Christian blogging is a wonderful way to share Christ with non-believers and to encourage those who are already part of the Christian family.
Many Christian bloggers are happy to blog as part of their natural and normal Christian service. They don’t expect income and they certainly don’t expect to get rich.
Yet, Christian bloggers invest in their websites. It costs money to host and promote them. It requires endless hours to create content that appeals to the target audience. Shouldn’t Christian bloggers be eligible for income?
Yes, and the Bible reinforces that idea. The young Timothy was eager to volunteer his time for the sake of the gospel. The Apostle Paul reminded him that he was worthy of payment for his work with these Old Testament quotations: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.” 1 Timothy 5:18
The only question is how to go about monetizing your Christian blog. One of the best ways is by becoming an affiliate.
Why Being an Affiliate Can Work for You
When bloggers think about monetizing their blog they generally think of Google AdSense. Almost any independently hosted blog can sign up for AdSense and receive income from Google.
The amount you receive depends on how many people view your pages — there is a small rate per thousand page views. In addition, you get more income when someone actually clicks on one of the ads.
There are three problems with Google AdSense.
- The payout is small. You need tens of thousands of page views each month to earn just a few dollars.
- You have limited control over the advertisements that appear on your blog. Ads are normally generated by the context of your content, but that’s not always the case. Google AdSense allows you to limit the types of ads shown on your site, but sometimes inappropriate ads appear.
- Christian bloggers have a special problem. If you hold views that are different then Google about any social issue, including race, sexuality or politics, Google AdSense will mark your site as being unacceptable. If you have earned money during a particular month they will not pay you. Biblical values mean little to Google.
Read the Google AdSense terms of service carefully to make sure that you are as politically correct as they want you to be.
What can you do? Ideally, you want to use a method that offers more income with less restrictions.
That makes being an affiliate the ideal situation for most Christian bloggers. You pick and choose the products that appeal to your audience. You don’t get paid when ads show, but you get paid handsomely when someone clicks on the link and buys the product. You can often get $10-$50 or more per sale.
Where to Find Affiliate Products
Where can you find a wide selection of affiliate products to place on your site?
The largest and best-known affiliate program is Amazon.com Associates. When you sign up for their Associates affiliate program, and place selected products on your site, you can get a commission for every item purchased via your site.
The topic of your blog determines the best affiliate products to display. If you’re writing on theology, your choices may be severely limited. However, if you’re a Christian mom writing about maintaining a Christian home, you can find a wide range of products to promote. There are numerous higher-priced products that cover everything from child care to home decor.
So, you want to balance your choices. You want to promote affiliate products that will help your readers but also offer you a reasonable income.
The second most popular place to find affiliate products to promote is Clickbank.com. They offer a wide range of unusual products that may appeal to the readers of your Christian blog.
Clickbank.com can be a very profitable resource. However, you want to be careful about the products you select. Make sure the products you promote have credibility. Clickbank.com affiliates are mostly good, but there are some on the edge. Clickbank.com allows you to do research to verify that a particular product is right for you.
There are two important factors to assess when you select to promote a Clickbank.com product as an affiliate. The first is the amount of money you receive when someone buys the product via a click from your Christian blog. You are looking for products that put $20 or more in your pocket for each sale. Beyond that, look for what they call a “Gravity” of at least 50. That means the product is selling well on other websites.
There are many other affiliate options besides Amazon.com and Clickbank.com, but these are good places to start.
Rules of the Affiliate Road
Your profitability is directly linked to the affiliate products you select to promote. You want to strike a balance between profitability and products that will genuinely interest your readers.
You can offer these affiliate products in two primary ways. They will be graphic advertisements that appear in the sidebars of your blog, or they will be links in the context of your blog posts.
Most affiliates offer graphics with links which include your affiliate code that ensures payment, so they are relatively easy to add to sidebars.
It’s different when you include links in the context of your blog article. You can mention products in passing and supply a link with your affiliate code to them. Or you can provide an in-depth review of a particular product and use the same coded text links so you get paid when readers click and purchase. These kinds of links can be highly profitable. Your readers trust you so you want to be sure that any recommendations you make about a product are rock solid.
There is one final consideration when you use affiliate links. That is, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), requires that you disclose the fact that you will receive a commission for products you recommend. It’s a good idea to place an FTC notice on each page, but in any event understand the FTC rules.
Getting Paid for your Christian Service is Okay
Bible-believing Christians don’t want to do ministry to become rich. They don’t buy big houses or private jets from ministry income. Most Christians find that reprehensible.
However, the Bible teaches that it’s okay to cover your expenses and take care of your family through ministry. Pastors and missionaries receive income for the work they do and that’s only right. Likewise, you can use your Christian blog as a source of income. Christian blogging is a modern ministry but, in many ways, it is no different from traditional ministry.