I think the Web needs a non-spammy and honest Viglink review. So I’ll relate my experience using Viglink over the course of several years. I recommend it, generally. That said, takes some work, and that explains some of the other Viglink reviews you might see out there.

I started using Viglink in 2013. I’d been using Amazon’s Affiliates program for more than a decade, but a spat over sales taxes in my home state put an end to that. I decided to try Viglink as an alternative.

Initially, Viglink probably made me half as much money as Amazon had been. That was better than nothing, but still, a disappointment.

Today it probably makes me five times what Amazon made. I have to say I’m satisfied with it now, but it took some work to get it where it is.

What I did wrong with Viglink

Reading Viglink’s site, it appeared that I could just add a bit of code to my site and it would convert all of my Amazon Affiliate links into something else. Plus it promised to add some affiliate links on top of those. It sounded pretty good.

I’m here to tell you adding a line of Javascript from Viglink or installing the Viglink WordPress plugin probably isn’t going to turn your blog into a money printing machine. Sorry about that.

To an extent, it did some work automatically, but I had to do some work to get Viglink to the point where it could replace my Amazon income.

There’s another review out there that claims to have made $653 in his first month with a few hundred visitors per day. That wasn’t my experience. Under those conditions, $6.53 was a pretty good month. Hundreds of dollars? No way.

What I did right with Viglink

By looking at my Viglink reports, I noticed some retailers were turning traffic into dollars. Some were turning it into pocket change. And some were doing zilch.

Inside Viglink, sometimes you can find you have to fill out another form to monetize links to certain retailers. There are others that just don’t pay, for reasons I haven’t been able to figure out.

What was true then still holds true now. For example, in February, I made 47 cents from someone other than my big four. My big four only accounted for 1/3 of my clicks, but they brought me virtually all of my revenue.

So I went to my highest-traffic posts and edited my outgoing links to links to one of the high-performing retailers. Viglink then dutifully monetized those links and I started making a little more money.  As I continued the experiment, I started making more and more.

Today I make more with Viglink than I ever made with Amazon. Why? It’s simple. Viglink can monetize things that Amazon doesn’t sell.

Will Viglink work for you?

A lot of my content tells people how to use something, or how to fix something. So a blog post may have a link to that product, especially if it’s something that’s hard to find. It may also have links to other products that you need to fix or maintain it.

That model works pretty well for me. It’s not making me rich. But it makes me enough that I can get pizza for my kids on Friday nights and funnel some money into my other hobbies. That, in turn, gives me more things to write about, and that creates a nice feedback loop.

If you have a fair number of posts that tell people to buy something and then show them how to use it, and you’re getting a reasonable amount of traffic, you can probably make some money with Viglink. If you check in on a fairly regular basis (at least monthly) to see what works and you adjust accordingly, you can expect to make more next year with it than you make this year.

What about those other reviews?

The people who say they don’t like Viglink probably found something else that worked better for the kind of content they had. Not every blog is the same, so that seems as reasonable of an explanation as any.

There’s a guy out there who says he got several thousand clicks on one Viglink link and he made about a dime. I understand that. I can think of a couple of retailers who’ve gotten several thousand clicks from me and I’ve made zilch. On the other extreme, I have retailers who get a very small number of clicks from me, but when they do, they’re good for about $10.

I guess I’m trying to say putting your eggs in one basket probably won’t get you what you’re looking for.

What about the guy who claimed to make $653 off Viglink in his first month? I don’t want to say he’s lying. But I am comfortable saying I wouldn’t call those results typical. So why make a claim like that? You get a small commission if someone clicks your Viglink link and signs up, and I’m pretty sure that claiming to make $653 in a month is a pretty effective way to do that. Who couldn’t use a fast $653, after all?

Maybe he really did make $653, and it was from people signing up for Viglink rather than clicking on his affiliate links.

So yes, if your blog resembles mine in any way, I think you can make a few bucks off Viglink. But like anything, the more work you put into it, the more you’ll get back out.

What else should you do besides Viglink?

Affiliate links work really well on some types of content but not as well on others. For other types of content, you need conventional advertising to keep the lights on. I use a combination of Adsense and Media.net.

I’ll admit I was completely skeptical of the idea of people making a living through blogging at first. Using a combination of affiliate links and advertising, if you have the right kind of content that can generate traffic consistently, I can see now how people can do it.

Getting more traffic

Ultimately, the best way to get more revenue is to get more traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge topic, but there ‘s more to getting traffic than just SEO. A couple of those things increased my traffic by about 20 percent. Each. I wish I’d thought of them or found them sooner.

And nothing messes up your SEO and ruins all your hard work like your site getting hacked. So here are some WordPress security tips, and my writeup on using the plugin All-in-One WP Security. Like I said before, my day job is computer security analysis, so that’s another thing near and dear to me.