A Simple Strategy To Make Money From Blogging

In this post, I want to teach you one very simple strategy that is the easiest way to make money with your blog. Actually, I shot you a video that gives you a live walkthrough.

No, it is not through clients, ads, or selling your own products on your blog.

It is through affiliate marketing. Yes, getting a commission through selling related and proven products and services.

And if you watch the video below, you will learn how we use affiliate marketing as an income source on our blog.

 

 

How to Find the Best Affiliate Products to Promote On Your Blog

Many bloggers hope to become millionaires from affiliate marketing. This is a realistic goal, but unfortunately few marketers ever reach that dream. A recent survey from last year’s Affiliate Summit found that nearly 40% of affiliate marketers make less than $5,000 a year. One of the largest reasons some affiliates are more successful is that they know how to find the right affiliate products to promote on their blog.

You need to find great products to promote to succeed as an affiliate. Here are some guidelines for finding and vetting affiliate partners.

How Do You Find Products to Promote?

There are plenty of great products that need awesome affiliates like you. Here are some tips to help you find the best affiliate partners.

Check Out Affiliate Networks

There are a number of great affiliate networks that you should look into. Clickbank, Commission Junction, Click Booth, ShareASale and PayDotCom are some of the most popular. You will find thousands of different products on each of these networks. ClickBank is arguably the most popular. Here are some steps for finding a product with it.

Clickbank

Browse Products

The first step is to start looking for products. You can do this by either navigating the categories page or searching by keyword in the search bar. Try using a number of different search terms if you are using the search bar.

Review Products

The products will be listed in the center of the page. You will want to look at the different statistics to get an idea which products are a good fit for your blog. These are the stats that you need to look at:

Easy Video Suite

  • Product price and commission. The listing should list both the amount of money that you can make on a sale and the percentage commission of the total sales price. You will want to also pay close attention to the cost of the product to ensure it is within your readers’ budgets.
  • The gravity weight. This is a measure of the number of affiliates that have earned a commission promoting the product in the last 12 weeks. Most experts recommend promoting products with a gravity weight of 20-100, because they are clearly products that customers are willing to purchase. However, it is a good idea to track the gravity of a product over time, because it can drop sharply if the market is saturated or many dissatisfied customers return it.
  • Average % rebill. This figure tells you how much money you can make off a product if people continue to renew it. Find out what the cost of renewal is to estimate the total commission that you would receive.

You should always check the merchant’s site first to learn more about the product. You don’t want to promote it unless you are confident the product looks useful and the merchant seems credible.

Look for Other Affiliates in Your Niche

You can also find great affiliate products from your competition. Finding other affiliates will require a lot more research. Here are some ways that you can find competitors and start promoting their products. Over half of affiliates promote at least a few products, so you should be able to find a few good products by looking at their sites.

When you find other affiliate sites, you should avoid clicking the links to the merchants. It is better to navigate to the merchant site on your own, because the affiliate may be part of a multiple tier affiliate program which means that you will earn lower referrals if you visit the site through their referral link.

Search for Disclosure Pages

A simple Google search may help you find affiliates. The FTC requires all affiliates to disclose that they are paid commissions for their sales. You may be able to find the disclosure pages for sites on Google.  Here are some search terms you may try:

  • +niche disclosure
  • +niche “affiliate links”
  • +niche “affiliate disclosure”

Not all affiliates living in the United States abide by FTC laws and some are based outside of the U.S. so they may not be required to have such a page. Therefore, you won’t be able to find all of your competitors this way, but it is a good place to start.

Search for Reviews

Many affiliates also write reviews about the products that they promote. You can find their review pages with another simple Google search:

  • +merchant name +review

Once you find the review page, you can start looking at the other pages on the site. You will probably find a number of other affiliate products to promote.

Backlink Analysis on Merchants

You may also want to look at the sites that link to the merchant’s homepage. Many of them will include the affiliates that you are trying to promote. Here are some tools that you may want to use:

  • Analyze Back Links
  • BackLinkWatch
  • OpenSiteExplorer
  • Link Diagnosis

Some of these tools limit the number of backlinks that you can analyze unless you provide a free trial. However, even the free trial can give you a list of a number of great sites worth checking out. You can easily find out which ones are other affiliates.

Look at Individual Companies

You may also want to look at individual companies in your niche. Many of them may have affiliate programs. There are a couple of ways that you can look for them:

  • Conduct a Google search using key terms such as “join our affiliate program +niche”
  • Look at ads in Google. Many companies that purchase Adsense ads also create their own affiliate programs.
  • Email companies in your niche that may be interested in having affiliate programs. Some of them don’t advertise these programs and they are by invitation only. However, they may be inclined to work with you if you have a great niche blog with plenty of traffic.

Contacting companies in your niche will take more work. However, it could open the doors to a number of great programs that your competitors haven’t discovered.

What Should You Look for in an Affiliate Product?

There are tens of thousands of affiliate products and services that you can promote. However, finding products that are worth promoting is a bit more difficult. Every product you promote needs to meet the following characteristics:

Product Meets the Needs of Your Readers

Do you buy products that you don’t serve any purpose? I didn’t think so. Your prospective customers won’t either. You will need to find affiliate products that meet a need.

You need to make sure that any products you promote complement the niche of your blog. Sometimes it is easy to know if the product is a good fit for your site. Any affiliate worth his salt knows there is no point trying to promote a lawnmower on a dieting site.

However, there are times when it is a bit harder to tell. Your blog may have evolved into something that is much different than what you envisioned it. One blogger I know once created a blog for young entrepreneurs but eventually changed the theme to writing tips. He made the change because his readers expressed that they were much more interested in learning to write than starting a new venture. He wouldn’t have been able to promote startup resources to them even though that is what he initially intended.

Unfortunately, I can’t give you any surefire tips for choosing affiliate products that your readers will want. You are the only one that knows the people that read your blog. The best advice I can give is to engage with them to learn what types of things they are interested in. You don’t want to ask them what products you should try selling to them, but you can figure out what makes them tick and what needs they need to meet.

Merchant Seems Trustworthy

People are very skeptical about products that they buy online. They are also skeptical of affiliate marketers. You will need to make sure that you only promote products that are promoted by honest merchants. The product needs to deliver on its promises or people won’t purchase it.

This is a very important point to keep in mind. Your credibility as a blogger is at stake. If you promote products that turn out to be garbage then your readers will stop trusting you. I would recommend the following:

  • Look for testimonials from previous customers. Make sure the testimonials look like they are written by real customers.
  • Do a quick Google search to see if anyone has complained about the product.
  • Consider buying a copy of the product and give it a try yourself. I started off doing affiliate marketing by promoting products that I had already tried, because I knew other buyers would be just as satisfied with them as me.

Unfortunately, if there are too many reviews then it may mean the market may be saturated and you may be entering too late in the game. However, it is safest to look for products that have some positive reviews before attaching your reputation to them.

It can be harder to tell if a new product meets these criteria if many customers haven’t purchased it yet. You might want to find out if the merchant has created any other products in the past. If they created great products in the past then the new product may be good too. However, you should probably pass on the product if nobody has purchased the product before or heard of the merchant.

Insider Information Formula: How A Simple Little Blog Made $22,397.62 in 12 Weeks

Somewhere around the middle of 2012, I set out to test an affiliate marketing strategy that I thought had some huge potential. I knew that it was going to be a long-term play and that I wouldn’t see really much financial benefit early on. It was a strategy that required planning, consistant effort, patience, and a little bit of insider knowledge.

In the world of stocks, insider trading is illegal. In the world of blogging and affiliate marketing, insider trading is one of the smartest strategies you can employ.

As I write this (in a April of 2013), the strategy that I started building off of in mid-2012 has made me a little of $22,000 and continues to bring in consistant income on a monthly basis from promoting one single affiliate product.

Clickbank Screenshot

The above screenshot is from my Clickbank account as of today. You’ll notice that I set the dates from January 1st, 2013 to April 30th, 2013 (4 months). You can see that this is all from promoting one product (webactix) and that the total sales number is $22,397.62.

I’m going to attempt to teach this strategy as best as I can. However, keep in mind upfront that it does take consistant effort and it does take a bit of networking and making connections. The latter being the key difficulty for most people.

Insider Trading

The major key to this strategy is making connections and getting to know people in the affiliate marketing world. The more people you know, the more likely you are to get insider knowledge.

With the example above, I had the benefit of getting to know and becoming good friends with Josh Bartlett, creator of Easy Video Player and its followup, Easy Video Suite.

Having known Josh for many years, I was able to extract from him what his next product was going to be called. I learned that the Easy Video Player followup would be named Easy Video Suite.

Just this little bit of knowledge gave me a HUGE advantage over all the affiliate competition. Having this insight allowed me to register a key domain name and start my SEO efforts ahead of everyone else.

I purchased the domain name EasyVideoSuite.net, began building a blog, and was able to get a jump start on SEO before anyone else even knew what the product would be called.

The key to this, however, is the ability to get the insider knowledge and the ability to network with people “in the know”.

I was lucky enough to be a longtime friend and business partner with Josh so I had a leg-up there. However, getting out there and networking is not difficult at all. It just requires that you put yourself out there a bit, get out of your comfort zone, and get to events where marketers hang out.

There’s a marketing event probably twice a month, there’s probably one coming to a town close to you soon. You just need to find them and start making connections.

The ability to know about new products and product launches months (or even years) before they are ever released will give you a huge advantage in the marketing game. Being a marketing insider allows you to get a jumpstart on everyone else with your promotional efforts.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen anyone else talking about this concept but it’s probably one of the best kept secrets in the affiliate marketing world. Get to know people, get to know what they’re working on, ask to be an affiliate, and grab a domain name that compliments the product name as early as possible before someone else does.

Ok… Now that you understand why I call it Affiliate Insider Trading and what the concept is, let’s look at the blog side of things.

The Affiliate Blog

The next piece of this strategy is the blog. As soon as I have a killer domain name that represents the product well, I install WordPress and a few key plugins to help with on-page search engine optimization. I’m not going to dive in to details now about how to install WordPress or what plugins need to be installed because that’s exactly what I teach in the free 7 day blogging bootcamp. Make sure you go through that course completely to learn the steps of getting a blog online and optimized.

Once I’ve got my blog online and optimized, I begin writing blog posts about everything I know about the product.

I’ll write a blog post about rumors I’ve heard about the product, I’ll write a post about my personal connection to the product so that people realize I’m a credible source, and I’ll make posts about the stuff that I know for sure is in the works with the product (after getting permission from the product creator).

I’ll continue to make posts like this at a rate of one per week or so all the way until the product is launched. This gives me tons of content on my site and it shows visitors that I’m really knowledgeable on the product. It also gives me a lot of pages that can rank for our keyword (the product name) in the search engines.

Once the launch date gets closer, I’ll put together two very special posts that are key to this strategy.

1) A review post – I’ll give an in-depth review of the product and explain exactly what I like about it and maybe even a couple things that I think are lacking. I’ll usually make a video for YouTube with my review that I’ll embed in the post as well.

Easy Video Suite Review

2) A huge bonus – I’ll put together a really awesome bonus for anyone who purchases the product. The bonus will be something relevant and useful for people who purchase the product. It can be something as simple as a free consultation call to something a little more complex like a piece of software I hired someone to develop that compliments the product. Whatever bonus you can add to help entice the buyer to use your affiliate link.

Easy Video Suite Bonus

I write these two posts for a coupe reasons.

One of the main reasons being that, when a new product is released, people tend to search for the product name reviews and product name bonuses. In my example, people would search Easy Video Suite Bonus or Easy Video Suite Review to find out more about the product and to find out if they can get some extra goodies thrown in with it.

The other obvious reason is to really entice people to buy once they are on my page.

Once I’ve got my blog in place with some killer posts and people see me as a credible expert on the product, I proceed to the traffic phase…

Getting Traffic

This strategy is purely an SEO strategy. I’m attempting to get as many people searching for this product in the search engines as possible to find my page over any other affiliate’s page.

The beauty of this example is that I actually ranked above EasyVideoSuite.com during the launch phase of this product. I’ve since dropped to second place in the search engines but it’s not really a big deal. Most people searching for Easy Video Suite on Google now aren’t searching to find the product anyway… They are searching to find reviews and bonuses. So being second only to the main product itself, is still like being in first position as far as those searchers are concerned.

SEO - Easy Video Suite

My SEO strategy is actually pretty simple. I have a few sites that I use to send links back to my site that seem to be pretty effective. I use WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, LiveJournal.com, and YouTube.com… That’s it… That’s my whole strategy.

This where there insider knowledge comes in handy once again…

I attempt to register the domain names for the product I’m promoting. For example, I would register EasyVideoSuite.WordPress.com, EasyVideoSuite.Tublr.com, and EasyVideoSuite.LiveJournal.com.

Once I’ve got all of these free domain names with my keyword in the URL, I would write smaller, stripped-down blog posts about the product itself. I would then link back to my main site at EasyVideoSuite.net using various keywords as the anchor text.

I would drop a link on one of the posts that say Easy Video Suite Review and link to my site. Another page may have just the naked link easyvideosuite.net and link back to my main site… I just mix up the keywords I’d use to link back to my site as well as occasionally link back to an internal blog post instead of the blog’s home page.

I would then link to all of my other free sites in all of my other sites. So the LiveJournal page would have a link to the Tumblr page and the WordPress.com page in the sidebars. Tumblr would link to WordPress.com and LiveJournal, and so on…

This works because these sites are already seen as authority sites in the search engines. These sites themselves quickly rank and send even more “link juice” to my other sites.

The final step is that I put reviews and insights in to little videos on YouTube and link from those videos back to my main EasyVideoSuite.net site as well.

Essentially, the flow of the whole process looks something like this:

Link Flow

You’ve got link juice passing between all your free blogs on Tumblr, WordPress.com, and LiveJournal. You’ve got all those passing link juice to your main site… And you’ve got YouTube passing people over to your site as well.

The YouTube videos are more to capture people who search for things like Easy Video Suite Bonus or Review straight from YouTube and get them paying attention. I’m not sure if much link juice is passed for SEO from YouTube (I could be wrong though. Google is mysterious).

And that’s basically the whole strategy…

Final Thoughts

I employed the exact strategy that I just laid out above over an 8 month period leading up to the launch of Easy Video Suite. The strategy ended in me making over $20k since the launch in January of this year.

The strategy works 100% and I’ve got more domain names that I’ve snatched up to employ the idea again and again (I just can’t give them all away and kill my competitive advantage).

I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights on the strategy in the comments below.

Bradley and I have many more case studies similar to this one going inside the Premium Members Area. So if you haven’t become a premium member yet, consider checking it out for more in-depth case studies as well as over-the-shoulder video tutorials of this technique as well as others.

I hope you enjoyed this little case study and I’m looking forward to chatting with you in the comments!