Affiliate Program Guide for People trying to make it online
This blog post will answer three often repeated questions, when it comes to affiliate programs:
- What are the best affiliate programs?
- How to find the best affiliate programs?
- Which affiliate programs pay the most?
First of all, if you are looking for affiliate programs that pay well you probably already have a blog or you are thinking of getting one and thinking about monetizing it.
/*This guide will not contain any affiliate links and is not monetized in any way. My only intention is to help. And to provide information for people who have chosen the very-hard road to making a living online.
Welcome to the ranks of people making (or trying to make) a living online!
You are in for a tough ride. Tighten you seat belt and prepare for the journey of your life.
In this guide I make two assumptions about you:
- You don’t have tens of thousands of $ to invest in your website and hire a digital marketing agency(ies) to get your blog to the top for you
- Your final goal is to make a living online from your websites and make that your full-time job
In order to understand how to find the best affiliate program we need to do some “mythbusting” first:
There is NO best affiliate program(s)! you need to stop looking for the best/highest paying affiliate programs.
Instead you have to look for the best affiliate program for you!
Why? It’s all about the money, the percentage they pay after each sale/subscriber and the best affiliate programs are the highest paying affiliate programs. – you might say
Allow me to explain:
The first most important thing when choosing the best affiliate program
If you are starting out and you intend to monetize your blogs you need to work your ass off. If you are starting out and you are blogging/working on your website while working full time: you have no idea what you are in for.
There is no healthy work-life balance for you in your first two years (usually it takes that long to start making some serious money with your blog, $ 500+ per month and you need multiple very popular blogs to be able to quit your full-time job).
You need to devote yourself entirely to your goal. ALL your free time, which is not spent working at the your workplace needs to be devoted to your blog (say goodbye to social life! or any other hobby). Or you won’t succeed.
And this is exactly why a simple percentage becomes irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
Choose an affiliate program based on your interests, not percentages
And this is why it is important to choose affiliate programs not based on percentage but based on your interest.
You need to choose something that won’t make you throw up just by hearing or reading about it after two years of blogging – two years of blogging without making any significant money from blogging.
Instead of choosing an affiliate program based on percentages you need to ask yourself:
- What are my interests?
- What do I like to do or read about outside of my work/profession ?
/Choosing something not-work related is recommended. Imagine you are working 9 hours only to go home and blog about the same stuff 1-2 hours each day and all weekend.
You will burn out sooner, than you could say: “Fuck this!” :)/
You don’t have to be an expert of the niche in the beginning. Being interested in the niche is enough, in two years time you will be a self-taught expert.
You will explore, research and by the end of the second year you will become a self-taught expert of every facet of the niche you have chosen (of course, only if you take it seriously). And I guarantee you, that you will hate whatever niche(s) (remember you need multiple popular blogs, not just one if you intend to make a living from blogging) you have chosen.
After the first few months of the initial rush of motivation it will be really hard to create useful content, which is interesting and helps people.
And you can only succeed by providing: highly useful content, which is interesting and helps people. Now wonder as much as 90% of blogs get abandoned after a year.
The competition is extreme already, and is constantly growing in every niche. If you are thinking of making a living online and you only start in 2020 you are quite the late-comer.
In short: You need to choose something that you can blog about for two years+, research it and bring something new and fresh to the table.
Money follows success and the more interest you have in whatever you are blogging about your motivation will increase and you will be more often inspired (even after working 9 hours at the office and you are dead-tired).
Being inspired is paramount to create astounding content, which performs well. (kick-ass content is the only content worth producing, because the competition is already so high, filler content will get next to no visitors).
The second most important thing when choosing the best affiliate program
Life-time revenue share or subscription share affiliate programs >single-sale affiliate programs.
Single-sale affiliate programs: Pays after each successful sale coming from your blog
Life-time revenue share: Pays after each successful sale coming from your blog and each successive sale made by the same customer
For example:You blog about golf clubs and you have affiliate banners on your blog, which pay 50% if someone buys a golf club at the store you advertise.
It might sound good on paper and 50% is indeed quite high. However making and maintaining a successful blog is hell of a lot of work, a lot of time.
And time is money.
With a single-sale, non-lifetime revenue share affiliate program your acquisition cost per sale can quickly become unsustainable and unprofitable and you will be less interested in return visitors to your site.
With a single-sale affiliate program:
If a new visitor arrives at your blog post and clicks on a text link or banner link on your blog, then that’s it. No matter how many times they are returning and clicking on ads of the golf club company they are not going to generate any more money for you.
/Of course there are cross-selling opportunities (i. e.: golf balls) . But there is a limit on how much ads you can put on your website before you start to look like a spammy, thin affiliate site./
If you only have single-sale affiliate links on your blog, then you can not make the assumption, that a growing number of visitors to your website will lead to an increased revenue!
- the value of returning visitors is very low compared to new visitors
- as the websites ages, the percentage of returning visitors compared to new visitors will increase
You will end up absolutely dependent on an influx of new visitors and you will end up disregarding your return visitors in favor of new visitors.
The biggest problem with this model – if you are intending to make a living online from your website – is that it is unsustainable. As your website gets bigger and bigger, the amount of time just for maintenance will grow and your expenses will grow as well.
Not to mention, what will you do if every potential buyer/customer have seen your blog already? (It can happen if you choose a very small niche) You will bring in un-targeted visitors with 0.0001% conversion rate?
The key to making a living online from your website is growth focusing on quality and by providing useful content and sustainability. This will inevitably leads to return visitors. So it is key to monetize return visitors.
With a life-time revenue share affiliate program:
With a life-time share program you will be interested in growing the number of return visitors. The best way to do that is focusing on quality and by providing useful content, which you have to do anyway if you intend to be successful.
You will still have cross-selling opportunities. Therefore it is safe to say, that single-sale affiliate programs offer no advantage over life-time revenue share programs.
If you are planning to make a living online life-time revenue share affiliate programs are your best choice.
In time you can build up a big portfolio of customers, who will generate passive income for you (the holy-grail of affiliate marketing).
With single-sale affiliate programs you can never get passive income because you always have to work to bring in new visitors.
This is how you find the best affiliate program:
- find out what interests you
- look for a life-time affiliate program in that niche
If there is no life-time revenue share affiliate program in the niches you are interested in (which I doubt, you can find life-time revenue share affiliate programs in almost every niche), then you won’t be able to make a living from your blogs and make that your full-time job.
niche you are interested in + life-time revenue share affiliate program= the best affiliate program for you
By choosing the right affiliate program you can monetize your blog(s) and become successful and the more successful you are the more you can make with you affiliate program.