The next step in the ‘how to make a blog” series is monetization via Affiliate Marketing.
The reason you should check affiliate products and services to sell in your chosen niche BEFORE you start to build your blog is to ensure there are such products and services available.
If there are not, it could mean the chosen niche does not sell that well on-line.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
As the blog or website owner, you advertise someone else’s products or services and for each sale you make, you receive a commission.
Affiliate commissions range from 5% to 100%.
Here’s an example:
All you have to do is the promotion and marketing.
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
And that’s why…
Affiliate marketing is by far the most popular way of earning money from a blog.
It costs nothing to sign up to become an affiliate, you don’t have to worry about inventory, delivering goods or creating advertising banners. Everything is done for you.
You could join one of the many reputable companies such as CommissionJunction.com or Linkshare.com or Clickbank.com. They offer a huge selection of products from hundreds of different companies in dozens of categories.
You don’t have to worry about getting paid; your payment comes directly from them and not from each individual company.
They also offer a way for you to check how you’re doing, how many hits on each link or banner you’re getting and how much commission you’ve made so you can calculate what percentage of hits are converting into sales.
The affiliate companies are fully vetted before joining, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Most advertisers will offer a wide range of links and banners for their products that fit into just about any blog layout. These links and banners contain a unique code within a “cookie”, so when someone clicks through and purchases, you get paid.
What is a Cookie?
Cookies are a small parcel of code that a web server commands your browser to save until its next visit and they have differing life spans.
How does that affect affiliate marketing?
Well, most people don’t buy something immediately they visit a sales page. They go off and do research, think about it or whatever, but you want to earn a commission when that visitor returns and buys. There’s no telling how long that may take.
Many affiliate programs offer 30 or 60 day and sometimes permanent cookies…meaning if the prospective buyer returns to the sales page (within the duration of the cookie) you, the affiliate, will still get paid.
So if you’re torn between choosing from two different affiliate products, choose the one with the longer cookie duration.
When you are accepted by the affiliate company (sometimes this takes a few days) the duration of the cookie will be clearly stated, along with other company rules which you should always read.
Finding Affiliate Products to Promote
These are my 2 ’rules’ and recommend them to you:
1. The product or service should complement your niche.
This may sound a little obvious but I do come across many sites that try and sell many unrelated products and services on their site.
2. Only promote products and services that you have experienced and benefited from.
This is just my preference. I only like to promote products I have used and benefited from.
You may be rejected…
If you have a brand new blog, your application to promote certain companies’ products may be rejected. This is often because your site is unproven and does not have a certain amount of visitors daily. It happens to most people, so don’t get upset. Reapply when you have a large amount of regular traffic.
Many companies will accept you automatically, so just keep searching for relevant products.
A Final Few Word Cautionary Words From Mr Google
Matt Cutts who heads the Google’s web spam team said on 11/9/2011 that Google is testing algorithms that determine “… the things that really matter [on a blog or website], and how much content is above the fold.”
He warned that if ads obscure your content you may be penalized, and Google is already penalizing those sites that contain little content and too many advertisements.
Making a successful blog does involve some trial and error, especially with affiliate product choices; just go easy on the amount of ads you use!
In the next post on the series, “How to make a Blog” we shall cover the topic of monetizing with Digital Products.
The previous posts in the ‘how to make a blog‘ series: