How to monetize a blog with affiliate marketing

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There are an estimated 600 million blogs online today, but how do bloggers make money?

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One of the best ways to monetize your blog is with affiliate marketing. It’s a win-win proposition for publishers and advertisers alike: the publisher earns a commission, while the advertiser gains access to the audience cultivated through blog content. Here’s a closer look at how to monetize a blog using affiliate marketing.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing offers the chance for advertisers to use a publisher’s platform to promote their services. There are three parties involved in affiliate marketing:

  • Advertisers/Sellers
  • Publishers/Affiliates
  • Buyer

What does this process look like from a blogger’s perspective? You can break this down into four simple steps for publishers:

  1. Connect with like-minded brands
  2. Promote the advertiser to your site or platform visitors
  3. Your site visitor follows the affiliate link to the advertiser’s site
  4. You make money blogging through sales commissions

In this case, the blogger serves as the affiliate marketer. The blogger places an affiliate link on their website leading readers to the vendor’s site. When the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the affiliate is paid a commission fee in return. This provides a simple way for the vendor to increase their own sales, while the blogger is compensated accordingly.

The benefits of affiliate marketing blogging

There are plentiful benefits to monetizing a blog using affiliate marketing. To begin with, it’s a simple process that even blogging beginners can master. Here are a few of the top benefits of affiliate marketing blogging:

  • You can earn long-term passive income through affiliate links, as you’ll continue receiving payments long after you’ve created the content.
  • Affiliate marketing requires little start-up costs or investment.
  • Bloggers can work from anywhere in the world, whether at home or on the road.
  • You’ll have added incentive to create high-quality content that not only earns commission from advertisers but grows your own brand as a blogger.

How to start a blog and make money

Are you ready to make money blogging? There are several ways to approach this. If you already have a particular niche in mind, you can create the blog first and find advertisers that match your own interests. Another option is to look at affiliate programs first, finding a niche in high demand and create your blog to match the needs of advertisers.

Step 1: Choose an audience and niche

No matter your approach, the first step when looking at how to start a blog and make money is to choose your audience. You’ll be better placed to create creative content when you’re writing it with a specific reader in mind. Learn more about what your audience wants using strategies like the following:

  • Join the discussion in online forums, communities, and social media groups.
  • Conduct a survey with questions related to your niche.
  • Collect and analyze visitor data using tools like Google Analytics.

Step 2: Create high-quality content

All the data and analytics in the world won’t help you make money if your blog isn’t worth visiting. Whether you create written, visual, or video content, make sure it’s targeted to your audience and designed to encourage repeat visits. Think about writing how-to guides or filming video tutorials that teach your audience something new. Quality is also important from an SEO perspective, as Google’s search engine algorithm evaluates value and will determine your site’s ranking.

Ask yourself questions like the following:

  • Does the blog have keywords that will make it easy to find?
  • Does the content offer readers something new?
  • Is the content well-researched and unique?
  • Is your content entertaining and easy to follow?

You want to inspire credibility amongst your audience. This makes it more likely that your readers will be willing to click a link you provide or follow a product recommendation.

Step 3: Choose relevant products to promote

You’ve created a blog and built your audience, so now it’s time to start promoting affiliate products. Ethical bloggers stick to products they’re already familiar with or those they are willing to research. In addition to physical products, you’ll also find affiliate programs for items including:

  • Online courses
  • Professional services
  • Digital downloads
  • Streaming media content

To maintain your credibility as a publisher, you should choose products you feel good about promoting to your followers. Ideally, you’ll be familiar with the online course or digital download and have something positive to say about it.

It’s also possible to find products using affiliate network searches. For example, Awin’s Opportunities Marketplace allows bloggers to list advertising options and connect with relevant advertisers who tick all the right boxes. Publisher tools like these connect advertisers with bloggers so that you can find the best – and most relevant – products to promote.

Step 4: Sign up for affiliate programs

You’ve found the products you want to promote, so the next step is to sign up with the related affiliate marketing program. Be sure to compare the commission models carefully before signing onboard. Some programs offer a one-time commission for sales (also known as a bonus or tenancy payment), while others provide a steady stream of passive income using recurring commissions.

To sign up for most affiliate programs, you’ll also need to provide basic details including:

  • Tax ID numbers
  • Personal contact information
  • Bank account number

You’ll then receive the ID number and affiliate link that allows the merchant to track purchases directed through your website. Awin tools like Publisher MasterTag enable a series of plug-ins to facilitate this process. 

Step 5: Promote affiliate offers on your blog

Finally, you’re ready to take the leap into affiliate marketing blogging. Create promotional content containing the affiliate links. This could include product reviews or brand profiles. Another option is to create a resource page listing the products and explaining their value.

As you add links to your blog content, tread lightly. It’s best to avoid stuffing in too many links, because this will make your blog seem spammy. Don’t forget to include a compelling call to action that encourages your reader to click through and complete the sale.

At this stage, it may also be a good idea to check that your content is compliant with the advertising industry regulator’s ad disclosure requirements. Awin offers a simple tool, adMission, that publishers can use to customize the disclosure text they want to display, as well as the identifier they wish to use on their website. In short, it’s a universal customizable disclosure solution for links.

Step 6: Track results to improve conversion rates

Now that you’ve set up your blog and affiliate links, it’s tempting to sit back and relax. Yet the most successful bloggers are continually generating new content, analyzing click-throughs and conversion rates to see what works and what doesn’t.

Awin offers a series of tools to make monetizing your blog easier. Convert-a-Link for publishers automatically converts product links to trackable affiliate links, while Tracking Optimization tracks sales for easier reporting and analysis. Furthermore, the Awin platform offers a number of reports that publishers can use to track their performance over time, i.e., Advertiser Performance, Performance Over Time, Product Performance, YoY Comparisons, and Transaction Reports. Use these to analyze and optimize the performance of your content.

So, how do bloggers make money? For many, affiliate marketing is the answer. Although it takes a bit of effort to get set up, once you’ve found the right blogging niche you too can make passive income from home.

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