If you have been researching ways to make money online, then you have probably stumbled upon a lot of information as well as terms that may be unfamiliar to you. One of those terms that you may not know much about is affiliate marketing.
When I first started researching ways to make money before starting my blog, this was a concept I had never heard before. I wrote this beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing to introduce you to the concept and to help you get started with affiliate marketing if that is a way you chose to make money in your online journey.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
First, a definition.
Affiliate marketing is the practice of promoting other people’s products and in return recieving a commission on the sale of the item.
To simply that definition, here is a 5 step process for starting affiliate marketing.
- You find a product you want to promote.
- Do a search for the product name + affiliate program. (If the product is on Amazon you could sign up there as well.)
- Sign up for the affiliate program. (You become an affiliate.)
- You will receive a special link that will allow the merchant to know when someone clicked on your link.
- If someone purchases the product, you receive a commission.
There is a more technical side to affiliate marketing which makes it more advanced. For the sake of this beginner’s guide we will stick with the basics so you can understand what it is, can start affiliate marketing on your own and so your eyes don’t glaze over.
The easiest way to promote products as an affiliate is by having your own blog. This is one of the simplest ways to make money as a blogger because you don’t have to invest time and money in creating your own products. You can promote products that you use and love so that you will build trust with your audience.
But you don’t have to start a blog in order to be successful with affiliate marketing. You can promote products through social media; on Facebook, on Pinterest, and on Youtube. Each social media site has specific rules about using affiliate links. So, if you go that route make sure you have a solid understanding of the rules, so your account doesn’t get penalized.
Steps for Putting Affiliate Marketing into Action
If you are wanting to use affiliate marketing on a blog here is the general process of getting it set up in 7 steps.
- Step 1: Find Your Niche
- Step 2: Research Products in Your Chosen Niche to Review
- Step 3: Create a Blog
- Step 4: Sign Up For the Affiliate Programs of the Products You Have Chosen
- Step 5: Sign Up For the Amazon Affiliate Program, If Applicable
- Step 6: Create Content in the Form of Reviews, Tutorials, Resources Pages
- Step 7: Collect Commissions as Your Audience Makes Purchases Through Your Link
Step 1: Find Your Niche
There are so many definitions of what a niche is out there. A niche is a topic that encompasses the articles on your blog. It can be a super narrow topic like football snack helmets. (Yes, it’s a real thing, I included the link if you wanted to check it out. Plus, it is the perfect example of a blog that focuses solely on affiliate marketing.) Or something more broad like focusing on all sports.
Honestly, anything could be a niche. And when I say anything, I mean anything. You could start a site about knitting or golf or something more random like kitchen faucets. (Again, totally a thing.)
The best way to decide on your niche is to choose a passion or at least something you are interested in. This way it is a lot easier, not to mention fun, to write content surrounding your topic.
Step 2: Research Products in Your Chosen Niche to Review
Once you choose your niche, then you need to do some research to see what products exist for you to review. Sometimes a niche is to narrow and focused and it is hard to find products to write about.
Research is also good to make sure you don’t mind writing about those particular products. If you don’t like writing about the products or the topic that you have chosen, it will be difficult to stick with it.
When researching make sure the products you want to use have an affiliate program. You can always just search the product + affiliate program to see if it exists. If the product doesn’t have an affiliate program, you have choices. You can bag the product and find something else or you can use it and know you won’t be able to make a commission off of that product.
Step 3: Create a Blog
Once you have committed to your niche and have found products to target, then you need a place to write about it. In order to make money through affiliate marketing with your blog, you will need to have a hosting company. It’s not free, but it’s a reasonable investment. You have to spend money to make money.
You will need to choose a domain name, which is the name before the dot com. Sometimes you have to get creative when coming up with a name because your first choice might not be available.
Then you will create the look of your blog with a theme, logo, categories, and about page. It’s okay when you are first setting it up to not have everything set in stone and to change something.
Step 4: Sign Up For the Affiliate Programs of the Products You Have Chosen
Now it is time to sign up for affiliate programs. Pay attention to any specific requirements. Many places have them.
Step 5: Sign Up For the Amazon Affiliate Program, If Applicable
The Amazon Affiliate Program is one with special requirements. You have six months to make three sales. If you do you will be considered for the program and have a higher chance of getting in. Otherwise, you won’t be accepted at all. So, it might be a wise idea to sign up after you have content on your site and traffic is starting to come.
Step 6: Create Content in the Form of Reviews, Tutorials, Resource Pages
When writing content on your blog, make sure it is informative and thorough. It needs to add value to your audience’s life. Make sure your content makes sense for your niche and audience.
You can write reviews on a single product. You can write a review comparing and contrasting two products. Depending on your niche, you can also do a best-of post. For example, if your niche was baby strollers you could write a post on the best jogging strollers.
Although review posts are helpful and useful to your audience, it is important to have variety. Tutorials are an in-depth how-to article. Going back to the baby stroller example, you could write a tutorial on how to choose a stroller.
A resource page combines all of your affiliate links together and is usually toted as the best tool for something. They stand out to Google because they are usually long and informative. They also usually link back to any reviews you have written for that item.
Make sure that you are including the special link you got when you signed up for a product’s affiliate program.
Step 7: Collect Commissions as Your Audience Makes Purchases Through Your Link
Congratulations, you made money. That’s awesome sauce, but your work doesn’t stop here. Keep writing valuable content so you build trust with your audience.
The Best Platform to Help You with Affiliate Marketing
If you are thinking to yourself, “That’s great, Amanda, but what if I need or want more help?” I got you covered. There is a platform that can help you. It can give you more detailed instructions and a whole slew of people to support you, among other things. Read my review of this amazing platform that I used to start my own affiliate marketing business.
Affiliate marketing is a great way to start making money online. Although it won’t make you rich quick and requires time and effort, it can be very profitable. You can products you already use and trust. You don’t have to worry about creating a service or product.
Have you tried Affiliate Marketing? Will you try Affiliate Marketing?