How do you make money with blogging?
Andy here today. I just realized we hadn’t done a post for our “boost your income” category for a while, sorry ’bout that! Em and I have been sharing our work on this site with a few friends, which inevitably leads to the question:
How do you make money with blogging?
In our website building for beginners article, we introduced you to the three musts for getting your site up and running:
1. a good idea (not sure if yours is a good’un? This article will help)
2. some training and help with setting your site up
3. the right attitude (repeat after me: patience and hard work. Patience and hard work. Patience and hard work…. you see a theme emerging?)
Then in our successful online business ideas article, we explored those three things in more detail, and introduced you to some ways to make money (or monetize, in internet speak) from your site.
One of things we mentioned was affiliate marketing
This is how we make money blogging! And now you the answer to how we do it, we’re going to:
1. tell you more about just what the heck affiliate marketing is
2. explain how it can work for you, on your blog, with stuff you’re interested in
3. let you in on some things we wish we had known when we got started (pay attention! these will make your life easier).
To get us rolling, here’s a cool little 4 step infographic of how the whole thing is going to work.
The green earn revenue part? That’s the affiliate marketing part. That’s what we’re talking about today. Our other posts you can find above will help with step one and two. This post will help you with step 3. Em and I have got you totally covered here.
So what the heck is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is when you market a product that is not your own, and for every sale you generate the company that sells the product gives you a commission. Wikipedia has a nice explanation.
Here’s an example, using Em’s weight loss site (weightlossbeginsnow.com) to demonstrate.
Why we like affiliate marketing
There are several things, here are our top three.
- No shop is required, and you never have to handle or ship things to your customers. You simply refer them through to the person who is selling the product, they do all that hard stuff, and you collect your commission. Easy.
- There are loads of different opportunities. The sky is the limit with affiliate marketing, you should be able to find a product you can sell within pretty much any area. Basically, if people need help with something, there is bound to be someone making money off of that.
- It will generate “passive” income for you. The internet is on 24/7, there are no shop hours! You can earn money while you sleep, on your weekend, while you’re out with your buddies. How cool is that? I have put the word passive in quotation marks because affiliate marketing is not a set and forget opportunity. You will still have to work hard on your website.
How can I make money on my blog with affiliate marketing?
Like you saw in Em’s example above, it’s all about finding something you can help your audience with (like dieting), giving them some honest information about a product you’ve found (dieting book), then sending them off to purchase the product.
How do I find products?
The easiest way to start is to use Google. In the search bar, type in [product you want to sell] + affiliate program. See what comes up. Here’s a screen shot of a search I ran just now, using the diet example, to show you what your results might look like.
You can see that there are loads of different diets and associated affiliate programs out there. I could click on any of these, have a read, and decide if any of them are worthy of promoting on my site.
2. VIA AFFILIATE WEBSITES
There are lots of websites that are set up to connect affiliate marketers (that’s you) with companies wanting to sell things. Let’s take a quick look at four of the most popular ones.
Clickbank is a very popular affiliate marketing site, and there are thousands of products available, often by small independent sellers
You can start promoting products instantly, the companies can’t reject you. You just click “promote” on the product you like, and you’re good to go.
There are many high commission items on Clickbank, but there is also more cr*p on here than anywhere else I’ve seen, so you need to spend your time picking your product carefully.
Now known as CJ, this is another popular site. You’ll find more big and familiar brands here. Shoe companies like Brooks, weight loss programs like Jillian Michaels, etc. This is great, because you can refer people to products from brands they already know and trust. However, commissions tend to be a little lower and the sellers will want to check you out before approving you as an affiliate.
Very similar to CJ.
This is an interesting one. We’re all familiar with Amazon: there’s a mixture of absolutely anything and everything! There are all the big brands, and all the little guys, too. Amazon is a trusted name in itself, so people feel comfortable buying from there. You can sign up and start promoting things without needing manual approval from sellers, but commissions are the lowest out of all these four and people do have their accounts suspended if they don’t make sales within 3 months so be careful about when you choose to sign up.
Things to consider when choosing your product:
– Is there information on how popular this product is, or how often people buy it? You don’t want to flog a dead horse.
– Is it actually helpful and relevant for your readers? If not, they’ll never buy anything via your site ever again. Trust is everything.
– Will you get a good commission? Affiliates can earn anything from 2% to 80% for different products, depending on the company that sells them. Don’t be afraid to promote something with a low commission if it is a very popular product, you could end up earning more from that than only selling very expensive items with bigger commissions, because you might get hardly any sales for those.
How to use affiliate products in your site
Okay, so you found a product and you are all set to promote it. Here’s a few pointers for how to place those affiliate products within your site.
– Have a reviews category for your website, and only include affilate links in this space. You can funnel through to your reviews from other posts around your website.
– Use calls to action. Such as “read more here” “buy today for only $5″. These tend to work well at the end of your article: it gives people a clear action to take when they’ve finished reading.
-Be genuine. You’ll be so much more trustworthy. Even if that means pointing out the negatives of whatever the product is. You don’t want to disappoint your reader, you want to help them make an informed decision (remember: your top priority is to help people).
– Use pictures and videos. People are visual creatures and they love to click on pictures. Leverage this by linking your picture to your product.
– Put affiliate links in all your pages, use a review category as above. You can always link to your reviews from other articles. If you have affiliate links all through your site, Google will hate you. Google will think you’re just one big bridge to other sites, and they will punish you with poor rankings. Keep the links subtle and keep them to your reviews!
– Be over the top. It’s easy to get overexcited, particularly if you like the product and genuinely want people to use it. Don’t load your post with links, use them sparingly.
Things to be aware of
This is a little “look out” or “proceed with caution” note for you.
– Some programs might reject you. Applying to become an affiliate for a product does not guarantee the company will want you as an affiliate, so make sure you can actually sell the product before you spend your time writing an awesome article on it. Reasons you might get rejected:
- you live in the wrong country (we’ve missed out on a few that are only for US citizens)
- your website doesn’t get enough traffic (we’ve missed out for this reason too. Onward and upward though, we’ll come back to these products later).
– Some affiliate programs may suspend your account if you don’t make sales within a certain time period. I’ve heard of people getting kicked off of Amazon for not making sales within 3 months, so you really do need to be generating some good traffic to your website first to avoid this. Other programs won’t worry about this though, so don’t be put off if you don’t have that much traffic, just make sure you know where you stand.
– There are a lot of people trying to make money on the internet. As a result, there are tons and tons of really dodgy products that are available for affiliate marketers to sell. If something looks scammy or you don’t agree with it, then don’t be tempted to sell it.
Making money from blogging takes time. You need to build up your website, you need to have a steady audience, and the search engines have to trust you. This can take months. In fact, it took Em and I three months to make our first $8. It was a fantastic moment, and a great motivator to keep going.
The biggest stumbling block people face when setting up their online business is the sense of failure when things don’t happen quick, or trouble continuing with their vision. This is why we’re such big advocates of Wealthy Affiliate, the community there has really helped keep our spirits up and our motivation high.
Things we wish we’d known when we started this site
– Work on one idea at a time, do it well.
– The length of the articles you write for your website matters to google. The longer the better, but the content must be good not just filler. We aim for 1500 words now (different people may have other opinions, but thats’ what we do).
– Link between the posts on your site. This shows google that your content is valuable and important. It also allows you to funnel people from one article through to a review article (where your affiliate links for making money are).
– Keywords are CRITICAL (we’ve got a whole post on why and how to find good keywords for free).
– Make sure your site is mobile friendly. More and more people are using the internet on their phone, so make sure your site is readable to them!
– Write your articles like you’re talking to a friend. This will help people trust you and they’ll feel better about buying stuff via your site.
– If you’re unsure about how exactly to go about doing all this with your website, join a training program to learn, learn, learn! We recommend Wealthy Affiliate because it’s free and the community is amazing. Read our review here to find out more on how you could benefit too.
If you’ve read all the way through to here, you’re clearly very interested in taking this thing further. Take action and get yourself some comprehensive affiliate marketing training.
You’ll also like these articles.
Read them now, then get cracking on your money making blog!
Happy downsizing (and blogging),
patience image by BK, CC 2.0, https://flic.kr/p/vxrfb1