If you run a blog, you’ll already know how rewarding it can be in terms of connecting with an audience and expressing yourself. You may even have started making a bit of money from your blog thanks to something you read here on our site, but you may not yet have tried one of the most lucrative ways to make money out of a website: affiliate marketing. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is the idea that you send customers to a merchant’s site, and then get a percentage of the price when they buy something. That’s the idea, but there are many variations within that that can make some affiliate programs better than others.
Getting started with affiliate marketing
The first thing you need to decide is whether or not you want to make affiliate marketing the key focus of your site (in which case you may consider launching a standalone one), or whether you’ll just use it here and there to try and squeeze a bit of cash from your pages. Generally speaking, you’ll find it easier to go for the latter option, so let’s focus on that during this guide. The next step is to consider your niche. You’ll know what this is better than anyone; for example, if you run a blog about golf, you may want to promote golf wear or equipment. Generally speaking, the more relevant the products you promote, the more success you should have marketing them at your readers.
Choose an affiliate program
There are lots of affiliate programs out there, each of which offer various different vendors. You’ll need to take a look at a few of these to find out which one suits your niche the best. Some of the most popular programs are the Amazon Associates program (whereby you can promote any product on Amazon), TradeDoubler (who have lots of vendors) and ClickBank (who offer lots of web-based products). For many bloggers, it’s enough to simply use Amazon as their affiliate solution. They pay a flat rate of 5% commission on average, so whenever someone clicks through to their site from yours and buys something, you get a cut.
Putting affiliate ads on your blog
Now here comes the tricky part – deciding on ad placement. The trick here is to not turn your site into something that looks spammy. You want to retain the same level of quality that you’ve always had, but with a bit of subtle product advertising. On the other hand, if you’re running a pure affiliate site, you may want nothing but ads! But for most bloggers, inserting the ads in a subtle way is the best bet. You could try putting them into existing relevant articles, or you could try dotting them around the perimeter of your site. Some blogs even find success by implementing a dedicated affiliate store for readers to buy from.
Tips for affiliate success
The way you implement affiliate marketing is totally up to you, but one of the most tried and tested methods is to review a product then link to it. This is also a natural way to include such a post on your blog. But remember not to be overly positive, otherwise the review will sound more like an ad. Just be realistic about what you think of the product, then give your readers the option to buy it for themselves. This way they will see your site as a trusted authority (or maybe they already do). Affiliate ads can also work in the sidebar of your blog where visitors will naturally expect to see advertising of some kind.
Ready to get started?
Those are the basics of affiliate marketing: get traffic, present a product, collect commissions. There are obviously steps in between, but that’s the bottom line. Whether your website sells landlord insurance or reviews video games, there’s an affiliate program out there for you. And with Amazon offering thousands of products, you’ll always find something relevant on there that you can promote via the Amazon Associates program. So what are you waiting for? If your site is already enjoying quite a high level of traffic, you may be surprised at how much cash you can turn it into.
Emma Jonestown is a freelance writer from England who specialises in advanced marketing for a landlord insurance business.
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