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How to Use Affiliate Marketing to Make Money With Your Blog

how to use affiliate marketing

Last Updated on by Mafalda Taborda

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Wouldn’t a little side income be nice right now? Today’s online entrepreneurs are doing just that, running their own websites, blogs, and e-commerce stores, and some make millions of dollars per year.

One effective way to start your online money-making machine is to join an affiliate marketing network.

If you want to turn your blog into an affiliate marketing machine, you need to set up your blog to earn clicks and pick programs that won’t waste your time. The good news is we’ve put together a straightforward guide to help you do just that.

We will go over the following:

  1. What is affiliate marketing
  2. How to use affiliate marketing
  3. What are its advantages for business blogs
  4. The best affiliate marketing programs
  5. The highest paying affiliate marketing programs
  6. How to start an affiliate marketing blog

Let’s dive in!

What Is Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way to use your blog to promote products and gain a commission whenever those products are purchased from your link.

As an affiliate, your blog can earn money every day just by working with an affiliate partner like Shareasale, Amazon Associates, or Clickbank.

Even on a small scale, businesses earn thousands per month just by promoting products with a niche blog.

Blog to Make Money: How to Use Affiliate Marketing

Before you start googling the top programs to join, businesses need to know the five steps for affiliate marketing success. These include:

  1. Manage a blog with at least 1,000 pageviews a month, for greater earnings over 50,000 pageviews a month
  2. Join a reputable, high-earning affiliate network
  3. Get your own affiliate link for each offer
  4. Add your links to blog content
  5. Collect commissions whenever someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase

Note: 1,000 pageviews a month is relatively low and easy to achieve, likely resulting in $25 to $50 a month depending on the affiliate marketing network. Most business blogs can earn much more, especially if they are already marketing their blog articles and earning 1,000 pageviews or more per day.

How Do Affiliate Marketing Networks Pay You

When picking an affiliate marketing network, you should look at the commission rates and read reviews from participants. Some affiliate marketing networks pay a measly 5% to 8%, but they have better programs and more products, which results in more sales over time.

Others pay commission rates over 50%, but it may be more difficult to get a purchase due to the high-cost of the product. These affiliates will require more marketing on your part. 

There are also flat rate programs that pay you the same no matter what the customer spends through your link.

These aren’t the best, but it could be a good start if you want to work with certain products within your niche and have limited affiliate networks that support your niche. 

Advantages of Affiliate Marketing for Business Blogs

We think it’s one of the easiest ways to make money with your business blog. All you have to do is find the right products and drive traffic to your posts. Here are some other benefits to keep in mind:

  1. Performance-Based Commissions – If you’re working hard to drive traffic to your blog, don’t you want to be rewarded for the effort? This is where affiliate marketing comes in. Since you are paid a commission for every action taken with an affiliate link, it makes sense that you would drive valuable traffic to your blog.
  2. Increases Audience Reach – There are all kinds of affiliate networks today for any kind of niche or audience. Whether you want to go with a broad audience market in the retail sector or you want to dive into a niche like crossbow hunting, there are always affiliate partners who want to promote their products through you. In addition, these affiliates already have an audience base. By tapping into these products, you’ll get valuable insights into products and keywords for SEO use, which will come in handy to build your audience through search. 
  3. Boosts Your Business Reputation – If you work with a trusted affiliate partner and choose a high-quality brand, you can instantly improve your blog’s reputation. Many influencers have done just that by creating a blog around a set of high-quality products that expands their own brand and improves their reach within a niche market. Since you are technically an extension of that brand’s marketing team, you become an ambassador and will already have visitors who are looking specifically to purchase these products. 
  4. Balances Your Costs and Time – It’s extremely cost effective to build a blog with affiliate marketing programs. Don’t you want to get paid to have a blog? If you’re in the business of making money, affiliate marketing can mitigate all of your hosting and staffing costs. Let’s say you have a high traffic blog that costs over $100 in hosting and server costs, as well as a team of copywriters and social media specialists.  Your blog could pay for itself through these partners. Additionally, expanding to new markets and adding on different partners is the best move to capture new audiences. 
  5. Increases Your Traffic – When you combine SEO with affiliate marketing, you can instantly increase traffic to your main blog posts and get clicks simply for marketing a specific brand. It’s an effective, low-risk way to scale up your visits within a matter of weeks. 

Best Affiliate Marketing Programs

Finding the right affiliate marketing networks is the first challenge for any blogger. There are thousands to choose from, and if you pick wrong, you could spend months working on content and linkbuilding that drives zero traffic.

So how can you tell what the best programs are? 

  • Ease of use: the interface to sign up and deploy links should be easy to get through and manage.
  • Customer service: Try reporting a problem before signing up and see how quickly you receive help. This is a good indicator of how it will be if something actually does go wrong.
  • Commissions: How much will they pay you? Remember the low side is 5% and the highest are over 50%
  • Payment: Check when the affiliate network pays out. These programs typically pay one of the following: 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. 
  • Customer Reviews: How do other bloggers feel about the affiliate network? Does it pay out regularly? Is it easy to use and manage?
  • Cookies: You want remarketing to stick around, but some only have 24-hour cookies like Amazon. The best ones have 30- to 90-day cookies.

Some affiliate programs have been around for years. We’ll share those that are best for beginners, as well as which ones pay the most:

Amazon Associates

Everyone has used Amazon Associates in the past. It’s the easiest to use and manage, and it comprises any and all of the products sold online. It’s also free to use and pays out every 60 days as long as you make $10. 

homepage of amazon affiliate marketing program

Best of all, this program was made for beginners, so it’s hard to mess up on your first try. In addition, everyone knows what Amazon is and will trust your links. 

There’s also a customer service department dedicated to their affiliates, and you gain access to a dashboard that allows you to easily create and manage all of your product links. 

Commission Junction

Commission Junction is the best affiliate program for more specific, yet recognizable brand names like:

  • Verizon
  • Walgreens
  • Trip Advisor
  • Zappos
  • Sonos
  • Disney

It has all kinds of brands and products, and they have an excellent support team.

homepage of commission junction

With their dashboard, you can clearly see which links and programs are making money, and which ones you should drop. It’s also free, but you need to make at least $50 before cashing out. You get paid every 30 days when you do so. 

Commission Junction also includes direct display advertising, tutorials, and multiple affiliate programs for brands with clear performance-based metrics. This saves you a lot of time and effort. 

homepage of shareasale

ShareASale

Even though ShareASale’s interface isn’t our favorite, it has some of the most profitable programs that pay between $300 and $350 per sale.

Their program service several niches and markets with over 5,000 to choose from. 

Like the others on our list, this is a free program that requires $50 in earnings to get paid every 30 days. It’s best suited for under-served brands and specialty products.

With the “Search for Merchants” tab, you can easily find the best products with the “PowerRank” metric. This shows you how much you will likely earn with the program. 

Highest-Paying Affiliate Marketing Programs

We also wanted to look at some of the highest-paying programs. These are pretty specific to niches so you won’t have the same range of products, but if you are just starting out, you may want to build your blog around these programs to earn the most. 

  • Fiverr: Promote a gig marketplace and earn up to $1,000 per sale
  • Bluehost: Talk about hosting products and earn a flat commission starting at $65 per sale
  • Hostinger: Another web hosting product that offers $150 per sale
  • Wix: Promote their website builder and get $100 plus per sale.
  • Shopify: Another website builder product that offers 200% commission.
  • BigCommerge: an e-commerce SaaS platform that offers up to $1,500 per sale
  • Weebly: Simple website pbuilder that offers a 30% recurring commission and a 120-day cookie.

Now that you have an idea of the different services and products, it’s easy to see how lucrative this could be for your business. 

Start an Affiliate Marketing Blog in 7 Steps

Ideally, you already have a blog with content and some traffic. We recommend creating a blog with at least 50 posts and 1,000 pageviews to get started. 

However, there are some benefits to starting a blog completely new if you want to get into affiliate marketing. For one, you can pick the most lucrative niche and program, then optimize your site to sell. 

Here’s a quick step-by-step approach to getting started after you’ve set up a blog or website:

  1. Build Up Your Content (Particularly in Your Niche)
  2. Research Products in Your Niche
  3. Sign Up for Amazon Associates Affilate Program
  4. Add Other Affiliate Programs and Products
  5. Create New Content and Share on Social Media
  6. Optimize Your Pages and Track Rankings in Search
  7. Keep Monitoring and Optimizing for Higher Rewards

Step 1: Build Up Your Content

This is the longest part in the early phase, but it’s important that you build a content empire around your niche.

If you already know what products and brands you want to market, then you have a great starting point for content topics. 

As you build up your content on your website, also remember to share content on social media and build up awareness. 

Step 2: Research Products within Your Niche

There’s a real simple way to kick off this research, just think about these two questions:

  • What are the best products in your niche?
  • What brands do audiences already talk about? 

Since you’re looking for visitors who want to buy these products, you should focus on review and comparison blog types.

However, we’ve found that question and answer or tutorial/guide content also works. You can use a tool called AnswerthePublic.com to get the most searched questions related to products, brands, and niches. 

Step 3: Sign Up with Amazon Associates 

We know that there are thousands of affiliate programs, but almost all products made for selling online can be found on Amazon. It’s also the most trusted affiliate.

Since you don’t have to stick to just one affiliate, you can add this one to your site in a day and start earning. We recommend doing this first if you’re just starting out.

Step 4: Add Other Affiliate Programs and Products

Now that you have your first affiliate program added, it’s not time to sit back and relax.

Instead, you should look at some of the higher-paying programs and dig down further in your niche to find popular products and brands on social media that you can serve on your blog. 

These are perfect opportunities to build up new content, particularly around reviews for different products.

Step 5: Create New Content and Share on Social Media

You should always be thinking of new topics and reviews to create. When marketing your blog on social media with this content, you should focus on the expertise side of it and don’t sell the product or use any type of spammy language. 

You simply want to gain your audience’s trust and show that you are an authentic expert.

It helps if you have product demos and tutorials that will cater to your audience’s questions and challenges within your niche. 

Step 6: Optimize Your Pages and Track Rankings in Search

After adding content and affiliate links to your posts, you should go back and completely optimize every page. SEO can truly help you with organic traffic, so you’ll need to conduct keyword research and add top keywords to your pages. 

You’ll also want to install Google Analytics on your site if you haven’t done so already. This allows you to track all traffic coming to your site, including the top pages and referrals. 

In addition, formatting also helps with your review pages. Today’s content has to be easy to read on mobile, especially because users like to skim instead of read in-depth articles.

This means keeping your paragraphs short and breaking up content with quotes, bullet lists, and images.

google analytics

Finally, you should always add call-to-actions (CTAs) around your affiliate links and buttons. Some affiliates like Amazon make it easy to embed a button on your blog with your link. 

For further tracking, particularly on your ranking in search for specific keywords, you should use SEMrush, which has several tools to improve your position in search. You can also track competitors and see what sites are ranking higher. 

Step 7: Keep Monitoring and Optimizing!

If you want to earn the most, keep following your traffic and optimize as much as you can. You’ll likely find that some pages earn more than others, but it takes time to build awareness and traffic. 

What’s Next?

Learning how to use affiliate marketing in your business can be done quickly with this guide. Building a blog is hard work, especially if you are the only one building your empire.

Here at Search Click Grow, we’ve found that the best way to help our clients is to create powerful business growth solutions that help you see real, sustainable growth on auto-pilot.

So if you’re looking for other ways to grow your business but don’t know where to start… click here to apply to work with our team or visit our resources page, we provide consistent free and paid resources that can help get you started.

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Air Force veteran and online marketing authority, Micha is a pragmatic problem solver with relentless dedication to his clients’ success-- with a passion for helping businesses achieve exponential and sustainable growth. He serves clients as a strategic partner who believes in addressing their digital challenges head-on by implementing quantifiable best practices. His hobbies include billiards, chess, mountain climbing, and traveling with his loving wife and kids.

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