Creating a Passive Income Online with your Blog or Website

Affiliate Marketing Chart

The internet age has provided everyone with so many new opportunities for business. One in particular deals with internet marketing and affiliate links. Internet marketing is a very powerful tool that can help people earn a living or provide a good side business of passive income. So how do you become a part of the internet marketing world? Simple. Hard work, a passion of yours to blog about, and the ability to learn and help others. Internet marketing is not a get rich quick type of business. It is a business that you must build like any other, but the longer you keep at it and the harder you work, the more success will come your way.

In this article I will talk about affiliate marketing and how to tie it into your blog. Here is the definition of internet marketing according to Wikepedia.com.

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as ‘retailer’ or ‘brand’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’), and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third party vendors.

Research and Decide on a Niche Market

The first thing you’ll need to do when starting is think about a niche market to to blog about. Come up with a list of things you are passionate about. Once you have this list, you’ll want to do keyword research to find out how much competition there is and what keywords to use in order to come up higher in Google’s search results. For basic keyword research you can get a free account at www.google.com/adwords and use the keyword tools. However, if you are looking for a more thorough keyword research tool that does more of the work for you, I’d highly recommend Market Samurai. I use Market Samurai for my keyword research and it has helped out so much. Plus, it saves you hours of research and I’ve been able to get the best results from it. I will have a future post about keyword research with guest Blogger “Hillary St Jonn” of www.SwedishFreak.com. SwedishFreak is a very popular blog about the Swedish lifestyle.

Buy a Domain and Set up your Blog with WordPress

Once you’ve decided on a topic to blog about you’ll need to get the site set up. Setting up a blog is much easier and cheaper than you think. I’ve explained the basics on setting up a blog in a previous post you can view here. I highly recommend setting up a blog by using a company like Bluehost for your hosting and domain name. The cost to get this set up is just $6.95 / month and you get a free domain. So you can find your own unique URL for your blog. Bluehost makes it very easy to integrate the WordPress platform with the hosting service. Once your WordPress account is setup, you’ll use a free platform called WordPress to do the design and blogging for your site. It is a powerful platform that many of the top bloggers in the industry use. There are many free templates to choose from that will work well for you. I used free templates initially, and eventually purchased software from Woothemes which eliminates the need to know coding. If you are decent with coding, you might also check out the Thesis theme because it is web based, powerful, and has some excellent SEO features. Below is a tutorial about how to start a blog with WordPress.

In addition to basic affiliate links in text, companies also provide you with banners to advertise their products. Here is a small banner to show as an example.

“Alright, so on to affiliate marketing. How do I set it up already? I have a blog and want to start monetizing it. But don’t know a thing about it!”

Example:

If this is the case, than please pay attention to the following information about starting your passive income. I’ll give you an example of how I use affiliate marketing.

I am  extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and helping others. So, I use affiliate marketing to promote products and services that will help other entrepreneurs. They are things that I use and really believe in. For instance, I use a great and cheap phone service that provides my company with a toll free 800 phone number. The company is Grasshopper and I use it to look more professional and to have an answering service. Want to ask questions about it? Comment on this post or call the number ( 800-294-3670 ) and ask for Pete!

That example was affiliate marketing. I just provided affiliate links recommending a favorite service that I use by Grasshopper. Now, if someone clicks on the link I provided and purchases the service, I’ll earn a commission. So I am basically a salesman for Grasshopper. Except I don’t have to do anything besides provide a link for my readers to click on. I share with others how to get businesses set up, and at the same time I recommend products that have helped me. I get a commission or cut if the reader buys the product. It’s a win win.

“Alright Pete, I get it. Now how do I go about getting these affiliate links on my blog?”

Find Affiliate Programs to Sign up For

To get started, write out a list of your favorite companies with products or services you’d like to promote. Next, go to their website and see if they have an affiliate program. I’ll use Bluehost as an example. Bluehost is the domain and hosting company that I highly recommend. For each person that signs up, I make $65.00. Not bad. To become an affiliate for Bluehost you simply go to their web page, click on the affiliates section, and sign up for the program. You’ll need to fill out a W-9 and give them your business name / tax id number. Once this is all completed, you’ll get login information and be provided with links and banners. To use a link, simply link it to text in your blog or add the html banner code somewhere on your blog. The link is connected to your affiliate account. Whenever anyone clicks through and purchases, you will be notified and Bluehost will cut you a check for your help in getting them new business.

Say you love hunting and you want to promote hunting vests, dog training devices, and chaps. You’d want to go to your favorite hunting sites like Bass Pro, Hunting GPS Maps, or Uplanders.com to see if they have affiliate programs. Usually they’ll have a link at the bottom of their page that says something like “Become an Affiliate”.  You’ll click on the button and sign up for their program. For instance, click here to see what the signup page looks like for Uplanders.com.

Think Entrepreneurship - How to create a passive income using Affiliate Links

You’ll notice that many companies actually use a service to manage their affiliate programs. Commission Junction, Shareasale, and Linkshare are a few of them. By signing up with there sites, companies can start an affiliate program for their online store. Bloggers can also sign up and then become affiliates for these companies. Commission Junction manages thousands of companies that you can advertise for. You can browse categories to see what would be best for you to sell. They provide affiliate management solutions for many well known companies including Zappos.com , 1-800 Flowers.com , Big Commerce , and so on. If you had a site about wedding planning you could become an affiliate for 1-800 Flowers and get a commission for each  bouquet you sell. Some companies will give you a commission and others will pay you a flat fee for each product or service that you sell.

In addition to in house affiliate programs and broker managed affiliate progams, you can also become an affiliate for companies like Amazon.com. Amazon sells just about anything under the sun. Their commission starts at just 6% (last time I checked), but is still decent passive income if you are getting good traffic to your site. I am an affiliate for Amazon products and an example of how I’ve promoted products is explained in a previous Think Entrepreneurship post shown here. In the post, I explain how a green screen can help with product videos and in creating tutorial videos for a site or blog. I then provide an affiliate link and banner for the reader to buy the same green screen I have, if they are interested. In addition to simply writing about products, it is great to make videos and even podcasts. Below is an example of a video that I made to show the green screen that I use. Users can watch the video on my Green Screen Post and then find an affiliate link to buy the product from Amazon.com.

Summary

I’m going to be honest. It’s going to take time, a lot of posts, and hard work before you start making much money doing affiliate marketing on your site. But once you start getting descent traffic you’ll begin to see sales grow. In the meantime, one thing you can do is tell your friends about the links. For example, if you are a tech savvy and internet person, chances are you’ve had a friend or two ask how they can set up an online store or a blog. Why not benefit from this and make a little money for referring them to a product you recommend? Get set up with an affiliate program and then shoot them an email with the link for them to sign up. If they are interested in the program you recommend and they want to buy it, you’ll get a cut for the referral.

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read and learn about how affiliate marketing works. I hope I was able to explain the basics about how to get started in affiliate marketing and why you can benefit from it. If you are looking into getting started, I am more than happy to provide you with guidance in getting all set up. If you thought this blog post helped and you do nd up signing up for a domain/ hosting or another service I’d sincerely appreciate having you use one of the affiliate links in this post. All the products I recommend have worked great for Think Entrepreneurship, are affordable, and are from companies that I believe in. However, there are a lot of other great companies out there, so please do your research! Have a great day and best of luck getting your blog set up with affiliate marketing. If you have questions please contact us.

–Please post comments below. I always love to hear from readers. Find us on Facebook as well!