by Cara Lumen
Everyone wants to create income. And multiple streams of income are an important goal particularly when some of it is passive income. So it makes sense that we all want to monetize our blogs.
How to monetize your blog
One blogger loves bicycling so besides blogging about cycling he began reviewing bicycle products on his blog. Some were affiliate links some were not. His blog became so influential that manufacturers now send him products to review. The monetization was a natural extension of his desire to share his knowledge with others who share his passion. His blog came out of his passion. He simply loves to bike.
Another person did s similar thing with cameras. On his blog he kept providing how to tips to create better photographs. Organically he became a resource for product reviews and product sales and gradually his blog became monetize
You get the picture. How can you organically create money with your blog while staying in the spirit and integrity of your passion?
What does your target community need?
I’ve had a few affiliate offers that I’ve promoted for years. When I help people develop a web site I set them up on Blue Host because it has great service and great bandwidth. I suggest Easy Web Automation for the shopping cart because it can grow as big as your business and has everything you could possibly need. Practice Pay Solutions is the merchant account I use and recommend. And for recording audio and video I love Audio Acrobat. I use all of these myself and have for years.
All of these particular companies are core services that people who are building a web presence need. So it was very simple for me to join their affiliate programs and begin to recommend them. I use them myself; I think they are great, so I share those resources with others.
Now that I have added Magnetic Blog Builders to my services I recommend Word Press Thesis Styles which is a highly optimized theme , Thesis Styles because they are elegant and powerful and Scribe SEO which helps you optimize every posts.
And I have two learning opportunities that I love Teaching Sells which opens only occasionally and Third Tribe Marketing which is a great community of bloggers helping bloggers.
Only recommend products and services that you use or have thoroughly investigated so you know they are high quality and meet the needs of your target community.
How do you find affiliate links?
What products and services do you use right now? Do they have affiliate links? Sign up and list them on your resource page. Write how you use them in a blog post. If they fit your client base, make them part of your recommendations.
Look at other sites in your niche. What are people selling that fit your target community? Check out the biggest sites first. They may run advertising (if so, what sort), what affiliate promotions do they have? I’m not going to talk about advertising here because I don’t know much about it. Affiliate links are an easy way to start monetizing your blog. As you look at these sites start making a list of things that your community would appreciate knowing about.
Another way to find appropriate affiliate products and services is to type in Google “keyword affiliate product” and see what shows up. And you can also check out Commission Junction or PepperJam or e-junkie to see if there are relevant products listed for your niche. These sites want to know how you are going to promote the products – through blog, web content, email, etc.
When you find a product or service that is a match for your target community and sign up as an affiliate, within their documentation you will find simple e-mail links to use in your blog posts and emagazines and emails. And you will find banner links, usually with a variety of sizes you can put in your side bar or resource page. Just copy and paste the code and you’re in business.
There are people who create landing pages designed to simply sell a product they think they can easily monetize. They give affiliate marketing a bad name. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the kind of referrals you would give to anyone in your community – something you know is good, gets results, and you have had personal experience with. Affiliate marketing for me is about passing along great recourses you believe in.
How do you promote your affiliate links?
Just as you would share your resources with a friend in person, you talk about the products as you blog. Or you may write a specific article on the topic. For instance, it’s easy for me to talk about shopping carts and merchants accounts when I am writing about blogging – those are things people need to along the line. I can write a post on choosing the right WordPress theme and mention both Word Press Thesis Styles and Thesis Styles. It’s important that you use and like what you are promoting so they can be organically and authentically mentioned.
My affiliate products are all listed on the resource page of both my blogs Passionately on Purpose and Magnetic Blog Builders along with other valuable resources that are not affiliate links.
Some of the products or services my readers will need most often are promoted on my sidebar.
I have a list of resources for my web presence clients. I write articles about them like What’s in Your shopping Cart, and How a Thesis Theme for WordPress can set you free and “Scribe is a Built In SEO Optimizer that Effortlessly Uplevels Your Game!”
I write content that gives my experience and then sends them to the site where the product is offered. Those sites are well structured to do the selling.
I’m very careful about what I send in my Passionately on Purpose emagazine I don’t want it to be a sale pitch, but I do want to give value. So as I find new resources, both free and affiliate, I include a one-time mention of them and then put them on my resource page. I could do more. I could mention it several times but I’d prefer to set up my editorial calendar to mention some of them in a planned cycle. People will be ready for them at different times.
If you want to set up separate web sites to promote a particular product, make the site as compelling and conversion optimized and as authentic as possible. Y At this point, I’d rather send them to a site that is focused on making the conversion than writing a new one myself. It’s a matter of my focus and time.
Here’s a simple trick for adding affiliate links to your blog post. I have all my affiliate links listed in a Word document labeled Affiliate Links in alphabetical order and I just copy and paste them into the blog post. That’s the same technique I use to fill my posts with links to past posts.
Oh yes, another way to promote your affiliate links is to write a post like this one!
What do you earn?
You’ll get emails from people saying they are making big bucks which is certainly something to aim for. But I think a lot of those are heavy duty promoters – which I am not. I’m in service so I am quite content to keep recommending products and services that I really like and use. However, once you decide to add affiliate links to your marketing strategy, you’ll be on the lookout and will keep discovering new ones to add.
Right now my affiliate income covers the cost of doing business – my shopping cart, my web host, my merchant account fees, and a couple of other business product and learning subscriptions that I use. But I’m upping my game around affiliate marketing. I’m going to keep looking for and letting people know about the products and services that will make a difference in their life and business. Authentically, from my own experience, from my own enthusiasm. That’s my version of monetizing my blog.
©2010 Cara Lumen