This post may contain Affiliate Links (duh)
ots of bloggers post their bullshit “I Made X Thousand Dollars Per Month Blogging” posts and all the sudden envious green eyes are born within our souls. Can you really make that much money writing about stuff?!
For the most part, the bloggers that might make thousands are expert SEO Marketers, Influencers with an established group of followers, or just know digital marketing like it’s the back of their hand.
The main revenue source isn’t Google Ads, Traditional Advertising or Writing Deals. The method we know they use that still goes wildly unchecked, unbalanced, and underused that could bring in significant cash is called Affiliate Marketing.
You can learn more about this marketing method, or practice using one our favorite new apps called, Wildlink.
- How Much Does This Blog Make?
We make anywhere from $500-$2000 a month blogging. Most of it is passive, meaning once we write it, we’ll make money while we’re sleeping! It’s the best form of income around!
- What if I want to make $100,000/mo like some other bloggers and YouTube Stars?
Sadly, no influencer will tell you their formula to make extraordinary money like this. There’s a reason why there’s only a handful of these types of bloggers out there! That being said, it’s possible if you capture your audience’s loyalty on a daily, if not hourly basis. Trust us, we’ve done the research!
Step 1: Get Website Hosting
By spending a little over $80 buckaroos you’ll have the potential to run your own business. Sure, you can settle for free website services like Blogger.com, but you’ll love branding opportunities. By getting hosting, you’ll have your own Email Address, Website Domain Name, and Faster Processing.
(SiteGround Can Handle All The Technical Stuff like getting your WordPress Rolling)
By using SiteGround you’ll have a WordPress optimized site and amazing customer support should you run into any hiccups along the way. Plus, it’s pretty darn affordable!
Step 2: Learn Affiliate Marketing
You’ve seen it online on Pinterest. You’ve seen the success stories with monthly income reports. But, like many out there: You Have No Clue What Affiliate Marketing Is! Well, luckily we’ve dedicated a portion of our site to simplifying Affiliate Marketing so much that anyone can understand what it means, and how to apply it to business and life.
What is Affiliate Marketing You May Ask?
Affiliate Marketing has been around since the commerce world has started. Sure, it’s entirely different today, but the gist of it remains. Let’s say Caveman A brings a Tasty Treat to his tribe and Caveman B is impressed by the quality of the treat. If Caveman B goes and successfully hunts for the Tasty Treat, Caveman A should have been rewarded for finding the Treat, to begin with.
Of course, Cavemen didn’t always share, but if there were a reward behind it, that would necessarily be a commission or compensation for showing the way to get to the Tasty Treat. Affiliate Marketing works very similarly.
Technology and Referring People to Stuff
As a society, we’ve always been referring people to goods and services for as recorded history began. Whether it’s trendy clothing, food, or cleaning services that act of compensating the person that can connect the dots is what is somewhat new. And now, because the internet is all about connecting through links and social media, we can measure affiliate marketing and referrals down to the T. Thus the growth of the Affiliate Marketing world.
Affiliate Tracking Technology itself has been around for nearly 20 years now by utilizing powerful networks, to standalone software. Things haven’t changed much though so the guts remain the same since Affiliate Marketing’s inception.
Here’s how it works…
- Affiliate software hosts Cookie Tracking Ability
- Blogger/Publisher/Social Media Influencer Grabs Approved Affiliate Links
- When Readers or Potential Customers Click Links Cookies are tracked
- Should Reader End Up Buying – Publisher is Rewarded
Cookies are always a debatable topic amongst security and privacy concerns on the internet, but cookies are also the bloodline to most advertising systems, not just Affiliate Marketing. Cookies themselves also track where a typical user goes throughout their daily interactions within a browser.
Advertising like Google Ads will tailor their ads based on Cookie movement. Nothing other than the IP address is typically tracked, so no need to worry about personal information like Credit Cards and such.
Affiliate Links and Commissions
There have been many breakthroughs in the affiliate world, but one major thing remains. Using your approved Affiliate Links are the guts of what you need to make money. When you are accepted by not only an Affiliate Network but an Affiliate Program, you’ll be able to extract Tracking Links (Affiliate Links).
When you share these links with your readers, and they end up clicking them Cookies are transferred. Should a reader buy through the link, you’ll be rewarded with commission. Rare cases exist when an affiliate program offers Coupon Codes that act as affiliate links, but that is rarer than stumbling upon a 30-carat diamond.
What does this mean? You need to share affiliate links with your readers to make money. Bloggers do this strategically through:
- Creative Content
- Social Media (Pinterest is approved for it)
Bloggers that can creatively write and place affiliate links are the ones able to make large incomes through this aspect.
Step 2: Applying to an Affiliate Network
One of the major pain points of becoming an affiliate marketer is finding the right programs that fit your following.
If you are too intimidated by applying to massive amounts of programs and networks, FlexOffers, an affiliate network, provides a one-stop place with most programs ranging from Groupon, Kohls, Newegg, Best Buy, Etsy and much much more.
Since you won’t have to join multiple networks, which can be recommended once you are a pro affiliate marketer, FlexOffers has everything you need right there in front of you.
Apply to Affiliate Programs through the Network
Using FlexOffers as an example, you’ll be able to apply to programs. Some may take a bit to review your application, and in many cases, these reviews consist of making sure you are a legit person, an also an excellent source of organic (natural and not bogus) referrals.
Approved for a program? Start using links!
Affiliate links are the guts of any affiliate marketing aspect. It’s what bridges you from the referral to the commission. When someone clicks on a referral or affiliate link, there is a cookie transferred. No personal information is transferred through the cookie, only the click ID that identifies the user from the network.
To put it simply, the click acts as a connection between purchase and the network, again in this case FlexOffers. To get a link, it will work the same amongst most major affiliate networks:
- Find the approved program by search or use the Links menu option
- Click the Approved checkbox
- Hit the Orange Search button
- See your authorized links
- Sort by advertiser by typing them into the advertiser search box
Tip: An advertiser is the host of products, for example, Groupon is an advertiser. In affiliate marketing, there is the advertiser (merchant) and the publisher (blog or one who posts the affiliate links)
From this area you’ll see a few things, you’ll see the HTML code, which would include the text you would put in front of the link or even a graphic. You can consider this option should you want paste a sale or promotion directly into your website’s code area. For now, let’s focus on the link portion. The link is in the HTML but hidden somewhat. If you click on the Link tab on you’ll note the affiliate link shows up. The affiliate link here is “https://track.flexoffer…..fos=1″ the other text right after, rel=”nofollow,” is not technically the affiliate link and can be disregarded. (For that more savvy nofollow is a proper function of SEO).
Alternatives to FlexOffers?
So you are the kind of website that would prefer not to deal with affiliate politics and programs altogether, but also understand that there are monetization opportunities through affiliate links. Enter Viglink. Acting similarly to the model of FlexOffers, you’ll be able to download a plugin that will automatically translate possible affiliate products and services into affiliate links seamlessly. Many, many larger corporations utilize Viglink for this ability, but for smaller bloggers, it may not work as well since your content is sensitive to SEO and Social purposes. In fact, in 2016 Reddit confirmed that they would be utilizing Viglink as their affiliate network solution so that they don’t have to translate specific products into affiliate links for further monetization manually.
As you can see, Viglink is a legit affiliate marketing solution that companies like Reddit and even venture backed by Google themselves. For smaller bloggers, you can easily install the ability to work with Viglink via WordPress through a plugin.
Other benefits of working with Viglink are:
- Largest Affiliate Program selection, including Amazon and eBay (though they are restricted)
- The hands-off solution when it comes to affiliate links
- Always on-boarding new programs
Because this is an affiliate aggregator, much like FlexOffers, Viglink takes a part of the commission for themselves. We do also think that FlexOffers pays out quicker and you can negotiate more with them. Viglink, on the other hand, is a major solution for those who do not wish to grow affiliate partnerships, but rather monetize rather quickly and easily.
Honorable Mention: Skimlinks
We could go into depth about what Skimlinks is, but it wouldn’t be worth it. They are in the same business as Viglink, however under a different label. For Skimlinks you can download a plugin for WordPress and automatically translate potential products into links…exactly like Viglink. Viglink has been around slightly longer, and we have a better connection with them in the long run, but both Skimlinks and Viglink are both terrific options.
*If you have a European presence there’s even a one-stop solution there at LinkPizza.com*
Have a Blog? Try Other Monetization Methods…
What are some other ways to monetize your influence?
- Advertising (Google Adsense and others)
- Digital Products
- Coaching or Tutoring
Google Adsense is the most popular way to earn money through passive advertising. You’ll have to sign up to Google Adsense:
- Get Verified
- Apply for Ad Types (like Banners and Text)
- Insert these Ads
- The More Views on these Ads The More Money You Make!!
Here’s why these methods are so darn useful (and accessible): Little to No Overhead
What this means is there is little cost to you to use these techniques including starting a blog compared to other business models. So if your blog fails, there is little out of pocket expense for you. However, don’t let this be a factor in your motivation to keep your business growing!
The web is evolving into multiple content platforms. From Podcasts to Videocasts and blogs alike, there are so many ways to produce and put out content! If you’ve considered joining YouTube as an influencer, or promoter of any kind, Affiliate Links can still be a practical side sell for you.
Question: How YouTuber’s Make Money
Many YouTube influencers often make their money through multiple avenues. Let’s take a look at a few of them and see how Affiliate Marketing could fit in!
YouTube Ad Revenue
Often when viewing a video, there will be a popup after a short while, or beginning of a video. When this occurs, there’s ad revenue given to the publisher/Youtuber. Although not a large sum of cash there, over time and through a lot of viewings you could end up with a decent chunk of change. Although unless it’s gone viral with millions of organic views, don’t expect your influencer market to explode overnight.
Instagram and Youtube are often targeted for Influencer companies to send products (or even other YouTubers) for review and discussion. When this occurs, a Youtuber may be given a one-time advertising fee for their efforts. Although not a passive revenue stream, it’s certainly a way to gain money while also producing content along the way.
Let’s Think About Affiliate Marketing
Finally, we hit affiliate marketing. Although I’m sure there are other ways to monetize, Affiliate marketing is drastically underutilized. People don’t think of Affiliate links because, well, you can’t place them inside an actual video! You can, however, while abiding by Google’s terms, utilize links in the description field. You can point followers and viewers to click on affiliate links for products including ones you recommend or want to push.
A Note on Being Approved for Affiliate Programs
Depending on how many followers, you should be easily approved to run Affiliate Links, but make sure your followers aren’t purchased. Plus you’ll likely need 500 Plus Followers (on any social media account)
Other Influencer Tips Regarding Affiliate Marketing
If you have YouTube influence in multiple markets, setting up Affiliate links can be a PAIN! Because one customer from Germany may not be able to buy the same product that is available in the USA. Enter Geni.us links. The Amazon Affiliate aggregator that will automatically link a US product to its partner products worldwide. For example, sell a Fitbit watch on Amazon in the US, use Genius Link to have it link to the Watch for Amazon Germany if a user is based in Germany! Pretty neat!
Want an example of how we make money through Affiliate Marketing? Take a look at our Best Money Apps page. Not only is it filled with great apps and information, but some of the links are actual affiliate partnerships!
Tip: Social Media is Absolutely Critical (We Think)
You’ll need to connect with your audience through social networks. One thing we’ve noticed about Social Networks these days is that it’s vital for your blog’s success if you aren’t necessarily skilled at SEO. Without a Social Presence or SEO knowledge, your blog will have a hard time going. Be thorough and get yourself onto these social networks (and be active on them):
Yes, in that order. According to multiple sites we’ve researched, Instagram rarely helped a blog’s overall success.
On the other hand, we checked the Student Loan Hero’s Instagram page (which was recently acquired for 50 Million Dollars), only had a dozen pictures on Instagram, about a thousand followers on Facebook and so forth. So depending on your model, it’s not ALWAYS critical.
For Pinterest, we’ve heard that outside of Google’s Page Rankings for your posts, Pinterest will be the best source of organic (natural and not bought) traffic around. We’ve had an OK experience with this, although we can confidently say that out of all of the networks out there, Pinterest seems to be the best for your blog’s business overall.
We took a course on Pinterest that we recommend you start with. In fact, we wish we had just bought this course first before all endeavors into the Pinterest world. The Pinterest Traffic Avalanche course is a bit pricey but worthy of your money considering the authors have legit made a ton of cash and won a lot of traffic through the platform.
Believe it or not, no blogger will tell you their exact recipe for success as that’s their competitive advantage.
Want a Blog, You’ll Need Hosting:
- SiteGround: $3.95/mo Hosting (Annual Includes Domain and SSL) — our recommendation
- DreamHost Hosting: $81 per year (Includes Domain) — not bad, not many use anymore
- BlueHost Hosting: $3.95 a month (Includes Domain) — shitiest option
Our Top Affiliate Networks
- AWIN: Etsy, OnePlus, Disney World UK, Travelzoo and more
- Pepperjam: PayPal, 4moms, Legalzoom
- Amazon Associates: Yep, it’s Amazon’s Affiliate Network
- Impact: UBER, Kohl’s, H&M, Hello Fresh, and many more
- Commission Junction: Boxed, Office Depot, CITBank, and more
- FlexOffers: Free Sign Up (Need Website with Content to Join)
- MagicLinks: Great for YouTube Influencers and Alike
- Wildlink: Want to skip the blog bullshit and just refer people links?