Introduction Blogging is the backbone of everything we do in the affiliate marketing business. Since the blogging platform was first developed, well before anyone was actually using it, the idea of a simple to use, plugand-play platform for content creation and management has had marketers foaming at the mouth. It makes nearly everything you do easier and as a result, it makes us a lot of money. But what is a blog?
Simply put, it’s an online journal that you can share with anyone. Using hosted or open source software, you can post new content every day through the backend of the software and it will appear pre-formatted, dated, and linked throughout your site. Pretty much 90% of all the hard work that goes into building and maintaining a website is done automatically behind the scenes. After you install your blog, set up its look and start writing; you can get away with never changing it again and still make a tremendous amount of money. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
And that’s why blogging has become the easiest and most popular method of creating simple affiliate sites. Marketers use blogging to share their thoughts on new products, provide authority sites to build trust, produce viral content, build their lists, and even just have a little a fun on the side.
The best part is that a blog doesn’t even have to be a ‘blog’. All the heavy duty technology that backs up the blogging platforms is ideal for building a simple website and controlling large chunks of data. Instead of trying to sort through page after page of content, you can create your content in the blog’s ready-made content management system and it links up on its own, submits to the search engines, provides links to social bookmarking sites, and gives you data to review about readership.
How Do Blogs BenefIt Marketers? Marketers like things to be simple. It saves us time, freeing us up to do all the fun stuff we’ve been daydreaming about. Instead of spending hours poring over complicated technical details, we can brainstorm new sales funnels, find new products, and generate new content.
So, as you can imagine, blogs are pretty much solid gold to affiliates everywhere. With so much of the hard work already done, you’re free to think purely on the ideas and methods of making all that money. You don’t need to build a site, maintain a site, or worry about little things like submission, updating links, or testing. It’s all done on the backend of a software program that you don’t even have to pay for.
Pretty much the only thing you’ll need to do is focus on your content generation and sales funnel. Everything else is automated. Automation saves time and time makes us more money. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.
Ways You Can Use a Blog
Before we get going, I want to make a pretty important distinction between “blogging” as a verb and “blog” as a noun. How are they different?, you might be asking.
On one hand you have the software that supports all blogs – the actual platform for a blog. There are dozens of these software platforms, with WordPress standing as the most popular and commonly used. This software allows you to do a LOT of different things. You can automate posts, manage images and videos, remove spam, streamline comments, take payments, gather email addresses, and much more.
While WordPress was originally designed to be used for the act of blogging, it has since become a very common tool for building static websites – the kind marketers use as squeeze pages, authority sites, or pre-sell landing pages.
There are a few reasons for this. First, WordPress makes the creation of a website super easy. You can choose a template, enter your information and a few images and it is set. We’re talking about 2-3 hours of your time to build an entire website. Just try doing that using HTML, even with an editor like Dreamweaver, and see how far you get!
Beyond simplicity, WordPress is completely free – a huge bonus for marketers who build dozens of sites one after another. Additionally, there are thousands of plugins and themes you can download for free (or buy for a small fee) that will expand the functionality of WordPress. Everything from payment processing to list building is easy to do with simple plugins that take 2 minutes to install in WordPress.
On the flip side of things, there is the actual act of blogging. This is where you sit down and write a post every day or two for a regular reader base. These posts might include reviews of affiliate products or your opinions on a hot niche topic. I’m sure you’ve seen at least a handful of blogs in your day and they all follow a similar strategy – write regularly and build readership which you can then translate into sales.
Where We’re Headed
In this particular magazine, I’m not going to spend much time talking about static blogging (or CMS blogging as it is sometimes called). But don’t think I’m leaving you out if your website plan calls for a static blog. In your Premium membership, you’ll find a series of Blog Bootcamp webinars that were created with the express purpose of providing a background for building static websites on a blog platform.
If you’re already thinking that you’d rather go that route, I still recommend you read as much of this magazine as you can, because the fundamentals of blogging and WordPress use are still incredibly important for everyone to learn. Once you are done, head over to the Blog Bootcamp series to find out more about putting together a static site.
For the rest of us, we’ll be focusing on mainstream blogging – the act of writing new posts every day or two for a steady readership base.
What Else You’ll Learn
Blogging is the backbone of so many marketing strategies that it only makes good sense for any prospective money maker to start with the basics of a WordPress blog. So, in the coming pages, we’re going to cover everything you need to know to build a blog, write your posts, and start making money from your efforts. Whether you’ve never heard the word “blog” before or are building your twentieth blog from scratch, you’ll find strategies here designed to help you optimize your money making potential once and for all.
Blogging 101 A lot of people have used blogs before – for personal use, their job, or experimentally. However, even if you have been blogging for years, it’s important to take a close look at everything a blog can do and how it all works. As an affiliate marketer, it’s not only a good idea to have a full toolkit, but a solid understanding of how every tool works.
How a Blog works I won’t get too heavy into the technical details, because, let’s face it, that’s why you’re using a blog in the first place – to avoid all the technical aspects of operating a website. Blogs are for people who don’t have MscIT degrees or years of experience behind the scenes of a computer’s inner workings. But the best part is, if you do have the knowledge or the ambition to get under the hood and tinker with your blog, you can – the option is always there to take a more hands-on approach.
For now, let’s just assume that all the cogs and wheels behind the screen are working as intended, without us needing to go in and tweak anything.
But still, how does it all work? What happens when you post a review of a new Clickbank product or describe your most recent vacation?
In short, a blog is a content management system, commonly abbreviated to CMS. That means you use a hosted tool or install a software package on your server that will take everything you enter and store it in a database. When a user goes to view that content, it is automatically formatted and put into the template you’ve chosen for your site. You don’t need to manually code every page on a website, which makes it much easier to create hundreds of pages very quickly. All you need to do is write the text, upload the pictures and create the links.
When you take out all the technical work behind a website, you create an extremely quick process – one that marketers eagerly adopted as soon as the technology became widely available a few years ago.
But, even though a blog will take care of your posts, images, and links automatically and you never need to recode or change anything, you still need to get it all setup, and there are a few details involved in the implementation of your blogging platform and first posts.
What YOU Need to Do
To start with, you need to decide what type of blogging platform you want. You essentially have two options – a hosted account or a server installed platform. The difference here is pretty big depending on where you are in your marketing career. A hosted blog is as easy as it gets. All you need to do is sign up for an account, choose your settings, and start writing. Instant income source!
However, a lot of the tools and options that you come to expect from a blog are going to be found only in
the server installed software. We’ll get to the options you have in a bit, but for now you’ll want to consider how much you want your blog to do. If you want to use opt-in email forms, upload files, control every aspect of your layout or change images easily, you will likely want to choose a server installed option.
Beyond choosing your platform, you’ll need to determine what your blog will do. Is it going to be a standard blog – where you type up a review or your thoughts every couple of days? Or are you going to use the software to manage a lot of content – developing a huge range of different articles into an authority site or review hub? We’ll go into the details here in a bit, but again, sit down and consider what your blog will be doing.
One of the biggest mistakes I see many marketers making is that they lack a goal and a purpose. You can’t just signup for a Blogger account and declare yourself a blogger. You need a solid, well-developed plan to determine what your blog will be doing, how it will be managed, what type of content you plan on writing, and ultimately, how you will monetize it.
To help make sure you’re doing everything right, here’s a short worksheet. Print this out, or simply think on it for a few minutes and take some notes. Either way, use it to help determine what your blog will be doing and how you want to proceed. The next few sections will be filled with decisions you need to make and it’s a good idea to reflect on your needs before finalizing what you’ll be doing. Blogging Questionnaire
What’s Your Niche?
What Do You Want to Write?
What Do You Want Your Readers to Be able to Do?
What Kind of Sites Do You Like?
Are You Using Affilohost or Your Own Hosting Company?
What’s Your Budget?
What Do You Plan to Market?
Do You Like to Write?
How Much Time Do You Have to Devote?
Yeah, they’re pretty simple questions, but do take the time to answer them anyway. Trust me – having a clearer idea of what you really want to get out of your blog makes the setup process so much easier.
BloggIng PlatforMs Okay, now it’s time to sit down and choose which blogging platform you want to use. It’s a big decision for a few reasons. To start with, it’s not easy to migrate your content from one to the other. It’s doable, but it’s not instant, plus you’ll need to change your URL in the process, which can have an impact on your search engine optimization efforts.
In short, really think of what your blog will be doing 6 months to a year from now. It’s better to over compensate now rather than under compensate and then realize you need to expand later on.
Hosted Blogs
The first type of blog is the one that requires zero investment on your part. These are the blogs you can start with an email address and a few minutes of setup time. The three big players right now in hosted blogs are Blogger from Google, WordPress.com, and Tumblr. There are dozens if not hundreds more options out there, and which one you choose ultimately depends on your preferences. Overall, though, they all provide the same basic services, which in some cases can be very limiting. Advantages of a Hosted Blog
A hosted blog has many advantages, foremost among them being ease of setup and cost. It takes less than 5 minutes to get a hosted blog started and your first posts online. Additionally, they are 100% free and if you can’t afford to invest any money, they will never cost anything. These companies make money in other ways, so they don’t need to charge you for their services.
Google’s Blogger services are particularly easy to use if you plan on integrating AdSense or YouTube into your posts – with one click access to either of those other services. Disadvantages of a Hosted Blog
On the flip side of things, a hosted blog offers very limited control. You can change the color scheme and the columns and if you read up a bit, you can even change the structure of the site with the template editors, but it still takes a bit of effort and you can’t fully change any of those things. Additionally, there are navigation bars added to many accounts that can be distracting when your visitors arrive on your page.
As a marketer, you also need to consider the limitations of putting your site on a hosted account. You can buy a domain name for your blog and attach it to a WordPress.com or Blogger blog, but the default domain name will be USER.blogger.com, making it harder to manage your search engine optimization efforts and limiting things like bandwidth management and installation of additional services.
You’re also bound by the terms of service for those sites. Most people don’t have issues here, but if you plan on marketing anything that might be considered “adult” by nature or simply more mature (e.g. dating content), you might be relegated to the “adult” blog categories, effectively censoring your content within the network.


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