If one searches for “how to make money from blogging”, google will return approximately 66 million results. So it’s safe to say that it is amongst the most popular searches in 2021.
I’m not the most expert in this subject – I’m working on it – but I know a thing or two about blogs and affiliate marketing.
Who am I?
I have been involved for more than a decade, in web design/web development, helping businesses with SEO, writing articles, and getting paid as a ghostwriter, and also via blogging myself and content creation in general.
During all these years, of course, I have seen many successful blogs generating income via affiliate marketing and my opinion is that it is fairly easy to get started with even for the absolute beginner.
Don’t fool yourself. There is no magic pill, no overnight success in this. Bloggers who make money from blogging have dedicated hours, weeks, months, years writing and developing their blog. They treat it as a business, and this is what I want you to do.
There are many advanced affiliate marketing and methods and programs to sign in, but I will keep it simple. I will explain what you need to do, to get started with a blog, to start writing and how to get inspiration. I hope I will give you the right motivation to get going, and, eventually, succeed 🙂
Should I do affiliate marketing?
Yes, in my opinion, affiliate marketing is the main way, (but not the only), to generating income by writing articles related to a subject, using affiliate links to products or services in your articles, hopefully lead people to a purchase page, via your affiliate links, where they buy the product and you get a small commission.
It is that simple. I mean, it’s not rocket science 🙂 but of course writing nice, interesting, and intriguing articles or blog posts is not easy. Your first articles will probably suck unless you are an extremely gifted writer for which I’m extremely jealous, but that’s ok. 😀
Take it as a life lesson. The first thing of everything new we try is usually not a very good attempt, but it’s the first step towards learning the craft.
Ok, enough with the chit chat, give me the details
Yes, yes, alright, so this is, from a practical point of you what you need to do.
You need a website, a blog. And you probably know that by now. However, please, please, avoid using free blogging platforms. And by that, I mean use blogging platforms on their free plan.
Let me explain.
You need to make an investment. I understand, I truly do as I have been there, that if you are unemployed and broke, every little dollar or euro or whatever currency you have, matters. I have some suggestions for you to keep your budget low if you have none, and I have suggestions for you that involve somewhat of a budget.
First, let me show you some of the blogging platforms I know and have used or at least tried in the past.
I have seen bloggers, successful ones, using all of the above-mentioned platforms.
However, my personal recommendation for blogging is either of the WordPress options.
Ideally, the WordPress self-hosted version is the best choice, but that requires you to purchase a hosting package from a provider somewhere. I’ll get to the domain name in a second.
If you are good with technology and websites, if you have used WordPress before, then you are going to be fine.
If you have no idea and no budget, but you want to start blogging, I would suggest, go for WordPress.com
It’s the same system, the same software, so once you reach the point where you would want to go to WordPress.org (I’ll explain why) then the transition will be easy.
Let’s talk domain names and why you need one
Regardless of which platform you choose, you need a domain name.
Wix.com and wordpress.com let you create a website for free, which seems attractive to aspiring bloggers, as you don’t need any budget whatsoever.
Hear me out. If you want to be taken seriously and you want to make a career out of blogging, buy a domain name.
Stick with these platforms if you like, I have seen many bloggers using Wix or WordPress successfully, but if you want to build a name, if you want your readers and your potential brand deals to take you seriously, then you need a real domain name.
It doesn’t have to be the most sophisticated name, but of course, put some thought into it. Because, you know it, I know it, everyone knows it, a free domain name, such us:
- something.wix.com or
looks cheap (sorry but it does) and unprofessional.
I don’t want to be harsh on you, I want to help you understand how businesses work, and since you want to do marketing, you need to do proper marketing on yourself as well.
I understand that money and budget are big issues. But consider the following:
If you drink coffee from Starbucks reduce the number of coffees you buy from there and invest this money in a domain name instead.
In order to connect a domain name to either platform, you would need a subscription or a hosting package. The most basic plans range to roughly 50-60 dollars per year, depending on platform and requirements. For wordpress.com you would need their premium plan, in order to earn ad revenue, and that takes you to the 100$ approximately, per year. Definitely doable, if you really want to build a business from your home.
The cool thing about blogging is that you don’t need much more than that.
But I’m confused Xanthi, which blogging platform should I choose?
Even though I love the self-hosted WordPress, I understand that it’s not for everyone, and especially not for the beginner.
If you are not tech-savvy, and you don’t have to, and you want just to be able to log in somewhere and write your blog posts, then using one of the blogging platforms is fine by me. But if I were to choose one, if we are talking about blogging, then I would go for WordPress.com. It’s a no-brainer, especially when it comes to SEO.
The other platforms have done big steps to further improve their platform to be more SEO friendly but in the end, it’s not just the platform itself. It’s YOU who is writing the articles, who is the one running the SEO game.
It’s up to you, up to us writers, to work on our SEO. A good title, nice content, SEO-optimized images, all are necessary things to be done.
On the other hand, If you decide to go self-hosting, then that’s awesome. The benefit of using WordPress.org for your affiliate blogging website is that you can easily expand and customize it. The other platforms, of course, they offer you peace of mind, but they come with design limitation. Maybe you are not that picky, and as long as you can find a nice, good-looking theme, then that’s all you need, and I’m 100% with you.
Time for my shameless self-promo. So if you want to go self-hosted WordPress: here I have my own affiliate link for you, IF you wish so, for a very affordable, hosting package from MissHosting. I want to clarify that this one is not something I would recommend for a large web commerce website. But for a starting up blogging site, is awesome.
Ok, ok, I know I talk too much.
But let’s see now. We have covered the website Basics, as In you need a website, with a proper domain name.
What do you do next?
I have a free course, there is really no catch, where I show you how to install WordPress and start blogging if you want to go to self-hosted WordPress site, where I guide you with all the technical and structural steps you need to do in order to build your website.
But in principle, this is what you need to do:
Start writing 🙂 start creating content
Let me explain a bit more.
What to do once my blog website is online?
This is where you need to start blogging and writing like an idiot xD
Content, content, content.
And mostly for Google’s sake. Your website is brand new, you rank 0, so you need to start making it obvious for the search engine, that you exist.
Before you can start making money from potential sales, you need to have content, and to build your audience, you need to build traffic to your website.
Major advice for affiliate marketing
Don’t choose a subject that is popular and that is considered a high-paying niche.
If you don’t enjoy the subject, I give you tops a month before you get tired of it, and not wanting to write anything more about it.
Pick instead something that you really love.
Let’s say you want to write about make-up. That’s perfect. Write valuable, interesting things. Tutorials are good because they explain to readers how to do certain things. People love tutorials and they always search for them.
Social media. Promote the shit out of your website
Write, promote, write promote.
BUT, not in a spammy way. I know it’s hard to understand, what the F* do you mean not spammy?
Well, I see a lot on Twitter, for instance, tweets that just link. No, I don’t want to click on your link. I want to get to know you first. I want to follow people that have something important to share. And then if I like it, I will probably click on their link.
As with everything you need to build relationships.
Then to more practical things (finally)
Once you have some traffic, you can apply to affiliate programs that are close to your niche. Then you get access to certain links that lead to products, that you can include in your blogs. If your visitors follow the link and make a purchase, then you get a commission. Amazing.
Alternatively, you can research for companies that you like, to see if they offer affiliate links.
This is actually what I am doing.
I have a few affiliate links that I use on this website, but I haven’t enrolled in some programs like Amazon’s affiliate program.
For instance, I have links for two hosting providers and Elementor.
I’m happy with that for now and yes I have generated a few dollars and for which I’m happy 🙂
So to summarize the steps are the following:
- Get a domain name
- Get a blogging platform subscription or hosting package
- Pick a theme you REALLY LOVE
- start creating content
- Apply for an affiliate program. It’s better to build some content first.
- Keep writing, keep grinding, and promoting your blog by connecting with people on social media.
There are some things you can do on social media in order to promote your blogging business, but this is a topic for a different blog post. Let me know in the comments if you have questions, I would love to help you.
Thank you for reading all the way here, I really appreciate your time.
I hope I helped you and I wish you good luck with your affiliate marketing journey.