One of my audience members wrote in the other day and was saying how she was frustrated at so many of the blogs teaching blogging out there today. “If you look at their income reports,” she said, “they just all make money from products. They are making $30,000/month or more, but it’s all because of a product. What if you don’t HAVE a product?”
What if you don’t want to make a product or it’s just not time for you to create one?
What do you do?
Are you sunk?
Can you still make money without a product?
I love this question for so many reasons, but mostly, because this reader is really looking around, digesting, and digging into things. She’s not just blindly following what someone has to say. She’s digging much deeper to HOW someone is actually making money blogging. Kudos to her!
How to Make Money Blogging Without a Product
There are a lot of ways to make good money blogging.
Most bloggers start with ads and work up to working with sponsors. But, for the most part, that isn’t going to pay your rent unless you have a gazillion in traffics each month.
For me, personally, my main income source is affiliate marketing. This entire year, I’ve taken a lot of time to study just how it works and I’ve found there are different stages (or levels, if you will) of affiliate marketing.
In the beginning, you put on any and all affiliate marketing companies that line up with your brand, your good name and character, and your audience needs. If you’re a recipe blog, you can be an affiliate for cookbooks you love and use. If you’re a mom blog, you can be an affiliate for baby products, kids crafts, and so on.
You go through all your posts and enter in your affiliate links (using the Pretty Link plug in of course, to save you time when/if links change) and you’re good to go. Every time you post on something relevant, you remember to put your affiliate links in there.
But there comes a time in your blogging career, at your more advanced stage of affiliate marketing, when you will stop putting so many affiliate links in your posts. In fact, you stop linking within your own posts so much too.
Because EVERY LINK has the “squirrel effect” (named so because of the Disney UP movie). Your most concentrated reader just left down a rabbit hole of information, never to return. Instead, you should keep them on track with 100% relevant information (the post they clicked on).
Now, I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t interlink within your own blog, but really, in your advanced stage of affiliate marketing, you should only do so if it’s SUPER relevant and a high performing post. Keep them on the good stuff! The “jewels” of your blog, if you will.
Same with affiliate links, only use the “jewels” of your affiliates. Those top 5 affiliates that perform the best for you.
Because here’s the thing. If you have one post and your audience is seeing it and it’s completely relevant to them, then you send them to an affiliate link for a $2.99 book and later on in the post, you’re trying to help them find a better affiliate for their needs, you’re doing yourself a disservice by sending them over to the less-than performing product.
They may like the $2.99 ebook or they may not, but either way, you’ve just overwhelmed them with a book that makes you 17¢ if they buy and it’s not as valuable to them (to get them where they want to go super fast), but rather, it’s taking their eyes off the real jewel within that article.
Here’s the thing, with your top 5 selling affiliates, they convert better because more people like them.
In my opinion, it’s better in the advanced stages of blogging to not have a link at all to ANY sell, than to send them to a product or something that is not worth their time or yours.
Every single thing their eyes are on is 5,000% valuable and you have to look at your blog that way.
What do you do with your kids eyes? You guard them, right?! If there’s a girl on TV scantily dressed, I can tell you exactly how fast you’re going to stop your son from seeing that…a mili-second, am I right?! So, why would you NOT use that same fervor to guard your audience’s eyes? It is YOUR responsibility.
Many bloggers don’t make AS MUCH as they could with affiliate marketing BECAUSE they are having the “squirrel effect” on every post.
Side note: This is one of the main reasons I hate ads. Aren’t readers consumed ENOUGH with the “squirrel effect” all day long. Shouldn’t they have a place SOMEwhere in the world they can go where they are not inundated with stuff all the time?
Once you get to that stage in affiliate marketing, and yes, it is working up to that stage, you will start to earn big bucks. In fact, last year (my second year blogging), I made nearly $90,000 in affiliate income alone. You can check out my full income report here. But it didn’t come without hard work. I spent a lot of time honing my affiliate marketing skills and testing absolutely everything I was doing. If it didn’t convert, I went back and deleted it!
This is how to make a lot of money without a product!