When you perform a search on how to make money blogging either in Google or in YouTube, you would see lots of articles/videos that points to affiliate marketing as an easy way to make money blogging. They are able to provide proof that they are indeed making money from affiliate marketing.
How about for Malaysians who wish to start a blog and use affiliate as the major form of monetization?
In my opinion, most people would not make much money through affiliate marketing. And there is a saying that goes the popular affiliate marketers are rich because they are selling a dream that can be accomplished by only a small percentage of people.
However if you are one of the top 1% of bloggers who have build a loyal following through your persona, you would likely be able to make money through affiliate marketing. You or your agent may even hire ghost writers to write the articles and have them signed off as coming from you. Then put in a couple of affiliate links targeting your audience and the income would just flow in.
For the majority of us, it would be tough.
Personally, I have tried affiliate marketing and signed up with a few companies such as Amazon, Involve Asia and CJ. I do earn from Amazon and Involve Asia. It’s been a year and the earnings are too low to even be able to make it into a payout.
With the same amount of traffic, I earn more through monetization with ads. However, I put it down to my writing style. If you want to make money through affiliate, your writing style must be very products/ services orientated… the site is build around selling other people’s products.
If you have read my posts, you may have noticed that I have a freestyle of writing…I would share about what I know with the genuine intention to help others. I do not encourage people to buy any products unless I really believe in them, which it has not been many products that I can vouch for.
In the end, I prefer to stick to ads as my primary source of monetization and I’ve removed most of the affiliate links except for products that I truly believe in like where I host my sites (SiteGround) and my domain name (NameCheap). I am happy with both these companies that I would write about them even though I do not earn anything from it.
First thing first… are you willing to pay the price with money and your time?
I want to tell you that starting a blog requires hard work and upfront investment of your time and a little bit of your money. You would be working much lower than minimal wage. My friend has a cleaning service and the Indonesian lady and she pays the lady RM20 per hour to do cleaning. In a month, the lady earns about RM3000 through cleaning which is more than most personal blogs in Malaysia will earn.
That is why I do not want to misled you and paint a rosy picture. Because it is not. It requires a lot of sacrifices.
And for the best results, you would need to invest in hosting and a domain name. If you host with Siteground (yes, it is my affiliate link), the cheapest plan would cost you about USD3.95 a month (if you sign up for a year). That is promo rate and it would be more expensive from the second year onwards. You also need to buy your own domain name.
Before you can get a substantial following or garner huge traffic from organic search, you would need to produce unique quality content that people find useful. We are talking about at least 40 good quality articles that your target audience is able to relate. Give them the option to subscribe to your blog. Then in order to keep them coming back, you gotta produce consistent fresh content.
When your friends are happily partying away, you need to make sacrifices and stay back to work on your blog. You also need to cut down TV time and work all the way at something that you are not sure could give you results. If you have a full time job, you would need to sacrifice weekends and late nights to work on your blog.
In order to do this, you must be really passionate about the niche that you are writing about. And yes, your site should be as niche as possible.
Are you willing to pay the price?
You can take it as an investment…. where you invest mostly your time. All in for the first year, you would probably spend about USD60 (about RM240) to give it a try. It comes up to about RM20 per month- which I am sure you can come out with by just buying fewer cups of Starbucks or skipping on just one meal at a fancy restaurant.
And be ready to pour in a lot of time to work on your site. Accept? If yes, continue reading….
How Malaysian bloggers can earn more with affiliate marketing
1. Limit to merchants that you really like and believe in
Don’t slap affiliate links of different kinds of merchants all over the place hoping your visitors would buy from them. For Malaysian bloggers, I still think that Involve Asia is one of the best companies that you can explore because they tie up with many different merchants like Lazada, Zalora, 11street, MAS, Emirates, Agoda, etc.
So let’s say that you want to pick a niche and write about motherhood. You can identity a few affiliates there that sells products for mothers as well as babies. The most convincing products would be something that you have used and liked. And be transparent… if there are downsides, explain it as well.
2. Use the deeplinking function
Deeplinking is when you link directly to the product page. Let’s say you are promoting a particular baby product that you use and you saw it on sale at 11Steet.my which is a participating mechant of Involve Asia. Don’t just link to the main page of the site. Use their Deeplink generator and link directly to the product page.
3. Constantly update the promos and remove expired offers
The good thing is that when you sign up with Involve Asia, you can access to the various promotion banners. Many merchants will come up with new banners for Black Friday Cyber Monday sales, 11 November sales, Christmas and other festive offers.
You can obtain these banners after you login to your affiliate account. These would come with your affiliate code embedded in the banners or links. You can then proceed to post the banners or text links on your site. Once the customers click on the banner, you would earn a certain percentage if they purchase from the site within 30 days.
Note: In order to earn a substantial amount, you must have a high volume of targeted traffic, ie visitors who are ready to buy.
You need to take note of where you place these banners, the expiry and remember to remove/replace these banners once the offer have expired. Personally, I find it takes up a lot of time to just maintain this.
Sometimes the program with the merchant may be temporary or permanently paused- so if there is anyone who purchased during that time, you would not earn a commission. Involve Asia would notify via email… and there are lots of such emails so you need to update the changes often.
4. Build up a following and use social media platforms to post your affiliate links
People are most likely to buy products from someone they trust. That is why successful affiliate marketers will work on to build a following- they usually do it by getting them to sign up for mailing lists by offering freebies as well as delivering lots of free information on their site.
Eventually, they can use affiliate links to post on a certain sales in which they would earn a commission if their followers buy using their affiliate links.
This method works well for influencers.
To be very honest, my writing style does not make it suitable for affiliate marketing. My sites tend to do better with display ads. And from time to time, I do get inquiries on collaborations, and maintenance of social media/websites even though I do not promote these services.
However, this should not stop you from trying out affiliate program especially if you find it hard to get accepted into programs like Google Adsense or Media.net. After all, if you are going to talk about the products anyway, you must as well throw in an affiliate link or two.
Meanwhile, focus on building your blog not merely for direct monetization, but possibly as an extension of your brand or persona. A well written blog can be used in future to help you land in that dream job or to promote your entrepreneur business or to sell your very own product or services.