Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular and used ways to earn money with a blog. This method allows you to add a fixed and constant revenue to your blog monetization strategy.
In this ultimate affiliate marketing guide, you’ll find out how affiliate marketing works and how to get started now.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing can be defined as a referral agreement in which an online retailer (advertiser) pays you a commission when users purchase their product from your referral link.
Affiliate marketing works on a CPA (cost per acquisition) and CPL (cost per lead) basis, unlike other types of Ads that pay based on clicks or views.
So, in the former case, you only earn a commission when someone takes an action (for example, buy the product or sign up for a free trial).
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The advertiser is exposed to less risk, as he or she will pay for the product sold; therefore, affiliate programs will pay much higher commissions to publishers than Ad networks such as Google AdSense or other types of ads.
To do affiliate marketing, you need to find a product or service that you think will be useful to your users.
Then, you need to strategically add it to your blog posts and other sections of your website so that users can buy the product using your referral link.
How does affiliate marketing / monitoring work?
The first step is to find a company or product you want to promote, selecting a product or service that you think is relevant to the topic of your blog and useful for your audience.
The product or company you choose will be called “merchant”.
Subsequently, you must collaborate with the company by joining their partner program. This makes you an “affiliate” to them.
Once you join the affiliate program, you will get a unique affiliate ID. You will use this affiliate ID in all affiliate links you add to your website to promote the product.
There are several ways to promote a product, such as adding an in-depth product review, recommending it in your articles, displaying banner ads, doing email marketing and so on.
All traffic sent to the merchant’s website with your unique ID will be monitored.
You will earn a commission once a user makes a purchase. The payment is issued when the income reaches a certain threshold and usually 45-60 days.
How to get started with affiliate marketing
First of all, you need to make sure that you use the right blogging platform and that you can run affiliate marketing campaigns on your website.
For example, if you use WordPress.com, there may be some restrictions regarding the products and services you can link to.
Not only will this save you from legal issues in the future, but it will also help you build trust with the public.
Find affiliate products and services to promote
There are several ways to find products and companies you can work with as an affiliate. Here are some of the easiest ways to find products you can promote.
Become an affiliate for products you already use
First of all, you must take into account the products and services you already use and find useful. This makes it easy to convince your users to buy the product because you know the pros and cons.
Next, you should visit the product website and look for terms such as “affiliate program”, “partner” or “affiliate marketing. Many companies actively seek affiliate retailers to promote their products, which is why they usually add a link to their affiliate page in the footer of their website.
Search for products recommended by other blogs
Another way to find products is to search for blogs similar to yours. You will be able to find many similar blogs that already use affiliate marketing to make money.
First, you will look for obvious and easily visible banner ads on their website. Move your mouse over the banner ad and you will see a link in your browser status bar.
This link will usually have an affiliate ID. The affiliate ID is used by merchants to track which of the affiliate partners is sending them traffic/sales.
It may happen that these links may appear as internal links, but when you click on them they will direct you to a product website with the affiliate ID in the link.
Join larger affiliate networks
Another way to find products to promote is to join affiliate networks. These websites act as an intermediary between the affiliate merchants (i.e. those who participate in the affiliate marketing program) and the merchants who sell their product.
You will notice that many products and companies you want to partner with already use an affiliate network. This helps you quickly find many products that you can start promoting on your website.
What are affiliation networks? Why should you join them?
Affiliate networks act as an intermediary between you (affiliate marketers) and traders (companies that want to sell their products).
For merchants, they provide their platform as a service to list their products, track affiliate traffic, manage affiliates and send payments.
For affiliate marketers, they provide an easy to use the platform to search for products, register as an affiliate, track campaign performance and earnings.
Below you will find some of the most popular affiliate networks that you can join.
ShareASale – One of the largest affiliate networks with many paid affiliate products for almost every category imaginable. The popular WordPress hosting company, WPEngine, uses ShareASale to manage its affiliates for example.
CJ Affiliate – Another major affiliate network with a huge number of merchants and products well organized into categories and easily searchable. Companies like GoDaddy, Expedia and many others use CJ.
ClickBank – This is a great online marketplace for selling digital products in various categories from different vendors. It is easy to use and has tons of learning resources for new affiliate resellers.
Amazon Associates – Amazon is the largest e-commerce store in the world with millions of products. You can sign up for their affiliate program and start earning money by sending people to a website they already use for their online purchases.
Which affiliate networks should you join?
You need to join the affiliate networks that have the products you want to promote. You can join multiple affiliate networks for different products.
Always check the criteria of the network program. You also need to review the program policies for individual products and merchants. This will give you a clear idea of earnings, payments, additional incentives and more.
Tips to increase your earnings
Now let’s see more tips on how to actually make money from affiliate marketing.
Choose good products and companies to promote
As a marketing affiliate, you need to make sure you recommend the best products from reputable companies.
The best way to do this is to recommend the products and services you have actually used. If you want to recommend a product that seems useful, don’t hesitate to contact them to find out more.
If you are successful, most companies will gladly offer you an account or a free copy to review/test your product or service.
Offer extremely useful and valuable content
You can add affiliate links and banners anywhere on your WordPress site. However, simply adding links will not convince users to actually buy such products.
You need to convince your users by offering useful and valuable product information. Many affiliate retailers do this by writing in-depth product reviews, video reviews, product comparisons with pros and cons and more.
Keep your audience in mind
Keep your website audience and their interests in mind when choosing your product. For example, if you run a fashion blog, you should promote fashion accessories, clothing and similar products that your audience would like to buy.
You should also make sure you don’t just recommend products because they offer higher commissions. If a user buys a product based on your advice and it is not useful, they will never trust your advice again.
Plugins and affiliate marketing tools for WordPress
The more your blog grows, the more you will recommend many different products. This will make it difficult for you to manage all the affiliate links, banners and ads scattered throughout your website.
Fortunately, there are excellent affiliate marketing tools and plugins for WordPress that you can use to help you with management.
Manually adding links to content becomes rather difficult as the site grows. You will need to copy the URL with your affiliate ID every time you mention the product and paste it into WordPress.
This is where ThirstyAffiliates can help. It is an affiliate link management plug-in that allows you to easily add affiliate links in WordPress.
It also allows you to change long affiliate links into pretty masked links that are easier to use.
ThirstyAffiliates also has the ability to automatically replace keywords with affiliate links that can significantly help you increase your affiliate revenue.
AdSanity is one of the best plugins for the management of WordPress ads and a must for all the marketing tools of each affiliate.
It allows you to create banner ads from your WordPress site and manage them from a single dashboard.
AdSanity also makes it easy to place ads in WordPress posts, pages and widgets on the WordPress sidebar.
You can also use it to manage your third-party ads such as Google AdSense ads and banners. For detailed instructions, see our guide on how to manage ads in WordPress with AdSanity.
MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plug-in for WordPress. It allows you to see where your users come from and what they do when they are on your website.
It also helps you monitor your outbound affiliate links using Google Analytics. This allows you to find out which affiliate links are clicked most often and help you discover missed opportunities.
That’s it! We hope this definitive affiliate marketing guide has helped you learn how to start affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing combined with the display or native ads will massively increase your earnings as both channels serve as multiple streams of income.
Carefully selecting your affiliate programs would also impact on your income. we advise you compare your chosen programs bases on their earnings to choose the highest paying and probably recurrent payment plans.
You are welcome to share your opinions in the comment section.