How to Earn Money with Your Blog
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Bloggers typically have multiple income streams including advertising, affiliate marketing, and selling products or services. There’s no limit on how much income you can generate through blogging.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
A popular way to earn money online with blogging is to use affiliate links. When you find a product you love and want to share it with your blog readers, you can apply to become an affiliate for the company that sells the product. The company will provide you with a tracking link to place on your blog. When someone clicks on the link and buys the product, you’ll earn a small commission. If you are selling your own products, you can become an affiliate for complimentary products that will be helpful to your customers.
How long will it take to earn money from your blog?
It will take time to build your blog content and to learn the best way to promote your blog to get traffic. For the most part, though, you can begin earning a passive income without too much effort. You can get started with creating a blog for $3.95/month and adding affiliate links does not cost anything. It will likely take you several months to reach a part-time income and a few years to reach a full-time income.
Why not just sell your own products?
Creating your own products takes time and depending on what you’re planning to sell, it takes money. You will also be responsible for customer service, storage, and promotion. With affiliate marketing, you can get a decent commission (a passive income) by sharing information with your audience.
What Affiliate Links Should You Pick?
What products do you use in your home, classroom, or business?
You should only promote products that you’re enthusiastic about. Promoting everything and anything will make you look pushy and your readers will not trust you. A good place to start is to promote products and services that you are already using. Think about what products or services will solve a problem that your readers have. The products and services you write about should match your target audience. Also, if you have an established blog, go back through your old posts and see if you mentioned products that you can promote as an affiliate.
Work with companies that are established and provide support for affiliates.
There are thousands of affiliate programs. When your blog is new, you may want to concentrate on programs that have an easy application process. As your traffic and followers grow, you will be eligible for more programs. Do a Google search to learn what other people are saying.
What is the commission for a product or service?
Some affiliate programs will provide a commission one-time after you’ve directed a paying customer to them. Others will keep paying a commission. With some programs, you might be eligible to receive recurring commissions when a subscription is renewed. Digital products often have a higher commission payout.
How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
1. You can begin by reviewing products in your niche that you already use. This can be done through videos on YouTube, Facebook, webinars, and posts on your blog. Many people start with Amazon Associates. You can begin applying for affiliate programs after you’ve written several posts with quality content.
2. Collect emails so that you can connect with your blog audience and share content with them. Even if your blog is brand new, you should be doing this. You can get up to 2,000 subscribers for free using MailChimp.
3. You should also review the FTC guidelines so you understand why a disclosure about your financial arrangement with companies is required. If you are an Amazon Associate, you must also use the exact disclosure provided or they will close your account.
Affiliate Marketing Terms to Know
- The blogger (you) will be known as one of the following: publisher, affiliate, affiliate marketer, partner, or associate.
- Your role is to promote the product or service of a company or brand. They are known as one of the following: advertiser, merchant, or seller.
- The customer, consumer, or client buys the product or service using your tracking link.
- The tracking link is what connects you to the advertiser so they know to give you compensation. It is also known as a referral or affiliate link. When someone clicks on your tracking link, a cookie is generated. The cookie will track browser activity and determine if the affiliate product or service is purchased. When you research affiliate programs, you want a long cookie length so you have a better chance of getting credit.
- Many companies and brands use an affiliate network. (Read more below.)
- Not all affiliate programs pay a commission. A commission is a percentage of the purchase price of a product or service. Some pay a flat rate for completing a specific task such as joining as a member to a site or subscribing to an email list.
What is an Affiliate Network?
Companies and brands often use an affiliate network to gain more exposure for their products. An affiliate network is like a database where you can search for advertisers and apply for their affiliate program. Each affiliate has their own terms, commission rates, and approval requirements. After you are approved, you’ll have access to tracking links, ad banners, and reports in your affiliate network account.
You may decide that you would like to recommend products from a particular company. You go to their website and find the section for affiliates. The company may direct you to apply through their website or link to an affiliate network. You will need to join the affiliate network first and then you can apply for the affiliate program for the company.
One benefit of using affiliate networks is that the majority of your affiliate programs will be listed in one place. For example, when logging into an affiliate network called Shareasale, you can quickly view reports, ad banners, and newsletters from multiple companies.
Popular Affiliate Networks
Rakuten (formerly LinkShare)
(Awin requires that you pay $5 when you signup and they’ll pay it back after you make your first affiliate sale. This is to help minimize fraudulent accounts.)
What Will You Need to Provide to an Affiliate Program?
Payment Information and Address
Most affiliate programs pay their affiliates using direct deposit or check. Some provide the option to receive payment by PayPal.
A W-9 form will be required if you are in the US.
Blog, Email List, Social Media Stats
Not all affiliate programs or affiliate networks will require that you provide detailed information about your blog traffic and how many followers and subscribers you have. Never exaggerate your stats.
Description of Blog & Promotion Methods
Keep a copy of a short summary of what you blog about and information about your blog audience. Networks usually want to know how you plan to promote their products.
Household, Business & Classroom
With Ebates, you can receive cashback for shopping online. Choose from sites such as Amazon, GoDaddy, Jet, Target, Boxed, and hundreds of other stores. They also have coupons and other deals.
We know that we have quite a few teacher bloggers that love Target!
Online Courses & Books
Choose from thousands of online courses that include topics such as illustration, programming, photography, and business. You can also get paid for creating online courses. Most teachers average $1,600 per year and you’ll continue to receive revenue for every student that enrolls in your course(s).
Create online courses and promote them with a web design and custom sales pages. Tools are included for designing quizzes, running a discussion forum, and you can even provide students with completion certificates. To help promote your courses, you can create coupons and run promotions. There’s also an option to run your own affiliate program.
Hosting, Blog Themes, and E-commerce
We do not have an affiliate program for our main site, but you can refer people to our shop on Etsy. Complete the application to become an affiliate for Etsy and get paid for referring buyers to Albemarle PR and other shops on Etsy. Awin handles all commission payouts and questions.
We design custom child themes for the Genesis framework by Studiopress. We also offer design services for existing Studiopress themes. You can purchase their Pro Package and get every theme they sell.
We love their feminine WordPress themes for the Genesis Framework. They are WooCommerce ready, too!
We use Divi for our Albemarle PR shop because it includes a page builder. We love the flexibility of being able to create custom WordPress post and page layouts.
Our shop and WordPress child themes are hosted with Siteground. You can learn more about why we recommend them here.
We sell themes for Weebly and we recommend it for teachers that prefer a drag-and-drop layout option. You do not need to know how to code.
We recommend Shopify as an e-commerce solution because it’s user-friendly, affordable, and they have good support. Use our link for a free 14-day trial.
Design t-shirts, mugs, posters, cell phone cases, pillows, tote bags, and other products. Add your designs to your online shop and have them printed and shipped by Printful. You can integrate Printful with popular e-commerce solutions such as Shopify, WooCommerce, SquareSpace, Etsy, Amazon, Ebay, and several more.
Premium WordPress Plugins
WP Rocket is a WordPress caching plugin that boosts the speed of your site. It’s used on over 300,000 websites.
Collection up to 2,000 email addresses before you need to upgrade your plan.
Build your blog audience using embedded forms and automated emails to your subscribers.
Social Media Tools
Tailwind is a powerful tool that will increase followers on Pinterest and Instagram. You can save time by uploading images in bulk and pinning to multiple boards on Pinterest. Read our review here.
Graphics, Fonts & Software
Font licenses are required when you make logos and other commercial products. See some of our favorite places to get discounted commercial fonts.
We love shopping for a range of clipart styles for our templates. See some of our favorite places to get discounted graphics and add-ons for graphic design software.
We use Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Acrobat Pro on a daily basis. Lightroom is also a very helpful tool for photo editing.