The Ultimate Guide: How to Start Affiliate Marketing on Your Blog

As a blogger, your job is to provide great content to your readers.Right?
Stuff they can use almost immediately.
But does that mean that you can’t make money from them?No.
In fact, they’d love to buy things from you. That’s if you’ve been treating them right.
So, do you have to create your own product?No.
How will you make money then?
Well, that’s where affiliate marketing comes in.


affiliate marketing,guide

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is simple.



You promote someone’s product and every time you make a sale you earn a commission.



Here’s how it works:
  • You choose a product and join its affiliate program.
  • You share, promote, or recommend the product using your affiliate link.
  • You earn a cut from every sale you generate.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

There are a lot of different ways to track affiliates these days, but all are based on someone clicking your special tracking link.
The most common and basic type of tracking is via a cookie.
When an affiliate link is clicked, a small file called a cookie is stored on the users computer. Then they buy a product, the merchant can see that they were referred by you.
There are also more advanced methods based on the email used or IP address – but we won’t get into those here, we’ll stick to the basics.

How to Make Your First Dollar Through Affiliate Marketing

There are lots of approaches to making money with affiliate links. But if I was just beginning to learn how to become an affiliate marketer, and needed to say, make hundred bucks this week? This video shows you step by step, exactly how I’d do it:



One of the things I love about this type of monetization is that affiliate marketing for beginners is actually really easy to jump into (even without a bunch of technical knowledge).
Then as your site grows and your marketing skills grow you can begin to learn more advanced strategies and tactics.

How Much Money Can You Make With Affiliate Marketing?

The amount you can make will vary wildly – it honestly falls somewhere between zero and millions. Your income will be directly related to the type of offers you promote, how much traffic you get to the site, and your grasp of other online marketing skills like email marketing and SEO.
But in this post you’ll get a pretty good sense of the earning potential from different types of promotions.

How Do You Become an Affiliate Marketer?

Here’s the thing, you can pick just about any product that you can buy online, and there will be an affiliate program that will pay you a finders fee for referring a sale.
However, just because you can promote anything, doesn’t mean you should. 
The most important thing to consider when selecting a product to market is, “is it relevant to your audience?”
For instance, for me to try and advertise for dumbbells on Location Rebel probably isn’t the smartest thing, because 99% of my audience could care less about them.
However, for me to promote, say, WP Engine a WordPress hosting company – makes much more sense, since almost every one of my readers either has or has considered starting a website.
And just recently, we promoted Streak as an awesome tool for freelancers to use to monitor leads right from their inbox. Once again, that’s something that speaks directly to the audience.
When I’m trying to decide what to promote I always ask myself the following questions:
  • Do I use this product?
  • Will the vast majority of my readers benefit from using this product?
  • Is the buying process easy?
  • Is there a good affiliate commission rate? (Not always necessary)
If I answer yes to each of these questions, then it’s probably a good fit and worth promoting.
Action Item: Make a list of products that you use that you think your blog audience would benefit from using as well. Try to think of as many as you can.
And remember, these can include complementary products as well. If you write about travel, for instance, you can include tons of complementary products like luggage, headphones, backpacks, and clothing too.

Why Affiliate Marketing is Better than Other Types of Blog Monetization

Most new bloggers assume that advertising or banner ads are the best way to monetize your site.
You couldn’t be more wrong.
They often get started with Adsense because it’s easy. To be honest I can’t remember the last time I saw an Adsense advertisement – thank you Adblock!
But seriously, not only will these make your site hideous, you have to have obscene amounts of traffic to actually make any real income.
Selling ad space to sponsors is almost as bad.
A good rule of thumb I’ve always used for how much you could sell ad space for is this:
Daily visitors divided by 10 is the dollar amount you can make per month on an ad.
Example:
If you get 1,000 visitors a day, you divide that by 10 and see that you can charge $100 a month for each ad on your site.
Now keep in mind this is just a rule of thumb, and depending on your niche it could be substantially higher or substantially lower.
If you’re just starting out, $100 a month could seem pretty good, but it takes a lot of work to get up t0 1k visitors a day – and if you get that many, you’re much better off monetizing via affiliate ads or ads for your own product.
If I had ad space on Location Rebel, I’d be much more likely to promote an affiliate product, or one of my own products than sell the ad space.
If someone clicks on it and buys my product I make $500 – 5 times more than I’d make for that sponsored ad. All I need is one every 5 months to make this a better option. Not only that, but it’s helping build my brand identity and reputation, rather than some random company.

How to Promote an Affiliate Offer

Ok, now the most important part.
By now you should have a good sense of what affiliate marketing is, have an idea of what products you want to promote and know how to get your affiliate links for them.
But if you don’t know how to properly promote them, it doesn’t really matter now, does it? Nope.
In this section, we’re going to look at some of the easiest and most successful ways to promote an affiliate offer.

The Resource Page

This is probably the easiest thing you can do right now to bring in a few sales over the coming weeks: create a resource page.
Regardless of what your business is, there are tools, products, and services that you use to run your blog or business. By putting together a page of all of your tools and resources, you’re creating something that’s shareable, as well as useful.

Product Reviews

If you’ve built up a lot of trust with your audience, product reviews are a fantastic way to generate some sales. This works for all three types of products you can promote, and I’ve personally seen success with each.
They key to a successful product review is honesty.
I’d generally only review things you like, but if there are drawbacks or little things that bother you – be upfront about them. Most people know that no product is perfect, so if you set expectations and are open with them, there’s a good chance they’ll buy it anyway.
Make sure you include the following items in any product review:
  • Clear headline featuring your desired keyword (“product name review” for instance)
  • Clear links for where to buy at both the top and bottom of the page
  • A clear recommendation
  • A personal story about how you use the product or why you recommend it
I’ve done this with a lot of success on my golf site.

Tutorials

Tutorials are easily one of the most effective strategies for driving affiliate sales. They can take a long time to put together, but it’s also totally worth it.
So what is a tutorial exactly?
Simple, you create a post that shows people how to accomplish something step by step – you then make a product or service one of the key components to success.
I’ve done a couple of these.
With my How to Build a Niche Site post, I talk about all the steps you need to take to get a niche site up and running. So that includes some of the tools I know and love like Sumo and ConvertKit.


I make hundreds of dollars a month off of both of these posts but I know they are also really valuable to readers and we make sure to update them frequently.

Comparison Posts

These can be another really effective strategy for making affiliate sales.
It works well when there are either two products that are very similar and people are thinking about one or the other.
A great example would be comparing the PlayStation 4 vs the Xbox One.
If people are looking for a new game console, it’s probably going to be one of the two. That said, I don’t recommend you choose these because due to the overwhelming amount of information about both – it’d be hard to rank well in the search engines for any terms related to them.
A personal example is a post I just did about two competing golf technologies Game Golf and Arccos Golf. They both do variations of the same thing, but no one had played as many rounds with both systems as I had. So I created a definitive post which has sent a lot of traffic, and a few sales, my way over the last couple weeks.
Another type of comparison post that works well is when there are a ton of options, and people don’t know what to choose.  Web hosting is a great niche for this.
Recently, I created an in-depth post that compared and contrasted all of the different options for hosting – and helped the user to select the best option for them. It didn’t really matter which one they chose because I’d get a commission no matter what.

Email Series

This is probably the most effective (and most advanced) method we’ll talk about for making affiliate sales: your email list.
If you’re getting to the point where you have a sizable list, you could create a series of emails to promote a product. This works best if it’s an information product with relatively high commissions.
For this to work well you should have the following:
  • A list of at least 1,000 people
  • A product you’ve either used and had success with, or have a very good story/reason for promoting
  • A product that converts well (talk to the creator about this)
I’ve found a 3 email series usually works well for this, but don’t start going this direction until you’ve had some experience with either email marketing or the other affiliate strategies we’ve talked about.

Some Final Affiliate Marketing Strategies and Tips

If you follow along with the strategies above, you’ll be making affiliate sales in no time off of your blog.
To improve your chances even more, I’ve got a couple more tips for you.
Use Pretty Link
Affiliate links are generally pretty ugly. They’re long links, that often go to a secondary domain, and are pretty clear that they’re an affiliate. Download the plugin Pretty Link to make your links look much more friendly.
Develop a Good Relationship with an Affiliate Manager
Most major affiliate programs for physical products or services will have an affiliate manager, whose sole job is to help you generate more sales.
You’ll need to prove to them that you have some potential, but do your best to get them on the phone before you start doing any major promotions. They’ll be able to give you a good sense of what works, what doesn’t, and potentially even give you a boost in commissions.
One phone call nearly doubled my commissions for one hosting company in particular.

Wrapping Up

I know that was a lot of information, but if you’ve been struggling with figuring out how to start monetizing your blog, the strategies above are a fantastic starting point.
It’s how I made my first dollars online, and it has the potential to create a win/win for both you and your readers!





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