Affiliate marketing can open up lots of new earning opportunities for writers. If you haven't started your own writing business or blog, you need to know what is going to work, and how you're going to set it all up so you can really benefit from affiliate marketing.
Understanding the finer points of running your own blog or website, and ensuring that it will be a viable business alongside your writing.
Deciding on a Niche
Assuming you haven't started your blog already, you need to workout which niche is going to suit you best. If you already have a passion for something then use that as your writing subject. It's much easier to write about something you already know a lot about. But whatever your choice is you need to be interested in it enough to be able to spend hours writing about it, and most of all you need to enjoy what you're writing about.
You can also start looking into affiliate networks that suit your own particular niche. You'll find the internet is full of all kinds of things that other people have created that you can sell on your website.
Do your own research, find out what's out there, and if you're not totally sure make a list of where your interests lie. The difficult part is picking or choosing something that is going to hold your attention, and enable you to write really great content.
Scrutinising Your Niche
Some subjects are more popular than others, which means you may have a lot of competition to contend with. On the other hand choosing something that isn't popular means that you have a smaller audience and more room to be creative.
As I said in the paragraph above, you need to be in it for the long haul, and not be left pondering as to what you're going to be writing about.
Choosing What to Write
Once you've decided on your chosen niche you can start thinking about all of the subcategories that come under it, putting your mind at rest as to what you're going to be writing about. There's always something out there to write even if you feel you have nothing.
Understanding Why You Need to Publish Regular Content
When you're your own boss you can publish and write when you want. With the realisation that consistency is key to your success. Without a clear plan of when you're going to publish your blog will easily get lost in the pile of blogs that aren't cared for properly.
People love consistency, they like to know that information is on tap about their favourite subject. Which is why you can't update sporadically and expect an audience to follow you.
Most bloggers and website owners will have a timetable they'll work off which will enable them to have their blog posts ready in advance, sometimes weeks or months before they need to be posted. But nevertheless a steady stream at the ready they can call upon when they need to post.
Knowing How Long Your Content Should Be
Every website and blog is different, some websites prefer longer form content others go for a shorter bite size piece of information for their readers. Google will tell you to aim for longer posts, and evergreen content. Which is easier said than done, because not every blog post is going to have the same kind of popularity.
Which Affiliate Program Will Suit My Website?
Selecting the right affiliate network can also be difficult. When I first started blogging I had about four or five different networks as well as Google ads on my blog. But not everything works, and brings in money straight away. Which is why it can take a while for things to really click into place.
Setting up a website is a lot about trial and error, and it doesn't matter what other bloggers tell you about their own success, it doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work that way for you as well.
Here's a list of some of the most popular affiliate programs online at the moment:
Amazon is probably the most popular and most used of all affiliate networks because it offers so many different kinds of products, which can be used on any kind of blog or website.
Offers a wide range of products that range from writing, arts and crafts, health and fitness, home and garden, and a whole host of other categories.
ShareASale and Hostgator
ShareASale has a wide range of companies to choose from, and an easy to use dashboard to choose banners and links from.
Hostgator is suited to those writers whose passion is creating and writing about blogging.
Grammarly, ProWritingAid, Scrivener and Autocrit
All of these affiliate networks sell a particular kind of software to help writers with their own writing.
Coursera, Udemy and Masterclass
As the names suggest they're aimed at those people eager to learn new things, and hobbies.
How Will I Receive My Payments?
Most affiliate networks will either pay directly to your bank account, or via another payment system such as PayPal.
Important Note: Don't sign up to an affiliate network that asks for your money upfront, that's more likely to be a scam.
Start Signing Up to Your Chosen Affiliate Networks
When you've chosen your affiliate networks, make sure they're not asking for any money and that the details you hand over, including your banking information, is safe. Read through any terms and conditions, or look up the company in question, so you know what you're getting yourself into.
Most companies have their own policies and thresholds when handing over money. Some companies might stipulate $50 or even $100 before handing you any money.
Now you need to think about starting your blog or website, if you haven't done so already. You need something clean and simple, easy-to-use, and that you're able to handle. Blogging can be a little bit tricky, so you need to start doing some research on how you're going to manage your blog as well.
You need to do a few things to get your blog up and running:
- Choose a blogging platform
- Choose a domain name
- Pick your theme or template
Linking Pages on Your Blog
Start posting content and adding pages of interest like a resources page, and about me page. Then include links to other blog posts and pages of interest throughout your blog.
Using Affiliate Promotions on Your Blog or Website
Some people add affiliate links and promotions straight away, some people wait. The choice is yours, I started adding my affiliate links straight away. Adding affiliate links later on might put some of your audience off, so you're going to have to choose which is best for you.
There are lots of different ways to add promotional offers, but I think simple is best, but again that depends on the kind of blog you may have. As a writer, I know my readers won't appreciate being hit with advertisements and offers everywhere they turn. By adding a simple link from one product on the main page of my blog, it's an easy way to encourage readers and customers to look for products on Amazon.
Begin Promoting Your Website and Affiliate Links
Without promotion your website or blog is dead in the water, so you need to start signing up to social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Pinterest to get the word out on your content. Most importantly you need to make it your own brand and make it feel like it's a little piece of you.
One of the easiest things to do once you sign up is to look at what other like minded writers are doing and selling on their websites.
Ensure your blog is up to Google's standards and that you check it's health weekly on Google Search. You can do this by simply adding a site map.
Look at SEO strategies and what you can do to boost you and and your affiliate efforts.
Important Note: Make sure your website has an affiliate disclosure in a place where your audience can read it carefully, and also ensure that all of your blog posts include a disclosure if you're including affiliate links, otherwise you could be in hot water with your affiliate networks.
Don't Give Up, and Be Persistent
Blogging can be a very difficult job to be in, and will take hours of time out of your day just to get it started. Persistence and consistency are key. The best way to look at your blog or website is to think of it as your own magazine and you're posting regular articles for your readers, along with useful information which will draw them to buying your affiliate links.
Important Note: People will buy from you when they trust you.
Starting a blog is just the beginning. It takes time for people to buy from your affiliate links, that's where publishing regular blog content comes in.
How Long Will It Take to Make Money?
It can be anything from weeks to months before you start seeing any rewards.
Affiliate Marketing Isn't a Get Rich Quick Scheme
People often think if they just create a blog people are going to come running.
Sorry that's not always the case. Overnight successes are rare, and even if they did, would you want your affiliate campaign to be nothing more than a flash in the pan?
When things start clicking into place you'll know.
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Where It All Started: A History of Affiliate Marketing