Personally, I think affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to monetize a blog.
All you have to do is attract readers and point them in the right direction and the advertiser does all the work.
Once you get the hang of it you just wash, rinse and repeat.
To help you get started, here are 10 keys to promoting affiliate products to monetize your blog.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes
Don’t choose a product and try to convince your reader he needs it. Learn what your audience needs and find appropriate products.
Personal recommendations work best
If at all possible, use the product you’re promoting so you can provide your own personal opinion. Of course, if you’re blogging about household appliances you’re not going to want to buy a new dishwasher every week. But if you’ve used other products by the same manufacturer, let your readers know about your experience.
Promote quality products
Don’t promote products you wouldn’t use yourself. Research the advertiser, and check out the product if possible. In the beginning I chose to promote a very poor-quality digital product being handled by a popular affiliate network. Looking back now, it’s a wonder a wasn’t thrashed by some of my readers.
While one of the benefits of being an affiliate is that you don’t have to deal with customer service problems, if those customers are dissatisfied they can leave some nasty comments on your blog and kill your business.
Contextual linking works best
Today’s Internet readers are pretty savvy. They won’t click on just any link. I have more success with contextual links than I do with those huge “Click Here for More Information” links you see at the end of the blog post. Lead you readers to relevant content deeper on your blog and eventually to a squeeze page for pre-selling before you use your affiliate link to send them to the advertiser’s sales page.
Link position matters
There are several recommended hotspots for ads – the top of the left sidebar, the top of the right sidebar, and the top or bottom of the post. But it’s also important to remember that each blog is different. Don’t be afraid to move your ads around until you find the best position.
Traffic level matters, sort of
Obviously, traffic levels will have a big effect on your income, but targeting your traffic is also important. If the traffic you attract isn’t the least bit interested in the product you’re promoting then it really doesn’t matter how many people traipse through your blog every day, you’re not going to make a cent. Learn to use longtail keywords to attract targeted traffic.
Promote more than one affiliate product. Make sure they’re all relevant to your niche, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Promote some products with contextual links in posts rather than clutter up your blog with lots of banners. Diversify and multiply your income.
It’s never a good idea to lie to your readers or try to trick them into clicking a link. Most readers are savvy enough to know that you’re making money with your blog. If you’re sneaky about it, that just kills your credibility.
Combine with other monetization techniques
Not everyone who visits your blog will buy whatever it is you’re promoting. Increase your profitability by combining multiple streams of income. Use AdSense to give your readers more information. You’ll earn each time they click a link. Sell direct advertising space on your blog. Create your own mini-guide to build interest in your main products.
Monitor results and adapt
Advertisers have been known to disappear over night, products rise and fall in popularity, and trends move on. Monitor your results on a monthly basis. Be prepared to drop non-performing ads and have new products lined up to take their place.