Affiliate marketing is a relatively easy way to monetize a blog. However, there is more to affiliate marketing than placing a few advertisements in a blog’s sidebar. You might make some spare change that way. But, if you want to make some serious money, you will need to put in a little more effort.
Before getting into maximizing affiliate earnings, here’s a quick explanation of how this monetization opportunity works.
Affiliate marketing (here’s a beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing)is a means of earning income by driving traffic to a company’s website. Probably one of the best-known affiliate marketing programs is Amazon Associates.
Still, there are lots of other affiliate programs as well.
When you have signed up for an affiliate program, you can place links on your blog to products for sale on other websites. These affiliate links contain a tracking code that is unique to you. When someone referred via one of your affiliate links purchases something on the other website, you earn a commission on that sale.
You can use these links on Youtube, your website, social channels, etc. as long as the program permits it.
What Types of Affiliate Programs Are There?
There are thousands of different affiliate programs available. As mentioned above, the best-known of all the affiliate programs is the one operated by Amazon. Some other major brands also have affiliate programs, including eBay, GoDaddy, and Gearbest.
Amazon dropped their commission, and many publishers, including me, are seeking more lucrative relationships. Personally, I like software programs that offer recurring commissions for the life of the subscriber.
In addition to the brands that run affiliate programs, there are also affiliate marketplace websites. You can sign up for numerous brand programs on these sites, all operated by the marketplace site. Examples of this type of affiliate site are Share a Sale, CJ Affiliate, and AWIN.
How Do You Join an Affiliate Program?
Most affiliate programs do not charge you anything to join. However, most programs do have specific criteria that you must meet to be eligible. Some programs will insist on a minimum number of monthly visitors to your blog, for example. And there are usually quality and content criteria to meet.
How Do You Maximize Income from Affiliate Programs?
So, finding and joining an affiliate program is relatively straightforward. And, if you have a well-established blog with a reasonable number of monthly visitors, you will have no difficulty finding and joining a suitable affiliate program. But then you must convince people to click on your affiliate links and make a purchase. And that’s not as straightforward as it might sound. So, here are some tips to help you make money from affiliate programs.
1. Choose the Right Affiliate Program
The first step to monetizing your blog with affiliate links is to choose the right affiliate program. As mentioned above, there are thousands of affiliate programs selling almost every type of product imaginable. However, not all affiliate programs will be suitable for your blog.
Firstly, you will want to choose a product that dovetails nicely with your blog’s niche. It’s stating the obvious, but you don’t want to be selling power tools on a recipe blog!
Secondly, it is essential to remember that you effectively endorse products when you place an affiliate link on your site. So, it is best to select products that you believe in and are happy to recommend.
Finally, it will also help to only refer your readers to companies and products that align with the values of your blog. Suppose you are a proponent of animal rights, for example. In that case, you would not want to recommend cosmetics that have been tested on animals.https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FHZ6v8W9LauY%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DHZ6v8W9LauY&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FHZ6v8W9LauY%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube
2. Create Valuable Content
Affiliate marketing works best when your content offers more than an advertisement. Indeed, if all someone wants to do is buy a product, that person will go straight to the manufacturer’s site or buy it from a site like Amazon.
What people want to see on your blog is an honest review of a product. Or perhaps a comparison of several similar products. (Here are some awesome examples).
Other ways to add affiliate marketing to a blog include product tutorials and unboxing videos.
3. Be Authentic
Readers will see right through you if you say that every product you review is the best thing since sliced bread. And a lack of authenticity would probably cost you more than a few regular readers.
Yes, you will probably want to put a positive spin on products if you can. After all, you are trying to monetize your blog. But, a general rule of thumb is, don’t promote a product you wouldn’t buy yourself. And don’t be afraid sometimes to say what you think is wrong with a product, because very few products are perfect.
4. Don’t Overpromote
If you have built up a loyal following, try not to stray too far from the path that has been successful to date. Avoid the temptation, for example, of posting twenty promotional blog posts in a row after signing up for an affiliate program.
And, when you do create a promotional post, limit the number of affiliate links or advertisements you place on the page.
There are more than enough blogs out there that were created purely to sell affiliate products. The world, and especially your regular readers, don’t want to see another one.
Most people will have no issue with you making some money from your blog. Nevertheless, the best blogs are entertaining and informative, not page after page of pushy promotional material.
5. Disclose Affiliations
As mentioned above, most people realize that bloggers must make money somehow. So, it will come as no surprise to most people when you place advertisements or affiliate links on your blog. So, don’t worry about telling your readers that you will make some commission if they buy a recommended product.
Affiliate disclosure is a legal requirement in most regions. And you are not allowed to hide the disclosure somewhere at the bottom of the page in an unreadably small font.
In any event, there is no need to be embarrassed by an affiliate disclosure. Indeed, being open about the affiliation will help build trust with your readers.
6. Optimize Pages for Affiliate Keywords
Most of the above points relate to not alienating your existing readers. However, unless you have a massive regular readership, it’s the one-off visitors who bring the real money from affiliate marketing.
And, to attract those people, you will need to optimize your blog posts for relevant keywords.
The people you want to attract to affiliate pages posts are the people who intend to buy. So, when you do your keyword research, consider the terms potential buyers will use. People wishing to buy a product tend to use words like best, cheap, review, or alternative in their search terms.
7. Use Call to Actions
The entire point of affiliate marketing is to get people clicking on the affiliate link. So, visitors to your affiliate pages must find the relevant link and be persuaded to follow that link through to the product details.
Even if someone doesn’t buy immediately, most affiliate programs will credit you if that individual makes a purchase several days later. And some programs, like Amazon Associates, also credit you with the commission for other products that person purchases, too.
So, it is best to have straightforward and easy-to-find calls to action (CTAs).
A CTA, usually a button, should have concise and commanding instructions, such as “Buy Now” or “Order Today to Save 50%”. And CTAs should stand out from the rest of the page, so big and bold fonts are good, as are contrasting colors.
8. Build a Mailing List
You can also sell affiliate products to your subscribers. Indeed, professional affiliate marketers often say that the money is in the list. So, if you haven’t already done so, set up a mailing list with a provider like Mailchimp, and start encouraging visitors to sign up.
Remember, though, not to bombard your subscribers with affiliate offers. Instead, drop one or two offers into your regular updates. And check the terms and conditions of your chosen affiliate program too.
Some affiliate programs don’t permit their links to be embedded in emails. Instead, you must direct users to a landing page on your blog.
9. Promote Your Affiliate Pages on Social Media
You can boost the visitors to your affiliate promotional pages by promoting them on your social media accounts. You may also be able to take advantage of social media advertising with some types of affiliate promotions.
10. Monitor Traffic and Conversions
Finally, it may take a bit of trial and error to find what works on your blog and what does not. Some products will resonate better with your readers than others, for example. And some content formats will perform better than others.
So, it will help you make more money from affiliate marketing if you track visitors and conversions for each of your affiliate pages. Then, you can use what you learn to create more profitable posts. And you can go back and modify older posts to maximize your income from affiliate programs.
It is possible to earn substantial amounts of money from affiliate marketing. However, you will need a decent volume of visitors to your blog for that to happen. Still, if you find products that you believe in and can write passionately about, anything is possible.
So, remember that the key to affiliate marketing success is quality content. And try not to alienate existing followers by overpromoting affiliate products. Stay true to your blog and your principles, and people will know you are genuine. Then, you will be able to earn money and continue to build a sizeable readership.