Monetizing your blog can prove difficult, especially if you’re new to blogging or the idea of making money from what many still see as a “pastime”.
However it is possible to build your blog into a money-making machine – just as long as you approach the prospect in the right way.
For instance, you need to be blogging original content. You should ideally have an audience that is enthused by your articles because they are interested in what you have to say about a particular topic.
Most importantly, however, you need to choose the right method of making money. Probably the most popular is affiliate programs (although there are others, of course, such as selling your own products) but these can have mixed results, depending upon your blog.
What Is An Affiliate Program?
Essentially, an affiliate program is a method of recording how many visitors click on the third-party adverts displayed on your website, and how much money is paid to you as a result of this. Affiliate programs differ slightly to ad networks such as Google Adsense as with the latter you don’t have much choice about which adverts are served.
Commissions depend on the affiliate program and the cookie lifespan.
Determining the Right Program for Your Blog Niche
With so many different affiliate programs available, how do you know which one to use with your blog?
The first thing you should do is visit your various competitors and check which advertising programs they are using. Do this for a week or so, looking out for any common or popular choices between them.
Once you have done this, you should then set about joining the same program, which is typically done by Googling the appropriate phrase. For instance if your competitor has an affiliate account with Netflix, search for “Netflix affiliate” in order to find the program to sign up to. Many companies use a third party affiliate manager, such as Commission Junction or Google Affiliate Network.
Bear in mind that simply signing up for any old affiliate account isn’t going to help your blog raise significant funds. Stick to related subjects. For instance if your readers are fans of a particular movie, TV show or book series then they might be interested in merchandise on eBay (which can pay quite well). Similarly they might be interested in a Netflix account.
The Best Performing Affiliate Programs
With so many affiliate programs available, finding the ones that perform the best can be challenging.
Fortunately there are some big-hitters that pay well for most users:
Amazon: with books, clothes, electronics and much more on offer you should be able to use the various Amazon tools to find products that your readers might be interested in. Amazon pays between 4% and 8.5% on standard goods and 4% on electronics. Sign up at: affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Clickbank: a popular choice for some, Clickbank has become less important to affiliate marketers over the years. However it remains a strong player with high payouts on the majority of products listed. Clickbank sells software and eBooks on a range of subjects, so if you have an interest in advertising any of these, signup at www.clickbank.com/promote_products.html. Note that products listed on Clickbank might be below-standard – as such, you should request a review copy of anything you are interested in listing.
eBay: the world-famous auction site manages affiliates via the eBay Partner Network. There are various tools available for link-building and you can create various advert types for your readers to click. Each successful bid results in revenue for your site!
Meanwhile, many smaller sites and businesses have their own affiliate programs. RichWP is no different, and offers a range of good earning options to anyone who can refer sales of our various packages. Take a look at richwp.com/affiliates for more information.
Not Keen on Adverts? Try Feature Posts and Reviews!
Not everyone likes to clutter their blog with adverts. Fortunately there is a way around this. Feature posts can spend some time talking about a particular product that you have identified, enabling you to add affiliate links at the beginning and end of the post (and perhaps as a link in any image that you include). Don’t promote something that you think is rubbish, however; while honesty will build your reputation, don’t unnecessarily denigrate any product that you don’t like – just ignore it.
Reviews are a major aspect of the way the web is heading right now. People don’t want to be making bad buys when money is tight so more time is spent looking for reviews. As such, this is a great opportunity to blog about a product and use an affiliate link to generate income!
It’s Simple If You Get It Right
Monetizing your blog is an important step that you should spend a bit of time researching before taking the plunge.
Once you do, start slow. Split testing is a process whereby one advertisement is displayed in front of a sample of perhaps 1500-2000 readers, followed by a second ad the following week. The one that performs best would then typically be chosen as the best choice for your website at that time.
Note that affiliate programs change their terms often. Also be aware that your audience’s tastes might change. As a result you should monitor performance of these adverts and change them if you feel they’re not performing as well as they should.
Finally, do not be concerned with any misgivings you have about monetizing your blog with affiliate adverts. Start slowly, be subtle and don’t use pop-ups. Your readers will not desert you simply because an advert has appeared!