Understanding Affiliate Marketing From The Perspective Of A Blogger

Money in the mail with affiliate bloggingI’ve been affiliate marketer for almost as long as I have been a blogger and it’s amazing how much you learn as you go along.

I was very frustrated by nearly all of the affiliate promotions run on my blog during the first two years or so. Each time I published a blog post that focused on an affiliate offer I had such a poor response, on several occasions I thought about giving up blogging altogether. Yet, over time, things would prove worthwhile, as sales began to trickle in.

I expected a rush of sales after posting a blog post affiliate promotion, like all the Internet marketers talk about, and was disappointed when it didn’t happen to me. Instead my sales “dripped” in, one every now and then over the days and weeks that followed, which was certainly not as exciting as $1,000+ in 24 hours just from writing one email, as others claim happened to them.

Those early days taught me that patience is a virtue when it comes to building an affiliate marketing business based on a blog. I’ve learned a lot about what goes into effective affiliate marketing since then, yet in many ways, I still walk into most promotions completely blind and with little expectation. You never know how well something will sell and I’m constantly surprised by my results.

What Pricing Point Should You Promote As An Affiliate?

Many of my affiliate promotions during the early years of this blog focused on low cost items, things like ebooks for under $50 or subscription sites that were under $30 a month. The commissions on these items were hardly massive, but I figured my audience was like me at the time – not in a position to buy items that cost over $100.

My first affiliate promotion blog posts focused specifically on a product. These were items I used or I knew were a must-have if you were serious about Internet business.

I started with Perry Marshall’s Definitive Guide To Google AdWords ($49) and Renaissance Club ($29.95), which was the beginning of a love affair with promoting Perry’s products. I also promoted Andy and Darren’s Six Figure Blogging course, which cost over $200 at the time, so I wasn’t sure if I would sell any (I think I eventually sold two or three copies).

Not every promotion was specifically focused on the product itself. Sometimes I would drop a mention of a product or service into an article, with affiliate link of course, because it relates to the topic I was writing about, but the focus was not the product itself.

Affiliate links to Skype and Paypal were included in some of my posts now and then and this post you are reading now is another example of including affiliate links to products without focusing on the product itself. I actually made an affiliate referral into Paypal recently, which surprised me – you would think everybody has a Paypal account already!

Different Post Formats For Selling Affiliate Products

You should test different types of blog posts when promoting affiliate products. You can write posts focused specifically on a product or service, highlighting a particular special offer that is time sensitive, or just drop links into content posts that are not focused on selling something.

You may find that doing an entire post that “sells” the product works better because you can use more words to promote, however that style of blog post is often read less because some of your readers will have no interest in reading what they deem as a “sales pitch blog post”. You want to be careful not to drown your blog in nothing but sales pitch after sales pitch.

If affiliate links are merely embedded into a content post that provides value, then more of your readers read the post from start to finish, potentially resulting in more sales.

In my case, I use both formats.

After doing okay with Perry’s low priced entry items an opportunity arose to promote a conference he was running. The ticket cost was around $2,000 and the commission was $800 – a massive amount of money to me at the time. I did a blog post promoting the event and for the first few days nothing came through, then I received one of those wonderful emails telling you that a sale was made. I scrolled down my email client window and saw the product and commission amount and literally jumped for joy – $800 USD from one blog post!

I went on to sell another ticket to the event bringing my affiliate income for that month close to $2,000, which was great, but it also taught me a key lesson about price. Just selling one high ticket item can net you much more than selling many smaller priced items as an affiliate marketer. Of course some people do great with low cost items and some markets don’t have high cost items to promote, but in my case with my blog, I was liking the big sales a lot more.

During the months that followed I promoted more big ticket items and low cost products as well, and the only consistency was the lack of consistency – I never knew what would happen with each affiliate promotion I did. In most cases I sold nothing during the first 24 hours and even first few days, then I might make one or two sales, and then months later, after forgetting about the blog post, a sale would come through. Today I receive checks in the mail from many products I promoted years ago – I don’t even know what I sold sometimes!

With More Traffic Should Come More Sales Right?

As my blog grew I expected to make more affiliate sales, however I still managed zero sales for some promotions, which bugged me. Each time that happened I began to think I had made a mistake, perhaps attracting the wrong audience, or promoting the wrong products or even phrasing the offer in a less than appealing way (was I not using enough hype sales copy or too much?).

I have learned that affiliate selling, while simple in principle, is actually quite an intricate marketing process. Sending out emails and writing blog posts to promote affiliate products is a great way to make money, but oftentimes you don’t make anything if you attract the wrong type of audience, pitch the wrong product or present the offer and benefits of the product in a less than appealing way.

It all comes down to what you know about your audience and your relationship with them, and not the number of people you have contact with.

The Email List

As is well documented in recent posts to this blog like – How To Build A Profitable Email List – I now look to my email newsletter as a primary affiliate marketing tool and my blog, while still vital for success, is secondary as a direct marketing tool. Simply put – email makes more affiliate sales than a blog, though they work best in tandem.

With my online presence growing I’ve been able to turn over four and five figure affiliate promotions, yet despite all my experience, I’m still largely walking in blind to every promotion I do even today. I might sell one copy of a product, or I might sell twenty, it really depends what is on offer, how the product creator is marketing their item and what I do to promote it.

I also have to be careful to balance how many promotions I do because I don’t want my list to be just about affiliate marketing, it should deliver valuable content above all else otherwise I can kiss goodbye the good relationships I have built up with my readers.

Affiliate Marketing is Not Sustainable

Here’s something that needs to be said – affiliate marketing is not sustainable as a business model.

Well that’s not entirely true. Some marketers, the very top of pyramid, can make big money and do so year after year. However what makes them the best is not affiliate marketing, it’s their skill at driving targeted traffic – and that is THE skill to have on the Internet. If you can drive targeted traffic you can make money online using any format you like, it doesn’t have to be affiliate marketing.

The (above?) average professional blogger makes a few hundred dollars a month from affiliate sales, but if you ask them whether they believe that money will remain stable month after month, not many will say yes. I certainly would not have for the two years of blogging and even today I don’t want to be in a situation where affiliate income is my bread and butter.

Affiliate income should be a major income source for a blogger, but as always diversification wins. You must aim to make money from your blog using as many different methods as you can. Your ultimate goal though, is improving the core values that make up a successful blog – traffic, subscribers and relationships. Your blog (and email list) should be the dependable asset, not affiliate marketing.

You can make affiliate marketing income more stable by focusing on recursive programs and large ticket items, so you make so much money from just a few sales that you can take the entire month off if you like, or you know that each month you have some money coming in from membership subscription fees you have referred as an affiliate. I won’t go into detail about this here, I’ve covered it already in posts like – My Top 7 Blog Monetization Methods and of course, the Blog Profits Blueprint.

Start With The First Sale

As you can tell just by the range of topics covered in this post, making money from affiliate programs and blogging is not something you can learn quickly. If you are new to the game, focus on the first sale and once you make it, celebrate, that first sale is the hardest part – at least mentally. Once you know it can be done, you just have to go to work to make it happen over and over again.

At all times your focus must be your readers and your relationship with them. You need to understand your audience and work to isolate the right mix of products and posts that result in affiliate sales. Write blog posts, build a readership, try a product promotion and see what happens. From there, do it all over again and build an understanding of the environment you blog in and adjust all the elements to achieve the results you desire.

For those bloggers out there currently struggling, the most applicable advice I can offer you is – be patient. If you have ample patience and a good work ethic, you have all you need. Don’t struggle forever – there is a time to make major shifts and drop a clearly dead project – but in most situations, success is just over the next hill.

Yaro Starak
Affiliate Blogger

More On Affiliate Blogging

As some of you know, I’ve got an email list building of people interested in making money with affiliate marketing and blogs. I’ve got plans to produce more information on this topic because I love it and it’s not something bloggers do well naturally.

If you are interested in learning to become a better affiliate blogger and make money with affiliate programs and your blog, please fill out the form below.

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About Yaro Starak

Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint, a report you can download instantly to learn how to make $10,000 a month, from only blogging 2 hours per day. You can find Yaro on Facebook, Twitter and .

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  • “Your ultimate goal though, is improving the core values that make up a successful blog – traffic, subscribers and relationships.”

    I am pleased you said that. I think many people are so money focussed that they approach things incorrectly. I am not saying I have it all figured out but I do know that if you blog for people and not just for money, then you are more likely to end up with a successful blog.

  • Hi,
    Affiliate Blogging is something I heard first time in the above blog.Sounds interesting. Even I would love to use my interest in writing to good use, how can I get started?

  • Hey Yaro,

    you’re right on. I’ve always said to my students that affiliate marketing isn’t sustainable, since the business rely on a 3rd party.

    If the owner decides to change the copy, the price or even stop paying affiliates – the affiliate business is dead. Diversification helps, but only to a small degree.


  • Do you see an end to affiliate marketing in sight any time soon? It seems to me that as the blogosphere becomes even more crowded and competitive than it already is, it will make it more and more difficult to get a marketer’s attention with a blog as a viable source of advertising for their product.

  • I agree. I’ve always learned that affiliate marketing isn’t sustainable, since your income depends on the 3rd parties.

    It helps to diversify though.


    Little Guy Network

  • Jeremy – No, no end to affiliate marketing insight.

    The industry will continue to grow as long as the Internet grows. Remember there are way more people coming online each day than people who get into affiliate marketing, so it should become even more lucrative for those who stick to it.

  • Awesome overview of affiliate blogging, thanks for sharing those gems, Yaro.

    I will not only be referring back to it to jog my memory but also pointing many fledgling affiliate marketers on my list to it so they too can gain from your experience with affiliate blogging.

    All success

  • Hi Yaro,

    I wanted to turn my blog into a money maker via affiliate marketing. Well, how should I start? Just go ahead write a post about affiliate marketing after understanding what my readers want?

    I have always been giving out blogging tips and my traffic has grown because of that. The problem I am facing is that I think I lack authority to pursue someone to buy something. Also, my blog visitors are those who are more on the skeptic side and with the flood of paid posts recently, the product promotion post that I am going to write might be seen as just a paid posts and readers will just shrug it off.

    Also, do you get a review copy when before you promote a product? (Well, I mean last time when you don’t enjoy the recognition like you do now).

    I would appreciate it if you are willing to answer my long question. Thanks.

  • […] was interesting to see Yaro talk about Affiliate Marketing as I had also been having a discussion on the topic and wanted to […]

  • After a few months of blogging I have finally started to make a little income and almost all of it has come from affiliate marketing. However every month I run different promotions so every month I say to myself “this won’t last, it’s a one-off”. But on the other hand, every month I just seem to find something new to promote. So I guess what I’m saying is that even though I agree that marketing a particular product is not a sustainable business model I DO think that affiliate marketing in general is fairly sustainable if you comit to keeping your eyes open to relevant products.

    I mean, there’s always new products isn’t there? People don’t stick with the same books, they need new ones. They need new music, new movies to watch and in the same way it doesn’t matter how much has been produced in the field of making money online, people will always want more – the next big thing, the next the big name etc etc.

  • I remember my first check that came in the mail, it made the whole process “real” to me.

    I personally love to promote the recurring programs and services which helps create more steady income.

    It’s interesting Yaro how you say at the end that most bloggers have a harder time with affiliate marketing. I think alot of people do.

  • Wayne – The early promotions I did I purchased the products to review, later on I was given the products and sometimes I promote when the product comes from someone I know does good stuff.

    You just have to keep testing things, but remember, if you just post paid reviews and affiliate promotions, especially if you don’t have an interesting style when you write these pots, then you won’t build a readership.

    If you look at my blog I always focus on real content with promotions done now and then. I’m not doing paid reviews anymore either.

  • What a great insightful article! You are a great teacher (& Marketer) Yaro!

    I’m tired of seeing newbie internet marketers who don’t understand the true value of “giving value” to their readers and simply want to sell, sell, sell!!

    It’s great to see you are singing the praises of Email Marketing, which has long been my preferred means of building relationships with prospects and clients.

    For me, the blogging side of things is newer and yet I am starting to see that Email Marketing combined with a blog can be a winning combination just like you’ve outlined here..

  • Yaro,
    This is such an excellent post! Blogging is somthing new for me. I have been involved in online marketing for years but just starting to get my feet wet with blogging.

    Since I am a work at home mom I decided to base my blog on that niche of work at home parents.

    So far I have found that google has been my best income from my blog. Some ad’s from a few affiliate networks have done ok. I would however, love to increase those and would love any feedback good or bad!

  • […] “Understanding Affiliate Marketing From The Perspective Of A Blogger“, Yaro describes his first steps as an Affiliate Marketer and some of the lessons he has […]

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  • There’s another reason why affiliate marketing is not sustainable. The technical challenge of updating old affiliate links can be overwhelming for small scale operations.

  • Keeping your idea narrow took such a long to give u profit just plan for each corner and try out everything so that u can success in internet marketing.

  • whenever you have to rely on other people for your income, start making changes so that you don’t. I have dealt with more unreliable people in my life then anyone can ever imagine. Good post!

  • Thanks so much! All of that info helps me.

    Great site btw!

  • Great Artcile Yaro!

    It is a great reality check and also inspiration rolled into one. Affiliate marketing certainly is a great way to make some money, and although it may not be sustainable reliable income, if you do it well the skills you learn in the process will be invaluable.

  • Affiliate marketing will continue to grow as long as the affiliate website is good. Those who owns an affiliate website are actually the salesman and help distributing the products.

  • […] Understanding Affiliate Marketing From The Perspective Of A Blogger Yaro’s been carefully building his email list and also blogging for years. If you want to get serious about earning money from the long-term relationships you have with your readers, he can provide the best advice on this that I’ve seen. […]

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  • Bob

    Great article! You hit the nail on the head, you need the right affiliate resources on your site for the right traffic.


  • […] You Try Affiliate Marketing? I really liked this post (and not just because Chris was motivated by Yaro – where this blog all started). I know for a fact I make more out of my affiliate income during the […]

  • Hi.Thanks for the great information I am just starting to monetize my blog with affiliate marketing,the hardest part I am finding is getting and keeping consistent traffic numbers.

    Kind Regards Graham Drew

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