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4 Widget Ad Options to Make Money on Your Blog This Christmas

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of December 2008 Advertising, Featured Posts 0 Comments

Lets continue the Christmas theme from the last post on increasing Christmas earnings with Amazon with a quick look at four widget style ad networks and affiliate tools that are great to experiment with in the lead up to Christmas.

Remember – this is a time of year where those using the web are in a buying frame of mind and are more likely to click on product ads that they might see. Here are four options that present products visually:

1. Shopzilla Publisher Program

This program has been something I’ve experimented with more and more of late and it’s producing quite good results. It presents publishers with a variety of widget type ads with a large variety of options in terms of design, sizes and types of ads.


2. Chitika

Regular readers know that I’m a big fan of Chitika. It’s my second largest earner from blogs (2nd only to AdSense) and performs brilliantly on product related sites – particularly at this time of year.

As with all of these types of ad units it does best when you can make the ads show products that relate to what you’re writing about (using the ‘keywords’ feature that they’ve built in). Payment for these ads is on a CPC (cost per click) basis (although premium publishers also get an impression based bonus).

Chitika offer a variety of ad units including their eMiniMalls, Linxx (in text ads), Multiple Product Units (pictured below) and more.

ch_client = “livingroom”;
ch_type = “mpu”;
ch_width = 300;
ch_height = 250;
ch_color_border = “CFCFCF”;
ch_color_title = “233799”;
ch_non_contextual = 1;
ch_vertical =”simple”;
ch_default_category = “200001”;
var ch_queries = new Array( “ultra portable laptop” );
var ch_selected=Math.floor((Math.random()*ch_queries.length));
if ( ch_selected

Also check out their ‘premium ad unit’ that shows special ads only to those arriving on your blog from search engines. The ads that these premium ad units show are contextually relevant to the keywords that people are searching for in the search engine – they are doing very very well for me.

3. WidgetBucks

This is another CPC based widget ad unit that many publishers have found to convert well. You again get a good range of options when it comes to design and sizes. Here’s how they look (I chose a Christmas theme).

Picture 1.png

The only downside of WidgetBucks is that not everyone will be able to see the ads – if your readers are not within geographic areas that they serve ads to they’ll get impression based ads instead.

4. Amazon Associates Widgets

The Amazon associates program has quite a few widget type ad units that will help drive people into their store and increase the chances of earning you an affiliate commission. Of course these differ from other ads featured in this list in that you only earn something if people make a purchase.

Some of the ad units include:

Deals Widget Widgets

Search Widget Widgets

My Favorites Widget Widgets

Carousel Widget Widgets
There are plenty of other types of widgets to choose from also.

When These Widget Ads Work Best

The above options won’t work equally for everyone. While this time of year increases your chances of earnings with all of them – they all work best when there is relevancy between what you’re blogging about and what is displaying in the ads.

Blogs with a product related focus (or posts with a specific product being featured) will always out perform putting these ads on a general focused blog.

How to Optimize Widget Ad Units on Your Blog

Stay tuned to our RSS feed because later today I’ll post 5 tips to keep in mind as you test and experiment with the ad units mentioned above in this post.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Its nice to see an alternative to just ad sense ads. As long as the product matches your content. Thx for the post.

  • This is a good list of Affiliate Ad options for the Christmas. I had tried my luck with Amazon Associates twice, but unfortunately without a single referral earning. So I am still reluctant to try any other Shopping Widgets on my blog. May be, these kind of Ads work better with visitors from countries like US!

  • Shopzilla sounds too cool!

    It reminds me of Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla.

    Amazon never ceases to amaze me with their relevancy and continuous improvement. The Web’s not static, and neither is Amazon.

  • great update on some other options for advertising… I definitely agree that most of these work better on ‘product’ style pages as you mention, rather than general blogs…

  • Thanks for sharing this with us!
    I think it’s just nice way to improve click-through rating (and earnings) during holidays! Really cool!

  • Those are all great for blogs that review merchandise of some sort.

    Not too much help for those that don’t.

  • I am not a fan of any of these as they will not work with my niche. However they will work well with other peoples niches.

  • I really like the Amazon carousel widget. I’m already using it on my blog, as you can see.

  • I am a big fan of Amazon widget . i’ve been using it for quite a long time . It is doing me well . I have also joined the other Networks . Just giving them a go .

  • Thanks darren for the post. I am using the Carousel Widget. However, it is used on a page labled “bookshelf.” I have it there for a reference for others. I try not to be really up front about it. I do use text links in the post.

  • Chitika has been doing well on our blog..

  • Been trying to get some bites for Amazon Associates but so far, none! Recently took their widget off my site and am doing in-text links instead. We’ll see how that goes….will definitely try the others you mentioned.

  • eric

    Is it possible to insert amazon affiliate links into a text stripe ad?

  • The Amazon program works quite well for me, but it is nowhere near as good as AdSense. I have tried Chitika, but it didn’t look right on the site I tried it on so I removed the code. Shopzilla declined my application because I live in the UK and I haven’t tried WidgetBucks; maybe I should as I have heard quite a few good things about the program.

  • i agree with that. i try widgetbucks. and it works!

  • Great thoughts and ideas will have a look at all these.

    As usual great information.


  • I’m a fairly regular reader but first time poster,

    I thought I’d mention the ad network that I work for since it seems appropriate – the viral ad network (

    It is also “An alternative to adsense ads” to quote Dave, but they’re not tied to direct product sales, just views of content and show either rich media gadgets (e.g. YouTube videos or flash games) in-place on your blog, or text/image links to videos or games.


    in a note unrelated to work, I have actually tried the Amazon units on my personal sites, and agree with your comment that their effectiveness can vary highly depending on whether your posts are related directly to products

  • Thank you so much – I am really loving these Christmas themed posts :)

    I’ll definitely be experimenting heavily with the Amazon and Chitika widgets over the coming year, in preparation for the next Christmas season.

  • Okay, it’s officially sad that I’ve been an Amazon affiliate for more than four years and never experimented with anything except text links to specific products. ;)

    I’m getting to the point where, despite my indifference to affiliate programs in general (I hate “preselling” things), I’m making some decent money from Amazon. So I really need to give their widgets a try… or at least check out some of the other stuff they’re always unrolling.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Have used the amazon widget before, not bad, decent amount of revenue. Going to try the rest sooner or later on my new blog. Nice post Darren.

  • Great tips… I am guilty of not practicing them on my blogs. I do however, get them done on my shopping sites. I have so much to learn. To place ads etc …. I do not find to be the same when it comes to my blogs… Thanks again for another great post :)

  • Very helpful information, thanks for sharing them. I don’t place advertisments on my blog, but it something to think about for my website. I agree with Laura, I too have so much to learn.

  • I just want to express my thanks for this information. I have been working for weeks on setting up my new blog. The last step has been setting up the affiliates. I am not without technical skills, but am a writer at heart and prefer not to spend all my time programming widgets and editing themes so that the links work correctly. I have been putting off the work on the affiliates until I saw this post by you.

    I went immediately to Amazon, signed up for the program and have set up a beautiful looking, completely personalized set of affiliate products, modified for each of my categories. I’m very impressed by how easy it was and how nice it looks.

    Thanks for all your help. This is my third blog in six months and you’ve really helped me understand what to do.

  • There is another one I just set up on a couple of my blogs through pepperjam. I wrote this post about them and have my demo store up here

  • I prefer Amazon better because of its wide product range and integration flexibility.

  • The problem I have with all of these Ad programs is the CTR has been horrid due to the lack diversity (and I don’t mean an “Old Wooden Ship”) in Ads.

    I think I would have to reverse engineer a blog to be niche specific to their advertisers, and I’m not really interested in digital cameras and iPods.

    Hopefully in time these networks will grow and have more Old Wooden Ships some day.

  • Shopzila is cool… I Have been using it for a while with adsense its really an amazing way to earn quite easily

  • I have to say that, from a content-producing standpoint, I get a kick out of using the Amazon carousel widget.

    I can put in all sorts of items depending upon the topic — anything from DVD box sets and consumer electronics to children’s toys, all related to the topic.

  • i never tried amazon stuff for online earning….as i already suffered from many fake sites…but now a days m earning a good amount throuth this site…

    but i am also trying new stuff as well so m going to try now this amazon widget as well

  • Very nice list problogger now this is something your readers need. I’ve been posting over at digital point for suggestions and got nothing! Sweet list I’m looking into a few and will hook it up from here!


  • There seems to be possibilities popping up endlessly for people making money blogging. It is good to see and hope this industry holds up well into the future. Certainly, funding your life thru these methods would be quite enjoyable.

  • This is so cool, i wonder if we can use this widget all the time, not just for christmas. Btw i just signep up under yours at ShoppZilla, i have registered already at Chitika but till now never get the conformation email…

  • Amazon is doing good.

    I see it as a extra service to put it on my blog. When you talk about a book or a movie or even over the newest digital camera, why not give the reader a link where they can see more information, read reviews and buy the product if they want.
    Maybe your post is that good that the reader will purchase the product. Wouldn’t it be weird to let them search the product after reading your post on a search engine and buy it ‘elsewhere’?

  • Amazon is great.

  • Ray

    I have tried about every affiliate you can mention and Amazon is the only one that has turned into real money. A great technique is to include individual product widgets within a post that is relevant to the post. If someone in your “wheelhouse” is big in the news, right a post about them and include a widget of their books. Works great!

    Thanks again Darren, great post, great discussion!

  • Excellent content here and a nice writing style too – keep up the great work!

  • I just started using the Amazon Associates widgets, an dmy first attempt did not result in much activity. Just today I switched over to a much more targeted product category “Office and School Supplies” that I think should make a big difference on my blog, Thanks for the info you have posted here though, it is nice to see that I have other options if the Amazon one does not work out.

  • As mentioned before, targeting is the key to all advertising,

  • This is very good idea from Amazon , Thanks.

  • I’ve found that widgets, especially those from Amazon, don’t work that well in Ireland, the prices can’t be changed to euro and irish people has this total dislike of shopping online. Were about 10 years behing the rest of the world when it comes to internet shopping

  • ehm. i guess. i will try amazon and widgetbucks.

  • Excellent content on you blog and really liked your post for Christmas income ideas. This is the first time I have seen your blog and will be back often, tanks for the great work and look forward to seeing you again.

    Be well and prosper,

  • I agreed with you that the above option will not work equally, I had tried the Amazon but not much luck, the Shopzilla look fantastic, I will try it, thank for provide such a good information.

  • I have tried out Amazon and Ebay with quite good results also, I will look into the other widgets you mentioned.

  • If you’re up for selling ads direct, consider creating your own widget to syndicate local business’ blog headlines or tweets for a fee. You can see an example of this on

    I use the KB Advanced RSS Widget to do that. Once set up, it’s just a matter of negotiating deals. Depending on the type of audience your blog attracts, this may or may not be a good choice for you.

  • Hi,

    A really interesting post. The only problem I have with a lot of these plugins is that whilst I realise they are there to make us a few extra dollars, I think they can detract from the content if you don´t place them properly.

    I have been on so many sites and the constant flashing banners can be quite distracting.

    All the very best for 2009

    Paull Hamilton

  • I prefer Amazon widgets as they quite easy to configure. Moreover people in the UK prefer to buy from Amazon over other site. So with Amazon I have made some money.

    Chitika premium is a also good money maker. I found when I placed the ads just above the first post, visitors are likely to click the ads.


    Santosh Puthran

  • Thanks to, great useful content & wonderful posts. Keep it up!!!

  • Great post. People are going to spend money in Christmas on all kinds of silly presents. To be out there in the market place with different ads will capture some of the Christmas dollars into your pocket :).

  • Laksh

    Thx a lot Darren for this beautiful post. I never thought of them. I am a novice blogger and really needed your help. Your blog is a complete guide.