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Create An Awesome Blog Site And Make Money – Part 4

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What is an affiliate program after all? It’s the service that allows bloggers and marketers to gain a commission when a reader clicks on product/service links with a special identifier. Searching for affiliate programs is not straighforward. What you will find out is that there are a few affiliate networks, like ShareASale, Pepperjam/Ascend, ClickBank, CJ, Awin at the center of probably 90% of affiliate programs.

These companies are a sort of “marketplace”, where they accept bloggers and marketers as well as companies willing to pay for being marketed (the ones you want to advertise), and they do all the various affiliate program management such as tracking commissions, providing payment tools, tools to create links and other advertising material, etc. These companies also ask you (as well as most affiliate programs) to fill in a form.

First stage: gather conditions to apply

Affiliate programs will not accept you if you are at a very early stage. No one will want to spend time with a website that has 2 posts (how do they know that you will continue to write? For sure, two posts alone won’t provide any traffic).  My advice is to wait a bit for affiliate marketing, let your website mature and your number of posts grow, at least to 20, before applying or most likely you will get rejected to most of them.

Second stage: start with known companies

After you are in conditions to apply – and get ready to fill in a shitload of forms!! -, you can start with the “big ones”:

  •  Amazon or Ebay: they do have their affiliate programs, and you can advertise pretty much any product as they have EVERYTHING on sale. These are good affiliate programs to start. 
  • Etsy: especially if your niche is about crafts and handmade stuff. Their affiliate program is managed by Awin.
  • AdSense: it’s a Google advertisement program, and the most used (you probably know it by the annoying Google ads everywhere on many websites :D). They are a bit strick with their policies, make sure you are compliant and that you have a bit of traffic before applying. Still, they are probably the only ones accessible for newbies and low-traffic websites. Mediavine, for example, another ads program, requires you to have 50000 visits/month 🙂

A few remarks about these suggestions.

I don’t like very much Amazon, as they have the requirement of having 3 unique sales in 6 months, and that will be difficult to make in the first 6 months of your website. Is it doable? Yes, of course, but most likely as a newbie, you won’t make it, as the first months you will be busy learning how to get traffic, writing posts and setting up your website. 

In addition they have an annoying rule of having to state clearly EVERYWHERE where you place an affiliate link, and your post in the end will start to be ridden with “I am an Amazon Associate and I earn with affiliate commissions” sentences. They also force you to use their own links and images code, and affiliate tracking using plugins start to be difficult. 

This was a personal choice, however, and many people still encourage you to use Amazon. A big advantage is that Amazon is a very reputable store, people trust it and are not afraid to buy there, which will give your website credibility in its early life.

Be aware that big companies like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy pay 1% to 4% of commission per sale. To give an example, that’s $0,04 to $0,16 for a sale of $4. Smaller and less known brands will offer you bigger commissions. Makes sense, no? They pay you more because they don’t sell so good on their own, while big ones pay less because they don’t need your marketing that much. 

During my training, and while using generic ads can be a source of income, I was advised to skip AdSense and place ads and banner material in context with my niche. This makes total sense (no pun intended lol): AdSense pays you a ridiculously small amount for each click, you will only get your readers to leave your site, and you lose space to in-context ads that might get you more money (see paragraph above).  

Still, these are very good choices to start with, and many websites stick with these companies even after becoming websites with good traffic and rank.

Third stage: find out your own specific affiliate programs

Besides being relevant to your niche, you need to have two values in mind when searching for affiliate programs:

  • payment commission %: usually given in percentage of sales, the more the better 😀 but be careful with very high percentages…. 10% to 30% are usually very good and common values
  • cookie duration: in short, this is the “shelf-life” of your affiliate link, so the longer the better!! The long story: you earn commissions when someone clicks your affiliate link and later on makes a purchase. The purchase cycle is usually not immediate for online shopping, and many times your reader just makes the purchase after some days of pondering (think about your own behavior with online shopping). The cookie duration tells you how many days you have to gain your commission with that sale. So…. the longer the better!! Usually, cookie duration have 30 days. Less than that is usual for Amazon and Ebay. More than that are better than normal affiliate programs 🙂

Still, there are many, many affiliate programs, of any kind, and more companies are joining this sort of marketing each day. It’s a growing market. You just need to be patient and really do some serious research. Again, get ready to fill in a lot of forms, including tax statements, when applying. So… make it worth your while 🙂


Series Takeaway

After finishing this article series (in fact it was one article that turned into an article series!!), I realised I had much more to say about starting your own blog than I thought!! This is my experience with one year of work on my blog. I have currently 1000 users per month, most of them is organic traffic, and am just starting to see my first sales. I also have a one-year plan ahead of me of posts to work on, in order to reach my objectives.

Be sure that it’s a lot of work and a lot of trial and error. Like any learning curve, you will be more successful faster, after your first blog (yes, many full-time bloggers have more than one website earning them passive income at same time!). But with the first one, it’s going to be a lot of work with hardly any gain in the first year. Wealthy Affiliate can really help you a great deal, if you are willing to learn and put the efford in it.

These are long-term projects, that only will benefit you after several months of continuous work. Yes, it’s not easy money, it’s only passive money.

And it needs to be your passion, something you would do even for free, or you won’t make it.

In case you’ve missed the previous posts, please find here the whole series:

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2 thoughts on “Create An Awesome Blog Site And Make Money – Part 4”

  1. They’re many affiliate programs out today. Some better than the other. With so many different options and rules/policies to follow, the beginning entrepreneur won’t know where or how to start. But I feel like with any affiliate program, before you dive into it, do your research before joining. It will save you a lot of work and financial hard ache in the long run. 

    Reply
    • Hello rjkennedy,

      That is correct!! Only experience will tell you if an affiliate program is actually good or not, but by doing some research and comparing programs, you may realize that some are better than others, and choose the best for you. Things like commission % and cookie duration are a must to check out before applying.

      Besides, there are affiliate programs for everything, but you do have to do some research.

      Cheers,

      Sofia

      Reply

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