Everything you need to know about Affiliate Marketing (detailed guide)

Everyone with a blogging is doing affiliate marketing. But not a lot of people with a blog are doing it right! In this post I’m gonna show you how to do it and how NOT to do it. This is living document for me. From time to time I’ll add examples from blogs who’re doing a great job and who’re doing a lousy job.

The basics about affiliate marketing

Amazon is making more money from other people selling on their platform than they are making themselves with their own products. It’s the most basic form of affiliate marketing. They actually just refer traffic to themselves but by doing it there profit margin goes through the roof because of the network effect. The more products Amazon has the more likely people are to buy stuff there and the more likely they are to buy more products in the same order. The common road to affiliate marketing is referring traffic to someone else and earning a commission for every sale or lead from the visitor you sent.

If you have a blog you can sell your own product. A course, an ebook, another digital download, or even real life things you can ship via mail. Before you can sell something you made, you have to create it, install a service through which you’ll sell it (e-commerce storefront), start customer support, add a payment provider, etc. etc.

With affiliate marketing you have non of that. You simply add a link to your website which has your unique referrer code attached to it and when someone buys something via your link you get a commission.

You don’t have to do any support, no payment processing, nothing. The downside is, is that you’re not building your own customer base and you have to keep getting more clients who want the same thing over and over again. So in order for affiliate marketing to be interesting for you, you need quite a big audience and a lot of different advertisers.

How do I start with affiliate marketing?

Register an account at your local affiliate marketing network. If you Google it (in your local language) you’ll get the top networks. For the US, Canada and probably the UK your best bet is CJ.com. Commission Junction is the biggest of them all. The benefit of using the biggest? You only have to signup once to a platform and you’re able to apply your website to all the different advertisers they have on their platform.

Once you’ve signed up go to the advertisers tab. You’ll get a huge list of thousands of active advertisers which you can signup to.

Now… I don’t know all the advertisers in my niches. So I usually use the category filter to narrow down my search and get to the most interesting advertisers fast. There’s another reason why you want to look for advertisers that match your niche. You might wanna work with a certain advertiser, but they also get to chose who they work with. So if you don’t want to waste any time signing up to programmes you’ll get rejected from, better start making a selection based on what fits your blog.


Once you find some programmes that fit your niche, you can apply to them. Don’t take too much notice on the network earnings or the earnings per click at first. Look at how you can “connect” with this advertiser. Look at the programmes. What are they rewarding you for? Sales? Leads? Go to their websites. Would you signup / buy anything from them? Would your readers? Only then look at what the earnings per click can be.

I usually signup to programmes that compensate me both for sales and leads. If you’re only being compensated for leads, you know you’re not getting the full piece of the pie. Don’t get overly excited about 100 dollar sales commissions. Those are usually hard to get. As in: you need a lot of clicks to get to that sale and you need a lot of good quality content to get people as far as that they want to buy from that affiliate. After going through the programmes, analyzing where you get good earnings per click (says more than earnings per sale) only than apply to programmes.

Once you’ve applied, always send a message to accompany your application. I’ve run numerous affiliate marketing campaigns for top advertisers. The kind that spend millions a year on affiliate programmes. I can tell you first hand that 99% of affiliates don’t send a “Hello I love your brand and would be happy to promote you” message. The ones that do will immediately stand out. And it’s the start of building a relationship. We’ll come back to the relationship part later.

Probably the easiest way to start making money is just to signup for the Amazon Affiliate programme Amazon Associates. There is SO MUCH to write about because there are so many products on Amazon.

What’s good content to monetize affiliate marketing with?

You have a lot of different methods of creating content for affiliate marketing. We’ll go through them one by one.

  1. Roundups
  2. Tutorials
  3. Comparisons
  4. DIY / how to create something
  5. Reviews
  6. Resource pages

1. Roundups

This can basically be a post where you talk about the “10 best items to pack when you go backpacking” kind of post. You list a number of items of which you think they’re great to bring a long. you mention why this product is best or better than something else people could choose.

Make mini reviews of all the items you’re mentioning. Here’s where the tricky part comes in… You SHOULD have tried all the products you’re promoting in your blog. Why could you else tell someone else what to buy? If you haven’t or you’re missing a few products and still need a few more items to complete your post, use what you can find on Amazon. Read through the reviews. Don’t copy them one on one. Always make your own content. It’s fine to occasionally use a snippet of text from Amazon (or any other website) but make sure you write 99% of the content yourself.

2. Tutorials

If you have knowledge about something, use it to create tutorials other people will follow. Explain how a software tool works. Walk through the programme. Record a video. Answer questions about the product.

Who doesn’t know the most famous tutorials (can you call em tutorials?) of them all: Will it Blend!! The put anything you can imagine in there. An iPhone, a Torch a computer game. Etc. Etc. They were actually telling how the blender is working and how good it is as a blending tool. What better tutorial than to show people what crazy stuff it can blend?

3. Comparisons

Is product X better than product Y? What are the benefits of the one compared to the other? What do the experts say? What do the user reviews say?

If people are searching for product x vs product y, you know they are very close to buying. They’re not considering anything else anymore. Just these 2 products. Not a different vertical. This is probably the final hurdle to take before they’ll make the purchase. You’re the one to push them over the (positive) edge and help them buy. The great thing is that their purchase is just one click, your click!, away!

4. DIY / How to create something

Smoothies, home improvement, make-up, … Anything that can be created can be presented. Share your knowledge. Give people in depth articles on how to create things. Show them step by step how they can create that wonderful thing you made. You can link out (with affiliate links) to the websites where you bought the “ingredients” to create your project.

This is probably one of the most natural ways of doing affiliate network. Because here you’re creating new content. Giving real value to people. And that’s what affiliate marketing is all about. Add something on top of what the advertiser is already doing with a product. Show your audience how you can make something better. How they can create something out of nothing.

5. Reviews

This also works well for all sorts of verticals. Travel destinations for example are often reviewed. From the start to your trip to getting back home. Every step of the way can be reviewed.

How easy is it to purchase a travel package at advertiser X? How did all the itinerary get in your mail box / on your phone. How were you informed about your destination? Did you get a weather update? What to pack? How friendly was the staff at the hotel / the host at the AirBnB? How did you enjoy the destination? Did you get any travel tips while you were there?

You can review the entire trip. You’ll not only entice people to book at a certain travel agent. you’ll also be endorsing a certain destination. It gives all sorts of ways to add affiliate links in your story. What to pack is a big one. The holiday package of course. Travel insurance. Photo app / album. Car rental? Etc. Etc.

6. Resource pages

People are always interested in what you’re (as a blogger) using as tools. How do you get your website traffic? What makes your life easier? The resource page is a great way to share your knowledge about what you use and why you use it. The links can easily be affiliate marketing links. If people see you’re successfully using a tool, they’ll also want to use it.

This entire blog is actually one big resource page. This blog should provide you with a unique view on how to do things. I’m showing you what works and I link out to resources that I use. Most of the links are not tagged with an affiliate code. Some are.

What are common mistakes people make with affiliate marketing?

  1. Using copied content from advertisers (or someone else’s posts)
  2. Making posts that ONLY contain affiliate links
  3. Only using the supplied feed from an advertiser
  4. Sticking to one type of content
  5. Too little negotiating with advertisers
  6. Never contacting advertisers
  7. Buying stuff through your own affiliate links


1. Using copied content from advertisers (or someone else’s posts)

Do you like to read the same article or book twice? Some yes, most no. It’s the same with your readers. But especially search engines hate copied (duplicate) content. Machines spin out content at an alarming rate. Right now up to a third of some news websites’ content is automated. Machines are creating more and more content. And that’s fine for basic news stories like earthquake reports. It’s always the same. A Rigter scale number. A location. A time. Casualty and injury report. Some content to get to a few hundred words and voila. Another piece of content has been written created.

If you want real engagement and content that really moves your audience, you can’t leave that to a robot (yet). Search engines also want to give credit to the original editor of a piece. It would be rather strange that I could rank higher for a piece of content I copied literally from another blog. (It does sometimes happen). But that has to do with the authority your website has.  If you post something on your own blog and days later post it on WSJ.com you’ll be outranked by the duplicate content. Normally that’s not the case.

2. Making posts that ONLY contain affiliate links

If your websites’ only goal is to make money by linking out via an affiliate link you’ll get slapped by Google. There are actually ways to bypass Google’s algorithm so it doesn’t spot your links as being affiliate links. But it’s better to deliver real value. And delivering value to your audience usually means you link out to other sources besides the ones that feed your mouth.

This type of mistake is usually accompanied with “thin pages”. Webpages with very little content. 100 – 300 words. No picture. Just a small (sometimes even copied) piece of text from your advertiser and 1 link to the advertisers’ website. Done. That’s not creating value on the web. That’s just you being a serving hatch.

3. Only using the supplied feed from an advertiser

This one relates to tip 1 and 2 as well. There are still massive amounts of websites that only copy a feed from an advertiser to their website. A feed is basically a long list of information about the products an advertisers has to offer. The only thing the affiliate does is upload the feed to their website and being the serving hatch again.

Just passing along traffic as quickly as possible. Very low time on site. A little more than 1 pageview per visit. Extremely low quality. They usually try to outrank the advertiser on certain categories. They buy a domain. Add a little bit of content. Upload the feed. Buy a 100 paid links. SPAM some other links and they’re done. This is a bad and short term tactic. There are 1000’s of PhD students working at search engines trying to sift out this kind of garbage. You will het “caught” and end up on the bottom of the search engine.

4. Sticking to one type of content

About 5 years back I had website that was an aggregator for coupon codes to get discounts on photo albums. The only thing I did was create a post (also thin posts that only linked out to the advertiser) wrote down the new code in a short piece of content and be done with it. That worked great for a few years. I earned at least 30k with it.

But I should have evolved. I should have compared the different photo albums from the different suppliers. I should have ordered my own albums and reviewed the quality.  I should have made a yearly: This is the best valued photo album of 2019. Etc.

This strategy relies entirely of you ranking on a few really important keywords. Once Google figures you out they scrap you from the top positions (because you’re not providing enough value) and the domain dies.

Besides the fact that you’re relying on one type of content you also don’t want to rely on one type of traffic channel. You have to diversify your traffic channels too. When my photo album website ranked high and got a lot of traffic I added the opportunity to receive the coupon codes in a newsletter. This did 2 things: I got less hooked on Google’s traffic. I was building my own audience in stead of being addicted / dependent on Google. I also gave more value to my visitors. They didn’t have to come looking for coupon codes. I sent them straight to their inboxes.

5. Too little negotiating with advertisers

When you’re a small fish, if you get a few sales every month, it’s no use negotiating with advertisers. But once you get up to 100 sales a month it’s time to start negotiating with advertisers to get a bigger slice of the pie.

You can go about this in 2 ways. I prefer the first route. You can either contact the campaign manager from the affiliate network or you can contact the advertisers’ campaign manager directly. I like to talk to the campaign manager from the network. He can act as a buffer to the advertiser.

Ask the campaign manager if there are any options of getting “different” compensation deals from the advertisers. Tell them you’re able to send more traffic and create more sales volume if you have a little more room in your margins.

The best thing would be if you could say well… if I get 2% more commission I’ll be able to send 6% more traffic / sales. If you know your numbers and what you’re spending on your campaigns in order to get the traffic and sales for your advertisers you can probably make a pretty good guestimate how much extra volume you can give the advertiser.

The campaign manager can always tell you that you’re not in the right position yet to negotiate these kinds of deals yet. They’re always looking for extra traffic for their advertisers as well. So there’s an incentive for them to try to find a workable solution. For every dollar that the advertiser makes through the network they earn anywhere from 1% – 20%. So the more revenue you gain, the more revenue they gain.

You have to be a bit more careful if you contact the advertiser directly. Tell the advertiser you’re really happy with the campaign. That you’re putting a lot of effort in the campaign and that you hope they’ll stay for a long time. Tell them you have a few ideas to increase revenue. Don’t talk about higher commissions yet. Only when you’ve established a better relationship with an advertiser should you be asking for more money. Usually they even suggest it themselves. “If we increase your commission how much more sales can you deliver?” The campaign manager from the advertiser also has to show that their channel is growing and that they’re at least on par with revenue growth from other channels.

If you’re a big fish, eventually you’ll just be introduced directly to the advertiser by the networks’ campaign manager. Active advertisers have campaign managers who’re on the lookout for affiliates who give a lot of value to the campaign. They invite you to events and invite you to their HQ to talk about how the campaign can be improved even more. Ask what you need to generate more revenue for the both of you.

6. Never contacting advertisers

Always, even if you’re a small fish, contact an advertiser. Especially unknown advertisers. They’re small too. You don’t know how big your piece of their entire affiliate pie you’re delivering. You might be one of their bigger fish. Having a direct contact with the advertiser gets you a leg up. You might hear about upcoming events or sales before others do. They might checkout your website and suggest a few changes that worked on their site or on other affiliates’ sites. This is also a way to build a relationship so in the end you can increase your earnings. Build trust and show them you’re willing to do the extra mile by promoting their campaign.

7. Buying stuff through your own affiliate links

It’s usually not allowed to do it for one. It’s a bit the same as clicking on your own ads. They will find out and you will get booted off the platform. Don’t think you’re smarter than everyone else. Incognito surfing. Via a Proxy. You also can’t ask your friends and family to do the same. Focus on providing value to your reader and you will earn money through affiliate marketing.

How much can you earn with affiliate marketing?

I’d say: the sky is the limit. Of the fact that you don’t want to riddle your blog with affiliate links. The most important thing you need to remember if you want to earn money with affiliate marketing: create value for your audience. 

Without value no affiliate income or only for a short while. You’ll be overtaken by others in search engines because if you focus on value you will rise above the tide / rest.

I would even say: don’t add any affiliate links until you reach sizeable audience / value. Learn how to write first. Learn how to present first. Learn how to record good video first. My guess is that your most important readers (your early adopters) know what affiliate marketing is. So they also now when they are actually the product. You need these people! They have to tell their friends (on- and offline) about your blog. You have to keep them happy. First deliver them value then add monetization.

How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?

Nothing. You can register for free at any affiliate marketing network. It’s gonna cost you time to build your blog of course. And yes you need some hosting and a domain name but other that that, you don’t need to spend a dime.

Create value and they will should come. Most people who do affiliate marketing try to rank their blog on Google and get free traffic from the organic results. They then add a Facebook page so they can communicate more directly to their following. Start a Pinterest Board. Instagram. Twitter. Add a newsletter. As many different channels as you can manage and as many as you can keep relevant for your audience.

You can optimize those channels until infinity and still be able to squeeze more out of them. But if you are just starting out or want extra revenue without losing time, you can start advertising. Advertising costs money.

Not all affiliate advertisers allow you to advertise their campaigns. For many reasons. The most important being: they’ll have another competitor in the already crowded advertising space. You’ll start bidding on the same keywords. Driving up click prices. Only Google wins with that strategy. Some advertisers don’t use Search Ads. They might not have the money or the resources to manage a campaign. If they don’t use it themselves, they usually leave room for the affiliates to start their own campaigns.

The game of advertising for an affiliate campaign is all about measuring. It’s a really thin line between profit and loss. Your margins are really slow. Most of the time you have to let the visitors land on your website first before you can “send” them to the advertiser. That’s already gonna cost you 50% of the visitors that didn’t already bounce. You’ll probably be able to send a maximum of 25% of the bought traffic to your advertisers’ site. That means you have to take into account a huge gap between clicks and actual visitors. Secondly you need to take into account the advertisers’ conversion rate. That’s usually not much higher than 2% – 3%. So you’ll end up with a 0.5% conversion rate at most. Doing a little more math will calculate what you can pay per click in order to make a profit. It won’t be a lot.

A better way is to start a remarketing list based on your websites’ visitors. Add them to a Google Ads Audience. If “your” audience is searching for the product or service from your advertiser than the conversion rate will be much higher. Click prices will be a lot lower for you, because these users already know you. They’re more likely to click on one of your ads. You’ll get a higher CTR (Click through rate) compared to other advertisers and that usually means you’ll be paying less per click. Making it more profitable for you.

I’ll write another blog or add another big piece of content to this piece for social media advertising and affiliate marketing. There’s also a world to win and there are a lot of neet strategies you can follow to gain more affiliate revenue.

What do I need before I can start with affiliate marketing?

Value. There are millions of websites out there. Why would people come to yours? What are you doing better than the advertiser you’re writing about? What is he not telling / saying / producing (video) that you are?

Start a blog. You can read my post about how to start a profitable blog. That should get you on the right track to starting a website that can turn out a profit with affiliate marketing.

Use WordPress. There are millions of plugins you can use that make your life as a blogger a lot easier.

Make sure you have an interest in what you’re writing about / promoting. If you only care about the money, you’ll fail or have a miserable time doing it.

Make sure you have a relevant domain in a niche that’s not too broad and not too narrow. In the same blog post I just  mentioned, there’s a step by step guide to figure out a domain name and a good niche.

How does affiliate marketing work?

There are 4 parties involved in affiliate marketing.

  1. You / The publisher
  2. The visitor
  3. The affiliate network
  4. The advertiser

Visitors will come to your website. You’re the publisher. You publish content in any way or form and that should attract visitors. If you place affiliate links on your blog the visitors might click on those links and be sent to the advertiser. Before they land on the advertisers’ site they get routed through the affiliate network. That way the network knows who sent the traffic to the advertiser. Advertiser, publisher and network will all see their part in the reports. You’ll see that you sent X amount of traffic to advertise Y.

If one of the visitors you sent to the advertiser makes a purchase within a certain time frame you’ll get a commission through the network. The advertiser will pay the network a lump sum. They’ll pay for networking and hosting fees and for commissions. A part of the commission fees will go back to you. If you get $100 per sale the advertiser will probably pay anywhere from $101 – $125 to the network.

The timeframe here is also an important part of the equation. Normally advertisers will say: well if your visitors buy from us within 30 days after you sent them over we’ll consider it your effort and will pay a commission. This is called cookie time. The bigger the advertiser the more well known the brand the less time you’ll have before the traffic you sent becomes worthless.

Amazon is so well known, their website converts so well… They have a 24 hour cookie time. So if your visitor doesn’t convert within 24 hours you won’t get paid anything.

12 years of digital experience packed in these advanced blogging tips

I’ve spent the last 12 years building my own website. Optimizing my clients’ websites. I have quite a bit of experience under my belt.


If you followed my other post you should now have a blog with at least 10 posts. You already have some traction. A few visitors per day. Traffic starting to come in. Whether you have a few visitors a day or thousands the tips in this post will get your blog to the next level.

First the basics in this advanced blog 🙂

Tip #1: Make a clear site structure for your visitors, search engines and yourself

There are a lot of “advanced” basics that I don’t see a lot of (even veteran) bloggers use. The structure of your blog. How you structure your content is crucial to getting more visitors.

In order to structure your blog, go back to Google Ads Keyword planner and the Excel sheet I used earlier. I’m gonna use the CrossFit games as an example again because I used it in the previous blog post about starting a blog as well.

When I look at the results in the Excel sheet and the Keyword Planner, this is what I came up with.

I think it’s a pretty logical way to structure your website. The structure will be your base for your url structure as well. You’ll have yoursite.com/state1 with information on the CrossFit Games in that state. Yoursite.com/state1/city1 with information on the games in that city. Etc.

Same goes for yoursite.com/winners/2017 (people are still searching for winners from years back). You can make a big page for /tickets and you could refer to the state and city pages to show more details about tickets for each city.

This not only gives search engines and visitors an easier way to find stuff on your site, it also gives you tons of ideas how to build your site. You could literally build hundreds if not thousands of web pages based on this structure.

Tip #2: Install an SEO plugin

There’s a big miss in the basic WordPress installation: you’re not able to enter any “descriptions”. Descriptions I hear you ask? Yes! Every Google result has a title, a description and a url. The description is the black text below the result.

This is a snippet from one of my websites. The black text is the description tag. Install an SEO plugin so you can add unique descriptions to all your posts and pages.


You can automate the title part. The description part your have to do yourself. You know best what the most important thing to mention is. Make it clickable. The more people click on your result versus other results on the same page, the higher your rankings. CTR (Click Through Rate) matters a lot. A higher CTR shows Google that you can engage people.

Bonus: make sure it’s not just clickbait and people leave your page immediately after clicking through. That’s called pogosticking. Google can see if the user comes back to the result page. If you have a 3000 word page, getting back to Google.com within 10 seconds isn’t exactly promising.

Tip #3: Install an AMP plugin

Do you know what AMP means? It means Advanced Mobile Pages. It’s a lightweight version of your web page specifically made for mobile phone users. Mobile phone users have less bandwidth, a slower CPU, etc. So you’re doing your users a favour by “giving” them a light weight version of your website. Google also rewards these kind of AMP pages above other more “heavy” pages. So you’ll get more traffic when you implement an AMP plugin. Just search for AMP at the “add plugins” tab and install and activate this plugin:

If you have already connected your website to Google’s Search Console you can see if you have AMP results in Google and if there are any errors.

If you’ve enabled the plugin for a few weeks now but you don’t have any AMP results in Google yet, something is wrong. Check if you don’t have any errors. Use the “reader” mode in the settings tab to have the biggest chance of not getting any errors. It’s the oldest “mode” for AMP. Works best, but doesn’t have any increased risk of having errors.

Tip #4: Add a caching plugin

When you access a webpage on a WordPress blog your web server has to collect a lot of data in order to serve the page. That takes time. And as we know… Time is money. Literally. Because if you site takes longer to load, Google will slap you. You’ll get lower rankings. And we want high rankings.

Use the below settings to have the most basic setup which should decrease load time a lot already. A cached page can be viewed as a picture taken from your web page. The picture looks the same but has a lot less technical stuff involved to make if compared to the actual page. Because it’s easier to “show” the picture, your website’s load time will go down.

You can tell your browser to cache certain files like css (how you websites looks, what colours you use, what font, etc.), images and scripts. Because images don’t change (at all) once an image has been downloaded, you can tell the browser that the image won’t move or change for the next 24 hours, 30 days or even a year. The browser remembers that for each type of file and if it already has that file and the cache hasn’t expired yet won’t download the file again. This way you make your page lighter (I don’t need to download everything again) and faster (I don’t need to send stuff twice, I can concentrate on the important things).

Scripts are the single biggest cause of slow website loading. Images are the biggest part to download but are pretty easy to interpret by your browser. Scripts on the other hand are a lot less “heavy” to download but take a lot longer to execute. So your browser is busy making sense of a Javascript file while it should actually be showing your the page. Not all javascript files are necessary to be loaded before the page can be rendered. A lot can be executed once the rest of the page is done. You can speed up your website by “deferring” the Javascript files to be loaded at a moment that’s more optimal. Like an Analytics Javascript doesn’t need to be loaded before the content shows. Same with Javascript that displays ads. People hate ads. They don’t want to see the ads (at all) before the page is done loading.

Change the settings to the ones you see below. IF YOUR WEBSITE STOPS WORKING, revert back! After you made the changes you should empty your cache to see if the changes worked. Also view your website in a different browser to make sure you’re not still using the old cached version of the site.

Tip #5: Smush it baby

There are two things that up the bulk of your web page’ “weight”. One is the amount of scripts you have (css and javascript). The other one is images. Images are great. They say more than a thousands words. But they’re “heavier” than a million words if used incorrectly. The amount of time it takes to load an image over a few thousand lines of text is huge. So you want to optimize your images. There’s a neat little plugin for WordPress that’s named “resmush.it”. Install it. Let it run and automatically optimize your images. That will save you bandwidth and will get you bonus points at Google. Once you activate it you can find it under media.

I’ve only been working on this website for a couple of weeks, so I don’t have a lot of images yet. Yet I’ve already saves 73MB! That means less loading time. More bandwidth to use for other things. Win win!

These were the basic tips. I’ll now give you some advanced blogging tips to get more traction online.

Tip #6: Don’t use all the functionality WordPress has to offer

Categories, recent posts, tags, people also read, archive links, footer links, etc. etc. It all means only one thing: more links. More internal links. More internal links means less grip on how to “sculpt” your websites’ link juice.

Basically the more links you have on one page (to your own content) the less you can sculpt you websites’ authority. 1 article could be found via 4 or more different ways. Recent posts, via categories, tags, other people also read, etc. etc. You don’t want that. Also because you might be creating duplicate content. /category1/blog1 might contain exactly the same info as /blog1. How do you want search engines to know which one to focus on? You create problems you don’t want.

If you have an ecommerce website this tip is especially for your. You can easily have 100 products on your website. Those 100 products can turn into 1000 pages if you don’t be careful. Google throttles the amount of time it spends per website. If you don’t have a very authoritative website it won’t stick around for long and won’t browse through all your pages. So you want to be upfront with Google and have the least amount of pages possible so you’re spending your “Crawl Budget” well.

Check your product overview page and have a look at how many links 1 product list has to your product detail page.

Is it like this?


Or like this?


You want the latter. It doesn’t create 6 duplicate links. It sends a clear signal to Google. It’s easier to click on for people on tablets and mobile phones. This is best practice.

Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to share your content more than once

A lot of people think that sharing an article more than once is harassment of your audience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Do you really think that everyone, even your loyal, or your followers sits behind his / her email waiting for you to post your next piece? Or refreshing your social profile constantly to be the first one to see your next post? WRONG. Or course not.

Your audience is not on your website. It’s probably one of the last places they’ll come to. They have friends and family and a life right? Telling them more than once that you’ve made a new post wont in any way or form hurt you. Probably less then 1% of your audience will see that you mentioned your post twice.

If you’re really so scared of mentioning something twice… Update your post again before sending it out in the big bad world. Not just adding a few paragraphs but really taking a good look at it again. What’s new this year? What companies died that I wrote about? What new things can I add that are really useful to my audience?

Once you’ve done that, don’t be scared to even email your entire list about something they might have already read. You made a great improvement just now. Your audience should know about it.

Tip #9: build relationships often and early

If you build a blog you’re a nobody. A nothing. No visitors. Barely a few links from your LinkedIn profile and your Twitter profile. Nothing to show for really. But if you want to make it big as a blogger, you need other people.

Find bloggers who’re just passed the “they’re a nobody” phase. Comment on their blogs. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook. Act like a friend. Genuinely add value to their blog.

Once they make a post where you can really see yourself making a prequel or sequel to… MAKE IT. On your own blog. Comment on theirs saying you really enjoyed their post and that you have a piece people will also love if they loved reading theirs.

This should get the other blogger also interested in your blog. Don’t be too cheeky though. Don’t steal their visitors. Add value first with the comment. You blog post should become second. Otherwise your comment could be deleted and the new found friendship destroyed before it became something real.

Tip #10: Use other platforms as a springboard

Wether your a new blogger or someone who’s been at it for years… Your reach is nothing compared to Medium’s, Quora’s or LinkedIn’s reach.

Always combine your own writing with writing on these platforms. They can multiply your own efforts. The easiest way to make use of these platforms is to just post a link to your article. But that’s also the least effective.

All those platforms want is to keep their audience on their website. That means you need to always make native content. If you don’t have anything to write about this instant, copy what you’ve written on your blog and paste it on LinkedIn or Medium. Chances are you’ll reach a new audience with little or no effort.

I would advise you though to make original content that fits the platform. In the end that’s what’ll give you a larger following and what creates a multiplier effect for your efforts.

Tip #11: Use these websites if you want high quality free images

Everyone loves these images right?

WRONG. Everyone hates them. They are so fake. So unhuman. If you want the opposite of this. Real humans in real situations without paying use Unsplash or Pexels. I love these sites. They’re free and have a lot of high quality photographs.

Tip #12: Create a habit of blogging

If you only blog occasionally you’re going to lose grip on the growth of your blog. What happens if that one day per week that you planned to write goes out the window? What do you have as a stick that keeps you on the right track?

How about a wager with one of your friends? How about you giving them 100 Dollar if you miss your blogging day? 100 Dollar if you don’t write at least one great piece a week + do some outreach for it.

That’s quite a good stick to keep you on track right? Don’t overdo it though. Don’t tell yourself you can blog 5 times a week when you know you can only do 1 or 2. It’s the quickest way to failure. Set yourself a goal you can reach. An ambitious goal but a realistic one.

Tip #13: Remember that you are building an asset

Spending time on your blog is totally different than spending time on your clients’ website. One hour spent on your client is one hour billed is one hour earned. One hour spent on your blog should pay itself back 100 times over. I’m not joking about this part.

I have 4 websites where I spent less than 4 hours on them to build them in total. They are plain HTML websites. Just grabbed the source code straight from Dreamweaver and added a bit of content and made it responsive. I spent another hour to make AMP versions of the webpages.

If I would’ve spent 4 hours on my clients websites I would’ve billed him under 1000 Dollar. Do you know how much money I made with those 4 websites in the past 10 years? Over 15k. That’s 15x more than I would’ve made if I billed my clients. In stead I’m still reaping the benefits of my assets. They continue to produce cash for me with no end in sight.

Tip #14: Build an email list quickly and early

The best thing you can build is your website / blog. The second best thing? A huge email list. Because an email list is the only asset you have that can make a connection straight to your audience without a middle men like Facebook or Google.

It’s you data. They’ve consented to receive your emails. It’s the single most important way to create (free!) traffic to your blog without a lot of hassle.

Tip #15: Create assets that serve as link magnets and list (lead) magnets

In order to build an email list you need magnets that attract signups. Some people are interested in hearing from you on a regular basis. Others need a nudge in the right direction.

A list magnet can be a (free) ebook, a checklist or tool people can use or read once they’ve signed up for your list.

Anywhere from 60% to 90% of people will never visit your website again. You have to build a really strong brand to get people to come back to your website. So you need to grab them by the P… I mean grab them with your Pen and show them what they’ll miss out on if they don’t signup to your newsletter right away.

To create a lead magnet your have to know your audience.

  • Whats driving them
  • What are their pains
  • What do they want

Based on their wants and need you can create a lead magnet.

Here are 15 examples of lead magnets

  1. Checklist (When you post a new article you should do these 10 things)
  2. Ebook (pdf with tips)
  3. Spreadsheet (with prefilled budgets / formulas)
  4. Recipe book
  5. How to … create great photography, start your first … etc.
  6. List with resources
  7. Slide deck
  8. A book chapter
  9. Industry trend report
  10. For online stores:( 20% off) coupon code
  11. Assessment
  12. Access to a private (Facebook) group
  13. Step by step guide
  14. Previously recorded event
  15. Email course

Tip #16: Format your articles like a pro

Nobody likes to read endless paragraphs of text without headings, spaces, lists, etc.

If you make your articles an enjoyable activity to read people will stay longer on your website. Websites / web pages that have higher engagement rates tend to rank higher in search engines. It’s a public secret that Google knows how long people stay on a website and if they pogo stick back and forth.

If someone searches for something on Google and clicks on your result but returns after a short while to Google’s result page to click on another page you could be pretty safe to say that the user isn’t satisfied with the answer they got on your website.

It could be because they didn’t get deep in enough on your page because you have poorly formatted articles. Same with spelling errors. Having one of those in every articles isn’t the end of the world. Having one in every paragraph is pretty bad. People hate reading mistakes. They will quickly close your page and move on, never to return again.

Tip #17: An SEO walks into a bar pub club café

Don’t write your articles for search engines. They know that another word for bar is pub. Search Engine Optimisation is nothing more than the art of giving your users a great experience with maybe a little bit of technical knowledge and outreach.

Don’t overdo the use of synonyms. Search engines have become really smart in the past few years. They know that saying Hello is the same as saying Hey!

Until a few years back Google (and other search engines) weren’t really focusing on user intent yet. They just wanted to give the best result for the query but they didn’t really know what intent a user had. These days you see a lot of different search engine result pages. One is filled with images, the other is filled with maps results yet another one is filled with videos. Google has really made a lot of progress in understanding user behaviour and in knowing what the question behind a user’s question is.

Tip #18: Focus on (real) site speed

Google PageSpeed is a good tool to use to optimize your website for speed. But it’s not the all seeing God.

One important thing to understand is that Google has servers everywhere. So wether you’re in India, the United States or Senegal, Google is near you. But your website might not be near your user.

Even in the US your server could be on the West coast but your user could be on the East coast. The distance the data has to travel will really impact your site speed a lot. The round trip time (the time it takes to do a request, receive the data back from the webserver and close the connection can be quadrupled) on longer distances.

If you live in a large country like the US or your customers are spread throughout the world you should use a CDN (a content delivery network). In a sense they make a duplicate of your webpages near the user’s location so your website can be server quicker.

Besides using a CDN, the single biggest impact you can make is having quick web hosting. Bluehost is a fast and reliable web host. Once your website grows and attract a lot of traffic you should move to a dedicated server. You can always start with an optimized shared hosting account with Bluehost and move up to a dedicated server as you grow.

5 easy steps: How to start a successful and profitable blog

So, you want to start an online business?! I’m gonna help you make money with it. I think the easiest way to make money online is through a blog. It can be a personal blog (where you write about your personal finance and how to start an online business) like mine. Or you can make a blog about any other subject you like. I’ll walk you through it!

How to setup a blog

The first part is the hardest. You don’t need to be a techie to do this, but you’ve probably never setup the blog + domain yet. I’m gonna walk you through it step-by-step! But first, a little bit of explanation.

Hosting and domain name explained

Every website has web hosting and a domain name. The hosting is the “home” of the website. You can store your files, images and database there. The domain name is the street name for your website so other users know where to navigate to if they type in your domain name. The domain name refers back to your web hosting. Every domain name is attached to a number. An IP-address. It’s a number that leads other computers to your hosting environment.

Where to buy good hosting + a free domain name

I have more than one hundred domains which I host on 4 different web servers. Whether you’re planning to just stick to 1 website or if you’d also like to setup more websites just like me, I recommend Bluehost to take care of your hosting.

Why Bluehost? Because you can easily setup your blog on it (I use WordPress, which is the most widely used blogging software). You get a free SSL certificate. The SSL certificate secures the communication between your website and the user. It’s also an important Google Ranking factor. SPAM websites are usually associated with not having an SSL certificate. So if you have one, you immediately stand out of the crowd. Bluehost is reliable. You can get a great value plan if you choose the 24 or 36 months plan.

Before you’re ready to setup your hosting, you need to know what domain name you’re gonna use. For this blog I used my own name.

To start we need a niche

Before you can start your own blog or website, you need to know what domain name you’re gonna use. Before you can choose your domain name you need to find and choose your niche. I’ll help you through the process. This is the part that, at least I think so, is most important. This is the start of your money making journey. This will determine whether you’ll be successful. You need to choose a niche that makes sense for you.

How to choose your niche?

I don’t know what you’re good at and spend a lot of time on, so this is an exercise your have to do yourself. I’ll give you some guidelines.

  • Write down 5 things you really enjoy doing
  • Write down 5 things you spend a lot of time on

If you enjoy working out you can write down working out or lifting weights, or CrossFit. We’ll come back to that later.

What’s important in this phase of our blog starting is that we find out what you like to write about but also if there’s a market for it.

If nobody is searching for / interested in your topic we might as well not even start the blog. We need a good balance between the two. We also don’t want to write about something that has massive amounts of competitors.

Hopefully you found a topic that you wrote down twice. Once on the “enjoy” list and once on the “time” list. Let’s take working out as an example.

Drilling down to a narrow enough niche

Working out is a really really broad topic. You could still write about anything really. We don’t want that. Because in this day and age you have to focus first before you can diversify and broaden your scope. First build up authority on a topic that you know a lot about. Once you have a following you can expand your niche.

So, working out is too broad. CrossFit? Also pretty broad. But better. I’ll give you a little help. Click on this link for a tool I use a lot, but first read how to use it.

If we use CrossFit as an example keyword we’ll see that the sheet is automatically filled with queries (searches on Google) that contain the keyword.

When you open the link, click on File -> Make a copy. Once the file is copied, fill in a keyword in cell C2.

Now you’ll start to get closer to finding your niche. You could use keywords like:

  • CrossFit games
  • CrossFit shoes
  • Crossfit workouts

to select as a niche. We need to incorporate the keywords from our niche into a domain name.

I always use this table to show the difference in types of domain names you can use.

Keyword basedBrand basedName based

It really doesn’t matter what name you choose. The Keyword based names have the advantage that more people will link to you with the keywords from your website name. That helps you with ranking in search engines. But building a reputable name will give you a similar boost. If a lot of people are searching for your brand name in search engines, you also get a boost to your rankings.

What’s more important: make a choice for your niche!

Do you want: OriginalCrossFitGames.com or rather CrossFitPlay.com or CrossFitWithMichael.com? It doesn’t matter what domain extension (.com, .org, .net, etc) you use. Any extension is good. Maybe .com because it’s the most recognisable. Do make sure you’re not infringing on anyone’s Trademarks. These names are purely given as an example.

One more step before we can register our domain name! We want to know for sure that there’s some interest in the niche you choose (and not too much competition). Goto ads.google.com. Register an account. No credit card required.

Cancel the campaign creation process for now. Click on Tools (top right) -> Keyword Planner (on the left). When the screen loads click Discover new keywords. Fill in one or more of the keywords you’d like to target for your niche. Click: Get results.

You’ll get a huge list (which we’ll use later on as well). Check the volumes of the keyword you filled in. Anything above 5,000 or more is fine. Don’t look at the competitiveness yet. Figure out a domain name that sounds good, is a little descriptive and start your blog!!

Ready to make some money? Let’s setup your hosting now!

Now that you have a domain name ready we can walk through the process of registering a domain name and setting up a hosting plan.



Click the green button. Select the plan you’d like. If you’re planning to start a single website, choose the basic plan. If you’re going to create multiple websites and really make some cash, I suggest you choose the “Choice plus” plan.


In the next step you can enter your domain name and choose your extension: thenameyoucameupwith.com.


Complete the form. Fill in your details. For the best value you can chose the 36 month plan. Remember: you can cancel the webhosting within 30 days. You’ll only pay for your domain name.


Choose a password.


Pick a theme for your website. You can change this at any time!


Once you choose your theme you can “START BUILDING”. YEEEEESSSS!!

How to find topics to write about

Now that your blog is set up properly you can start the writing process

Aim for about 10 content pieces to go live with. Never mind structure, images, etc. Just get your fingers warmed up first. Each piece of content should have at least 1000 words. Preferably more than 2000 words. I’m not even a third way through this piece and I’m over 1,3k words. Why so much do I hear you ask?

People are looking for in depth articles. They want to learn. Longer blog posts get more engagement from your audience. Google and other search engines reward your content by giving it a higher position if it has higher engagement. The higher your position in Google the more (passive) income you can gain. More visitors = more money.

Use the Keyword Excel sheet we made earlier to come up with the 10 topics.

For every topic you create, do your research first.

Enter the keywords you want to write a topic about in Google. See what comes up. Look at every result in the top 10. Do you see video’s? Images? Or only web page results? Or maybe Google My Business results? (A business name with a Google Map result)

Based on what you find you can learn 2 things:

  1. What people want to see when they are searching for the keywords you want to write about
  2. What others are already doing. You can learn (copy?) what they made and make it better. At least 10x better

If you see a lot of video results, you know that when you’re finished writing you need to create a YouTube video and embed a video in your blog post. If you see image results, you need to create images that relate to the topic you’re writing about to capture traffic.

First step is just writing and writing and writing.

What do people want to read about? Stories. Tell them your story. Why you’re writing what you’re writing. Why you’re doing what you’re doing. People relate to stories.


The intersection of what you know a lot about and what people want to know about is the “Holy Grail” of content creation. Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to lookup search volume so you know there’s interest in what you’re writing.

Comment below this article if you need any help writing. I’m happy to give you guys some pointers.

Once you finish your first post, find an image that says a lot about what you’ve written about. You can find free high quality pictures on sites like Unsplash.com and Pexels.com. Set that image as a featured image. You can find it in the right sidebar under Document -> Featured Image


But I suck at writing, I hear you say

SO DID I! It took me quite a while before my writing skills were up to par. But that’s the great thing about a blog. Just post your first piece. After a week or so, read through it again. You’ll see things that can be improved. Ask your spouse, family, friends to give you some tips. You will learn. You will improve.

How to get your first traffic (within 24 hours)

Think about your current networks. Do you have a Facebook account? Do you have an Instagram Account? Pinterest? Use your own account to start driving visitors to your domain.


Facebook is easiest to do. Just paste the link from your blog post. Write a small comment about why you think people should read it. The first time you ever post something you can write: Yay my first post is live. But that’s about you. That’s not WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) as in What’s in it for your audience. Always write about them. What value they’ll get out of reading your post.

Ask people on your social accounts to comment on your page. Ask them to write what they did and didn’t like about it. Be open to criticism. Remember: you’re just starting out. You need to learn what your audience likes. What you’re doing well and where you can improve.


You can do the same on Instagram. The only problem there is that you can’t add a link to your blog. You can only add a link to your blog post in your bio. So add a link to your bio before you post on Instagram and refer people to your bio.

Make sure you add a great picture and use #hashtags. Hashtags are Instagram’s way of discovering new posts.


On Pinterest, the best thing you can do is start a new public board. Add about 20 pins from other people that also write about the same topic you just wrote about (or about the same general topic) and add your blog post last. You need a bigger image and with a different format here. Head over to Canva.com to make your own Pinterest image.

Pinterest rewards people who regularly add Pins to their boards with more eyeballs. It’s better to add one Pin a day or a week than 10 at a time. But to start out with, you can just add the 20 pins from other people and add your own. Just make sure you keep adding Pins to your board to get more traction. More traction means more visitors to your blog.

A sh*it load of pins are repurposed (as in used over and over again). So if you add more unique pins to your board, you will get more traffic than other boards.

These tactics above should already get you some traffic to your blog and even more valuable: feedback from your audience. This will also give you new ideas to create content about.

Rinse and repeat this for the next 30 days. Get in the habit of making one piece of content every 3 days. Don’t find the time. Make time. This piece will have cost me well over 10 hours to write once it’s finished. Don’t focus on quantity. There’s too much content out there already. Focus on quality. Find the real stuff. Stuff that hasn’t been written about. The stuff that resonates with your readers. Keep in constant contact with them. Any feedback is good feedback. Even if it’s pure hatred. Just swallow it and move on. Always think to yourself: what CAN I learn from this.

Download the free Blog Promotion checklist to get more traffic now!

How to monetize your blog

Up until now, you haven’t made a dime, a penny. You only spent money and time. That’s all going to change now. You should have your 10 posts now. You should have received a lot of feedback from friends and family. You should be ready to create the next 10 pieces. But before you do that, it’s time to reward yourself.

Every month I’m giving away 25 dollars (1 dollar to 25 people) for completing the above section. If you want to participate you need to leave a comment on this page. I want you to give me some feedback on how I can improve this piece. Also copy your domain name and tell me what you found hardest to do. I want to see at least 10 pieces of content written in the last 45 days. These should be your first 10 pieces.

I’m committed to you, my audience, to make you successful. I’ll gladly give you my money so you get even more motivated to keep at it. Because this is a game of perseverance. You need to persist. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I still need to motivate myself now and then even though I make quite a bit of money through my online business.

Commented below? Great! Big chance you already made your first buck with your blog. Now for the rest…

The real monetization…

You can make money with a few different tactics. The easiest to start is through Google Adsense. You can just add a small “snippet” of html/javascript code on your blog that will automagically create ads on your blog. I don’t use Adsense on this blog. I do use it on a number of different websites I own like fastfoodprice.co.uk.

You can register your account at https://google.com/adsense. It will take a few days to get approved. Once you’re accepted follow this little video I made for you guys (video still needs to be made…) to setup Adsense on your blog. Should be no more than 2 minutes.

Every time an ad is shown to your audience you make a little bit of cash. If they click your add you’ll make a bit more. Anywhere from 1 cent to tens of Dollars per click. The amount you receive depends on a few things. What type of ad is shown to your audience. What type of blog you have. If you’re into finance or legal stuff, you’ll make tons of money per click. But you have more strict rules to abide by.

Not anyone can give legal or financial advice. You need proper education and sometimes even a registration at the proper authorities. So every benefit has a downside. Don’t focus on the amount of money you get per click / view. Just focus on getting Adsense up and running so at least you’ll start making money.

Next up is affiliate marketing.

Depending on your blog niche you can probably make the most money with this type of monetization.

Register an affiliate account at Commission Junction. This is (at least in the US) the biggest affiliate network. Commission Junction is a website where people that own websites (you) find (big brand) advertisers. I’ll record a video soon where I’ll guide you through how to find and apply to different campaigns. Of course, it depends on your niche what campaigns will be of interest to you. If you don’t live in the US or UK, just Google “Affiliate Network” and tons of ads / results will pop up for you to choose from.

There are 2 basic ways to make money with affiliate marketing. The first is to implement affiliate links in your existing content. Look at what you already wrote about and incorporate links that relate to the content you already made. The Bluehost link for example is an affiliate link. So, I earn a little money every time someone buys something through that link.

The second way to earn money with affiliate marketing is if you write about your affiliates. If you’re into clothing, you could browse the affiliate’s website and write about the new collection or the coolest stuff people can buy that’s on sale now.

Start an online store to make money

You can always start an online store which is connected to your blog. Software like Woocommerce can be downloaded for free. It runs on top of your WordPress installation. Read the article above if you want to know how to setup your own online store. You don’t have to sell physical products in your store. You can also sell ebooks and courses.

I’ve made an extensive post how to make money with your blog if you’re interested.

A bonus tip

The audience that reaches you now is mostly through your own network. If people on your social accounts like what you’re writing about, more people (in their network) will also see your content, etc. etc. So the better you make your content the more people you’ll reach through social media. But that’s only a very small percentage of people you CAN reach.

I make 60% – 80% of my money through search engines. They give me a constant flow of visitors. I don’t need to do anything for it. They just come because I have the best content. But before you start ranking in Google you first need to gain authority. Authority in the eyes of search engines are links from other peoples’ websites. A link is a vote. The more votes the better your ranking. Getting one vote from wsj.com is way better than a link from your friends’ blog though. So  it’s very important to focus on quality over quantity.

Now for the tips… Find other blogs / websites / Pinterest Board / Instagrammers etc. that write about stuff that’s related to your blog. Start commenting on their blogs. Be genuine. Don’t comment to be commenting. It’s a means to an end. Not an end in itself. Only comment on stuff you really like. Try to add value but don’t be cheeky. Don’t be the smart ass.

You’re going to need the people you find in a later stage. So it’s good to build a relationship now. Show them you like what they’re doing. Build trust. In a couple of months, you can, maybe, just maybe get something from them.

This is how to get something from commenting

Look at their content. What did they write about? Is there something you can add? Something that matches what they’re doing? An image? Something else you created (through someone else on Upwork)?

It could be an infographic that sums up everything the blogger talked about in his/her blog. It could be a tool that you created for them. If you ever need resources, need people that do stuff you can’t? Visit Upwork. There are tons of freelancers that can help you create stuff. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of Dollars on that platform. On people who created stuff I couldn’t create. I’m not a programmer, but I can write down exactly what I want. I’m not a designer but I can look at what other designers on Upwork have already made and ask someone to make something similar.

You could do the same. Spend a few bucks on something that could really help out someone else. Here’s the cheeky part… Some people you e-mail will never respond. Even the people you think who will.

In the first email you send them only TELL them you’ve created something great for them. If they respond positively get your but over to Upwork and get a freelancer (who you’ve already briefed) the go ahead to start working on your project. They usually finish between one and two days if it’s not a big thing to make. So once they’re finished message back your blogger with the finished product.

This way you won’t spend any money unless you have a high chance to get in front of a bigger audience. Because in the same email where you show your “result” you’ll also ask if they can link back to your blog.

This tactic works great for bloggers who you already know. If you’re just reaching out to someone you don’t know, it CAN help to bring some money. Because most bloggers don’t make a lot of money. You could ask them to write about your blog for cash or ask them if you can submit a guest post and wire some money for the time it took them to post your piece / do some editing and designing.

Thank you guys for reading my basic “How to start a profitable blog”. If you want to learn more you can read my Advanced tactics to grow and monetize your blog. I’m currently working on this blog post. It should be finished within a week or so. You can find the advanced blogging tips here.