you can get a domain name, site building tools, email boxes you can set up, and even a custom blog for your site for a mere $10/month, which is definitely a bargain in my opinion.  Another service I like is Site Build It it too (costs more than GDI but they offer more services and tools and even comes with a tool that helps you find the perfect niche for your sites).
2. One you have joined Linkshare and list your website, you will be ready to chose affiliate programs to join.  Linkshare has a huge selection of advertisers and affiliate programs that you can apply for and join.  By the way, I recommend choosing affiliate programs that are relevant to your site.  For example, if you have a blog on video games, you might join sites like Shockwave, Walmart (they sell video games), Microsoft Store, and similar sites.  Notice that this site has ads for sites like petsmart, train pet dog, and similar pet and video related sites.
3. Once you have been accepted into the programs you want to promote, you will be ready to add their links to your site(s).  The easiet bet is to host banner ads on your site, though I find that the conversion rate can be low with banner ads (though they do seem to generate more clicks than text ads do).  Feel free to take advantage of other resources available too.
4. Promote your site and try to get lots of traffic.  The more traffic you get, the more potiential sales you will have.  Each time you generate sales or leads for your advertisiers, you earn commissions.  Earn at least the minimum threshold, you will recieve a check in the mail for the difference.

Tips, warnings and disclaimers about linkshare:
- I recommend coming up with a strategy to promote your site as well as the links you are given to promote.  Marketing strategies will be almost essential to have with this system.  Failure to generate sales means no commissions for you and you can definitely go for months or even years (worst case scenario) before you earn your first commissions if you are struggling to generate sales.  Consequently this system is definitely not for everyone.
- Watch out for programs with time limits.  Sadly some advertisers get impatient and do terminate affiliates that don't generate leads or sales for them in a timely fashion (usually within 6 months).  Ironically they don't really seem to do much to help their affiliates promote their stuff (such as help on advertising, optimizing sites for sales, etc).  For this reason it might be good to choose multiple programs to join and promote.  By the way, if you need help getting started with affiliate programs, there are plenty of training materials out there. By the way, Clickbank has a library full of ebooks and similar resources you can buy that aim to teach you the ropes on affiliate marketing.
- Patience is key.  In the ideal world you would generate sales every day and make tons of money.  Sadly we do not live in an ideal world and it can take some time to start generating sales and earning the commissons you deserve.
- Earnings disclaimer and disclosure: like any income opportunity online, I can't promise you will make money online via Linkshare.  You could make a lot of money or very little money (and it is possible to make zilch each month) depending on various factores, including which programs you use, how you promote and ultimately your conversion rate.  If you are generating sales every day, your income should increase over time. Conversely, if you are generating little or no sales each day, then your income will be minimal if that.  By the way, you will definitely need extra money to live while working on earning your first commissions (in otherwords, don't drop your day jobs at least until you are confident with this system and are making significantly more money than you are at your job).  I wish it was that easy and then we can all be rich, but you will definitely need the right skills and marketing strategy for best results.

Recommended requirements before pursuing Linkshare:
1. You do need a website or ad enabled blog
2. Your site should be generating 100 hits or more per day.  1000 hits or more would be ideal though.  If you have very little traffic to your site, you may want to hold off on joining linkshare until you have significantly more traffic.  Otherwise the results will be poor.  Think of it this way, if you opened up a store in your city (say a Mc Donalds or Starbucks), you need customers coming into your resturant in order to make money.  If the store almost never has customers, your store does not make money and it will likely go out of business before long.  The same can be true online too.  Without visitors, your marketing efforts are doome to fail.
3. Ads should be relevant to your site.  For example, if you were building a website about golfing for example (a popular niche), your ads should be relevant to sports and golf (such as Big 5 Sporting Goods).  Ads for sites like Petsmart will probably not go well with a site on golf.
4. You will need to invest some of your time (and possibly money too) into your business (such as advertising, adding new posts, etc).

Here is a youtube video below that you can check out that talks more about Linkshare:

Like this post?  Feel free to like and share this post.  Also feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions or comments about Linkshare and similar sites.