How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Blog And Turn Free Content Into Cash

by | Apr 7, 2018 | WordPress Guides

Passive income. Making money in your sleep. That’s the dream right?

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Do you want to learn how to become an affiliate marketer and start a blog that has potential to generate hundreds or thousands of dollars? Then I’m your guy! Follow me and I’ll show you how. Relax, it’s not that hard. Let’s dive right in.


What Is Affiliate Marketing?

In essence, affiliate marketing is revenue share between a company and you, the affiliate. Your job as an affiliate marketer is to promote that company’s products and services. You will be awarded a commission each time you refer a sale. One of the best ways to do that is by starting a WordPress blog. From there, it comes down to choosing a few affiliate programs and creating high quality content to promote them to your audience.

Affiliate programs are free to join and exist for many companies. You can usually find a link to a company’s affiliate program sign up page towards the bottom footer of their website. When you first set up an account, you are given a special hyperlink that is unique to you. You can then insert that link into your webpages and blog articles in the form of text or image.

Your affiliate link is mainly used to track visitors who click through from your site and make a purchase. When someone clicks an affiliate link, a “cookie” is placed in their web browser.

What is a cookie? Simply put, a cookie is a small bit of code used to track your affiliate sales. This browser cookie makes it possible for the affiliate program to verify the referral and where it’s coming from. A browser cookie also has a duration, which varies depending on the affiliate program. Most affiliate program’s cookies last somewhere between 7 to 30 days.

The longer the cookie duration, the better. Think of a browser cookie like a window of opportunity. You have to close the sale within that timeframe or it does not count. Pay close attention to the cookie duration that affiliate programs offer when selecting companies to partner with. If a cookie only lasts 7 days, that means you have 7 days from the time someone clicks your affiliate link to actually make a purchase. If they decide to buy on day 8, you will not get a commission.

Another thing to keep in mind is affiliate programs only track the most recent referral. What does that mean? Let’s say for example someone reads an article you wrote on your blog and clicks one of your affiliate links. They don’t make any purchase just yet. The next day, they stumble upon another article written by a different affiliate (not you) who is promoting the same offer. This time they decide to make a purchase and click one of your competitor’s affiliate links. The commission would go to your competitor, not you because they made the most recent referral.

An affiliate commission is usually based on a percentage of the sale price. This can vary greatly and is very important when you’re “shopping around” for affiliate programs. If you are promoting a $100 product and your affiliate commission is set to 25%, you will earn $25 each time you refer a sale. Some companies pay their affiliates upwards of hundreds of dollars per sale! These commissions can really start to add up and generate some nice, passive income.

Pro Tip: You will usually get much lower commissions from promoting physical products as opposed to digital products and services. Keep that in mind when choosing a affiliate programs to monetize your blog.


How To Start A Blog

I have good news and bad news for you: The good news is, starting a blog is pretty simple and can often be lots of fun. Bad news is, an affiliate marketing blog can take quite a bit of patience, dedication, and effort on your part before it actually starts making any money. If you’re serious, keep reading and I’ll show you how to start and grow your blog.

Before we dive deeper, I just want to start by saying this guide will not cover the basics of buying domains, setting up hosting, and designing your website.

We already have a full in-depth guide for that which you can read here. I want to really zero in and focus this guide on the topic of blogging and monetizing, specifically.

To sum it up, here’s are the 3 tools we use to make WordPress websites:

1. GoDaddy – Domain names.
2. SiteGround – WordPress hosting.
3. Divi – The WordPress theme we used to build iGrowthHacker.

The first step to starting any successful blog is brainstorming. Sit back and take some time to reflect on your personality, goals, passions, and interests. I would strongly suggest blogging about something that you are genuinely passionate about. Because that will drive you.

That’s one way to ensure you will be able to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis and be happy doing it. Sure, you can get away with blogging about something you’re not that 100% crazy about but it won’t be as enjoyable. You are of course free to choose whichever niche you like, I just want to make your life easier.

Content is king. It’s your responsibility to publish killer content that attracts a steady flow of highly-relevant, engaged visitors to your site. The following are examples of some of the best types of content you can produce for an affiliate marketing blog:

1. Breaking news articles related to your niche.
2. Helpful how-to guides and tutorials.
3. Curated gift/buyer guides featuring the best products and services in your market.
4. In depth reviews and comparisons.
5. Troubleshooting tips for solving problems.

Now that we’ve figured out a niche and came up with some content ideas to create, it’s time to get to work! The last thing you want is people arriving to an empty blog. Therefore, you should crank out as much content as possible during the early stages of launch. Now keep in mind, don’t simply rush and compromise the quality of your work. Give the best you’ve got and don’t hold anything back. Trust me, it will pay off in the long run and cutting corners will only come back to haunt you.

I once spent an entire day (12 hours) writing one single article, a 5,000+ word monster. Then proceeded to spend most of the following day adding imagery. It was hard as hell, but you know what? It was well worth it in the end. That article singlehandedly gave my website a huge boost in Google search rankings for various keywords and attracted many organic visitors. What’s more is people were actually clicking my affiliate links and purchasing.

To sweeten the deal, I knew my article would be around for years to come. It was evergreen. You can even update and refresh your blog articles by making a few edits from time to time. Take for example, a product review that you wrote last year… This year that same product has released some cool new features. In order to keep your review up to date you can go back and add the new features to your article. It’s important your content remains relevant and continues to attract a new crowd year after year.

Side Note: I want to point out a common mistake I often see affiliate marketers make. Do not spam your affiliate links all over your site. This will turn people off. Be subtle and strategical when plugging affiliate links in a piece of content. Make it clearly visible and easy to find but don’t overdo it.

Get good at selling. Remember you guys, you are an affiliate marketer. What’s your job? Marketing.

I want to talk more about selling, while we’re on the subject. Affiliate marketing on your blog is different than a direct sales position. It takes more finesse. You have to be clever in your approach. It’s not like an e-commerce website where you can just throw up a product page, add a few photos, a paragraph of text and you’re done. Affiliate marketing is much deeper than that.

Here’s what you do: For the sake of this example, we’re going to just assume you have a blog in an exciting niche with a really passionate audience. Find the BEST product or service (in your honest opinion) in that market, it can be either physical or digital. Then become an EXPERT in that product. I want you to really dig deep and do your homework. Research and learn everything there is to know about that product.

One great way to become an expert on something is to learn from one. Why not read some other successful blogs on that product to get more details? Study the product inside and out. Now apply everything you learned into a massive, in-depth article that screams value! I’m not exaggerating, you guys. That’s what it takes. I want you to be able to pump out content that trumps your competition.

Take a look at what your competitors are doing and find a way to do it better.

You have the advantage here. You’re able to learn from their mistakes, model the content they already have, and outwork them. Ask yourself: What can I bring to the table that is going to set myself apart from the next guy? What unique value proposition can you offer your audience?

So we’ve stressed the importance of publishing great, original content. It’s also worth mentioning consistency is equally as important. If you are going to publish one new article a week, stick to once a week. Don’t write three articles one week and then disappear for a month. It’s only going to confuse your readers and search engines such as Google. Consistency is key.


How To Monetize Your Blog

You can have the best blog content in the world and it won’t make a dime if you don’t monetize properly. Monetization is the process of turning your blog into a profitable money making machine. This is where affiliate marketing really shines.

Where do you find the best affiliates for your blog? Google. Start by searching for affiliate programs and products related to your niche.

Choose wisely! Carefully consider the following before signing up:

1. Quality of their actual products, services, and company as a whole. You gotta make sure the stuff you’re promoting to your audience is good stuff right?
2. Commission rate. Do they offer a satisfactory commission for your troubles? Can you make some good money from promoting their company?
3. Do they offer higher commission rates and incentives that increase based on your performance? Some companies will raise your commission per sale if you can bring in a certain amount of conversions each month.
4. Cookie duration. How long after someone clicks your affiliate link can you receive a commission for the sale if they don’t buy right away? Remember, the longer the better.
5. Be sure to read their affiliate program policies to see what they do or don’t allow to ensure everything aligns with your blog.

It would also be wise to read some reviews to see what other affiliates have experienced with the program you’re considering. It’s a good way to know what to expect before signing up.

Found an affiliate program you like? Great! Now you can go back and repurpose some of your older, yet relevant content (if you have any) by adding your new affiliate links. Then add as much new content around your affiliate offers as you can. You can also add some image banners on your site as long as they are not too intrusive to your visitors.

Something I like to do is make a resource page on your website that showcases some of your recommended products and services via affiliate links. A well structured resource page can be one of your best money makers as an affiliate. It’s also handy and helpful for your readers to reference.

Please be fully transparent with your audience by including a proper affiliate disclaimer. One will usually be provided to you in the terms and conditions section of your affiliate program’s dashboard. Copy and paste it or come up with one similar. It basically just states that you are an affiliate and informs readers that there are in fact affiliate links within your content. You should also make it clear that you may receive a commission from an affiliate link.


How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

If content is king, distribution must be queen. Before you are able to make any money from your affiliate blog, you need to put as many eyeballs in front of your content as possible. There are a million ways you can hack this but let’s talk about some of the most effective and actionable methods I’ve come across:

Be mindful of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when creating content. Always keep it in the back of your mind as you go. Come up with an interesting title that stands out and be aware of the keywords you’re trying to rank for when people are searching on Google. Use those keywords in your title and throughout your content. If you write quality material, Google will pick up on it. You will also start to rank and generate traffic from many other keywords as well, that comes naturally. You can track which keywords your website is ranking for via Google Search Console.

Are you a social media rockstar? Fantastic! Share your blog content on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Pick one or two platforms that suit you best and market your butt off. Don’t have a big presence on social media? That’s OK, it’s not too late to get started. If you can generate some buzz on social, that can be a big win for your blog. Imagine gaining a huge traffic spike from a piece of content potentially going viral.

Join a forum! Take Reddit for example. Reddit is one of the most visited websites on the web. There are thousands of subreddits across many niches that you can participate in. It’s likely there is already some forum community within your niche. Be genuine and actually participate as a member of the forum and when the time is right, drop a link back to your blog. Just be sure not to spam links for the sole purpose of self promotion all the time. You may come off as a spammer. Establish some type of relationship with the group before anything.

Get some key influencers and authorities in your niche to shout you out. Every niche has it’s bloggers and influencers who are more established than you. Why not contact them and tell them about an awesome piece of content you published and ask them to share it with their own audience. It may be just what they’ve been looking for. It doesn’t hurt to ask for a link back to your site and you can even score some huge publication this way.

At last, there’s paid advertising. You can launch a paid ad campaign on Google AdWords, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to promote and get direct traffic to your blog. This method is the most risky but can also yield great returns once you hit a winning campaign. If your profit can offset the cost to acquire a conversion, then you’re in the green and can rinse and repeat from there. Your ad will continue driving traffic and sales to your affiliate offers.

Those are just 5 proven internet marketing tactics for affiliates. You can get creative and tap into many more. Be sure to always test different platforms till you find one that sticks. And don’t give up too early as some of them may just take more time to gain traction.


Thanks for reading our guide to starting a profitable affiliate marketing blog. We hope you gained some value from it. What are your thoughts?

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