How To Make Money Writing Online – What is an Affiliate Marketing Program?
How To Make Money Writing Online
A lot of people look for online business opportunities and find different ways to make money. There are quite a few ways, but we are going to tell you how to make money writing online. That means you get to be the person that people Google to find the answers they are looking for!
A lot of the time, the ideas they find are actually paying a person that had an idea and their "course" or "plan" or "walk through" isn't as good as the money they are making to tell you about it.
You paid them for their ebook or website access to learn how to make money online, they give you a pattern that thousands or millions of people have followed before you.
I've paid for them. I've done them.
Some of them give you a few pieces that work.
If you put all those pieces together, you find the pattern that will actually make money.
We're giving that pattern away for free.
Affiliate Marketing is when you find a business that sells something online (product, software, information, etc) and they will pay you to send traffic to their site.
How you do that is up to you, but the most sustainable, profitable method is to write articles, how-to's, reviews and anything else that makes their product or service appealing to the reader.
When you write the articles that do this, you include some links to the business's product sales page that are specially designed for you so that their affiliate software knows that the customer was a result of your work.
A "cookie" (a very small file that documents a person's visit to a website) is stored on the customer's computer that includes your referral.
As long as that person purchases something before the cookie expires, you get the agreed-upon commission for the sale.
You can do the same thing through a YouTube channel, Instagram or Facebook account...anything that sends customers to the business will pay you.
Some businesses have rules for what you can and cannot do (Amazon demands that all traffic come from websites registered with them and those websites must comply with a strict set of rules).
Affiliate marketing is how to make money writing online - without having to work forever.
How Much Does It Cost To Start?
Affiliate marketing can cost different amounts, depending on how much you know and where you get your services.
For the most part, you need the following to get started:
- A website domain (www.domainnamehere.com)
- Hosting for the domain (If the domain was a house, hosting is the land you pay tax on)
- An SEO research tool (You want to make sure you are writing articles that people want to read)
- An appropriate affiliate program
- Internet connection and computer
A domain name can cost anywhere from $1.99 a year to thousands for the purchase alone, depending on if someone already owns it and wants to make money on it (premium names).
Hosting usually ranges from $4 a month to $25 per domain. You are renting space on a server somewhere.
An SEO research tool can be free up to $500 a month, depending on how many searches you need to do.
An affiliate program shouldn't cost to join unless it is posted on a membership site.
As you can see, the cost can vary quite a bit.
However, through trial and error, failing and learning, I've been able to find a place where you can get started for free.
You can build your website, have it hosted, have access to an SEO research tool AND a step-by-step training course for new affiliate marketers. Also, included is an analysis tool so you can see exactly how you are doing at any time and Live Chat with a huge community of successful affiliate marketers. You ask and they answer within a minute.
This is the ONLY place with everything included.
Don't get me wrong, there are paid memberships that give you tremendous benefits, but you can start making money for free.
Welcome to Wealthy Affiliate.
Wealthy Affiliate is built as a community where you can learn and become great at affiliate marketing. They have been in business since 2005, and currently have a community of around 100,000 to learn from. Kyle and Carson, the founders, are very present and will personally answer questions or reach out if there's something they notice.
Time - What to Expect
Affiliate marketing isn't something that will make you rich the first month.
It takes time and work.
Once you get to the point where search engines will recognize you as an "authority" on the topic you chose, then you get consistent traffic to your site.
The better you get at writing articles and the more you learn, the more likely someone is to click on your links.
The more people that click on your links, the more money you make.
To get there, you need to work consistently. You need to keep learning about the topic that you chose for your particular niche and you need to keep learning about writing effective articles. You will become an expert in your chosen field.
Think of it this way, you get to start for free. Most businesses cost quite a bit to start and usually require college or university to be successful.
So, that is four years of your time and most likely between $50,000-$100,000 just to get started (maybe more if you are producing a product). Then, you still have to build up a customer base and pay for advertising and other running costs.
You can have your website structured and ready to work on in the next hour for free.
The amount of work you put into it will determine how fast it becomes successful. You can make it with two hours a week, but it will take much longer. Recommended is about 10-15 hours a week (or more).
In that amount of time, you should be able to publish 5 articles and work on the stuff you will be learning along the way (SEO, article structure, aesthetics of your site, affiliate programs, social media, etc).
If you are publishing 5 articles per week and keeping up on all the other work and learning, your site will reach "Awesome" health status on Wealthy Affiliate (how good your site looks to Google and other search engines) within two weeks. You should have your first Google click before the end of the first month. After a year, you will have constant traffic coming to your site for the work you did in your first two weeks. Every article you write will add to your traffic.
That is the magic of affiliate marketing. You don't get paid per article, each article increases your potential income and it keeps paying you forever.
Here are a few graphs of how two websites are doing. The first is a two-month-old site being worked on 15 hours a week. The second is a two-year-old site that hasn't been worked on in the last year (WordPress and plugin updates only).
The last 28 days of a 2-month-old site that is consistently worked on
The last 12 months of a 2-year-old site, no longer being worked on
Like anything else, if the second site was still being focused on, it would be doing much better than it is, but almost 4,000 clicks on Google in a year is amazing for no effort. In case you haven't done the math, that's almost 10 clicks per day.
There is a good chance that 1 out of those 10 per day will purchase something that you wrote about.
That means over 300 sales per year. With no work.
Getting to Auto-Pilot
Now you know that there will be work to do. Aside from estate wills and the lottery, there aren't many ways to make money that doesn't take work, at least at first.
Building your affiliate marketing system will take time and effort, but eventually can run on auto-pilot.
Once you have put enough work of your own into your site that it pays for the expenses (domain and hosting, ads if you run them, email marketing program, whatever else your particular site needs), the first profits you make can start going to your freedom.
What I mean by this is you don't have to be the one doing all the work.
Once the site is financially self-sufficient, you can hire article writers to write your articles for you. This will cut down considerably on the amount of time you need to spend on your affiliate marketing system. (You will want to read the articles and make sure they are up to your standards, edit them, add your affiliate links, and maintain menus and updates).
Once your site then makes enough profit to cover your first writer, you hire a second and repeat the process until you are making as much money as you want.
By this time, you can hire an editor, social media manager and webmaster, do none of the work and still get paid.
Keep in mind, if you follow this to auto-pilot, your numbers will look exponentially better than the two-year-old site above. You will have multiple articles being published per week, written by other people.
This will give you MUCH more traffic and much more income.
Yes, there are some shortcuts that will help you along the way.
There are some things that Google likes to see when they are crawling your page. If you do these things, your DA, or Domain Authority, will go up much faster, which means less work before the auto-pilot stage. Domain Authority is your ranking in Google, and it determines how close to the top of Google searches your articles appear.
One of the things Google likes to see is comments on your articles. They also want you to respond to those comments.
Having people ask questions or start conversations that will enhance the information you provided in the article makes the article more valuable.
I know this sounds like it is out of your hands, but since you found this particular article, it isn't.
Wealthy Affiliate has a few ways that you can earn comments on your site. Other members will read your article and leave a comment, usually with something you can respond to.
You can do this through their SiteComments section of the menu, where you leave two comments, receiving a "credit" for each, then you can "buy" a comment for your two credits. It is self-moderated, so if anyone leaves you a comment that isn't worth your time or completely irrelevant, flag it and you will get another comment.
Another place you can go to at WA is similar but not regulated by WA and there are no credits. There are a few comment threads on the site (like this one) where it runs on the honour system. Find two people that left a link, comment on their article, then leave a link of your own.
As Google bots travel around the internet, crawling every website that has "doindex" tags, it keeps track of all the links that people add.
If any of those links lead to your website, Google adds a pretty big plus to your DA rating.
If a lot of internet "traffic signs" send people to your website, Google sees your website as more valuable and important.
Organically, this happens after time, with people using your articles to research for their own, social media shares, etc.
You can speed this process up a bit by sharing your own articles on every social media platform you can, but there is an even faster way that will save you MONTHS of work.
Most people have heard of Fiverr, but if you haven't, it's a community where people that know how to do things sell that talent to people that need it, usually starting at $5 USD.
Included in that group of people are those that will create backlinks for your website on many other sites, dramatically increasing your DA.
Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated than just finding someone that does it. If it's done wrong, Google will lower your DA instead of increasing it.
So, I did the work for you and found an incredible Fiverr merchant who does amazing work with backlinks.
Click here and save her gig. It will save you much more time than anything else you could pay for.
Keep in mind, you will want to go through the WA training before you go this route, because it does involve Google keyword research and choosing the wrong keywords will make it much less effective.
There are free ways to get backlinks that take a lot more work, such as contacting other bloggers and introducing yourself. Tell them you appreciate their work and want to add some of their links to your site. 90% of the time, they will return the favour.
You can also guest post on sites that are looking for it. Type "guest post + (your niche)" in Google to find some.
Find an Appropriate Affiliate Program
Finding an affiliate program isn't difficult. Finding one that will pay you well and fits your niche is a little more complicated.
Wealthy Affiliate keeps a list of affiliate programs that they have vetted and approved. You can look through them and find as many as you want.
The pay usually ranges from 1-30%. The higher commissions are usually the products that don't cost the seller (software and apps), are a one-time purchase and can be challenging promoting.
A lot of people go with Amazon Associates, but the commissions are very low and they only pay for the first sale from every customer. The huge downside to this is that most people already know about Amazon and go there to check prices before researching too far into a product.
MetaFire Nutrition has an affiliate program called MetaFire Ambassadors.
The health and fitness industry had estimated revenue of $96.7 Billion USD in 2019. Health and fitness websites get some of the highest average traffic of any niche you can choose from. It is common for an established, well-run health and fitness website to consistently get over 100,000 visitors per month.
The magic number for online marketing usually lands around 4%.
If 2.5 million people see your link on Google, 100,000 (4%) will click on it.
Out of that 100,000 that click on your link, 4,000 will click a product link.
From the 4,000 that click a product link, 160 will decide to buy.
How Much Do I Make?
With MetaFire Ambassadors, you won't get paid like Amazon. Amazon gives you a commission on the first purchase from every single person you send to them. Health products on Amazon (as of November 2020) pay 1%.
MetaFire Ambassadors receive 7% of any product that they promote and sell. If a customer continues purchasing every month, they continue to get paid 7% every month.
Your work brought us a customer. We pay you for your work.
We have also made it easy for you to find and keep monthly customers. We have a subscription auto-ship program that saves the customer 5% every month and we have recommended packages for different goals.
As of right now, if those 160 new customers from the example above all went with the recommended Weight Loss package, your commission for those 160 customers would be $1,978.37 USD.
The following month, 5% of the previous month's customers stopped buying (one-time purchases or trial purchases) and another 160 new customers purchased a package, your commission is $3,857.82 USD.
That money comes to you from work that you have already done.
The articles you already have written and are showing up in Google is what will send you traffic.
The more articles you have on your site, the more traffic you get (you cover more search keywords).
You see, with Amazon, you would stay stuck at 1% of your sales ($282.62) and your existing customers no longer pay you.
If you bring 160 customers to Amazon every single month and they bought the equivalent of our recommended Weight Loss package, your commission would stay at $282.62 USD.
That is why we chose to be different.
You deserve better.
How Do I Get Started?
To get going as fast as you can and start building up your residual income, learn from those that have done it.
Complete the following checklist and you will be well on your way to being a Professional Affiliate Marketer.
- Become a MetaFire Ambassador
- Join Wealthy Affiliate as a free member
- Complete the training that is available to free members (this will have your website built and you can start writing articles)
- Start researching and writing 5 articles per week
- Leverage Wealthy Affiliate's comment platform
Following this road map, you can work for free for a few months.
Then, you will want to:
- Switch to Premium Membership with WA (more training, your own domain, lots of other benefits)
- Head to Fiverr and get some backlinks on your best articles
We wish you all the best and good luck on your new adventure!
For more information on how much you can make as a MetaFire Ambassador, read the Compensation Plan.