I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time now. I began my blogging as a stay at home mom because I was looking into ways to make a side income from home. I didn’t even know what blogging was, or affiliate marketing at that time! If you are serious about making money from home, then I’m going to share with you how to make money with affiliate marketing for a new blog!
Even if you have an established blog, or an old one but are struggling to figure out how to make money, you can still make money online by recommending products you love with affiliate marketing. Here’s how I did it.
How to make money with affiliate marketing for bloggers
This post contains affiliate links to products I love and use.
First off, and this is important, affiliate marketing and blogging is not a get rich quick thing. If you need money in the bank next month, find something else.
If you can patiently work hard for months on end with no pay, knowing that it could take up to a year to see good income from your blogging efforts, then keep reading! There are so many pieces to this puzzle, and you gotta put in the time.
You will need to do this:
- Get blog traffic.
- Solve a problem.
- Place your affiliate links naturally within your post.
- Don’t place very many affiliate links or it will look spammy.
I was a new stay at home mom reading post after post about how to make money from home. I was also doing some website usability testing earning an easy $10 for 20 minutes to save up and start a blog. You can read how I did that here. Once I learned what affiliate marketing was, I KNEW I had to start a blog! Because with a blog, I could write a post once, recommend products I already loved in it, link to them, and make money on that post over and over again.
It’s just smart.
SO, I had absolutely NO clue what a blog was, what I would blog about, how to start one, no techie background, and no clue what affiliate marketing was or how to make money with it. I was willing to try blogging for a year and see if I could make some money. I’d heard it can take around 1 year to make consistent profit.
That’s when I ran into Wealthy Affiliate, an online training course for affiliate marketing that also offers some of the world’s best blog hosting. I tried the free version and fell in love so much the next week I got the paid version. More on that later.
Now affiliate marketing is one of a few different income streams I have from blogging. I’m no where near the bloggers who are making thousands per month (I make around $150/month through Amazon Associates). Plus, I make additional affiliate income by recommending courses that were game changers in my blogging journey. I never recommend something that didn’t actually help me.
If you are thinking about starting a blog but feel clueless about how to get started, start with the FREE version of Wealthy Affiliate and take the first course like I did to start a new free blog. And btw, no pressure because you can stay with the free version forever if you like it.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply making money by recommending products online that you link to with an affiliate link. It’s passive income. It is just one income stream for me as a blogger, in addition to ads and sponsored posts.
Note: You MUST always disclose that your post has an affiliate link before any links appear, as you will see mine says near the top of my post.
As an example, I might have this photo in a blog post sharing how to style an Instagram Flat Lay, and I would be sure to link to things naturally. I bet you wouldn’t know that the background here is actually contact paper under $10?! Ya, go get some because it’s amazing. I just keep it rollup up till I want to use it.
How affiliate marketing works for beginners
Before I was a blogger I learned that when I google something, say ” best self tanner” a bunch of sites pop up. I didn’t know back then that when I clicked on a google link, it was taking me to a “blog post”, and when I clicked on a specific self tanner someone recommended online, I was actually clicking their affiliate link.
And when I bought it, I didn’t know that person made a commission, at no expense to me. They made money for recommending me.
Also, when I click their link, computers keep a “tracking cookie” so that if I don’t buy the product right away but do within a specified time frame, the person still makes money later from my purchase! (a lot of tracking cookies are good for 30 days, however Amazon is 24 hours) Pretty cool.
In a nutshell, that’s how to make money with affiliate marketing for starters.
My first affiliate sale
I’ll never forget the amount $0.19. That’s right! My first affiliate sale through Amazon. It may be a laugh now, but that $0.19 showed me I could do it. People would click my links. My post had value to someone. And I could turn that into $19 or even $190 or even $1900. I was hooked on figuring out how to increase PASSIVE income!
While I’ve learned blogging takes time and effort (LOTS), it’s created for me a passive income stream by recommending products I know and love.
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How to become an affiliate of a brand
This was so confusing to me starting out. You can’t simply link to a product as a blogger. Here is the simple version:
- Apply to affiliate programs, and get accepted. If you don’t know which program a brand is with, try googling “brand name + affiliate” and see what comes up. I like Amazon because it has almost everything and you can get credit for any product they buy within 24 hours.
- Log in to the affiliate site. Not all brands/products are on every affiliate site.
- Search for a product or brand on the affiliate site.
- Get a link with your unique tracking code.
- Add that link to your blog in the editor where you can add links. Make sure it’s a no follow link or google will penalize you (either hard code that in, or get a plugin).
- Keep all links you have used in an Excel spreadsheet for easy access later if you want them.
How you get paid with affiliate marketing
Each time someone clicks the link on your blog and purchases, you get a commission! Anywhere from 4%-10% is pretty common. And way higher for digital recommendations, more like 40%!
Most affiliate programs have a threshold you must reach before they pay you via PayPal. Amazon’s is $10 I believe and they pay either by connecting your checking account for a direct deposit or you can opt in for an Amazon Gift Card.
Most affiliate programs only give you a cut if someone buys that exact product, where as others like Amazon Affiliates gives you a percent of any product purchased within 24 hours of someone clicking your link.
Affiliate Programs I am a part of:
- Amazon Associates (almost 100% of my affiliate income comes from here)
- Flex Offers (signed up, but not using yet)
- Share a Sale (some companies I promote use this, like Lillebaby)
- CJ Affiliate (not for new bloggers, they require more traffic)
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How long does it take to make money with affiliate marketing?
You will not make money overnight, probably. Or even in a week. Maybe in a month if you put in some great time and effort!
I’d say realistically if you put in 10-20 hours a week writing posts and growing your traffic, you could see consistent income coming around 6-12 months.
I know, sorry, you were hoping for get rich quick, but this isn’t it. This is more like “put in a crap load of work in now and watch it pay up over and over and over later”! And I’m assuming you are starting with no blog yet and no internet knowledge. If you already have a blog and a few posts up, you are ahead of the game.
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Making money at your pace
I was only able to start my blog with 1-2 hours per day due to children, so it took me a few months to make my first 0.19 through the Amazon affiliate program. Once I learned how to get traffic to my website by doing everything listed in my post (0-11K monthly pageviews in one month), I saw a big jump in my Amazon affiliate sales.
That first month I saw around $24, and the next month around $150. That’s passive income, meaning after the posts are written, I don’t do much besides pin my blog posts to Pinterest and they make me money every day.
While some can work WAY faster and spend all their evenings doing it, I couldn’t. I’ve had to take the snails pace because being a mom comes before being a blogger for me.
But I can tell you, that every bit of it has worked because of one thing. I never gave up! I kept learning about how to make money with affiliate marketing, kept writing new posts, and kept learning how to grow my traffic.
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Can you make money from a free blog?
Honesty alert! At first I thought I’d just start a free blog. Because it’s scary to put money into anything when you are not making money. But I quickly realized that every person making money online says you can’t make money with a free blog.
You need to purchase a domain name to look official and to show Google that you are official. Free blogs are hobby blogs.
So that’s what I did.
Costs to own your blog:
Website Domain Name: $15/year
Host your blog, minimum of $50/year: You’ve probably heard of Blue Host, Wix, and others. They have cheap first year start up rates, like $3/month, but it goes up drastically to full price the next year. I recommend Wealthy Affiliate, which I’ll tell you why in a minute.
SSL certificate: This is the little lock you see in the URL. It keeps users data secure, and every blogger needs this, it’s standard now. $50-$100/year. Some hosts provide this for free like Wealthy Affiliate and I think Blue Host does too.
Theme: Generally free blog themes (layouts) are limited and have no tech support. Most bloggers buy an SEO and mobile friendly theme (genesis theme is very popular) ranging between $50-$100, one time fee.
Why you need traffic to make money with affiliate marketing
More people = more clicks and more people buying. I’ve especially found that is true with the Amazon Associate program because people don’t have to buy the product you recommend in 24 hours, they just have to buy ANY product and you get credit.
When I had 1K monthly blog visitors, I barely made any affiliate income. When I got my blog to 11K monthly visitors then everything changed. I found it was really hard to get to that 11K, but it was easy to go from there to 20K and 30K, which skyrockets affiliate sales.
If you are struggling to get traffic, please please read my post 0-11K pageviews in one month because it could change your blog like it did mine. I list everything I did to get traffic there.
Great affiliate post ideas when your traffic is low
While you can make affiliate income with a small audience, it’s going to be a LOT harder. If that’s you, then focus your new blog posts around solving a problem for someone and make sure there is at least one helpful product you link to.
After about 1 full year of consistently learning about blogging and posting once every two weeks or so (which is SLOW), I got my pageviews up to 11K/month. See everything I did to make that happen here.
This could have happened much faster but I also divided my small amount of time to starting and growing my blog name on social media, and working with brands on sponsored posts. Those are two other ways to monetize a blog in addition to affiliate marketing!
What is Wealthy Affiliate?
This is an affiliate marketing training network I love with almost 1.5 million members, which trains you how to start a profitable online business, teaches you how to set up a blog, and offers blog hosting. I’m telling you because I would have been lost without this as a novice non techie gal wanting to start a profitable blog.
Wealthy Affiliate will not promise you instant success and sales (which rarely work). They are much more proud of helping you make a profitable blog in the long run. (how long depends on how much time you put into it).
Everything is explained from the ground up, by watching video courses made by the owners Kyle and Carson. Through the free training videos, I learned step by step how to start a blog, and what to do to start making affiliate income. They made it SO easy. I’m someone who loves to have my hand held and even the free starter membership did just that.
Other members of Wealthy Affiliate earn anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars in 6-12 months (not sure how many hours they put in though). I’m not that good yet, but hope to be!
The Free version allowed me to:
- Watch the beginner training course
- Video walkthroughs of two training “classrooms”
- 2 free websites
- Affiliate Bootcamp phase 1
- Pick what I would blog about
- Choose a name for my blog
- Choose a blog layout called a theme (they offer a handful of free ones for the free starter membership)
- How to set up all the techie stuff for my blog
- Organizing my blog menu
- How to sign up to be an affiliate of different brands, as well as Amazon
- How to start social media pages to advertise my blog
What you don’t get in the Free Starter Membership
Website Security Monitoring
They monitor your site 24/7. Comment spam is a huge problem for websites, and they even take care of that. As a Premium member now, I never worry about the safety of my site. I also learned that bloggers who are hosted other places have to pay for this service and it’s expensive! Close to $100/year or more.
Ability to Message other Members
As a premium member you can private message anyone to ask questions on trainings they have posted, or with any question. You can even message the owners!
Live video classes
As a premium member you can watch an hour long live training session once a week (they are recorded too). It’s a great way to get free valuable training made to help you make money.
24/7 Tech support
Um, for me this is AWESOME! You can get help with anything. I’ve submitted so many questions and get answered within 20 minutes tops.
Once, I even asked how to get my site from http to https (which shows my site is secure with that little lock in the URL). They emailed me back saying they did it for me. REALLY?! I was just on some other blogger forum and saw someone had to pay $100 for a small website to have a tech guy do that for her.
Since comments are a part of showing google that your post seems valuable, Premium members have the ability to swap meaningful comments on other members blogs. I did this a lot at first, although now I just use Facebook Blogging groups for getting inorganic blog comments like that.
Over 3K website designs and up to 50 Websites
You can choose tons of free themes as a Premium member that are SEO and mobile friendly. If you do not choose one of these you will need to buy your own usually between $50-$100.
Free SSL Certificate
See that little lock box in my URL? It’s showing you your information is safe here and can’t be hacked. BTW, bloggers who don’t use Wealthy Affiliate pay around $50/year to have that. It’s more or less required and every blogger needs that now.
Free Website Hosting
You are also allowed to host up to 50 websites there, which is nuts. I can barely handle one. With their hosting you get the fastest servers in the industry, virus and malware protection, 24/7 site monitoring, and they keep two versions of your site at all times in case you ever need a backup.
These services combined could cost over $200/year other places. Web hosting alone through Blue Host would be $50/year and you pay more when your traffic gets high.
Access to 13 classrooms:
SO much training at your fingertips by people who are making good money with affiliate marketing. Classrooms include videos, tutorials, recorded webinars, and courses.
- Getting Started
- Everything WordPress
- Keyword, Niche, and Market Research
- Authoring and Writing Content
- Video Marketing
- WA Affiliate Program
- Social Engagement and Marketing
- The Wealthy Affiliate Platform
- Website Development and Programming
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Local Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Pay per click marketing
Why I swapped over to the paid version
You CAN stay on their free starter membership forever. And you can try out a week trial with some of the premium member benefits too. I did that and found it so valuable I switched to Premium yearly, for $359/year (also available monthly at $19/month).
I especially liked that so much was in one place, especially web hosting, SSL certificate, virus and malware protection, and the affiliate marketing training.
If I didn’t go through Wealthy Affiliate I’d have to purchase a lot of things separately, like I’ve mentioned above, and I’d get none of the incredible training or tech support.
Two ways you can make money by joining Wealthy Affiliate
- Create a affiliate website of your own, which is what I have done with Blue and Hazel. I created a motherhood blog, because that was my passion and expertise. I found ways to talk about my favorite helpful products in each post, that bring me money when other’s buy through my link. If you don’t know what you would blog about, Wealthy Affiliate has a lot of training on choosing a profitable niche. You can start with the FREE trial here, no credit card required.
- Become an affiliate of Wealthy Affiliate. I never intended to do that. But here I am two years later telling you about it because I owe much of my success to the training I received here. I want anyone willing to put in the work to be able to make money online. So it’s easy for me to share that genuinely with you. I have no intention of tossing you a sales pitch, what I will share why it has worked so well for me!
Related Post: How I went from 0-11K pageviews in 1 month
There’s room for you to make money online
Now that you know the basics about how to make money with affiliate marketing for bloggers, it’s time to either take the plunge and start a blog, or get some in depth training on affiliate marketing. Wealthy Affiliate was where I started, but if it’s not for you, or you just simply can’t shell out the money yet, or maybe you love your web host, then I understand.
But get some further in depth training because there is an art to learning what to write about, how to write a post around an affiliate link, how to add them naturally to posts, and how to people to click on them!
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