Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How You Can Make Money on Your Blog From Being an Affiliate

Today’s episode is part 7 of the new ‘Today, Not Someday’ podcast series. The focus is actioning your ‘someday’ list, the things you’ve always wanted to do to improve your blog but have struggled to make happen. For details about how the series works, check out episode one here. I’ve included a full list of episodes below.

The focus of today’s episode is how to make money as an affiliate by creating a best seller list. I’ve earned over half a million dollars from the Amazon affiliate program during my blogging career. I share tips about how you can make money as an affiliate on your blog.

Happy young woman depositing money into her piggy bank by Michiko Tierney on

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). In today’s episode:

  • Why best seller lists work
  • 4 different types of best seller lists you can use on your blog
  • Examples of effective best seller lists
  • Examples of effective Facebook posts I have used to promote best seller list blog posts
  • A challenge for you to create a best seller list on your blog (and an opportunity to share it)

Further Reading and Resources for How You Can Make Money on Your Blog From Being an Affiliate

How to Dramatically Increase Amazon Affiliate Sales with Bestseller Lists

Examples of best seller lists:

Examples of the Facebook updates for these posts that did well:

Other episodes in the Today, Not Someday Series:

Meet my new friend, Edgar (and a SPECIAL OFFER)

Full Transcript Expand to view full transcript Compress to smaller transcript view
I’d like to welcome a new sponsor to the ProBlogger podcast for the duration of this 10 part series, my friend ‘Edgar‘.

Edgar is a tool I’ve been using since January of this year that does exactly what this series is about. It enables you to make the work you do on social media keep paying off for the long term. You put a little work into Edgar today by adding social media updates highlighting the great content in your blog’s archives and Edgar goes to work to share them to your followers not just once but by queuing your updates to keep delivering to into the future.

The team at Edgar have put together a special deal for ProBlogger readers which gives you a free one month trial. Sign up for your free one month trial at Here’s a video of how I use Edgar:

If watching videos isn’t your thing – here’s a blog post I wrote on how I use Edgar.

Hi and welcome to episode 72 of the ProBlogger podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and we are motoring through our series of little challenges that I’m giving you to do before the end of the year, that are going to help get your blog in tip-top shape before 2016. Some of you have been asking, do you have to do all of the challenges? No. That’s not the way I designed this little series. I’m hoping that at least two or three of them are going to be things that you could achieve. 

Just a reminder, these are things that we often put on our someday list and I’m encouraging you to get them on your today list. We’re using that hashtag #TodayNotSomeday over on Twitter. People are adding in the things that they’ve been working on. I’m really inspired and excited by it and learning a lot from you as well. I encourage you to use that hashtag and tag me if you’ve got the character space at @problogger as well.

You can find today’s show notes at You’ll find there is some further reading. There is some further reading for today. Also, you’ll find information there about Edgar, which is a tool that I use to really help me with my social media. I’ve got some further reading there on what the tool does and how you might want to use it as well. They’ve got a little special offer for you. It gets you a month free trial of Edgar at Anyway, let’s get on with today’s show where we’re going to be talking about creating a bestseller list for your blog.

Today’s podcast is going to be a little shorter than some of the ones that we’ve done as part of this series already. I have gone on a little and given you some fairly meaty things to work on. Today’s task or challenge is something that you can definitely achieve in a fairly quick time. I reckon you could probably knock it off today pretty easily if you’ve got the time to do it. It’s something I’ve used numerous times on my own blogs to generate some pretty decent income on Amazon’s affiliate program. You could probably adapt it to other affiliate programs or even if you’ve got your own products you could use it as well. The idea is to create a bestseller list that promotes either affiliate products or your own.

I mentioned this technique in episode 53 in passing as a technique that has helped me to earn quite a bit of money on Amazon’s affiliate program. If you go and listen to episode 53, I talk about how I made over a half a million dollars on Amazon’s affiliate program over the years. This is one of those techniques that has helped me with that. I got this idea of creating bestseller lists on my blog one day when I was in a bookstore. I was filling in time waiting for my partner to go shopping and get her own things. I was sitting in his book shop as I often do and I realized that almost everyone who walked into the store went to the wall at the front of the shop that had the bestseller list. It ranked the top 20 best-selling books.

I don’t know whether it was just the best-selling books in that store or whether it was drawing on some other list, but I sat there and I watched people into the store. Almost every single person who walked in would go to that wall where all the books were laid out. Some people did go on and buy other things, but I was amazed at how many people didn’t go any further than that wall. They just chose one of the 20 books, went to the cashier, paid for their book, and then left. I guess it illustrated to me the power of a bestseller list.

As much as we like to think of ourselves as unique individuals, we are social creatures and we like to know what other people are doing. We like to feel like we’re a part of trends. We don’t really want to feel like we’re being left out. If we’re honest, most of us are kind of lazy as well. Any shortcut to finding something good quality is going to appeal to us. These sort of social interactions that we have in the purchases that we make is something that I guess many marketers have used using these bestseller lists. Whether it be in bookstores or whether it be on online shops where you can often rank products by how well they’ve sold. I know for myself I use that sort of feature all the time.

As I sat there in the book shop that day I wondered if there was a way of incorporating that idea into my own blogging. Particularly into my own affiliate promotions on Amazon, which I’d been using at the time quite a bit. I went home and I created my first bestseller list.

My first one was just a blog post and it was a blog post where I ranked the most popular photography books that my readers had been buying on Amazon. I realized that Amazon had a report of pretty much anything that anyone bought as a result of clicking on my affiliate links. They then ranked it and you could look at the last month for the last three months over the last year. I think from memory, I did the last 12 months because I didn’t have a whole heap of commissions coming in at that point, so I had to go back twelve months to get enough data to be able to create a list.

I put up the blog post and it was a fairly simple blog post, it just had a short introduction, and I told my readers how I got that data. I was transparent about the fact that I’m an affiliate for Amazon and then I presented the top ten photography books that my readers had been buying.

A couple of things happened as a result of doing that particular post. Firstly, I saw my affiliate income go up quite a bit. It went up over 100% than it had been over the last week. The next week was 100% up on the previous week. A lot of people went on and bought those books that I had ranked, but then as they do on Amazon, they went and bought other things as well, which helped as well.

The other good thing about doing this particular post was that it was my most commented upon post that month. I was surprised by that. I didn’t think that a post that simply ranked products would create discussion but it did. People really wanted to either agree or disagree, or debate what was on the list. Some people wanted to add other books that they thought should be on the list and give their own recommendations. A real conversation started on that particular post.

I was a little hesitant about doing the post in the first place because I thought, “People are just going to think I’m trying to make money off them here,” but it actually ended up being a really useful post.

The other type of comment that I got was, “Thanks, this is really great. It’s given me some ideas for books that I should read or books that I could give my partner, my friend, or my brother who’s a photographer.” It was a useful post as well.

I decided to continue to do bestseller posts. I reckon I’ve done probably 50 or 60 of them over the years on Digital Photography School, in particular. Fairly regularly, I’d do them on different categories of products that relate to my readers. Just recently, just before Thanksgiving and all the Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday sales, I did the most popular digital SLRs. I did one that was the most popular photography accessories, most popular lenses, most popular mirrorless compact system cameras. Different categories of products within the overall niche that I am writing about. I’ll give you some examples of these in today’s show notes.

I tend to do these two or three times a year. I’ll do them for over a week. I will say, “This week, we’re going to be looking at some of the most popular products amongst our readers. Today we’re looking at digital SLRs.” Then over the week, I will drip out three or four posts. I mix them in with other kinds of content so that’s not the only type of post that’s going up. Then I interlink all the posts as well. So trying to get people I guess across to the different categories that are relevant to them. Then, of course, include them in our newsletter as well. We drive quite a bit of traffic that way and also through social media.

These posts always do well. They do well. People click through from our newsletter quite a bit. They do very well for us on social media, particularly on Facebook. I can give you a couple of links to how I’ve promoted them on Facebook as well. You can see there that they get fairly good reach. In fact, this last round of posts that I did, two or three of those posts got as much reach as anything else I’ve done over the last month on Facebook. They’ve done quite well.

Some of you are probably saying, “Well, I’m not an Amazon affiliate.” Whether that’s just because you’ve never signed up or whether you live in one of those states in America that don’t allow it, but you could probably do this type of technique in a number of other ways. If you’re an Amazon affiliate but you don’t have enough data to get the trends, maybe you just started out and you’ve only got a handful of people who have bought things through your affiliate links.

You can actually create a bestseller list based upon the best-selling items in a relevant category on Amazon. If you went to the relevant category in your particular niche, so it might be books on parenting, you can actually arrange those books by bestseller and then create a list that way. As long as you are transparent with your readers as to where you got that data when you got that list, I think that’s totally fine.

You could also do this type of thing for another type of affiliate program. If you’re signed up for another store. I’m also signed up as an affiliate for B&H Photo Video, it’s a photography site. I could create that kind of report based upon the data that I get from them or based upon their bestseller lists on their site.

You could also do this for your own products. If you have a number of ebooks that you’ve got for sale on your site, you could create your own bestseller list. My five ebooks are the best-selling ones and actually use that as the basis for a post. I would suspect that a lot of your readers would find that really useful in making their own purchases. Maybe you could offer a coupon code for the top one for a limited time. That type of thing could work quite well.

Also if you have promoted other people’s products, perhaps you’ve remoted over the last 12 months a range of ebooks or a range of courses, why not create a bestseller list of the things that you’ve promoted? You’ve got all that data, you know how many referrals you’ve sold of different ebooks or courses that you’ve promoted, so maybe put that into a bestseller list as well.

There’s a variety of different ways that you could create a bestseller list for your particular blog. You will find that the more you promote affiliate products, the better data you’ll get and the better your lists will be. If you’re just starting out, go to a store like Amazon and look at what is selling well there and create a list based upon that.

I’ve got some further reading for you today in the show notes at or I’ve got a post that I’ve written on exactly how I’ve done bestseller lists. It’s got some examples in it. I’ll also put in our show notes today some of my bestseller lists that I’ve done on Digital Photography School and some of those social media updates that I’ve done as well so you can check those out. If you’d like, just use the same format of posts that I’ve done because they have worked for me on Facebook, particularly.

I would also love it if you have time today to give us a little review on iTunes or on Stitcher or wherever you’re listening to this podcast. It does help us to rank higher and also is really encouraging for me and my team to see those reviews as they come in. It is really exciting also to see them coming in from around the world. Wherever you are, I’d love to see your reviews.

Also, on the show notes today, you’ll find a bit more information about Edgar. You can check out Edgar and their offer that they have for you at It is an amazing tool. It does really fit in really well with this series that we’re talking about, things that you can do today that are going to pay off for the long term on your blog. Edgar is something that I will be talking about in a future podcast. I’ll walk you through some of the things that it’s done for me, but it’s one of those things that you can set up some social media updates today that’ll continue to work for you in the future.

I can’t wait to see the bestseller lists that you’ve come up with. Again, share them with us on Twitter with the hashtag #TodayNotSomeday or over on the show notes in the comments. I’d love to see the bestseller lists that you’ve got so please do leave a URL to yours there. I look forward to chatting with you in episode 73 just in two days’ time for the ProBlogger podcast.


How did you go with today’s episode?

What will you include in your best seller list? I’d love to see your new blog affiliate best seller list in the comments below.

The hashtag I’ll be using to talk about this journey on social media is #TodayNotSomeday and I encourage you to share your journey too, using the same hashtag.

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