In the four previous Affiliate Marketing Monday, I have discussed tips and issues from an affiliate manager side of things. Today we will get into a four part series from the affiliate side. You can tell from the right hand side of my blog that I am also an affiliate, as I think most affiliate program managers are as well. What does it mean to be an affiliate? Basically, you promote links or banners of another company for your visitors to click on. If that visitor makes a purchase from that site, you receive a commission. That is the very basics of things. Another name that you may be called as an affiliate is a publisher, because you are publishing the content and links on your site. Now, let’s get into how you can make money, and no this is not going to be a get rich quick post, if you want that, watch infomercials at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. Here are 5 tips to getting started.
Start a Blog
If you do not already have an existing website, the best thing to do is start a blog. I recommend using WordPress.org. This will require you to purchase a domain name, which will cost you $10 a year on average over at www.GoDaddy.com If you purchase a hosting plan from them it is generally cheaper for the domain. Which is the next thing you will need to do, get a host for the site. There are some great plans out there that will run you anywhere from $5-10 a month to host multiple sites. Let’s do that math quickly, about $1 a month for a site and $10 a month for hosting, so $11 a month to run a blog. This blog is not going to be too much on how to successfully start a blog, but I will post an in-depth look at that in tomorrow’s post. But in short, start a blog about something you are passionate about. If you are passionate about, lobster fishing, then start a blog about that. Don’t think that you can’t blog about anything you are passionate about because I can gurauntee that you are not the only person passionate about that samething.
Now that the blog is up, you need to create content. Affiliate marketing is not like the Field of Dreams, just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come. So get any thought of Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones out of your head right now, because that’s not the way it works. If you completely new to blogging, then just start by typing all your thoughts about your passion. Write a post about the best time of the year to go lobster fishing, laws/regulations, best places. You will want to begin to do keyword research and start making your content revolve around that, but at the beginning just type away. More on keyword research tomorrow.
Sign Up for Affiliate Networks
There are plenty of choices of affiliate networks out there to join. There are a few that I will recommend that you sign up with right away, in no particular order, just alphabetically they are being listed. Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, and Share-A-Sale. These are my 3 personal favorites for many of reasons. It does not hurt to have accounts in each of them, it’s free so why not. On a side note, Google Affiliate Network does require you to have an AdSense account in order to receive payment, once again also free so doesn’t hurt to sign up even if you don’t use it.
Search for Merchants
Now that you have a blog up and I’d suggest blogging with no ads for at least a month. This will give you time to build good content and some readership and I feel that it is better to have a blog for a little while before throwing ads all over it. Think about it from a reader’s point of view. When you are searching for merchants, the first thing that most people do is search to see who pays the highest commission, well I can’t even begin to tell you how many things are wrong with that. Sure $100 per lead sounds good, but is it something that not a single one of your readers is going to click on? If so, then not a good idea to publish on your site. I’m a firm believer of having a lower paying commission banner that is going to convert more than 50% of the time makes me more money than the higher commissions that convert on a less than 5% rate. Find the right merchants and they should have different types of links (text and banner) and banners in different sizes. You will be provided the proper html code that you can put into a widget box in your WordPress blog.
Create a Disclosure
If you are going to create a blog that has any form of advertisements on there or you make any form of money or receive any free products from your blog, you must disclose it. Most people have had foreclosures long before the FTC started requiring it last year. Letting your readers know about the payment you receive from ads is all part of being transparent, which is a huge factor in business. If you are not transparent to begin with, then there may be more problems. Your disclosure does not have to be any specific length, it can be summed it in one or two sentences or can be lengthy. My disclosure is very short and simple, it explains everything that needs to be explained. I don’t ever even read other people’s disclosures about their website, because to me, it’s not that big of a deal, they get paid from their advertisements, well so do I, so no big deal.
Well those are 5 quick tips to get a blog up and running and becoming an affiliate. I will add a few more posts about blogging and adding content and keyword research.
photo credit: Shekhar_Sahu via photopin cc