Saturday, 19 April 2014

What is Affiliate Marketing and how can I use it?


Affiliate Marketing is almost a taboo subject in the World of blogging but it doesn't need to be, I think a lot of people are a little bit scared of it or just plain don't know what it is. It has a feeling of being sneaky or untrustworthy but really, it's just a way of monetising your blog and, used correctly, can help you on your way to blogging full time.

I work in affiliate marketing as my day job, before I started I was wary of affiliated links and thought it would be a lot of extra effort and didn't quite trust it. But after working in it, working with bloggers and working with brands, it's actually really straight forward and worth doing. I wanted to share a little bit of information with you about what it is, how to start using it and best practice as I've spoken to a few bloggers who wanted to learn more. It's not what I would usually post about but there's very little easy to understand information out there for bloggers so I thought I'd try to help out.

I thought, what better time to share than Easter weekend when everyone has a little more time to get started! It's definitely not for everyone but for those who are curious, here it is laid bare...

What is affiliate marketing?


Affiliate marketing is the term given to working with brands and stores using tracked links that earn you commission on every sale driven to that store from your blog or website. It's basically just adding a little bit of tracking to links you would normally use on your blog. For example, if you're putting together a wishlist post, you'd add tracking links instead of standard links. Easy peasy!

What technical language will I need to know?


Commission rate - This is the percentage of the sale that you will receive in return for delivery a sale
CPA - This stands for cost per acquisition, it basically means the same as commission!  
Deep link - This is the term for a tracked link, it's just a standard link with a little tracking added
ID - The 6 digit number that is given to you when you sign up, it can be found on your profile underneath your profile picture
EPC - This stands for earnings per click, it's just how much commission you earn per click driven to the website
Conversion rate - The percentage of people who buy compared to the traffic you are sending to the site
Feed - You can download a feed of products directly from a brand, this one is a bit more technical though and more useful if you're building a shop or comparison site
Publisher - This is what you would be, this term just means someone who publishes links
Merchant - This is the term used to refer to the brand or store

How can I get involved?


I work with Affiliate Window in my day job, but there are plenty of other networks you might be interested in like Linkshare. But I'd recommend Affiliate Window for beginners as there's a lot more help and support available, plus the interface is easy to use. I'm going to be explaining how to use Affiliate Window in this post, just so it doesn't get too confusing!

All you have to do is sign up as a publisher, select which brands you'd like to work with, add your tracked links and you're done. Affiliate Window have a £5 sign up charge but this is refunded once you're signed up. If you're not a registered company, you don't need to tick the VAT box.

You'll need to update your profile with a little information about your blog, add in stats, topics and any other information that will encourage brands to work with you. Don't forget to add links to your blog too. You'll also need to add your bank details so you can earn money through the links, but if you're wary of doing this, you can always test out the links and add your details when you've built up enough commission. There's nothing to worry about though, everything is secure. There are thresholds you have to meet for your commission to be sent through but you can change these, anything from £20 upwards.

Take a look at Affiliate Window here and Linkshare here, if you have any questions about either, just drop me an email on iliketweet@gmail.com or drop me a tweet, I'm always happy to help.

What does a tracked link look like? 


This is an example of a tracked link:

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2082&awinaffid=139081&clickref=&p=http://www.lookfantastic.com/home.dept

The number highlighted in red refers to the site ID, each brand or site has a unique number so this will change depending on who you are linking to.

The number highlighted in blue is your ID number (see above for description) this will always remain the same.

The link highlighted in yellow is where you are linking to on site, I've used a link to the homepage of lookfantastic.com (who I work with in my day job!) as an example but if you wanted to link to a specific page or product, you'd just change the link to that, see an example below.

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2082&awinaffid=139081&clickref=&p=http://www.lookfantastic.com/brands/benefit.list

If you want to shorten these links, you can! There is a link shortening tool within Affiliate Window within their link builder in the 'Links & Tools' section, but you can also use something like bit.ly if that's what you usually use, the tracking will remain there.


Where can I use the tracked links?


You can use them anywhere, either to replace standard links on your blog, shortened on social media or behind banners on your site.

You can also grab ready made and ready tracked banners from Affiliate Window within their 'Links & Tools' section, you can choose from a range of sizes and designs. See screen shot below!


Are there any other easy options?


There are indeed, for people who don't fancy adding tracking to every link, you can use Skimlinks or Viglink. Both of these are super easy to use, you just have to apply and add a little bit of tracking to your homepage, then after that, every link on your blog will be automatically tracked. They're probably the easiest ways to get involved!

Take a look at Skimlinks here and Viglink here. They are great and really easy to use but you can generally get better commission working directly with the brand.

How do I get paid?


You submit your bank details when you sign up and set up a threshold for direct debit payments, these are paid once a month if you reach your set threshold (any amount you like over £20) straight into your account. Everything is secure and safe so don't worry, you don't even have to add your bank details to get started so you can try it before if you fancy.

Some people earn thousands of pounds a year through affiliate marketing so it's always worth trying if you're interested in blogging professionally but don't feel like you need to do it, it's a personal preference for everyone. 

If you're finding it difficult to earn money through your blog, talk to the account manager at the network or directly to the brand, they will be able to help you with exclusive offers, tailored pages on site, bespoke banners, competitions, samples etc... Or at least we do anyway!

Affiliate Disclosure


Always make sure that you declare somewhere on your blog that you are using affiliated links, either on your homepage or on each post. This is just to make sure that people know what they're clicking on as you could be earning money from the link.

If you have any more questions or would like to hear more, just let me know! Leave a comment, send me an email on iliketweet@gmail.com or drop me a tweet!

Also, if you fancy signing up to Affiliate Window, let me know and I can send you a code that will waive the £5 admin fee when you sign up.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: Melvita Nectar Pur Range


I've written about organic French brand Melvita a few times before, it's one of my favourite skincare brands and works perfectly with my skin, which not many others do!

Their new range, Nectar Pur, is a light, refreshing, purifying and jam packed with essential oils to make your skin freshers and clearer with every use.  It's for combination and oily skin, so perfect for Summer!


Purifying Cleansing Gel for combination and oily skin

This is perfect for using after exfoliating, it's really refreshing and you can literally feel the grease and grime being lifted off your skin. Perfect for hot and sticky summer days or after a visit to the gym. I noticed a difference after only a few uses and it's great value for money as the 200ml bottles lasts for ages!

You just need a couple of pumps, it's foams up beautifully on wet skin. Ingredients range from peppermint hydrolat (not overly sure what that is tbh...) to zinc extract which regulates sebum production to keep your skin shine free, lovely!

Available in 200ml here for £16

Purifying Roll On SOS Blemish Care

This product has been an absolute dream this week, for some reason (think it's a mixture of diet and lots of sweating on the treadmill) I've had a bit of breakout which has only been controlled and almost successfully reduced with this wonder treatment.

It's a blend of countless essential oils which neutralise and dries out blemishes returning your skin to it's normal state. It's worth every penny and lasts for so long, it can sort out a lot of blemishes!

Available in 5ml here for £12

Mattifying Balancing Fluid for combination and oily skin

I'm not completely sold on this one, it's pretty expensive for what it is and it doesn't really fit into my skincare regime, I've tried it in between moisturiser and primer which left little bits all over my face, not a good look or a smooth base for foundation!

It's great to use on its own if you're planning on a make up free day as it freshens, mattifies skin and reduces shine.

Available in 40 ml here for £26

To see the full Nectar Pur range, visit the Melvita site here.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Pastel Pink and French Braids

At the weekend, my style becomes a lot more laid back, I find myself opting for jumpers and flats instead of dresses and heels as it's mostly just me and The Man pottering around Manchester or venturing to Cheshire to see my family. The best pieces for me are the ones that are comfortable but still have an element of style, these are my weekend staples!

My most recent addition to my laid back weekend staples is this Karen Millen pastel pink jumper that I treated myself to in Selfridges last weekend (naughty) it's so comfy and warm but still on trend with the colour and little touches like the cream leather elbow patches. I need more of this kind of knitwear in my life!

French braids are my new favourite thing, my hair is just getting to that length (I'm slowly growing out a pixie cut, sigh) where it's not quite shoulder length but a bit too long to be a bob. It's perfect for getting your hair away from your face and really good for the gym too, nothing can escape. Plus, everyone is always quite impressed even though it's so easy!

You can win a Karen Millen leather jacket at the moment by the way! All you have to do is post a picture of you styling your Karen Millen pieces on twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #mycitymystyle and then your city, so I'd be #salford! Don't forget to tag Karen Millen in it too so they can count your entry, I'm about to do mine now! It's open until the 30th of April so there's plenty of time.

I love Manchester, it's one of my favourite cities in the UK, it has a much friendlier feel than other places I've lived like London. It feels like more of a town than a city! We actually live in Salford just outside of Manchester, which is definitely starting to come into it's own, Media City is getting more exciting and new, little bars and shops keep popping up. It's definitely not quite level with Manchester yet but I'd feel bad to turn my back on it in favour of Manchester!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Perfect Leather Slipper

Swoon. Look at these slippers, they're white leather, tassled perfection. I want to be their Cinderella. I've always been more of a heels kind of girl but recently I've been embracing the flats, I've opened my heart (and toes) to Grenson brogues and Nike Blazers, and frankly my feet have never been happier. My bank balance on the other hand...

I don't think I will ever leave the heels behind but my shoe collection is definitely going to be welcoming a lot more flats in the future, starting with these Karen Millen beauties.What side are you on, heels or flats?

Don't forget to enter my competition to win a pair of London Retro glasses from MyOptique.com, click here for more details!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

My New London Retro Specs + WIN with MyOptique.com




Mango Shirt, Glasses by London Retro from MyOptique, Grenson Shoes from Coggles, Watch from Next, Jeans from Gap

Say hello to my new frames, aren't they lovely? I barely ever wear glasses, mostly because my lenses are SO thick, but they don't actually look too bad in these London Retro Reggie frames!

I paired them with my go-to weekend outfit of skinny jeans, oversized white shirt and flats, today I opted for my Emily brogues from Grenson (they're my new favourite thing at the moment!) for a spot of shopping in Manchester with The Man. I definitely need to curb my spending and get saving, but there were just too many pretty things calling my name...

I've given my blog a bit of a Spring clean too, what do you think to the new look?

The lovely people at MyOptique.com are offering you the chance to get your hands of a pair of London Retro glasses too, all you have to do is enter the giveaway below! There are so many lovely retro inspired frames to choose from, take a look here and see which pair you'd opt for! They're unisex and offer tinted lenses so you can have sunglasses if you don't wear prescription lenses, nobody is left out!

Entries close at midnight on the 14th of April so get entering now.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Pastel Pink Gingham and Bare Legs

Dress from boohoo.com and shoes from Dune

Yesterday we ventured over to Nantwich to meet my new baby niece Rosie Millie, who just happens to be the cutest (and softest!) thing ever. She was only a day old when we met her but she was so alert and so strong, she already had a little personality! You can see pictures of her on my instagram, there's the cutest one of her and The Man!

As I was feeling very girly, I opted for my new pastel pink gingham shift dress from boohoo. Also know as, the girliest thing I own!

I must admit, I put on tights and ankle boots before we left the house, my bare legs aren't quite ready for Summer and I don't think the world is quite ready for them, I need a bit more time on the treadmill before that... I think we've found a new outfit post spot and it's just near our living room, what do you think?

This dress is one of my new favourite things, it's pastel pink, gingham and has pockets, what's not to like? Plus, it's only £15 so it's an absolute steal, you can see it here.

Happy Mother's Day to all you mums out there too, hope you've had the loveliest day! Huge love to my Mum and my sister Emily, who has just become a mum for the second time, you're both amazing.

Thanks to The Man for taking these photos, apologies again for being bossy and dragging you away from FIFA...

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