How to Monetize Existing Content on Your Blog: SkimLinks and VigLink

You can make money off your blog’s content and existing links without barely lifting a finger. Perhaps you don’t feel like going back and adding affiliate links, maybe you want to be blind to any affiliate programs that do exist. Maybe you need an alternative to the Amazon Affiliate program or to Google Adsense. By signing up for a content monetization service and setting up a simple script on your blog you can start earning cash on the un-affiliated sales you drive. This is one of the easiest paychecks you can earn.

Skimlinks and VigLink are dead-simple in what they do – through a quick and easy script they automatically associate outgoing links with affiliate programs. You don’t need to find the programs, join them, be accepted, or even be eligible to operate them. You just need to sign up with either program, do a quick cut and paste to drop in your code, and you’re set. There’s an approval process with SkimLinks, it takes about 24 hours. VigLink has no wait time.

My Favorite Things about SkimLinks and VigLink

  • You can use their URL shortening service to create shortened URLs to share on social media. Upload a photo and a shortened link to your Facebook Page and capture revenue without even having to send people to your blog.
  • I often make commission on programs I had no idea even operated an affiliate program. Sometimes merchants I’ve worked with in the past start an affiliate program and I find out when I earn a commission this way.
  • Higher Commissions. Period. I get higher commissions and longer tracking periods through affiliate link conversion services than through many of the programs I’m in. In a few cases where I need a good relationship with the merchant and the ability to show my sales to them I just negotiate a private offer through my regular affiliate network.
  • For content publishers that don’t have a lot of affiliate programs that they can take advantage of (although I never really believe that), you can use SkimWords and VigLink Insert to convert relevant keywords into income generating flyovers.
  • They are perfect for properties with significant communities: bulletin boards, heavy comment action, private social networks. You can monetize the links that users paste on your site.
  • If your site relies on the editorial nature of your content and you don’t want to be seen using affiliate links, or creating affiliate links would take more time than you have, you can use these affiliate linking programs to solve those problems.

My Least Favorite Things about Making More Money

  • …. Anyone who writes cons about these things, I have no idea what they are talking about. All the major publishers and sites use these services because they don’t use affiliate links. So should you. Stop leaving your profit on the table.
  • I don’t find that the javascript really slows down my site, so I don’t have a problem with making more money.
  • Ok ok, I’ve had one issue with Skimlinks and a merchant with a private affiliate program and a ShareASale program. My links to their private program were tracked through ShareASale, and the merchant got a wee bit testy with me. All I did was notify SkimLinks to stop converting clicks for that merchant and it was resolved.
  • VigLink and SkimLinks take 25% of the money you wouldn’t have earned if you didn’t use their service. 25% is a big cut, but it’s better than 10% of nothing.

Frankly, the use of link converting services has little downside. You need to test Skimlinks and VigLinks to determine which works best for your content, so sign up for both. This is not a question of which to sign up for. Test them, track them, determine which generates more profit, and do it every year. Both services offer a merchant lookup feature – if you have merchants that perform extremely well in your niche, you’ll want to look them up manually to see if they are offered on one or both networks.

Skimlinks and Viglink aren’t true adsense alternatives in that they aren’t display advertising. However, if you cannot use Adsense for whatever reason, you need to monetize your content a different way.

It costs nothing to sign up for these services. Try them out for yourself.

Sign up for SkimLinks here

Sign up for VigLink Here

High Paying Affiliate Programs: ALOHA


 In the Hawaiian language, aloha means “sharing the breath of life.” At ALOHA, they aim to do this by making health simple, fun, and accessible. With balance in mind, they bring you simple, high quality nutritional products made from thoughtfully selected ingredients free of any artificial flavors, sweeteners, animal products, fillers, or chemicals.

Good affiliate partners include sites focused on food & drink, eco friendly & green lifestyles,health, fitness and other related topics.

This is an amazing program because it offers a $10 commission on free trials and subscriptions. ALOHA also offers bonus posts (money for writing a post) and other commission incentives!

Now is the perfect time to join the program, as the warmer weather is on the way and your readers will begin to think about swimsuit season!

You do not need to be a scam artist or a sleaze to make money with your blog. All you need is to create beautiful high quality content and promote products that your readers want to hear about (and preferably that you use, too!). See how I promote the Aloha Lifestyle brand here.

Join the ALOHA Affiliate program today!


Sorting a Custom Post Type Archive by a Parent’s Field Using WP Types & Views

If you’re using WP-Types (aff) to build your WordPress website with custom post fields and custom post types, you may find the occasion where you’d like to build a custom post type archive sorted by a custom field associated with the archive’s parent custom post type.

Say that ten times fast.

You can’t do it. I promise. (You might be able to say it, but you cannot natively perform this function.)

The only thing you can do with a WordPress archive is to display the WordPress archive.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 2.37.03 AM

See? No options. Bummer. Don’t lose hope. Here’s a brief tutorial on what you can do instead to achieve the end result using WP-Types.

First, you’ll need to create a Views Template. In my example I’m sorting a list of coupons by the name of the item contained in the “coupons” custom post type parent custom post type, “Directory Listings”. Exciting.

I created a Views Template called “Master Coupon List.” The only thing this Views Template contains is a call to a View.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 2.42.24 AM


The “All the coupons” view Is quite simple. It queries all the posts in the  Directory Listings post type (that’s the parent post to coupons), and sorts them via the custom field that I wanted to use to sort (which is the name of a product). You don’t need to write any code, just select the correct options. Add another filter to select related posts that are a child to the Post set by parent View.

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 2.44.05 AM

And here’s what’s in my Meta HTML for that View

<!-- wpv-loop-start -->
  • [types field=”box-name” id=”$subscription-box”][/types]: [types field=”coupon-information”][/types] [wpv-if code=”wpcf-has-code” evaluate=”$code=’1′”] Use code [types field=”coupon-code”][/types].[/wpv-if] [wpv-if exp=”wpcf-has-expiration” evaluate=”$exp = ‘1’”] Expires [types field=”expiration-date-new” style=”text” format=”F j, Y”][/types]. [/wpv-if]


<!-- wpv-loop-end -->
[wpv-no-posts-found][wpml-string context="wpv-views"][/wpml-string][/wpv-no-posts-found]

Finally, you have to display your Views template in your archive. To do this, copy your archive file (in the theme I was using it was named index.php). Duplicate it and rename it to archive-{POSTSLUG}.php. Replace {POSTSLUG} with the post slug of your custom post type. In this case the post slug for my CPT was coupons, so I renamed my file archive-coupons.php. Place it in your theme directory, yank out all the code for the loop, and replace it with your (formatted) display code. In this case my View “coupons for one box” was formatted the way I desired, so all I had to do was drop in the PHP to display the View template. This is terribly uncomplicated.
echo render_view_template('145');
Replace 145 with the post id of your view template. You’ll find it in the URL of your editing screen. Although I prefer to use Views instead of coding fiddly PHP, it’s oftentimes easier to drop in a view or view template right into your theme templates. I use the render_view_template code to drop in custom post-information headers based on custom taxonomies. It’s a snippet I use over and over again and don’t feel the need to recode it in the 5 places it appears in my WordPress theme every time I decide to change a slug name.

If you only need to alphabetize your post title, that’s easy. You’ll create a custom archive-{POSTSLUG}.php. You can then change your query to order by a variety of parameters defined by WordPress. You can order by a custom field that’s in the post type archive query by using the meta_value parameter.

Do as I say, not as I do.

So, I decided to relaunch after more than a few years hanging out in the attic. While I care about content over having a spendy custom design, or even content over having the best optimized site…

Don’t do what I just did.

… Which is to launch your blog with only 2 pieces of content. Visitors should know that you’re going to produce amazing content and will want to return.

Why did I do it and you’re not allowed to?

This site is my personal brand. My domain retains a page rank 4 after years of being a blank white screen. And it’s still a PR 4 for a reason.  I know what I do works for me. I hope I can pass along some of my special sauce to you. And you should stick around because what I do works.

Seriously, I was shocked as hell to find that sweet page rank 4 a few weeks ago. It made me get off my butt and decide to start writing again. And teaching again. And sharing again. Drop by again soon, I think you’ll like what you find. Or, you know, sign up for my newsletter.

Let’s Talk About Subscription Boxes

This is sorta funny, because my primary blog is all about subscription boxes. But I don’t mean the kind of subscription boxes you get in the mail with the latest beauty products. Or for you guys out there, the kind with fishing lures or whatever guys like to get in the mail.

Nope, the kind that get you subscribers. The kind of subscription boxes you care about for your blog, no matter what kind of blog it is. You have an email list, right? If not, get one now. Niche site gurus tend to recommend Aweber, I prefer the sleek design of Mailchimp (that’s my referral link and I heartily recommend it!). Forget about using Feedburner’s mailing list. Given the recent sunsetting of Google Reader, you don’t really want Feedburner controlling your list. I do use Feedburner for serving up my RSS feeds on my main site, but I prefer the control I get over my mailing list. Truth be told, I’m still amazed at how few people really use RSS and prefer to surf, get a newsletter, or get fed new posts through Facebook or Google+ (join me on G+!).

Any of these platforms could die, but you’ll still have your mailing list. Your site could go down, get hit with a Google penalty, and you’ll still have your mailing list.  Do you get the picture? Get a mailing list.

Fill your mailing list with a Subscription Box

Now, in order to keep that mailing list nice & healthy, you’ll need subscribers. Along with all of your other efforts, you’re going to want some way to entice readers to join up. Whether it’s the promise of the latest news, a free special report, or some other exclusive content, you’ll probably want to offer it in exchange for your email address.

And how do you get those email addresses? You don’t need any fancy coding and in fact, I have found the easiest to use advanced WordPress plugin for collecting addresses from visitors: Hybrid Connect. I am a Hybrid Connect affiliate and this is my personal recommendation.

The Hybrid Connect plugin is amazing. Now, you might say, Brandy, your subscription boxes are, well, kinda ugly. That’s because I’m testing them. Hybrid Connect does automatic split testing with variations that you choose. Set up as many variations as you want, start your test, and Hybrid Connect will determine which subscription box works the best. This is a new site, so I’m running tons of tests to see which settings work the best. When I find one that performs well, I can run new tests.

And I don’t even have to show you how to use Hybrid Connect. One of the best parts? There are really short videos on nearly every page walking you through the basics so you can get up & running in a snap. Need something special? On Hello Subscription (my website about physical subscription boxes) I use a Pinterest plugin to make a Pinterest button appear whenever a user hovers over the photos. I didn’t want to touch the HC code, so I asked them about it, and they went into my back-end and fixed it. Amazing service for a relatively cheap plugin.

It takes only a few minutes to set up, and has awesome features like responsive design, Facebook connect (so if a user is logged into Facebook, she can just press a button and get signed up to your list). And tons more. Because I use Hybrid Connect on multiple sites, I selected the $67 version (I didn’t need the $149 license because I don’t flip websites or develop for clients). It was relatively cheap, and having automated newsletter subscriber capture is golden. If you want to see something a little flashier than what’s up here (remember, content always before looks! as long as your blog doesn’t look like garbage, anyways), check out the subscription boxes here.

What do you think?