So you probably got your blog and you are busy with affiliate marketing – with either no success so far, ok-ish success or amazing success (high five!). but hey, you are always trying to find more ways to make more money or to expand your conversions. Below I have described the 9 things that I have done over the years – with great success – to earn more revenue from my blog.
#9 – Don’t relying solely on your sidebar(s)
This is typically the most common “symptom” which I always notice in under-monetized blogs. There are those lovely, small 125×125 ads in the sidebar, or maybe you really took it serious and went bold with a 300×250. But, the sales just simply did start pouring in.
In my personal experience, sidebar ads will always drive the least amount of direct sales of any affiliate advertising method. Take TheMillionairesLife.com for instance – less than 20% of the site’s overall affiliate earnings come from my sidebar ads (but hey, it might be small, it is still money!).
If that is currently the only method of affiliate marketing that your blog is utilizing, you directly need to change that RIGHT NOW (I will tell you how a little further below).
#8 – Tracking which affiliate link brings in sales
The only reason why I know about my sidebars is because I track all of my affiliate links based on their placement. You can also easily do this by using what is called SID codes.
SID codes are an extra parameter (similar to an ID) attached to your affiliate links that will track your links performance (this is instead of only using one single affiliate link for a program, no matter where you link to it). A display advertisement in your sidebar may be monitored using “sidebar” as your SID code while affiliate links within your product reviews may use “review” as the SID code.
How this will make you more money? Because it tells you exactly which ads and links are working, and also which ones simply are not. You might be making good earnings with affiliate program A, but do those earnings come from your graphical advertisements, in contextual ads, your review posts… knowing which affiliate recommendations are converting into sales will really help you to create more of them.
It also allows you to do split (A/B) testing to filter which display advertisements on your site will work best for your targeted audience.
#7 – Split testing on all your advertisements
If you are using display advertisements to promote your affiliate links, you should always be busy with testing which advertisements work and which don’t. The most easy way to do this is by rotating your advertisements using the free Ad Injection plugin for WordPress.
When assigning each advertisement with an unique SID code, you can find out which promotion converts at better rates. You are presented with a lot of different display ad options by most programs. A/B testing will help you significantly to find out which ones work best with your target audience. You most likely will experience that changing a display creative will increase your affiliate conversions – sometimes in a huge way.
Additionally, be sure to always keep those creatives up to date. One blog I used had been running sidebar advertisements that amounted to about 10% of the overall affiliate commissions. I didn’t update them in two years. When I did again, the affiliate earnings from that SID code jumped up – and the sidebar increased to 20% of the overall sales from that website.
#6 – Create a mailing list
You do plenty of work to ensure that the right people find your website via various channels – once you finally got them on the site, you need to do your very best to get their email address.
First of all, it is the easiest way to constantly remind people that you exist after they have come, read and left a particular article of yours – without having to “find” them all over again in the vast world wide web. It will also give you another channel that you can use in making affiliate recommendations.
#5 – Recommend products that will fit your audience
I ended up on a cooking blog a while ago that had a advertisement in their sidebar for a web hosting company.
As a blogger, I am guessing that this product was very relevant to herself, but it was not relevant to any of her general target audience. Cooking blogs should recommend cooking products, cookbooks, utensils, appliances, etc. Not hosting to start your own website.
Their advertisements do not need to have EXACT relevance to your sites main topic, but they do need to be relevant to your websites readership. I.e. if your blog is a cooking blog, and you know that your readership is mostly women and that most of them will have children of their own – then an ad for Amazon Mom would not be “off the mark” so to speak.
#4 – In depth product reviews
Reviews are my favorite method to drive affiliate commissions on a blog. Some quick-tips for writing reviews:
- Recommending products that you use and love (Bullshit reviews by people who have never actually used the products are very easy to spot. So don’t even go there)
- Offer valid proof that you really own and use the product or service (screenshots and movie material like screencasts work very well)
- Always go for the truth (never, ever sell out the trust that your readers have in you, just to make an affiliate commission)
- Be extremely detailed in your entire review – sum up both the pros AND cons of the product
- Be sure to show your readers exactly how your product solved a problem for you or fulfilled a desired need
Important Read: How to Write Affiliate Marketing Product Reviews
#3 – Don’t write your post with an attempt to make another sale
Do not be a greedy mofo – or simply desperate for money. Transforming your blog into a long and repeated sales pitch for every single affiliate product that you can find is going to alienate your readership. And without readership, you will simply have no sales.
I always make sure that I post at LEAST nine or ten genuinely helpful articles without having a commission focus in the back of my mind. Being helpful to others will always increase your readership – which in turn helps increase your earnings.
There is a huge difference between just recommending products to your audience and selling it to your audience. It is a crucial difference to learn.
#2 – Don’t underestimate the eternal power of good SEO
You will never hear me say that you need to be an uber aggressive search engine optimization guru to make a good amount of sales. But, you should make sure that your blog has the basics of “best practices” regarding SEO. Yoast.com has a excellent (and free) guide you can follow here.
As you are working to genuinely increasing your readership, you will acquire the needed social signals, links and authority – and ensuring that your on page SEO is at its very best will also help you capitalize off that to the fullest extent possible.
#1 – Deliver fitting solutions for others their problems
While I am all for creating awesome, new post ideas (it is the small difference that will make you stand out from the crowd), when it comes to your affiliate income – addressing the existing problems of your audience and solving those problems with fitting solutions has always been my top sources of revenue.
Ubersuggest is a free tool that you can use to find out which questions are currently interesting of your specific audience.
If you open ubersuggest and fill in “how to [your topic or keyword]” (without the quotes), Ubersuggest will create a listing of all the Google suggest results for your search terms (not necessarily in that order and with some words in between).
For instance, let’s suggest that you are running a gardening blog. If you go to ubersuggest and search for “how to raised garden” one of the best suggestions it spits out is “how to build raised garden on a slope”. This is one of the best examples of what is a specific problem.
If you know how to solve this – and you will link out with your affiliate links to the product and/or supplies that are necessary to do it… Oh boy… you will hit the jackpot with affiliate gold!.