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How to Earn Over $200K in Revenue From Affiliate Marketing Websites

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How to Earn Over $200K in Revenue From Affiliate Marketing Websites
  • Bruce Paulson is a freelance SEO specialist who creates affiliate marketing websites.
  • Paulson said his business started to grow once he put himself in the customer’s shoes.
  • He said he sunk more money back into his business last year than ever and it became his most successful year.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Bruce Paulson, a 43-year-old freelance SEO specialist from North Carolina about scaling his business. It’s been edited for length and clarity.

In 2022, I made almost $203,000 in revenue from affiliate marketing alone. Affiliate marketing is the strategy that helped to move the needle for my income.

I’ve been the owner-operator of an SEO agency since 2015. For the first five years, all I did was work with clients, but I struggled to grow my business. Even though I was good at getting SEO results, which is moving a website to the top of Google searches, I wasn’t good at selling my SEO services.

But in 2020, I started learning how to build simple affiliate websites, which is where you recommend a product or service and if someone makes a purchase you get a small payout. 

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When I first started doing affiliate marketing I didn’t understand it 

At first, not much was happening so for a long time I thought I was building websites and going nowhere. I didn’t know how to put an offer in front of an audience or how a company would pay me for traffic from my website. Once I started, I slowly began to learn — and I’m still learning.

Affiliate marketing is about building a targeted audience, or traffic. If I have a website about stand-up paddleboards that gets a lot of monthly visits from paddleboard enthusiasts, I can buy a product, write a review about it, and possibly recommend the product to readers.

If the readers like what I say, click on my link to the company, and buy a paddleboard, I can get anywhere from 3% to 10% of the purchase price in commission.

Once I understood affiliate marketing, I started to put myself in the customer’s shoes 

I started to think about the questions customers might have about a particular product, then I’d write articles that answer those questions. Doing this correctly can lead to more sales. 

Eventually, I made my first sale and wanted to make more. So I built more affiliate websites. I also tried a bunch of different niches, from water sports, insurance, and mortgages to credit cards, boats, and the health industry. 

I have affiliate offers from Amazon, Avantlink, ShareASale, and other private programs

Amazon is pretty easy to get into — all you have to do is have public advertising disclosures on your website. Avantlink and ShareASale are similar except they have lots of companies that work with them, and those particular companies have to approve you by looking at your website and seeing if they want to work with you.  

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If I have a website about stand-up paddleboards and I apply to a big company’s running-shoes program on Avantlink, that company probably won’t accept me because my website traffic is not relevant to their market. But if I apply to the Bluefin stand-up paddleboard program with my paddleboard website, I’ll likely get accepted because my traffic is relevant to that company, and there’s a decent chance that exposure for Bluefin will result in sales.

In my first two years of building affiliate websites, I probably spent more money on them than I made 

I’m currently running six websites and plan to build more. There are many costs associated with each website. Some expenses include buying a domain for around $20, securing hosting for $180 per year, and paying a cheap web designer on Upwork to build the first five pages of the website for around $300. 

I could write articles myself for free, but it takes me forever and they aren’t the best articles, so I opted to pay for decent articles at $100 per article — I need a minimum of 30 articles but realistically around 200 articles on the sites. I pay a cheap web designer on Upwork to post my articles for $10 to $15 per article. Additionally, I pay $2,400 per year for an Ahrefs account, which is a tool for keyword research, competition analysis, and more.

When building affiliate websites I need some interest in the topic like water sports, finance, or digital marketing. If I don’t have interest in the topic, I get frustrated and quit.

In 2022 I got better at asking myself, what is someone really after when they search for something on Google

I got better at thinking about “the intent behind the intent.” That’s helped me focus on ranking for more specific searches. Now, instead of trying to rank for “socks” — a term that gets a ton of monthly searches, is super hard to rank for, and has a very low conversion rate —  I focus on ranking for searches like “winter socks that are warm and will keep my feet dry.” The latter has way less search volume, is not that hard to rank for, and has a very high conversion rate.

If I can rank No. 1 in Google for “winter socks that are warm and will keep my feet dry” and I recommend a nice pair of Smartwool socks, then I have a very good chance of making that sale — and that’s my entire approach to SEO these days. 

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Having success at affiliate marketing has made me more successful at signing new clients

It’s counterintuitive to put zero effort into looking for new client-work, yet have more people reaching out to me than ever. This turn of events has made it so I can turn down smaller jobs that aren’t a good fit for me and focus on working with companies where I can move the needle.

When I was struggling with my business, if I worked harder I would just be struggling harder. Now that I’m getting some traction I have more energy. I wake up early and even work on the weekends.

I’ve sunk more back into my business this year than I could’ve ever imagined

Last year I spent $25,000 to join The Forge marketing mastermind group and it terrified me to do this. While medical bills and college were technically more expensive, this is the most money I’ve ever willingly spent in my life — even more expensive than the $16,000 I spent on a 2007 Subaru Forester that I still drive daily. 

I joined the digital business mastermind group because the folks who taught me SEO in the first place created it. Even though I was already having some success with affiliate marketing,, I thought it would be great to have people who were way ahead of me look at my business and tell me how to improve it. It’s also cool to be around people who are positive and motivate me to work harder.  

2022 was my most successful year financially. For the first time, I have some traction with my business, and I want to pour as much gas on the fire as I can. I think in a few years, I’ll be able to look back and have built something my parents can be proud of.

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AFFILIATE MARKETING

How to Control the Way People Think About You

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How to Control the Way People Think About You

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In today’s digital age, where personal branding and public perception play a vital role in success, strategic PR efforts have become more important than ever. Ulyses Osuna, the founder of Influencer Press, joined our show to share valuable insights on the significance of PR, the evolving landscape, and the keys to achieving business growth while maintaining a fulfilling personal life.

One of the key takeaways from the conversation was the importance of strategic PR efforts in building a personal brand and shaping public perception. Ulyses emphasized that PR is not just about getting media coverage; it’s about controlling the narrative and shaping how others perceive you. By strategically positioning yourself and your brand through effective PR, you can influence public opinion and establish yourself as an authority in your field. Another crucial aspect discussed was the power of leveraging relationships and connections.

Ulyses highlighted the “Buglight Concept,” which involves utilizing the support and connections of others to achieve success. By building strong relationships and leveraging the networks of influential individuals, you can significantly expand your reach and influence. Ulyses’s own success with Influencer Press is a testament to the power of connections in the PR world. While professional success is undoubtedly important, Ulyses also stressed the significance of balancing personal time and fulfillment. In the pursuit of business growth, it’s easy to neglect personal well-being and relationships. However, Ulyses emphasized that true success lies in finding a balance between professional achievements and personal happiness.

By prioritizing personal time and fulfillment, entrepreneurs can sustain long-term growth and avoid burnout. In the ever-evolving landscape of PR, Ulyses highlighted the need for a clear mission when seeking press coverage. He emphasized the importance of aligning your brand with a cause or purpose that resonates with your target audience. By having a clear mission and purpose, you can attract media attention that aligns with your values and goals, ultimately enhancing your brand’s reputation and reach. Additionally, Ulyses discussed the importance of pricing services correctly and finding the right balance between personal involvement and business scalability.

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The conversation also touched upon the dynamics of client relationships and the impact of showcasing external support. Ulyses emphasized the value of building strong relationships with clients and going above and beyond to exceed their expectations. Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of showcasing external support, such as media coverage or endorsements, to establish credibility and attract new clients. Ulyses’s own podcast, The Blacklist, where he shares insights and interviews successful entrepreneurs, was also discussed. He explained that launching the podcast was a way to give back to the entrepreneurial community and share valuable knowledge.

By continuously learning from others and implementing breakthrough ideas, Ulyses emphasized the importance of immediate action and continuous improvement for business growth. In conclusion, strategic PR efforts are essential for building a strong personal brand and controlling the narrative in today’s digital age. By leveraging relationships, finding a balance between personal and professional life, and having a clear mission, entrepreneurs can shape public perception, expand their reach, and achieve long-term success. Ulyses Osuna’s insights serve as a valuable guide for those looking to navigate the ever-changing landscape of PR and personal branding.

About The Jeff Fenster Show

Serial entrepreneur Jeff Fenster embarks on an extraordinary journey every week, delving into the stories of exceptional individuals who have defied the norms and blazed their own trails to achieve extraordinary success.

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Set Your Team up for Success and Let Them Browse the Internet Faster

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Set Your Team up for Success and Let Them Browse the Internet Faster

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

According to TeamStage, 31 percent of employees waste about a half hour each day, and the top 10 percent of them can waste as much as three hours in a day. Part of that might be attitude, but the other part might be hangups caused by internet speed and advertisements. To nip that lost time in the bud, consider equipping yourself or your team with a tool to help stay on task.

From April 15 through 21, this five-year subscription to Control D Some Control Plan is on sale for just $34.97 (reg. $120). This is the best price for this deal online. This tool is designed to help users browse and use the internet faster while also blocking ads.

Control D is described as a “one-touch solution” for taking control over the productivity of your computer and internet usage. The deal supports use for up to ten devices, and it empowers each user to block advertisements, enjoy faster browsing, and set internet safety rules and restrictions for kids.

Control D’s bandwidth is substantial. It can accommodate up to 10,000 custom rules, block more than 300 servers, support multiple profiles, and unlimited usage. This robust and well-designed tool is a reliable option for any business leader who wants to liberate themselves or team members from distractions online.

Control D is rated a perfect 5/5 stars on Product Hunt.

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Remember that from April 15 through 21, this 5-year subscription to Control D Some Control Plan is on sale for just $34.97 (reg. $120)—the best price on the web.

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

If you’re in charge of a business and you don’t have a clear understanding of how to approach projects in an organized and effective manner, that’s a problem. Like many leaders before you, consider leaning on software that’s designed to streamline the project workflow for companies representing a wide range of industries.

A rate that will only be available from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

This well-reviewed software comes with a range of pre-built templates that you can use to set your project off on the right foot. It supports a number of helpful functions like building complex schedules with varying timelines, auto-populating those schedules in instances where it can, and submitting timesheets that can be distinguished by project work and non-project work.

Some additional features of Microsoft Project Professional that can help entrepreneurs and their teams include what-if scenario generation capabilities. Microsoft Project Professional also allows you to sync projects on your local server with those online, which is massively helpful for remote teams.

Its comprehensive and well-curated offerings are part of why Project Professional is rated an average of 4.7/5 stars on the Entrepreneur Store.

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Don’t miss this limited-time opportunity to make a worthwhile investment in your business for the price of a beer at the ball game.

A price that will only last from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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