What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing / affiliate links are a great way for anyone to generate passive income, earning money online from a blog, YouTube channel, or even as a social media influencer. It’s one of the top 8 ways Bloggers, YouTubers, and Influencers Make Money Online. Almost all bloggers start off with affiliate marketing as their first step towards monetization of their blog.
Affiliate marketing is awesome, yet simple. It works by recommending another company’s products or services that your audience would need, or use.
You write articles or shoot videos about the topic, and place links in the article (to the product you’re recommending), or in the video description on YouTube.
If your audience buys the product (or signs up for the service) through your link, you get paid commission for the sale.
Affiliate marketing is the greatest, easiest way of producing passive income for your blog, or YouTube channel.
I use many affiliate programs on THIS blog. For example, DreamHost is one of them
My DreamHost Affiliate Links
After 20 years of designing websites, I’ve used a lot of different hosting companies.
Due to my experiences, I highly recommend Dreamhost as a hosting company for anyone. I don’t just recommend them for bullshit reasons, either. They’re simply the best hosting company I’ve ever used, period.
Like I said earlier, it’s awesome, yet simple.
4 Great Things About Affiliate Marketing
There are a few REALLY great things about affiliate marketing.
It’s an attractive business model, that many bloggers and YouTubers use, for VERY good reasons:
1. There are no Start Up Costs
Affiliate programs are usually free to join. Once your affiliate account is approved, you can start to write articles, and add the affiliate links into your content.
Most bloggers and YouTubers use affiliate marketing as one of their first types of income.
2. You can Earn Money Instantly
As I mentioned above, you’re good-to-go, once your account is approved. If someone clicks on your link that day, you will start to earn money that day.
3. Affiliate Marketing is Passive Income
Once the articles and links are set up, they can be pretty much evergreen. Other than maintenance, marketing, updating, etc., you can earn money 24/7/365.
You don’t need to physically be there to make money, therefore affiliate marketing produces passive income.
4. There’s no Income Limit on Affiliate Earnings
You can earn as much as you want on affiliate marketing. There are bloggers and YouTubers earning 5-6 figure incomes just from affiliate links on their sites and videos.
So, if this is done right, it’s a VERY powerful tool.
Let’s take a quick look at a few different types of affiliate programs.
Direct Affiliate Marketing Programs
When you are recommending a company or product directly, that is considered a direct affiliate program. The relationship I described with DreamHost earlier, is a direct affiliate program.
If there’s a brand YOU would like to work with, search online to see if they have affiliate marketing programs available.
If you’re unable to find one for them through search engines, email or call the company to see if they have one. They may point you in the direction of a third-party affiliate network (see more below) or may be interested in organizing direct affiliate links with you.
If that brand or company doesn’t have an affiliate program, that’s okay.
You can always look for other brands to become affiliated with.
Third Party Affiliate Networks
There are also networks of affiliates out there. They are third party sites that specialize in affiliate marketing for brands that don’t have direct affiliate marketing programs.
These third-party networks often represent MANY different brands, so you can sign up and get affiliate links for several different companies in the same spot. This can cut down a lot on your management of several different companies or brands.
Some companies ONLY go through third party affiliate networks.
I imagine this is because it’s something they don’t have a department, or staff to work with affiliates, so they outsource it to a network to do it for them.
Third Party Affiliate Network Links
Here are a few links to some of the most popular third-party affiliate networks. As with all things I recommend here, I‘m also a member of these networks.
They’re all free to sign up, so sign up today, and find things you can recommend to your followers.
These are affiliate links, so if you sign up and make money in the first few months, I get paid commission for referring you to the network. Nothing comes out of what you earn, and it is no cost to you to join.
Just like all my other affiliate marketing links, It’s a solid win-win-win for all involved.
Amazon Associates is sort of a combination of a third-party affiliate program, and a direct affiliate program.
I personally think Amazon Associate really is something quite amazing.
You can sign up for an Amazon Associates account for free, right here, right now. But, before you do… … hold on a second… …let me tell you how Amazon Associates works, first.
With Amazon Associates, you can recommend ANY product being sold on Amazon.com, and earn commission for it.
Did your mind just EXPLODE WITH POSSIBILITIES??!!
Mine did when I first heard about it, too.
Did I just say you can recommend ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING AMAZON SELLS, AND MAKE MONEY FROM IT?
Yes, I did. I said exactly that.
If any one of your audience buys the item from Amazon.com, you get paid commission for the sale.
Commissions vary. They can be anywhere from 4-10%, depending on the item.
But wait… …it gets better.
You can Organize Complete Carts / Lists of Items
You can also set up a list of several items that go together, in a shopping cart, for your audience to buy all-at-once, to go along with your content.
For example, if you had a craft blog that had a tutorial on a craft project, you could set up a link to an amazon shopping cart with ALL THE ITEMS YOU USED IN THE TUTORIAL, that people would need to complete the project.
The reader would then be able to use the same exact things you’re using in the content showing them how to do it. All they would then need to do, is follow along with the article or the video.
This is REALLY USEFUL! Isn’t that great?
I’m still not done.
It’s a 24-Hour Opportunity for You
Another great thing about Amazon Associates links, is you can still earn commission if your audience member doesn’t buy immediately.
Do you ever visit Amazon, add an item to the cart, but don’t buy it until later that day, or the next day? I often do, because I prefer to buy a few things at once, so they get delivered together.
Your Amazon Associates cart stays active for 24 hours. So, even if your audience don’t purchase immediately, but come back later that day, you still get the commission. The icing on the cake for this one?
You ALSO get paid commission on EVERYTHING ELSE in their cart during that 24-hour period.
So, if your audience member buys a few other things (even very expensive things) you’ll get paid commission on ALL THOSE ITEMS, TOO!
Amazon Associates is completely free to join, and a great opportunity for anyone to start with their affiliate earnings.
Here’s where you go to sign up for an Amazon Associates account.
Don’t disappear just yet though, because there are right ways, and wrong ways to use affiliate links.
The WRONG way to Do Affiliate Marketing
Many people hear about affiliate marketing, and they get a little over-excited. They’re immediately off to the races, adding all sorts of random content on their blogs, thinking they can just write their own paycheck, and make millions
They start with the product, see the profit it might make them, then look at how they can work it into their blog, and produce content around that product. Quickly, they put together a blog with tons of recommendations for products, and useful cool things. All sorts of things that can make them passive income through their blog.
But these people usually don’t make any money, and wonder why.
Many of these people soon find that affiliate marketing isn’t working for them. They’ll usually give up, and say that it doesn’t work, and that blogging doesn’t work out.
There are a few VERY GOOD reasons for this, so let’s look at the RIGHT way to do affiliate marketing.
The RIGHT Way to Do Affiliate Marketing
As with EVERYTHING in blogging, it MUST start with your audience, and work its way back to you.
I’ll say it again. The right way to build a blog, when writing content, is to start with your audience, and work your way back to you.
Ask yourself important questions such as;
- How can I help this person learn faster?
- What do my audience members need the most?
- If I had never done this before, and I was learning, what tool would I use to make this job easier?
- Can I explain this better, and make it easier to understand?
- How can I give the best value possible to the person reading this article?
- Is it possible to do this for free? If it is, do it the free way first.
Give it All Away for Free
When you’re writing blog posts, focus on helping people and teaching people as much as possible.
Why NOT Give it Away for Free?
Give everyone that visits your blog, as much as you possibly can.
You should look for every possible opportunity to give away information, produce free tools that help your audience, give away your valuable knowledge.
Teach, inspire, and help everyone, in every way you possibly can.
Help people. That’s what a blog is about.
Blogging is ONLY about helping people, and being there for them.
Your Audience Needs to be able to Trust You
ALL the content on this site is completely free.
This is because I genuinely want to help you change your life and make money, for real. No, it’s not some sort of bullshit act. I REALLY mean it.
The last thing I want for you reading my blog, is for you to read 10 articles, and find that in every single article, you need to spend money on YET ANOTHER THING I recommend.
Firstly, it would make blogging sound REALLY EXPENSIVE, which is a lie. If you’re like me and do a lot of research, by the time you’d added everything up, you’d (rightfully) wonder how the hell you’d ever make any money!
Secondly, how would THAT make me sound? I’d sound like a money hungry asshole that you can’t trust. What if you then read another blog, and found the information for free? You’d have NO REASON TO TRUST ME.
Every blog post you write needs to be 100% about helping the audience in the best way possible. They need to believe in you, and try things out and see that they work.
Your audience should have every reason to love you, and trust you, because you’re the best person ever.
Just like me!
STUPID DISCLAIMER: I’m just kidding, by the way. I would NEVER consider myself to be the ‘best person ever’.
Only Recommend Things Your Audience NEEDS
Only recommend things that your audience absolutely NEEDS in order to achieve the goal, or get what they want.
For example, you can’t have a blog without a hosting account at all. It’s 100% impossible. So, here on this blog, I recommend the best, low-cost solution to that, in DreamHost.
If you have a craft blog, and you’re showing people a project, you can recommend the materials on Amazon.com through Amazon Associates. The audience may not need ALL the project materials, because maybe they already have some of them. But, they do need ALL of them to complete the project.
Anyone reading that article would love you, respect you, and appreciate the recommendation. It’s a total no brainer. If the article is well written, easy to follow, fun, and they know they’re helping fund your blog, and make you money, they’ll be HAPPY to do so!
If the project works well for them, they’ll always come back to you for more!
THAT’S what blogging, serving your audience, sharing the love, and helping people is ALL ABOUT!
How to be a Great Affiliate Marketer
As you’re building your blog, write fantastic content for your audience to love and share. Do this first, and above all else.
Don’t think in a greedy, selfish way at all. If you do that, you’ve already lost.
Be your audience’s best friend. Guide them down the right path, to safety. Think of things they’re going to need, that you can’t give to them for free yourself. If there IS a free option somewhere, that works well, send them there FIRST.
When they NEED to spend money on something, and that product will genuinely help them achieve their goal faster, easier, or just in a better way, recommend the BEST product at the best price. I didn’t say the cheapest product, or the lowest priced, I said the best product, at the best price.
Recommend the best shit ever. Always remember, it’s YOUR reputation on the line.
Oh, and this one’s up to you, but I ONLY RECOMMEND SOMETHING I USE, HAVE USED, AND WOULD USE MYSELF AGAIN.
ALWAYS Have Integrity
Don’t ‘sell out’ to the highest bidder (unless it’s the best product).
I mention DreamHost in this article quite a bit. If it’s getting annoying, I apologize.
As an example, DreamHost are not the highest paying hosting company for affiliate commissions. Not even close. The company that IS the highest paying, I would NEVER recommend to you, or anyone.I want you to be able to blog successfully and have the best possible service, and the best experience, at a great price.
That’s why I recommend DreamHost, and not any other company.
My point is, as a blogger, you MUST have integrity in everything you do. If you have that first from within, send it out into the world, and it gets returned to you.
So, stay honest, stay truthful, and share the love, not the greed.