Affiliate blogs are one of the most efficient ways for writers to earn passive income online. The problem is, it’s difficult to figure out which steps you need to take to start earning those first dollars.
Right off the bat, you should know affiliate blogging is not an easy or quick way to build income. However, it’s perfect if you’re patient and don’t mind putting in hard work at the beginning to reap the benefits later. Plus, it’s easier than developing your own product from scratch, because you’ll be marketing already existing products.
In this article, I’ll walk you through four basic steps to start your affiliate blog. By the end, you should be ready to start creating posts and working up to extra income. Let’s jump right in!
Step #1: Set Up a WordPress Blog
WordPress isn’t the only platform for creating a blog, but it stands out for several compelling reasons. Chief among them is the fact that it’s easy to use, which means you can get the hang of it quickly and get to work on your affiliate content right away. Here are a few other reasons why WordPress is my personal recommendation as an experienced blogger:
- It’s free to use! All you need is a web host and a domain name, and you’re in business.
- Its functionality can be extended using themes and plugins, of which there are thousands to choose from.
- There’s a massive community built around the platform, so you can find help if you run into a problem.
As I mentioned during point one, you’ll need two things to start an affiliate blog using WordPress: a domain name and a web host. Reputable registrars (such as Namecheap) will help you secure a domain. As for web hosting, we can help you set up your account and install WordPress through the Blogging Mentorship Program, free of charge.
Bear in mind, the reason we’re able to offer this service for free is that Bluehost pays us a commission for signups to their service. However, they’re a top-notch web hosting service and we use it ourselves, so we know from experience you’re in good hands.
Step #2: Choose the Right Niche for You
Every affiliate blog has a ‘niche’ or a topic they’re built around. In almost every case, you’ll use that content to point people towards products within that niche, for which you’ll get paid a commission. That’s what affiliate blogging is all about.
Choosing the right niche for you is key to your blog’s success. After all, you’ll have to create a lot of content for it, which can burn you out if you have no interest in that field. I can attest to that first-hand since I once tried my luck writing about running shoes for my own affiliate blog. To this day, I can’t set foot in a shoe store.
Aside from avoiding trauma, some niches are more profitable or easier to break into than others. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you choose the right one:
- Look to your hobbies for topics that you’d enjoy writing about.
- Check out fields with little competition for niches that are easier to break into.
- Target niches with depth so you won’t run out of topics to write about.
You’ll want to explore each of these points in-depth before finally settling on the right niche for you. Take your time on this one, because it can make all the difference!
Step #3: Find an Affiliate Program for Your Blog
At this stage, you should have selected a strong niche for your affiliate blog. Without a specific niche, you won’t be able to pick an affiliate program. In other words, you won’t know which products to promote, and no one will pay you for the referrals you send their way.
As you might expect, not all affiliate programs are made equal. Some offer higher payouts, faster payments, or even just better products. However, I’ve personally had good experiences or heard good things about these programs:
- Amazon Affiliates. This is the service I’ve used to monetize all my affiliate blogging attempts. Its massive database of products makes it a good all-around choice.
- eBay Partners Network. I haven’t tried this one personally, but it can be a good alternative to Amazon Affiliates from what I’ve heard.
- CJ.com. If you’re looking for more targeted affiliate offers, marketplaces such as CJ.com are often the best route.
If you can’t locate the right offers for your affiliate blog on those sites, don’t despair. There are affiliate programs for almost everything these days and most of them are only a quick Google search away. For example, if I wanted to look into running shoes affiliate programs (which I don’t!), I’d try something like “running shoes affiliate” or “exercise shoes affiliate program”. Take note of any results you find and compare them.
Step #4: Start Creating Content
Once you have a blog, a niche, and an affiliate program lined up, all that’s left is to start creating content to attract visitors. The more articles you write, the better your chances of people finding your website through search engines or links from other sites.
Personally, I’ve found that articles that are over 1,000 words long tend to do better than shorter pieces. It’s long enough that you can really dig into a subject and you can always try for more if you think it’s warranted. Here are a few other tips to get you going in the right direction:
- Write comparison pieces often since they tend to lead to better conversions.
- Research and use different keywords for your content to target more readers.
- Use images whenever possible to highlight the benefits of the products you’re promoting.
Last but not least, remember that affiliate blogging isn’t something you can jump into and start making money from in a week or two. In my experience, a good strategy will make you a few bucks during that first couple of months. Ideally, it will only ramp up from there, but it takes time, patience, and consistent effort.
Affiliate blogging is often sold as a quick way to get rich, but that’s simply not true. The more effort you put into your site, the bigger your chances of finding an audience and building a recurrent passive income. If you don’t give up and continue to improve your affiliate blog, you’ll get there eventually.
Here’s how to start an affiliate blog on your own (with a little bit of our help):
- Set up a WordPress blog and sign up for the Blogging Mentorship Program if you need help doing it.
- Choose the right niche for you.
- Find an affiliate program for your website.
- Start creating content to promote products on your blog.
Do you have any questions about how to start an affiliate blog? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image Credit: Vitaly.
Timothy Gagnon says
Pretty simple steps, love it. Thanks for taking the time to write this. I actually found it is easy to make money as an affiliate marketer if you write product reviews and then link to the reviews from every other article. Cheers!
Alexander Cordova says
I’m glad to hear you found success in affiliate marketing! It can be tough, but if you find an approach that works for you, just keep on scaling it.
Tracy Starreveld says
Thanks for this! I notice you suggest signing up to an affiliate programme before creating any content. My understanding is no affiliates or advertisers will be interested in working with you unless you already have an established blog, niche and – more importantly – audience. Don’t we need to be able to show we’ve got a high number of subscribers/readers already – before we start applying for these kinds of partnerships?
Alexander Cordova says
You’re absolutely right! I know Amazon Affiliates, for example, needs you to have some content before they approve your application. I’ll add a caveat so people know that some programs won’t approve your application until you’ve already got a decent amount of content.
Enstine Muki says
Good beginning for anyone wanting to start a blog that makes money in Affiliate Marketing.
Thank you so much, I definitely need this! I just got my blog to the point where I consider it ready for people to see–but I have no idea what to do next! There’s so much to learn about blogging and I appreciate how you’ve broken it down so there’s a roadmap to follow.