Affiliate Marketing: My Journey to First $10,000 Online

amazon earning 18

I still remember the rush I felt in my body when I earned my first $ online. It was the winter of 2017 when someone bought a product on Amazon.com through my affiliate link, and my account was credited with $1.40.

A year forward, by the end of 2018, I was able to cross the $10,000 mark in total earning online.

The money was an excellent reward for the hard work I did, but the real treasure was the lessons learned throughout the journey.

In today’s article, I want to give back to the industry by sharing everything that I have learned about making money online with affiliate marketing. Hopefully, it will reduce your struggle period and speed up your journey towards success. Enjoy!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is all about promoting other people’s products and making a commission off every sale closed.

As an affiliate marketer, your job is to drive qualified traffic to the product page. Onwards it is the merchant’s job to convert that traffic, process the payment, ship the product, handle the returns, and provide customer support.

Thus, it is a relatively hands-off model to earn money online. So, I recommend every beginner to start with affiliate marketing.

My Approach To Doing Affiliate Marketing (Step By Step)

It took me a few years to hit the goal of earning $10,000 online with affiliate marketing.

If I am to start over, I can start a blog from scratch and take it up to making $2000-$3000/month in a year and $10,000/month in a couple of years or so. That my friends is a very liberating skill.

Via this guide, I aim at sharing with you my exact approach to doing affiliate marketing. I hope it will shorten your success curve. Let’s start:

Step 1. Niche Research

It all starts with a niche. A niche is nothing but the topic you choose to make a website about. Golf, camping, travel, bodybuilding, etc. are good examples of viable niches.

1.1 Choose a Specific Niche and Avoid Too Broad or Too Narrow Niches

Too BroadSpecificToo Narrow
SportsGolfRangefinders
HealthSkin CarePimples
OutdoorCyclingFolding Bike

You should not start a website in a too broad or too narrow niche. Always start a site in a specific niche only. In the table above, you will find some examples of each type of niches.

  • Too broad niches will take a long time to rank in for anything significant due to the lack of relevancy signals. Moreover, you will need to put in a high amount of resources (time and money) to make those niches work for you. That’s not a very beginner-friendly move
  • Too narrow niches make it hard to grow your website when it takes off. Moreover, it’s always challenging to get high-quality backlinks for such sites because they look spam. So, avoid such niches at all costs.
  • Specific niches are the holy grail of making some decent money online within a reasonable timeframe. The entire website sends strong signals of relevance and ranks a lot quicker than broad sites do. Moreover, down the road, you can grow the site into many other categories.

1.2 Where to Find Niches

niche collection

Browsing through Amazon.com is the best way to get some niche ideas quickly.

Don’t be afraid of going deep into the subcategories. Keep drilling down until you have collected 20 or so specific niche ideas.

To grease your creative wheels, here are a few niches that I consider are specific and viable:

  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Cycling
  • Men’s grooming
  • Bodybuilding
  • Running
  • Parenting
  • Golf
  • Veganism

Step 2. Keyword Research

ahrefs keyword explorer

Success leaves footprints, and that’s also true in the case of keyword research. Follow those footprints, and you will reach success. Here’s how:

2.1 The Step By Step Process of Doing Keyword Research

step1

1. Enter your niche name into the keyword explorer tool by ahrefs (not an affiliate link) and hit search. In this demonstration, I am using “Golf” as my niche.

2. On the resulting screen, in the left sidebar, click on “Having Same Terms” and it will spit out millions of keywords related to your niche.

step3

3. It’s not practical to evaluate all the resulting keywords manually. So, apply a few filters to reduce the number of keywords further. The filters are as follow:

  • Set the keyword difficulty (KD) to min 0 and max 10.
  • Set the search volume to min 100 and leave the max field empty.
  • Set the Include filter to “Best”.

You’ll find that these filters will drastically reduce the number of keywords, making it a lot easier to evaluate them one by one.

step4

4. Now, You need to give each keyword a round of manual analysis before finalizing it for content writing. Here’s how:

  • Click on the “SERP” button located on the right side of each keyword.
  • Check the top 10 websites to see if they contain at least two small sites or not (DR 20 or less).
  • If yes, check if small sites on page 1 are getting traffic or not (100 or more).
  • If both conditions fulfill mark the keyword as qualified.
  • Repeat the process until you have found 20-25 such keywords.

Step 3. Money Projection

Money projection is the difference between a blog earning $200 per month and a blog earning $2,000 per month. Before I go on explaining further, take a look at the three screenshots given below:

amazon earning 18

1. Physical Products: As you can see in the screenshot above, my site did close to $11,000 in a year with selling physical products.

2. Display Ads: As you can see in the screenshot above, the same site could hardly do $1100 in a year with display ads. The difference is huge.

cb earning shot

3. Info Products: As you can see in the screenshot above, my site did a little over $2,500 in a year with info products. It’s better than ads but not as good as physical products.

To sum it up. The goal is to make as much money as possible with as little effort as possible. So, during the start, do not focus on ads or info products to monetize your traffic. Instead, sell physical products only, and you will be making good money even with low traffic.

Step 4. Content Creation

We will be writing a maximum of 25 commercial articles on our site. Onwards, we will focus only on creating and promoting link assets. Here are the two types of articles that you need on your site during the beginning:

1. Commercial Articles: We need these articles to make money. These articles are written around the keywords that have strong buying intent. A total of 20 such articles should be enough. Here’s a good example of a commercial article: https://campsmartly.com/best-popup-tents/

2. Link Assets: We need these articles to attract backlinks. These are big-meaty-informative guides. Such guides are so useful that once you put them in front of other webmasters, they happily link out to these guides. A total of 5 such guides should be enough. Here’s a good example of a perfect link asset: https://campsmartly.com/hiking-dog/

That’s it. These are the two types of content you need to create until your site is earning at least $2000 per month. Once the money starts rolling in, you can hire writers and VAs to help you grow the site.

Step 5. Link Building

The niche research and keyword research criteria is set in a way that even if you don’t build backlinks, your site will still rank in search engines and make you some decent money. Building backlinks speed this process up and help you rank for more competitive terms. Here’s how to pick backlinks like a child’s stuff:

1. Skyscraper: This is the easiest way to build backlinks. I create 80% of my backlinks using this strategy. All you need to do is find a page that has already acquired a lot of backlinks, create a page better than the existing one, and reach out to the same people for a link who linked out to the original page. Simple as that. Here is a detailed guide on how to do this right- The Shotgun Skyscraper Technique.

2. Guest Posting: I don’t do a lot of guest posting because it requires you to write a new article for each backlink. That makes it a not-so-scalable technique. I do only 15-20 guest posts but only on high authority websites (Sites with Domain Rating 50+). Here is a detailed guide on how to do this right- Guest Blogging for SEO.

The two techniques I mentioned above are enough to earn you 50 or so backlinks to your site. That’s all you will need to break into page 1 and start getting traffic and sales.

Over To You

That’s pretty much everything that you need to know to start a blog from scratch and take it up to earning $2000/month or more. Once you have some money rolling in, you can hire writers and grow the same blog to earning $10,000 or more. Now take some action and make me proud!

If you want to learn under my mentorship, I’d be happy to welcome you to join my digital marketing training in Chandigarh. I offer online batches as well. I will be watching you over your shoulder, throughout the program, to make sure you are on the right path towards your success.

If you have any questions, ask me in the comment section below, and I’d be more than happy to help you out. Thanks 😊.

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3 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing: My Journey to First $10,000 Online”

    1. A commercial article is one that has a strong “buying intent” i.e. “best pillow for side sleepers”. Some other possible modifiers are “review”, “most”, “vs”, “alternative” etc.

  1. Got it πŸ™‚ Thank you! Do you know of someone or have any good recommendations that can write good commercial articles?

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