The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
“I literally screamed so loud that I shocked even myself! … It is hard to describe the feeling one gets when one makes the first money from blogging. … I have felt that feeling several times since then, but nothing compares to the first time when I actually did make some money from my blog. And this sale came less than one year after starting my blog!”
Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
September was a great month since it signified that I reached my goal of $300 per month earlier than expected. In addition, the earnings were much higher than I though they would be. I think I was trying to lower my expectations in the beginning of the project to keep from being disappointed. However, it is a bit difficult to estimate how profitable a niche site will be since each niche is different.
Prior to that group, they had an online community for teachers looking for lesson plans. That probably sounds pretty random, but it's crazy the type of communities you can build and rally people around. If it's something that you're passionate about yourself and you want to connect with others that have that same passion, then an online community is something you should definitely consider.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.