How To Earn Passive Income From Affiliate Program?

What is affiliate marketing?

Since I haven’t talked much about affiliate programs yet, let me offer a short introduction.
As you’ve probably guessed, affiliate marketing is another way to make money from your websites. It’s the online version of working on commission.
You sign up to be an affiliate for a merchant that offers an affiliate program, and then you insert special tracking links into your site to promote the merchant or specific products the merchant sells. If one of your visitors clicks the link and buys something within a certain number of days, you’ll get a percentage of the sale. Terms vary from program to program.
Well-known merchants with affiliate programs are Amazon, eBay, and Clickbank (these guys are big in the sale of digital products, especially ebooks).
Affiliate marketing and article sites
What you may be wondering is should you be using affiliate links in your article sites. After all, we’ve kind of set everything up based on making money with Adsense, right? We based our niche and the keywords we’re targeting on what Adwords merchants are paying for clicks.
That’s all true, but you may also want to implement affiliate links into your article site. There’s nothing wrong with having an affiliate link on the same page as you have Adsense ads. If someone isn’t interested in clicking an ad (maybe they’ve ignored your well-placed ad unit and are focused on the text of the article), they might find a link inserted right into the sentence more appealing to click.
Unlike with pay-per-click advertising programs such as Adsense, you won’t get paid just for a click of an affiliate link. The reader must actually buy something (or, for pay-per-lead affiliate programs they must fill out a form) in order for you to make money. However, affiliate marketing can still be quite lucrative, because you’ll typically make a lot more on your commission than you would for a simple ad click.
As an example, I made $75 yesterday from one sale (someone who bought a big flat-screen TV on Amazon). I don’t even promote electronics for the most part (maybe I should!), but someone surfed in from a link on one of my home improvement sites, and that’s the “home improvement” they decided to make.
I’ve had Adsense clicks worth a few dollars, but I’ve never made that much on one click. And Amazon isn’t even known as a particularly lucrative affiliate program (they only pay 4% on electronics, and I’m making about %7.50 for sales of books and other products). If you surf through the Commission Junction website (kind of a big mall of merchants offering affiliate programs), you can find companies offering 10%-30% in commissions, and for Clickbank where all the products are virtual (and cost nothing to reproduce), commissions can be above 50%.
How should you integrate affiliate links in your article sites?
Some basic considerations for affiliate marketing are…
  • More sales are made from articles that “pre sell” the product. It’s not your job to sell it, just make the visitor aware of why they may need it and what their options are. A review article, for example, is probably the ideal vehicle for affiliate links. Product comparison and consumer information articles can also do well.
  • Links should be integrated right into the text. Banners in the menu or header (or anywhere for that matter) don’t perform as well as links placed right in the eyes’ path.
  • Products should be closely related to what you’re writing about. If you’ve been reading this series from the beginning, you’ll remember (and probably be sick of) my tennis ball machine example. Let’s use it one last time briefly. If I’m writing an article that discusses Lobster tennis ball machines, it makes sense to link to exactly that: Lobster tennis ball machines. I might link to two or three different models in an article that is offering information on the brand.
Are there any downsides to incorporating affiliate links into your article sites?
I don’t think there are any huge downsides, but there are a couple things you may want to think about before signing up for a dozen affiliate programs:
  • Merchants sometimes discontinue products, change links, or leave marketplaces such as Commission Junction, which charge a fee to belong. Any of those actions will break the links on your site. This can provide an obstacle to the “set it and forget it” passive-income generation we want with these article sites, since you’ll want to occasionally go back and make sure your links are still working.
  • Affiliate links can taint a reader’s perception of a supposedly unbiased information article. As soon as you put ads on a site, it’s clear your aim is to make money, but advertising is something we’re all familiar with in magazines, television, etc., so people are probably going to accept that displaying Adsense next to your article isn’t an endorsement of any particular company or product (you can even filter out offensive ads). However, if you start promoting products in your articles, it is more of a direct endorsement, and the veracity of the rest of your article–site–can be called into question.

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