There are many ways to monetize your blog, but affiliate marketing is a great way to start. This article explains why it is often the best option for bloggers who want to maximize passive income.
There are many ways to make money with affiliate marketing, even for beginners. You can sign up with Amazon Associates, ClickBank or many other huge affiliate networks and get paid great money working from home.
The Fast Track to Real Blogging Income
Blogging is a great way to earn an income, and there are many different ways to monetize a blog. Yet I am constantly amazed at how few bloggers really take advantage of the opportunities that affiliate marketing offers. In my experience, it is possible to make an excellent income as an affiliate. You can certainly make thousands of dollars a month, and many bloggers make tens of thousands every month this way.
The theory of affiliate marketing is simple. When you join an affiliate program, you are given a tracking link to use when promoting the program. Then you get a percentage of the sale (or some other payment) whenever a sale is made. So why not get a piece of the action? After all, you only have to place a link to get started. How easy can it get?
The problem, I believe, is that many bloggers don’t realize how many benefits affiliate marketing offers compared to other forms of monetization. So let’s look at the options, and see how affiliate marketing stacks up. Get ready for the big blog income showdown:
Affiliate Marketing vs Ad Networks
When it’s time to monetize their website, bloggers often turn to ad networks such as Google AdSense as their first option. And there is nothing wrong with that in principle. If you have lots of traffic, you can make good money running AdSense and similar ads on your blog.
But could you make more money if you promoted products as an affiliate instead? In most cases, the answer is a resounding ‘yes!’ This is something that you should definitely test. Instead of just slapping AdSense code on every blog post, look for affiliate programs that are related to the topic of the page. In my experience, an affiliate link will earn more than an ad network link almost every time.
Affiliate Marketing vs Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts are also an excellent way to make money online, and I certainly recommend going down that route. But you need to be aware of the downsides, too. You can only make money from sponsored posts when you have commission from clients. That means your income is unpredictable and hard to manage.
By contrast, affiliate programs provide an ongoing source of income. You can promote any affiliate program week in, week out – and make money on a consistent basis.
What’s more, you are not restricted to a fixed, single payment. If you promote a particular affiliate program hard, you can make more sales and so earn more commissions. This is a great way to increase your overall income.
Affiliate Income vs Your Own Products
If you want to make the most money online, you need to have your own products. There is no doubt about that. But while creating and selling your own products is profitable, it is a strategy that comes with a lot of overhead.
First, you have to create or source your product. For physical products, you then have to get the produce produced and then warehoused. Whenever you make a sale, you have to worry about shipping, stock levels and delivery. Then you have to deal with managing inventory, returned products and providing customer service.
By contrast, affiliate marketing is easy. You just deliver the traffic, and the merchant does all the hard work. What’s not to like?
When you consider that some affiliate programs pay as much as 50 per cent commission, it’s easy to see the attraction. You can get 50 per cent of the money for doing only a tiny percentage of the work!
Drawbacks of Affiliate Marketing
So affiliate marketing is a great way to make money from your blog, and I highly-recommend it as an income strategy. But as with everything in life, there are some downsides, too.
The biggest problem with affiliate marketing is that you are not in control of the program. The merchant may decide to close the program down, or may run out of funds to pay affiliates. If that happens, there is nothing you can do except find another affiliate program to replace it.
Another issue is that merchants can be pretty mean with commission percentages. Take Amazon, for example. Their base affiliate payout rate is a measly 5 per cent. You have to shift a lot of product to make good money at that rate!
Another issue is that you have no control over the sales funnel. If the merchant’s system is not optimized for maximum sales, you will miss out on lots of commissions. Unfortunately, many merchants simply don’t know how to create high-converting sales funnels.
The most insidious problem, however, is affiliate ‘shaving.’ This very dodgy technique allows merchants to cheat affiliates by failing to track sales properly. So you may only get paid for, say, half of the sales you actually make. Sadly, this problem is extremely widespread and affects many affiliate programs.
Another benefit to look for is a two-tier structure. This format means you not only get paid for referring sales, you also get paid for referring other affiliates. You get a percentage of the money they make, which can add up to lots of dollars.
Get the Benefits without the Drawbacks
As we have seen, affiliate marketing is a great income strategy. But to make the most money, you need to be selective about the program you choose to promote. You need to look for an affiliate program that offers:
- A high-converting offer
- A high commission percentage
- Experienced affiliate management
- A robust affiliate platform
- Protection against shaving
- Regular and reliable payouts
There are some great affiliate programs out there. Find the best ones that are a good match for your blog...and start making money!