If you have been following the stories of blogging royalties in the past few years, you’d, at one point, probably envisioned treating yourself to a sumptuous Kobe Beef while staring at a Macbook at the Maldives beach on a hot summer noon.
Truth is, those things you see aren’t fictional, neither are they a result of some secret codes shrouded in secrecy.
And if in doubt, the rise of Adam Enfroy and Ryan Robinson, among others, in the blogosphere is another evidence that making money from affiliate marketing is still a reasonable pursuit.
But with the rise of these affiliate marketers come a gold rush for affiliate marketing.
Worldwide, affiliate marketing industry is worth $12 billion. Findings show that the rising will continue for some time.
If you have a dream of making money from affiliate marketing, what you are looking at is a tripartite competition from:
- Leading affiliate marketers
- Harmless business owners trying to rank on Google
- Upcoming affiliate marketers
How do you plan to defeat these forces and make money from affiliate marketing?
The simple answer is: get the basics right. As with any venture, there are a lot of learning curves on the way, but getting the basics right will help you move very fast.
This post contains a list of everything you need to know to drive your affiliate marketing to success in a short time.
Get a professional blog
While this sounds like an obvious idea, it isn’t.
If you are intentional about making money from affiliate marketing, then you had better be prepared to pay a professional web developer or suffer the consequences.
While building your blog by yourself isn’t a bad idea, getting a professional web designer will save you a lot of pain and misdoing.
Take a cue from me. After I built my first blog in 2017, I couldn’t afford to purchase a theme.
Instead, I began to test all series of free WordPress themes until there were too many.
Since I wasn’t aware it could have any negative effect on my ranking, I left too many themes on my site which affected the site’s speed and ultimately the crawling of my site by Google bots.
While I cannot dive into the detail of what exactly happened then, what I can tell you is, unless you are highly attentive to detail and are sure nothing could go wrong, pay a pro web designer to help you build a proper website.
Of all things you are going to do, building a healthy website is not something you cannot shrug at.
Do not copy the guy at the number one page
Of all affiliate marketing experiences I’ve had, this is the most important one of them.
When you start a blog for affiliate marketing purposes, and you already have a niche in mind, one of the things you may be predisposed to do is try and compete against them.
Sadly, when you see someone on the first page of the SERPs in a relatively competitive niche, be sure that all eyes are on them.
As you eye that number one position, so does the other guy who is planning the same idea as you.
But not only that, the bloggers who already have sites with high DAs may be competing in the same keyword as well.
Even if you have all the needed resources, the guys with the higher DAs are most likely going to get to the first page before you do.
As more blogs pop up on the first page, a stiff competition ensues, and the race to maintain the first position among the top three becomes stiffer. Hence, they build more backlinks.
The more backlinks they build, the more they raise the entry barrier.
By this time you are still busy trying to get Google to notice you. And what you thought would require you to build five backlinks suddenly becomes what requires you to build 50 backlinks.
This is why it is very important to start from scratch. Know what will work for you, not what has been working for someone else.
Look up your niche, see what keywords are ranking on the top for an affiliate program you are trying to join, and then find the low-hanging fruit of that niche and be creative about it.
One of the things I’ve learned over the years is nearly everything sold online has an affiliate program. They are more common than you think. Hubspot has some of the best affiliate programs you can join in this piece.
Sweat your keyword research
As you are already aware, keyword research is the foundation of SEO.
And in as much as that is true, one fact you cannot afford to miss is the fact that even the lowest keyword research may have a lot of affiliate marketing potential.
When conducting your keyword research, do not allow yourself to be driven crazy by the sheer high search volume of the short-tail keywords.
Most of them are mere bait for you to work on and never make it to the first page.
You see, the guys on the top page are smart. They know better than to let you, a newcomer, overtake them on Google.
As each and every one of them gets to the top position and make money from it, they put measures in place to ensure that no one will have to beat them to that position.
No matter how resilient you are, you are not going to compare yourself to someone who is spending a part of the money they made from a source of income to protect that source of income.
For all I know, you are just a small fish in a big pond.
And that’s why you need to do extra hard work. What I’m about to tell you is hard, but it will be worth it.
As you begin to conduct your keyword research, take your eyes off the short-tail keywords, and look for the long-tail ones.
Once, you have identified them, your real assignment begins.
Plug those long-tail keywords back into the keyword research tool you are using, try, and see who are those on the top three on Google for that keyword.
Check their websites to see if they have an affiliate link disclosure on it. If they do, they are likely making money from that blog post.
Then try and create yours. But before you create your own blog post that will compete with them, also try and do some backlinks analysis of that post; how many backlinks do they have to it, how many are from high DAs, and how many are from low DAs.
Try and do all these for all the keywords you want to rank for.
This is going to help you prepare yourself for how much work you have to do to get to the top page.
Knowing basic things like this is what makes the difference between a newbie trying to rank for a narrowed down keyword like “how to start a sports blog” and the one trying to rank for a broad one like “how to start a blog.”
Link is the fuel for ranking
Don’t let anyone mislead you: link building is the most critical factor for ranking on Google.
It is true that thin content, plagiarised content, and all sorts of content that can be classified as “bad” will get punished while in-depth and original ones will get rewarded. It is true that Google is on the verge of starting to use user experience to rank a site. It is, indeed, true that your on-page SEO must be extraordinary.
But anyone who tells you to do all that and wait for the traffic only wants you to fail.
Once upon a time, I was looking for a post that will teach me how to rank on SERPs without a backlink.
I saw a post on how to rank high on Google without building backlinks from authority and trusted sites.
I happily clicked on it to find the secret hack that will bring my site to the first page of the search engines without the much-loathed backlinks.
It turns out the writer was only trying to say you can rank on the first page of Google for a competitive keyword by publishing it on sites with high DAs, not on your own site.
My hope was dashed. Don’t be like me.
No site will allow you to use their blog to make your own affiliate income.
If you are going to succeed as an affiliate marketer, master the art of link building. If your competitor’s post has 10 backlinks, try and get 12 – 15 backlinks and keep working hard to build your site’s overall DA.
That way, your odds of beating them significantly increase.
Copywriting is an essential tool for an affiliate blogger
Well, all is done and the much-awaited traffic has now begun.
If your post is helpful enough, a lot of your site visitors will take their time to read it through.
But even at that, getting them to click on your affiliate link may require some sales artistry, or say, copywriting.
Making money from affiliate marketing depends on people using your link to make a purchase, and you cannot make someone who doesn’t have the money or the interest to click on a link to buy.
However, if done well, you can make them click. And by clicking, the affiliate company saves cookies that indicate that that person was referred by you, should they eventually buy.
Some affiliates’ cookies last up to six months, some four weeks, and some less.
What is important for you is to get the right copywriting experience that will make readers click on that link.
The case of buyer intent also comes to mind here.
Part of what you should do when conducting your keyword research is to see what query terms searchers are using.
This will help you determine which keywords searchers are using when they are close to making a purchase.
Once you know what these keywords are, try and rank for them with your affiliate marketing blog posts.
The learning curve in becoming a successful affiliate marketer is steep. But the knowledge isn’t rocket science either.
In every venture, foundation is everything. If you want to trump the gold rush of affiliate marketing despite the fierce competition, know the things mentioned above, and above all, learn and exercise patience.
Success in anything requires focus, attention to detail, grit, and above all, persistence.
It is getting tougher by the day, but it is far from being an impossibility.