Using VigLink on a Blog

Recently another Infobarrel writer introduced me to a service that allows bloggers to make money without adding ads into their site or selling links and posts. This service is a "set it and forget it" program so the passive income aspect is very appealing.  

It is dead easy to implement too. You can be up and running in under 15 minutes, and that assumes you have no idea what you are doing with adding a snippet of code to your blog.

Viglink makes getting into affiliate marketing completely painless. No searching for affiliate programs, signing up and looking for affiliate links to insert, or even remembering to insert those money links.  Also, you don't need ugly long weird-looking affiliate links that readers avoid. Rather you can just put normal links in to your blog and Viglink takes care of the rest.

That covers new links, but Viglink goes much further - it goes back into all your old posts and affiliates links there too.  Optionally, you can allow Viglink to also create new links.  If you mentioned eBay or Amazon for example without actually linking out, Viglink will create an affiliate link to these sites automatically.  Future readers seeing the link may click and when they buy, you get paid.

How Does Viglink Make Money?

The site manages all the affiliate programs (over 17,000 to date) and collects the money from each program. They mostly do this through the major affiliate networks and the large e-commerce sites that run their own affiliate programs.  They also keep up with changes in affiliate programs that can cause your affiliate links to stop working. This can be a big job

Viglink scope means they get top-level payouts, often more than a small affiliate can earn with small volume.  The site pays you your share by Paypal or check.

For this service Viglink takes 25% of the earnings.  If you join Viglink through another blogger's link (like that one) that blogger gets 10% out of Viglink's share for a year.

How to Install Viglink on Blogger

  1. Open your blogger dashboard, log in, and click "Design".
  2. Under the design tab, make sure you're on the "Page Elements" page.
  3. Click the "Add a Gadget" link that's closest to the bottom of the page.
  4. From the gadget list, under "basics", select the HTML/JavaScript gadget.
  5. Copy the  provided VigLink code to your clipboard
  6. Back on Blogger's HTML/JavaScript gadget page, paste the VigLink code under "content". (Leave the title empty.) Click "save".

You're done and it took under a minute. You can use the installation checker to make sure VigLink is working on your blog. 

The service can also installed on other types of sites.  For WordPress there is a plugin that makes the install very simple.  Just search for the plugin by name from the plugin menu in the backend of your WordPress site.  You'll need to insert a code from the Viglink site once you have the plugin installed.

Disclosure

FCC rules require bloggers to disclose connections to advertisers. If you do not do this already, grab one of the buttons from the site and install it (a little piece of code).  As a bonus, anyone that joins the service by following the disclosure link gets credited as a referral from your site. You can find these badges on the FTC Disclosure link at the very bottom of the page once you have an account.

Is it Legit?

Unusually, the Viglink team proudly displays full names, photos, and short bios on the site.  They are clearly experienced and a review of forum posts and articles indicates the management is solid with a good reputation. 

The company has been featured in many major media outlets.  They have various venture capital backers including Google Ventures (the venture capital arm of Google Inc.)  Big sites like PC World and Mac World use the service.  Cloudfair is fully integrated.

The company actually started as a Harvard Business School business plan competition entry.

What Does Success Look Like?

The success of this program depends on two big factors:

1.  Traffic - without visitors to your site all the affiliated links in the world are not going to earn you anything.  Likewise ads with no visitors are pointless.  So you really need to be looking for ways to increase your traffic.

2.  Topic - what do you talk about?  If you are mentioning specific products, businesses, and online shopping portals like eBay and Amazon regularly there will be many more opportunities to create affiliate links.  If your blog is about your cat... not so much.   So the ability for Viglink to insert links is very contingent on your content form.  

Because of these two factors, it is impossible to predict how much you will earn from Viglink. However, the President of the company said in an interview that most sites make within 20% of what they make from Adsense.

What are the Alternatives?

Skimlinks is another similar offering, with some variations on their secondary products.  The core product of link insertion revenue sharing at Skimlinks is the same as Viglink.  It appears that the two products can be run together, though there is so much overlap on the major affiliate programs that this seems redundant.   

Selected WordPress plugins can replicate the part of finding places to link, but you are on your own to manage all the affiliate programs. 

Does this Work with Adsense/Chitika/InfoLinks/Other Advertising?

Absolutuly there is no conflict with any advertising program because Viglink is only modifying existing links and (optionally) introducing new links to the site. This takes up no real estate on the page and does not interfere with Adsense or Chitika so is completely within the TOS of these ad networks.  Remember that we are talking about automatically inserting the same kind of links that you already insert manually. 

The main link ad networks have been tested ok with the product.   

What Next?

You can explore Viglink by signing up free. It simply requires your email address and installation is easy as described above.  Before you install grab the little toolbar tool and use it to preview what your blog will look like after you install the code.