Blogging is no longer seen as just a hobby; it is now widely recognized as both a powerful marketing tool for businesses and a reputable income stream for individuals. Even if you started your blog for fun, you may be curious as to whether you too could make some money from it – and why not?
With good content, a solid following and the right strategy, there is nothing to stop you from monetizing your blog. One method being used by a growing number of online publishers is affiliate marketing, which comes in many different forms. Here is everything you need to know about affiliate marketing and how you can use it to both enhance and profit from your blog.
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?
Before you adopt any strategy to monetize your blog, you need to understand exactly what you’re getting into. Simply put, affiliate marketing works by partnering with companies and brands in order to promote their products or services somewhere on your blog. If this endorsement leads to a purchase, you earn commission on it.
As already mentioned, there are many different ways to incorporate affiliate links into your blog, from weaving them in to a relevant blog post to writing a dedicated product review, or as a separate button or banner ad.
When you forge an affiliate partnership with a brand, you receive a unique affiliate ID. This forms part of the link that you place on your blog and ensures that the origin of every sale can be correctly tracked.
The amount you earn will vary from program to program, and you may need to reach a certain amount before you receive a payout. However, once you get the ball rolling, affiliate marketing can be a great way to generate a steady secondary income.
Why use Affiliate Marketing on Your Blog?
Many bloggers are keen to make a bit of money from their blog, but are equally hesitant about damaging their reputation. Indeed, too many adverts or hard-sell blog posts can give the impression that you’re just out to make money, causing your readers to doubt your credibility.
These are all things that bloggers should be wary of, but don’t be put off. Aside from the financial perks, there are many reasons why affiliate marketing may be a good next step for your blog:
- A subtle and authentic form of marketing: You may not like the thought of your blog being taken over by adverts, and that’s understandable. With affiliate marketing, though, you can endorse products and services that you genuinely believe in and incorporate links in a subtle, unobtrusive way.
- Affiliate marketing can enhance your authority: By providing bona fide reviews and pointing your readers towards products they may be interested in, you can bring added value to your readers and set your blog apart as an informative, trustworthy source.
- A low-effort option for bloggers: If you already have a steady following and are in the practice of producing regular, high-quality content, it is relatively easy to integrate affiliate links and make them work for you and your readers.
- You are in control: With affiliate marketing, you are in control of what endorsements appear on your site, as well as how and where they feature. This ensures that all affiliate links are both relevant and true to the style of your blog.
Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing
In order to get started with affiliate marketing, you first need to consider the kinds of brands and products you want to partner with. Whilst it’s essential to stay relevant to your niche, you’re not necessarily restricted to one type of product; brainstorm further interests that your audience might have and take it from there.
You can also browse online affiliate networks for inspiration; sites like affilinet feature thousands of programs and campaigns across all different industries. Simply browse by category or enter your own search terms and join those programs that are relevant to your audience.
When selecting affiliate programs, be sure to ask yourself: is the product, service or brand relevant to your readers? Could it be incorporated naturally and easily into your blog? If yes, you’re on to a winner.
Successful affiliate marketing isn’t just about picking the right brands to work with. As the webmaster, it’s down to you to place your affiliate links in a way that optimizes their value to the reader – and thus increases your chances of earning commission.
The best way to do this is through good content, be it an honest and informative product review or a how-to guide with suggested services. Ultimately, you know your readers and the kinds of content they enjoy, so always try to create the content that’s interesting for your users.
Last but not least, the golden rule for successful affiliate marketing: don’t overdo it. If you bombard your readers with ads on every single page, or start creating content that sounds overly promotional, they will soon get fed up.
The key is to be subtle and to maintain a balance; for every post that contains an affiliate link, you should also feature a piece of ad-free content. However you choose to monetize your blog, providing value to your readers should remain the number one priority. For more ideas, check out these tips for adding value to your blog.