My blogs don’t have high PageRank. They don’t get a tremendous amount of traffic. Yet my blogs earn me thousands of dollars every month. How? Affiliate ads. Why?
I know what my readers need.
My blog content is geared toward filling my readers’ needs. So it makes sense to only display ads which also fill a need. For example, my blog geared toward beginning freelance writers exists to give writers tips on how to make money freelancing. As a freelance writer, I know new freelance writers are looking for freelance writing jobs and ways to make money writing, maybe even an occasional book on the topic. So rather than relying on Adsense ads alone, I also incorporated job ads through Indeed’s publisher program, a few books on learning to freelance from Amazon’s affiliate program, plus a few ebooks on writing for magazines and winning writing contests (through an independent affiliate program).
I know what my readers don’t need.
I feel part of my success with affiliate programs is knowing what people don’t want. Sticking with the theme of freelance writers, I know that most freelance writers aren’t looking for a get rich quick scheme. Freelance writers aren’t looking for ebooks on how to make thousands of dollars per day doing data entry. And most aren’t looking for membership or bidding sites that charge them fees to use their services.
I know what my readers can afford to pay.
Many affiliate programs offer truly great, super useful products. But if they’re out of my readers’ budgets, there’s no use in listing their ads on my site. That’s why on my freelance writing blog I post job ads that are free, and why when I post ads for books I go through Amazon (cheaper prices, even used items). If I post an ad for something that’s a little more pricey, I make sure it’s for something REALLY good that’s worth splurging for.
I don’t recommend any affiliate product I wouldn’t use myself.
I’ve learned that the key to affiliate marketing is only partnering with affiliate programs who offer high quality USEFUL products. I can’t stand visiting blogs whose sole purpose is to recommend any junk product just to make a few bucks, and I can’t imagine that others like seeing that kind of thing either. So, my affiliate marketing method is to only post links for products or services I myself have used and found to be helpful. The book and ebook recommendations on my site are all for books I myself have read and felt were worth the money. I promote Indeed’s jobs because I use their search engine regularly to find my own writing jobs. Maybe I’d earn more money promoting any related program, but a) I feel that would be unethical and b) I feel more confident promoting products I can personally recommend.
A blogger’s income doesn’t have to be defined by pay-per-click ads. Although Adsense rakes in a good chunk of change for many bloggers, that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve found that incorporating affiliate ads is a relatively easy way to earn extra money recommending products I’d be recommending anyway. It sure beats joining a “get paid to write a review on your blog” site, at least in my experience.
If you’ve used affiliate ads on your blog, I’d love to hear about your successes (or failures), tips you might have which I’ve no doubt missed, etc.
You’re welcome A.M. I’ve been doing affiliate marketing longer than I’ve been blogging, so I still have a lot to learn, too. I’ve learned some great stuff from Performancing already. Most of these people know a lot more than I do. 🙂
Amy you are wonderful. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I am new to blogging and I am still trying to figure out how to make significant earings.
Amazon sales usually earn me less than $100 per month.
Some of my other blogs promote products (from health/beauty products to financial news subscriptions). There is more money in percentages of products than books on Amazon in my experience.
Sorry Raj. Didn’t mean to leave you out. I was doing a separate reply for you and got sidetracked. 🙂
I actually considered an online copywriting course at one point. May still do it in the future, so maybe I’ll try theirs. Let me know how it is.
Problem with aff blogs is that unless you have something unique or innovative about the writing, it won’t get a lot of regular readers, nor can you promote at social media sites.
I’ve been experimenting with some widgets of Amazon, and recently figured out a way that old wp-amazon wordpress plugin can work again on v2.3 blogs (see HART-Empire.com) … but for the most part I’ve been moving my affiliate links to a generalized market place (HARTmarket.com).
It’s quite funny, but I actually do have one site that has outperformed all of my other blogs amazon-commission-wise .. it’s got 7 feedcount subscribers and less than 100 uniques PER MONTH .. but there is at least 5 sales every month from that site.
Raj, about traffic.
I honestly have no idea exactly how much traffic I get. I’m not that savvy. Judging by how many comments people leave on my blogs, I’d say not very much. I don’t spend a great deal of time on my own blogs, so I never expected them to make much money.
I just recently started a few new blogs (one on natural beauty and one geared toward bankruptcy lawyers). These blogs are allowing me to experiment more with different types of affiliate programs, like promoting individual products and promoting more high-end stuff. When I have time (ha ha), I might try figuring out some ways to drive more traffic and see what I can really do. 🙂
Meanwhile, I spend most of my time blogging for other people. I like those jobs better. No time spent promoting, driving traffic, etc. But I’m trying to find a balance.
Hey, you forgot me in the list above I was asking how much traffic you needed before you reached your “thousands per month”.
I’m enrolled in the AWAI program, thanks to Ahmed’s recommendation, but I’ve been so busy that I’m 3 units behind. It seems like very useful information, but you have to adopt a very commercial attitude for your writing..
Glad you found it helpful. 🙂
I wish I had more time. I’d probably earn a lot more if I spent more time trying to drive traffic to my sites. I also spend a lot of time doing freelance blogging for other people, so that eats up a good part of my day. Much easier money though!
I’ve emailed you back about the Indeed thing. I hope it works out for you. I can’t see how it wouldn’t at your job blog. You’re right; it’s very difficult to find good affiliate programs for writers. I’ve experimented with a LOT of them, and most just don’t do very well.
Thanks. I hope you have some success with it. Like everything else with blogging, it takes time. Getting paid to blog for other people is easier (in my experience), but it’s nice having some extra income from your very own blogs.
I will have to check out AWAI. Thanks for the tip. 🙂
Thanks for your comment and for pointing me towards your net business blog. Looks like you’ve got some very helpful stuff there.
Thank you for your comment (and for the bookmark). I know one writer who has a blog dedicated to Amazon book reviews and she enjoys it. I don’t know how lucrative that type of blog would be, because I’ve never done it. I don’t make as much time to read as I’d like to these days. Amazon doesn’t pay very much (in my opinion), but I find it useful for promoting the books I’d recommend anyway. If you start a mini-blog for book reviews, let me know. I’d love to read a blog like that.
And a great structure. This will go to my del.icio.us bokmarks.
I had no big success with affiliate ads on general interest blogs. But the more specific and product oriented a site is the better the conversion will be.
A nice side-kick for a blog is always to write about the books you are reading. Amazon affiliate ads are great for that. Your article is motivating me to create a blog or a mini-blog for that.
What I do is that I go and get like five books every four weeks from the public library. To blog about these books is absolutely easy.
Amy, thanks for bringing up this important topic. I know I get distracted and forget about my readers needs.
But knowing your prospective customers (especially their needs) is probably the most important thing to learn in business. You’ve got to be able to put yourself in their shoes. If you can do that, you’ll be able to sell much more effectively and efficiently. I wrote about this awhile back.
Market Research – The Crucial Step Many Internet Marketers Skip
Robots Don’t Spend Money Online, People Do
deb – the awai copywriting program, and the awai suite of products in general, is geared towards writers.
Some mesmerizing stuff.I have never been so motivated before.I knew i have read this kinda stuff a million times but no one has ever this one with such easy words thanks .
I’ve been considering an Indeed affiliate on FWJ – now that I’m going to get rid of Autcion Ads, I’ll look into it. It’s hard to find affiliates geared only towards writers. I’ve been playing around with it for two years and haven’t had much success. My biggest income comes from Adsens, but you inspired me to keep looking at affiliates.
Amy, that’s amazing. Congrats to you. What kind of traffic did you need before you hit “thousands per month”?
I’ve never found affiliate blogging my thing. (Ryan, maybe you should get productfilter.com – which you bought from me in April – going after all. It was going to be an aff product blog.) I guess, in my head, I’m stuck on the subscription model of info from before the blogosphere, and that’s what I’m aiming at.
Damn girl. You totally kick some aff ass;-)
Seriously, I’ve never, never, never been able to figure out the aff model. This is a great start.
I found this highly informative and encouraging!