Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. I have a strict policy to only promote products I personally use to run my business. If you decide to purchase a product through an affiliate link I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. This is how I fund the blog – thanks for your support!
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How to make money online is a question that is constantly being asked and many believe that making money online is just a myth, and who blames them?
There is just so much crap information out there on how to make money online and so many shady websites trying to make a quick buck.
It honestly drives me insane whenever I see one of those ridiculous Facebook ads claiming that their “mastermind” course will teach you how to make a 6-figure income online within a few weeks without breaking a sweat. What’s even more ludicrous are the ads that are selling products claiming that they will build your business on auto-pilot…
In this article, I am going to share with you the truth about making money online from my personal experience and give you the knowledge you need to succeed online.
If you execute what you are about to learn it is almost guaranteed that you will make money online.
If you already have an online business (including a store), you can use this same method to increase your income by expanding your product range or by utilizing the skills of other marketers.
Table Of Contents:
1. How I’ve Made Money Online
2. What Is Affiliate Marketing
3. How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
4. How To Add Affiliate Products To Your Website
5. How To Get Traffic To Your Website
6. Affiliate Marketing As A Vendor
7. Hardships Of Affiliate Marketing
How I’ve Made Money Online
There are many different ways you can make money online and I have successfully money with…
Google Adsense was the first thing I tried in my online business career and even though it took me 6 years to reach the payment threshold, I finally received a cheque for $102.43.
I personally do not recommend Google Adsense as there are much better ways to make money online.
After Google Adsense I decided to try Network Marketing (MLM).
In just over a year, I built an entire team using a simple blog and I was ranked in the top 100 people for the company.
I decided to drop out of Network Marketing when I discovered it wasn’t for me.
Network Marketing is a very difficult industry.
Freelancing is something I still do, but now that my blog has become popular I make contracts directly with clients rather than of using third party websites.
eBay & Gumtree
Importing products from Asia and selling them on eBay and Gumtree is something I continue to do but it is not my main focus.
I will create a detailed guide on how to start an eBay business in the near future.
This is my favorite way to make money online and it’s what I’m about to teach you.
The reason why I highly recommend affiliate marketing is because it’s very cheap and easy start-up.
You are usually paid in USD and it is very realistic to be able to make $5,000+ a month.
It is also possible to create a passive income stream.
For example, I’m still getting paid at least once a month from a website I made 3 years ago and no longer maintain.
I continue to renew the domain name each year as it brings in a lot more than the cost of the domain renewal.
Affiliate marketing is something anyone can do!
You just need to be patient, consistent and willing to learn.
It’s almost inevitable that you will eventually make money with affiliate marketing and whether it’s a small or large amount really depends on your effort.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing (also known as performance marketing) is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products.
Each time you recommend a product to someone and they make a purchase, you will earn a piece of the profit.
It is important to note that the profit you earn is at no extra cost to the customer.
There are thousands of products and services you can promote.
You may even be a frequent user of an affiliate product and not even know it!
Keep in mind that I have listed the above companies as examples, we will go into detail on how to find good products to promote later on.
Affiliate marketing is a long-term business venture and it usually takes the average person 6 – 12 months to make their first sale, however, it snowballs pretty quickly.
The first time I tried affiliate marketing it took me 7 months to make my first sale but the second time it only took me 3 months because I had the experience.
1. It is recommended that you only sell products that you have personally used.
Do not just sell products to make money, sell products to help people.
2. You can increase the amount of sales you make by going the extra mile to personally help customers with their questions. By helping customers you also dramatically reduce the refund rate.
Pretend the products you are selling are your own.
Step 1: How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
The very first thing you need to do is create a plan and build your online presence.
1. Choose A Niche.
It is very important to pick a niche that you are interesting and not one you think will make the most money.
The reason is because affiliate marketing is a long-term business venture and you will need to create a lot of content around your niche.
If you pick a niche that you not genuinely interested in will get bored and quit.
You don’t need to be an expert, you just need to have a high level of interest.
2. Personal Brand Vs Business Brand.
Decide whether you are going to build a personal brand or a business brand.
3. Build A Website
To build a website you will first need to purchase Web Hosting and a Domain Name.
I highly recommend Siteground as they are very fast, cheap, secure and easy to use with great support.
WordPress is the platform I recommend you use to create your website.
You can use this step-by-step video guide to help you build your website.
4. Setup Your Email Marketing
They say “the money is in the list” which is true because those who subscribe to your mailing list will continue to receive your emails and overtime this will build loyalty and trust.
It is crucial that you always over deliver in value before trying to sell something, otherwise your emails will be seen as spam and your subscribers will unsubscribe.
Just to be clear, value is not always educational content, it can also be content that is used for entertainment or escapism.
Basically, it is something that another person is willing to exchange their time for.
To setup your email marketing you need two things, a way to capture emails and a way to send emails.
1. A Mailing Service:
aWeber is used by most of the top internet marketers in the world and it is recommended if you are serious about your email marketing. Alternatively, you can use MailChimp’s free mailing plan which is very limited compared to Awebber but a great way to get started.
2. Capture Emails:
There are many free plugins that allow you to capture emails but I personally use and highly recommend Thrive Leads.
Thrive Leads is very easy to use and allows you to create various pop-ups, widgets, in-content forms, lock content forms and much more!
You can see a complete video demo of Thrive Leads here.
Another thing to consider when you are setting up your mailing list is what information you would like to collect.
I personally only collect the user’s first name and email as it allows me personalize every email according to their first name.
Keep in mind that people do not like filling in forms so keep it minimal.
5. Create Social Media Accounts
At the very least you should create a YouTube account and a Facebook Page.
Use this trick invite all of your friends to like your Facebook Page in one go!
Step 2: Create Content
Now that you have created your website and social media accounts, it’s time to start creating content.
You first need to research what your target audience is struggling with and then provide them with a solution.
So how exactly do you research?
Put yourself in their shoes or even better… Find various online communities in your niche and take note of the questions that are being asked repetitively. You can also use Q&A sites such as Quora to do your research.
Once you find a common problem that your audience is struggling with, you can then provide them with a solution in a detailed blog post. If you like, you can also use Google’s Keyword Planner to see how many times the topic is searched in Google each month.
See how I highlighted detailed blog post in bold?
This is because most people (including myself) initially fall into the trap of blogging just for the sake of creating content and you end up making content that is “good enough”.
Unfortunately content that is “good enough” doesn’t cut it, your content needs to be excellent!
The better your content, the more exposure it will get because great content is shared on social media and on other websites which also improves your SEO.
It is also important to ensure that your blog posts are Search Engine Friendly.
So how do you make great content?
You spend time (or money if you prefer to hire someone to do it for you).
For example, are most people willing to spend the time to create a blog post like this and a video to go with it?
Most likely not… It would be easier for them to share my post or just to link to it from their website.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.” – Jeff Olson
When creating content you should check to see what already exists out there and then make something better or slightly different.
For example, there are so many amazing tutorials on SEO For Beginners that I simply can’t compete with.
For this reason, I decided to make my SEO tutorial a step-by-step video series to visually show the basics of SEO in detail. Is my SEO tutorial better than the others out there?
To some people it is, to others it isn’t, but because I took a different approach, it appeals to a different audience to my competitors.
Once you finish your blog post, you can re-purpose it to extend it’s reach.
For example, you can turn the blog post into an image, video and/or audio file which can then be posted on your website and on different social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Vivmo, iTunes, SoundCloud and so on.
The more content you have spread out around the internet, the better and by re-creating it in different media formats, it allows you to dramatically increase your traffic by attracting it from different sources.
It doesn’t matter if the information is the same because different formats attract different people.
Step 3: Add Affiliate Products
After you have made some awesome content for your visitors, you can begin adding affiliate products to your website.
Think about what products and services you personally use that are relevant to your niche and check to see if they have an affiliate program.
To check simply go to Google and search for: company-name affiliate
For example, if your content is about graphic design and you use Adobe products then do a search for adobe affiliate.
Once you have exhausted the products you are most familiar with, you can branch out and find more products to promote by using affiliate networks. Affiliate networks are websites where vendors can add their products so they can be found by internet marketers and promoted.
The user interface of affiliate sites are very similar.
Once you login, you have your Dashboard, a few other things and a menu called Affiliates, Advertises or something similar.
This is what you need to click on to see the list of products you can promote.
Each product tells you how much you will earn in commission and a few other details.
Some products will require you to obtain approval before you can start promoting which is usually easy.
Affiliate terminology can be confusing at first so let’s take a minute to go through some terms you will often see.
This is the link you need to share with others in order to get paid.
EPC stands for Earnings Per Click and it represents the average earnings per 100 clicks.
EPC is used to show the ability to convert clicks into commissions.
Grav is short for Gravity and it is the number of distinct affiliates who earned a commission by promoting the vendor’s products during the past 12 weeks.
It is not an actual number of affiliates.
Different affiliate vendors have different cookie durations, so it is a good idea to learn more about their cookie system before promoting their product. This information is usually listed in their FAQ section.
Once you have decided on the products you would like to promote, grab their affiliate links and start placing them within your content. Keep in mind that the products you are promoting need to be relevant to the content.
1. Make the affiliate product part of a process.
For example, I have made Siteground part of the process for building a website and making money online.
Siteground is an affiliate product that I use.
If you are teaching people how to get fit, create content showing how you use product and how it has helped you.
2. Reviewing affiliate products is a good way to promote your affiliate links.
You can even create content comparing two affiliate products against each other.
3. Create a Resources page and add it to your menu.
Having a Resources page will boost your earnings significantly because people love good resources and if you can recommend something that will make someones life easier, they will be very grateful for it.
You won’t just earn a commission but loyalty as well.
5. Google recommends that you NoFollow affiliate links.
ThirstyAffiliates gives you the option to do this but if you are not using it, then you can use this WordPress plugin or do it manually with the HTML attribute rel=”nofollow”.
6. You can use Google Analytics with Google Tag Manager to easily track how many clicks each of your affiliate links get.
Step 4: Get Website Traffic
Getting traffic is the hardest and most important part of making money online because without it will not make any sales.
As we discussed earlier, the most effective way to get traffic is to go above and beyond with your content and then re-purpose it for different platforms.
There are many different ways to get traffic but we are only going to focus on the methods that are free and that work for me. You should also note that just because something works for me, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you, so it is recommended that you try various tactics to find what works best for you.
How to drive traffic to your website is a HUGE topic but for now we are going to keep it brief and simple so you can get started right away.
My top traffic sources are Google, YouTube, Facebook and Online Communities.
Let’s take a look at these in more details.
SEO is very time-consuming and can take a long time for your efforts to fully kick in (6 – 12 months).
It can also be difficult to compete against the players who have been around for a while and have already established themselves, for this reason I don’t recommend you compete against them for same keywords at the very beginning.
Instead, target various long-tail keywords as they will allow you to rank your pages much faster and easier.
Once you have established yourself, you can start competing against the big players for the same keywords.
YouTube is amazing for traffic and it’s a shame that a lot of people do not utilize it.
It is the second biggest search engine after Google and the traffic you get from it is much higher quality than the traffic you get from Google search.
This is because people see and hear you which allows you to build a connection with your visitors before they visit your website as opposed to when they stumble upon your website from a Google search.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you start building a YouTube channel and utilize these YouTube SEO tricks.
The use of a Facebook Fan Page has become a standard for every business but Facebook Groups are still very under utilized.
Facebook Groups are a great way to attain new customers and drive new traffic.
You can use a program like the Facebook Group Poster to automatically join and post to groups but the most effective way to get quality traffic from Groups is to be helpful.
Join a private group relevant to your niche, preferably one that is monitored and spam free, and just be helpful while dropping links to your website.
For example, I joined an Australian Business and everyday I see several questions on my News Feed (I don’t need to look for them). If the question is something I have written a blog post about, I briefly answer it and then drop a link to the post.
By doing this you can get quality traffic and build a good reputation.
People will be very grateful that you took the time to answer their questions and took that extra step to provide them with a link where they can learn more in detail. If you see a question that keeps being asked but you don’t have any content on it, spend some time to create it so next time it pops-up you can answer it and drop your link.
You can use this same tactic to share your links in other online communities without being a spammer.
The only downside to posting in Facebook Groups is that you are unable to use your Facebook Fan Page to post, this means that you will need to use your personal account (or create a new one).
It is a good idea to have your website URL listed in your “About Me” section and visible to the public.
You should also have your Facebook Fan Page linked from your Profile.
– Avoid getting into arguments with people.
You will often see some very silly advice but you are there to drive traffic to your website and by trying to “school” someone you are wasting time.
– Even though it’s nice to answer questions for people, it’s a little pointless for your business if you are unable to drop a link to your website along with your answer.
– Add your website URL in your “Intro” section so it is highly visible for when people click onto your profile.
4. Online Communities
Online communities such as Forums and Q&A sites are a great way to drive traffic to your website while building a reputation. Just like posting in Facebook Groups, you need to help people with their questions and then drop a link to a relevant blog post.
The great thing about Forums is that you can add your website URL in your signature so even if you just participate in conversations without dropping a link you can still gain some traffic.
I recommend you only contribute to Forums that have a large user base and allow signatures.
There are two major advantages that Forums have over Facebook Groups.
1. Forums are often searchable and indexed by Google, this means if someone searches the Forum there is a chance they will run into your answer. Also, seeing as Forums are often indexed by Google, there is a chance that your response will show up in Google’s search results.
2. Every time new topics are created in Facebook Groups, your answers to previous questions are pushed to the bottom never to be seen again.
5. Blog Consistently
This is something even I struggle with because the content I create is so detailed and always includes a video, however, multiple studies have shown that if you do not blog consistently your traffic will drop.
One of the case studies done by a world-class blogger (Neil Patel) showed that when he stopped blogging for a month, after years of blogging, his traffic dropped so dramatically that it took him 3 months of consistent blogging to get him back to where he was before he stopped.
Affiliate Marketing As A Vendor
The main focus of this guide is to learn how to make money online by selling other people’s products but let’s spend a few minutes looking at affiliate marketing as a vendor, in case you are planning to create a product in future or already have one.
There are two ways to set-up an affiliate system, the easiest way is to add your product to an affiliate network where you will be charged a small fee for each sale that is made, alternatively, you can take the time to set-up an affiliate system directly on your website. If you are using WordPress, there are a few plugins available that can help do this but your product will get much more exposure using an affiliate network.
To find affiliate networks to list your product, you can search Google for things like:
– Top Affiliate Networks
– Affiliate Networks for Health
– Affiliate Networks in America
It’s important to note that your landing pages need to be fine-tuned or you will have a hard time finding affiliates to push your offer as they are limited by how much time and resources they have.
By using affiliate marketing as a vendor, you can get skilled internet marketers to promote your product which will save you time and money.
You can also look at what affiliates are driving sales and replicate their campaigns for yourself.
You need to be careful which affiliates you approve to promote your product because most affiliates focus on making money, they don’t care if what they’re doing is ethical or not and this can be very dangerous for your business.
If affiliates start sending you bad traffic or creating fake press about product, you will start getting a lot of bad reviews from customers that have been lied to.
It’s also important to monitor the ads that affiliates run because you can run into legal issues if they are creating fake promises. For example, they may create fake case studies and landing pages to drive sales.
Hardships Of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing is very difficult mentally so before you make the decision to start, you need to be certain that you are willing to commit. The hardest thing about making money online is that it takes a lot of time and effort, and just like everything else in life you’re heart needs to be in it 100% or else you’re not going to get far.
It takes a lot of time to reach a high monthly income with affiliate marketing because your need to build your social media accounts, your website, create excellent content and then redistribute that content on to different media platforms.
You then need to promote it and wait for Google and other search engines to index it.
Creating an online business is very time consuming and you will need to give up things in exchange for time to work on your business.
I understand that it’s very hard to find time when you are working full-time, especially if you have a family with young kids. However, the truth is that you can always make time but if you can’t, then unfortunately making money online is not for you.
– Watch a maximum of 2 movies or TV shows a week.
– Replace music with Podcasts and Audio books.
– If you catch public transport to work use that time to work on your business.
– If you drive to work, stay back and work on your business until rush hour is over.
It is much more effective to work on your business than to wait in traffic for hours.
– Instead of taking lunch breaks at work, take your food to another room and work on your business.
2. Staying Motivated.
We as humans are not very patient and we always want quick results but because affiliate marketing takes months, you are likely to start doubting yourself. You will feel as if you are working so hard but getting nowhere.
You may even begin looking for new opportunities and your commitment to affiliate marketing will slowly fade but you need to stay strong and keep going.
Keep in mind that uncertainty is something that every entrepreneur goes through.
To help you overcome anxiety, think of a strong reason why you want to succeed and continue to remind yourself why you are grinding so hard in the first place.
Money is great but there is always a much deeper reason.
What will money allow you to do exactly?
It also helps to follow those who have already succeeded in your niche on social media so you can continue to receive inspiration.
3. Negativity From Family And Friends.
Most people do not understand affiliate marketing and how profitable it can be.
In fact, most find it hard to grasp anything outside the scope of a “job”.
Since you have made it this far into the guide, it means that you genuinely want a way out of the rat race and I really believe you can do it.
The majority of people do not have solid goals in place to reach their dreams.
They may say they do but the things they do on a daily basis show otherwise, and that’s absolutely fine.
It is much easier to live life in a pattern, to wake up every morning to go to work, come back home and watch TV, than it is to suddenly make a change and begin working in your free time.
It is also much easier to make excuses than to take action – “I want to but I don’t have the time”.
No one should be judged by how they choose to live but because you will start doing something different, you will stand out from the crowd. People will question you and will advise you to focus on your career even though they have no idea about the possibilities that exist online.
You will also constantly be asked things like “hows that online thing your doing? Making lots of money yet?” and people will laugh when you tell them that you are still working on it – “haha, see I told you! Just get a job already!”.
This feels very crap, especially if you have been working your ass off for months.
It’s even worse when this negativity comes from people you love such as your partner or parents.
When you begin to experience this, it’s important to remember that these are just obstacles that you need to overcome to succeed.
It’s much easier for someone to sit back and judge you than it is for them to chase their goals.
Trust me, every single person that has succeeded online has gone through these very same things.
People just can’t yet comprehend that making money online is very real but it takes time.
It is common for an entrepreneur building a traditional business to go through these hardships as well.
For those who experience negativity from their parents, you need to remember that they grew up in a different era when internet didn’t exist. Their way of thinking may be outdated but they are just trying to advise you what they think is best for you from their experience.
Again, it is very helpful to follow those who have already succeeded on social media so you can continue to receive inspiration.
Creating a business requires a lifestyle change and this may be very difficult in the beginning but as time goes by your mind and body will adjust. Once adjusted, you may find yourself obsessed with learning new marketing techniques and working on your business. When this time comes you need to remember to sleep, exercise and spend time with loved ones.
Even though in this guide we focused on affiliate marketing from an affiliate perspective, you can use it as a vendor to encourage internet marketers to promote your own product(s).
As an affiliate, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a good amount of money online but if you are persistent, you will reach a point where you are making more money online than you are at your full-time job. Once you reach this point you will be grateful that you made the decision to change your lifestyle and dedicate yourself.
Even if you do not end up making a large amount of money with affiliate marketing, you will definitely pick up a lot of awesome internet marketing skills that you can use on your next business venture, to freelance or add to your resume.
If you end up making money online as a result of this tutorial, please email me and let me know as it will brighten up my day. 🙂
Have you made money online before? If so how?