In this post I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know to start your own affiliate marketing on your blog, even if you’ve never made a cent online before, don’t know what affiliate marketing is, or haven’t even started to build your blog.
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is when you earn commissions for recommending products/services to readers (or people you know). This is done by joining affiliate programs, where you get unique links (tagged with your personal ID) that tracks whenever your links convert to a sale. If someone out there buys something through your link, it rains money. Or, well, usually a small percentage of the sale, but it’s a start!
Affiliate marketing as a monetization stream is perfect for bloggers, because we recommend things on a daily basis. It’s also a largely passive way to make money, which frees up your time to do other cool things, like travel and eat your weight in pie. Long story short: affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, so you should read on to learn all about it!
How to Start a Blog in 5 Steps
Learn how to create a blog in about 30 minutes following these steps:
- Find your niche. Ex: Health-Fitness/ Relationship-Love/ Business-Investing, Etc.
- Register a domain name. Choose a domain related to your niche
- Setup your blog platform. Installing and setting up your blog
- Way to get paid. Choose from several options to monetize your blog.
- How to promote affiliate offers. Get more people to your blog.
Step 1 – Find your niche
Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.
Obviously, if you don’t know what your site is about or who you’re going to target with it, you can’t really build a site around it…can you?
If you’re not sure what to blog about, here are some ways to find a good blog niche:
- Hobbies & passions. It’s much easier to work on something if you’re passionate about it. Hobbies or other interests you are passionate about are a great place to start. Cooking, travel, fashion, sports, and cars are all classic examples. But even blogs about more obscure hobbies can be successful, since the your audience is literally anyone in the world surfing the internet.
- Is there money in this niche? While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it’s likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right?
- Are there affiliate programs available in this niche? This is obviously a crucial factor to consider. You might come up with an idea for a niche you know a lot about, but are there affiliate programs for the niche? No affiliate program = no sales. Time to look for a different niche.
- Is there enough interest in/demand for products in this niche? The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn’t going to make you much money.
Step 2 – Registering a Domain Name & Hosting
If you’re a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site.
You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:
- Purchase a domain name.
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it’s possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name.
- Set up web hosting.
If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don’t panic, it’s a simple process. Check out this lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.
The hosting provider I recommend, and the one I show you how to use in this guide, is BlueHost. I personally use BlueHost and I recommend them for all new bloggers because:
- They will register your blog name for you for free, making sure no one else can take it.
- They offer a free, simple installation of the WordPress blogging software (which I show you how to use in this guide).
- They have been recommended by WordPress since 2005 and currently host over 2 million blogs and websites.
- They have helpful 24/7 customer service via phone or web chat.
- They have a money-back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason.
Select your plan. I recommend the basic plan. Click “Select” to choose your plan.
Type in your domain name in the left box and then click “next” to start the registration process.
If you already own a domain name and want to use it for your blog, type your existing domain in the right box and then click “next”. Only use the right box if you have previously paid to register a domain!
Once you have done all that you will be asked to put in your details and payment details.
You will also need to choose your hosting package and options.
- The 36 month package gets you the lowest monthly rate, while the 12 month package has a lower up-front cost. Remember, you can cancel anytime.
- I uncheck the boxes next to the other products when I sign-up. You can always get these products later if you decide you need them.
- Install WordPress.
This step is also easy with a few clicks of a button to get started. Once you’re done with getting everything up and running for the hosting you should get a welcome email with some logins.
Here is the step-by-step guide to install WordPress on Bluehost:
1) Login to your Bluehost control panel at: my.bluehost.com
2) Once you’re logged in, you’ll be redirected to your Control Panel. From there, choose “Install WordPress”.
3) On the next screen, you will be asked to choose the domain you would like to install WordPress on. Now, I recommend using your root domain (www.YourNewDomain.com, not www.YourNewDomain.com/blog/), so just leave the field on the right empty.
The final step is super easy but make sure you have “show advanced option” enabled. This will let you choose your login username as password.
Now your blog platform (WordPress) will be installed. Once the install is complete click “Start Building” to be logged-in to your blog.
You should also receive an email with your blog log-in details. (NOTE: The login details for your blog will be different than for your BlueHost account.)
Having trouble installing your blog? Get help here.
Step 3 – Setup Your Blog Platform
To start with, you will need to login to your blog. Go to http://www.yourblog.com/wp-admin to bring up the login screen (replace “yourblog.com” with your domain name). If you are unsure of your login name or password, check the email that was sent to you from BlueHost that has this information.
Once you’re inside WordPress dashboard, you can start customizing your blog.
- Install your theme.
A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later.
The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest.
To change your theme you are going to click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu.
Unless you have a very specific design in mind for your blog, I suggest you use one of these themes to start with.
If you don’t like any of the themes that are already installed you can easily choose from thousands of other free themes. To install a new theme, click on the “Appearance” tab on the left menu and then click “Add New”.
Now you can browse the themes that have the characteristics that you want. When you find one that you like click the blue “Install” button.
Once the theme is installed click “Activate” to activate the theme on your blog. To see your new theme in action, go to your blog and take a look!
- Create content.
Finally, once your site is ready, it’s time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly.
Now that your blog is up and running it’s time to actually do some blogging!
Go to the left menu and click on “Posts”.
You will see there is already a post there. This is a default post on every new WordPress blog, and we don’t need it. To delete it click “Trash” just under the post.
To begin writing a new post, click the “Add New” link.
You are now on the post editor screen. Enter the title of your post in the top box and then begin writing your post in the lower box.
If you would like to add a picture to your post, click on the “Add Media” button and click “Select Files” to upload a picture from your computer. You can make adjustments to the picture size on the next screen. When you are ready click “Insert into post” to add the picture.
Once you have finished your post just click the “Publish” button on the right side of the screen to publish it.
Publishing Your Blog
Even after you have written a post your blog may still be showing a “Coming Soon” page.
When you are ready to make your blog public just click the “BlueHost” menu at the top left of the menu in your administrator area then click the blue “Launch” button to remove the “Coming Soon” page.
Congratulations! You now know how to start your own blog and publish content!
Step 4 – Ways to Get Paid
Google Adsense is another popular way to monetize your blog. It is one of the most profitable ways to earn automated income for your blog in all actuality. Simply go to Google Adsense Start Page fill out the info, and you are on your way. You will be placing ads in no time, it takes some practice, but you will figure it out quickly.
Amazon Affiliate Links
One of the first and most common places bloggers become affiliates at is with Amazon’s Affiliate Program. The reason for that is because they sell practically EVERYTHING. So whether you’re blogging about cameras, clothes, pet detergent, you name it, you can monetize your blog with Amazon. Simply sign up, fill out the info and you’ll have links and banners, and even store pages at your finger tips!
Other Affiliate Networks
Now there are other programs, and I will share with you two affiliate sites I use in creating profitable blogs. The first is FlexOffers, which is an Australian based affiliate network. Almost any product you can think of is offered here. And secondly I use ShareASale. Both programs are great.
Step 5 – How to Promote Affiliate Offers
Here are some ideas:
- Build an email list.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don’t be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you.
- Promote your content via social media.
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them.
- Use basic SEO strategies.
Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it’s important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don’t forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.
Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!
- Product reviews.
Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don’t just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details.
Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they’re interested. If do, hooray! You’ve made your first sale.
- Invest in paid advertising.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
The Bottom Line
In the end, how to make a profitable blog is simple, easy and more importantly very fulfilling. I hope this step by step tutorial on how to make a profitable blog helps you begin your blogging journey. I know that was a lot of information, but if you’ve been struggling with figuring out how to start monetizing your blog, the strategies above are a fantastic starting point.
It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!
As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners.
Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale.
So until next time, the hustle never ends!