*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you).
*This post contains affiliate links. I may get a small payment from purchases you make on these links, at no extra cost to you.
Something exciting happened a few weeks ago. I made my first affiliate sale! Today I want to discuss with you how I made my first affiliate sales.
Unlike many first time bloggers, I did not spend much time looking into blogging before starting Gardening Limited (now Blooming Anomaly). When I start a new project, I usually get so excited that I jump right in after only checking it out for a bit.
The same goes for how I started blogging. After reading and watching tutorials on how to set up a blog for only a few weeks, I jumped into blogging with both feet. This was a little over a year ago and I haven’t looked back since.
I have been able to quit my day job to tutor more and become a freelance writer, which is a dream come true. There are many ways to make money with your blog. Affiliate marketing is just one way to monetize.
Unfortunately, affiliate marketing is more complicated than adding links to a post and hoping people will click on those links. I’ve known about affiliate marketing for over a year but just made my first sales 14 months later. Why? Because it took me that long to figure out affiliate marketing.
Just like any other way to make money with your blog, you can approach affiliate marketing with different niches, audiences, and affiliate programs. The hard part is finding a formula that works for you. Below I’m going to break down how I was able to make my first few affiliate sales.
Pick a Niche
I know this can be hard if you are passionate about many things, but narrowing down your niche will save you in the long run. As you can see by the title and subject matter, my niche is gardening, specifically, urban gardening. I throw in some home decor and blogging tips every now and then but stick with gardening most of the time. Think about what you love and write about it!
When I first started blogging, I used the free version of WordPress for a month, then switched to being self-hosted. I’m really glad I did. With self-hosting, you have more freedom on what you can add to your blogs, such as certain plugins and links for affiliate marketing.
There are other ways you can make money on a self-hosted blog that you cannot do on a free service, so, if you are planning on making money with your blog, switch to self-hosting as soon as you can. I highly recommend Bluehost. I have been using them since I switched to self-hosting, it only cost a few dollars a month and their customer service is great! To read more about how to set up a blog using Bluehost, read How to Start a Blog.
Find Your Audience
This can be tricky and still is for me. It took me awhile to figure out who my audience was. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend connecting Google Analytics to your blog. Over time, Google will let you know who is checking out your posts. My audience mainly consists of American women in their 50s and 60s who enjoy gardening. The only reason I know this is because I check on my Google Analytics for Gardening Limited from time to time to see who is reading my blog.
You can also go looking for your audience as well. Do they hang out in Facebook groups or Twitter? Don’t be afraid to ask other bloggers in your niche where they find their audience. It may take some time, but when you do find your audience you will know what types of problems to solve for them.
Solve a Problem
Once you know who your ideal audience is, find out what they need help with. Blogging is all about helping each other out. What types of problems do people in your niche need help with? Find problems they need worked out, and solve them through helpful blog posts. Once you are seen as an expert in your niche, your audience will come back for more. An example of solving a problem in a post would be How to Get Rid of Aphids on Plants.
Pick One or More Affiliate Programs
There are many affiliate programs out there that you can join. I use Amazon Affiliates. They are a great affiliate program to start with since Amazon sells just about anything you can think of. The only tricky part is that you have to make at least three affiliate sales in several months to stay be approved in the program. If you get kicked out (like I did the first time) because you aren’t getting enough traffic to make sales, don’t worry. Wait for your traffic to increase then re-apply.
Focus on Popular Posts
This step can take time as well, so be patient. You can find out what your most popular posts are by using Google Analytics. Once you know which posts are bringing in the most traffic, place your affiliate links in those posts. You can’t still sit back at this step. Now is one of the most important parts of getting affiliate sales: promoting your posts!
One of my most popular posts is How to: Seashell Succulents Planter. Make sure to watch the bonus how to video at the bottom of the post!
Promote Your Post
You can write great articles that solve problems, but if no one knows about these posts, you won’t get any traffic to your blog. This is where promoting your posts come into play. There are many ways to do this. Share your post on sites where your audience hangs out. Share on all your social media platforms.
Email your list of subscribers to let them know about your new post. If you don’t have an email list, then I highly recommend you get started right away. What if social media platforms suddenly went away? So would all of your followers! Start building your email list now.
While working on building your email list of subscribers, you can focus on promoting your articles on social media. Out of all the social media platforms that I use, Pinterest gets me the most traffic to my blog. Every time I write a new article, I make a pin-worthy image and place it at the top of my post. I use this image and make several others and promote them on all my Pinterest group boards.
Pinning images to group boards every day can be time-consuming. Tailwind is a great way to schedule your posts and give you back time to do other things to help your blog grow. You can also join groups on Tailwind to get more eyes on your posts. Are you a garden blogger who wants to get more of your posts seen? Join my Urban Gardeners Tailwind tribe today!
All of these steps got me the affiliate sales I now have. Some bloggers are able to get a handle on affiliate marketing and sales much faster than me. If things don’t click right away, that’s okay. Try something else for awhile and see what happens. Blogging is a journey, full of many ups and downs. Enjoy the journey and be open to how much you will learn and discover!
Have you gotten any affiliate sales yet through your blog? How did you do it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!