There's many options for monetizing a blog these days beyond just slapping some advertising on there and hoping for the best.
Advertising has it's place, don't get me wrong, but affiliate marketing is often a better choice for driving targeted traffic to a products that they actually want to buy.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the best way to monetize blogs in recent years because of a few reasons:
The high earning potential
Firstly, affiliate marketing has a much higher earning potential than straight ads like Adsense.
While ad revenue sharing systems like Adsense allow you to make a more consistent income on your traffic it really does rely on having a large stream of traffic. If you don't have that it will take a long time for the 40c you earn on each ad click to add up to something significant.
Affiliate marketing on the other hand has a much higher potential for earning more per click.
Some offers can be as high as 80%, though it ranges anywhere from 4% of the sale and up depending on the network and the conditions of the affiliate program. For example, our affiliate program offers our partners 50% of the revenue of a sale. It's important for us to get new customers and offering this larger incentive insures the popularity of our affiliate program.
For websites that exist in niches where related products are higher priced goods like TVs for example, the return on an affiliate commission of even 4% can be quite good whereas an ad click might bring a few dollars, you might get 10x the revenue by using affiliate marketing to monetize your blog.
Ability to control what is shown to your audience
Unlike adding advertising where whoever bids highest gets to put their ad there, products promoted with affiliate marketing is controlled by you the website owner.
Blogs live and die by their audience. Knowing what kind of material you are exposing to your blog's audience is crucial to ensure that you aren't showing them something that will turn them away unknowingly.
Control can be regained by using affiliate marketing in place of in addition to straight ad monetization.
Better still, affiliate marketing usually occurs by making recommendations to the reader inside the content of your articles which is gives you the opportunity of controlling the timing as well.
Targeted to your audience
Ad explained briefly above, what is shown to your audience when you use advertising to monetize is usually at the mercy of the highest bidder.
With affiliate marketing this isn't the case because you are the one deciding what offers to promote to your audience and as such you have the ability to target more specific offers.
Targeting can really boost your conversion rate of people clicking on these links because you can target offers towards people that are predisposed to buy.
Big organisations are now following the lead of other internet companies like Amazon and setting up affiliate ventures with bloggers.
There is immense power in the blogosphere as a semi-personal recommendation engine for the viral spread of products.
It's for these reasons, the combination of companies cottoning on and bloggers looking for better ways to monetize, that affiliate marketing is getting more popular as a way to monetize your blog.