How Can You Make Money Testing Sex Toys? Could Sex Toy Reviews Ever Pay Your Bills?
There are a few avenues you can explore if you’d like to make money testing sex toys. Sounds like a dream job, right? Making money from your bedroom. Working flat out. As it happens, it’s not that easy… in fact, it’s often rather hard.
Sorry. You’ll have to get used to all these rib-ticklers now you’re a sex blogger, you know.
Horrendous puns aside, there really is a way you can make money testing sex toys. Ok, perhaps not enough to make you a millionaire (not giving up on that dream yet though), but at least enough to cover a few household bills or buy some groceries. Every little helps, as they say.
How To Get Started
Last week’s Sex Blogger School post covered how to get some sex toys to review. The next stage is to write some reviews for those toys, whether you’ve bought them yourself or a sex toy shop has sent some to you.
There are two main ways you can monetise your sex toy reviews, and eventually make money testing sex toys. You might choose the direct route, or earn money indirectly while reviewing.
Direct Route: Affiliate Links & Charging Fees
The direct route can be split into two ways of earning money from your sex toy reviews. You might choose to use affiliate links in your reviews, or charge businesses a fee for completing and publishing the review for them.
For a newbie, the first avenue of using affiliate links is the way to go. You probably won’t have built up a large enough blog audience or social media following to make flat fee payment a viable proposition to businesses.
Next week, we’ll look at whether charging money for your sex toy reviews is an acceptable thing to do, and why.
What Are Affiliate Links?
Affiliate links are the online version of being paid a % commission from a sale as a business rep – or, more relevantly, a sex toy party planner. Affiliate links are different to the normal links you’d use to send someone to an online shop. They have special and unique-to-you code included, which reports back to the shop when someone clicks then buys from said shop.
The sale is then credited to you, and you’ll be awarded a % of that sale, known as affiliate commission.
The commission % amount varies from program to program, from shop to shop. It’s useful to know exactly what these percentages are before you sign up to become an affiliate of businesses, as you’ll want to make sure you’re linking to places which will deliver the best % commission. However, this isn’t the only determining factor – you also need to affiliate with shops that your readers will want to buy from.
Where To Use Affiliate Links
Once you’ve written your sex toy review and you’re ready to publish, you can insert your affiliate links just before pressing the button.
Instead of haphazardly scattering affiliate links throughout your review, I’d strongly advise getting an SEO plug-in such as Yoast (if you’re on WordPress – or at least research the subject if such plug-ins aren’t available for your particular blog). This will help you learn which keywords are the best to link – and which phrases you’re better off leaving as plain text.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a deep, complex and ever-changing topic. Suffice to say the more SEO friendly techniques you incorporate into your blogging, the more traffic your blog
will should receive.
Sex Toy Shops To Affiliate With
So which shops do I recommend that you affiliate with? This is an especially tricky question, because so many adult product retailers now have an affiliate scheme. Some of them convert well for me – whereas others haven’t, ever, at all. But they might perform differently on your blog, for your audience.
The only thing to do is to try some out and see what happens. See if any of your links convert better than others. Think about where you’re placing the links, and use stats like Jetpack and Google Analytics to keep an eye on who your blog visitors are and where they’re visiting from.
I currently affiliate with UK shops Lovehoney, Bondara and Ann Summers through the Webgains Affiliate program, and Honour & Clonezone through Paid on Results. I’m also a part of the UberKinky in-house affiliate program.
As my blog traffic includes many USA visitors, I also affiliate with Lovehoney USA, SheVibe, We Vibe and Nomi Tang on Share A Sale, as well as the Tantus in-house affiliate program.
Pro tip: I find this encoder useful for the deep link part after the tracked stem of the affilliate URL for Share A Sale affiliate links.
Ignore this and do not worry if you have no idea what I just said!
Who Not To Affiliate With
Personally, I avoid affiliating with simply everyone and anyone (in terms of sex toy shops and other adult businesses). This is because in many cases the use of these links is of much greater benefit to these companies than to you, the blogger.
Particularly in the case of brand new businesses, oftentimes the offer to join an affiliate program is a thinly veiled attempt to get links on your blog for simply the promise of a few pennies.
For me, this potential (and let’s face it, next to established business links, unlikely) income isn’t enough to make me suddenly become bosom link buddies with a new business.
Of course (like everything relating to your blogging) who you affiliate with is ultimately your decision. I can only give my advice based on several years attempts at finding that perfect blend of affiliated businesses – variety for my readers and a steady trickle of commission for me.
Affiliate Links: Housekeeping
When you use affiliate links in your sex toy reviews, you should nofollow them. If they’re 3rd party, affiliate program links – such as through Webgains, Paid on Results etc – then there’s no need to give that affiliate program website ‘Google juice’ by leaving the link as dofollow.
In any case, all links which are placed for monetary benefit, whether already paid for or for potential return as an affiliate, should be nofollowed according to Google’s guidelines.
To do this, the snippet rel=”nofollow“ should be placed in the link tag, in your review’s HTML. You don’t have to add anything to make a link dofollow; links are followed by the search engines by default.
In addition, all reviews and blog posts which contain affiliate links, or are paid/placed for monetary benefit, should legally contain a disclaimer to readers. Simply state at the end of your review that it contains affiliate links, or that it’s a sponsored review, or other wording which accurately conveys the specific status of that review.
Earning Indirectly: Affiliate Banners & Other Adverts
There are a couple of indirect ways to make money testing sex toys.
Remember those affiliate links? When you sign up to affiliate programs with businesses, you’ll notice that they also offer affiliate banners and graphics. These can be placed in the sidebars of your blog with your affiliate link behind them. The attractive banners serve as adverts for your visitors, who then hopefully visit one of those shops, make a purchase and therefore trickle a bit more commission into your pot.
Those sidebars can also be used for paid adverts from adult businesses, who then become sponsors of your blog. It can be difficult to secure site sponsors right at the start of your blogging journey, because you’re not offering advertising space on an established blog with regular high levels of traffic.
It does depend on the particular business you approach and pitch to, though. Perhaps some of the newer sex toy shops/adult industry businesses out there would love to advertise on a blog which is relevant to this industry, and contains plenty of well written, relevant content.
It doesn’t hurt to ask. If you’re feeling confident, why not put a pitch together and email a few adult companies that you think would partner up with you on some sidebar advertising? Keep your fees reasonably realistic at the start – in fact go lower than you think. You can always raise your prices later, as you become an established blogger.
Securing your first blog sponsor is also crucial evidence to other businesses that you have a blog worth investing real money in. This is valuable enough by itself to excuse the low advertising rates you set right at the beginning.
We’ll look at how to get advertisers on your blog and how much to charge in more detail in a future Sex Blogger School post.
Good luck making money testing sex toys!