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You followed our advice to establish your blog. You utilized our guidelines for increasing your traffic. Your next question concerns how bloggers make money, and it is important to answer.
After a lot of work creating high quality content that puts you high in the rankings for search engine optimization (SEO), it is time for all that work to pay off. You’re ready to monetize this blog.
There are a lot of great ways of making money from a blog. Once you’re an established authority, you can easily monetize your services. Write an ebook. Teach a seminar. You can even offer your services as an expert at an hourly fee.
How bloggers make money with affiliate marketing
Learn how to make money at Wealthy Affiliate!
There is one prime money maker that anyone can use, and most do. One of the most popular ways to make money is through affiliate marketing which is a partnership between you and an online retailer where you agree to market their products in exchange for a commission of every sale they make through your site.
When it comes to writing a blog and getting paid for it, affiliate programs have grown in popularity as more and more bloggers find ways to market niche products through their blogs. I’m going to review my five favorite affiliate marketing programs for you here, then offer some guidelines for affiliate marketing to help you get started.
List of top affiliate networks
Amazon is one of the largest e-commerce sites on the Internet, so naturally it also has one of the largest affiliate programs.
I want to spend a decent amount of time with this review, because it is one of the most popular and simple ways how bloggers make money.
- Amazon is an extremely reputable site.
- They have a massive inventory of items for sale to any niche market you choose.
- Their tracking chip lasts for 24 hours and is valid for any Amazon purchase. This means that if someone clicks through to their site from yours and decides not to buy your advertised item, but they make a few purchases while on the site, you still make commission.
- There aren’t any traffic requirements to meet in order to stay a member in good standing, and they help you promote.
- Their tracking system is excellent, so you can easily see which of your content links are driving revenue and which ones are not. This lets you target future articles towards success.
- They pay significantly lower commissions than other affiliate programs, but that’s because you are more likely to sell through a trusted site like Amazon.
- Their operating agreement is lengthy and not very clear. Some of their guidelines can trap unsuspecting marketers who haven’t done their research.
- Their cookie only lasts a day, so if someone waits more than a day to purchase the product, you won’t get your commission. However, if they add the product to their cart, you will get commission as long as they purchase within 90 days.
- You can’t use email marketing to directly send your Amazon affiliate link to your users. You can circumvent this by linking users to content on your website, and leading them from that content to your Amazon affiliate link.
- Their minimum payment of $100 can be pretty steep if your website is still young and needs growth. It will take time to make money with them.
Product reviews are one of the main ways that people are making money from a blog. If you stay transparent and endorse a product that you believe in, you can make great money. When users see your review and notice your enthusiasm for the product, they will be likely to click through and buy one for themselves.
Best sellers are a great way to leverage product reviews. These are already popular and trendy, and linking to them will give you commission for a sale people are interested in already. You can also use the reviews to your advantage. While it’s prohibited to use their reviews as your own, you can leverage the feedback to build trust in the product.
Social media is another great way to promote your content. When you post, stay transparent. Let people know that you are posting an affiliate link. Amazon takes transparency very seriously. Make sure these are mixed into actual posts, because no one wants to see nothing but advertisements.
You can sign up on Amazon by filling in all their forms. Read the rules first so you understand everything. As I mentioned, they have a lot of them.
You can search the Amazon site for different products to promote. When you enter a keyword, Amazon will generate a list of related products. Once you find a product you want to promote, you simply click the Get Link button to create your specific Amazon affiliate link.
Choose your products carefully. They should fit your brand and match your topic well. Seamless integration of affiliate marketing posts is the goal. If you promote something you wouldn’t buy yourself, you will start losing trust, and your reputation will take a nosedive. This will cause you to lose followers which obviously also results in less sales.
Again, remember that it is mandatory to disclose your affiliation. Not only will you keep your trust and reputation, but you won’t get banned from your affiliate programs or put in jail for breaking the FTC guidelines.
ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate market programs around right now. It can compete against other affiliate programs in an evolving market.
They have been in business for nearly 20 years and have consistently worked to improve their program for both affiliates and merchants.
They have a reputation for being a fair company that deals in honesty. They provide some of the best customer service out of any affiliate program and accurately report with easy-to-understand tracking tools.
They were acquired by Awin, another large affiliate program, so they have a network that is nearly as vast as Amazon itself. New affiliates will be presented with welcome kits to help them learn some of the basics of affiliate marketing and strategize ways to make money faster.
- Like Amazon, they have a great reputation. People trust this company to do good business.
- Their sign up process is very easy. It takes less than 15 minutes to sign up for their program, which makes it a great beginner market for new affiliates and bloggers.
- Since they are so large, they also have a lot of different merchants. No matter what niche market you use, they have products for your viewers.
- They have some great built-in search engines to make it easy to find products to endorse. They also have a Power Rank, which lets you browse the strongest merchants currently on the site to see what sells.
- Unlike nearly all the other affiliate giants, their customer service is fantastic. You can even reach them by phone from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time.
- You can customize your affiliate links. Instead of having a giant, long link with tons of random numbers, you can create short URLs that are more visually appealing to users.
- They don’t use PayPal. Your earnings are deposited directly into your bank account.
- They aren’t great for new affiliates or smaller traffic sites. They have a pretty high payout threshold, and if you don’t meet it, they will deduct fees from your account and potentially delete it entirely.
- Merchants are also deleted from the network, and their affiliates won’t be notified. This means that your affiliate links become useless and you don’t even know it. Make sure you stay on top of your tracking reports to figure out when links stop working.
Another marketing affiliate giant is ClickBank. Entrepreneurs developed this site, so their network enables you to make money blogging. As with other sites, this one allows bloggers to search their marketplace for products to endorse and make a commission for sales.
One thing that distinguishes ClickBank from other programs is that the vendors are the ones who set the commission for their sales affiliates. This can work against affiliate marketers, but most often it actually works in their favor. This site shows commission payouts as high as 75%, and when affiliates can choose which products to endorse, it encourages vendors to set a competitive commission rate.
Is ClickBank legit?
Because they are such a large community, but not associated with well established programs, people are always asking whether or not ClickBank is legit. Expert niche marketers have made insanely high revenue from this site, and they rave about it a lot. This also contributes to a sense of “too good to be true”.
The good news is that ClickBank is legit. You can make money with their affiliate program. The bad news is that hype is usually just that.
The average user won’t make those high sales numbers until they’ve spent a lot of time increasing their reader base and gaining the trust of their subscribers. You need a high traffic rate to make lots of money with affiliate marketing. After all, if people can’t find your link they can’t use it.
One of the other things that hurts their reputation is that they aren’t the best at weeding out bad products. The site has great service, a user-friendly and speedy interface, and a great payment processing system. A lot of people are offering great products. The issue is that, with ClickBank being large and unwilling to perform some basic quality control, you can also run into some real duds.
- You don’t need to be approved in order to have an account. A lot of other companies will screen your site to make sure you’re well established and professional. This makes ClickBank an ideal site for people just getting started in affiliate marketing who are still working to establish their brand and gain more traffic.
- Giant commissions are possible with this site. Because each vendor sets their own commission rates and affiliates choose their own products, there is a huge incentive for vendors to offer large commission bonuses for their sales.
- They are extremely reliable. You will always be paid on time, and you can trust the site itself, even if some of the vendors need to be screened.
- Their refund policy is nice, but only if you’re a buyer. All vendors are required to offer a 60-day money-back guarantee for anything they sell. They are also required to offer it with no questions asked. While this isn’t ideal, you can avoid having to refund commissions by carefully screening your products. Only endorse the ones that you would put your reputation behind in terms of quality.
- ClickBank doesn’t offer quality control. This makes it kind of a safe place to land for shady businesses offering subpar knockoff products that they want to pretend are the real deal. Look into small niche marketing, as these tend to have more conscientious sellers. Larger markets make it easy for shady vendors to blend in, with attractive offers that don’t mean anything.
- They have a minimum sales requirement, and you have to make it across multiple payment types. Because they don’t screen affiliates before account approval, they do a back-end check to make sure their affiliates aren’t scamming the system to give themselves discounts. This means that payments must be accepted from more than one source, and you must meet an initial minimum before they will release your first payment. The good news is that once you’ve satisfied this requirement, you’re in the clear!
4. Rakuten marketing affiliate program
One of the other giants in affiliate marketing is Rakuten. This is a global network that connects businesses to new audiences using your site. Rakuten has one of the best reputations in the business, so you can support them without fear.
Rakuten is driven by performance. They are very selective when it comes to accepting affiliates into their program.
They don’t stop there, either. Once marketers make the program, they are still monitored to ensure that their content is high quality, and they are effectively using the program.
Rakuten’s size is an advantage. They have a lot of extremely well-known brands, like Lego, Best Buy, New Balance, Mac Cosmetics, and several major department stores. This means that they work a bit differently, though.
Unlike others, this network is a conglomeration of different affiliate networks. Once your account is approved for Rakuten, you still have to apply for each individual marketing program. Each of these will manually review your website and determine whether your products are in line with their brand and relevant to their market.
- Their customer service is great. Every affiliate gets their own dedicated manager, so they have a single point of contact that will readily answer questions and assist them in making sales growth.
- They have massive numbers. In 2016, they were home to over 1,000 merchants, and they tracked over 100 million orders. They have only grown since then.
- Their ads have integrated technology. If you are technologically proficient, then this is an amazing way to allow you creativity. Select the type of ad you want, and they will generate the code you need for your site. They also let you keep it simple if you aren’t interested in digging too far.
- They offer a user-friendly interface. A lot of affiliate programs make it difficult to find your affiliate links sometimes, and searching their interface for new links can be difficult. Rakuten’s dashboard displays tracking and linking alongside payment information and link codes. You can even generate quick and advanced reports.
- Training tools are available. This site focuses on growth and high revenue streams. They want you to continue to grow and succeed, so they offer a lot of tools to teach you how to grow your business.
- This is not the right program for beginners. This program wants to know that you will be a high-profit sales affiliate. They check to make sure your blog is established as an authority and generates traffic that interacts with you. If you are new, don’t have a lot of content, or need to build an engaged readership, then hold off on Rakuten and get some experience.
- Their payment schedule is not regulated. They pay you after merchants pay them. This means that you can sometimes wait a couple months before seeing payment for your sales. They don’t use PayPal, either, so you have to accept direct deposit or wait for a check to arrive in the mail.
5. CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction)
CJ Affiliate has also been around for a long time. They have evolved along with technology, ensuring that they consistently rank among the top affiliate programs.
They are considered one of the largest affiliate programs in North America and have only seen steady growth over the last decade.
- They have a pretty in-depth search function. You can even search by category for niche marketing. Searching the keyword shows several different affiliate programs along with their payment terms and network earnings. Clicking the company will take you to more detailed information.
- They have a lot of very well-known brands, so you can assure your subscriber base that they are receiving quality products. Zappos, Walgreens, Vimeo, and Torrid are all merchants that use this program.
- They assist you with the process. Instead of letting you do all the work yourself, CJ Affiliate provides you with widgets and link automation to help you grow quickly. This lets you make attractive links that are more likely to get clicked and let you scale quickly thanks to extra opportunity.
- Affiliates have to apply to each merchant individually, and each merchant is free to set their own Terms of Service. This can make for a long and difficult approval process that requires keeping track of multiple sets of different rules. Make sure to keep quality content and organize your program guidelines to avoid issue.
- They are frequently deactivating their advertisers. The way their billing works means that you are temporarily deactivated while they settle accounts with their merchants. This means that you do not earn commissions if your users buy during this deactivation period.
- Their tracking system is extremely outdated. While their payment models and merchants have updated with the times, their tracking features have not. They offer very little conversion information. You get a date and TID (tracking identity) tracking. If you want more data, you will have to use an API (application programming interface) and get your reports from a third party.
- They have a reputation for closing inactive accounts. They do not seem very careful with regards to activity, either. Several people have reported losing commissions before payments were made, because their account was deemed inactive and closed without notice.
How do bloggers make money aside from affiliate marketing?
- Advertisements: While they have lost popularity among bloggers, because they require a lot of traffic to be effective, you can still use Google AdSense and other similar tools to generate some income.
- Seminars: If you’re an expert in your field, sell your knowledge. Cultivate online courses that will help people learn the basics, and sell them. Be sure to include some webinars and interaction.
- Social media: Use social media to boost traffic to your site. When you balance advertisement posts with genuine, unsponsored content your followers will be very receptive.
Learn how to make money at Wealthy Affiliate!
How bloggers make money: conclusion
Now, you know how bloggers make money!
There are a lot of great ways for bloggers to make money online.
Skype consultations where you charge a large hourly fee for one-on-one training is something that can only be easily managed when you have long been established as an authority. Advertisements are falling out of fashion nearly everywhere, so they are unlikely to gain you money unless you have a very high-traffic site where people are clicking everything.
Because of this, I recommend using affiliate marketing. If you’re just getting started and don’t have as much traffic, then you can’t go wrong with joining up at Wealthy Affiliate (free) where you can start to learn the basics