How to Write a Blog Post That Doesn’t Suck

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

If you are serious about your blogging business, knowing how to write an effective and exciting blog post takes practice, patience, and planning. If you don’t know how to do any of these things, you are going to write a ton of sucky content.

Today’s post is all about not being a sucky blogger. There are several easy steps you can follow right now to make your blog posts shine. Are you following any or all of these?

How to Write a Blog Post That Doesn't Suck

Step 1: Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning is the most important step in writing a great blog post, but it’s one that most of us bloggers probably admit to skip many times. We are so ready to write our masterpiece and share it with the world that we forget to put actual through into the structure, audience, and tone of what we write.

Want to know what I do to plan? Once I’ve found my topic, I create an outline. Outlines help me organize all the many thoughts entering my head when I’m trying to draft my blog post. Once I have my outline, I’m practically ready to start writing, but there’s more that I put into it than just planning.

Step 2: Write a Persuasive Headline

No matter what you write about, make the headline irresistible for your readers. You may be thinking that you are writing about the most boring product on the market (why?), but it really doesn’t matter. Get creative with your headline and let it do most of the work drawing in your readers’ attention.

Many bloggers resort to using automatic headline generators. This is okay, I guess, but if you want to be a successful blogger, shouldn’t you have the creative knowhow to come up with these headlines on your own? I’m all for making it unique, making it genuine, and making it original.  If I use a headline generator, it makes me feel like it’s not my own work.

Step 3: Write the way you talk

How to Write a Blog Post That Doesn't Suck

You don’t have to change who you are or how you talk just to get readers. Write the way you actually talk. If you don’t use big, scientific words in your every day life, why the hell would you use them in a blog post? If you think those fancy words will get you more readers, think again.

Always write in the first person. I’m not scoring any points by writing in the 3rd person. Writing in the 3rd person distances you from the subject you’re writing about. I want you to feel like you are actually there at the tropical island I’m writing about. Writing in the first person is, of course, the most personal way of writing. Do it every time. Trust me, your blog will be more like an informal conversation versus an informal lecture.

Step 4: Don’t fake anything

Ok it goes without saying, but don’t ever fake anything you’re writing about just to get affiliate link clicks or more traffic. While you might come across as a subject matter expert to some, others who are more experienced in your field can spot a fake a mile away.

Most of the time, I’m writing about my own experiences using a product, or as a blogger, but there are times when I have to do some research and quote my sources. Make sure you aren’t plagiarizing. Not only is that pathetic, but it’s a good way to get sued!

Step 5: Know what you are talking about

The best way to gain followers’ trust is to provide content that you know backwards and forwards. If you don’t know anything about a topic, do your research first to make sure you are giving out accurate information. If I’m taking to you about how super cool Tailwind is, but I had never used it, chances are I’m not providing you with valuable information. The good news is that I know a ton about the great features Tailwind has to offer and how much time it has saved me, so you can read off of my experiences and excitement to know that I’m giving you good information.

Step 6: Give something to your readers

I know it feels like you are providing a gimmick when you give something away just to get readers, and well, you are, sort of. Freebies are kind of like free cookies at the car dealership. You want to warm over your readers and grab their attention.

So what kind of freebies can you give out? Here are some ideas:

  • Free checklist
  • Worksheet
  • eBooks
  • Free e-course
  • Free samples
  • Giveaways / contests

Step 7: Never publish your first draft

How to Write a Blog Post That Doesn't Suck

I stopped becoming satisfied with hitting publish after the first draft because I quickly realized my content was suffering. What did I do instead? I implemented a “sit on it” process. Now, I write my content, let it sink in for 24 hours or so, and then come back for revisions. 9 times of out ten, I change some, most, or even all of what I originally wrote.

The good thing about doing it this way is that I’m not rushing to publish partially valuable information to my readers. By waiting an extra day, doing an extra look-over of my work, and creating a final draft, I’ve shown my readers that quality and accuracy are both important to me.

Trust me, this effort WILL translate to your blog’s success and traffic volume.

Step 8: Limit affiliate links and banner ads

Ok folks, I know most of you love putting up affiliate links and banner ads. They are a great way to earn a little extra money. I get it. I do it too. But, one thing I have quickly learned in blogging is that too many ads on the page makes a reader run away fast.

It’s so easy to tell when a blogger is trying to get clicks versus actually provide you with valuable content. Once the pop up ads fill up my screen, I’m beyond frustrated and close out of my browser.

I’m not saying that affiliate links or banner ads are a bad thing. Use them sparingly. My rule of thumb for affiliate links is one link per 1,000 words. I’m at word 1,048 right now, so by that rule I should have one affiliate link, right?  Look up in step 5 and you’ll see my one and only affiliate link for Tailwind.

Of course, a few more affiliate links occasionally throughout the post won’t completely kill your SEO, but filling up the page with banners and links definitely hurts you in search rankings.

Step 9: Make paragraphs short and sentences simple

Blog paragraphs and sentences are very different than almost any other type of writing. Normally, you want at least 5 good sentences per paragraph, but blogging, stick to 2-3. Use simple sentences and get to the point quickly.  The more words on the page the more distracted your readers will become.

I will be honest in saying it takes practice at doing this, especially if you are used to writing papers in college. All of my wonderful essays and assignments in college wouldn’t fly as blog posts! Practice, practice, practice and soon you will be in a good rhythm of writing at just the right length.

Introducing Tailwind's Instagram Hashtag Finder

Step 10: Let someone else read your work first

How to Write a Blog Post That Doesn't Suck

Don’t be afraid to let a friend or family member read your draft before you publish it. A second set of eyes is never a bad idea, and it’s a good indicator of how your readers may react to what you’ve written. Family members may hold back if they are afraid to offend you, but a friend will tell you straight up what they think.

Keep in mind that it’s still your content. Despite all the feedback and suggestions you get, you are still in control of what goes and what stays. Don’t ever feel pressured to change something to make someone else happy. It’s your work in the end.

Step 11: Fine tune and perfect!

Just like with anything we do, we have to work hard to get to a place where we can be happy. The same is true with blogging. Good bloggers are always fine-tuning their content – even months after writing it. Don’t be afraid to scrap a 5,000 word post if it means the new post is going to be 10 times better!

While you are in the fine-tuning process, please please please do a spelling and grammar check. It doesn’t get more embarrassing than hitting publish and then finding out it’s full of grammatical errors.

I love copying and pasting my post into Microsoft Word to use its spell checker. While I think the WordPress one is sufficient, I don’t use it. Word has a pretty good reputation, and has rarely failed me before.

Step 12: Find the right images

There are lots of free stock image sites available that I use for blog images. The few that come to mind are: Pixabay, Unsplash and Pexels. Selecting just the right kind and amount of images is important. One the one hand, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to include a relevant image, but on the other, adding too many images makes your post distracting.

My personal rule of thumb for my blog posts is no more than 4 images per post. If I need to use more, I’d better have a darn good reason for doing so.

Images help improve your SEO if you are completing the alt tags and description. Did you know when someone does a search for your topic, they can pull up your post based on the above information? So, images matter!

Step 13: Incorporate lists

Hey, I don’t care what you write about, but there’s always a way to incorporate some kind of list into the post. Lists are very good attention-grabbers. Did you notice the list of steps at the top of this post?

Lists are great because your readers can easily see what kind of information they can expect to find in your post. If you are including a list of products or tips, it’s a great time to include your affiliate links.

Not only do lists look good on your post, they also help drive your SEO. Search engines like Google love lists because readers can’t resist them!

Step 14: Ask for specific feedback

How do I know that a post of mine does well? I ask my readers for specific feedback. I don’t think it’s enough just to ask, “how did you like my post?” I like to ask specific questions about specific parts of the post.

You should be asking for feedback in every post, down in your call-to-action section. Encouraging reader feedback is a great indicator that you care about their opinions and are not just out to make a quick buck.

If you do get feedback, RESPOND! And, respond timely. I LOVE getting comments on my blog posts! I’ve received some negative feedback, which has helped me improve, but the majority of the feedback has been positive. I’d never know how my readers feel about my content if I didn’t ask. So, ask away!

Step 15: Get creative!

I know you have a blog to maintain, but don’t limit yourself to just writing blog posts. Did you know that you can take the posts you’ve written and put them into other forms of communication?

Take a post you’ve written and make a video tutorial, like I did for my Tailwind post. Videos are a fantastic way for your readers to connect with you visually and get to know the person behind the words.

Convert posts to infographics, PowerPoint presentations, polls, surveys, etc. You’d be surprised as to how many different ways you can get creative to get your content out there. The sky is the limit!

That’s it!

Blogging always seems to be something everyone says they could do full-time, but it always appears easier until you actually do it. I’m happy to say I’ve got a great blogging process down, and it has gotten easier for me over time. I feel like a true blogging pro!

Did I miss something?  Do you have more questions about an aspect of blogging that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the wonderful comments section below and I’ll answer them for you.

Happy blogging!

How I Made $408.44 With My Blog in July 2017 [Income Report]

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

I’m always excited to provide my traffic and income report every month. July 2017 was a great month for me in terms of blogging and income.

How I Made $408.44 With My Blog in July 2017 [Income Report]

Investing in my blog

Having an MBA, I understand that you’ve got to sometimes spend money to make money. Last month, I saw how beneficial my Tailwind account was to my traffic. The problem was, I was limited to only 400 pins a month. Because of the impact it had on my traffic, I decided to upgrade from the monthly plan to the annual plan. Now, I have 80 pins scheduled per day, which equals over 2,000 pins per month.

Income for July 2017

Affiliate income:  $76.33 (Shareasale)

Sponsored posts: $23.97

Fat Joe Publishing: $432.85

Total: $533.15


Expenses for July

Tailwind upgrade: $114.00

Photoshop subscription: $10.71

Total: $124.71


My top 5 viewed blog posts for July:


Site Stats

  • Total unique visitors: 1,530 (+39 from June)
  • Total page views: 2,854 (+317 from June)
  • Total comments: 30 (+21 from June)

Referral Stats


Social Media Stats

How to Get Your Affiliate Income Sizzling

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on them and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting Go Ask Your Daddy!

Picture it: You’re a new blogger coming right out of the gates.  You’ve read other blog posts about how to make income with affiliate links and thought, “They make it sound so easy! I want to do that!” So, you finally implement a strategy, start including affiliate links in your posts and months go by without any sales. You get really DEPRESSED. I’ve been there….but….

I bet you never stopped to think about the thousands, maybe millions, of other bloggers doing the same exact thing you are doing. It’s a very saturated market, which is why you have got to find a way to get the edge over the competition.

Today, I’m going to give you some insight as to why you aren’t making many, if any, sales from your affiliate links. Take notes, because this information is vital to understanding what makes affiliate links work well for blogging income.

How to Get Your Affiliate Income Sizzling

WHAT ARE AFFILIATE LINKS?

I’ve answered this question in earlier posts. Essentially, affiliate links are provided to you when you join an affiliate marketing platform, or if you join a merchant’s affiliate program directly. They are special links just for you so that the merchant can track your activity and sales. Any sales resulting from your links being clicked end with you receiving a commission.

The one thing you need to know about affiliate programs is that the commission rates for merchants won’t be the same. You’ll see wide ranges of commission percentages. My suggestion is to target those with a higher commission percentage. Not only are there those merchants that give you a certain set percentage, there are some, like Candy Club, that will give you a set dollar amount per sale. I made 2 sales for Candy Club in one day and earned over $50 in commission – pretty sweet!

HOW DO YOU POSITION AFFILIATE LINKS WITHIN THE POST FOR THE BEST EXPOSURE?

Here comes the tricky part. Not every blogger is skilled at placing affiliate links in the right spot to attract traffic. To be honest, it’s not always easy, and there’s no real black and white answer I can give that will work for every post every time.

There are three basic places where affiliate links can go on your blog post.

  • Top of post: Most people don’t use this method because they feel like it’s selling out the product right away, but you can get around this by creating a “Recommended Products” section at the top, and the include the affiliate links to the products that you are talking about in your post.
  • Inside blog content: Merge your affiliate links inside your content and make the links appear natural. If you have 20 instances of the word to which you are tying to an affiliate link, do not link to it 20 times. Link to it once. Having too many links in a post is bad for SEO and will make your post appear spammy.
  • Bottom of post: If you are recommending products after a long blog post, it’s good to write a “wrap-up” section and then break out a few bullets with recommended products. This can also be a good spot to drop in a banner for your affiliate link.

 

DON’T MAKE YOUR AFFILIATE LINK POSTS TOO “SALES PITCHY”

I hate going to car dealerships. I know if I go just to even browse for a dream car, some salesperson is going to walk up to me and start nagging me to buy a car. Sometimes I just want to be left alone to browse and shop.

Did you know that your blog posts can feel the same way to your readers as car dealerships feel to me? If you come across as only wanting to make a quick sale, your readers aren’t going to trust you. They will feel totally annoyed, and will blacklist your blog to never return again.

I’m sure you’ve landed on a post you thought looked like the perfect post to answer the question you had, but when you arrived there, it had pop up ads, links all over the place, and what’s worse, that large ad covering the entire page. It’s entirely too much and is obvious you are fishing for sales. Don’t be that blogger!

BUT, HOW DO I GET AROUND THIS PROBLEM?

Believe it or not, there is a great way to write a blog post, throw in affiliate links, and your readers will never get the feeling like you are trying to sell them on something. If you craft a blog post that serves a purpose, such as a “how to” post, you are giving your readers a reason to come to your blog, read your post to find a solution to your problem, and the affiliate links serve as recommended products to help with the problem they are trying to solve. Brilliant!

Tutorial posts are great ways to get your post SEO ranked because search engines love to index posts that help people solve problems. You can use tutorial posts in many different ways.

Look at your affiliate merchant list right now and see if there are any programs you’ve joined that sell products you could write a tutorial post about right now. Look at my post, “How Tailwind is Helping My Blog Traffic” as an example. I wrote a post about how I use Tailwind to bring in blog traffic, but it’s not really a tutorial post. It’s time for me to take it and turn it into a highly-profitable tutorial post. The tutorial post will have step by step directions telling readers how to sign up for Tailwind, how to create a pinning schedule, and more about how to use the features that come with Tailwind.

You can write opinionated posts all night and all day as to how great a product is, but these are NOT tutorial posts. Leave your opinions out of the tutorial post and stick to the facts as to how the product works.

DO KEYWORD RESEARCH AHEAD OF TIME

Just because you are using affiliate links for a certain product doesn’t mean that all you have to do is type out the name of the product and link to it. Using sites such as Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starting point. 9 out of 10 successful affiliate bloggers will tell you they get most of their traffic from proper use of keywords inside the blog post.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical in driving traffic to your site, and you must do this before you publish. Make sure you are incorporating the most searched keywords inside your blog post so that your post ranks better in the search engines.

DON’T STICK TO JUST WRITTEN PROMOTION

I know, I know, the reader must click on your affiliate link and make a purchase for you to make income off of that sale. But, you can promote those affiliate links in creative ways – more than just in written form.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Create a video tutorial of how to do something and then recommend your affiliate products at the end of the video. You can even drop the affiliate link inside the video’s description.
  • Write a creative social media post asking a simple question you’d like your readers to respond to, and then direct them to your blog post for the answer. While I don’t necessarily share a lot of affiliate links inside of social media, directing them to my blog post that contains affiliate links seems a lot cleaner to me and makes me feel less salesy.
  • Create a resources page on your blog to list all of your favorite tools.  You can create a section solely for your affiliate products. Don’t forget to disclose the presence of your affiliate links.
  • Email awesome deals to your subscribers to tell them about great sales and coupons your affiliate partners are offering. Many times, affiliate program managers will send direct emails to their affiliates announcing new deals and promotions. Use those opportunities to turn them into email campaigns to your subscribers. Again, disclose at the top of the email that the links are affiliate links.

BE PATIENT

Sales for me didn’t happen overnight, and even still today sales aren’t consistent. I’m still working towards creating the perfect strategy for my own blog. You need to do the same for your blog too.

Implement a consistent approach to marketing your affiliate links and find what works best for you. Keep going back to the drawing board until you find something that you like.

Be patient. The best thing you can do is not give up after a few months of $0 income. Keep writing quality content and implementing a solid approach to affiliate marketing and you will eventually see sales come in. Never get up, never surrender!

DO YOU NEED MORE HELP?

I’m here to help you succeed with affiliate marketing, so if you have a question about anything I’ve talked about today, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I take pride in writing quality content, so if there are things in this post you’d like to see, I’ll be more than happy to add them to it!

I do recommend you read the following posts I’ve written in the past about affiliate marketing.  You can also subscribe to my free 7-Day email course, How to Create a Profitable Blog, and learn all about blogging.

 

How You Can Get More Clicks On Your Affiliate Links

This post contains affiliate links

Today we are going to talk about the best ways to get clicks on the affiliate links you place on your blog. Monetizing your blog is exciting, but takes a lot of serious planning and organization to get things working to your advantage.

Recommended: 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing

There are generally two types of affiliate links that bloggers are given when they enroll in an affiliate program. Banner ads are the most common because they are easy to throw up on the site and they work on their own. Text links require a little more structure and thought as you want the links to fit well within the context of your blog post.

What happens when you have done all of the work of placing the ads and links on your site and no one clicks on them? It’s easy to feel defeated when you see the $0 sitting in your affiliate account. But, giving up too early is never a wise choice. There are things you can do today to position your blog and blog posts to receive higher clicks and revenue.

Let’s take a look at a few tips to help you build your affiliate income.

Focus On Text Links

If you spend most of your time throwing banner ads on your site and then wait for people to click on them, you are wasting your time. While they can provide some source of affiliate income, they tend to make readers feel uncomfortable – especially if you throw banners all throughout your content.

Text links work if you build your content up with quality and value. Mixing in text links that promote the products and services that relate to your content is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your affiliate links.

It’s All About Balance

Posts that have affiliate links in every other sentence tend to cause readers to lose interest and confidence. If you are writing a post about a product, it’s not necessary to include the affiliate link every time the word comes up in the content. Putting too many links in your post will get flagged by search engines as spammy content (that’s bad).

Create a plan before you start to monetize your blog and stick to it. Decide how many affiliate links are allowed in each post and make sure the post focuses on your readers’ interests before your desire to earn income. A well-balanced plan of attack will set you up for success down the road.

Place Links Above the Content

Have you ever considered placing your links above your content? It’ll be the first thing readers see, and they won’t have to scroll all the way through the post looking for them. You can dramatically increase your click through rates by placing the links in a spot where your readers are sure to look – the top of your post.

Cloak Those Ugly Affiliate Link URLs

The affiliate links you are given look something like: http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=992347&U=1350177&M=50947&urllink=. These links make it easy for your readers to hover over and see that they are affiliate links. There are several ways to get around these ugly links. One way is through a plugin called Pretty Link Lite. Pretty Link Lite is a WordPress plugin that allows you to use your own shortened URLs. Pretty Link also tracks clicks and tells you exactly where the clicks are coming from.

Ask Your Readers

There’s no better way to promote your affiliate links than to simply ask your readers to click on them. If you are writing a product review, ask your readers to click on the affiliate link at the end of the post to learn more about the product. Never end a blog post without a call to action.  If you want affiliate links clicked, your call to action is the perfect opportunity to promote them.

Expand Your Reach

By now, I hope you know that as a blogger, you can’t just write a post, hit publish, and then recline on the couch. While Netflix and chill sounds like a great idea, the fun in blogging is just beginning after you hit publish.  Expanding your reach as a blogger will benefit you in more ways than just clicks on your affiliate links. Posting in group boards, Facebook groups, social media accounts, and sending out emails all lead to more traffic, which in turn leads to higher visibility on your affiliate links. A big rule about promoting your affiliate links in social media is to make sure you are disclosing your affiliate links.

Recommended:  Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Write to Persuade

While affiliate marketing isn’t usually face-to-face, there’s still a strong level of sales and persuasiveness needed to encourage readers to click on your links. You can see a major difference in, “I won a million dollars yesterday,” and “how would you like to win a million dollars?”  Asking your readers direct and persuasive questions encourages them to find out more by clicking on your links. Ok, so the million dollar question is a little overboard, but it illustrates the type of marketing to focus on when crafting your posts.

Be careful, though, not to come across too salesy. No one wants to be hassled to buy something. Ever been to a car dealership?  I’m sure you can recall the different types of sales tactics salesmen used to try to push you to buy. You don’t want to do that with affiliate links. Make the link flow naturally in your post and steer clear of the advertising lingo. Readers have no obligation to buy anything from you. It’s your job to encourage them to click on your links.

You Can Do It!

It can be a little overwhelming trying to implement a solid game plan for advertising your affiliate links, but with a little structure, perseverance, and confidence, you’ll be seeing your sales increase in no time.

What’s worked well for you? Are there tips you’d recommend I add to this list? Let’s start a conversation below!

Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Can I Share Affiliate Links on Facebook and Twitter?

All of my blog posts may contain affiliate links. This means I’ll receive a commission for any products/services you purchase through them. It’s not a lot, but enough to help keep this blog up and running!  Thank you for your support!

Earn up to $7500 for one sale!

The short answer to this question is YES. If you’ve decided to start sharing your affiliate links with your followers on Facebook and Twitter, you can.  There are a few steps you have to take to ensure you are disclosing your affiliate links properly so that you are in compliance with FTC rules.

What Are Affiliate Links?

I’m assuming by now, if you searched for and are reading this article, you have already signed up with great affiliate programs such as ShareASale, and are looking for guidance on how to properly share your affiliate links on social media. In case you are completely new to it, affiliate links are links provided to you by merchants to place on your website, blog, social media, email campaigns, etc. that promote their products, and in exchange, reward you with commission every time a lead or sale is generated. Many bloggers use affiliate links to make a lot of extra income! For more information on how to make income using affiliate marketing, read my post, 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success.

How Do I Get Started Sharing My Links on Facebook and Twitter?

Become a member of an affiliate marketing platform. If you aren’t a member anywhere, I highly recommend ShareASaleRead my review of their affiliate marketing platform. It’ll give you step by step directions on signing up for individual programs and choosing the best links for your campaigns.

Sign up for merchant programs that interest you. You are going to be able to search for so many merchant programs to join, and you will be tempted to join them all. Let me stop you right there:  Be picky. Be selective.  Be smart. Only join affiliate programs to promote products you believe in and use yourself. If you go with ShareASale, here is a list of a few programs I joined just to get you started:

Candy Club

Tailwind

Book Outlet

Gymboree

Little Passports

The California Wine Club

Grab a link. Now that you have signed up for merchant programs, you have access to all of their creative materials. You will want to grab a text link from the merchant’s affiliate marketing page that you will use to guide your readers to that merchant’s page. Before you throw the link out on Facebook or Twitter, I highly recommend using a URL shorter.  Google URL Shorter is a very popular and free service you can use to do this.  DO NOT manually try to shorten your affiliate link, or make any other changes to it. Doing so will prevent proper tracking of traffic to the merchant’s site, and more importantly, you’ll lose out on income!

Write a compelling post. Don’t just throw the link out on Facebook or Twitter and hit publish. Statistics show readers are more likely to engage with affiliate links if there is valuable information shared with them. Share how you use the product and all of its benefits you love.  The more personable you make it, the better.  Oh, and don’t forget to throw in that shortened URL at the end of your post. Many times Facebook will automatically include an image, but if not, you can save images from the banners inside the merchant’s affiliate site, or find some of your own to include.

Disclose your affiliate relationship. Now that you have a post written, don’t hit publish just yet. You must clearly indicate that your post is an affiliate link. What does this mean?  You must state that you will receive compensation for any purchases made through the affiliate links in your post. If you want more information on what the FTC considers proper disclosure, I recommend their very own FTC Endorsement Guide.  For Twitter, using #ad or #sponsored is acceptable.

Tag your merchant in Facebook. Facebook requires you to “tag” merchants whenever sharing affiliate links as they are considered “branded content.” You must sign up through Facebook to do this. For detailed instructions on this process, see Facebook’s Branded Content Policy and Tool.  Failure to properly tag branded content in your post will cause it to be rejected.

Share at an optimal time. Do your research on the best times to share content on Facebook.  I use Hootsuite to do this for me automatically.  Scheduling your posts at the best times increases the chance of post engagement.

Don’t over share. You are going to be tempted to over share your links in an attempt to increase clicks and sales. Resist!  Find a balance that works for you and your readers. The more links you share at one time, the less valuable your content will become.

Are you ready to get started? Go ahead and have fun!  I’d love to hear your affiliate marketing success stories – especially ones that deal with social media sharing!

Interested in more about affiliate marketing?  Maybe one of my other posts can help!

 

Are you looking for the best affiliate marketing secrets and tips? Here are my 20 best tips for you to become successful at affiliate marketing today.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

This post contains affiliate links

Hey there!  Are you looking to monetize your blog through affiliate marketing and have no clue how to start?  Does it make you feel like a sleazy car salesman? Today’s post is all about understanding exactly what affiliate marketing is and how you can get in the know about the secrets to making a solid income with it.

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing Success

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing, at its most basic definition, is offering a merchant’s products and services on your blog or social media in exchange for a set commission. Some merchants offer a set percentage of the sale, while others offer a flat dollar amount. One of the most popular affiliate marketing companies (and my favorite) is ShareASale. Now, you’ve read my posts about ShareASale in the past, and hopefully know how much I love working with it.

Affiliate marketing can be a win-win for both you and the merchant you’re promoting. Their products get promoted and sales come in, and you earn cash for simply recommending and advertising their products from your site.  Cool, huh?

It’s not a requirement for you to purchase the products that you are promoting on your site, but it REALLY helps provide trust to your readers when they see you using a product you are promoting. The more you use the products you promote, the more knowledge you have that can be taught to your readers to help them become more informed and educated about those products.

My 20 Secrets to Affiliate Marketing Success

20 Secrets To Affiliate Marketing SuccessBe Selective About The Products You Promote: Promote products that are relevant to your blog topics. I wouldn’t promote health food if I run a technology blog, would I?  Don’t just sign up for every program based on the commission rate. If you wouldn’t use the product, don’t promote it

Incorporate Keywords: Most merchants will provide you with special keywords you can use in your posts to help drive search engine traffic your way. If you are having trouble identifying the best keywords to use, contact the representative in charge of the merchant’s affiliate program. More times than not, they will give you suggestions, techniques, and lists of keywords you can use to help you.

Don’t Flood Your Posts With Affiliate Links: Be careful of how many affiliate links you add to your posts.  Adding too many will make you come across as a desperate seller who is not interested in anything else but making a quick buck. My suggestion is no more than 1 affiliate link per 1,000 words.

Do Routine Checks On Your Links: Like any website, URLs can change. Performing routine checks to make sure your links work is crucial to maximizing your income. I highly recommend creating an Excel spreadsheet outlining all the posts that contain the links as well as the URL. Organizing your links makes it much easier to make corrections when the time comes. There is also a nifty online broken link checker you can run to give you a list of all the broken links on your site – not just the affiliate links.

Write More Product Reviews: Product reviews translate very well into sales. Google and other search engines really love reviews because they give readers insight into what they are looking to purchase. Reach out to some of your merchants and ask if they have any sample products they can send you for review and giveaway purposes. All of the affiliate sales I have generated have come from products I’ve reviewed and recommended.

Be Patient: Just like with anything, patience is a virtue. Do not expect immediate results. Keep sticking with your business plan and marketing strategy, and you’ll eventually see sales come through.  This will not happen overnight. Give it time and it’ll happen.

Add Affiliate Links To Old Posts: Don’t forget about your older blog posts. Look through them and find opportunities to insert affiliate links.

Be Aware Of Marketing Trends:  Keep an eye on what’s popular in your niche and what’s selling.  Different products perform differently.  Some may not sell very well, while others tend to sell quickly. If you find the products you are selling aren’t generating into sales after a while, don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your marketing plan.

Increase Your Audience Size:  Reader and subscriber growth is very important in developing a following on your blog.  The more readers you convert into subscribers, the more eyes that are going to read your posts. If you are writing high-quality blog posts, those views are going to translate into more sales down the road. Look for ways to promote your posts in the right places. For example, I am a member of many blogging Facebook groups.  I also run my own group, Blogger Share and Promo Group. Pinterest is also a steady traffic source for me.  I recently invested in Tailwind to manage my pins and ensure I am repinning appropriately.

Network: Affiliate marketing can be intimidating to new affiliates. Look for ways to network with more experienced bloggers to get advice and share tips with you for success. Blogger groups on Facebook are great for networking. Not only do you get the chance to share your own posts, but you get to read other posts and see what’s working for others.

Be Authentic:  Nothing is worse than stumbling upon a blog post where it’s clear that the author is just trying to sell you something. You know, those posts that say they are giving you 10 tips for something, but the whole article is split up with ads, teasers, and affiliate links. Don’t be like this guy! Establishing authenticity is very important.  If readers don’t see you as genuine, it’ll be the last time they ever visit your blog, and you won’t ever get a sale from them.  Be authentic in your product reviews. If you are reviewing an online graphic design service (like I did with my FotoJet review) and you find the service to be terrible, don’t pretend to like it just so that you can convince your readers to purchase it. Be honest, be open, and be trustworthy.

Don’t Promote A Product Only Once: If you really want to establish a solid income from affiliate marketing, you can’t set a link or a banner on a post once and never promote it again. Promote your posts over and over again to get a sustained level of exposure.

Be Creative: Promoting affiliate links is more than just putting a bit of code into your blog, or throwing up a few banners on the sidebar. Get creative with promoting your products. Have an email newsletter? Use it to your advantage to get the word out about your products. Find new and unique ways to get the word out there, and don’t be afraid to shift gears if your current methods aren’t working well.

Tell Your Story:  As is true in anything you are trying to promote or sell, making a connection with your readers is critical to gaining their trust. When you are promoting a product you truly believe in, tell your story.  Make the product’s value to you as personal as possible. For example, if I were trying to sell someone an iPhone, I would talk about how it’s long battery life keeps me from having to lug around my charger every where, or how awesome the camera is (yes, most of my personal images on this blog come from the iPhone 6!). Giving your personal testimony to a product’s value helps your reader understand how purchasing that product can add value to their life as well.

Be Cautious With Banners On Your Sidebar: If you use WordPress, it’s so tempting to throw a bunch of affiliate banners onto the sidebar. I urge you to be very cautious when doing this. The more ads you place on your site, the slower it will be.  You will also come across as only trying to make a quick buck. I have 3 Google Ads in my sidebar and that’s it. When I want to use banners, I put them inside my blog posts, include them in Facebook posts, and use them as images in Pinterest.

Disclose Every Time: You can’t include affiliate links in your blog posts, Facebook posts, or Twitter tweets without disclosing to your readers that they are there, and that if they click on them and purchase a product, you’ll make money off of it.  I know that sounds unnecessary, but it’s actually required by the FTC. If you are promoting an affiliate link in a Facebook post, you can write “Sponsored Post” or “Contains Affiliate Links” in parentheses. For Twitter, I usually use #ad or #affiliate. You must disclose each and every time!  The FTC can and will shut your blog down.  They are focused on protecting the rights of consumers, so if they suspect you are not disclosing, expect for your site to get shut down.

Promote To Family And Friends: Some of the best people to promote your affiliate links to are your own friends and family. Not only will they support you by sharing your posts, or maybe even purchasing something, they are usually very good about talking about it with their friends too. My mom recently bought some books through my Book Outlet affiliate link (this is an affiliate link – BOOM!  See how easy that was?!). Who knows, they may share so may times that your post will go viral!

Pay Attention To A Merchant’s Commission Structure: When you sign up to become an affiliate for a merchant’s products, you will have access to its commission structure.  Will you get paid a flat rate per sale, a percentage per sale, or only for leads? ShareASale’s affiliate application will tell you exactly what to expect.  So read it, or better yet, write it down.

Take Advantage Of Data Feeds: Product data feeds are simply files, usually in a format such as Excel, text, html, etc., that contain all of the information about your merchant’s products. The purpose of these files is to help you promote and sell products.  You, the affiliate, can take the information from the data feed and build individual pages for each product, or put more than one product on a page.  The advantage to having the data feed information is that you can get your site more exposure through search engines.  Most of the merchants you will find on ShareASale will have a tab containing their data feed products.

Have Fun: The more fun you have being creative in the promotion of your affiliate products, the more the fun will translate to your readers. Don’t be boring! Make each blog post interesting and find interesting ways to make your affiliate links fun. I know this is a challenge, but the better you present your information, the better the result will be in the end.

If you have more questions about affiliate marketing, feel free to email me at jeremy@goaskyourdaddy.com

For more information on Affiliate Marketing, see my other related posts:

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