In this article, we will provide a full guide on affiliate marketing for beginners. You will know what it is and how to use it for income. Also, we will talk about how to find the best free affiliate programs for bloggers in 2021.
What Is an Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing is an opportunity to make money on commission. You can do it by promoting someone else’s product/service. The essence of affiliate programs for a blogger is as follows:
- You advertise some product or service by leaving affiliate links on your blog to them;
- The user makes a purchase (or another action stipulated in terms of the program);
- The advertiser shares part of his income with you. This can be a percentage or a fixed amount.
Types of Affiliate Program Participants
Type 1: The Advertiser (Client)
This is the person to whose web page a link leads. It does not have to be a product page. They offer to pay if a user completes a form, registers, subscribes to a mailing list, or downloads a file. In other words, it is a person who is a direct source of affiliate programs to earn money.
Type 2: An Affiliate
In the context of this article, it’s you. This is someone who posts a referral link on their blog.
Type 3: A CPA Network
A CPA network is an intermediary between an advertiser and an affiliate. The CPA network has account managers who communicate with advertisers and affiliates. Managers add all affiliate offers to a platform through which both parties can track conversions.
Type 4: Advertising Platforms
This is where they run ads to attract more traffic to the blog. The more traffic you have, the more chances there are that a user will click a link.
Type 5: Analytics Systems
Here you can track which affiliate programs for bloggers are bringing you revenue and which are not.
Example of affiliate links analytics in Google Analytics. Source: https://sengnickerson.com/google-analytics-to-track-affiliate-referrals/
How Merchandise is Tracked When a User Buys From Your Link
Each blogger has a unique link within the affiliate program. When a user clicks on it, a cookie is created on their device (smartphone, PC, etc.). So even if he doesn’t buy the product right away but does so later, you will still get paid.
Why Affiliate Programs Are So Demanded
Affiliate programs help everyone involved in the process earn money. While the blogger gets a commission, the advertiser gets new clients. That is why so many companies are interested in developing their business launch affiliate programs. So, they acquire an additional source of traffic. And this not only brings targeted visitors but also has a positive impact on all aspects of project life:
- feedback from those who attract visitors;
- feedback from the visitors themselves (some messages may point out problems the company didn’t think about);
- the positive impact of different traffic sources on search engine rankings.
How Blogger Can Get Income From Affiliate Programs
Income from affiliate programs usually comes in two basic models:
CPA — Cost Per Action
In this case, a fixed price is set for the action required of the user. That is, the user must go to the web page, stay there, and act. The action can be:
- downloading of white paper for ICO;
- signing up for a product trial;
- deposit replenishment;
- filling out a questionnaire, and so on.
This is a favorite model of webmasters. You get a share of the money paid by the clients you bring in. Revenue share (RS) can vary depending on whether it is a new client or not. For the first payment from a new client, you usually get a bigger share. If you are going to implement such a model, be sure to calculate the profitability. Otherwise, it may turn out that you will work in deficit.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How To Start Earning From Your Blog With the Help of Affiliate Programs
Step 1. Create and Develop Your Blog
It seems pretty obvious because even in the article’s title, there is a mention of the blog. But let’s elaborate on that. The thing is that the blog with which you can earn money should have certain properties.
- It must fit the platform where it’s placed. If you have a blog on your website, there are no restrictions. If you publish on third-party platforms, follow their rules and format. For example, for YouTube, it’s video, and for Instagram, it’s visual content.
- It has to have a defined niche. There are no successful blogs about everything unless it’s a news source. If there’s a niche, there’s a target audience (TA). And only by knowing the TA, you can determine what products and services are of interest to it. In order not to get lost on the list of competitors, narrow down the niche. For example, write about sushi instead of food in general.
- Its content should be interesting, original, and selling. First, only such content can hook the reader. And the more readers you have, the more potential customers your affiliate will have. Secondly, the content should lead to a purchase. Just putting up a link is not enough, but more on that below.
Step 2. Search and Pick Affiliate Programs
You can find affiliate programs in one of these ways:
- Through the CPA network;
- Directly on the advertiser’s site.
If you are just starting in affiliate marketing, the second option is more suitable for you. Use the following search algorithm:
- Formulate your niche. For example, travel.
- Think about what products and services are in demand in that niche. For example, airlines, tour operators, and hotel reservation systems.
- Go to the websites of the major representatives of these companies.
- Look for information about an affiliate program. Usually, you have to register, create your profile and get a unique link.
If you follow the algorithm above, you will not be at risk of falling for scammers. For example, a Google affiliate program will be owned by Google itself. So you are unlikely to find yourself without payouts. What to look at when choosing a program:
- Payout percentages. Unfortunately, the more famous a company is, the less it pays. After all, it already has a lot of customers of its own.
- The quality of the product or service. First, because advertising a bad product will reduce the credibility of your blog. Besides, scammers are the ones who usually sell a substandard product.
When you try to cooperate with big known affiliate programs, you can move to a CPA network. Some of them are combined with analytical systems, which is very convenient.
Step 3. Place Referral Links
Placing links is a form of art. Once upon a time, bloggers simply put banners on their site. But this approach isn’t effective nowadays unless you’re lucky and someone’s eye catches the ad. But it is better to approach the task responsibly and more creatively:
- You can leave a link directly in the text. For example, the guest posting service Adsy creates sponsored posts for blogs. That is, they write a useful article for the reader. And inside it, there is a referral mentioning an affiliate program. This approach helps to make money for both advertisers and publishers.
- You can test a product or service yourself. Then you write a review and leave a link to the item.
- You can refer to the affiliate as the sponsor of the material. For example, you have a blog on YouTube. You talk about something in the video and mention your affiliate. Then you put the link in the description.
Important rule: don’t put links at the bottom of the page. They should catch the reader’s attention.
Step 4. Attract Readers
There are actually a lot of options for placing links. But even the most creative ones won’t guarantee you high traffic. Especially if you’re at the beginning of your journey. The following tactics will help you:
- SEO optimization of your blog. Do a technical audit of the site. That is, check how fast it loads, whether there are any errors in its structure. Then allocate the semantic core based on the niche. Be sure to add keywords to the content.
- Paid advertising. Use, for example, the services of GoogleAds.
- Distribution of content on social media. Re-format your posts to fit Facebook and Instagram content layouts. Remember that different platforms may have different audiences.
- Email marketing. For this, you’ll need to gather a database of your readers. Notify them of the news and send them a weekly digest via email.
How to Get Payments
The last important question is how to get the money you have earned. In other words, how and where to withdraw it. There are no restrictions here; it all depends on the affiliate and the conditions. Usually, electronic payment systems from PayPal to ApplePay are used. In addition, now there are more and more offers with payment in cryptocurrency. Further actions depend on where and how your business is legally registered.
Nancy P. Howard has been working as a journalist at the online magazine in London for a year. She is also a professional writer in such topics as blogging, SEO and marketing.