How to Make Money From Your Blog With Affiliate Products

This is a question that a lot of people ask me, but there isn’t one definitive answer for it. What I want to do with this post is go over some of the best ways to monetize your blog or website, whether it’s a small niche site or an authority site.

First of all, I want to point out that I don’t make much money from Strayblogger yet(I am working on putting together some products)… I still make the vast majority of my online income from my own product websites and affiliate blogs.


For all you page skimmers, here are the top 3 things you can do:

  • Use a lightbox optin to collect email addresses: I don’t want to beat a dead horse with this one; you should know by now that the bigger your list is, the more money you’ll make in both the short and long run. Using a lightbox, or popup optin form on your niche sites will dramatically increase the number of optins you get each day. My first recommendation to do this would be the Profits Theme. You pay for the theme once and you can install it on all of your sites, and it will do popup optins, sales pages, squeeze pages, membership sites, product launch funnels, and it comes with very useful page formatting tools. If you’re in love with your current theme, then the best standalone popup plugin is Popup Domination.
  • Testing different affiliate offers: I’ll get into how to actually promote affiliate offers on your sites in a minute, but the main idea is to test different offers. I’ve had offers that out-convert other offers by as much as 15 to 1… and you’ll never know until you test. The best way to do this is to test an offer for a week at a time.
  • A resources page: Currently I do not have a resources page here on Strayblogger, but on my own product sites, the resources page is where most of my sales come from. The resources page simply lists all of the products and services that would benefit your readers, and you should have it listed in your site’s main navigation at the top.


For all you detail junkies, let’s get into the how-to:

  • How to find affiliate offers to promote: One of the first things you can do, is just do a quick search in Google. If your niche is fat loss, just search Google for one of the main keyword phrases your target audience would search such as “how to lose fat”. Then, look at some of the paid results, and some of the top organic results. See what offers they’re promoting, and 9 times out of 10, you will be able to quickly join the same affiliate programs. Also, if you go through these results and keep seeing the same offer, chances are it is one of the top converting offers. You can find great offers by going through sites like Clickbank, Commission Junction, and Shareasale. Each of those sites have tutorials on how to read their metrics, such as Clickbank’s gravity score or Commission Junctions’s 30-day-EPC. But, don’t make your judgements solely on the numbers these sites provide; you’ll find the highest-converting offers for your specific sites through simply testing different offers. One last tip: some of the best things you can promote are things you actually use. I know that some of your sites will be in niches that you don’t have personal experience in, and that’s OK. But if there are products that you personally use, don’t be afraid to tell your readers that you use something, and that they would benefit from it as well.
  • Using affiliate links within your blog posts: Simply placing an affiliate link within your blog posts where it is relevant is a great way to promote offers. A lot of readers are completely blind to sidebar ads, but contextual links that are relevant to the content they’re reading are impossible to ignore. I utilize this technique on all of my blogs, including Strayblogger(which I’ve done several times in this post as well). Each time I publish a new blog post, I can count on several sales coming in.
  • Using reading boxes: A reading or offer box is hard to ignore… here’s an example:

DO YOU WANT TO GET MORE SALES?

I think it’s obvious that this box is hard to ignore. Reading boxes such as this are a great way to end each post. You can promote your freebie so that people will opt-in to your list, or you can use it to promote an offer. Once again, I’m going to recommend the Profits Theme to you because you can create boxes like this in all different colors and formats with just one click. I used to try and do these myself with raw html and it was always frustrating and would seriously add about an hour to any post I tried to put one in.

  • Using free reports embedded with affiliate links: This is a great method that can bring you sales for a long time. Basically what you do is write up a free report that gives a lot of good information away. Going back to the fat loss niche, you could write up a report about the best 10 fat burning foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The idea is to make the report something that is useful to a lot of people, so that people will forward it to their friends or share it on Facebook or Twitter. You can insert affiliate links into the report where they are relevant, and then at the end, you just add a “resources” page and list the different affiliate offers. The key to making this work is to have a great looking cover. If your ecover is enticing and professional-looking, people will trip over themselves to download and share it. If you’re a photoshop whiz, great. If not, by far the best ecover maker is eCover Creator3D from James Dyson. This should be different than your freebie you give away for opting into your list. You should just give this one away with no optin required on your blog. But, you can state at the beginning and end of the report that you would appreciate it if they would share it with people on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Your freebie and autoresponder series: This is a big one… having an attractive and valuable freebie will get people to opt-in to your list, and then having a well-planned autoresponder series will add value and build trust with your readers. The obvious benefit to building your list is that you can build a relationship with your readers, which makes it 10X more likely that they’ll buy something from you. Once again, the thing that will get the most opt-ins is an attractive ecover for your freebie. eCover Creator let’s you create awesome-looking covers very quickly. The other crucial component of getting people to opt-in is how you write your copy. Being able to write persuasive copy is probably the most valuable IM skill that you should develop. A great, low-cost resource for quickly learning how to write great copy is Jason Fladlien’s 3 Hour Copy. The next thing is how you present your opt-in form. You can do this through a squeeze-page, a popup, and a sidebar opt-in. Profits Theme let’s you do all three of these things, and it does them well… especially the squeeze page. You can see an example here…
  • Guide or how-to posts: These type of posts are a great excuse to include affiliate offers. This post is exactly what I’m talking about. You create an informative post, and you include relevant affiliate offers throughout the post. These type of posts will do better if you make them at least 1000 words, and make them actually helpful. If you are actually producing something of value, you won’t have any problem making them convert.
  • Sidebar and banner ads: I’m sure you know what these are. Most vendors provide image and banner ads that you can just stick on your sidebar. It never hurts to test these out. One of my affiliate sites gets a lot of sales from a banner ad that I’ve put on the top-right sidebar. Again, testing different ads is how you’ll find what works for your specific site.
  • Review posts: This is pretty straight-forward… you just write up an honest review of a product you promote on your site. One of my best tips for making reviews convert is to not be afraid of saying something negative about the product. If you read a real review on Amazon.com, they will usually mention at least one thing that they don’t like about the product. That makes it more real, and it actually adds to the credibility of your review.

Did you enjoy this post?

Then please take a minute and leave a comment, question, or your own tips for how you monetize your sites.

Also, I wouldn’t even be mad if you clicked on the Facebook “share” button below.

Thanks!


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17 Comments

  • Trent Dyrsmid

    Reply Reply April 26, 2011

    Hey Nate,

    This is excellent advice. When I started using a lightbox optin and a resource page, my blog’s mailing list growth rate went way up and the blog started to make money.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Trent

    • Nate

      Reply Reply April 27, 2011

      Trent-
      Glad you liked it. I need to take my own advice and put a lightbox here on Strayblogger… I use them on my affiliate sites with great success as you mentioned.

  • Patrick

    Reply Reply April 27, 2011

    This is great. Insightful and helpful (plus I love it when you’re able to put into practice exactly what you preach) I’m really loving your posts Nate. It’s all honest, straightforward advice from someone who’s not just out to make a quick buck. This really opens my eyes to how to market affiliate products and it’s given me great ideas on how to offer them! Thanks again!

    • Nate

      Reply Reply April 27, 2011

      Thanks Patrick, I’m glad it’s something you can use. I checked out your blog, and I like the vibe… you should keep posting…

  • Andrea

    Reply Reply April 27, 2011

    Thank you for the great info, Somehow I read all this many times but just feel intimidated to apply them, thinking I do not have much to share.
    I am planning to apply them to my new blog .

    Thanks
    Andrea

    • Nate

      Reply Reply April 27, 2011

      You’re welcome Andrea, I’m glad you found something you can apply.

  • Neill

    Reply Reply April 27, 2011

    Hi Nate – Haven’t visited here for a while but it’s always informative when I do. Keep up the good work. And BTW it’s your fault that I ended up at BTF. I’ve learned a lot of good stuff there.

    - Neill

    • Nate

      Reply Reply April 27, 2011

      Thanks Neill-

      Yeah I’ve had good luck with all of my BTF-style sites, its a helpful community too.

  • Helen

    Reply Reply June 19, 2011

    Nate, I have learned more here than in all the IM googling I’ve done in the past three months. I’m getting set to join BTF and start my first affiliate blog site. With your posts and 6 lessons, I finally have confidence. This is the first “praise” comment I’ve ever written on an IM site. Thank you so much for the info. I’m a fan.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 19, 2011

      Helen,

      I’m glad you liked the report and learned something. Making money online with small niche sites is fairly simple- you just have to put in the work. Good luck with everything.

  • Frank

    Reply Reply June 21, 2011

    Hi Nate,
    How big is a good emailing list? I’m only getting a few signups per day, I’m really desperate to get more.

    Good articles by the way, it makes a change to have a guy who’s not just out to get your money. There are so many out there.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply June 21, 2011

      Frank- what really matters is your open rate and how well your subscribers respond to what you’re sending them. If you are sending them a link to a new blog post, how many of them open it? Or how many buy when you mail an offer?

      Building a list is a long-term process, and you definitely want to provide value to your subscribers instead of hammering them with offers all the time.

      Once you get to 500-1000 subscribers and above- that’s a decent-sized list, especially for a smaller niche.

  • Frank

    Reply Reply June 22, 2011

    Thanks Nate, again much appreciate your straightforward advice. I’m getting 5-10 signups per day, so within a couple of months I should be feeling better about it.

  • Kim

    Reply Reply July 6, 2011

    Hi Nate, I just clicked over from a post on the Warrior Forum and want to say thanks for some great information here. I am a long-time SBIer who is trying to make the leap from a few bucks per day to a serious income online. I have been looking at the Profits theme for WP and glad to know it’s as useful as the sales page promises! :-) Thanks again. You’ve got yourself a new mailing list member!

    • Nate

      Reply Reply July 7, 2011

      Thanks Kim-

      Yeah SBI is super old school- and WordPress is actually a lot easier to use than SBI’s sitebuilder- not to mention you can do anything you want with it.

      You’ll love the Profits Theme- it makes things that used to take a long time very fast and easy.

  • Frank

    Reply Reply July 12, 2011

    Just to add to this, I’m like Kim and I’m just transferring SBI sites to WordPress.

    It’s impossible to compete against an open source project like WP.

    The Profits Theme looks great Nate. I can see you take the time to recommend good products and that’s something people can learn from too.

    • Nate

      Reply Reply July 12, 2011

      Frank,

      WordPress is a lot better- it lets you do more effective things with your site as the site owner than SBI does.

      The Profits Theme is very useful- and very worth it. If you have site that you’re trying to monetize in any way it’s the best theme I know of.

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