In today’s creator economy, knowledge is your biggest asset if you can reach out to the right audience.
Popular blogs like SQL Authority by Pinal Dave and iTechCode by Amit Shaw have been crafting insightful tech content for their readers for years. Apart from driving traffic and making SEO efforts, these influencers have also been channelizing their earnings through affiliate marketing as well.
As a web developer or a programmer who owns a personal blog, you’re sitting on a lucrative side-income opportunity. However, while the threshold to start blogging is pretty low, monetizing it can be tricky.
One of the best ways to monetize a website is to use affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a way to share revenue with the products you advertise on your blog. You, the affiliate, can promote products or services for another business by placing a unique code or referral link on your blog. You earn a commission if your blog visitors purchase the product through your referral link.
Why Is Affiliate Marketing Good For Your Blog?
Studies show that over 80 per cent of brands use affiliate marketing to reach their customers. There are also no start-up costs, especially if you already own a programming blog with existing incoming traffic. It doesn’t matter when you started blogging or how much experience you’ve gained in that time, you can always use affiliate marketing to monetise your passion project.
Note: You don’t need to pay to join an affiliate program, nor do you have to buy any products or services to start referring them on your blog.
Affiliate commissions can range from 2%-50%, depending on the product. So, as long you have active referral links on your blog, you will earn commissions whenever your visitors click on them and make a qualifying purchase. Affiliate marketing can easily help you earn a passive income, while you focus on other side hustles.
However, here’s a word of caution. Remember that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If your programming blog doesn’t attract much traffic right now, it could take months for you to see a return on your investment in affiliate links.
Also, affiliate marketing comes with no income guarantees. You don’t get paid until someone uses your link to complete a purchase. Naturally, your affiliate income will fluctuate from month to month, so it’s advisable to not depend on it as a regular source of income.
To begin with, start by looking out for the right affiliate programs to join. Affiliate programs are referral plans designed by brands to pay influencers and content creators in return for referring their products on their platform. For example, Razorpay Partner Program offers blog owners like you a lucrative way to earn income by advocating Razorpay’s complete suite of payment products to your readers.
There is no cap on how many partner programs you can join. But as a programming blog owner, you can focus on promoting products and services that are relevant to your niche. This could mean you could promote products such as computers and other associated hardware, or informational products such as programming courses or books or even IT services such as payment gateways, payment links, payment pages, payment buttons, web hosting, and VPNs.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where individuals or companies, known as affiliates, promote products or services on behalf of another business. Affiliates earn a commission for each sale or lead generated through their marketing efforts. It is a mutually beneficial arrangement that allows businesses to reach a wider audience and affiliates to earn passive income.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
The rise of affiliate marketing has been greatly influenced by the internet. One notable example is Amazon (AMZN), which popularized this practice by creating an affiliate marketing program. This program allows websites and bloggers to place links to Amazon product pages, earning advertising fees when a purchase is made through those links. Essentially, affiliate marketing operates as a pay-for-performance marketing strategy, leveraging a vast network to outsource the act of selling.
Although affiliate marketing predates the internet, it has become a billion-dollar industry due to the advancements in digital marketing, analytics, and cookies. Companies running affiliate programs can track the effectiveness of their links in generating leads and monitor the conversion of those leads into sales using internal analytics.
To expand their reach among internet users and shoppers, e-commerce merchants often employ affiliates. These affiliates can own multiple websites or possess extensive email marketing lists, allowing for a broader network. They then promote the merchant’s products through various means, including banner ads, text ads, website links, and email campaigns. Companies employ various advertising formats such as articles, videos, and images to capture the attention of their target audience and promote their services or products.
Benefits of the Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing offers numerous benefits for both merchants and affiliates. For merchants, it provides cost-effective advertising, wider market reach, and increased brand exposure. They only pay commissions when a sale or lead is generated, minimising upfront expenses. Affiliates benefit from the opportunity to monetize their online presence, earn passive income, and work flexibly. It requires minimal startup costs, as affiliates don’t need to create their own products or handle customer support.
Types of Affiliate Marketing
There are three primary categories of affiliate marketing: unattached affiliate marketing, related affiliate marketing, and involved affiliate marketing.
Unattached Affiliate Marketing: In this advertising model, affiliates promote products or services without any personal connection or expertise in the offering. They don’t position themselves as authorities on the product and refrain from making claims or recommendations. Unattached affiliate marketing involves minimal involvement and doesn’t require the affiliate to have a relationship with potential customers.
Related Affiliate Marketing: As the name suggests, related affiliate marketing involves affiliates promoting products or services that are relevant to their niche or area of expertise. Affiliates in this category have a certain level of influence and knowledge that allows them to generate traffic and be seen as trusted sources. While they may have a connection to the product, they refrain from making claims or guarantees about its use.
Involved Affiliate Marketing: This type of marketing establishes a deeper connection between the affiliate and the product or service being promoted. Affiliates in this category have personal experience using the product and are confident in sharing their positive experiences with others. They serve as trusted sources of information and rely on their own experiences as advertisements. However, because they provide recommendations, their reputation may be affected if any issues arise with the offering.
Find the Right Way to Place Affiliate Links On Your Blog
It is very important to understand your blog’s target audience. Pay attention to the platforms your audience spends most of their time on. Do your visitors read blog posts, scroll Facebook, or use search engines when researching new products? Are your readers always looking for a good deal and would respond to a discount coupon link on your blog? Or do they do tons of research before buying? This means they would appreciate your review on an affiliate product more than a simple ad.
Explore the Right Keywords and Search Terms
Search engines like Google play an important role in making your affiliate marketing successful. Their local results mean your chances of getting ranked higher for the same keywords in other locations are low. Hence, go for affiliate programs that are popular in your country.
Join an affiliate program with an established player in your location to amp up the trust factor. This way you don’t have to pull your weight in promoting your affiliate products.
Also, look at what search terms are getting you the most traffic? Explore Google Search Console analytics and focus your affiliate content around those terms to create offers that will convert. For example, if your blog’s visitors are finding your blog through the search term “reducing friction in check-out pages,” you might promote informational products for people who want to learn more about online payments.
Create a Content Strategy Around Your Affiliate Programs
It goes without saying that your blog will foster a loyal following if you consistently deliver content that delivers value to your readers. However, you will need to devise a content strategy that delivers value and helps you earn money. Explore the various types of content you can deliver.
The most natural way to include affiliate links in your blog is through how-to content. For example, you can suggest a tool from an affiliate partner that can reduce their coding time or recommend an online course from an affiliate partner to learn a particular subject. Whether you share coding advice, career guidance, tutorials, or coding hacks – they could all be presented as how-to content with an easy plug for a referral link.
Product reviews are another highly effective type of affiliate marketing content. Just make sure you are alays transparent with your readers that you will earn a commission if they choose to buy the product you are reviewing through your blog. Also, don’t recommend products you don’t trust. A quick commission isn’t worth losing loyal readers. That’s why it’s very important to choose an affiliate program with an established user base.
You don’t have to stick to a content type but stick to a consistent content strategy.
Review and Re-Strategise
Use Google Analytics to review your blog statistics regularly to see how content, and especially your affiliate content, is doing. If it makes sense, edit your older blog posts that are drawing the most traffic to insert your affiliate links.
Remember: Be Patient
Being persistent, consistent and patient is key to the process.
While COVID-19 has created enough uncertainty in all our lives, there has never been a better time to start investing your time and energy in using affiliate marketing to your advantage.
If you run a programming blog, you have already won half the battle. And if you don’t blog already, maybe this article has inspired you to?
Do share your notes on affiliate marketing for your programming blog with us.
Cheers to your first sale!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an example of affiliate marketing?
An example of affiliate marketing is when a blogger includes affiliate links in their product review, and if a reader clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the blogger earns a commission from the retailer.
How do I start earning money from affiliate marketing?
To start earning money from affiliate marketing, you can sign up for affiliate programs offered by companies, choose products or services to promote, and share your unique affiliate links with your audience through various marketing channels.
Can beginners do affiliate marketing?
Yes, beginners can definitely do affiliate marketing. It is a suitable opportunity for those starting out as it requires minimal upfront investment, and with the right strategies, dedication, and quality content, beginners can gradually build a successful affiliate marketing business.