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Five top tips to monetising your blog

Wednesday, 8 May 2013 | By Scott Allan

There are literally millions of blogs out there on the internet. For many bloggers once they build a loyal following the question often becomes how to make money from your traffic while not turning off your readership with non-relevant ads. The answer is affiliate marketing.


For many bloggers integrity is the key to a successful blog. This is why many bloggers turn away from solutions such as Google AdSense.


This option can leave bloggers disappointed partly because the blogger does not have complete control over which ads appear on their site.

To the blogging community at large, take note: you can grow your readership and monetise without compromising the vision and mission of your blog by using affiliate marketing.


While much of your success still depends on your ability to drive traffic to your blog, here are five non-negotiable criteria that bloggers should require before jumping into monetisation strategies.


1. Control over your advertising


Be sure you have complete control over the ads that appear on your blog and that those ads align with the content on the page.


A blogger should always have complete control over the size and type of ads that appear including text, banners, video, and any content that appears in the ads.


This way, the ads will complement the blog and not overshadow the content. We’ve all seen the strange ad on a blog or web page that just simply does not fit the content or, worse, does literally not fit on the page.


Make sure the ads are relevant to your reader and to your content which will increase conversion rates.


2. Voice and brand alignment


Make sure the brands you promote are aligned with your voice and your editorial content. Going beyond control over the ads, brand alignment elevates a blogger’s presence among the leading brands in his or her industry.


This, in turn, helps drive additional traffic to the site and, more importantly, drives conversions, therefore expanding the blogger’s reach and the potential to earn commissions from that traffic.


So how can bloggers align themselves with brands without appearing to be selling out? Bloggers and advertisers that are aligned from a branding perspective will find it easy to work together.


Stay true to your voice and look for brands that will complement your voice and your subject matter. For example, if you are blogging about fashion choose brands that are in line with your taste and the demographics of your readership.


Affiliate marketing enables bloggers to monetise at the brand and product level while offering complete control over which products they feature in their blog. Remember, as long as the brands and products reflect the blogger’s editorial direction, readers won’t be distracted or turned off by the monetisation elements.


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3. Meeting advertisers and partnership support


While working independently is at the top of the list of perks of being a blogger, there’s also something to be said about having the support of the network to act as an independent third-party resource.


This is when the value of the affiliate network becomes either make-or-break to the blogger in terms facilitating introductions to advertisers, and acting at the intermediary in lobbying for fair commissions. Be transparent about your traffic and readership and other aspects of your site.


Retailers want to partner with websites that have quality, targeted traffic. So just remember that both parties – retailers and affiliates – likely have aggressive goals in mind. Negotiate and don’t be afraid to pilot test new ideas.


4. Global reach


Many bloggers today have readers from all over the world. Affiliate marketing networks today have global reach will allow bloggers to partner with local advertisers in markets outside of Australia.


For example, let’s say you are a blogger that has a significant amount of traffic from the UK. Ads from British advertisers will be much more relevant to your UK audience and will be more likely to convert better than random ads.


5. Tools that make it easy


A fair concern among bloggers new to affiliate marketing is whether it will create more work for them. After all, keeping a steady stream of interesting and relevant content flowing is already time consuming.


For affiliate marketing to appeal to new bloggers it must be fun, unobtrusive and easy.


To ensure this, the affiliate networks today to provide easy access to reports that show relevant information such as sales and commission trends, without requiring extensive training.


Many networks also now have tools that make finding, getting and publishing links easier than ever, including tools for Facebook and Twitter.