Affiliate marketing is one of the ways most bloggers use to make money. If this is something you want to do and want to learn how to start with affiliate marketing as beginner blogger and all the steps you need to take to become an affiliate marketer, this short guide will help you.
While it's true that not every blogger is making money with affiliate marketing, there are many bloggers who make a regular income from affiliate marketing and can count affiliate marketing as their main source of income.
In this blog post, you'll learn the basics of affiliate marketing and how to start affiliate marketing step by step.
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[Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]
What's affiliate marketing?
So what's exactly affiliate marketing?
Think about your friend, let’s call her “Hannah”, she sells Avon products and gets a commission every time you buy a mascara from her.
Affiliate marketing is similar, but you do it mostly online with people you've never met and you don't have to collect payment and deliver the products yourself.
More importantly, you don't have to pay anything to become an affiliate marketer.
Is Affiliate Marketing a Pyramid Scheme then?
No, there's no pyramid in affiliate marketing.
There may be the odd affiliate program where if you've introduced another affiliate to the program you get a small commission as well but that's rare.
How does affiliate marketing work?
Starting with affiliate marketing is quite easy, even if you're a beginner blogger.
When you become an affiliate marketer you promote products that belong to an affiliate program by adding affiliate links (special links that contain your referral information) to your blog content.
Then, when somebody clicks on your link and buys something, you earn a commission.
How Do Affiliate Marketers Earn Money?
I know I've just mentioned that you earn a commission every time somebody clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, this is what we call Pay Per Sale but that's not always the case.
There are another two ways you can earn money as an affiliate marketer:
- Pay Per Click - So every time somebody clicks on your link, you get paid a small fee. This is usually pretty small because all you're doing is driving traffic to the affiliate program's website and it's up to them to do all the work to convert. But you could be earning small amounts without having to make a sale.
- Pay Per Lead - This usually means that your reader has to do something your affiliate program wants them to do, such as start a FREE trial, or sign up for a DEMO or something like that. From my experience, this usually happens when the affiliate product you're promoting requires some sort of membership or subscription. Think of this as a BONUS. Because you usually also get paid monthly for as long as their subscription is active.
WHY start AFFILIATE MARKETING as a beginner blogger?
One of the things I love about affiliate marketing is that it's something you can do to earn money online with your blog even if you don't offer services or have your own product to sell.
So it's something everybody who decides to start a blog can do.
For example, I got my first few affiliate sales from this website with a only 3 or 5 blog posts.
It wasn't much, but it felt good!
What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?
- Affiliate marketing done the right way is an easy way to earn money with your blog.
- It's FREE for you to get started in most cases for example you can join ShareASale and apply to any affiliate program in their affiliate network without having to pay. (There are some products, such as courses, you might have to have taken before you can be an affiliate for them, though.)
- It's easy to do (relatively speaking) and you can improve on it later.
- There's no risk.
- Once you've created an affiliate post it can potentially earn you money every month (it depends on whether it's evergreen content and how seasonal the content is.
Tip: Check out Google Trends and Pinterest trends to know what's trending each season to help you plan your affiliate content.
How to Start affiliate marketing as a beginner blogger:
I'm assuming you've already got a blog and have a few blog posts. If not, here's how to start a blog or get my ebook Affiliate Marketing For Beginner Bloggers to learn my best tips on how to start affiliate marketing from scratch even if you don't have a website.
But if you already have a blog, these are the steps you need to use to become an affiliate marketer.
Step 1: Decide which product you're going to use as an affiliate product.
Choosing the right affiliate product for you and your audience is very important at the beginning if you want to maximise your affiliate earnings.
But What Type of Products Can You Promote as an affiliate?
Depending on your niche you'll be able to promote:
- Physical products - These work for most niches (DIY, Home Decor, Beauty, Crafts...) and they're quite easy to promote. Plus you'll easily find most products you need in Amazon, so it's easy to start with these.
- Digital products - Digital products are information or knowledge products. They make great affiliate products because they pay high commissions and are usually higher priced. But they can be a bit harder to find if you don't know your niche well but you should be able to find some with some research.
- Subscriptions - These are subscriptions to membership sites such as Les Mills, Stock Photo Memberships such as IvoryMix or subscriptions to tools you would use such as SocialBee or ConvertKit (for me). Commissions for these are high and you usually get paid for as long as somebody keeps their subscription.
How to choose your products - An Example
If you have a blog about productivity and organisation, you can become an affiliate for specific planners (physical products) and write a post like this one I did (about the best planners for moms.
Or you can become an affiliate for digital products and courses similar to these created by my friend Dani: Organise And Grow Your Business With Asana, which is a course that teaches you how to use Asana to grow your business, or these Asana Templates to help you set up Asana easily and quickly.
Best Tip to Choose Products To Start Affiliate Marketing
Ideally, you should start doing affiliate marketing with products you know well and you already use, because it's easier to write about something you already know.
Can you promote products you don't use?
When you start with affiliate marketing is best to choose products you already know and use. But there are times when you can recommend a product you don't use yourself if you've done your research and know it will help solve a problem for your readers.
For example, if you're doing a roundup of best products for X or Y, you don't have to use ALL of them. But you should have tried them or done enough research to be able to compare.
Step 2: Apply to your product's affiliate program so you can become an affiliate.
You can apply to become an affiliate for a specific affiliate product if they have an independent affiliate program or you can join an affiliate network, which will give you access to hundreds of affiliate programs.
The key when you join an affiliate network is to find the best affiliate programs for you, for example, in ShareASale.
Should you apply to become an Amazon affiliate as a beginner blogger?
The Amazon Affiliate program is a good program for beginner bloggers because it's easy to et accepted, everybody knows and trusts Amazon and there are thousands of products you can promote there.
The only thing is that if you haven't made any sales within 90 days, they can close your account, and then you'd have to reapply again.
So, I'd wait until you have a few blog posts before you apply to Amazon to become an affiliate for them, but even with only 1000 views a month, you can start making the odd sale here and there to keep your account active.
Don't get discouraged by the low commissions Amazon offers, it's still a good program for beginner bloggers in most niches.
Want my best tips to start earning money as an Amazon affiliate if you already have some content? Get my book Affiliate Marketing for Beginner Bloggers here for tips on how to maximise your affiliate income quickly.
Step 3: Learn how to do affiliate marketing legally.
There are general legal requirements for affiliate marketing that you need to follow.
For example, you have to disclose you're an affiliate marketer on your website so you'd have to create a separate page for your Disclosures or include a section in your Terms and Conditions page.
And you must also disclose you're an affiliate on ALL your blog posts and pages with affiliate links and also on your emails, social media posts and wherever else you want to include affiliate links.
But some programs also have specific rules you need to follow to remain as their affiliate.
If you become an Amazon Affiliate there are some things you're not allowed to do or they'll ban you from the program.
And once you're out, that's it!
Step 4: Create High Quality Content for Your Affiliate Blog Posts
Now that you've created a list of products to promote and have been accepted to affiliate programs, your next step is to create high quality content for your blog posts.
Why it's crucial to create high quality content as an affiliate marketer
Creating high-quality content that is clear, well-written and well set up is going to help you:
- Get more traffic to your blog posts.
- Look trustworthy.
- Become an expert in the eyes of your readers.
- Convert your readers more easily.
- Make you more money.
So how can you create high quality content for your affiliate blog posts?
Affiliate marketing is not just about adding affiliate links here and there.
You're going to have to plan your content and do some research before you even start writing so you know you're writing posts that will convert, such as reviews, listicle posts or content that solves your audience's problem.
(I go over different ways to come up with affiliate blog post ideas for you in my ebook Affiliate Marketing for Beginner Bloggers, if you need more inspiration.)
And you have to make sure you optimise your SEO for affiliate marketing.
If you already have the basics of SEO, it will not be hard for you to do, but I've found this book called SEO for Affiliate Marketing Success by my friend Leanne will help you improve your affiliate marketing SEO so you get better results. It's great even for people who are complete beginners!
One way to make sure you're writing high-quality content is to focus on the products you already use and love and show people how they help you. Because you know these products will help them as well.
Try to give as much information about the product as you can, and don't just highlight the positives, you must tell your readers the good and the bad.
Answer questions your audience may have about the product so you're removing any doubts they may have about it.
Step 5: Drive traffic to your affiliate posts
Affiliate Marketing is a numbers game. So the more people (the right people) see your post, the more clicks and the more sales you're going to get. #affiliatemarketingtips #startaffiliatemarketing
To start making money with affiliate marketing, you need to put your posts in front of the right people.
I know it's harder if you're a beginner, but one thing you need to bear in mind when you start with affiliate marketing is that it might be slow at the beginning but it grows.
Because once it's there, every blog post is working for you.
The best type of traffic for your affiliate posts is organic traffic, because that's people who are already looking for the product you're promoting or they want to know more about it.
That's why it's so important to learn how to do SEO for Affiliate Marketing.
But if you want to send more traffic to your blog post you can also:
- Use your social media to promote your blog post on Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram ( I love using SocialBee for this).
- Create several pins for your blog post and use Tailwind or Planoly to schedule them.
- Use Promoted Pins.
- Do a video for your Youtube Channel.
- Send your blog posts to your email list.
FAQS About Affiliate Marketing
Should you monetise your blog with affiliate marketing from the beginning?
I'd start from the beginning. Even if you're just using blogging as a creative outlet, you could be earning money with some of your posts, so if you have to spend money on a new WordPress Theme or a plugin, your affiliate earnings will cover this.
Can you actually make money with a small following?
Yes. As I mentioned before, affiliate marketing is a numbers game, so the bigger your audience the bigger the rewards, but you can earn start earning even if you have a small blog.
Why should I do affiliate marketing when I can just use ads on my website?
The easy answer is that affiliate marketing generally makes you a lot more money than placing ads on your website.
Plus you don't have to meet traffic requirements to apply for most affiliate programs.
And ads do have an impact on the experience of your readers, too.
Do you Really need a website to do affiliate marketing?
You don't have to have a website because you can do affiliate marketing on social media and YouTube.
But you might not get accepted into some affiliate programs without one.
I would still advise you to create a website if you don't have one yet.
If you prefer to do videos, and writing is not your thing, you could do a Vlog instead of a Blog, but it's much easier for you to link to relevant content from a blog post.
How much do you earn from one blog post?
It depends on the blog post, some bloggers can earn thousands a year with one blog post if it's a high-price/high-commission product and they rank on Google.
Other blog posts will only make a few hundreds pounds a year.
But there are also times when you create a blog post and it doesn't earn you any money directly, but it still works in the background for you by supporting other blog posts or helping you in the journey to convince your readers to purchase a product.
And yes, that means some times you have to create more than one affiliate post for a single product.
Affiliate marketing is one of my favourite ways for beginner bloggers to start making money with their blogs.
It's a lot easier (and faster) to become an affiliate marketer for somebody else's product than creating your own and it's FREE to get started if you follow the 5 simple steps I've explained in this blog post.