How do you monetize your blog?
If the answer is Advertisement, then I know you have a hard time generating money from your blog unless you have tons of traffic.
When I started blogging, I thought Adsense is good enough to make some serious money from my blog. But the reality was different. Adsense requires a lot of traffic to generate some good amount of money.
As I didn’t have a lot of traffic, I started looking for other monetizing methods. Then I came to know about Affiliate Marketing.
At that time, I didn’t find any step by step guide about monetizing blog through affiliate marketing. However, I was able to learn some basic affiliate marketing tips from different blogs (for example, for Amazon affiliate marketing, I’m following Market ever).
After having some ideas about affiliate marketing, I started trying it on my blog. It took almost six months to get my first affiliate sale. It seemed a slow process to me.
Recently I’ve bought a new blog and monetized it through affiliate marketing. I followed some steps that I’ve learned from my four years of blogging journey.
If you want to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing but don’t know where to start, this post is for you.
In this post, I am going to share those 7 steps that I followed to monetize my new blog through affiliate marketing.
Step #1 – Check If You are Already Promoting Products/Services That Offer Affiliate Programs
If you’ve been blogging for few months, chances that you’ve already linked to a number of recommended products/services on your blog posts that have affiliate programs.
The easiest way to get started with affiliate marketing is to find those products/services and join their affiliate programs. As you are already sending traffic to those products/services, it will be easier for you to earn affiliate commission from them.
Now let’s see how to find those affiliate programs. Follow these simple steps…
At first, you need to find where you are sending traffic from your blog. You can use Jetpack stats to see which links users clicked to leave your blog. Just install Jetpack plugin and connect it with your WordPress.com account. Most of the features of Jetpack including ‘Site Stats’ will be activated automatically. You need to give it few days to collect data for you. However, sometimes one-day data is good enough to get started.
If you are already using Jetpack plugin, that’s awesome. Just go to your WordPress dashboard and click on “Site Stats” from Jetpack.
You will find a “Clicks” section there showing external links that users clicked.
Then click on “Summaries” to see the overall clicks.
Now you have the list of sites where you are sending traffic. Make a list of those sites that offer products/services. Then go to those sites one by one and look for a link (mostly on the footer) that says “Affiliates”, “Affiliate Program”, “Become An Affiliate” or “Referral Program”. Follow the link and sign up for their affiliate programs.
You can also search on Google to check if there is any affiliate program for a particular product/service. Just search for terms like “[Product/Service] Affiliate Program” or “[Product/Service] Referral Program”
If there is an affiliate program for searched term, just join the affiliate program. If you haven’t found any affiliate program for the product/service, just set up a Google Alerts for the terms “[Product/Service] Affiliate Program”. You will get notifications about the affiliate programs.
I hope you’ve found some affiliate programs. But remember, just because it has affiliate program doesn’t mean you should promote it. You have to make sure that you are promoting the right products. If you end up promoting a bad product, you will loose TRUST of your audience which is very important for affiliate marketing. So choose wisely.
Now join the available affiliate programs that seem right to you. It might take some times to get approved by Affiliate Program.
Keep a list of the affiliate programs that you’ve joined.
Step #2 – Find Relevant Affiliate Programs
If you haven’t found any affiliate programs (or just found a few programs) by following step #1, don’t worry.
In this step, I will show you how to find relevant affiliate programs for your blog.
Finding relevant affiliate programs is very important to get success in affiliate marketing. Just because someone makes huge money from Web hosting affiliate programs doesn’t mean this will work for you too. You have to find products/services that are relevant to your blog.
Here are some ways to find out the right affiliate programs for your blog.
- Think of some relevant products/services you like and check if there are any affiliate programs for those products/services.
- Do some research on successful blogs on your niche. Discover what products/services they are promoting on their blogs. Take a look at their sidebar banners and resource/tools page. Check if there are any product review posts on their blogs.
- Search on Google. If you are running a health blog, search for the term “Health-related affiliate programs”
- Use an Affiliate Network. It acts as a mediator between publishers (you) and merchant affiliate programs. It’s a marketplace of affiliate programs. You will get thousands of affiliate programs on a single affiliate network. There are a lot of affiliate networks and here are some best affiliate networks.
- Shareasale is one of the most popular affiliate marketing networks that has over 3900 affiliate programs. It has affiliate programs for almost every niche.
- ClickBank is the best marketplace for digital products. It has digital products for every niche.
- CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction) is one of the oldest networks.
- Impact Radius is very popular for tracking, reporting, and payment.
- Amazon Associates is the biggest affiliate program offered by Amazon. If you are planning to promote physical products, join Amazon associates.
ShareASale is an Affiliate Network that is used by thousands of bloggers.
Make a list of relevant affiliate programs for your blog. And start joining them one by one.
Step #3 – Cloak Your Affiliate Links & Add Those Links Automatically into Your Posts
I hope you already got approved by some of the affiliate programs you’ve joined. If you haven’t got approved by all programs immediately, don’t worry. While some affiliate programs approve immediately, others might take some times.
Every affiliate program provides you a unique affiliate link to track your sales. This link may look something like this:
This is pretty ugly and scary. You’d not love to add this link to your blog posts.
What you can do is cloaking the affiliate link. It means masking the affiliate link. Your cloaked affiliate link will be something like this:
It looks good and it’s easy to remember.
Like everything, you can do it by using a WordPress plugin. There are a lot of affiliate link manager plugins out there.
I am using ThirstyAffiliate to manage my affiliate links. It’s very easy to use. Just Install the plugin and go to WordPress Dashboard > Affiliate Links > Add New.
Yes, it’s that much easy.
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers not to cloak affiliate links. It’s a huge mistake!
If you don’t cloak your affiliate links, you’ll be in trouble when one of your affiliates decides to change its affiliate link. Recently HostGator has moved its Affiliate Program to Impact Radius from in-house. As an HostGator affiliate, I have to update all HostGator links with the new affiliate link. It’d be tough for me if I wasn’t using an affiliate link manager plugin.
So cloak your affiliate links right away.
Now let’s see how to add affiliate links automatically to your blog posts.
As you weren’t in affiliate marketing from day 1 of your blogging journey, chances that you’ve linked to recommend products/services several times. But those were just plain links, not affiliate links. Those won’t generate commission for you.
It’d be tough for you to find those links and replace those links with affiliate links one by one.
Here’s an easy way. Thirsty Affiliate has an add-on named Autolinker that will do it for you.
ThirstyAffiliate Autolinker scans your all blog posts and replaces all specified keywords into affiliate links. Just setup your affiliate links with a list of Keywords and it takes care of the rest.
However, it’s a premium addon-on which costs $49 AUD (about $35 USD). But it worths your money.
Once you’ve installed the add-on, you will notice “Autolinks Keywords” section when you’re about to add a new affiliate link. Just specify the keywords that you want to replace with affiliate links.
You can also add Keywords to your old affiliate links. Just edit those links.
You can select the number of times you want Autolinker to add affiliate links.
Automatic affiliate linking will surely increase your revenue.
Step #4 – Use An Affiliate Aggregator Service
If you write about many topics on a single blog, then you will have to join a lot of affiliate programs to monetize your blog properly.
It will be time-consuming. On that case, you might consider using an affiliate aggregator service like VigLink which will automate access to thousands of affiliate programs.
VigLink is connected with more than 30,000 affiliate programs. It converts your website’s outbound links into affiliate links. It also adds links to products or brands within your content.
For example, if you mention the word “iPad” on your blog post, VigLink will automatically add an affiliate link to this word. You don’t have to join any specific affiliate program for that. VigLink will take care of that.
If you mention lots of products name on your blog posts, I’d suggest you to start using VigLink on your blog.
Step #5 – Update Your “Most Popular Posts” With Affiliate Links
No matter how you have been blogging, some of your posts will be generating more traffic than others. Those are the most popular posts of your blog.
These posts can help you to generate affiliate sales. All you have to do is adding affiliate links properly to your most visited posts.
Here’s how to do it.
- At first, login to Google Analytics/Jetpack/Clicky or whatever you are using to track your visitors.
- Find the most visited posts of your blog. If you are using Jetpack, just go to WordPress Dashboard > Jetpack > Site Stats and click on “Summaries” from “Top Posts & Pages”.
3. Make a list of top 10 posts and start with the first one.
4. Review the post and look for affiliate opportunities. But don’t be aggressive.
5. Check how other bloggers are monetizing the same topic post.
6. If you haven’t found any relevant affiliate links for the post, at least, try to link a post which you’ve monetized with affiliate links.
7. Do the same for other posts.
I’d suggest you not to be aggressive while adding affiliate links to your most popular posts. If there is no relevant affiliate link for the post, just keep as it is. But you can optimize the post for subscribers, social exposure etc.
Step #6 – Write Blog Posts That Generate Sales
By now you should have a good idea of what products/services to promote on your blog. But if you don’t know how to promote it properly, you won’t be able to increase your sales.
Now I’ll be sharing few blog post types that generate sales.
Review Posts – Though product reviews shouldn’t be written just for the sake of affiliate sales, but you can expect some sales from your reviews. Just make sure that you are honest with your reviews. No product is perfect. So don’t hesitate to write the cons of the products.
Here are some essential tips for writing product reviews.
- Write pros and cons of the product/service.
- Share your personal experience how you use the product.
- Use keywords like price, problem, and review to generate traffic from Search Engines.
- Give rating to the product. I use WP Rich Snippets Plugin to do that. It will increase your CTR.
- Add a clear recommendation.
- Share special discounts or free trial if there is any.
Comparison Posts – These posts are very effective for affiliate marketing. People often search for comparison between products. You can take this advantage.
Just pick two products that are very similar and people get confused about which one to choose.
‘How to’ Posts – These are the most popular posts on the internet. You can use these posts to generate affiliate sales from your blog. For this, you have to find out how your affiliate products/services can solve others’ problems. And write ‘How to’ posts based on affiliate products.
You can also write List Posts, Alternative List Posts etc to generate sales. Just be creative.
Step #7 – Drive Traffic to Your Affiliate Links
The more traffic you drive to your blog, the more affiliate sales you’ll generate.
The key to getting success in affiliate marketing depends on driving relevant traffic to your affiliate links. When I say driving traffic to affiliate links, I mean driving traffic to your blog and it will automatically increase your affiliate link clicks.
Here are some tips for driving traffic to your blog.
- Write better titles.
- Do keyword optimization.
- Write SEO Optimized posts.
- Blog consistently.
- Leave comments on other people’s blogs.
- Be active on social media.
- Be creative.
Affiliate Marketing can be the best way to make money from your blog if you can do it rightly.
If you follow the steps in this post, I guarantee that you will get your first affiliate sale very soon.
However, learning affiliate marketing monetization in one post can be a little overwhelming, so leave a comment if you have any questions.