These days, there are so many different career paths available to everyone because of the advent of technology. People are free to work from wherever they please and so this has opened so many new paths for them.
Some examples of these are blogging (which could not be done without a large internet audience to read your content) and affiliate marketing (which is a form of marketing that wouldn’t exist without online platforms and blogs).
But which of these are better than the other? Or are they both equally as good? What can you do with your skillset to make use of these professions and bring out the best in you and become successful?
I will answer all of these questions and more in the article below. If you’re someone who likes to skim through articles and only read the juicy parts, I have also included a section at the bottom with my recommendation on the best way to start on both of these paths.
What is ‘Blogging’?
Blogging is all about creating useful and relevant content on a particular topic that you want like-minded users on the internet to consume. Most often you will have to start a blog, build a website, and advertise your content on sites where people may be interested in your niche so that you can start to have a following. Once you have established a steady stream of traffic coming on to your site, you know that you are on the right track as a blogger.
Who is an ‘Affiliate Marketer’?
This is basically a person who creates content based on promoting the sale of a product that they do not own but are affiliated with. For any sale that is made through your promotion link, you will get a commission the value of which is agreed beforehand. This model can be very lucrative in the long-run if it is optimized well from the beginning.
Can’t I just do both of these things together?
Having read the two explanations above, I am sure you would have been thinking that fundamentally, both of these are similar as they are both focused on creating content that is engaging and makes the reader want to take an action. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to join the two and do them both at the same time? And truthfully, you are absolutely correct. There is no need for you to make this a choice, as ideally you can combine them together and increase your potential to make money by a good margin than when you focus on just one of these methods.
How can I be a Blogger and an Affiliate Marketer at the same time?
When you combine the two together, you technically would not be a full-time blogger. You would be an affiliate marketer who sues blogging as a means of promoting the product that you are affiliated with. Here’s my take on how you can go about doing this:
- Find a niche that you are learned or interested in. This will make things so much easier for you as you will be able to write more freely about topics that you know about and so you won’t have to stress too much about finding new things to write about or making sure that the content you put out is factually accurate.
- Start a blog using the plethora of online platforms that are available to you now. Find the one that fits you the best, design it the way you like (tip – use a theme) and then start populating the site with the content that you have decided to fill it up with. You should identify the topics that your intended target audience will be interested in, and then write up your blog’s content to include these topics. These blogs should also be optimized for SEO as that will be important to bring in free organic traffic to your site.
- Next, you need to do some research and identify the best affiliate platforms to work with. You will need to sign up and get your profile approved. Once that is done, you can find the most suitable products for your niche and your blogs’ content and then you can add these products to your blogs by creating an affiliate link for those products through the affiliate platform.
- Finally, add these links to the relevant blogs in a way that doesn’t seem like you’re trying to oversell them. Make it seem important and necessary to the subject of the blog you are writing about. When your blog is finally published, you can promote it on other platforms and optimize for SEO in order to get people to come on to your site by searching for related keywords. Every time someone clicks on a link in one of your blogs and makes a sale, you will get a commission.
This is the best way to do both at the same time, and if done right, has the potential to bring you success. However, this doesn’t mean that this is the best and only way to be successful. You can even do one of both these methods and still achieve better success if you put more effort into it. It really depends on you, your skills, and how you tackle the problems that come up.
Let me take you through a few other ways that you can use either of these methods to make money online.
What else can I do to be successful?
If blogging is not your bread and butter then I have created a list of a few more ways through which you can profit through affiliate marketing:
Using Google and Social Ads
This is an unorthodox method of doing affiliate marketing and is not one that is very popular with beginners. The reason being that it can be very expensive to continue doing this in the long run and also the fact that there are a lot of limitations you have to adhere to when you choose this method.
Search ads on popular search engines like Google, are quite strict on what type of content, the landing page, and the URL should be used for their ads. If they think that any of these are not up to standard, then your ad application will be rejected. The URL also cannot be a redirect and should link directly to the destination page. If they identify that the link first transfers you to one site and then automatically to another, it will again be rejected.
Using search and display ads can be very effective as they have the potential to bring in immediate and relevant traffic based on the keywords you have selected. When someone searches on Google, you know for sure that they have ‘user intent’ and so you will receive a warm lead instead of a cold one.
However, due to how hard it is to get affiliate linked ads to go through, this method is not used often as it can end up being more trouble than it is worth.
Creating a YouTube channel
YouTube is an amazing platform for affiliate marketing as well, mainly due to the fact that it is a search-intensive platform and so you know that the traffic coming on to your videos will be relevant traffic. When people type on YouTube they are actively seeking some information about a problem that they have, so if you are able to successfully solve that issue then your chances of conversion via the video will be high.
This has similar aspects to blogging and would work well for those who are more interested in creating and recording videos rather than using the written word. You can make videos that are related to your niche and place your affiliate link in the area below the video where the description is. You can promote the link by talking about it during the video as well.
However, there are some problems with this method as well. YouTube, like other social platforms, has identified massive amounts of spam links being posted everywhere. Due to this, they are very strict about the type of links you can post and if anything about their guidelines is violated then they will remove these links and even ban your account.
The workaround to avoid getting your links removed is to create a landing page and place your affiliate links on that page as a normal website link will not be flagged. However, this is going to be more work for you to do every time you want to promote a different product.
Email marketing is an affiliate marketer’s best friend. I would say that email campaigns are at the top of most business marketing methods these days. They have been prevalent for a long time now and are still a relevant form of marketing that was thought to be dying but is still going strong.
Emailing your leads gives you more options with the way you promote to them. You are able to divide lists based on interactions, A/B test different content pieces on different targets, and slowly nurture those leads until they become mature enough to turn into a conversion.
So how do you collect email addresses? Initially, it will have to be through your website or blog. You can have pop-ups and notifications that ask for their email address in exchange for information. The list building part is the most difficult thing about email marketing as it will take a lot of time and effort to build a viable list that is responsive and engaging.
You can even purchase lists from certain vendors but the chances of these converting are quite low as they are cold leads and not warm ones as the ones you would get from your website.
Social Groups and Forums
You can use groups on Facebook, for example, to promote your affiliate links. By finding these groups and other forums, you can find targets that are related to your niche and post on these places to attract their attention.
However, a lot of these groups will ban affiliate links and so your content will be removed. This method has the potential to bring in fast results but it is very difficult to keep your content up all the time and there are so many conditions that you have to follow which makes the whole process so much harder.
Question and Answer Platform
Platforms like Reddit and Quora are gold mines for finding information and people are always asking questions on there about almost any topic. The best part about these platforms is that they are also SEO optimized so you can see these questions and answers on the Google search results page as well.
Therefore, using this to answer people’s questions about a topic related to your affiliate product, will allow you to gain warm leads as people come on to these questions with intent. However, just like the others, these platforms also are very strict and will ban your links from being placed anywhere on their platform.
Alright, so those are the top ways to make money via affiliate marketing. However, if you are a writer and are looking for the options you have to create an income stream through blogging, then here are the top ways to do so:
Make money through blogging
Placing paid ads on your own site
Have you heard about Google Adsense? This is a service offered by Google where you make an agreement with them to place other ads on certain slots on your website’s pages. You are basically selling little areas on your website to other companies to advertise on while you are making money off these ads being displayed.
Therefore, any visitor who comes on to your site and reads through your content will also technically be viewing the ad and so you will be paid for that view as well. The more traffic you have coming on to your blog, the more money you can make off of it.
However, to get to this point you can’t start off as a beginner. There is a threshold for the number of views you should already have in order to sign up for this service. Also, you won’t be able to have any control on the ads that are shown on your site which can ruin the overall look of the page.
Selling spots on your site
Instead of using Google Adsense, you can create an offer for certain spots on your website that you are keeping for advertising purposes. You can sell or rent out these spots to other businesses that are interested in advertising in these spaces.
This gives you more control and will also pay you better because the Google Adsense charge is removed. However, this method is a bit more difficult to pull off as you need to find the businesses that would want to advertise yourself.
Have a section for posts that are sponsored
This is similar to creating visual advertising spots on your website as above but instead, you are creating spaces for written content that are advertising other products or websites. This can potentially be more effective as people are more likely to trust written content than display ads due to how many image ads are displayed to them all over the internet.
For this to be effective, the posts need to be of use to the visitors coming to your site and this method will also have the same cons as mentioned in the previous section.
Create a membership option
This would usually only work when you have something to offer that is very niche or difficult to find elsewhere. For example, if you are an expert on a topic that is not talked about much, you can create a paid membership option for the people who want to consume your content.
This could be in a monthly recurring payment or a yearly membership and assures you that you will have a steady income coming in monthly. However, this would mean that you need to be more proactive with your content and you will constantly need to be uploading more fresh content which is going to take much more effort than a normal blog.
Sell your own product
You can create a guide, ebook, video collection, or training that is related to the niche that you are operating in. You can then advertise this to the people visiting your blog who may find this information useful.
This would mean that you have to put in more work in terms of initially creating the sellable content plus the customer service that comes after it.
In Conclusion – Which would you say is better?
In my opinion, I don’t think either of these options is a ‘bad’ option. Also because they can work so well together, I can’t really say that one is better than the other.
It really depends on what you want to do, what your skills are, and how you can best apply them.
Of course, you will need to learn more about either of these before you move forward to working on them. Just reading this article is not going to help you. You need more information, more training, and more interactions with like-minded people to help you decide on your path and how you’re going to succeed.
In order to do all this, I would recommend that you check out the Wealthy Affiliate platform. It is where I learned everything about affiliate marketing and I can tell you without a doubt that if you are a newbie to this, you will have a ton of stuff to learn plus an engaging community who are always willing to help you out because they were where you are now some time ago.
There is a free version of the platform that gives you a risk-free trial of how the platform works and it also comes with a training module where the first 10 lessons are given free. So if you are interested in checking this out and are serious about following a career in affiliate marketing and blogging, Wealthy Affiliate would be your most important step in moving forward.