This is the last step in the How to Start an Online Business series and it’s the section that most people want to know the most about – how to monetize with affiliate marketing.
If you have taken the leap into entrepreneurship and started your own affiliate marketing blog, then that is fantastic! You are signing yourself up for endless potential to earn passive income, aka making money while you sleep.
There are so many benefits to this revenue stream, such as low startup costs, flexible scheduling, and you are off the hook for product disbursement. But you still need to be mindful to choose the right programs to optimize success. In order to help you reach your monetized goals, here is everything you need to know about how to choose affiliate marketing programs that will turn your blog into a viable source of passive income.
How to Choose the Best Affiliate Program for My Blog
Working hard towards something that you genuinely love doing is a reward all on its own, but take it a step further and make it a reliable source to earn cash. By now, you have heard of affiliate marketing, and you understand the concept.
Now the big question is, how do you know which program is the best one for your marketing blog?
- Match Programs with Your Niche – This may sound like an obvious point, but it is one of the most important ones to attract traffic and increase conversion rates. Though the obvious ideas (such as selling baby toys on a new parenting blog) are excellent, still try to be creative when it comes to the products you promote. Sticking to the parenting blog, consider advertising different “mommy and me” classes, or perhaps baby sign language courses. As long as it is related to your overall brand, there is no need to limit yourself to just selling one particular thing.
- Check Your Competitors – To get a better idea of what is selling and what is not, check to see what your competitors are doing to drive sales. For instance, you might find that some are nonchalantly putting in links within blog posts, while others are making an entire review post about it. See what they are offering and how they are approaching it to get a good feel of what will work the best for your own blog. You can also use this as a way to see what they all have in common, so you can diverge a bit to stand out more.
- Know Your Audience – Who are you targeting, and who are you attracting to your site? The more you understand the demographics of your followers, the easier it will be for you to deliver to them the products/services they will want. Do some research, and maybe send out some email surveys to get a good grasp on what the demands are so you can fill that gap.
I’ve covered target audience before, you can check out these posts:
How to Successfully Market Your Blog and Business
Market Research – Got Customers?
- Commission Levels and Earnings – Let’s say by here, you know exactly what you want to promote and know precisely how you want to do it. Now the next step is to look into the different commission levels on selected programs so you can understand what to expect earnings wise. Though a higher commission might sound attractive, you still have to look at the bigger picture. High commissions are often offered on products that have a hard time selling. On the other hand, popular items that sell well tend to have a lower commission rate. You also have to consider how you will be getting paid as well.
Is it cost-per-actions (CPA), cost-per-lead (CPL), or cost-per-impression (CPM)? Would the sale be a one-time commission, or recurring? These are all things you will want to look out for so you can be prepared on what you can see on your earnings report.
Keep in mind, each one is not necessarily better than the other, but just starting out with lower web traffic, you might want to go with the easier to sell products or services and have a mixture of all paying options so you can establish a good base. Have a clear view on what is working and what is not.
- Quality of the Product or Service – The most significant rule of thumb for any affiliate marketer is never to promote something that you would not use or advocate for yourself. Your followers need to be able to trust you, and in order to establish that, you have to be transparent and truly back up the things you are trying to sell them. Try everything you sell out for yourself first and deem it worthy of advertising or not. With that in mind, the better the quality, the more likely you will be able to build that healthy working relationship with your customers and grow substantially.
- Vendor Support and Reputation – Never sign up for anything that gives even a hint of unreliability or has had a long streak of negative outcomes. Even if the vendor seems well on the surface, make sure that the support they provide is respectable and easy to access, such as live chats, reliable email support, etc. Consider all the options and the features that each provide (some deliver landing pages and banners), and carefully analyze to select the best one for your needs and expectations.
- Ease of Use – Is the affiliate platform so complicated that even the most experienced marketer has a difficult time navigating through it? If so, you might want to start with something more straightforward and less busy. The platforms will be where you’ll see the sales and commissions, where you get your affiliate URL’s, artwork and more.
The Best Affiliate Programs for Beginner Bloggers
Alright, so we went over the step by step when it comes to choosing affiliate marketing programs, but now I want to take it a step further. Did you know that nearly 76% of new bloggers fail at affiliate marketing because they chose the wrong program and products to promote?
To help you with that decision-making process so you can be part of the 24% that win, here is a list of some of the ideal beginner blogger programs so you can gain the maximum chances of success.
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
- Etsy Affiliate Program
- Target Affiliates
- eBay Partner Network
Keep in mind that you can always check out your favorite store to see if they have their own program available that you can partner with.
The above list should cover most niches. If you are in a smaller niche and those affiliate programs don’t cover what you need, you can always go direct to retailers you know of and ask if they have a referral / affiliate / partner program.
Choosing the best affiliate programs for your new blog can feel like a daunting task, but with the right frame of mind, you can narrow down your selection and choose the ideal ones that you can profit from.
Take the tips mentioned above, check out the best affiliate programs for beginner bloggers to see if they can be applied to your niche, and continue establishing your brand to really make a mark in the digital world.
It will be difficult just starting out, but stay consistent, deliver high-quality content, grow your web traffic, and you will begin to see your passive income stream growing in no time.
How to Start an Online Business Series Wrap Up
This is the end of the series, and now, you have all the necessary knowledge and tools to get you started on your blogging journey. If you are just tuning in and aspire to be a blogging entrepreneur, then start from the top and work your way down to give yourself the best shot developing a career out of blogging. I am not going to say that it will be an easy path to take, but it certainly the most rewarding one.
If you have been following diligently step by step already, then you have come a long way from deciding to become an entrepreneur, establishing your blog, and getting to the point where you are ready to make money from it.
The best thing you can do now is to keep pushing forward, be innovative, and always be willing to think outside the box to really gain that competitive advantage.
Remember, the people who fail are the ones who give up. Refuse to become one of those statistics and never take your eyes off of your goals, because in the end, all your hard work and dedication will be worth it.
Handy recap of things to keep in mind when choosing the best affiliate programs for your blog and your business:
How do Choose the Best Affiliate Program for My Blog
With the number of affiliate programs out there that you can sign up for to make money, how do you know what’s going to work for you? Keep these 7 tips in mind:
1. Match programs with your niche
2. Check your competitors
3. Know your audience
4. Commission levels and earnings
5. Quality of the product or service
6. Vendor support and reputation
7. Affiliate platform’s ease of use
The 9 Best Affiliate Programs for Beginner Bloggers
These are the top ones if you’re just starting out in your journey:
1. Amazon Associates
2. Commission Junction
6. Etsy Affiliate Program
8. Target Affiliates
9. eBay Partner Network
If you haven’t yet, check out the other parts of this series on being an Entrepreneur and starting an online business:
- How to be an Entrepreneur – Are you sure you want it?
- How to Start an Online Business – Overview – Part 1
- How to Start an Online Business – Find your Niche – Part 2
- How to Start an Online Business – Pick your Brand Name – Part 3
- How to Start an Online Business – Setup the Blog Domain, Web Host and WordPress – Part 4
- How to Start an Online Business – Design Your Blog Website – Part 5
- How to Start an Online Business – Creating SEO Rich Content for Your Blog Posts – Part 6
- How to Start an Online Business – How to Successfully Market Your Blog or Business – Part 7
- How to Start an Online Business – Choosing Affiliate Programs – Part 8