In the past two months, my earnings from affiliate links on this website have increased dramatically. I tell you this, not to brag, but to reinforce what I’ve been saying for a long time — that building a business on a blog is a good strategy if you want to develop a portable-career income to support yourself overseas.
My husband and I plan to move to Panama soon. My strategy for creating an income to sustain us there has been twofold: to develop my freelance writing business, and to earn money from this website. (He’s got some ideas about businesses he can start there as well.)
Without giving you actual numbers — I’m willing to be transparent, but not quite that transparent — here’s what’s happened so far in 2011.
First Quarter: 100% of my earnings were from freelance work.
Second Quarter: 14% of revenue came from affiliate links, the remaining 86% from freelance work. At the same time, my income from freelancing increased by about 34%.
Third Quarter: Keeping in mind that I’m writing this in mid-July, which is the first month of the quarter, these figures are rather stunning. . .
Affiliate revenue was 23% of the total. Earnings from freelancing are up 20% from the Second Quarter while revenue from affiliate links is up 210% from the Second Quarter. A big thank you to those of you who’ve used them!
My goal is to see my revenue from affiliate links equal half of my income by the end of this calendar year, while earnings from freelancing continue to rise at 20% per quarter. When that happens, I’ll have no worries at all about being able to maintain myself in Panama.
How to Get Results from Affiliate Links
Several things have to happen before you’ll see much response to affiliate links.
- You need a minimum level of traffic. I can’t tell you what that magic number is — it depends on your niche and your audience. But if you only have 100 visitors to your site every day, don’t expect affiliate sales.
- Your traffic must be targeted. This means, if you’re selling widgets, the people coming to your site must be interested in owning widgets. If you have 10 million visitors a day who don’t know what a widget is, you won’t sell much.
- You need excellent content. You have to give your targeted audience the information they’re looking for in a form that’s interesting to them.
- Your audience must feel they know, like and trust you. That process takes time, so putting great content out on a consistent basis comes before you can make a lot of sales.
Once you’ve developed some targeted traffic and your site visitors trust you because you’ve been giving them useful content, then you can move on to the next phase: choosing companies to affiliate with and letting your readers know about them.
That’s a topic for another day.
Have you visited the Resources area? Are there additional types of resources you’d like me to offer? I welcome your suggestions — make a comment below!