Affiliate Marketing is one of my favorite ways to make money online through blogging. There’s no inventory to keep track of or products to sell off – it’s just pure, passive income that you can make from home while hanging out in a top knot and your favorite pajamas.
The good news is that anyone can try affiliate marketing and snatch up a piece of the online money pie. All you really need is a self-hosted blog, an idea, and an understanding of how to make blog content that sells products.
So let’s talk about what is affiliate marketing, what does it mean to be an affiliate, and when should you start monetizing your blog.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is the act of selling products (digital or tangible) that you didn’t create, nor host inventory for… in exchange for a commission. Typically, you would earn a percentage of the sale you made, and the company who makes the product (often referred to as the merchant) is responsible for everything related to that purchase otherwise – packaging, distribution, refunds, customer service, etc.
How affiliate marketing works
Once you join an affiliate program, you’ll get unique links and maybe even some banners that lead to various landing pages or products for that program. This link is exclusive to you and it’s associated with your “cookie” – a small file that gets stored on a user’s computer that tells the network who deserves the credit for a sale.
You’ll use these links in your blog posts when recommending products, and when someone clicks on them, you might earn money based on their purchase. Some programs are super competitive and harder to make money from, and some will be a lot easier for you.
Once you’ve earned enough money, the program will pay you for all of the sales you’re responsible for.
How much money can you make via affiliate marketing?
Believe it or not, a lot of people make a full time income from home just through the power of affiliate marketing. They may be using their blog content, social media, and even email marketing to sell. It’s a lucrative form of passive income… if you know how to do it right.
Is everyone making a 5 or 6 figure income? NO! If everyone could do it, I think everyone would. Truth is, not everyone has what it takes to make it in the world of affiliate marketing… largely because:
- They don’t have the time – or won’t make it
- They get frustrated and quit trying when they don’t make money immediately
- They get too caught up trying to learn the wrong things
- They refuse to make necessary changes to their blog posts to make sales
With a little determination and a little know-how, you really can replace your full-time income just by blogging. I know, because I’ve done it.
How to get started with affiliate marketing
All you really need in order to sell affiliate products is:
- A good blog idea – one that solves problems people have
- A self-hosted blog (I highly recommend Lyrical Host because they are really hands on)
- Domain name (Check out Namecheap… they have great prices)
It’s important that you choose a blogging platform that allows for monetization – because not all of them do. Self-hosted WordPress is the best option for affiliate marketing and it isn’t terribly difficult to learn how to use it.
After that, it’s about writing blog posts and exploring different affiliate networks in search of programs that feature the types of products you’re recommending.
What programs you should join
In my course Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers, I talk a lot about finding programs… and I’m going to give you a little taste of that information.
I always tell my students to start off with the products they already use, love, and maybe have already talked about or recommended to their reader. If you haven’t gone looking for an affiliate program related to those products yet, you’re really missing out on an opportunity to monetize. You’ve done all this work… you may as well get paid for it.
Often times you can check out the brand page for whatever products you’re talking about and they will have affiliate or partner information in the footer of their website.
I’ve done the hard work for you and compiled an organized list so that you can apply to networks and programs in your blog’s niche!
When to monetize your blog with affiliate marketing
I’m always shocked by the number of people who blog for months, work so hard to get traffic to their website, and then put off monetizing. Apparently there’s an assumption that programs won’t want to work with you if you don’t have a lot of traffic.
To be fair, some won’t… but a lot of merchants are happy to work with anyone willing to send traffic and sales their way. So I say that there’s no harm in monetizing from the very beginning and learning early how to write your blog posts in a way that makes sales.
Have you started to monetize your blog yet using affiliate marketing? If no – why not?