We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Lori Ballen is a member of the Amazon Associates Program
I just earned $150.00 for one brand mention. In this article, I’ll share with you how I created a blog, ranked it on Google, and earned $150 for one brand mention through affiliate marketing. All too often, we see stories of earning 4 figures, 5 figures, 6 figures, and 7 figures, but it’s the 2, and 3 figure digits that make it all possible.
This is a new series that I’m testing for Medium where I share real deal strategies on how to make money writing content online. I’m not going to worry about the significance of the dollar amounts earned, but instead, be honest about how I earned them, with a duplicatable model.
In this specific case, I earned $150 by publishing a blog about Twitter unfollowing tools and listed several unfollowing tools. A reader clicked the blog and bought the tool, earning me $150 in commission.
The details below explain exactly how this was done.
Step 1: Launching the Website
The first step was building a website. I used WordPress to create a website focused on digital marketing. I chose a web host (in my case flywheel), and added my theme and plugins.
I chose my name as the URL and registered the domain name on GoDaddy.
Tip: Keep your domain name short. Choose a domain that is broad enough to grow into a larger niche when it’s time to do so. Don’t box yourself in with a domain that is too niche-focused. Some marketers use their names, like I did because they aren’t sure exactly where their website will grow.
One mistake I made early on in my digital marketing career was buying domains, building on them, and later letting them expire as I chose new domains.
Today, I understand that domains have value.
Step 2: Keyword Research
Keyword research is likely the most important activity that I perform. There’s a skill set to learn and master in keyword research. If you pick topics based on keywords that are overly competitive, the odds of ranking are extremely low.
On the other hand, if you choose topics that don’t have keywords that are searched on Google very often, you may wind up writing all day just to earn very little traffic.
As a general rule, when building a content website, the best keywords to choose are those that are in the easy category where it comes to keyword difficulty.
I use SEMrush to find these keywords.
Using SEMrush, I entered the word Twitter. Then, I used the KD filter to show only keywords with a keyword difficulty score of less than 49. My goal is to choose keyword difficulty scores that are at the same level or less than my authority score.
SEMrush will show you what your authority score is as well. This measures the quality of your backlink profile.
I don’t do backlink outreach but have organically earned backlinks to my website helping to grow the authority score. (which still isn’t very high on this website).
I found a nice cluster of keywords related to unfollowing on Twitter. While the keyword wasn’t in the easy category, it was in the possible category which I find works for this website at its current ranking power.
Step 4: Create the Content
Using my AI writing assistant, Frase, I was able to enter a target keyword and determine the content length based on the added SEO feature. Frase helps me see the competition level, understand how to include subtopics (with headings) for this article, and what other items should be included (such as images, frequently asked questions, specific keywords).
I allowed Frase to help me by writing content for these subheadings which allowed me to produce the content quickly. While AI writing tools aren’t perfect, I find them helpful. The better I get at using them, the faster my process becomes.
I avoid allowing FRASE to produce facts, as they aren’t factual research tools. Instead, they are good at covering frequently discussed topics.
Using the product description template, and the brand-provided details of the product (short paragraph), Jasper will produce high-quality descriptions for me to include for each item on my list.
(Note: I prefer FRASE + SEO tool over Jasper + Surfer SEO for those that are wondering. FRASE provides a much better window into the competition, and the format is more user-friendly. If you are going to only pick one AI tool, and are focused on SEO content, I recommend Frase).
As an affiliate for both AI tools, I earn enough to have both paid for out of my commissions, so it works for me to have both.
Step 5: Add Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product that you didn’t create. You apply to the brand’s affiliate program and agree to their program terms. When someone clicks the link and makes a qualifying purchase, you earn a commission, bounty, or cost per click.
In this case, SocialDog pays a 100% commission of the total software purchase but does not offer a recurring commission on subsequential subscription fees. The program is offered within the ShareASale Network.
I use Thirsty Affiliates, a plugin for WordPress to automate and track my affiliate links. I enter the anchor text I want to use to create the link, and anytime I type that keyword or keyword phrase, it adds the affiliate link for me.
The benefit in the auto-linking is that if the affiliate program ever changes networks, I can change the link in the system one time, and every instance will be updated.
Step 5: Spellcheck, Improve Grammar, Check Plagiarism
Once the content is written, it’s important to go through and check for errors. I use a tool called Grammarly to help me with this. It’s not perfect, but it’s helped me improve my writing skills. It suggests sentence improvements, and how to simplify words, and sentences.
I run the content through Grammarly’s plagiarism checker just to be sure the AI didn’t directly copy content from the web. The only time I’ve ever run into issues with this, is when I’m creating product descriptions. If the descriptions are overly complicated, it tends to include a directly written sentence or two.
I can make these changes easily after Grammarly catches the duplicated content.
Step 6: Add Images
I use Canva Pro. I have a brand kit and am able to quickly grab any template, and apply my brand kit colors and font style to the image. This is great for making featured blog photos, pins for Pinterest, and stories for Instagram and Facebook. It even has TikTok templates.
When appropriate to do so, I make images with statistics or infographics. I don’t use a lot of stock art anymore in my blogs unless I’m trying to create more ad space (that’s another topic entirely).
Step 7: Add Internal Links
Once the blog is completed, optimized (with keyword placement, alt text on the images, and a short URL), I publish. Then, I click edit again to access my Link Whisper plugin.
For example, if I mention unfollowing on twitter somewhere else on my website, on any page, Link Whisper is likely to find it, and suggest that I add the link.
The best part is that I can simply accept the suggestion, and it will find the page, and add the link via anchor-text for me!
Step 8: Promote
While social media promotion isn’t necessary, it’s part of my automation process. I use Missinglettr to create a year’s worth of social posts using a variety of images, and text bubbles. I add a few hashtags, and it posts to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Using Canva, I can also create a Pin for Pinterest, which I do when appropriate to do so.
Step 9: The Results
I created this blog in October of 2021. It began ranking and earning traffic in December of 2021 and earned its first affiliate sale in March of 2021. This is why SEO content requires playing the long game. There is rarely instant gratification, but other than paying for the software that I use, the traffic is free, and continues to grow.
Affiliate marketing through content websites is a great way to make money today. I get to work at home, avoid the insane gas prices, and work independently, where I want, and how I want.
As you can see, there are a number of steps that go into writing a blog post. But, if you have the right tools, it’s not as daunting as it may seem. And, with a little practice, you’ll be able to produce high-quality content that will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages, and possibly earn enough to quit your job and work at home.
Affiliate marketing is also a great side hustle!