There’s a big difference between the words ‘simple’ and ‘easy’. It’s simple to get into shape. You eat healthy food, cut the carbs, hit the gym for a few months and you’ll be in better shape. Is it easy? Absolutely not! Creating an affiliate marketing blog is similar.
Tell me more
Starting an affiliate marketing blog is incredibly simple. You can start a blog for affiliate marketing in just a couple of hours. You can then write articles on a daily basis, linking to your affiliate products within the articles, then when people click on the links and make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission. Simple, right? Well, sure.
It isn’t easy, though! It takes a lot of effort to stick with it. Writing articles on a regular basis to keep your audience engaged, anticipating the next one takes time and hard work. Most people set their blog up, write a few articles, don’t see immediate results, and stop.
How will you help me?
In this guide, you’ll learn the upsides and downsides to blogging, how to set up an affiliate marketing blog and how you can monetise your articles.
If you find this article useful, I’d love it if you could share on your social media channels, or just leave a comment 😊
The pros and cons of affiliate marketing
What’s good about creating an affiliate marketing blog?
There are lots of ways to earn money online, so why choose affiliate marketing?
- It’s simple to set up – You’ll find out how to set up your affiliate marketing blog in the guide below, and what you’ll realise it’s incredibly simple. You’ll create your site, write articles, find affiliate products related to your niche, and add the links to your articles. Simple!
- You don’t need to be a sales person. You don’t need to come from a marketing background. I certainly didn’t!Firstly, your audience will connect with you if you are genuine, offering solid advice and not trying to sell things to them every day. Secondly, most of the affiliate programs you’ll sign up to will give you sample emails and articles you can use yourself. Balance is key.
- Reach a huge, targeted audience. The people reading your articles are actively looking for advice and content in your niche, so you’ve already got a head start. In addition, they’re also going to be interested in products within your niche, that’s why they visited your site! Think of it like shopping on the high street. If you go into a shop, there’s a high chance that you’ll find something you like, and a good chance you’ll buy something, especially if you speak to an expert while you’re there.
- It’s cheap to set up. You don’t need lots of money to get started. To be exact, you need to pay for your website domain (around $15 per year) and your hosting (around $30 per year). That’s it!
What, there’s more?
- You can generate a passive income. Once you’ve written and published an article, that’s it up on the internet. You don’t need to maintain it. Even if you’re sleeping or on holiday, people will still visit your site and make purchases.
- You can choose what to write about. One of the most important things when choosing what to write about, is to make sure that you’re passionate about the subject. After all, you’re going to be spending lots of time talking about it with your audience! You have full control over what you write and when you write it. If you enjoy it so much, it won’t even feel like ‘work’!
- You don’t need your own product. Having your own product comes with so much responsibility. You need to worry about stock and shipping, customer service, quality and probably hiring staff. With affiliate marketing, you don’t need to think about any of this, as the purchase is made via the product owner’s site, and they deal with the customer.
What are the downsides of an affiliate marketing blog?
There are some downsides to consider:
- You’re not going to get rich overnight. Affiliate marketing isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme (they don’t exist). Be prepared to put in long hours, especially when you’re getting started. You need people to visit your site, and that only comes organically with great articles and strong keywords.
- You don’t have full control. Since you are marketing someone else’s product, you don’t have control over the customer experience once the customer has clicked the link. I strongly suggest trying the products out yourself so you know what will happen once the customer moves on to the offer page.
- Varied commissions. Some companies simply don’t offer high commissions, so you may not take a good-sized portion of the sale. Some are as low as 5 – 10%. You can easily find some, though, that offer 40 – 50% commissions. NEVER sign up to a program where it’s not clear what you’ll get in return
- High competition. LOTS of people are making money from their affiliate marketing blog. The challenge can be if your niche is too broad and it’s very difficult to stand out from the crowd. Try to make your niche as specific as possible. For example, instead of your niche being ‘Travel’, could it be something like ‘Backpacking in Asia’?
- You get paid on product sales. You could get thousands of clicks on the affiliate links within your articles. However, you’re not going to earn money until that visitor makes a purchase. Remember, you can always change your offers if you find that some just aren’t converting. Be prepared to test things and be ready to change and adapt.
- Fraudulent affiliates. The internet is a big place, and there are people out there who just want to use you and take your money from you. Make sure you do your due diligence on the programs your signing up for. Is there evidence that they pay out? Are there any reviews of the programs? Reddit is always good for this!
So you’ve decided you want to start affiliate marketing! Great, here’s how you can do it.
If you’ve decided you want to go ahead and start your affiliate marketing journey, it’s important to do things properly, and in the right order. The good news is we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on what to do and when to do them. Of course, you could do them in a different order but this is what’s worked for us!
Decide on your niche
As we’ve covered above, you’re going to be writing a lot about the subject you choose. That’s why I recommend choosing something you love. Something you’ll genuinely enjoy writing about. You may not be able to think of ANYTHING at this stage. So, what I recommend is a brainstorming exercise.
Time for some brainstorming!
In the middle of a page, write down the word ‘Blog’. Then, think ALL of things you enjoy. Don’t hold back. If you think of something, but you’re not sure about it, write it down. We can get rid of it later if need be. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with! It may start to look something like this:
Now to drill-down!
Now, focus on your favourite three things that you’ve written down. Try to think of subjects related to that niche. These are what we call micro-niches. For example:
Blog > Travelling > Backpacking in Asia, Day trips in Europe, Best backpacks for children.
Blog > Cooking > Birthday cake designs, Cooking authentic Indian curries, Best things I’ve tested around the world.
Do you see where we’re going? Everyone is passionate about something. You just need to find what you’re passionate about. The ideas will soon flow. You’ll soon end up with something like this:
“But I’m not an expert in anything!”
One of the big reasons people don’t start an affiliate marketing blog is they feel they’re not an expert in what they’re passionate about. You don’t need to be! For example, I’m passionate about football (soccer!). However, I’d say that, out of 100, my knowledge is around 30.
In my niche though, for example, the English Premier League, my knowledge is about 80. And you know what? Because I’m passionate about it, I’m always reading, listening and learning about it, and my knowledge is going up all the time
Start with something very specific that you’re confident writing about (mine could be Liverpool strikers of the 2000s). You can broaden your subjects later.
By being so specific, you’ll give yourself greater chance of success early on, which will be a great motivation.
“Wait a minute, what’s keyword research? I’ve never heard of it!”
Keyword research is simply understanding what your audience search for when they use Google. There’s no use in setting up a blog if nobody can find it!
The task at this stage, is to write up a list of keywords (I’d say start with 10, then move to 50, and then 100! – It’s a lot less daunting than starting with 100!) They don’t need to be single words, they can (and should be) phrases too.
For example, the article you’re reading now is written to show up when people search “Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing”, “Start a blog step-by-step” and “How to start an affiliate marketing blog” By doing keyword research, I was able to find out how many people are looking for these things, and even where these people are located.
“How do I do my keyword research?”
How do you do it? Think of yourself as the reader. What words or phrases would you enter into google and expect your articles to show? There are lots of tools online helping you to do this. LongTailPro.com and AnswerThePublic are great. Google also has its own keyword planner. The video below will walk you through some other examples:
Register A Domain Name
Now it’s ready to ‘buy’ your website name. A domain name is simply the URL of your website. For example, this website’s domain name is www.ewingsolutions.co.uk
It can be difficult to choose a domain name. There are over 1.8 billion websites out there, so as you can imagine, lots of them are taken!
Tips for registering a domain name
- Try to find a .com domain name – This is more important in some niches than others. There are two main reasons to choose a .com domain. Firstly, .com is the most trusted name. It’s the domain people are most familiar with and, as a result, you’ll rank higher in google. Secondly, it’s international. National domains like .co.uk (United Kingdom) or .de (Germany) can be restrictive. It does depend on your niche, though. At Ewing Solutions, 90% of our target customers are based in the UK, so we’re okay. For blogs, though, you’ll want to be visible to the world!
- The domain should be relevant to your niche. So, use your keywords to help you, but don’t restrict yourself too much! Leave yourself room to broaden your niche in future. If your affiliate marketing blog about the cheapest holidays in Eastern Europe, don’t buy the domain ‘JamesBlog.com’, however, don’t restrict yourself by calling it ‘cheapestholidaysineurope.com’. Try to look at your keywords, and group them under something that makes sense.
- Make sure your domain is easy to understand. Some people call this the ‘Radio advert test’. Imagine your domain is being read out on a radio advert. Is it easy to read out loud? If so, you’re onto a winner!
Registering your domain
There are lots of sites online where you can register your domain. I mean thousands! The good news is we offer this service so you don’t need to look anywhere else. Check out the packages we have available here!
‘How do I know my domain name is available?’
We can do this for you! It’s good if you can bring us a prioritised list of 5, just in case what you want isn’t available.
Setting Up Web Hosting
Now that you’ve chosen your domain name, you’re going to need somewhere for the website to live. That’s what we call ‘web hosting’. The web host simply gives you the ability to broadcast your blog posts to the world. Thing of it as your affiliate marketing blog’s home.
Just like with domains, there are thousands of companies who provide this service. We also offer this service, but some other companies who do the same are:
The price you’ll pay depends on the plan you chose. For starting out, I strongly suggest going with the basic plan. This is the cheapest option and gives you everything you need to get started. You can always upgrade in the future if you need to.
You may have already heard of WordPress. If not, it’s basically the most popular website and blogging platform in the whole world. The good news is it’s totally free to set up by yourself and is really simple. If you want to have a more advanced blog, let us know and we can help you out.
After you’ve installed WordPress, he next thing you’ll do is to pick a theme. This is basically deciding on the look and feel of your site. WordPress has lots of free templates and themes you can choose from, as well as some which you pay for. The paid ones do perform better on Google as they’ve been optimised, and also stand out from the crowd, because most people go with the free options. This choice is yours!
To get WordPress, click here, or get in touch with us and we’ll help you out!
Familiarize Yourself with WordPress
Using a new tool always takes a bit of time to adapt. You don’t need to rush this. You’ll be doing the vast majority of your work via WordPress, so it’s really important to get use to how it looks, feels and what different buttons do. Don’t put pressure on yourself to pick it up straight away! You don’t need to know any computer code or have technical skills to learn it. Just click around and take your time. YouTube is a great resource for learning ‘How To’ do things using WordPress.
Create Your First Page
The two key parts of your WordPress site are ‘Pages’ and ‘Posts’. Pages are things like Home, About, Contact Us.
Posts are your articles.
I strongly recommend starting your affiliate marketing blog with Home, About, Contact Us and Blog. You can always add to this in the future.
Why do I recommend these pages?
- Home – Visitors need to have somewhere to access everything on your site.
- About – Readers will be keen to understand what kind of articles they can expect to find on your site. A little bit about you, and why you are passionate about your niche will go a long way!
- Contact Us – Some people may have questions or maybe even want to do a collaboration with you! They’ll need your contact info to do this.
- Blog – This is where your articles are going to live.
Content and blog
We’re almost there!
The next thing you need to do is write the content for your pages. Ignoring Blog for now (we’ll get to that!), the other pages will need to have at least some basic information of what your site is for, and why it exists.
Remember, you’re talking to people similar to you. Why should they stay on your page and read your articles? Why are they interested in your affiliate marketing blog? Try to proactively answer questions these people may have. Also, in order for your website to rank high on Google, you need to make sure you’re using your keywords within your content. This goes for pages as well as the blog articles.
Create Your First Blog Post
So, this whole guide was how to use blogging to earn affiliate commissions. So here we are! It’s best not to launch your site until you have at least one blog post on there, or else visitors won’t stay long and they’ll look elsewhere. It’s now the time to create your first blog post.
How do I write it?
The best way to do this to start off is just write it in Microsoft Word. It means you can easily save it and reword it until you’re happy with it. Again, DON’T RUSH! I wasn’t at all happy with my first article. Don’t try to be perfect. Just get something written that you would genuinely find interesting or insightful. If you’re not a seasoned writer or marketer, this can seem daunting.
Just be yourself and be authentic. The important thing to remember is to USE YOUR KEYWORDS within your articles. It’s all about that ranking! If you rank higher, you get more visitors resulting in more affiliate commissions.
Go, Go, GO!
Now that you’ve built your website and created your content – you can launch your site and you’ll be online. Exciting! Remember, don’t expect to shoot right to the top of Google. Google takes time to recognise and learn your website.
You’ll need to post new articles regularly, so Google knows your affiliate marketing blog is active and people are visiting it. This all takes time. Remember, most people drop out soon after this stage. Don’t be one of them!
Monetising your blog
Monetise your content – Finding affiliate products
Whatever niche you have opted for, there WILL be something to promote. That’s why we chose our niche before our products. The below are some of my favourites, but may not work for your affiliate marketing blog. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, just google ‘YOUR NICHE affiliate program’ and you’ll be surprised at what you find! Large companies, like Booking.com, have attractive affiliate programs you can use. Some of them you may need to request approval and let them know how you plan to market their products, so it would be good to have a ‘sales pitch’ email to hand.
- Maxbounty – Cover many industries, including diet, dating, finance and real estate.
- Clickbank – Mainly digital products, but cover lots of niches
- Amazon Associates – A HUGE range of products
- Ebay Partners – Even more products!
your priority at this stage should be producing high quality content. Visitors are more likely to purchase from you links if they like you and trust you. Don’t push too much, or they’ll see through you, and you’ll sound like a sales person. Focus on the content, and add the affiliate links where they make sense, not necessarily on every article.
Your done! You now own an affiliate marketing blog – congratulations!
If you followed our step-by-step guide, you’ll now officially be a blog owner and affiliate marketer. So, what do you do now? One word. Content. Try your best to get into a routine of blogging at least once a week, ideally daily.
Focus on your keywords, what do you want to rank highly for? Articles don’t need to be thousands of words, but they should either be interesting, funny or educational. There’s no perfect length and there’s no perfect content.
We tend to overestimate what we can complete in a day, but highly underestimate what we can do in a week, month and year. All you need to do now is get started and keep going!
I truly hope you found this guide insightful and useful. You’ve taken the first steps into the affiliate marketing blog world just by reading it. Well done. You’re going to run into things where you get stuck and have days where you genuinely cannot think of what to write. This is where more people give up. Don’t be one of them. Keep going and you’ll get your reward!
Do you have any feedback or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!