In August, 2014, I received my first revenue from my blog. While it was only $125, it represented huge progress and meant that my investment was paying. The goal of my blog was to make money online that was independent of my time.
I started my blogging journey with Woblogger on August 2014. Within two short weeks, I made my first sale and received a commission of $65. By the end of the month I had earned $125. Making money through a passive source of income had been my goal for several months. Finally, after some hesitation, I finally took the first step.
Ambition is the first step to SUCCESS. The second is ACTION.
I had a limited knowledge about blogging and monetization. Before I started, I studied a few top blogs to find out how they became successful. It was an interesting experiment and I learned many different skills and strategies from different blogs. I used these strategies to build a strong foundation for my first blog.
If you want to make good money online with these giant affiliate networks, you must build a reputable blog. In this guide, I will share with you my blogging experience and the skills I’ve learned that help me make money online with affiliate marketing. I’ve done a lot of experiments and trial and error to get the best results. These results are what I will share with you today.
The Stepping Stones To Your First Blog Revenue
Grab a cup of coffee, get your motivational playlist ready, and settle in. This is a complete blueprint that—if you read it thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully—will help you earn as much as I did OR MORE in your first 30 days.
Before I started blogging, I started subscribing to top blogs and following them to see what they were doing. I studied and learned about blogging from them. At first, I had no idea about domain names or web hosting, or anything else. I learned everything by following other blogs.
After my experiment, I decided to start a blog of my own. I created a plan to guide my blog. A blog without planning will never go very far. These are the five main questions I consider before starting a blog:
- Why am I starting a blog?
- What is my niche?
- What is the platform?
- Design of my blog?
- How to build traffic?
Let’s break these down one at a time.
Why am I starting a blog?
My main goal behind blogging is making money. In the blogosphere, there are millions of blogs with different purposes. Some are monetized, some are not. I chose to focus the purpose of by blog on revenue. Next, I had to develop a plan for how I was going to make money from my blog. I close affiliate marketing and Google AdSense to earn money from ads on my blog.
Next, how to implement my plan. If I want to make money from my blog, it should provide something useful to readers. It should solve reader’s problems. As a result, reader engagement increases. This is how I made my first sale within two weeks. Despite a low traffic rate of 30 visitors per day, I gave readers something useful.
What was the niche of my blog?
It’s fun to start a blog, but sticking to a topic can be challenging. Many starting bloggers have plenty of ideas and jump from one topic to another. This is why it’s important to find your niche. By niche, I mean the specific topic of your blog. From a search engine standpoint, a blog with a single, unifying theme ranks higher.
I choose topics I am knowledgable in. That’s why I chose digital marketing as my niche. I can comfortably talk about it for hours without running out of things to discuss. Another reason is there are many popular products to advertise related to digital marketing. If you can’t think of a topic to write about, here is a guide to selecting your niche.
Which blogging platform should I use?
There are many blogging platforms out there, and people have different opinions about which ones work and which ones don’t. Most top bloggers use self-hosted WordPress as their blogging platform. In my research, I identified the advantages of self-hosted WordPress blogs compared to other blogs.
A self-hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org) is what I used. That means I installed WordPress on my own hosting and got my own domain. At first, I chose Bluehost as my hosting provider and I had a great experience with them.
I planned my domain name carefully. I wrote a list of possible domain names and checked their availability to narrow my list down. Finally, I settled on woblogger.com for my domain name. It’s simple and easy to remember. I can use my domain name as a unique keyword throughout by blog to boost search results. Now, when I type Woblogger into Google, my website shows up as the first result.
Which WordPress theme should I use?
I planned the design of my blog to catch and retain visitors and encourage them to spend more time on my blog. It increases the average time duration and decreases the bounce rate. For this, I needed a clean and mild WordPress theme. I purchased the Digital Pro theme from StudioPress. I received many positive comments about the design from visitors.
As a result, the average time duration per visitors is more than 4 minutes and the bounce rate was decreased to only 12.5% (a very low bounce rate for most blogs).
How to build traffic to your new blog?
Search traffic is the most important aspect of blogging. You want your voice to be heard by others, and the only way to do that is by building and maintaining an audience.
Most new bloggers quit early due to lack of traffic. I know how much it hurts to put so much hard work into your blog, only to have no one read it. When I made my first affiliate sale, I only had an average of 30 visitors per day. I wasn’t having any luck with Google AdSense, so affiliate marketing was my only option.
The most important part of boosting search traffic is targeting the visitors you want. I tried to get more visitors from the US, UK, and Canada. I chose 3 popular forum sites in these three countries and wrote quality posts on each of them promoting my blog. Users found them helpful and visited my blog. I published quality posts on my blog to give visitors more valuable content. This increased the average duration of each visit and reduced the bounce rate of my blog.
I know content isn’t king. Quality content is king.
These two techniques helped me to earn my first $125 within 30 days of starting my blog:
First: quality content
Second: link building
It takes time to create great content and linking your content together with backlinks, but it is well worth the effort. I’ll discuss these things more in my next posts.
How to Become a Successful Affiliate?
What is affiliate marketing?
“Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make”.
How do you become a successful affiliate? Affiliate marketers usually have several tactics to be successful. Anyone can achieve success in affiliate marketing, however, it’s not easy. It takes time, and a lot of consistent hard work to get results. The following traits can help you succeed:
- Thirst for Knowledge
These three traits will make you a successful affiliate. While keeping these in mind, I implemented my affiliate strategy and made my first sale in only two weeks. That is how I managed to make $125 at the end of my first month, and my profits have continued to grow ever since.
Target a specific niche
I built a website related to digital marketing as my target niche, using my blog as a promotional channel. I promote products in my blog relating specifically to digital marketing. If you had a blog about food and you decided to promote t-shirt sales, you are much less likely to succeed. I understood from the beginning that focusing on my specific niche would lead to more sales, as opposed to scattering my efforts across unrelated products. I made money within the first two weeks by sticking to my niche.
Find an affiliate marketplace
In my experience, the best place to find great affiliate products are marketplaces like Clickbank, ShareASale, and Commission junction. You can find the best affiliate products relating to your blog topic and its content, depending on your niche. For niche markets, ShareASale, CJ and Clickbank are highly recommended. I made my first sale through ShareASale. It’s free to join, so a great place to start for beginners.
Join affiliate programs individually
Most online products have their own affiliate program such as a web hosting affiliate program. You’ll need to research the hottest selling products in your niche. For example, if you run a blog about dogs, try to find an affiliate program for dog food or other dog care products with high sales.
Choose the best selling products to promote
A well-known and trusted product will lead to more sales, generating more commission for your blog. If customers are familiar with the brand, it will attract more sales and you will have a greater chance of your readers buying the products through your affiliate link.
In my research, I studied the products being promoted by top bloggers, and why they chose them. I always try to promote products using a coupon code. Coupon codes and deals make products more attractive, and influence customers to buy products using your links.
Choose the most expensive products
Higher prices may result in fewer sales, however, they bring you the highest commission per referral. That way, you only have to count on a smaller percentage of your audience buying your affiliate products. To do this, you need to demonstrate the value of the products to customers:
- What are they buying?
- Is it the best price?
- What will happen if this product is not suitable for them?
Build an audience through trust
The most successful affiliate marketers start by building compelling content first, and focus on affiliate revenue later. Chris Brogan said, “when there’s an opportunity to bring something of value to your community and make some money for your efforts, then you’re looking at what I think of as a great opportunity.”
Create a valuable resource for your readers. Take the time to learn about the product or services you are offering. This will give you usable information that builds credibility. If you show your readers you’re knowledgeable about a product, you will gain their trust. If you don’t hold the trust of your audience, they won’t buy the products you are selling.
So, how do you gain credibility with your readers? Quality content. The content of your blog is your most powerful weapon. Nothing builds more credibility than a well-written, informative review post about the product you are promoting. A review post introduces your product to your readers, and shows them you know enough about it to endorse it. If you include a guide or a “how-to” tutorial in your review post, you can explain the value of the product to your readers and how it will benefit them if they buy it. It’s not enough to just post a link to the product here or there. To effectively increase affiliate sales, you must tell your viewers why they need the product, how they can get it, and how to use it.
Don’t Give Up!
Affiliate marketing is difficult to get into, and takes a lot of hard work. Many people who try it give up before they reap any real benefits. Monitor your statistics; find out what is working and what is not, and make changes when necessary. Try to do one thing daily to promote your storehouse, and most importantly, be patient. If you stay consistent and put in the effort, then before you know it you’ll start collecting payments.
Keeping an eye on your statistics is very important. Every affiliate strategy needs to be tweaked and changed. Also, remember to stay consistent. People often try promoting multiple products at once. They publish one post with a link to one product, and then another post with a link to a different product. In my experience, this doesn’t work. After I chose a product for my blog, I promoted it and then analyzed my progress. What products are working for me? What content is working for me? I chose what was working and continued to update posts and publish tutorials about my successful products to attract more readers.
Can you earn $125 in the first 30 days with your new blog?
The short answer is, yes!
Many bloggers dream of becoming successful affiliate marketers, and anyone can do it. I started my blogging journey with affiliate marketing to achieve that dream. I got results within the first month because I had a plan and I stuck to it. Any blogger wanting to make money through affiliate marketing should have a plan. Before starting, look at affiliate marketers with the highest performance, see which ones relate to your blog, and study them to find out what strategies they used to become top affiliates.
Building a reputable blog with clean, quality content is the first step. The next is finding an affiliate marketplace and selecting the right products. Getting target traffic and building credibility are the keys to getting conversions on your ads. These are the guidelines I followed to make my first affiliate income within two weeks.
I would love to hear your thoughts on my first month’s achievements and your suggestions to further improve my sales. Also, if you would like to share your own experience I would love to hear it. If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it with others on Facebook and Google plus. Thank you!