Considering Affiliates for Your Website


Many of us in photography and technology maintain web sites in addition to our work on social networks. Running our own blog, for example, provides us with complete control over the presentation of the content, including any ads or promotions that we might choose to share.

We probably won't attract the likes of Ford Motor Company for our personal sites. But that doesn't mean that we can't form strategic partnerships with like-minded companies. Often the easiest way to accomplish this is through an affiliate program.

How do these work? First, find a company that you like. My most recent partnership was formed with Rocky Nook Publishing that has an excellent Affiliate Program. I'll use them as an example for this article.

You sign up, providing basic information about yourself and your site. In most cases, you're setting up an affiliate account with the company. An agreement is finalized, and you're ready for business. Now you have access to the assets they provide to their partners, usually through an affiliate area that you can log in to.

Since not every website qualifies, getting this far is a stamp of approval. You can leverage this acknowledgement by placing a promotional tile on your site. Site visitors recognize that you're serious about your publishing and those with whom you choose to associate.

All affiliate content, whether it's a tile or a link, contains your account ID. This gives you credit for any resulting transactions with your business partner. In the case of Rocky Nook, you earn 10 percent commission on purchases made through affiliate links.

This creates a passive revenue stream, which means that you didn't have to do a specific task to earn money. Instead, you've created an environment that generates revenue through everyday use. Passive revenue streams are the holy grail of independent publishers.

We are often judged by the company we keep. Be choosy about who you partner with online. In my opinion, the co-branding is at least as important as the revenue. When you look at The Digital Story home page, you'll see tiles for c't Digital Photography, Rocky Nook, Red River Paper, SizzlPix,, B&H Photo, and Amazon. These are all companies that I like and respect. And I'm thrilled to be associated with them.

If you want to learn more about Rocky Nook's affiliate program, which I think is a good starting point, then take a look at their Affiliate FAQ page.

Carefully choosing affiliates for your online publishing can be a positive experience for both parties involved.

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