If you read the story of how this Kenyan lady made over $4789 (approximately Ksh500,000) in one month from her blog, the first thing that clicks on your mind is that she is lying and about to scam you.
Because, hey we are Kenyans and, we have seen all sorts of con artists who will use every trick in the book to con you off your hard-earned money with the promise of miraculously increasing your investments.
Had I not seen the profits that come from blogging, I too would have dismissed the story as fake.
Since 2018, I have been a blogger earning from affiliate marketing programs and placement of ads on my blog.
Here are screenshots of my last year's earnings from a blog that I started in September 2020.
Figure 1 showing Amazon affiliate earnings for 2021
Figure 2 showing Google Adsense earnings in 2021
Judging from my above screenshots, you can see that the model is great for young people to earn passive income online.
Affiliate marketing involves recommending merchant products on your blog and when your readers buy the products, you earn a commission for your efforts.
You will first need to enter into an agreement with the merchant where they tell you the percentage commission you will be getting when successful sales are made through your affiliate links.
Since the products will remain on your website, you can be sure to earn if your server is up and working.
You will of course need to have targeted traffic visiting your site and interested to buy the products you are recommending.
With ad placements, ad network programs pay you depending on the number of impressions and clicks the ads got on your blog.
These two are passive income models - such that you do not have to actively work to get income per month.
Of course, there is a lot of hard lifting involved in the initial stages when trying to get traffic to the blog.
But once you get engaged readers interested in the products you are talking about or love spending time on the blog, the passive income starts streaming in.
Since October 2018, my oldest blog has been earning me something from Amazon.com and Google Adsense.
In the early days, it would earn anywhere from $5 to $50.
I optimized the blog, bettered the content and the revenue grew.
Affiliate marketing is well established in the first world countries such as the United States, UK, Canada, and Australia where robust e-commerce stores are trying to push their products to customers. Excellent examples of affiliate marketing programs in these first-world countries include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and Target.
The affiliate programs allow everyone to join whether you are in those first-world countries or are in Kenya.
Fortunately, in Kenya too, the e-commerce business is rapidly growing with the likes of Jumia and Kilimall leading the pack.
Let’s face it, we are in interesting times when all forms of businesses are striving to go online.
And to break even in the online space, they would need digital marketers who are experienced in how online things run.
As an affiliate marketer who wants to earn online, you will have to keep abreast with digital marketing skills such as SEO, video marketing, and social media marketing.
Personally, I have used SEO in my affiliate marketing business.
The good thing is that it is the least cost-intensive since all you need to pay for is your website domain and hosting fees. For content on the blog, you can always do it yourself.
The downside of SEO is that it will take time before you start seeing results.
Here are the steps needed for SEO on an affiliate marketing blog.
Let’s say that you want to be an affiliate marketer with Jumia.
You will first need to identify the topic you are going to blog about.
Say for example that you want to attract a section of online readers who wish to know how to reduce their tummy circumference.
Then, weight loss is your niche.
Once you have the niche, you can then go ahead to look at the products that you will be reviewing in your blog.
You can get your niche ideas by looking at the different products available on an e-commerce store.
After niche selection, you need to know what people are searching online so that they can be connected to the weight loss products.
Here is where you get analytical.
To help you out on this, there are certain tools such as Ubbersuggest, Ahrefs, and SEMrush that you could use.
The good thing about these tools is that they will tell you the number of searches the said keyword is generating, how difficult it is to rank for that keyword as well as who is currently scooping page one of the search results.
With this data, you will be able to know what keywords you could chase and how much ROI you will get from them.
When doing keyword research, you want to choose keywords that have low competition but high search volume.
Once you have the keywords to write about, you get your hands dirty and start creating the content.
In writing, make sure that your copy is as engaging as possible.
Remember you are a salesman trying to convince people to buy the product.
So, get your facts right and write in a conversational tone.
As you write your content on the blog, you will want to link out to the products on Jumia with your affiliate codes.
This way, Jumia will be able to track products sold through your efforts.
Unlike affiliate marketing, with ad placement, you are not really trying to sell things to your readers.
No, you are just giving them information.
They will of course need to be interested in the information you are writing about.
So, the SEO process of niche selection, keyword research, and content writing are the same.
Once your blog starts getting some good traffic, you can apply it to the ad placement networks.
Some good ones include:
Different programs have different payment methods.
Blogging is not all rosy and profits don’t lie everywhere for you to collect them.
No, it has its own set of challenges
One is the initial hard lifting that you have to do. For my first profitable site, I remember I had to work on it for 6 months without seeing any return on my investment.
During this time, I was writing thousands of words in review copy.
The site was also eating into my pocket since I had to pay for the monthly website hosting fees.
But when you have the right motivation, people to hold you accountable, and an unshakeable determination, I am sure you will be able to make things right.
Every month, Google search is releasing lots of algorithm updates that change the way you are ranking for a certain keyword.
Say, for example, that you were ranking on position 1 for the keyword ‘best affiliate marketing course’ today and getting about 100 views.
And then Google releases an update that sets you to position 8. You will of course see less traffic.
Less traffic means fewer conversions and so less revenue.
Sometimes back in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic struck the world, Amazon changed their affiliate commission structure such that if you were getting a 10% in commissions, they reduced it to 4%.
That was a big nightmare.
I remember I was stressed out for an entire two weeks wondering how I would cope with the lowered earnings. You see in 2019, I had earned over $7000 from Amazon affiliate but with the changes in commission, there is no way that I was going to earn half that amount in 2020.
Despite the challenges involved, I am testament to the fact that blogging with the mindset to earn through affiliate marketing and ad revenue, works. You just need to grow a thick skin, get your hands dirty and six months into it, you will be reaping from your sweat.
You could either do it so as to supplement your daily income or go full-time into it, especially if you are a jobless graduate.