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:
You could promote my Income Blogging Guide course as an affiliate and for each sale you could earn up to $141.
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:
Part One: How To Make A Blog: Getting Your Niche Right Is Crucial
It is really a very easy way to make money through affiliate products. It is better to chose good quality products so that your image will not tarnish.
That’s why I suggest you promote products / services you have used and benefited from.
Great tips! It’s also a good idea to check the affiliate products you are selling from time to time. I found on a few occasions that I was selling an ebook that did not exist anymore, or that I was linking to a website that didn’t have affiliation with Commission Juction anymore.
That is a good point. I’ve done that several times!
I just started making some money with affiliate marketing by setting up a review site, building some content pages (about 10) and sending traffic to it from article directories and other forums. Depending on the product, you can set this up and forget about it for a while. You just have to make sure it’s got decent content related to the product and it’s use and benefits
That sounds like a good approach – I can see you creating a product to teach others!
Do you think it’s a good idea to monetize your site immediately even if it’s accepted?
If Matt’s talking about ads obstructing content then maybe having them at all would be damaging as well?
Just wondering if it’s best to try building up your rank and PR then adding ads later on.
I would certainly wait…build up my ranking first.
At this stage in my ‘how to make a blog’ series…we are just looking to see what affiliate products are available.
We’ve yet to build the site!
ear Andrew –
I have made some money on affiliate marketing. Not a lot but it is pretty easy and dollars add up.
I am panting – waiting – for your next post. Selling your own products on your blog – especially as it pertains to publishing your own books.
And the comments that will probably be informative.
At this stage in the process…we are only looking to see what products are available for possible selling on our site.
The actual selling process is quite a long way off.
Affiliate marketing is a great source of income that is why I love promoting most of the products on my blog.
Are you making good income from the affiliate products you promote?
Its sounds good. So now I have to learn more about affiliate marketing. However you provide here nice stuffs.
Thanks for this nice post.
From my experience, I would say Amazon and ClickBank are the best affiliate companies to work with. I have had a lot of success with them.
Well People do not make money for years on affiliate because of so many reasons mentioned and many people make money who cover up all suggestions given in this content..
Do you anticipate it’s a acceptable abstraction to monetize your website anon even if it’s accepted?
If Matt’s talking about ads obstructing agreeable again maybe accepting them at all would be damaging as well?
I think the theme of “build trust” still holds true. I just began affiliate marketing, but will only promote products I actually own, use, and enjoy.
As far as clickbank goes, I have not had much success (I promote mostly Amazon products). Is Clickbank marketing different, or do I just need to be more diligent?
Clickbank offers higher commisison percentages but it really boils down to the products you promote.
If you only promote products you have used yourself, that should not be a problem.
I have been using Amazon as an affiliate on my own brand new ‘test’ website and have had something like 13 clicks. I understand that Amazon do not pay for just clicks, are there any of these affiliates that will pay per click like Adsense?
I am not aware of any affiliates.
You could also try Chitika which pays per click like Adsense.
Thanks for that, ill check out Chitika.
I have signed up as an affiliate for your program. I think one of the best markets to promote and that can be sold in almost every niche is web hosting. Hosting companies pay good amounts of $$$ and with some creativity hosting can be made to appeal to anyone. For example, if your nice is “cab drivers for hire” just write an article saying how much a web site can make a driver look professional and earn him many more clients by providing a huge advantage over competitors who rely on offline methods only to get clients.
Selling hosting to people who are not in the make money/blogging niche is easier too since the competition is not as fierce.
@Patrick: Google “CPA offers”. You will find quite a few.
Hosting can be good as an affiliate product for those in our world.
Each website owner has to find the best products for their niche.