Affiliate marketing is one of the most profitable and effective ways for bloggers to monetize their traffic. If you are a blogger and are wondering how to get started with Affiliate Marketing, you have come to the right place.
Creating content and building an audience is essential for affiliate marketing and whether you are an stablished blogger or you are just starting out, you are already one step ahead of the rest.
I’ve been blogging for 4 years (on 3 blogs) and affiliate marketing represents 70% of my income so I might be a bit biased. But, I believe affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for any blogger to build a scalable online income and monetize your blog even without a lot of traffic.
If you are not taking advantage of affiliate marketing yet, you are leaving money on the table but don’t worry.
In this article you will learn:
✓ Why Affiliate Marketing is the best way to monetize your blog
✓ How to get started with affiliate marketing no matter how long you’ve been blogging
✓ How to choose the best affiliate programs for your blog
✓ How to create content that turns your readers into buyers.
✓ How to optimize and scale your affiliate income
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers
1. What is Affiliate Marketing
To put it simply, Affiliate Marketing is a marketing strategy in which affiliates make an agreement with a brand to promote their product and receive a commission in exchange for each sale.
It is a convenient deal for both sides since you get to promote monetize your traffic, platform, and followers without having to create their own product, invest in inventory or dealing with customer service.
In a similar way, the brand gets a huge benefit by reaching a new targeted audience without much work on their side and only having to pay you when a sale is made.
When compared to other sources of leads, blog visitors are great potential customers for companies. The fact that they are reading your articles shows that they are already aware of their needs or problems and activelyy looking for a solution. They have gone on Google type their search and land on your article.
As a blogger and affiliate, you have the power (and responsibility) to help them find a solution and recommend a product or service that you think it will help them. If you can provide value and earn their trust and they will be happy to follow your advice.
The above is an example of an article where I teach how to create a landing page and recommend the software Clickfunnels which is what I personally use so I am happy to promote it as an affiliate.
Assuming the product or service you are recommending is truly good and helpful, most of the work is done, all the company needs to do is have a good landing page and a competitive offer.
It is estimated that 81% of companies around the world have affiliate programs which prove how effective affiliate marketing is and how important affiliates are for the merchants.
2. How does affiliate marketing work for bloggers?
For a blogger, the affiliate marketing process looks like this:
As a blogger, this is what the affiliate marketing process would look like for you:
- Based on your blog niche and topics, do some research, and choose a program you want to promote (more on how to choose the best programs later).
- Apply to join the affiliate program. For some programs, it is a requirement that you have a blog, website, or at least a big social media following. For some beginner affiliate marketers, this can be an obstacle but as a blogger, you are most likely to be approved for any program you apply for.
- When you are accepted you will be able to get your affiliate links which are used to track your referrals. When someone clicks on your links a small piece of code is saved on their browser for a specific time depending on the program. This way when they make a purchase the commission is attributed to you.
- Finally, you create some articles where you can include the affiliate offer in a relevant way that helps your audience. I’ll explain more about the types of artciles and how to help your conversion later on the article but in short that is how affiliate marketing for bloggers works.
- Bonus: You go ahead and enjoy your earnings!
2. Why Affiliate Marketing is The Best Way to Monetize Your Blog
✓ It helps you monetize your blog even with a small audience
One of the benefits of promoting affiliate offers on your blog is that you don’t need to have a lot of visitors in order to make a decent income.
Other moentization methods like placing ads on your site, require you to have at least 50k page views/month to make a significant income. On the other hand, with affiliate marketing, you get to promote high ticket commission where you can make the same income or more with fewers visitors.
As a new blogger this can help you monetize your blog from the beggining allowing you to reinvest, outsource and focus on money generating tasks.
One of my blogs is on a very small niche and only get around 20k visitors/ month but still makes $4,000 in affiliate commissions while it only makes $200 in ads. See my point?
✓ It can become a passive source of income
A passive traffic source is the key to creating a passive income and a blog is one of the best ways to get free organic traffic.
Contrary to other promotional methods like Social Media or paid ads where you stop getting traffic as soon as you stop posting or paying, with a blog you can get traffic for years after publishing your articles IF you make a good job with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
This means that you can post an article today and make commissions on your sleep or while you are on vacations months after. I know this sounds like a cliche but once your blog is established you can take a week or even a month’s vacation and your income won’t suffer.
✓ Recurring revenue
These are two of my favorite words when it comes to affiliate marketing. Recurring revenue programs means you make a commission every month for as long as your referral stays on the program.
It is common with subscription-based businesses whether it is digital products such as software or memberships or physical products where customers sign up to receive them every month.
But you can find them in lots of different niches like a fitness app, a meal delivery service, insurance, online learning, etc.
With Recurring Revenue programs, you only need to refer your audience to the product once and they will pay you a commission every month the client continues using the product.
Promoting this type of offer means you have a secured income every month as a base to keep growing your business and your earnings have a big potential to multiply month after month.
✓ It is a sustainable long-term business
Many people get into Affiliate Marketing looking for the fastest way to make some money. Spoiler: That is not either the best or even a sustainable strategy.
Luckily, if you have a blog or are in the process of creating one, you are on this for the long-haul and know that it is better to put some time up-front to create a profitable long-term business.
Affiliate Marketing is a great long-term strategy to monetize your blog. It can be easily implemented, optimized and tracked making it the perfect business opportunity for bloggers.
It is also one of the safest ways to promote affiliate offers since it is your own platform and nobody can take it down or ban you overnight as it can happen with a social media or an ad account.
✓ Zero to Very low start-up costs
Affiliate Marketing itself has zero costs. Most worth-while affiliate programs are completely free to join so all you need to pay for is your blogging costs which, compared to other businesses, had super low start up costs.
Compared to an offline “brick and mortar” business or even other online methods, that’s on the very cheap end
Recommended: How much does it really cost to start a blog?
✓ It helps you serve your audience
As a blogger, your main ‘job’ is to provide value to your audience so they want to keep coming back and become your loyal readers.
Through affiliate marketing, you can help them solve a problem or a need without ruining their user experience like it can happen when you place ads on your blog.
When visitors come to your site after searching for an answer or solution and you have written an article that actually helps them and that includes a product they do the same, you are giving them what they are looking for.
Additionally, some affiliate programs will give you a special discount so you can offer it to your readers so they’ll get that extra benefit too.
✓ You don’t need to be an expert to do Affiliate Marketing through blogging
Another one of the benefits of selling other people’s products is that you don’t need to become an expert in every single topic.
If there is a topic your audience would like to know more about but you are still learning about it, you can promote other’s people courses and acknowledge they know more than you in that particular subject.
Your audience would benefit from your recommendation and you will gain their trust by being open and honest. Just make sure it is always a product/ course you have tried and believe in.
✓ It helps you understand your audience better
As you start promoting affiliate products, you will be able to learn which ones your audience prefers and understand their needs and preference better.
If you were to launch your own product eventually, you will have a good idea of what they need, what is available on the market, and what gaps exist that you can help fill.
How to Find the Best Affiliate Programs for Your Blog
Now that you are aware of all the benefits of using affiliate marketing as a blogger, let’s explore how to actually find programs that can both help you make some good money and also provide value to your audience.
Choosing the right programs is key to get started with the right foot and don’t waste time creating content around a product that won’t bring you commissions.
With so many options out there it can be challenging to narrow them down but you don’t want to make the mistake of promoting too many programs at once and filling your blog with affiliate links .
I recommend choosing a maximum of 3-4 programs to focus on so you can really give them your full attention and creating content worth reading and worth ranking.
Once you have gotten to know your offers well, optimize your content around it and see how your audience likes it, you can adjust, test, and add new offers.
Here are some steps you can follow to find high quality and profitable affiliate programs:
1. Find programs you are interested in
Google Search for Affiliate Programs
One of the best ways to find affiliate programs in your niche is through a quick Google search. There are many bloggers out there who have done the job of compilating the top offers for most niches so there is no point in not taking advantage of that.
You can do a quick google search for ‘Best + Niche + affiliate program’. E.g. Best Fitness Affiliate Programs.
As you can see in the example below you will find lots of alternatives to start exploring
Take not of the programs that catch your attention for the next step where we will go over some important aspects to filter them out and choose your winning ones.
Check what other bloggers are promoting
Another good way of finding affiliate offers for your blog is to check your competitors’ sites. Other bloggers in your niche are probably most likely promoting some affiliate programs and if they have been promoting the same offer for a while, it is because they are getting good results.
If you are familiar with other blogs in your niche, which you should be, go ahead andcheck their mist popular posts to spot the affiliate links. Any product or service that they are linking to, is probably an affiliate offer.
If you want to make sure, you can double check by searching for the ‘comapny + affiliate program” on Google. If they have an affiliate program it should appear on the results.
Use Affiliate Networks
Affiliate Networks are basically platforms that connect companies with affiliates (you).
They help brands reach content creators that can potentially promote their brand and they help you find and apply to more programs in one single place.
They also benefit affiliates by simplifying the application process and making sure they are paid fairly and on time for their commissions.
A lot of companies prefer to manage their affiliate programs thorugh a network so they are not so easy to find through a Google Search. By joining an affiliate network you can find hundreds of affiliates programs you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
You also get information about their average EPCs (earnings per click) that can help you project estimate how much you could make when promoting them.
In the image above you can see an inside look of the ShareAsale where you can filter the programs based on categories and see how much other affiliates are making with their offers. Other affiliate networks you can check our Max Bounty, Clickbooth, Peerfly, and M4trix.
Think of products that you love
Last but not least, you probably already know some products you love and would be happy to promote.
Think of all the tools you currently use and maybe even the courses you have taken. Most chances are they have an affiliate program.
You can veryfy it by seraching ‘Company + affiliate program’ or going to thei webiste and scrolling all the website to the footer where the affiliate or referal program link is often found.
As an added bonus, with this method, you can promote products you already use and can simply share your experience with your audience.
What to look for in an Affiliate Programs for your Blog
Once you have done your research and found some affiliate programs that you are interested in, it is important to be selective and choose the programs with more advantages and opportunities to monetize your blog.
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing an affiliate offer:
1. Quality & Reputation
One of the most important aspects to consider is that the affiliate product or service you choose to promote is that it is actually valuable and will deliver on what they offer helping your audeince with their problems or needs.
The better the offer, the more value you can provide your readers and the more they will trust you with other recommendations.
A quick Google search for the product’s review will show you if it has a generally good reputation or if you should skip it and move on to the next one.
2. Conversion and follow up
As a blogger an affiliate, it is your job to create great content that help your audience and at the same time pre-frames them for the offer you are promoting. But, once they click the link and leave your blog, there is no much you can do.
This is why it is key to choose a company that has not only a good offer but also a good landing page and sales funnel in place.
Most customers won’t buy the first time they see the offer which is why it is important that the company has a follow-up system where they collect the visitors’ emails or retarget them with ads so that they can close the sale in the following days or weeks.
You can visit the brand’s website and check if they have an strategy to collect emails and if you start to get their ads on your social media afterwards. These are good signs that a company is not leaving sales on the table and you can be more confident sending them traffic.
Opt-in forms and exit pop-ups like the one above are also a good sign of a website designed to improve conversions.
I probably don’t need to tell you this but you naturally want to promote an offer that’ll make your time and work worth it.
When it comes to commissions, there are a few different methods and models you can choose from:
a. High vs. Low Ticket
Affiliate commission can go from $0.10 cents to thousands of dollars. If we were to choose our offers based solely on the commissions, we’d naturally choose the higher one but considering other aspects, each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
High ticket offers tend to have a lower conversion rate since the buying process is not as impulsive as with lower ticket items. On the other hand, people are used to buying low ticket items every day so there is not that much thought or doubt that goes into those purchases.
Even with lower conversion, you will earn more with 10 commissions of $100 than with 100 commissions of $1 which is why I recommend choosing high or mid ticket offers that pay at least $20 so you can see encouraging results from the beginning.
When promoting high ticket offer, It is especially important that you grow your email, so you can build. relationship with your readers and improve your conversions. If you want to learn more about this, check out my article on How to Create An Email List For Affiliate Marketing.
c. Recurring revenue commissions
Some products and services where the customer pay a monthly fee also offer their affiliate a monthly commissio for or as long as the clients contines to use the product.
They can be found in niches such as fitness memberships, education, software and insurance among the most common but if you have another niche it is definitely worth checking if they are any affiliate programs with recurring commissions.
Even if their monthly payment is not that much, it’ll help you have a steady income that you can count on and increase every month.
d. CPA, CPL and CPC programs
Up until now I’ve talking about CPS (Cost per Sale) programs where you get paid once a sale is made but there are also other type of commissions:
- CPA or Cost per Action programs pay you a commission when a visitor completes a task which is usually filling out a form or questionnaire.
- CPL or Cost per Lead program, pay you when the customer provides their contact information (usually email). These type of programs are popular in the personal finance niche and can pay up to $35 per email.
- CPC or Cost per Click programs (as it sounds) will pay you on a click-basis. This type of program is most similar to placing ads on your website.
4. Cookie duration
When vistors click on your affiliate links, a small piece of code is stored on their browser to track if/when they make a purchase and be able to attribute it to you.
This piece of code is called Cookies and has a different duration on each affiliate program. Naturally, the longer the cookie duration, the better since you have more opportunities to get the commission.
Most affiliate programs have a 30-day cookie period, however, programs like Amazon have a cookie duration of only 24-hours.
This is not a decisive factor but it can help you choose between two programs if all the other variables are similar.
5. Buying process
Finally, another important element to consider when choosing your affiliate offers is what the buying process of the product looks like since not all products people research online are actually bought online.
Let’s say you have a blog about decoration and you see some nice-looking bathtubs on Amazon that would work well for your content and your audience.
Your readers might love them and value your advice but, they will probably want to see it ‘in person; and go to a store where they can do that before buying it.
This might not be the most common case but it is still important to consider it especially with physical products and affiliate programs with short-duration cookies.
How to promote your affiliate offers in your blog
So now that you have chosen your affiliate programs, how do you go about promoting them while providing value to your audience and actually making some commission?
Below are some of the best type of posts and resources you can use to promote affiliate offers:
1. Tutorials or Problem-Solving Blog Posts
One of the best ways in which you can serve your audience while promoting affiliate products is through a tutorial. When people are searching the way for a way to do something, they might not be aware that there is a product or service that can help them do things more efficiently and solve one of their problems.
Make sure you are being authentic and giving them a complete solution where the product happens to be one of the pieces. You want your post to be helpful and offer them value beyond the product.
The idea is that, even if they don’t buy it, they will still be benefited from the information you provided but if they decide to buy it, it will also be a great help to their problem.
For example, the blog post above talks about 6 hacks for losing a muffin top, and in one of the tips they recommend a fat burning supplement linking to an affiliate offer.
2. Product Reviews of Affiliate Offers
Product reviews are some of the most popular type of posts for affiliates due to the purchase intention of those reading them. When someone is looking for a product review it means that they are already aware of their needs and the potential solutions and just need a little more reassurance before making the decision.
Product reviews help people feel like avoid getting buyer’s remorse by making them feel they are making a well-informed purchase.
Creating complete and honest reviews is a great way to win your readers’ trust while promoting your affiliate offers.
You don’t need to make a positive review out of every product or make reviews of only products you are an affiliate for. If there is a product you did not like, you can be sincere about it and then offer a better alternative, which you can be an affiliate for.
3. ‘Best of’ post
Another type of post that attracts readers who are ready to make a purchase if ‘best-of lists’. Once a person is interested in buying a product or service but doesn’t know yet what the options are, they will be searching for ‘best [product]’ for example “best camera”, “best dog food”, etc.
When making a “best of” list, I recommend making it very clear which one of the products you recommend and why. Giving readers lots of options without highlighting one of them can result in confusion. They want to be certain of making the right choice and if you don’t tell them which one it is, they can end up looking for reassurance in another blog.
Product Reviews and Best ‘x’ tend to be competitive phrases when it comes to ranking on Google’s top results. This is why it is important to do proper keyword research and choose search terms that you can rank for. Keep an eye on the next section to learn more about ranking for competitive keywords.
4. Resource Pages with Affiliate Products
Another tool you can use to promote your affiliate offers are resource pages. These are different from blog posts since they have a static place in your site and you can often be accessed them through the main menu.
Think of the ‘Products I Use‘ or ‘My favorite Tools‘ pages you can usually see on most blogs. My resource page for example has some of my favorite affiliate marketing and social media trainings.
This helps you have a bigger chance of readers checking out the offers even if they have come to your blog for another reason.
Additionally, it helps you to not repeat the same info about your affiliate products in different posts and simply direct visitors to your resource pages.
5. Banners of Affiliate Programs
On top of the articles and pages, you can create to promote your affiliate offers, another resource is to place banners for your affiliate offers. They will naturally have a lower CLick-through-rate than the links in your blog posts but they can help increase your monthly income.
Bloggers often use Google AdSense or other ad networks to monetize their sites via banners but it is a good idea to test and compare the income of ad networks versus placing the banners yourslef and see which one converts better.
Another benefit is that some blogs don’t get approved for ad networks due to their niche or because they don’t have enough visitors yet which is normally not a problem for affiliate programs.
Most affiliate programs will have banners that you can place in your blog and if they don’t you can always design one that is within their brand and guidelines.
6. Email Marketing
Last but not least, as a blogger, you must be building your email list from the beginning. Your subscribers will be your most loyal fans in the long-term and the one who’ll be most interested in what you have to say and recommend.
If you build a relationship with them by providing value and consistent communication, they’ll also be happy to hear about any products or offers you want to recommend.
On average, marketers make $1-$5/month per email subscriber depending on the niche so if you are not yet building and using your email list. you are losing money. Check out this article if you want to learn more about how to build an email list for affiliate marketing.
How To Get Traffic To Your Affiliate Blog Posts
As a blogger, you know that getting your content ranked on search engines (aka Google) is key to getting consistent and free traffic.
Unfortunately, creating great content is not enough to get visitors so before you spend time and energy creating those awesome posts, here are some key steps to consider to give your posts a greater chance of success.
Use a Keyword research tool
A keyword research tool like Ahref will help you determine which topics you should write about, meaning those you have a chance of ranking for, and which ones are too competitive and are better to leave for now.
If there is something that every blogger needs to succeed, this is it.
There are lots of alternatives you can use including Ubersuggest which has a free version but regardless of which one you use, it is key to not put spend time and effort in vain.
Once you enter the main keyword you are considering writing about, you will get a result showing how diifcult or easy it’d be to rank on Google top results for that search term. If you are a beginner, I’d recomend going for keyword with a score of 30 or less.
Use long-tail keywords
A great way of finding keyword with low competition is to go for what are called ‘long-tail keyword’ which basically means longer search terms.
For example, the keyword “Best Hotels in New York” will be more competitive than ‘Best Hotels in New York for families” or “Best Budget hotels in New York”.
The more specific the search term, the lower the search volume but also the easier it’ll be to rank for.
Note: Try to go for Keywords with at least 1,000 searches/month so you can get significant traffic and sales.
Double check on competition
While you can get a pretty good idea of a keyword’s difficulty by using a keyword research tool, I like to make a final check on my own since sometimes the ranking can be off due to ads betting on that search term.
One of the factors that determines how likely you’ll be at ranking for a keyword is the Domina Authority (DA) of the competitors ranking on the first page.
If you install the chrome extension Ubersuggest, you’ll be able to see all the DA’s of the first page results. I’d recommend looking for keywords where at least one of the results has a Domain Score of less than 50 so you have a chance of ranking.
Tracking and Optimizing your Affiliate Marketing Commissions
Tracking your affiliate commission is key to understand what is working and what is not. Most affiiate programs will give you one link which you can use on all your brelated blog posts, pages, banners and emails.
But once you start getting commissions you will want to learn from which one of your articles, pages, or email campaign they are coming, otherwise you’ll have no way of replicating and scaling your income.
It happened to me with another one of my blogs and I learned the lesson fast. I then learned every other blogger was using a thing called ‘click trackers’ which allow you to create custom links to know exactly where your sales are coming from. I’ve tried a few and while they all do work similarly, I found ClickMagic to be the easiest one to use.
You can set up your links once and then use this data to test different offers and traffic sources to see which one is bringing you more money and know where to focus your efforts.
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers FAQ
How to make money with Affiliate Marketing for bloggers?
If you want to start making money with Affiliate Marketing as a bloggers follow the guide on this article. To sum it up, here are some of the key aspects you should consider:
- If you still haven’t started your blog, make sure to choose a profitable niche.
- Once you have chosen your niche or if you have already been blogging for a while, choose affiliate programs that can help your audience and that pay mid to high ticket commission.
- Create content that attracts readers with purchase intention like reviews, tutorials, and ‘best-of’ lists.
- Make sure to optimize your topics for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so you can rank on Google and get organic traffic.
- Analyze what is working and what is not. Rinse, repeat, and scale.
What is Affiliate Blogging?
Affiliate blogging is the practice of using a blog as a platform for affiliate marketing. With affiliate blogging, you promote another company’s products or services in your blog and when your visitors buy said products, you make a commission.
In order to promote an affiliate offer, you need to join their program and then you receive a link which is used to track your referrals and commissions.
How can I make $1000 a month blogging?
Making $1,000/month blogging is not hard or uncommon but here are some steps you can follow to achieve your first $1k month sooner rather than later.
- Choose high-ticket affiliate programs. It is way easier to hit $1k with $100 or $300 commission than with $2 ones.
- Create a lot of content based solely on that one program. If you create lots of posts around similar keywords, you’ll have a higher chance of ranking on Google since they’ll see you as an authority on that subject.
- Use other source of traffic besides Google. Yes, I still think Google should be your main focus but it can take a while to get ranked so in the meantime use other platfroms like social media. I love using Pinterest for getting traffic to my recent blog posts.
- Consider using ads. If you have a well-monetized blog post but no traffic yet, you can get visitors using Google paid ads. As long as you are making more than what you are spending, you are golden.
Is blogging profitable in 2020?
Definitely, when people say blogging is dead in 2020 and who even read blog anymore, they are envisioning old web 1.0 or personal blogs on blogspots. I then tell them that every time they search something on Google, they are landing on a blog and their response is “well, those look more like stablished websites”.
So, blogs might not even look the same or work the same way as 10 years ago, but as every other business, content creators need to adapt and create a multi-platform presence so readers can recognize them.
I started my first blog 4 years ago and after 1 year it had replaced and surpassed my corporate job salary. Additionally, creating a blgo is like building a piece of digital real state, it is a great way to build an asset out of nothing and if you want to get some capital, you can also sell them for around 32 times their monthly revenue.
Check out this article if If you want to know how to start a blog to make money.
Bonus: Selling your Own Affiliate Products
Another great factor of Affiliate Marketing is that it allows you to know your audience and what they are interested in buying. This gives you a huge potential to create a digital product that is exactly what they are looking for.
The idea of creating your own product might seem daunting that’s why I recommend it after getting some traction with your affiliate sales. You will be more confident in your skills and will have also built a relationship with your readers.
Let’s say you are a blogger in the Travel niche, after creating posts and content about attractions, hotels, and recommendations, you can easily create and sell a pdf guide to a certain destination or offer a paid subscription newsletter with exclusive travel deals.
Once your product is selling, you can create your own affiliate program and have other bloggers in your niche promote it. The possibilities are really endless once you have a loyal audience!
It can be challenging at the beginning but remember, this is a long term strategy so all the effort you are putting in up-front WILL BE WORTH IT.
The best you can do for your blog and affiliate marketing business is to keep creating content. Do not get too caught up in details like the color or the logo. While there are important, the truth is the more quality content you produce the more chances you have of increasing your income.
Do you have any questions about Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers? Let me know and I will be happy to help!