By now you’ll know how much I love Adsense. It’s a great way to very easily start making money with your blog, and by gently split testing your ads you can slowly increase your income.
In other words, Adsense is a great “foundation” for your blog. Imagine if you could earn a comfortable $500-1000 per month with minimal effort – it’d be handy, right?
But what if you want to take your earning to the next level? What if you want to go from being a blogger earning $1,000 to $5,000 a month?
Well under these circumstances Adsense probably isn’t going to help you.
The volume of traffic you’d need would be monumental.
The key to taking your earning to the next level is to use affiliate programs.
For the uninitiated, an affiliate program is where I send visitors to a certain website (such as Amazon), then when they make a purchase I earn a commission on whatever they spend.
I know bloggers making five figure sums per month by combining all the promotional methods we’ve discussed with affiliate marketing.
The reason I’ve left this step till last is that it’s arguably the most time-intensive element of all. Bearing in mind the potential earnings, of course, its well worth it. But you’re better off getting all the other elements we’ve discussed done first, so you can start making money from your blog as soon as possible.
So how do you make money from affiliate marketing?
1) Join Affilate Networks
The first thing you’re going to need are some affiliate accounts.
There are literally hundreds of different affiliate programs out there, so it’s smart to think about what products your readers might be interested in.
As mentioned just now, Amazon has a very popular (and profitable) affiliate program.
However just as interestingly, there are also a number of affiliate networks.
These networks run affiliate programs for hundreds of different websites.
Basically you sign up with just a single network, and you then have access to hundreds of different affiliate programs in one central area. Even better, your earnings from these get collected together at the end of the month, and sent to you in the form of one juicy pay check.
So even if you just earn a few dollars from each affiliate program, you’ll still end up with a single, nice check.
Personally I use just three of these affiliate networks, though there are a whole load more of them if you’re willing to hunt around.
Here are the networks I recommend you sign up for:
- ShareaSale – my personal favorite with so many great affiliate programs.
- Commissions Junction
Each one is free to sign up for, though if you’re limited on time I suggest you start with ShareASale.
2) Start With Your Top Articles
By now you’ve got access to all sorts of affiliate programs. So next you’ll want to figure out which of your existing blog posts is getting the most traffic. If in doubt take a look at your analytics to be sure.
Then, one by one, start to edit your existing blog posts, adding affiliate links where appropriate.
For example if you’re talking about a recipe for strawberry jam, and you mention using a jam thermometer, add in an affiliate link to Amazon’s jam thermometer page. Then if someone clicks through and buys you make money.
3) Use a Link Shortener
Affiliate programs have a nasty habit of going out of business. Or being replaced by better programs. This can be frustrating if you’ve just spent weeks adding all manner of affiliate links to your site, only to have to go back and change them again.
There’s another potential problem with affiliate marketing; those long affiliate links look pretty ugly and unwealdy.
Luckily you can fix both issues with a link shortener.
This way, rather than linking to:
http://www.somesite.com/affiliate.link/123456789/atr (for example)
You can instead link to:
See how much nicer that looks?
You just set up that link to send your visitors to the “ugly” link anyway.
That way, if an affiliate program changes, you just need to easily update that one link in your database, and it’ll work right across your blog. Super powerful!
Fortunately you’ve already got this tool installed on your blog – it’s called Pretty Link Lite and we installed it in lesson 5.
So go and find it in your blog now and have a play-around. You’ll be turning ugly affiliate into beautiful branded short links in minutes.
4) Write Articles Around Recommendations
Once you’ve added affiliate links to all your current blog posts the next step is to take this process into the future.
Watch all those links you’ve added to see which programs seem to convert best: which affiliate programs are making you the most money?
Once you know, consider writing new blog posts in the future deliberately to include yet more of these links.
If we discovered, for example, that our jam thermometer link was doing well perhaps we could write additional jam recipe posts, or review a range of different jam thermometers, or write a post on “must have” kitchen gadgets, or write a post outlining ideal stocking stuffers for passionate cooks.
Any and all of these articles could include your jam thermometer on multiple ocassions, each one potentially earning you yet more money while offering more value to your visitors.
And that’s it folks! As with everything else we’ve discussed, from building your email newsletter to making money with Adsense, the key is testing and tracking. When you can see what really works best for you then just start scaling up those elements to increase your income exponentially.
So go sign up for ShareASale today and start figuring out which affiliate programs are right for your audience…