Affiliate Blogging – First Year Update
Today marks the first anniversary of this blog, with its first post.
Hardly something that’ll be heralded anywhere else, but nevermind. And that first post sat on its own, reminding me what a task it was in front of me, to fill this blog out with content, and get it looking like a real website.
But the point of this post is not nostalgia, but to give an annual return.
Since this blog discusses money making online, what has this one earned in the twelve months since its inception?
$490 ~ £370
Give or take a few cents/pennies.
Not exactly anything to retire on or give up the day job for… but guess what, you’re not going to get that in one year from a monetised blog relying on SEO in conjunction with affiliate commissions to generate income.
Just so you have some realistic expectations.
The site made its first commissions in December 2016, with additional money following in spurts of no real rhyme or reason – accompanied by long dry spells – till we get to today.
This will be post thirty-three in that time span, so you can see I wasn’t exactly busting a gut to put content out there, I just took my time, and posted as I saw fit and on what interested me.
I did take care to post every month, no matter how busy I was, and I always found it easy once I sat down and started tinkering on the keyboard.
I really should’ve posted at least once a week, but as I say, sometimes I just didn’t have the time, or maybe hadn’t happened upon a topic I felt worth discussing.
That’s a bit bad of me: if you’re going to try and make money online then you have to treat it like a job to some extent, and post regularly – because this is what you ‘do.’ So I maybe could’ve done better with this blog in the last three hundred and sixty-five days, and earned more. It is what it is, though, and I prefer to be honest about it.
Speaking of which, over the course of the year (and my previous experience) I’ll give my opinion on what I think are the best, and worst, programs with which to make money online.
Best & Worst Ways To Make Money Online
The worst are always going to be the ones where you lose money, instead of make it.
At the top of the worst list, are the MLMs – such as the now defunct Empower Network (that thing was poisonous), and the equally to-be-avoided MOBE, as pushed by internet huckster Shaqir Hussyin. Stay away from shit like that; programs that’ll run you into $5,000 – $20,000 and more. You’ll never see your money again, never get a return on that investment. Just don’t. The only way you’ll ever get that money back is put other people in the same hole you are. These programs don’t sell anything but themselves, there’s no value to the intrinsic ‘product’ which is the training… to sell the training to sell the product. They’re pyramid schemes and can put you in a world of financial hurt.
Next up, in terms of throwing away money, are the online business hucksters pushing the notion that you can be CEO of a successful business, with no prior business acumen, and no knowledge of the market you’re entering. This is stuff like The Foundation, Secret Society Mastermind (10k Blitz), Sam Ovens et al.
It’s one level of huckstering below the MLMs as the advice could work. Given the correct alignment of the Sun, the Moon and the stars.
The guys touting these courses all want five to six figure sums from you too, but you’ve about as much chance of recouping your investment as you do with the MLMs. Unlike the MLMs though, you don’t need to buy into these programs’ training in order to research and try the method – and I’d highly advise you do that rather than spend on the actual programs. There’s plenty free resources and discussion groups if the marketing of these things inspires you – and you could find yourself with a successful online business.
But you don’t need to give any of these people your money to go ahead with your idea and startup. You can create your own website, sales copy and Facebook ads without paying anyone a cent to give you a pre-recorded, vague, run through of the process.
A process that a lot of them have never done much of themselves. And to be honest, once you’ve listened to the webinar (and maybe a couple of them), there’s not a whole lot more to be had from these gurus, the rest is up to you.
Following hard on the heels of the “live a life of freedom” snake oil salesmen, are the second level training courses. These are the ones that are a bit more specific than “be a consultant and do business stuff.” These are the courses aimed at making you a Shopify or ecommerce magnet.
These courses are generally competent and will impart the knowledge to get set up, and generally give sound advice – so they’re not all bad – there is some value to be had.
Where they get bad, is that they want three and four figures for the advice that’s freely available across a multitude of articles, blogs, Facebook groups and forums.
Like gym training, once you’ve read enough, you could create your own course and sound knowledgeable without ever having lifted a weight. Unlike gym training, where’d you be expected to be your own advertisement for your method with a ripped physique, a few easily contrived sales reports is all the credentials you’ll need to play online ecommerce guru: the bar is very low.
A lot of these Shopify and ecommerce gurus never made so much money off Shopify as they are off their courses. Take the course away, and away goes the money too. That’s where their income comes from, not their e-shop – which you never get to see because it’s a ‘secret’ niche, and you might steal their ideas and custom… and not because you might check out traffic stats and find there’s no way with that trickle of traffic the shop is making six figures a month with a handful of Aliexpress items.
Next up, like the MLMs, don’t sign up to market anything for commissions you have to pay to market. Affiliate marketing doesn’t work like that; you’re the one doing the business owner a favour, he or she pays you, you don’t pay them.
And with that, we’re getting closer to what I do recommend: affiliate marketing. Which is not surprising given that’s exactly what this blog is all about.
You can do affiliate marketing in the manner of this site, or you can choose a Clickbank or JV product and pay to drive traffic to it in the hopes of making a return on that investment.
Some people undoubtedly do, but you’re spending money – a lot of it in some cases – and that’s on auto-responders, tracking software, traffic site sign-ups which require minimum spend or deposit… all before you actually get to the paid traffic drive.
There are folks out there selling you programs on how to do this too of course, Vick Strizheus springs to mind (and I doubt he’s sold a Clickbank product in years, all his income coming from his numerous [out of date] traffic courses these days).
But that said, Vick can still be of help as there’s plenty pirated vids of his to be found on Youtube, and the info in them, I’ll admit, is better than a lot I’ve seen coming out of other traffic/affiliate gurus.
Not so good I actually want to sign-up, though, but definitely worth a watch.
Just guard against getting too sucked in as Vick is a very, very good salesman.
The other affiliate approach is the long game à la this blog. It’s not for everyone, anyone wanting to quit the day job within six months for instance, as it’s a slow burn, and requires patience.
This sort of blog, you research and report on, relevant products to the niche it’s focused on, and earn if anyone follows through on your recommendations – by clicking your affiliate links.
You may want to go hog-wild and recommend everything in the hope of a commission, but you’ll lose trust. Equally don’t trash everything, and give kudos where it’s due.
I recommend a few ‘gurus’ but also warn of a lot more. This, however, is all my own personal opinion: I’m just laying out what I think, take it or leave it, or better yet, look into it yourself.
So, I get some real butt-hurt comments directed at this blog. Most I’ll publish as I don’t like censorship, but I don’t let through the comments that are just screaming insults, not a measured rebuttal.
And there’s a fair few of those nut-balls I’ve had to pass on over the last twelve months as a lot of programs engender a ‘cult-like’ atmosphere, so anything negative or critical can really bring out the loons. It’s one of the joys of these sorts of blogs 🙂
But on the flip side you can also get private messages from folks thanking you for speaking up and putting the info out there; folks who don’t even want to risk suspicion falling on them for posting an anonymous comment if they’re still part of the program. For real. That’s how bad some of these programs can get, and the tribal association is encouraged – because it keeps you paying your monthly membership fee or not asking for your $$$$ back during the guarantee period (which usually isn’t worth the paper it’s written on anyway).
So, like I say, don’t go wild either way, neither gushing on, nor trashing, everything.
Just be honest – and back up your opinion with links and references.
Well, that’s year one under the belt. I’ve watched traffic grow with every month, and every fresh post, but with only twelve months under its belt, this blog is still an infant in my opinion.
It’s next year that I expect to see more of a difference.
So, same time next year for a similar update, and we’ll see where we’re at then…
If you want training and the resources to begin affiliate marketing, then there’s no better resource than Wealthy Affiliate. It’s within that program/site that I host the majority of my affiliate sites, and where the tools are housed that I use to build them out.
I always say, don’t take my word for it, so check it out for yourself. You don’t need to supply a credit card for “verification purposes” or any of that nonsense, it’s free to join, and you get a week’s worth of full membership on doing that, which is more than enough time to scout the place out and decide if it’s for you. After that you revert to the free membership level.
I’m in it, I use it, so I recommend it. It’s done me no harm anyway. You can read my review on the place here.
If you want to get started earning a bit extra online, Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how plus supply you with everything you need under one roof. The income revealed in this update isn’t enormous, but how long did I really take to write thirty-two posts (minus this one) over a year? Think of it that way, and as I admit, I could’ve put more work in, but I was going at a pace that still allowed me to enjoy writing, rather than it become a chore. They say a blog needs fifty posts before it starts earning the sort of money you notice appearing monthly in your bank account… well, stay tuned to find out, because this blog will have surpassed that post count next year and I’ll honestly tell you then how it’s doing.
But if you want to get started now, then check out my review and then go on over to Wealthy Affiliate and get going.
Recommended further reading:
I read this one a few years ago now, but the principles remain the same, and it’s a cheap buy.
How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog
By Bob Lotich