Affiliate marketing is the best way to monetize your website and make money online.
But it’s not as easy as simply throwing up a WordPress website and adding some affiliate links.
To attract people to your website and convince them to click on your links and purchase products, you need to publish high-quality content that converts.
This article will walk you through the steps you need to take to create a quality blog post…
...And how to monetize your blog post and generate affiliate sales.
We’ve also included some tips to help you improve your affiliate content and earn your first commission even faster.
Let’s get started.
- What is Blogging?
- How to Write Affiliate Blog Posts That Convert
- How to Monetize Blog Posts Using Affiliate Marketing
- Blogging Tips for Affiliate Marketers
What is Blogging?
At its base level, blogging is a way to share information with an audience online.
In its infancy, blogs were similar to an online personal diary or journal.
Bloggers would share their thoughts and document their personal lives.
Today, there are blogs covering every topic and niche you can think of.
Affiliate websites use blogging to reach an audience online and make money by promoting products and services.
You don’t need hundreds of thousands of website visitors to earn a decent income from an affiliate blog.
But you do need to focus on a specific niche with an existing online audience…
...And a niche where people are willing to spend money.
Before you start writing any blog posts, you should have a good idea of the type of content you want to write and the niche you are going to cover.
If the thought of sitting down to read a 1,500-word article on kitchen faucets sounds like torture, don’t start an affiliate site covering the topic.
Affiliate blogging can be a fun and enjoyable way to earn money online if you are interested in the topics you write about.
How to Write Affiliate Blog Posts That Convert
Monitor Backlinks estimates that the average conversion rate for affiliate sites sits between 0.5 and 1%.
The reason for this low conversion rate?
Poor quality content.
There are thousands of unpolished and spammy affiliate websites online.
These sites publish content that doesn’t offer any value and that nobody wants to read.
When you publish high-quality, engaging content, you don’t need to drive a huge amount of traffic to your website.
Quality content draws people in, gets them to trust your recommendations, and click on your affiliate links.
Here’s how to write a quality affiliate blog post in 7 steps:
Step 1 - Choose a Topic
Coming up with a topic for a blog post can be challenging…
…But it’s also one of the most critical factors in the success of any blog post.
With a great topic, you know that people will be interested in checking out your content and hearing what you have to say.
Choose a bad topic, and even the best quality writing isn’t going to help you attract many eyeballs and affiliate sales.
Coming up with a decent topic is vital.
So how do you find a good topic for a blog post?
You can start by grabbing a pen and some paper and brainstorming some ideas.
Don’t worry too much about the quality of your ideas yet.
For now, try to get as many ideas as possible down on paper.
Once you’ve got a good amount, determine the viability of each topic and if it’s a good candidate for a blog post.
If you’re struggling for ideas, there are some great free and paid tools you can use to help you:
Answer The Public
This free to use tool shows you the common questions that people ask about a topic or keyword.
Enter a seed keyword or topic, and AnswerThePublic will return a visual breakdown of related questions:
Evaluate the results for potential blog topics.
Google Trends is a great way to judge the potential of a blog post topic idea.
If you’ve brainstormed a bunch of ideas, use Google Trends to see if there is a growing interest in the topic online:
You can jump on a trending topic before your competitors and capitalize on increasing interest online.
It’s a paid tool, but BuzzSumo is awesome for finding blog topic ideas.
Enter a topic or keyword, and BuzzSumo will show you the most popular related content that has already been published online.
You can find proven topics that you know your audience will be interested in.
Step 2 - Keyword Research
According to a study by Conductor, 64% of all website traffic comes from organic search:
To get your blog posts seen by as many people as possible, you need to write about the topics people are searching for online.
Keywords are the phrases that people type into search engines to find information related to a topic.
There are a bunch of free and paid tools you can use to help you with keyword research.
For this guide, we’re going to use the free tool Ubersuggest.
Head over to Ubersuggest, and you’ll see a page like this:
Type in the topic of your blog post, or a potential title that you have in mind, and press search.
You’ll see a results page like this:
You can see the Search Volume and the SEO Difficulty for the keyword.
The Search Volume shows you an estimate for how many people are searching for the keyword phrase each month…
...And the SEO Difficulty gives you an indication of how difficult it will be to rank high in the search results for the keyword.
The higher the SEO Difficulty, the more high domain authority websites that are competing for the keyword.
You should try to find keywords with a Search Volume of at least 500 and an SEO Difficulty of less than 35.
If a topic is really important to your niche but has a high SEO Difficulty, you can still create content on the topic and try to increase your ranking as a part of your long-term SEO strategy.
Ubersuggest also has a “Content Ideas” feature in the left-hand menu.
If you click on “Content Ideas”, you’ll see a results page like this:
You’ll see a list of content that is related to your keyword and has performed well on social media.
You can use this feature to help you come up with blog post ideas related to your keywords.
Once you’ve found some viable keywords for your post, make sure you include them naturally in your content.
- Use your keyword in the title
- Use your keyword in a subheading
- Add your keyword to image alt text
Search engine algorithms are getting better and better at judging the context of content, so you don’t need to keyword stuff.
Use your keyword and any variations naturally as you write your blog post.
Step 3 - Create an Outline
A great blog post won’t just flow onto the page when you start typing.
Even the most experienced bloggers need a rough outline to keep them on the topic.
You don’t need to write an extended outline that details every paragraph…
...But you should have a rough guide to make sure you stick to the point and stay focused.
An outline makes sure you have thought about the points you need to cover and the structure you want the article to follow.
It provides the bare bones of your article, making it easier for you to flesh out the article when you start writing.
Let’s say you are creating a product comparison article for two web hosting companies.
Your outline might look something like this:
A quick summary of the post and an overview of the two companies.
Section 1 - Features
The different hosting options and what’s included in each plan.
Section 2 - Ease of Use
How easy it is to sign up, purchase a hosting package, and connect your domain.
Section 3 - Performance
Which hosting provider offers better website speed, uptime, etc.
Section 4 - Customer Support
Customer service options and response times.
Section 5 - Conclusion
Summary and verdict on which hosting provider is better.
Creating an outline like this helps you to keep your blog post organized and structured.
It can also speed up the writing process by breaking your post down into smaller and more manageable sections.
Step 4 - Research
You don’t need to be an expert on every topic you write about, but you do need to know how to do some research.
If you’re writing a product review or comparison, try to get your hands on the product before creating your review.
When that’s not practical, check out the opinions of existing customers online, and note down what magazines and review sites say about the product.
If you’re writing an ebook or long-form authoritative blog post, find respected third-party websites and studies to back up your claims, including:
- Government websites
- Research papers
- Industry experts
- High domain authority websites
Make sure the information you include is correct and double-check any vital information related to the products and services you are promoting in your post.
Step 5 - Craft an Eye-Catching Headline
Headlines can make or break your blog post.
Most people will find your blog post via search engines.
Your blog post is competing with lots of other websites covering the same topic in the search results.
That’s why your headline is so important.
An eye-catching, compelling headline encourages people to click through to read your content.
A flat headline fails to get noticed and doesn’t generate any clicks.
According to CopyBlogger, 80% of people will read your headline, but only 20% will go on to read your content.
Take a look at the popular blogging and magazine-style websites on the internet.
You’ll find lot’s of these websites use similar formulas for there headlines, including:
Asking a question
A question headline is a great way to spark the curiosity of the reader.
Human beings are curious by nature, and a well-executed question headline can compel people to click and find out the answer.
An additional benefit of this type of headline is that they can be used to target long-tail keywords.
When people search for information online, they often ask questions rather than typing short, broad keyword phrases - especially for voice searches.
These types of headlines take advantage of the way the human brain likes to process information.
They package information in small chunks that are well suited to the modern internet user’s shortened attention span.
BuzzFeed uses this type of headline in a large percentage of their headlines.
Everybody wants the best.
This type of headline is excellent for “best of” product roundups and more informational search queries.
It’s also how people naturally talk to each other and search for information online.
Lots of people start a search query with “best type of” or “best product for”.
These are all proven formulas for clickable headlines.
If you want some help determining if your headline is good enough, you can use a free tool like Sharethrough Headline Analyzer:
This tool determines the strength of your headline and offers recommendations to make it more engaging.
Step 6 - Writing the Content
With a compelling headline, solid research, and an outline, you’re ready to start writing your content.
There are no set in stone rules as to how you should write a blog post.
Lots of professional bloggers like to sit down and write the whole thing in one sitting, while others write a few sections at a time over a more extended period.
Everyone is different, so do what works for you.
However, there are some things you can do to speed up the writing process.
The more writing you can do in one sitting, the more likely you are to stay focused and maximize your writing efficiency.
When you take an extended break, it can take a while to get back into the thought process you were in before you stopped.
It’s also a good idea to just get your ideas down on paper for the first draft.
Don’t worry too much about typos or grammar mistakes.
Try to get that first draft nailed, and make corrections and improvements during the editing process.
Another useful technique is to write the introduction last.
The introduction is really important, so you want to spend time making it as engaging as possible to encourage people to keep reading.
But trying to perfect the introduction can slow up writing the rest of the blog post.
You can start with the first section of your blog post, and go back to the introduction later.
There are no tricks or hacks to getting the words down on paper, but it does become a lot easier and faster as you become more experienced.
Step 7 - The Editing Process
Editing your blog post is much more than correcting typos and deleting the odd sentence.
It’s about gaining a complete overview of your content and making sure it is as sharp and engaging as possible.
Sometimes that means you’ll need to sacrifice paragraphs and sections that you spent time writing.
You want to make your content as smooth as possible for the reader.
Check for any repetition.
If you keep repeating a phrase, delete or rework the sentence if it makes an essential point.
Anything that makes the reader lose concentration or step back from reading is generally a problem.
The same goes for any awkward passages or turns of phrase.
You can read your blog post out loud to help you spot any awkward passages.
When you encounter a sentence that doesn’t sound quite right or that you struggle to read aloud, rework it until it flows well and rolls off the tongue.
How to Monetize Blog Posts Using Affiliate Marketing
There are lots of ways to make money with affiliate marketing...
...But at its base level, you need to get people to get your affiliate products in front of the people that will be interested in buying them.
That’s the number one goal for every affiliate marketer.
There are several ways you can accomplish that goal.
1. Choose the Right Affiliate Products
There are thousands of affiliate programs you can choose to join, but selecting the right affiliate offer for your blog content is vital.
You want to choose a product that is a great fit for your niche, and that solves a problem or helps your audience.
Helping your audience isn’t your only priority.
You also want to maximize your rewards and profit from each piece of content that you publish.
Affiliate networks are a great place to start looking for affiliate offers.
These networks have thousands of merchants and a vast number of products you can apply to promote.
For beginner affiliates, ClickBank and Amazon Associates are great places to find products to promote.
ClickBank is easy to join and has thousands of digital products that offer commissions of up to 75%.
Amazon Associates offers lower commission rates, but it’s one of the most recognized brands on the internet…
...And people are comfortable and familiar with spending their money there.
Make sure the affiliate products you choose to promote are a good fit for your audience.
If you write about dog training, don’t try to promote web hosting.
2. Well-Placed Calls-To-Action (CTA)
You can write the best review of a product on the internet, but if you don’t include a CTA, people will click away from your site and head back to Google or Amazon to find a way to buy the product.
Your visitors won’t know what to do next if you don’t tell them.
The goal of your monetized blog post is to make a sale and earn a commission.
That can only happen if people click on your affiliate link.
You want to include a prominent CTA button that stands out from the rest of the page.
Here’s an example of a CTA button in a product roundup by Roasty Coffee:
You can insert CTAs into your text, add CTA buttons beneath product images, and include a strong CTA in the conclusion of your content.
For a single product review, it’s best to limit your use of CTAs to one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom of the review.
Any more and you can harm the user experience and appear as spammy.
3. Affiliate Banner Ads
Affiliate banner ads are a great way to promote your affiliate offers and monetize blog posts that aren’t product-focused.
You can use advertising placement spots to promote your affiliate offers on relevant blog posts.
Here’s an example of an affiliate banner ad from a ClickBank merchant:
You can create your own banner ads, or use the ads supplied by the merchant.
The majority of affiliate network merchants will provide you with advertising materials, including premade banner ads.
These premade banner ads can easily be added to your site by copying and pasting the HTML code.
Unlike Google display ads, you retain control over which products are shown to your audience…
...And you earn much more through one affiliate sale than you will through thousands of display impressions.
4. Focus on the Final Stage of the Buyer’s Journey
When people are in the final stage of the buyer’s journey, they have already become aware of their problem/goal and are in the process of deciding on which product to buy.
Internet users want to make informed purchasing decisions, so they research different options before they part with their money.
That research includes comparing different products and looking at reviews.
It’s much easier to convert website visitors into buyers that are willing to click on your affiliate links if you target keywords and topics at the end of the buyer’s journey.
There are a couple of easy ways to do this:
There are a bunch of affiliate websites that make a killing out of promoting products solely by using review articles.
Here’s an example of a review article by Tom’s Guide:
The review is helpful and contains all the information somebody interested in the product would need to know before making a purchase…
...And it contains multiple affiliate links for the reader to click through and purchase the product.
Reviews are effective for affiliate promotion because they educate the reader about the product, providing the reassurance people need before committing to buy.
The majority of people searching for reviews are ready to make a purchase; they just want to determine which product is the best fit for their needs.
A product comparison or listicle article can be a great way to monetize your blog content and earn an affiliate commission.
This type of content compares different products so the reader can choose the product that best suits their needs.
The Wirecutter is an excellent example if an affiliate website that uses listicles to monetize its content:
And Snapsort is a good example of an affiliate website that utilizes product comparisons:
These blog posts target people who are already aware of their problem/goal and are looking for possible solutions.
They are looking for information to help them find the right product to buy.
By comparing different products, you help the reader understand the pros and cons of each product and which one is the best fit for their needs.
You should include everything that people need before they are ready to click your affiliate link and buy a product.
5. Use How-To Articles to Promote Products
How-to guides and tutorials are another effective way to monetize your blog content and earn a commission.
This type of content walks the reader through the process of completing a task or overcoming a problem.
A lot of beginner affiliates make the mistake of creating product-specific how-to guides.
How-to guides like:
“How to use ConvertKit”
“How to repair a Nikon D5600”
Here’s the problem with this type of content.
When somebody is searching for a guide on how to use a specific product, it’s because they already own the product.
Nobody is going to search for a guide on how to use a product they don’t have access to already.
The best way to use how-to guides to monetize your blog content is to create a broader tutorial and include your affiliate product as an additional resource.
If your affiliate product is ConvertKit, you could write a tutorial on how to build an email list.
A person searching for information on how to build an email list probably hasn’t purchased all of the tools and products they need yet.
Blogging Tips for Affiliate Marketers
For affiliate marketing to be effective, you need to create content that is valuable and relevant to your audience.
You also need to optimize your content for readability.
By becoming a trusted source of information, your audience is more likely to listen to your recommendations and purchase your affiliate products.
Here are six tips to help you succeed with your blogging efforts and make more affiliate sales.
1. Analyze Your Competitors’ Top Content and Keywords
Spying on your competitor’s best performing content shows you which topics and keywords drive the most traffic.
You can replicate their success by creating blog posts on a similar topic and adding more value.
To do that, you need to create content that is more comprehensive, more user-friendly, and more helpful to your target audience.
You’ll find that lots of websites showcase their best-performing blog posts.
For example, the coffee niche affiliate website Home Grounds has a popular posts section on its homepage:
By analyzing the headlines and the URLs of the most popular articles, you can quickly identify the keywords that each article targets.
If we take the first blog post as an example, the headline and URL suggest that “coffee grind size chart” is the target keyword:
For a more data-driven approach to competitive analysis, you can use Ubersuggest to spy on your competitor’s top content pages.
Rather than entering a keyword or topic, enter the URL of your competitor’s website.
After entering the URL, click on the “Top Pages” option in the left-hand menu:
This will show you which pages are driving the most traffic from search engines:
For Home Grounds, we can see that the blog post on burr coffee grinders generates 16,227 visits per month.
If you click on the “View All” button in the “EST. VISITS” section, you can see a breakdown of the keywords the content ranks for, and the amount of traffic that each keyword generates:
This is an easy and effective way to identify hot topics and keywords you can include in your blog posts.
2. Keep Sentences and Paragraphs Short and Concise
Short sentences and paragraphs are easier to read.
They make it easy for the reader to scan your blog post, and they limit the chances of going off on a tangent mid-sentence when you are writing your content.
The same goes for your paragraphs.
The shorter the paragraph, the more likely the reader is to keep working their way down the page.
Try to keep each idea or point you discuss in its own concise paragraph.
UX Planet has a good article on the best practices for keeping text on webpages user friendly.
Here’s an example from the article to illustrate the importance of shorter sentences and paragraphs:
A long block of unbroken text is intimidating to the reader.
When a user visits your website and is confronted with a large wall of text, they’re likely to click back to the search results and find a webpage that is easier to read.
You want to make it as easy as possible for your visitors to consume your content, explore your site, and click on your affiliate links.
Keep your sentences short and your paragraphs concise.
3. Update Old Content
As you grow your site and become a more experienced blogger and affiliate marketer, you’ll sharpen your writing skills and learn more about your niche.
When you read your old blog posts, you’ll notice lot’s of things you can change to improve the content.
You should regularly audit your content and see what you can update and improve on.
This will help you to make sure you offer up to date content to your audience, but it can also boost your ranking in search results.
Search engines want to show searchers the most relevant results for a search query.
If you publish a blog post and fail to keep it updated, you won’t maintain your ranking in search results for long.
You can check Google Search Console to see if any of your ranked pages are slipping down the rankings and generating less traffic.
The next step is to go through the blog post and replace any outdated sections with new and up-to-date information.
4. Make Sure Your Content Is Optimized for Mobile Users
According to Broadband Search, 58% of organic traffic from search engines is from mobile devices:
It’s more than likely that the majority of your website visitors will be reading your blog posts on a mobile device.
Mobile devices have smaller screens, and people are usually using them while they’re on the move.
To cater to mobile users, you need to make your content easy to read on mobile as it is on desktop.
Here’s a checklist for optimizing your content for mobile users:
- Use a scrollable content format instead of multiple pages.
- Choose a responsive, lightweight WordPress theme that automatically adjusts to the screen size of your website visitors.
- Make sure your CTAs and other buttons are easily clickable on smaller screens.
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short.
- Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages AMP to offer fast loading speeds to your visitors.
Improving the experience for your mobile users will help you boost the chances of conversion, but it can also improve your ranking in search results.
Google recently announced that it would switch to mobile-first indexing for all sites by March 2021.
That means Google will use the mobile version of your site to determine where you rank in search results.
If your site offers a poor experience for mobile users, you’ll find it harder to rank high in search results.
5. Leverage Social Media Sharing Buttons
Include social media sharing buttons to make it easy for your readers to share your content directly from your website.
There are many free WordPress plugins you can use to add social media sharing buttons to your web pages.
You should place these buttons at the start of your content, or below your conclusion to maximize social shares.
Some plugins will enable you to place your social sharing buttons in a floating sidebar to maximize visibility as your visitors read your content.
Once you have built up a following on social media, you can also include social media stats to show how many people have engaged with your post and shared it on their social channels.
This can boost your credibility and increase the amount of trust your visitors’ place in your reviews and recommendations.
6. Start Small and Grow
As a beginner affiliate marketer, it can feel intimidating when you look at extensive affiliate blogs with hundreds of pages of content.
But all of these sites started small.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is publishing your first post.
Once you’ve done that, get some feedback and learn how to improve to make your next blog post better.
Affiliate blogging is a compounding strategy.
The more high-quality blog posts you publish, the more exposure you will receive, and the more traffic you will generate from search engines.
Things start to snowball, and you’ll soon have a website that is generating thousands of visits per month.
We’ve covered the basics of writing a blog post and how to monetize your blog using affiliate marketing.
You don’t need to be an expert wordsmith or affiliate marketing wizard to get started, but you need to be willing to learn and grow your skill set over time.
Content is the reason why people visit your site.
Focus on delivering value and make sure every blog post is relevant and helpful for your readers.
Once you start to grow your audience, you’ll soon be promoting your affiliate products to a broader base of potential customers and generating affiliate sales.