Affiliate marketing blogs are everywhere. This article will explain what an affiliate marketing blog is, and why you might want to create one and provide some guidance on how to find an affiliate program to join.
Even if you’ve never seen the term before, I can guarantee that you’ve encountered an affiliate marketing blog.
If you’ve seen a website that talks about a product or service with a link to it on another site, you can almost guarantee that the link is “monetized” and that the author of the site will be paid if you make a purchase via that link.
“Monetized” is just a fancy word used in marketing that means that it makes somebody money. So, a monetized website is a website that makes money for the website owner in some way. This might be affiliate links but it could also include being paid for showing adverts or including sponsored articles.
What is affiliate marketing?
I’m sure that before you bought something recently, you probably researched it on the Internet to make sure you weren’t wasting your money. Many of the websites you’ll have visited will have offered in-depth reviews and somewhere in the review, the author will have helpfully provided a link to enable you to buy the product.
That link will be linked to the author in some way so, if you were to buy the product, the seller will know who sent a new customer their way and they might offer the author some kind of reward. This is usually (but not always) a percentage of the sale.
The author of the review is an affiliate of the seller.
The blog that contains the reviews that link to the seller’s website is an affiliate marketing blog.
How to monetize your website content
Once you decide that you want to monetize your website, you have a number of options. I’ll describe them briefly here but as this article is about affiliate marketing blogs, I’ll be focusing on affiliate marketing after this section. I’ll be covering the other methods in future posts.
The website owner joins an affiliate program (more on this below) and is provided with a special link to promote a product or service. When a website visitor clicks on that link and makes a purchase, the website owner gets paid.
A website owner can join an advertising program that provides some special code to embed on their site. This code will then automatically show adverts provided by the advertising program, selected by their own internal algorithms.
Some programs offer the ability to filter what adverts are shown and some don’t.
This means you could suddenly discover your website is covered by a full-screen advert or distracting auto-playing videos when a visitor first arrives, or an advert your might find distasteful. This could affect how many people continue to visit your site.
There are some websites I no longer visit because of their aggressive advertising.
Hosting specific adverts
This is when the website owner will be paid to display adverts that they’ve specifically chosen to display. This is, for some, a better option as it offers much more control over the advert content, the size of it, and how it is shown on your website.
This can be an excellent way of dipping your toes into advertising without worrying about it breaking the look or feel of your site.
This means that the website owner will be paid to write about a specific product or service, or is given an article by the sponsor to publish.
Asking for donations
Some website owners will directly ask their visitors for donations towards the upkeep of the website. Wikipedia is a good example of this method (they occasionally have pop-ups asking their readers for money to support their effort).
I have no idea how effective this method is, or how it affects the perception of the site in the eyes of its readers.
Slightly different to asking for donations, sponsorship is where a website owner will ask their visitors to agree to becoming a patron and making a small regular contribution to the site. This is usually done through a third-party network such as the well-known Patreon site.
The big advantage to this method, if sponsors can be attained, is that the website owner will be making a more sustainable income but it heavily depends upon providing an offering that people deem worthy of sponsorship.
Directly selling digital products
A digital product is basically a file that can be downloaded once it’s been paid for.
Some examples include stock photography, planners and journals that can be printed out, videos, and audio books.
Once the website owner has created a digital product, they will offer it for sale on their website with some means of paying for it online. Once payment has been made, the product is made available for download (or it’s emailed directly to the customer).
Offering services or consultancy
If you have a skill that people might be willing to pay for, it might be beneficial to include a “hire me” page.
Many people use their websites as portfolios to attract new clients but I’d say this only counts as monetizing if the website is the sole means of attracting clients.
A commonly used method of generating regular income is to sell membership subscriptions.
Subscribed members then gain access to content that is not available elsewhere.
The key to this method is being able to regularly produce content of value otherwise your members will soon cancel their membership.
Many websites generate income by including small shops that offer products specific to their niche.
These shops may not even be part of the website itself but provided from an external source (e.g. Amazon) and embedded on the monetized websites.
Types of Affiliate Programs
So now that you’ve seen all the different ways you could monetize your website, I’m going to focus on just one, affiliate marketing programs.
An affiliate marketing program is simply an agreement between the website owner and the merchant about how the website owner will get potential customers onto the merchant’s website and how much will be paid for each sale.
Affiliate marketing programs are offered in two forms:
- Individual website programs
This is where a single website will offer a commission for referrals and the agreement is between you and the owner of that single website.
- Affiliate program networks
Some merchants don’t want the hassle of setting up their own affiliate program and managing it so instead, they use a third party affiliate network. If you want to sell products for these merchants, you will need to join the affiliate network and follow their rules.
Finding a program is actually quite easy. Joining one is not always so easy. Some affiliate programs require you to meet certain criteria such as the number of page views your site receives per month or that your content is about a specific subject.
The simplest method is to think about the types of products that you want to sell products and search for an associated program. In the image here, I wanted to find affiliate programs for selling stationery (my website niche might be high-end writing papers) so I went to Google and searched for stationery affiliate programs.
As you can see, I’ve immediately found links to four potential programs I could work with.
In the case of physical products, you would need to review each site carefully to ensure they ship to your intended website audience. Some companies will only ship within their own national boundaries or charge high shipping costs for international shipping.
Once you find some promising programs, click on the link to find out more. Each program will have its own terms and conditions. You will need to consider these points when reading them:
- What do they consider to be a sale?
- How much will you be paid for each sale (is it a fixed percentage)?
- When do you get paid (some programs will pay you weekly, some will pay you monthly)?
- Is there a payment threshold? How high does your commission balance need to be before you get paid?
To make your life a little easier, here’s a list of the well-known affiliate networks that you might want to join. Once you’re in, you can search their databases for products or services that might be a good fit for your website:
This is a huge platform that provides affiliate programs for some of the most well-known sites on the Internet. If you want to promote the well-known online-learning platform, Udemy, you’ll need to join Rakuten.
Awin has a huge range of clients that you can apply to join. Note – once you’ve become an AWin affiliate, you still need to apply to join the individual programs within their database. This is often the case with the other networks too.
Clickbank enables you to offer a range of digital products on your website. Most of the vendors on the platform offer you complete sales and marketing materials (e.g. advertising banners) but many of them have some horrendous hard-sell landing pages and will often aggressively upsell once a customer makes a purchase.
ShareASale have some great clients that you can promote such as the well-known Craftsy website. They’re now part of the AWin network but I’ve not noticed any significant changes as a result.
- CJ Affiliates
A very well-established affiliate CJ Affiliates manages the affiliate programs for a number of big-name vendors so they’re worth joining… if you can pass the application criteria.
These are not the only networks by any means.
The Amazon Associates Program
Probably the most well-known affiliate program is the Amazon Associates program.
It’s worth joining because the range of products that are available on the platform is immense but there some points you’ll want to bear in mind before you do.
The most important is not to join before your website traffic has reached a reasonable number. If you don’t make 3 sales within a 180-day period, Amazon will close your account.
There’s quite a list of conditions you’ll need to adhere to if you don’t want to see your hard-earned commissions disappear overnight because your account was closed for violating them.
I highly recommend that you read Amazon Affiliate Rules For Niche Sites on Azonhacks if you’re interested in becoming an Amazon Associate.
Using your affiliate links
Once you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’ll be given access to a range of links and banners that you can use to promote the program. Using the links is as simple as selecting some text in WordPress, clicking the link icon and pasting the affiliate link into the box. Everytime that link is clicked, the affiliate should record the visitor as being referred from your website.
Banners are similar but instead of a URL to paste into a link, you will need to copy and paste some HTML code. This can be done in an HTML widget or block. If you’re not using WordPress, the process should still be relatively straightforward.
Hopefully, by this point you’ll know exactly what an affiliate marketing blog is and how you can turn your blog into one.
I deliberately introduced you to a list of ways you can monetize your website so you know that affiliate marketing isn’t the only route. There’s no reason why you can’t mix and match the methods you use, of course, but affiliate marketing is an excellent way to generate some income from your website.
In a future article, I’ll be writing about the ethics of affiliate marketing. There are good marketers and there are evil marketers. I like to believe people are smart enough to tell the difference and shun the bad ones.
If you want to learn how to be an affiliate marketer from the absolute beginning, I highly recommend the training at Wealthy Affiliate. You can find out more in my super-detailed review!
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