There are affiliate marketers out there that run dozens, if not hundreds, of sites, but today, let’s focus on your existing blog and ways you can harness the power of affiliate marketing.

Your goal might be simply to generate some side income. Or perhaps you are thinking bigger and want to turn your blog into a money-making machine. Either way, you’ll want to weigh your options. Maybe you’ve heard about affiliate marketing as an option, but aren’t sure it’s the right fit for you.

First off, you might be one of those people who are slightly uneasy when they hear the term affiliate marketing. But, if done right, in ways that always keep your customers’ needs in mind, it can become a profitable new income stream. It’s a simple concept. You are a reseller. You share or write about someone else’s product or service and if a reader clicks on the link and purchases it, you make a percentage of the sale.

00:28 – What is affiliate marketing?
01:28 – Getting started with affiliate marketing
02:28 – Tapping into the community
03:42 – Choosing the right affiliate
04:27 – How to get paid while you sleep
05:17 – Where to promote affiliate links
06:46 – How much is too much?
07:05 – Legal disclosures

Let’s dive in and gain a better understanding of how to start affiliate marketing.

Community, fans, and traffic: these three are essential to the success of your startup efforts in affiliate marketing. It is best if you focus on all three, but they can stand on their own as well. As your blog grows, you have built your own community. You might generate a lot of conversation through blog comments. It might even have an external community, such as a Facebook group, where you funnel members through to your site.

Whatever the case, your community is committed to your content and can be a perfect vehicle to help you start affiliate marketing. These are the people who know and trust you. They depend on you for solid, helpful information. They might have become such loyal fans that when they want to purchase a specific product or service, they will seek you out first to see if you have an affiliate link. This happens to us and it’s the definition of a true fan.

You want to promote products and services that reinforce what your blog is about.

Choosing your affiliates
Your credibility is on the line here. Be selective. Don’t start creating posts just so you can add a dozen affiliate links within them. If you’re worried about finding an affiliate partner that matches your needs, you might be surprised to learn how many products and services have affiliate programs. It’s pretty amazing. You can find several affiliate opportunities on large sites. The other option is by site and/or vendor, as smaller companies frequently run their own affiliate programs.

As you choose to move ahead, you will want to know your affiliate partner’s policies on the following:

Most are based on a certain percentage of the sale, which might vary. And once you start having success with a program, you can contact them to negotiate a higher percentage.

Some pay a straight, one-time percentage. Others do it on a scale, meaning, the more you sell in a given period, the higher your percentage usually goes.

Tracking with cookies
If an affiliate uses cookies, they will allot a specific time period. For example, if the cookies have a 30-day span, that means once a reader has clicked your link, if they return to the site within 30 days and make the purchase, you will still get credit.

Affiliate payments might come to you via PayPal, direct deposit or some other method. Also, do not expect immediate payment. Most sites have a waiting period, say two to three months, to be sure the customer does not ask for a refund.

Used properly, affiliate marketing is another legitimate way to bring in an income stream. Find what works for you and your readers, and you’ll be on your way to making significant inroads in monetizing your blog.

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