This post contains some affiliate links. But not many :-).
Aah, Blogging for a Living! The ultimate j.o.b. At least for some of us! How to make money with a blog with affiliate marketing is probably the most asked question about blogging today!? As a WordPress blog designer, a good portion of my clients start a WordPress blog for this very reason. I don't blame them! My blog in particular is not necessarily an “affiliate type blog”. In fact, at this point in time, the majority of my income does not come from affiliate links at all, it comes from my web design services. However, I enjoy the happy mix. My point is, you can take advantage of more than one income stream in the same blog if you wish to :-).
But some bloggers would prefer to focus on one money making income stream, such as making money with your blog from affiliate marketing. Let's dive into that a little bit, then at the bottom I have gathered some resources for you to dig into deeper if you wish to move forward.
We will talk about what affiliate marketing is, what it would really take for you to be successful at it, and what tools/skills and legal stuff (yes, this is important) you will need to get things off the ground.
What is affiliate marketing?
Basically, affiliate marketing is selling someone else's product via a special link that tracks your sales and earns you a commission every time someone uses your special affiliate link to purchase something. Affiliate programs are free for both you AND the person who clicks through your link. The product or service does not cost any more than it normally does without a link. Businesses and business owners use affiliate programs as a low risk advertising option because unlike with placing ads, the affiliate program only pays out when there is a purchase made. This of course, poses a low risk to the business and a win win situation for the affiliate and his/her followers.
That said, not every affiliate program is open to all who apply. Some businesses prefer to either limit it to a certain number, or even a certain type of marketer (based on blog visitor stats, for example), or based on a previous purchase level. But the majority of affiliate programs offer relatively easy entry requirements.
How to be successful with affiliate marketing
I personally believe that although, easy, affiliate marketing is certainly not an overnight deal. You need to be a relatively good and consistent blogger/writer to be able to attract the amount of visitors you will need to generate at least significant sales from your affiliates. In other words, it will take some work.
Not only that, but in general most people are fully aware of affiliate tactics so being too eager (think tons of pop-ups, flashy images and ridiculous amounts of ads throughout all your posts) and appearing to only trying to make a buck, will definitely turn people away from purchasing through your links. For this reason, now a days (IMHO) you must not just generate content, but VALUABLE content. Your visitors should be able to gain a reasonable amount of actionable value from what you blog about and not just be referred to buy this and that with no rhyme or reason. It's definitely a delicate balance between links and how they are included in what you share. SImply adding links and images throughout your website will serve little value to you or your readers without good content.
Affiliate marketing legal requirements
I believe it was 2008(?) when the FTCC passed a law that anyone promoting any type of sponsored or affiliate link from which they could make a commission, MUST disclose that such link(s) are affiliate links and they will make a commission. This is why you will notice disclaimers on blog posts that contain affiliate links such as: “This post contains affiliate links from which I might make a commission should you decide to purchase through that link”.
If your blog makes a substantial amount of money from affiliate marketing then it is also recommended you add a disclaimer page within your blog to link to as well that contains more details, particularly also if you are collecting any type of customer information. My disclaimer page is pretty simple and straightforward and although affiliate marketing isn't my main source of income, I don't mind adding it to keep everyone properly informed.
What you will need to get started with affiliate marketing
1- The first thing you will need is a blog. I recommend WordPress because of it's scalability and flexible design options. But unfortunately a FREE blog won't do for this, for they will limit your affiliate and sponsor links. At least WordPress.org will.
You can start a blog several ways:
a- Hire a designer to set it up for you. If you lack technical savvy AND have some funds, this is HIGHLY recommended. It will save you HOURS of headaches in the end, trust me.
b- Do it yourself (I have a course that teaches you how to do just that: Build Your Own Self hosted WordPress Blog)
c- Scour the web for free resources such as searching for free videos on YouTube (tons there), or maybe subscribing to someone offering a free course. In my experience these will show you how to start a free blog instead of a self hosted blog and not too many more details, HOWEVER, there are some gems out there as well! I guess it depends on how much time you want to spend piecing it all together. 🙂
2- Sign up for affiliate programs, preferably, of services or products YOU have experienced.
a- Maybe a course you have taken and have successfully used and gotten results from
b- Amazon offers a free affiliate program through which you can sell ANYTHING on Amazon and receive a small commission for. Some folks have embedded Amazon shops into their blogs too! Do note the commission is very low, but if you have a large following, it may be reasonable to pursue!
c- Traditional online companies like Siteground, godaddy, bluehost, etc… offer affiliate programs for domain and hosting referrals (quite useful right?). I personally recommend Siteground (note this is an affiliate link) for WordPress Hosting. It is not only VERY reasonably priced, but FAST too. Plus their hosting includes your domain for free. Woop!
d- You could also attract sponsors by offering to review their products via your blog (they usually want to see traffic stats first). Beauty bloggers do this very well! I LOVE watching YouTubers!
c- Go to Share-a-sale (completely free program) and apply to some of the merchants who participate, then share their affiliate links by writing articles about how to use their services or offering a review. Most merchants offer ready made banners and pre-coded links. Do know that many do require you to apply before they accept affiliates. Share a Sale manages many popular merchant affiliate programs. Sometimes you will find businesses will refer you to Share a Sale to apply for their affiliate program. Either way works.
3- Start writing and growing your visitor traffic, which is easier said than done, I am afraid. You will also need some strong SEO techniques to get organic traffic to your blog. If you are so inclined, scroll back to the top and you are welcome to optin to grab my SEO Guide ;-).
And roughly, that's about what you will need. Now, I admit I am NO EXPERT in affiliate marketing (always remain I student I say!), and would rather send you to those already well established for more details if you wish to proceed. But know that it is in the daily, consistent writing effort aimed at a specific audience that will render the best results. If you hate writing, blogging or reviewing programs… maybe this is not a great fit. Otherwise, GO FOR IT!
Affiliate marketing resources I recommend for your reading enjoyment
But first, advice: Before making an investment into any type of courses or programs on affiliate marketing, I recommend you first dedicated time to a self-evaluation. What services could YOU offer? I feel that although this sounds harder, it is in fact easier to succeed at. What can you teach others? Can you craft? Can you write well? Are you a good editor? Would you make a great Virtual Assistant? Do you love social media? You could you look into managing others' accounts. These are all viable and profitable options which you could later add affiliate marketing to as a side income. Anyway, just some friendly advice from me to you. :-).
This below is NOT an affiliate link, by the way. This is a real referral to someone's website whom I have NOT met but I deem offers excellent advice on running an affiliate marketing program. You will see what I mean when you go there. http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/
If you are ready to start blogging, regardless of what you will pursue with it, I would LOVE to help you get started. Let's connect and see how I can guide you or check out by D.I.Y blog course. Use 20DEAL at checkout to get a 20% off discount. My gift to you. Thank you for reading!
I hope you've gleaned some insight from this post about how to make money with a blog in affiliate marketing.