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Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Virtual Assistants
I'm soo glad you are here to learn about Affiliate Marketing. As a Virtual Assistant and Blogger, it has literally changed my life.
It's also always such a thrill to wake up in the morning and check to see if I made any extra income while I was asleep.
Close your eyes for a second and think about it.
You went to bed at 10:00pm (wishful thinking for me), you had a great sleep since you're exhausted from chasing your toddler around all day and trying to work like a crazy person during nap time, you wake up at 6:00am to try and have a morning date with a hot coffee before the craziness begins, you open up your computer and voila... you made an extra 65 dollars from a Bluehost sale while you were sleeping.
Wouldn't that just make your day?
It has definitely made mine. And in case you wanted "too much information," my first affiliate sale came through Bluehost at about 10:45pm on Tuesday night. I got all ready for bed and checked my email one last time before closing my eyes and there it was..
That beautiful notification from Bluehost letting me know I had made my very first sale... (this is the too much information part). I quickly ran down the stairs in my underwear like a crazy person to very happily announce it to my husband. Oh, and there was some sort of dancing, I can't remember the exact details...
Anyways, you get the idea. I'm not saying $65 is like winning the lottery or anything, but I made that extra money for writing a post about a Hosting Platform I already use and love.
That's not work as far as I'm concerned.
That post also has the potential to make me a lot more affiliate income by just existing. How fantastic!
Okay soo enough about me, let's delve into it!
*This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a percentage of any purchased products. I do not recommend any products that I don’t have full confidence in. For more information you can always check out my disclaimer.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is when you make a recommendation on a product or service and a third party clicks on your link to purchase that product or service.
The company that provides that product or service will send you a kick-back as a thank you for recommending their product.
Seems pretty simple, right? Well to be honest, it kind of is....
There are some etiquette things you need to keep in mind but for the most part, it's a pretty simple process.
You apply to a company and ask to be a part of their Affiliate program. You insert the link they give you in blog posts, social media etc., someone clicks on the link, and you get the kick back.
Now please bear in mind, that because it is a pretty simple process, it's easy to get carried away.
You don't want to just start throwing Affiliate links around like a mad woman/man. People will click on your links when they trust you.
If you are just in it for the money, chances are you won't be very successful.
Your first priority needs to be to provide value to your audience and then add in affiliate links where appropriate.
Starting with Affiliate Marketing
The best way to get started with Affiliate Marketing is with your blog.
Most of the programs you will apply to will ask you for the URL to your website to make sure you are a legitimate person before they accept you to their program.
If your current blog is with Blogger, Wix or WordPress.com, it can still be possible to use affiliate links but you will need to check with each platform specifically. Some will limit you on what and how you can advertise.
My recommendation is and will always be WordPress.org, which is a self-hosted web platform to build your blog and website.
WordPress.org gives you full control over your website, affiliate links, advertising, promotions, etc...
If you need to start your blog asap so you can start making affiliate income yesterday... I'll get you all set up with Bluehost.
It's who I use to run this lovely blog and who I recommend. Did I mention they are absolutely affordable?
I've also put together a FREE eBook which will help you get your blog set up from scratch. Get it HERE!
One thing we do need to cover is staying on the good side of the law. The FTC does require that you disclose that you are using affiliate links, and it needs to be disclosed before the actual affiliate link itself.
I'm not a lawyer, so please do yourself a favor and check out what the FTC has to say about Affiliate Marketing here.
Don't feel weird about disclosing affiliate links. If you are recommending a product/service that you use and love, then your peeps should thank you for suggesting something that will make life easier or will solve a problem for them!
How to Apply to Affiliate Programs
Now, not every company will have the exact same process for getting accepted, but a lot of them are very similar.
Start out by writing a list of product/services/apps you already use for your business/blog and would recommend.
Now one by one, type into Google search the name of the product/service/app and add "affiliate program" at the end.
In most cases, the search return will bring you directly to the affiliate registration page of that service/product/app.
Fill in the required details and apply.
Keep in mind to look for any special restrictions or must-haves to be accepted to a specific affiliate program.
Some companies will not accept you unless you have a minimum number of pageviews.
Once you have applied, you will like get an email right away thanking you for your application and that they will review it and advise you within a few days.
A few programs that I am part of actually accept you right there on the spot, which is pretty great!
Once you have been accepted, you will either just receive your unique link via email or be directed to a specific login page to access several different links.
As you are starting out, keep in mind not to alter your affiliate links in any way. I don't want you to mess up the URL and then not get credit for the purchases.
As you become more of an Affiliate Marketing expert, you can start to make necessary changes.
I'll break it down further on how to actually use the links in different ways to earn affiliate commissions below.
Best Affiliate Marketing Programs
Here are some examples of great affiliate programs to join when you are starting out!
This list is by no means exhaustive but will certainly help you get started:
- Bluehost - or your web hosting of choice. I also have another blog (coming soon) with Siteground and they are pretty fantastic as well!
- Bluchic - or your favourite WordPress Theme provider. I love Bluchic as they have stunning, fully loaded WordPress Themes as well as Landing Page Templates and Canva Social Media templates.
- Shareasale - This is a website that administers a ton of affiliate programs. They manage the programs for products such as Tailwind and once you are in, you can search for thousands of affiliate programs by niche.
- Swagbucks - This one is amazing. Once you sign up with them, you can grab a referral code to share. Swagbucks has online surveys and videos you can watch for points but the best part is you get points back when you shop. With the Chrome extension, they will just let you know if you find yourself on a site that is affiliated with them, and almost every store you can think of is on their list. (I got 6,600 points for buying a trip on Expedia I was going to buy anyway). The cherry on top is that you earn points back anytime someone you recommended shops. does surveys or watches videos. Serious win win here!
- Amazon Affiliates - Amazon has thousands of products to sell and therefore there is very likely a good amount of products that fit into your niche. As part of the application process, you need to make your first sale within 180 days of applying so don't make this your very first sign-up.
- Creative Market - For everything digitally creative you could possibly need. They have WordPress Themes, logo packs, graphics, fonts etc. It's essentially a marketplace that has everything you need!
- Courses - I have taken/paid for quite a few courses and luckily most of them have affiliate programs. It's always a good idea to check and see if any of the courses you have taken have affiliate marketing programs. Some of the ones I frequently recommend are: White Glove Pinterest Course, Infamous to Influential, Blog By Number, and Email Lists Simplified.
How to Use Affiliate Marketing
There are several ways that you can post your affiliate marketing links in order to generate income.
Please keep in mind again that you need to disclose, disclose, disclose!
This will be typically be your highest converter when it comes to affiliate links.
People have the chance to hear what you have to say about the product or service and are therefore more likely to click the link and buy.
There are a few options here in terms of what type of blog post. Here are a few examples:
- Product or Service Reviews
- Tutorials or How To's
- Lists or Round Ups
It's a good example of how you can show your readers how a specific tool can really help them or solve a problem for them!
This is a must, non-negotiable.
There has to be at least some tools and resources that you use for your business.
Don't forget you likely signed up for hosting and are probably using a WordPress Theme for your site. You can absolutely start with those!
If not, then I know you at least have some products or services that you would LOVE to use but maybe don't have the funds yet to purchase it for yourself. These are okay too.
Explain why you would recommend them and why you think they would help you.
Make a page on your site that specifically links to all of the tools and resources you use or recommend and use any/all applicable affiliate links.
Include all of the tools you use, not just the ones that have affiliate links.
You might not make a sale if someone uses a tool you recommend if there is no affiliate program, but they will likely remember you told them about it and that's only going to increase their trust in you down the road.
Check out my resources page here if you are looking for inspiration to create yours!
Direct to Social Media
You can actually post directly to your Social Media channels and let your followers know how great you think a product or service is.
You do still need to disclose that you are using an affiliate link.
You will already be sharing your blog posts to Social Media that may include affiliate links but don't be afraid to use the pre-made graphics supplied to you by the company or even quickly make your own to post the link directly.
If the product or service can help your audience, then it's not spammy to let them know how great it is and encourage them to check it out!
You've heard me say it before....
Email lists are the bread and butter of making money through your blog.
These are people that have signed up to receive your newsletters and emails right to their inbox because they think the content you have to share with them is great.
They literally trust you.
Once you have an email list that trusts you, the chance they will click on a link you send them is pretty good.
Just don't break that trust by only sending them affiliate links or links to products that have nothing to do with your niche.
If you think you have something they can benefit from or will solve a problem for them, they will probably be happy that you took the time to let them know about it!
You can send an email specifically about the product or service and let them know your experience with it. You can even link to a blog post where you review or explain how to use the product.
If you are struggling with your email list as much as I was with mine, check out the course I mention above called Email Lists Simplified by Meera Kothand.
It WILL make a huge difference for you, and Meera also has a ton of free amazing resources on her site to help you as well!
Here is another super simple way that you can advertise your affiliates by simply posting something once.
Most themes have a sidebar option and you can add pictures with affiliate links right into your sidebar.
Most of the companies you will sign up with will likely also offer you a whole set of graphics you can use to advertise their products. Don't forget you can also create your own.
Some WordPress themes also have a built-in banner ad feature at the top where you can add in an affiliate banner.
One thing to keep in mind is to try and pick an affiliate that has similar branding colours to yours so it's not an eye sore on the sidebar or banner header.
Also make sure it applies to your niche.
If your theme is very pink and feminine, a big green header banner might throw people off right from the start.
Make that Affiliate Moulah
I think I have given you a lot to think about in terms of getting started with Affiliate Marketing.
If you follow my suggestions above, I'm confident you are well on your way to making your first affiliate sale.
If you do have any questions though, you know I'm always around to answer them. Just send me a quick email.
If you do end up following my suggestions, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know below when you make your first sale, I would love to celebrate with you. I promise I will have pants on this time 🙂