A Change of Pace: The Business of Blogging

by Chrystal Johnson on October 8, 2010

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This blog post is going to be a little bit different than the norm.

First off, I’d like to say thank you to all of you who read and support this blog.

In a very short period of time, my blog has experienced a lot of growth. In the past 15 months my Alexa ranking (a site that ranks the popularity of websites) has gone from being over 24 million to in the top 350,000 websites on the internet and in the top 39,000 sites in the U.S., and it’s still growing fast.

In fact, I receive so many inquiries from companies who want to want me to review and promote their products that we are creating a spin-off site that is going to be all giveaways and reviews. It should be up and running in the next week.

Happy Mothering isn’t our first or only website, we’ve had several. Some have succeeded and some have failed.

I know there are a lot of you who have your own blogs and others who want to start your own sites to try to make a passive income from them. I want to help you.

From time to time I’m going to share what is working for me and what isn’t working for me. As well as explain in detail what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.

Affiliate Marketing

The way we (my husband Brian and I) make the majority of our money on the internet is from affiliate marketing. So today, I’m going to share a little bit of information with you about what affiliate marketing is, and how you can become an affiliate for various companies.

What are Affiliates and Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a form of internet advertising that allows anyone to promote a product or service through a website or other forms of online advertising.

Affiliates are people who use affiliate marketing to generate income. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your site (or blog) aside from selling your own product or service.

How much do affiliate programs pay?

It’s all across the board. I know of one affiliate program that sells an eBook for $19.95 and it pays you $40 if someone buys it.

Sounds crazy, right? Well, it’s because that eBook has an 80%+ conversion rate for upselling clients on future products, with the average person spending more than $1,000.

I know many affiliate programs that pay anywhere from 4-20% of every sale that you refer. I know of yet another one that pays ½ a cent per click. Affiliate program compensation is literally all over the board.

What are the Benefits of Affiliate Marketing?

  • It’s a great way to offer your visitors products that compliment the content on your blog or website (which helps you establish rapport and build trust with your readers).
  • It’s an excellent way to build multiple streams of income into your internet business.
  • You don’t need to have your own product… you can simply choose the best products or services already out there that offer affiliate programs.
  • You aren’t responsible for manufacturing anything.
  • You don’t have to manage inventory or ship products.
  • You don’t even have to take orders or deal with customer service.
  • There are affiliate marketers who make hundreds of thousands of dollars every month.

What are the Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing?

  • Link hijacking: This is when someone steals your affiliate link and replaces it with their own. There are services such as Pretty Link that you can purchase to cloak your links to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
  • Not all affiliate programs are from good companies (do your due diligence and research on a company before you become an affiliate).
  • Some companies lie (yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but some people on the internet lie) and make false claims about what their products or services can do. Obviously if you advertise that product and someone purchases it, and it doesn’t work like it was advertised, you will lose all credibility with that client (Also, new laws have been written to hold website owners responsible for false claims, even if it’s from an a third party company you represent as an affiliate).

As long as you are smart about your business when dealing with companies that offer affiliate-marketing programs, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

Here are a few examples of how affiliate marketing works:

Let’s say you want to start a new blog/site and you decide to use WordPress.org as the foundation to your site.

The first thing you need to do is set up hosting… This step is done before you even go to WordPress.org.

We use and recommend BlueHost for hosting. All of our websites are with them… BlueHost is an awesome company and their customer support is amazing. BlueHost’s customer support will walk you through how to do anything you need to do over the phone. Not too bad for only $7 a month (and they give you a free domain name too).

Now if you went to BlueHost through any of the links on our site here and you bought from them, we would make a commission.

Now let’s say you want to use a premium theme such as the Thesis theme (that we use for our all of our sites) and you bought it through our link, we would again receive a commission.

Or if you are more of a turn-key type of person who doesn’t want to deal with a lot of back-end development, and you took our recommendation to go with a TypePad blog (who we used previously) or a SiteBuildIt website (who we’ve also used), we’d make a commission from them.

So in a nutshell, being an affiliate (who uses affiliate marketing) is simply recommending/ selling products and services (that you fully support) through your blog or site and getting a commission for it.

Is this information helpful for you? What questions do you have?

About Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal, publisher of Happy Mothering, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former marketing manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life. She enjoys sharing those discoveries with anyone who's willing to listen.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Prerna October 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Hi,
Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea about link hijacking. Am gonna check out Pretty Link for sure.
Also, I find affiliate marketing to be quite convenient. I’ve mainly made money off Amazon and it’s been really easy and fun as well..

Thanks again,

Reply

2 Chrystal
Twitter: HappyMothering
October 8, 2010 at 8:06 pm

@Prerna… Amazon is great, I’m glad you’re having success with them too.

I’ve read estimates that somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-20% of affiliate links get hijacked. That’s why link cloaking services are starting to become popular.

In one of my future articles I’ll go into more depth and detail about link hijacking and how to avoid it.

Reply

3 Robert Wilson October 18, 2010 at 1:58 am

thanks for the post

Reply

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