How to Become an Affiliate Blogger Success in 7 Steps
Of all the ways to monetize your blog - placing advertisements, selling merchandise, offering a premium membership - affiliate marketing is one of the most attractive.
As an affiliate blogger, you will want to develop and thereafter, implement creative techniques and approaches in order to drive traffic from your website to an affiliate company's website. When that traffic makes a purchase at the affiliate's website, or possibly even when they click your affiliate's link, you receive a commission payment. So why is affiliate blogging so appealing?
- Overhead costs are minimal, especially if your blog is already up and running.
- You continue to run your blog on your terms, without jeopardizing its overall integrity.
- The profits can be quite large, potentially even enough to make a living, so long as you choose a partner wisely and drive leads efficiently.
By following seven simple steps, you can turn your blog into an affiliate marketing powerhouse.
Step 1: Think Locally with Geo-Targeting
Much of the time, people don't just search for products or services online - they search for products or services in their local area. Let's say you run a Google search for Madison Park restaurants. In most cases, your search results will present you with restaurants based in, or at least serving, your closest region. This is known as geo-targeting. Essentially, Google identifies your location and takes it into account when generating its search results. This is especially important in searches that could suggest multiple locations. "Madison Park" in a city like Seattle could easily be mistaken for Madison Park in Anaheim.
You'll want to keep this fact in mind throughout the entire affiliate blogging process, as it could influence your choice in a niche, your choice in an affiliate company, keyword selection and even how you craft your content.
Step 2: Consider Your Passions when Choosing a Niche
At some point, you'll need to generate at least some content revolving around the affiliate company you choose to work with. This would be difficult if you knew next to nothing about the company or what it does. When selecting a niche, think about what you know and what you love, and choose something that easily falls under both categories. At the same time, remember that you'll defeat the purpose of your whole affiliate marketing campaign if you choose a niche that's too esoteric or unknown. If your site isn't generating any traffic of its own, there will be no one to click the links directing to your partners.
Step 3: Choose Companies Based on Their Track Record and Pay Structure
Once you have your affiliate blogging program narrowed down to a niche, it's time to choose a company (or, in many cases, companies) to which you'll drive traffic. Chief among the factors you'll consider when making this decision include the track record of the company and its affiliate program pay structure. With a PPC (pay-per-click) payment model, it won't really matter how successful your partner is in its own right, so long as you're delivering them steady traffic.
If they use a PPA (pay-per-action) model, you'll only get paid when your lead actually makes a purchase (or takes a similar action) at your partner's site. This can still be highly lucrative for the blogger, but only if your affiliate has an excellent sales record.
Although it helps to know how affiliate programs calculate their payment rates, your best bet is to shop around and compare the options available to you within your chosen niche. You may be surprised to find that rates very considerably from one affiliate program to the next.
One more thing on payment: if your affiliate partner ever decides to lower their rates, cancel the deal and look for greener pastures as soon as possible.
Step 4: Target Search-Friendly Keywords
Before you start generating content in hopes of driving leads, you'll need to come up with some keywords that will best attract search traffic. One example is to use geo-targeting to attach specific locations to the type of product or service your affiliate program partner is offering. Your keywords should be specific, varied, and peppered throughout your content without being overly prevalent.
Step 5: Write Excellent, Unique, Useful Content
In order to attract your readers to click your affiliate links, you'll need to craft timely, unique, useful content. Simply saying "This is a great product that I would recommend to anyone, I just love it" might sound like a really positive testimonial, but it doesn't tell your audience anything about the product.
What features do you find most useful? Were there any initial learning curves that you had to get past? What's the best application of the product? Are there any other applications that the manufacturer doesn't mention? Are there any hidden costs, or is it an excellent value? Why? Will the product still be useful a few years in the future?
Step 6: Post Honest Reviews
One of the worst mistakes you can make as an affiliate blogger is to write overly positive reviews about products and/or services sold by your affiliate partner. Your visitors will immediately peg the content as advertising instead of a genuine review, which may cause them to become suspicious of not only the review itself, but your affiliate partner and maybe even your entire blog. This ruins the credibility of virtually every link in your affiliate marketing campaign, and it could result in lower traffic numbers, not to mention a serious reduction in PPC and PPA payments.
Of course, posting a scathing review of a product or service sold by your affiliate partner won't do you any favors either. For this reason, it's best to:
- Only review products or services that you actually like.
- Emphasize the positives, but don't ignore the negatives.
- Be objective, and explain why some may love the product/service while others may be better off with something else.
Step 7: Drive Leads Visually
You can't expect a high conversion rate if you bury your affiliate links. Although you don't want to cross the line of actually saying "Come on! Click this link!," you do want them to be visible and attractive to your traffic. You can accomplish this in a few different ways:
- Placing affiliate links "above the fold" (in the area immediately visible on a page prior to any scrolling).
- Using accurate, keyword-rich anchor text.
- Incorporating eye-catching pictures of the products and services you're describing in your affiliate pages.
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