This post is based on episode 72 of the ProBlogger podcast.
We often talk about making money by creating products and selling them on your blog. But you can also make good money helping other people sell their products by coming an affiliate.
How good? Well, over the years I’ve earned more than half a million dollars from affiliate marketing through Amazon’s affiliate program.
And the best thing? I didn’t need to spend hours deciding what products to sell. Someone had already done that for me.
Cashing in on bestsellers
A while back I found myself sitting in a bookshop waiting for my partner to finish her shopping. And I watched the customers walking and out I noticed something interesting.
Nearly everyone who walked in went straight to the wall of ‘Top 20’ books, grabbed one, paid for it, and walked out.
I’m not sure why it was happening. Maybe these people were getting in the latest trend. Maybe they didn’t want to miss out. Or maybe they just wanted something to read, and figured a best-selling book would be a safe bet.
And it got me wondering.
Could I do something similar on my blog?
From bookshop to blog
At this point I was already using Amazon affiliate links on Digital Photography School. But after seeing so many people buy one of these Top 20 books, I decided to create a bestseller list of my own.
I created a post that ranked the photography books my readers had bought through my Amazon affiliate links in the previous year. (I didn’t have a lot of commissions back then, and so needed a year’s worth of data to create my list.)
It was a pretty simple post – a short introduction (where I made it clear I was an Amazon affiliate), followed be the ten bestselling photography books people had bought through the site.
And how did it go?
Well, not surprisingly my affiliate income went up. It doubled in the first week, and doubled again the next. And it wasn’t just the books that people were buying. They were also buying other things while they were on the Amazon site.
What did surprise me was the level of discussion the post generated. People began debating why particular books were on my list, and suggesting other books worth buying.
Of course, photographers don’t just buy books. They buy cameras, lenses, tripods, lights, and dozens of other products.
And I’ve probably created a bestseller list for every one of them.
I usually run them two or three times a year, often as a series of posts. I’ll start with a post that says something like, “This week we’ll be looking at some of the most popular products according to our readers”. And then during the week I’ll include a few ‘bestseller’ posts, along with other other posts for those who aren’t interested in buying anything.
These posts always do well. People click through from our newsletter and our social media posts, particularly on Facebook.
No data? No problem.
Even if you’re not an Amazon affiliate, or haven’t been one long enough to have the data you need, you can still earn money through affiliate links.
Amazon isn’t the only online store that has an affiliate program. I’m also an affiliate for B&H Photo Video, and so I could just as easily create a bestseller list based on the data I get from them. There are also providers such as Ultimate Bundles that let you earn money by selling bundles of ebooks and ecourses.
And if you’re an Amazon affiliate but don’t have many sales, you can still create a bestseller list. Amazon creates its own bestseller lists based on sales, and there’s nothing stopping you from using their list to create your own.
If you’re selling your own products on your site (such as ebooks), you could create a bestseller list for them. Your readers will probably appreciate it, as it will help them decide what to buy on your site. You could even offer a coupon code for the biggest bestseller for a limited time.
Over to you
As I said, I’ve earned more than half a million dollars from being an affiliate. And while I can’t guarantee you’ll make that kind of money, I hope the tips I’ve given you will help you earn money on your own blog.
Want to know more about affiliate marketing and other ways to earn money from blogging? Then check out our Four Pillars of Blogging: Make Money Course.
But in the meantime, see how much money you can make by creating a bestseller list of your own.
And let us know how you go.
Photo by Brittany Bendabout on Unsplash