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How to Monetize a Blog with Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing and Blogging

When you combine blogging and affiliate marketing, and apply the right strategies, you can make a profitable blog.

But how do you monetize a blog with affiliate marketing?

Follow the strategies in this article. Even when your blog has only 500 users per day, you can profit from affiliate programs and affiliate products when you’re blogging.

How to Monetize a Blog with Affiliate Marketing?

17-step Checklist

checklist - affiliate marketing blog

Make Sure You Always Double Check Before Starting Your Blog!

Get the Checklist as a PDF Document

Find a Profitable Niche

Identify a profitable niche. Preferably, this should be a low competition niche. Once you’re decided it’s the right niche that is most profitable for you, stick to it.

The thinking behind getting into a niche with competition is:

  • If it’s a low competition niche, you may well spend $100 marketing budget, and make $500 in return. That’s 400% profit.
  • If your choice is a niche with high competition, you may spend $200 on marketing, but get $300 in return. That’s only 50% profit.

But how would you find the most profitable niche with the lowest competition?

First for niche ideas, get this 2,000 niches list. The list has been organised into niches, sub-niches, and more levels, including main niches in fitness and health, wealth making, self-improvement, pet care, online dating, personal finance, etc.

When you make the decision, make sure you’re choosing a niche that you have the greatest interest into it, and are willing to spend your time on it for the next 5 years. It will take much effort to make it work with affiliate marketing in any niche market.

Set Up a Blog

Choose a Web Hosting Service

A web hosting service is what puts and keeps your website online “on the Internet”.

In the web hosting account, you would store all the required files of your website including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images, blog content, and more.

Siteground is a web hosting service that is inexpensive and reliable.

Go to Siteground and sign up a free new account.

The advantages of Siteground include:

  • When purchasing a new web hosting space you will get a custom domain name for free.
  • With a single click, you can install WordPress through Cpanel.
  • Free SSL certificates are available.
  • Automatic version updates of software (e.g. WordPress) is available.

Find an Available Domain Name

You want to use a custom domain name for your blog. One example of custom domain is MoneyTipped.com.

On Siteground, enter a name into the domain checker to check if it’s available for registration.

But how would you choose a domain name that is suitable for your blog or the business that your blog is heading?

One method is your blog and all the articles on your blog will be written around a topic, some topics, or your niche. It’s best to incorporate the niche or topic that you’re going to write into your domain name.

An example is Evernote which has incorporated the word “note” into the domain.

A second method is to invent a new word and use it as your domain name. Examples are Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Spotify, Linode, Yahoo, Google, etc.

If you really run out of domain name ideas, sign up and host a contest on Naming Force, and let the “crowd” to suggest great names.

Now purchase the web hosting and the domain name together in your Siteground account.

Set Up Web Hosting and WordPress

You won’t have to code your entire blog from scratch. You can always use an existing website builder to launch and manage your blog.

WordPress is a great choice for setting up a blog and is also a blogging platform that lets you host your blog with your custom domain i.e. The domain name that you’ve purchased.

What are the pros of WordPress?

  • It’s free to use WordPress as a website builder for your blog.
  • With WordPress, you can quickly launch a blog.
  • The majority of blogs on the Internet are WordPress blogs. This means there are always more than enough free tutorials that you can learn how to use WordPress as a blogging platform.
  • WordPress has plenty free plugins that have been developed by open source developers. After installing the WordPress plugins, your blog will get improvement in features and functions.
  • You can get many free themes for WordPress.

WordPress.org is not WordPress.com.

Not to be confused with WordPress.com. It’s a free blogging platform that lets you launch your blog on a sub-domain such as: myexampleblog.wordpress.com.

A mistake that new bloggers often make is using a free blogging platform (such as WordPress.com) to start their first blog. There is no problem using a free blogging platform on its own, but new bloggers soon run into problems.

You cannot make 5-figure profit on a free blogging platform (such as WordPress.com, Blogspot, Medium, or Tumblr) because it has too many limitations including below:

  • No one will take you seriously. The free blogging platform simply makes you look like you aren’t serious enough for making money online.
  • You cannot use any custom domain name on a free blogging platform. Without a custom domain, it’s very difficult for you to build a brand.
  • The free platforms don’t allow the use of many plugins that are very useful on your self-hosted WordPress. This limits the customization of your blog’s functions and theme.

In your Siteground account, install the WordPress software. How to Install WordPress on Siteground?

Install a WordPress Theme

A WordPress theme is the appearance of your blog. But what you’ll also look for in a theme includes:

  • Mobile responsive: Your blog needs to look great across all device types: Desktop, tablet, and mobile.
  • Optimized for speed and SEO friendly: The theme must be light so the blog pages will load fast for users. Loading speed is nowadays a factor when ranking websites/blogs on Google.
  • Simple. You should be able to quickly customize the blog theme.

When you install WordPress from CPanel, your WordPress will get the default themes, such as Twenty-Seventeen, etc.

The first option is you can customize the default WordPress theme.

The second option is to find a new theme by Googling, install it, and customize your new theme.

Affiliate Offers

Affiliate marketing is about selling other people’s products.

Affiliate marketing with blogging is when you sell other people’s products on your blog.

Find and join affiliate programs.

To start with, join affiliate networks including Amazon Associates, Clickbank, Linkshare, etc.

More importantly in the affiliate programs, find good affiliate offers.

And the good affiliate offers should be suitable for your niche.

There are different types of affiliate offers that you can monetize through blogging:

  • Physical products
  • Digital products (or info products)
  • Pay per lead
  • One time commission vs. Recurring commission

Physical products

The affiliate products are actual physical products.

Some examples of physical products may include:

  • Home electronics and home appliances such as HD TVs, refrigerators, etc
  • House/apartment window items such as automated blinds (MySmartBlinds), etc
  • Fashion and clothing such as t-shirts, ball dresses, etc
  • Cosmetics items such as mascara, lipstick, etc
  • Home and garden items such as lawnmower, patio table, etc
  • Office computers and hardware devices such as network attached systems (e.g. QNAP ts-251a), etc

Amazon sells a lot of physical products of all types. If your blog is mainly into selling physical products, you may want to join Amazon Associates as your first affiliate program.

Digital products (or info products)

Digital products are sometimes also known as information (info) products), and don’t contain physical items.

Digital products include online courses, ebooks, videos, software subscriptions, web hosting, domain names, etc.

Through some of the affiliate programs, digital products often offers higher commission rates than physical products.

For example, the commissions of many physical products are between 1% to 5%, but many digital products may pay more than 50% commission.

If your plan is to sell digital products with affiliate marketing, Clickbank and JVZoo are two very popular affiliate networks that offer hundreds of digital products.

Pay per lead

Pay per lead is when an affiliate marketer earns commission when making no sale, but bringing in a lead. Pay per click is a type of CPA i.e. cost per action (or acquisition).

An example is a business that offer customers their loan services. The requirement is for an affiliate marketer to get a lead (with the lead’s contact information such as phone number and email address) for the loan service business. The commission for getting each valid lead may be US$ 100.

When you manage to send your visitor to a landing page with a short contact form, you’ll earn a commission for the lead.

One time commission vs. Recurring commission

One time commission happens only once.

For example, you get a commission for the visitor you have successfully referred to the affiliate offer in which the visitor has purchased a product. This same visitor may return to the affiliate offer a second time later and make a second purchase, but you aren’t getting paid for a commission for the second purchase.

Recurring commission happens for the first purchase and subsequent commissions.

For example, when a visitor purchases a product for the first time through an affiliate offer, you’ll get paid for a first commission. When this same visitor buys for the second time, you’ll get paid a commission for this second purchase.

Another example for recurring commission is slightly different. A visitor purchases a 12-month subscription through an affiliate offer. You’ll get paid for each month (for a total of 12 months) that this visitor keeps paying for using the subscription.

Create Blog Posts

Blog Post Ideas

It can be difficult to come up with exactly what topic to write when it’s the first time for you to blog.

Here are some ideas that you can use before you run out of blogging ideas.

Top 10 lists

For example, write an article by making the best/top list, 100 top internet marketing blogs, 25 best vacuum cleaners, etc. It doesn’t have to be limited to 10 best whatever items.

Product reviews

Write product reviews. Do you know why? Consumers want to read product reviews that are written by other users who have spent time using the product, before they make decision to buy the product.

Run experiments

When you’re marketing your product through the Internet, you often have to use some techniques or tricks. Sometimes one or two tricks may work extremely well for you for growth hacking. For example, you may have used this one trick to increase your blog’s visitors by 3,000%. You can blog about the strategy behind this method with some detailed illustration.

Short tutorials

Create short tutorials and show/teach other people any know-how or knowledge that came through your own experience. For example, if you know a special Excel trick, write an article as a visual step-by-step guide for Excel beginners.

People's Pain Points

You’re looking for a topic that a group of audience care. Preferably, this topic is about the audience’s problems, or pain points.

Let’s say you’ve come cross an expat forum. The people who are engaging in the forum are expats who are living in Japan or have newly relocated to work in Japan. To communicate with the local Japanese residents, the expats are in need to learn speaking the local language (Japanese).

Assume in this group of audience, they need or want to learn speaking Japanese. Not only to speak, but they want to speak fluent Japanese in 6 months.

The pain point is for expats to learn and master a language in a short time.

Find the Product (or Products)

Not all the problems or pain points can be solved 100%. But it doesn’t hurt to find the solution i.e. The product that provides the solution.

Let’s continue with the previous example.

You’ll login to one of the affiliate network accounts that you’ve signed up. Let’s say you start with Clickbank. In Clickbank you’ll look for a solution. Some typical solutions to the pain points may be:

  • Japanese videos with English subtitles.
  • Japanese vocabulary app with English translation.
  • Accent training for expats to speak more like native Japanese speakers.

None of the products would get anyone to speak 100% fluent Japanese in 6 months. But the products together are great start for anyone without any Japanese speaking experience.

Write the Product Specific Blog Post

In the example, you’ve found 3 solutions i.e. products for the pain point.

But it’ll work much better to focus on one product when you blog.
You don’t want to present many choices to the potential customers. It will only slow down their decision making for buying any of the products.

Present to the potential customers (or your blog readers) with one product per blog post.

This way, in the article you can simply focus on writing about the one best product that you believe will have the highest chance to convert into sales.

Add the Affiliate Links

The affiliate links are how affiliate marketing works. It’s time to add the affiliate links to your blog article.

When a visitor clicks your affiliate link (that is on your blog), she is taken to another website or landing page. On the landing page usually there is an affiliate offer i.e. a product (whether it is a physical product or a digital product) with marketing copy of the features and benefits of the product.

When the visitor makes a purchase of the product on the landing page, you are credited for the sale. As an affiliate marketer of this affiliate offer, you’ll get paid for this sale.

Promote the Blog

How do you get people (or traffic) to visit your blog?

You need to promote your blog.

First you will need to know where to find people before they can visit your blog.

Free traffic

Start with this “free traffic sources” guide – The guide has a list of more than 200 traffic sources or websites including blogging platforms, search engines, social media sites, country-specific search engines, country-specific social media apps, classifieds sites, forums, Q&A sites, video sites, bookmarking sites, and more.

Search engine optimization

To grow and maintain long term sustainable traffic to your website, it is extremely important for you to implement search engine optimization (SEO) on your blog.

This SEO best practices guide will be a good start for you to optimize your blog for search engine organic traffic.

Plan and Execute the Plan

Let’s have a plan and get practical.

Step 1

The first step consists of a few sub-steps.

Sign up your web hosting i.e. Siteground.

Register a domain, and purchase a web hosting plan. This is all done in the Siteground account.

Install WordPress and install a theme.

Complete the setup of your blog. At this stage, your blog has no content which is fine.

In your WordPress account, configure the permalink of your blog posts, and install the Yoast SEO plugin.

Step 2

Before you can promote your blog or do online marketing for your blog, you need to first have the content i.e. the blog articles.

Start with writing 5 blog articles per week. The “content” of your blog posts must all be written with topics in your niche. When you push yourself to do this, after only 12 weeks (i.e. in less than 3 months) you’ll have 60 articles. The best part is that the hard work is creating the blog posts.

As soon as you’ve finished writing an article, publish it on your WordPress blog.

Step 3

Set up the required webmaster tools. i.e. Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Set up Google Analytics on your blog.

Now start promoting your blog or posting links of your new blog articles on social media sites, bookmarking sites, etc.

Create profile pages for your blog on social media sites, bookmarking sites, etc. You do this because eventually you want your blog to have a brand i.e. It’s a bit of branding.

Don’t forget to SEO your blog to improve search engine ranking.

You’ll have to repeat step 3 for every blog articles.

What's Next?

  • Clickfunnels vs Shopify – Platforms to let you quickly launch online stores and sell your products.
  • Teachable vs Udemy – Platforms to let you create, launch and sell your courses online.
  • Propeller Ads – AdSense alternative. Earn advertising money on your website.
  • Textbroker – Writers get paid by writing articles for clients.
  • NamingForce – Get paid by creating business names in crowdsourced contests.

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