Creating and posting content can be time-consumingIt may take a while to begin making revenueYou may need to invest some money initiallyYou must sell a lot to generate a substantial income
2. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is somewhat similar to drop shipping but with some key differences. With this e-commerce model, you again don’t maintain an inventory of your own products, and you don’t have to worry about shipping products to customers.
Basically, you pick a profitable niche for your online business, and then you find an affiliate partner who has products available in that niche. Some of the most popular affiliate sites are Clickbank.com, Amazon.com, and CJ Affiliate by Conversant (formerly Commission Junction). Between them, they offer just about any digital information product (like ebooks, audio files, video files) or physical product you can think of. Many big name companies and brands like Wal-Mart and Home Depot run their own affiliate programs.45
With affiliate marketing, you offer the products for sale, for example, on your blog or e-commerce website. Each product has a unique link that tracks back to your account with your affiliate partner. A prospect who clicks on the link is taken to your partner’s shopping cart for checkout. Once they buy, that purchase is recorded and you receive a commission.6 Commission amounts vary depending on the affiliate partner, but is generally 5 percent to 25 percent, or 50 percent or more with digital information products.7 As you can see, there’s little risk on your part and virtually no investment needed either. Just like with drop shipping your only costs will be marketing and advertising to drive traffic and generate the sale.
The key difference between this and drop shipping is that the business model is even more hands off. All you have to do is provide a link for the customer to click on and the merchant handles everything; billing, order fulfillment, customer service, etc.
All you have to do is handle the marketing to get your prospects to buy (through social media, email marketing, blogging, or whatever method you choose). But after they click the affiliate link, it’s out of your hands. You don’t have to ship products or handle any customer service questions. And you certainly don’t have to maintain an inventory.
All you have to do is focus on paid and free ways to market your online business.
Affiliate marketing really is one of the most “hand-off” types of online businesses you can start.
- Low risk: No initial investment required
- Hands-off business model
- You’re responsible for driving web traffic to the affiliate link (no traffic means no money)
- May need to spend money on advertising and marketing
If you have the expertise or a passion or interest for a subject, you’re ready to start making money with a blog. With a service like Blogger (www.blogger.com), you can start up your blog totally free. You can also create your own site and secure your own hosting for a low price, which is generally the route I recommend, as many free blogging sites have restrictions on what you can say or do, including making money or advertising.8
You may think blogging is all about writing. And it can be if that’s what you want to do. But written blog posts are just the start. You can post photos, videos, and links to other sites, you can even repost news and other articles… anything is game, really, as long as it relates to your niche.
They key is that you want to post original content that is useful to your target audience and to post on a regular basis. That is the best way to get ranked in the search engines and to also get your audience to take action.
What sort of content should you provide? Anything that is engaging to your prospect. How-to topics, top-10 lists, commentary on trends in your niche, tips and tricks articles—basically, you need to provide useful content. There’s no shortage of ideas for your blog.
You make money in a variety of ways with an online business blog.
Have you ever been to a website and seen an ad on it? Chances are it was an ad being run through the Google advertising network.
These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents or more. Small amounts each time, but it adds up. This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website – and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it’s a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the number of clicks you get, meaning more income.9
Blog ad networks.
You can also work with ad networks other than Google, like Blogads, and run banner ads on your blog. Same as Google Adsense ads, you place the code once on your website and when your visitors click on the ads then you get paid. In addition to banner ads, you can also run video ads on your site.
In many cases you can make more money with blog ad networks, but they tend to only work with blogs that are getting tens of thousands of visitors a month or more; as opposed to Google Ads where you can start right away regardless of the amount of traffic you get.
You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate and every time somebody buys the product, you get a commission. With a blog, you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review—which is useful content—and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
Here are a few successful blogging tips to make sure people can find your blog—and will keep coming back. This is key to building a following and making your blog a profitable venture.
You need to provide useful content in an engaging way.
If your blog is boring or the information can be found everywhere else, nobody will read it. Don’t hesitate to put your own personality into the blog.
You have to post content on a regular basis.
People thirst for the new, so make sure you put up articles, videos, or whatever consistently. It could one post per day or three times per week. Whatever it is, maintain the same schedule. A scattershot posting history means losing readers.10
At a minimum try to aim for one new post, video, or other forms of content a week.
Yes, your blog is supposed to make money. But you can’t make marketing pitches all the time. Focus on useful content so that your readers come to know, like, and trust you. Then they will naturally click on your advertising or buy the products you recommend. In this era of the internet and social media, people are looking for authenticity.
Do all of this, and you’ll attract the notice of search engines like Google, which are always looking to put sites with useful, relevant content on top of the search results.11 This is what content marketing is all about.
You could start a blog in less than an hour. But it takes time to make money as you build readership, and only a small percentage of those folks end up buying your products.
Use simple editing software like iMovie to put titles at the beginning of the video and to edit out any flubs.