3 Things I Would Do Differently If I Started An Affiliate Blog In 2021
I've started over 100 different blogs between 2010 and now. It seems hard to believe, but a lot of them were total trash and I stopped working on them within weeks or months, so it's not like I was running a hundred six figure blogs at once LOL.
Of those 100+ total, maybe about 30 lasted more than a year.
Maybe 10-20 lasted several years and generated revenue.
Just 5-10 of them generated consistent income and were able to be sold.
I'm currently working on 2 full time, and 2 side projects.
It's a ton of work, even though I'm outsourcing a lot. I've said it before, working on a single blog is a full time job in itself. For that reason, I don't plan to start any new blogs this year, but based on what I've learned from a decade of blogging across 100 different blogs, here's what I'd do differently this time around.
1. Broad Topic With Focused Sub Niches
As a newbie, it's absolutely recommend to follow the training and pick a focused niche to start with. I do not recommend trying this if this technique if this is your first website, so this is just something that I would personally do for my own business.
Just to emphasize this a bit more, a focused niche is a great way to get fast traction in low-competition areas and start making affiliate sales quickly. It's also a great way to see some quick-ish success in the world of affiliate marketing, understand the process, and get a foundation to your affiliate marketing skills.
That being said, I've found a ton of success with going broad with my website topic in recent years. It provides me with a lot of runway for potential topics to write about, and I can include many different "sub niches" within the broader topic.
For example, instead of "tablets for kids", I'd do something like "tech for kids". Then subtopics could be tablets for kids, computers games for kids, outdoor tech for kids, and so on.
Actually, any one of those subtopics could be a full niche site by itself. "Outdoor Tech For Kids" would be a great niche.
However, long term, if I'm thinking 10, 20 years down the road, I want to leave room for tons of easy topics to rank for.
This strategy kind of goes against the narrative of "niche" marketing, but you can still make your brand "niche" by developing your blog's personality, e.g. "outdoor tech blog for kids who don't want to be stuck inside playing vidoe games all day", vs "outdoor tech blog for kids interested in camping".
I also like this method because it allows me to outsource more content which doesn't require specialized knowledge, because you have a greater selection of topics to choose from when assigning article topics to writers. Instead of super detailed, expert articles, you can spend more money on fun listicles.
2. Make Better Images
Images were always frustrating for me for many years. These days, Canva really is a game changer IMO. There are so many awesome things available within this tool, that there's no excuse for having crappy images on your blog.
Off the top of my head, I don't know the difference between the free and paid version, so some things I use may not be available to you. The paid version is $119 per year, which is about $10/month, and very much worth 10x the price IMO.
Not only do you get access to something like 17,000 stock images to use on your blog, you can dress them up with filters, stickers, and other elements to make a stock image look unique. You can create your own logo, then put your log on each image to get "brandability" across your site too.
They also have precise image sizes for all your social media accounts (YouTube Thumbnail, Pinterest Pins, Facebook Page Backgrounds, etc), and hundreds of templates. You can whip up a professional looking pin in less than 5 minutes, including custom text, your website logo, and a cool filter.
You can even make your own templates, and then use those across your site for branding as well.
There are also video options, grids, and cartoon images ("elements") to add to spice up images. Even just for unlimited use of the stock photo portion, it's worth using this service. Oh, and infographics are easy to make too. When I think about how hard it was to make infographics just a few years ago, Canva is pretty nuts how easy it is.
Nowadays, I make a custom Pinterest image and matching featured image (easy to resize with one click in Canva btw) for each blog post on my website. I add a custom overlay and logo as well. Super fast. Super simple. And it makes my website look more like a professional brand IMO.
Try the free version of Canva and see what you can do.
3. Set Up A Consistent Content Schedule With Achievable Goals
I think the #1 killer of blogs is burnout and frustration from lack of results. That's why I try to set goals not based on results, which can be hard to promise yourself. I set goals based on target production rates.
For example, it's better to say, "I want to write 2 articles per week for 5 months", versus, "I want to be earning $500/month in 5 months".
You can guarantee #1 just by sitting down and doing the work. #2 is kind of up in the air and saying you "failed" isn't fair to yourself if you really did put in the work. The first version holds you more accountable as well. It's easier to measure results in a reliable way. For example, even if you didn't reach your income goal in 5 months, it may be just around the corner and you could be sitting on a pretty awesome blog!
Setting an achievable schedule is another part to this formula. Saying to yourself that you are going to write 10 articles per week and sleep 3 hours per night is not a sustainable schedule. You'll burn out. You'll write 10 articles one week, 1 the next, none the next, then feel bad, then get another 5 out the following week. It's not sustainable!
With a simple goal of 2x per week that you KNOW you can do sets you up for positive reinforcement and consistent growth. You can always add on top of that if you have extra time and motivation. Just 2 articles per week is 100 articles by the end of the year, and that's a serious foundation for a profitable affiliate blog.