Learn the art of efficient affiliate sales to build passive income, and monetize your blog
#7 Interview in live your life your way with Clelia, affiliate partner at keepcalmandtravel.com: A “How To” Guide On Efficient Affiliate Programs
Me: Thanks for accepting this second interview. And the reason we are meeting once more is to hear all you have to say on affiliates.
Before we get into the nitty gritty, could you tell us what it was like before you monetized your website and what triggered the monetization process?
Clelia: I was getting a lot of traffic on my Sardinia posts. So I decided to start using affiliates in March 14. I added three hotel recommendations for each Sardinian beach. Each recommendation incorporated an affiliate link, from booking.com for instance. I got better through trial and error. I started with Expedia and Amazon, and it didn’t work for me. I then moved to Booking.com and Trip Advisor. Then, it was a boom. I was using one article with dozens of affiliates and after one week I was making four hundred dollars.
Me: That’s outstanding. What is the name of the article, in case people would like to study it?
Clelia: The name of the article is “How to Monetize a Travel Blog.”
Me: What is the principle of affiliate sales?
Clelia: You insert a link that has a tracking code to your website. If someone interested in the product/service you’re promoting purchases the product/service after clicking on your link, you’ll get a sales commission. The way I do it is that I go to the service/product’s website and look for the affiliate section, usually positioned in the footer of the webpage. Once I’ve signed up, I share my website’s stats, which usually include such things as weekly traffic, bounce rate, etc. They then review your application and give you an answer. I was rejected at first because I had low traffic. I went back to see them a few months later and usually got better responses. Once your application was accepted, they’ll provide you with a tracking code. They allow you to use links or banners to showcase on your site.
I’ve noticed that the more specific a link is, the more likely it converts into a sale. Your affiliate link must be targeted to make a sale. You shouldn’t have an affiliate link to Agoda or Booking.com; have a link to the specific hotel instead. You shouldn’t have affiliate links on your home page. You should have them in a targeted article. Aim for relevance. When someone sees my Sardinian page, they understand that I know my business, and they’re willing to follow my recommendations in terms of accommodations, transports, etc.
Me: So the more specific you are, the higher the chance to make a sale.
Clelia: I don’t believe you need to have a big audience to start off. I started with little traffic, and my Sardinian audience was already allowing me to convert sales.
Me: What are your biggest affiliate partners? With whom do you have the best results?
A day out with Affiliates Sales Guru
Me: You should be calling them every day to insist they made the change.
Clelia: I know.
Me: Let’s talk principles. What are your principles to succeed with affiliate sales?
Clelia: The service has to be relevant for the audience, and I need to have tried before. I use Booking.com all the time for my own personal trips. I love it. What I do is that I show how to use their service by providing snapshots, etc. I show my audience step by step. I’m honest; I need to try a product. That’s why my audience trusts me.
Me: What are your best tips for anyone wanting to make money on affiliates?
Clelia: Be patient. A lot of bloggers ask me how to do it, and they expect immediate results. It doesn’t work like that. I had to wait until Google rewarded me with better organic ranking in the search. I worked on this by building backlinks for articles. I also noticed the more I have comments, the easier it is for me to be found by people seeking for my services. Another tip is ensuring your articles’ formats are appealing, long, and detailed. That will help your SEO.
Me: So, be patient and deliver hard work by building backlinks, making posts interactive, and building appealing and detailed articles. How much money did you make last month with affiliates?
Clelia: This is my low season. I made 700 dollars last month. In high season, I make more than triple that amount. And this concerns only one article: the top ten beaches of Sardinia.
Layout is key, as well. Make it professional. Change WordPress theme if you need to. That makes a difference.
Me: What advice would you give someone with getting started with affiliate sales?
Clelia: Do your research. Don’t just put affiliates links all over the place. It doesn’t work like that. Study a lot. Check your analytics to know what article will be most useful for affiliate sales. Pick the one with most traffic. Be patient, as it won’t happen overnight. Know your website and your audience. If you know what they want, you’ll increase your chances. If they e-mail you asking for something specific, write an article about it. Get started. It was months before I started using affiliates.
1) Do your research on affiliate programs.
Clelia has understood something fundamental in the selling process: know your stuff and don’t you dare lie about it, because people will smell it. Instead, do your research on the product you want to promote and sell. Make sure that you have an interest in it. Try the product. And make suggestions on your website.
Below is an excerpt from Clelia’s article on the top ten beaches of Sardinia. Notice how she subtly includes her link with some targeted advice. She talks to families and cheap travelers. And she shares some personal advice, which suggests she’s tried the service she advertises. There’s research and personal involvement in her tips. Her audience rewards her for it.
2) Be patient to build passive income.
Clelia started with affiliate partners that were simply not working for her. She learned through trial and error. She partnered with Booking.com and immediately noticed improvements in her sales. The Booking.com services she promoted were also quite relevant for the European audience, accustomed to the corporation’s offers.
3) Get to work on improving your website aesthetics and improving your SEO strategy.
This is the most challenging step, in my opinion. Clelia built some solid organic traffic by using backlinks to her articles and turning her website into a comment-friendly environment. Getting backlinks requires networking with the right websites. By right, I mean those related to your field with a big audience.
To ensure your audience loves your website and stays on it, you definitely have to make it aesthetically pleasing. That requires hard work. Clelia uses the X theme that she has personalized. Her most successful articles are a pleasure to look at. One of the tools she uses the most is a plugin called visual editor. If you learn to master it, you can turn your website into something worth recalling and coming back to.
Below is an excerpt of tables included in one of Clelia’s articles that includes affiliate links, text, images, and buttons. This seems fairly easy, right? Wrong. This takes time to build in WordPress, and Clelia wisely chooses every detail (color, alignment, font size, etc.).
Go to the Sardinia page on keepcalmandtravel.com, and look closely at how Clelia has built her articles. They are very affiliates friendly. If you look into how she chooses her partners and creates successful articles through aesthetics and her tone of voice, you won’t need to read any fancy books.
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