Bloggers have an edge in affiliate marketing because they have a website that’s under their control.
A small edge is often the only thing that you need – there’s very little difference between the top few results in the search engines for most searches so if you can give yourself a slight advantage, go for it.
What is a blogger?
Years ago, before the web took off, blogging was restricted to an elite few.
In essence, it’s journalism.
Journalists write (blog) about things.
So do authors and, to a lesser extent, film makers.
All those areas have opened up with the advances in the internet and technology.
If you can write, you can potentially get readers.
If you can use the video option on your phone, you can potentially make movies. Some independent film producers do just that – there have been complete movies filmed on a phone camera.
And Amazon’s Kindle option has allowed anyone to become an author.
But getting back to blogging…
Probably the easiest way to become a blogger is to get a domain name, some hosting and install WordPress on it.
This gives you almost total freedom of speech.
Unless you break the law or don’t pay your hosting bills or forget to renew your domain name, your website will stay online.
And unless you specifically ban the search engines from crawling around your site, you’ll get indexed and can potentially show up in the search results.
The search engines know when a new domain is bought – there are systems in place where they can find that out and Google even own a domain registrar so they have extra inside access.
If you’re using a blogging system like WordPress then the search engines also know when you’ve added new content.
I’m using WordPress on this site and, because I’ve left most of the settings at their default, as soon as I press the “publish” button, WordPress will send out a ping notification which tells the search engines – and anyone else who cares – that I’ve added a page.
Then – in their own time and depending on quite a few factors – the search engines will crawl this page, analyse it and decide where it best fits when people do a search.
All without me doing anything more than create this page.
Which is why blogging works a treat for affiliate marketers.
In theory, all you need to do is keep creating content and let the search engines take care of everything else.
And that happens in practice as well.
I’ve got affiliate blogs where the only “promotion” I’ve done is create content and they get traffic.
- No social media signals that I’ve made happen.
- No external links apart from maybe the occasional video on YouTube.
- And definitely no spammy techniques that promise the world and deliver nothing.
Because at its heart affiliate marketing is just word of mouth marketing that’s been formalised.
I write about things that interest me – that’s called niche marketing if you want to get technical.
And I put those musings on my website – blogging.
At appropriate locations in those musings I put in an affiliate link.
That’s what makes the blog an affiliate marketing blog.
The links aren’t obtrusive.
On the WordPress theme I’m using at the moment, they’re underlined.
If I used a different theme then maybe they’d just be a blue colour and would show they were clickable when you hovered over the link.
That’s all completely controllable.
And some of the links are affiliate links.
So if you click one and then go on to purchase, I earn an affiliate commission.
- No flashy adverts.
- No annoying auto-starting videos or “wait a few seconds” screens that get in the way.
- No pop-ups when you hover over a link.
- No extra screens that somehow seem to get round your pop-up blocker settings (if you’ve ever strayed onto an adult website you’ll know what those are and how often they seem to breed).
Just simple links in appropriate places that lead off to relevant content that usually “just happens” to be somewhere I can earn a few dollars if you decide it’s something you want to buy.
Or sometimes – just to keep things natural – regular links to places like Wikipedia or other relevant websites that explain things in more detail.
Much the same as you’d do if you were dropping a note to a friend.
Because that’s what blogging is
The web has de-formalised the art of talking to friends you’ve never met.
They even seek you out.
If you’ve ever searched for more information on a subject before you make a purchase, you’ve done that.
- And your blogging site can do the same.
- Just write naturally.
- Add in some eye candy if you want – photos or videos.
- Add in an audio if that makes sense.
- And, importantly, add in one or two or three affiliate links – or however many seems right.
Longer pieces of content can get away with having more affiliate links than shorter pieces of content on your blog.
Longer content is also good for attracting those obscure searches from the search engines.
The ones where people are desperate for information but fed up with the rubbish they’ve found when they don’t drill down far enough.
If you can get found for a relevant search where there are less than 10 results (yes, those do happen) then that’s nice.
But it’s not really a case of figuring out precisely where you’re going to be found.
The search engines are getting more and more personalised, so the days of everyone seeing the same results are long gone.
Just blog away
Don’t be boring.
Don’t be afraid to write the “right” number of words. Whether that’s a hundred or so if it’s a simple product you’re promoting or a thousand or more if it’s something more complicated.
So long as you don’t bore your blog readers you’ll be fine.
In fact maybe even if you do bore them sometimes – think about the technical specs of electronics on Amazon. They’re only boring if you don’t want to know the megapixels and zoom range and battery capacity or whatever other seemingly important stuff is needed before you press the “buy now” button.
At the time of researching the purchase they’re incredibly interesting even if you wouldn’t normally be that geeky.
Add in that you’re blogging about the product or subject from your perspective and you’ve got a recipe for being a successful affiliate marketer without being a sleazy, pushy, salesman.
If all that sounds like (potentially profitable) fun but you need a helping hand getting started or getting to the next level, I’d be more than happy if you joined me here.
Or if you’d prefer to still go it alone with your blogging, that’s cool as well.