To be honest, at first, I thought Skimlinks was a waste of time.
Like, why would I go through the trouble of installing a piece of code on my website to turn my links into affiliate links when I already HAD affiliate links? Couldn't I just directly apply to those programs?
Boy, was I wrong.
On a whim, I took 5 minutes to fill out an application, got approved 2 days later, got the code on my blog.
My first month with Skimlinks, I made $126.73—in ADDITION to the affiliate earnings my blog was already making.
In about 16 months, I totaled more than $8,000 in Skimlinks payouts. And I didn't have to do THING.
Below is my detailed Skimlinks review based on my REAL-LIFE 16-month experience using the platform.
What Is Skimlinks?
Skimlinks is an easy way to turn ALL your links into AFFILIATE links (where possible) and thereby earn you more MONEY. Skimlinks aggregates a ton of affiliate programs and puts them in one place.
With just ONE snippet of code pasted into your blog, you have access to earning potential from 48,500 affiliate programs (merchants), rather than going to each individual program and signing up.
How Much Does Skimlinks Cost?
It is FREE to join Skimlinks and install it on your site. The way that Skimlinks makes money, though, is through what's called a “revenue share” of 25/75. This means when you make a commission, Skimlinks takes 25% and pays you the remaining 75%.
How Does Skimlinks Work?
- Skimlinks works out deals with affiliate programs and houses about 45,800 programs on its website.
- Skimlinks then gives you a unique code to paste on your site that magically turns relevant links into AFFILIATE links without you needing to do anything or get approved by those affiliate programs.
- Whenever a visitor clicks a Skimlink on your blog and buys something, you earn a percentage of that sale (a “commission”).
- At the end of the month, so long as you've exceeded the minimum payment threshold of $65, Skimlinks keeps 25% of your earnings and pays you the remaining 75%. (There are some other nitty-gritty details that may affect payment, so be sure to read the full details on the Skimlinks website.)
How Much Money Can I Earn From Skimlinks?
It depends. I can tell you that one of my blogs earned $8,115.17 in payouts from Skimlinks. The vast majority of this came from the Airbnb affiliate program, which I wasn't able to join on my own, only through Skimlinks.
In my most successful month, I earned nearly $2,000 from Skimlinks (I had about 100,000 monthly pageviews at that point). Here's a screenshot from my Skimlinks Dashboard:
Skimlinks found a sweet spot with the Airbnb affiliate program—get this, a program I COULD NOT join on my own. Airbnb has referral links, sure, but its affiliate program (where you can earn cold hard cash) is pretty secretive. I've never been able to join it.
But thanks to Skimlinks, I was able to bypass the red tape and earn money from the Airbnb affiliate program WITHOUT applying via Airbnb!
And no, I never strategized a way to make money with Skimlinks. I didn't search their database and create any special links. I simply pasted the code into my site and let Skimlinks do its thing, and I was pleasantly surprised.
How to Use Skimlinks: From Signup to Installation to Earning
Step 1: Sign up for Skimlinks.
Next, log into your WordPress dashboard. Go to Appearance > Widgets. Paste the code into a “Text” widget in your “Footer” section.
Here's how to test that Skimlinks is working.
Step 3: Write commerce-focused content and include links.
Remember, the only way you can make money off of Skimlinks is if Skimlinks can find links to turn into affiliate links. To do that, you need to actually LINK to things, and those things need to be commerce-related.
How do you know? Well, you could search the Skimlinks database to see which merchants they work with. For example, I knew they worked with Airbnb, so I tried to link to Airbnb wherever possible on my travel blog. Skimlinks would automatically turn those Airbnb links into affiliate links when possible.
Step 4: Sit back and relax while Skimlinks automatically turns your links into affiliate links (where possible).
And that's really all you need to do. Check your Skimlinks dashboard every now and then to check your earnings progress.
Step 5: Search Skimlinks' hub for more merchant ideas.
If it looks like Skimlinks isn't earning much after a couple of months, try searching its hub for other merchants. You can write posts catered to those merchants, thereby increasing your chances of earning via Skimlinks.
Step 6: Get paid.
Skimlinks pays you once a month, as long as you've exceeded the minimum payment threshold and some other requirements are met. Usually, they pay by the 5th of the month. Keep in mind, however, it can take up to 92 days between earning a commission and getting that money into your bank account.
How to Install the Skimlinks Code on Your WordPress Blog – 3 Ways
Okay, so this is the EASY way to paste code into your site anytime you need to for things like Skimlinks.
Step 1: Go to Appearance > Widgets.
Step 2: Select “Text” widget and put it in your “Footer” widget section.
You MUST make sure that whichever widget section you choose shows up on every page you want monetized for your blog. For example, a problem could arise if you put the code in a sidebar widget and then DISABLE your sidebar on some blog posts. That means those blog posts wouldn't get monetized by Skimlinks. That's why I recommend using the Footer widget; the footer likely shows up on every page of your site (unless you somehow disable it).
Paste it into the “Text” widget. Make sure to select the “Text” tab (NOT “Visual”), paste the code into the box, and then click “Save.”
#3 Install Skimlinks plugin
This should be the easiest way to go about installing Skimlinks, but I saw really bad reviews stating that it broke their site or introduced malware, so I'd be wary of this method.
Why Was I Rejected by Skimlinks?
I've applied for Skimlinks with two different blogs: a travel blog and this blog. I was accepted with the travel blog (which was much more established and had higher traffic), but Skimlinks rejected this blog. 🙁
Why? I'm not sure, as the rejection email contained no guidance. See it below:
The merchants that we represent require that all publisher sites we work with meet certain criteria that respect how they wish their brand to be promoted. Regrettably, your site does not meet these requirements.
Sadly, Skimlinks doesn't specify what those “certain criteria” are. My suspicion, though, is that this blog doesn't have enough traffic and isn't established enough for Skimlinks to think it's worth monetizing. I'm going to wait it out and apply again in a few months.
UPDATE June 2, 2020: I applied to Skimlinks a second time (about a month later), and this time, they rejected my application WITH an explanation. They said that because the email address that I used to apply did not have my domain name in it, they needed to verify that I did, in fact, own this domain. Fair enough. I sent them an email from the email address with my domain name, and I got approved! I am proud to be part of Skimlinks again!
Also, this highlights why you should always get an email address with your blog domain in it.
Is There a Skimlinks Alternative?
If you can't get approved by Skimlinks, you may want to consider a Skimlinks alternative like Viglink. (FYI, Viglink has since changed its name to Sovrn Commerce.)
Viglink works in much the same way as Skimlinks: You paste code into your site and Viglink automatically turns links into affiliate links where possible. The biggest difference seems to be the approval process. With Skimlinks, I couldn't get the code to work on my site after I had applied but was not yet approved (and in the end, I ended up NOT getting approved). But with Viglink, I was able to get the code working before I was even approved.
My recommendation? If you don't get approved by Skimlinks, go ahead and sign up for Viglink instead. I'll report back once I've gotten more experience with Viglink, as I only signed up today.
Pros of Using Skimlinks
- Free to join
- Access to 48,500 merchants (affiliate programs)
- Trusted by 60,000 publishers (fellow bloggers and other websites)
- AUTOMATICALLY turn your links into affiliate links, without you lifting a finger
- Access to SPECIAL commissions you couldn't get on your own
- Access to affiliate networks you couldn't join on your own
Lets you monetize with Amazon affiliate links EVEN if you didn't get approved by the Amazon Associates programUPDATE October 2020: Skimlinks NO LONGER works with Amazon.
Cons of Using Skimlinks
- Slow payments. It can take up to 92 days after a transaction to see that money in your bank account.
- Skimlinks takes 25% of your commissions
- Skimlinks support can be slow to respond
- Sometimes, you don't want your links turned into affiliate links
Should You Install Skimlinks?
In my opinion, yes. You've got nothing to lose. Skimlinks builds upon your hard work to maximize your affiliate earnings. Even if you think you've joined every affiliate program you're eligible for, Skimlinks has access to affiliate programs and special commission offers that you can't get on your own.
After you paste the Skimlinks code into your site, you don't have to do anything. You just write blog posts as usual, making sure to link to different products or commerce sites, and Skimlinks will turn those links into affiliate links for you.
If you want to know which Skimlinks are performing best, you can check your dashboard and analyze performance there.
I hope this Skimlinks review helps you weigh the pros and cons of using the platform.
Sign up for Skimlinks today
to start earning money from your blog!
Caveat: If you install Skimlinks, make sure you have an affiliate disclosure on EVERY page!
This is one part of Skimlinks that may trip you up: Because it automatically turns links into affiliate links, you may not realize that you didn't put an affiliate disclosure on a page that now has a Skimlinks affiliate link. This could get you in trouble! Here's how to automatically add an affiliate disclosure to EVERY blog post.