How to Create a Successful Affiliate Blog with WordPress in 2023 (Passive Income Oriented)

A short, straight answer before you ask. Yes, blog is still — and always — relevant and has a future amid the content creation shift from text-based to video-based. In fact, blog has some advantages compared to video-based content creation platform like YouTube.

First, blog content is editable so you can keep the relevancy of your content without needing to create a new one. Second, the most important one, blogging allows you to create a passive income business — which will become the emphasis on this post. It’s impossible to create a passive income business on YouTube and the similar platforms. Once you stop creating new videos, you will find the massive traffic decline on your channel.

Different story applies to blog.

The traffic is likely to be more stable, even if you don’t publish new content. Once you have generated organic traffic from search engines from the blog content you have published, you can sit back and relax while waiting for the revenue keep streaming. That’s what we call passive income.

So how, are you interested to create a passive income business by blogging? Read on!

By the way, take a look at the following table to find out why blog is better than YouTube.

BlogYouTube
Passive incomeYesNo
Editable contentYesNo
Full control over business assetsYesNo
ExtensibleYesNot really
Easy to startYesNot really
SustainabilityMore guaranteedYouTube can close your account at any time
Blog vs YouTube.

πŸ™‹ Who Is This Article for?

This article is designed specifically for those who have WordPress knowledge. If you think you understand WordPress, you can apply the steps we are going to cover shortly below. What we will share below is based on our very own experience growing this blog (the blog you are currently reading). No bullshit!

Our main goal with this article is to help WordPress workers who want to build their own business. “WordPress workers” we mean here refers to employees affiliated with a certain company in which their main job is to deal with WordPress. This article is also great for freelancers who want to switch to become a blogger, though πŸ˜›

πŸ’Έ Why Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is just one out of many ways to earn money from blogging. In addition to it, you can also monetize your blog by installing PPC ads (e.g., Google AdSense), accepting paid posts, to selling your own products.

Affiliate marketing is great for one main reason: it requires fewer traffic than blogs that rely on PPC ads. You can start to earn money with only 500 daily visitors, with a note that it’s targeted visitors. Visitor number itself determines your monthly expense. More visitors mean higher server resource consumption. Higher server resource consumption means more dollars you need to pay the hosting provider you use.

What about other monetization methods?

It takes time before a blog can accept paid post. Usually, clients consider metrics like domain authority score before they order a content placement. Another thing they consider usually include how long a blog has been existing.

While for selling your own products, this option requires extra effort as you need to create the product and take care of post-sale support. So, selling affiliate products is the easiest way to earn money from blogging.

🦢🏻 Affiliate Marketing is Just a Start

As we have just mentioned above, there are several options to monetize your blog. As your blog grows and generate enough revenue, you can apply more monetization models. If you need it, you can build a team to handle certain tasks.

Affiliate marketing is just a stepping stone to build your online business kingdom. In the context of WordPress, some business expansion options you can try are building a plugin or theme. Since you already have a blog, you already have a marketing platform to promote your WordPress products.

πŸ‘€ Pre-Blog Creation Steps

πŸͺž Pick an Angle to Get in

You already know the topic of the blog you want to create: WordPress.

One thing you need to know before getting started. Being the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress is a crowded topic. There have been plenty of more established blogs out there covering WordPress (including the one you are currently reading, of course). And it’s hard to compete with them.

So, how to make your blog stand out, or at least get an attention?

You can cover WordPress from a specific angle. If you good at security, for instance. You can write more articles about security in WordPress. There have been WordPress security articles already published, of course. But there is also space to get in. The more articles you write about a certain angle, the more chances for your blog to get found by readers.

Here are some angles you can consider to enter the WordPress-centric blogs competition.

  • Design
  • Security
  • Optimization
  • Marketing
  • Custom development
  • Blogging

πŸ€‘ Pick the Affiliate Programs to Join

After picking an angle, the next step is to pick an affiliate program to join. Most WordPress theme and plugin developers offer an affiliate program you can join. Or you can also join the affiliate program of a WordPress hosting provider.

Since our main goal is to create a passive income business, you need to pick affiliate programs that offer recurring commissions. Another crucial aspect you need to notice is the affiliate platform used by the affiliate programs you want to join. Affiliate platform we mean here refers to the tool used by an affiliate program where you can create affiliate links, track reports, setup payment, setup account, and so on.

We recommend picking an affiliate program that use a custom-built affiliate platform since it has a one-gate registration system.

If the affiliate program you want to join uses a third-party affiliate platform such as ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and PartnerStack, you need to make double registrations: on the affiliate program you want to join and on the affiliate platform itself. Getting accepted by an affiliate program is not necessarily getting accepted by an affiliate platform.

Here are top affiliate programs in the WordPress scene we strongly recommend.

  • Elegant Themes
  • Kinsta
  • Cloudways
  • FlyingPress
Elegant ThemesKinstaCloudwaysFlyingPress
ProductWordPress themes and pluginsHosting serviceHosting serviceWordPress plugin
Recurring commissionYesYesYesYes
Affiliate platformCustom-builtCustom-builtCustom-builtCustom-built
Payment methodPayPalPayPalPayPalPayPal
Learn moreLearn moreLearn moreLearn more

Note: Each affiliate program has its own requirements. They generally don’t accept blogs without a significant amount of relevant content. In most cases, domain age is also one of the requirements. So, the sooner you start your blog is better as you can start to produce the content.

πŸ€” How Much You Need to Start a Blog with WordPress?

Well, the answer to the above question can be vary depending on the tools and services you use. If you use Elementor Pro and Kinsta for instance, you need to spend about $40 per month. If you use Rocket.net and Elementor Pro, you need to spend $35 per month. Take a look at the following table to learn more how much money you need to spend to run your blog.

Tools and ServicesMonthly Expense
Kinsta + Elementor Pro + Hover$41.3
Kinsta + Divi + Hover$43.8
Kinsta + Brekdance Pro + Hover$44.6
Rocket.net + Elementor Pro + Hover$36.3
Rocket.net + Divi + Hover$38.8
Rocket.net + Breakdance Pro + Hover$40.2
Cloudways* + Elementor Pro + Hover$20.3
Cloudways* + Divi + Hover$22.8
Cloudways* + Breakdance Pro + Hover$23.6
*Data centers on DigitalOcean

The above calculations are made with the cheapest plan of each hosting service.

Detailed calculations:

  • Kinsta Starter (the cheapest plan): $35/month (learn more)
  • Rocket.net Starter (the cheapest plan): $30/month (learn more)
  • Cloudways Starter (the cheapest plan): $14/month (learn more)
  • Divi: $89/year = $7.4/moth. Billed yearly (learn more)
  • Elementor Pro: $59/year = $4.9/month. Billed yearly (learn more)
  • Breakdance Pro: $99/year = $8.25/month. Billed yearly (learn more)
  • .com domain on Hover: $17.9 = $1.4 per month. Billed yearly (learn more)

Especially for Divi, you can get it with a one-time purchase option. This option it great to save monthly/yearly expense in the future. Learn more here.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’» Start Creating the Blog

Since you already understand WordPress, we won’t cover the technical steps to create a WordPress-based blog in this article. Instead, we will cover the non-technical steps. Starting from picking a blog name as well as domain name.

⌨️ Step 1: Pick a Blog Name and Domain Name

There are two approaches you can use for your blog name. First, you can use a brand approach. This approach is better-suited if you want your blog to have a brand so that it’s more recognizable. More importantly, this approach is great if you have a plan to expand your blog in the future.

The second approach is what we call search engine approach. Can you guess why we named our blog WP Pagebuilders? Because we want search engines to know that our blog cover WordPress a lot — more superficially page builders. Whichever the approach you use, the quality of the content you produce matters more.

More importantly, don’t forget to register the domain name. Some domain registration services we recommend are:

  • Hover (recommended)
  • Name.com
  • Namecheap
  • GoDaddy

You can buy domain only on these services.

🌐 Step 2: Pick a Solid Hosting Service

As you already know, there are a bunch of web hosting services out there, including the ones that charge you below $10 per month. However, for a business-oriented blog, we strongly recommend using at least a managed WordPress hosting service rather than a traditional shared hosting service. Here are the reasons.

A managed WordPress hosting service usually charges you more than traditional shared hosting, but it is way more reliable and better for a long-term. By using a reliable hosting service, you can focus on growing your business instead becoming a hosting hopper.

πŸš€ Recommended Hosting Services

Think way ahead by choosing a solid, reliable hosting. Here are some WordPress hosting services we recommend.

Hosting ProviderKey FeaturesRating
Kinsta

Learn more Kinsta
Fully managed WordPress, CDN, caching, scheduled backup, intuitive control panel.4.8 out of 5 stars
Rocket.net

Learn more Rocket.net
Fully managed WordPress, CDN, caching, scheduled backup, integrated with WordPress.org repository.4.8 out of 5 stars
Cloudways

Learn more Cloudways
Dedicated server resources, CDN, caching, schedule backup.4.5 out of 5 stars

In case you want to use Cloudways. You can use the following promotion code to get 10% discount for three months on Cloudways (first three invoices). Code: WPBDEAL.

Click here to use the code.

The above hosting services might pricier at a glance. But they are actually cheaper if you make the calculation the right way as they come with the following features:

  • Caching
  • CDN
  • Schedule backup

Take a look at the following table to learn more how much you can save with the above hosting services:

FeaturesPriceKinsta, Rocket.net, Cloudways
Caching – WP Rocket$59/yearFree
CDN – RocketCDN$90/yearFree (powered by Cloudflare)
Scheduled backup – UpdraftPlus$70/yearFree

Have you calculated it?

You can save about $219 per year if you use one of the hosting services we recommend above 😱

Also, these hosting services have a solid security feature to keep your blog safer from cyberattacks. More importantly, they offer isolated resources to make them more reliable on unexpected events like traffic surge when you run an ad campaign.

πŸ–ΌοΈ Step 3: Pick a Theme Builder Plugin

A theme builder plugin allows you to create custom templates for your site parts such as header, footer, archive pages, and single post template. Theme builder offers a no-code approach so you don’t need to deal with code. Even if you know how to code, using a theme builder can save you much time. Efficiency is crucial if you work solo.

Why you need a theme builder?

In general, the types of articles written by blogs covering WordPress fall into three forms as follows:

  • How to articles
  • Listicles
  • Reviews

These article types have different characteristics and purposes. For instance. When you write a review, you usually want to add additional elements like star rating and CTA button with the hope that your readers will buy the product you review via the CTA button you have provided. In such a case, it would be better to create a custom single post template designed specifically for review articles.

Using a theme builder is also beneficial in the future in case you plan to add other content types — other than blog posts.

We also use a theme builder on our blog to create custom templates for our blog posts. You can click here and here for the live demos.

πŸ–ΌοΈ πŸ–ΌοΈ Recommended Theme Builders

There are a bunch of theme builder plugins for WordPress out there. To make it easier for you pick one, we have curated the best ones.

  • Divi
  • Elementor
  • Breakdance

Divi is a WordPress theme that has a built-in theme builder feature. The theme builder feature of Divi allows you to create a custom template and assign it to any area of your blog based on certain criteria. From post categories, post tags, post authors, and so on. Divi also has a built-in page builder called Divi Builder to ease your job.

Meanwhile, Elementor and Breakdance are plugins (read: Elementor vs Breakdance). You need to use the pro version of Elementor and Breakdance to use their theme builder feature. Same as Divi, the theme builder feature of Elementor and Breakdance also allows you to create a custom template and assign it to any area of you blog based on any criteria you want. Both Elementor and Breakdance are compatible with most WordPress themes.

Product TypeCustom Templates You Can Create
Divi

Learn more Divi
ThemeHeader, footer, single post, single page, archive pages, search results page, 404 page
Elementor

Learn more Elementor
PluginHeader, footer, single post, single page, archive pages, search results page, 404 page
Breakdance

Learn more Breakdance
PluginHeader, footer, single post, single page, archive pages, search results page, 404 page

If you use either Elementor or Breakdance, two themes we recommend the most are Hello and GeneratePress.

πŸ› οΈ Step 4: Make the Required Setups

There are two setups you need to make on your blog before you step further:

  • SSL
  • Permalink structure

You can setup SSL on the hosting service you use. All hosting services we recommended above comes with built-in SSL. On some hosting services, SSL is automatically activated after you add a new domain. Just make it sure just in case it’s not activated yet.

While for permalink structure, you can set it up from your WordPress dashboard. You can go to Settings -> Permalinks on your WordPress dashboard to setup permalink structure. For a blog, we recommend using the post name permalink structure.

Note: Permalink should be set up once. Never change the permalink structure on a live blog once it will ruin your SEO hard work.

πŸ”Œ Step 5: Install the Necessary Plugins

Another reason why we recommend using a managed WordPress hosting service, other than reliability and performance, is that you don’t need to install too many plugins on your WordPress blog. Instead, you only need to install plugins related to your affiliate marketing. Let your hosting service take care the security and optimization aspects.

Two crucial plugin types you need to install on your affiliate blog are:

  • SEO plugin
  • Link shortener

Managing WordPress plugins is hard as you need to deal with regular updates. So, only install the plugins you really need. For an affiliate blog, the two plugin types above — other than theme builder plugin and newsletter plugin — are enough.

πŸš₯ SEO Plugin

You need this plugin type to make sure every article you write is SEO friendly before you publish it. A crucial feature you need for the purpose is content analysis. Three SEO plugins we recommend are:

  • Yoast
  • SEOPress
  • Rank Math

All three SEO plugins above come with a content analysis as well as other useful features like the ability to link attributes, XML site, and so on.

πŸ”— Link Shortener Plugin

Link shortener plugin is crucial enough for an affiliate blog. First, it can help make sure every affiliate link you added to your articles keep working when the affiliate programs you joined change their link structure (or even switch to another affiliate platform). In such a case, you only need to change the destination link instead of the existing articles — which take much time.

Second, you can monitor the performance of your affiliate links by checking the number of clicks. Some link shortener plugins come with built-in analytics feature for the purpose.

Two link shortener plugins we strongly recommend:

  • Pretty Links
  • ThirstyAffiliates

✍🏻 Produce the Content

As a blogger, your main job is to produce the content in the form of articles. Not merely articles, but articles that perform well on search engines. That’s why we suggest you use an SEO plugin that has a content analysis feature.

It takes planned strategies to win the competition in a crowded topic like WordPress. In the context of affiliate marketing, three article types that have good conversion rate are:

If you write it well, these article types have a better opportunity to win the competition on search engines. A single article can even win on multiple keywords if it’s well-written and optimized.

One crucial thing. Be honest with what you write.

If you write a product review, make sure you really have the experience of using the product you are reviewing. If you write a product comparison, also make sure you already have the experiences with the products you are comparing. People won’t trust you if you write fake experience.

πŸ“ Content Production Formula for SEO

SEO: The ‘slow and steady’ that certainly wins the race!

Shahzadi Dania on LinkedIn.

The above sentence is a perfect tagline for SEO.

You want to create a passive income business by creating an affiliate blog. With that said, search engines should be your primary marketing channel. Again, it’s hard — extremely hard — to win the competition on search engines in a crowded topic like WordPress. That’s why you need to arrange a strategy.

As your blog running, you might will find your own content production formula to win the competition on search engines. As your reference on your early stage, we will share the formula that works (at least for us). For free!

First, create cornerstone content. What is that?

Simply put, cornerstone is the main content on your blog. It is the content whose keywords you want to rank for above all else. Cornerstone content should be well-researched and well-written as it will be the main pillar of your organic traffic. You can write multiple cornerstone content on your blog.

To conduct research for your cornerstone content, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner. Or if you have enough capital, you can use a paid tool like Ahrefs and Semrush.

Two main metrics you should notice when researching cornerstone content are:

  • Monthly searches volume
  • Competition level

It would be great if you can predict that the keywords you target have a high sale potential.

Second. Add as many internal links as possible, naturally, to the cornerstone content. How to do so?

You can write shorter articles — between 300 to 600 words — in the form of tutorials. There are many aspects around WordPress you can write. From an easy tutorial like how to install a plugin to a more advanced one like how to use SFTP.

One crucial thing when adding a link to a cornerstone content. Make sure the anchor text is contextual. Avoid using anchor texts like “click here”, “learn more here”, and the similar words.

🚨 Be Careful with Off-Page Link Building

Many argue that off-page link building is an outdated SEO tactic. Is that true?

There are two answers to the above question. First, yes. If you use ancient methods like commenting on someone’s blog or submitting your posts on blog directories. Second, no. If you use the right method.

What is the right method for off-page link building? So far, the best method to build off-page links is by doing guest posts. It’s okay to use a third-party guest post service to build off-page links if you have enough budget. One crucial thing. Make sure your link is placed to the right sites.

Some crucial things to notice when picking a site to add your link to:

  • Age of the domain
  • Niche. The narrower the niche, the better. Avoid picking a magazine-style site or a site that has too broad topic
  • Make sure the article you want to add your link to has been indexed by search engines — Google in particular. You can do so by typing site:article_url on Google. If the link of the article shows up on the results page, it means it has been indexed
  • Make sure your link is dofollow instead of nofollow. Otherwise, search engines won’t count your link as a link

🎁 Bonus: Use Newsletter to Build Secondary Traffic Channel

SEO is ever-changing. What currently works doesn’t necessarily work in the next months. So, it’s crucial to build a secondary traffic channel for your blog. We strongly you use email newsletter instead of social media for two main reasons:

  • Email newsletter is algorithm-free. Meaning there is no filter in content delivery process
  • You can always take your audience with you anytime you switch to another tool (e.g., from MailChimp to MailPoet)

In WordPress itself, there are two approaches to build email newsletter. You can use a third-party email newsletter service such as MailerLite, ActiveCampaign, and ConverKit. Alternatively, you can use an email newsletter plugin such as MailPoet, Newsletter, and Mailster.

If you want to use a plugin, our recommendations are:

  • MailPoet
  • Newsletter (requires a third-party email delivery service)
  • Mailster (requires a third-party email delivery service)

If you prefer using a third-party email newsletter service, our recommendations are:

  • GetResponse
  • ConvertKit
  • Aweber
  • MailerLite

We don’t recommend Mailchimp as it has a poor spam email address filtering feature. Click here to see the proof.

✨ Tips to Increase Newsletter Subscribers

Same as SEO, it takes time to build a solid email newsletter on your blog. So, be patient.

You can start the email newsletter building by collecting subscribers. Divi, Elementor Pro, and Breakdance have a built-in form builder feature you can make use of to create an email opt-in form. You can connect your form with nearly all popular email newsletter services and plugins. No need to install an extra plugin (this is another reason why we recommend you use a theme builder plugin, btw).

You can place an email opt-in form to the following areas for a better conversion rate:

  • Bottom of the article
  • Display a popup on exit intent
  • Display a popup in slide-in style (make sure to add a delay)

There is a classic way to collect email address that still work: by offering a freebie. The simplest form of freebie you can offer is an e-book. You can write an e-book around WordPress on the topic you master the most and then requires visitors to subscribe to download it. That’s what some big blogs do. Including Kinsta’s blog and WPBeginner.

Fyi, we also apply this method on our blog πŸ™‚

🎁 🎁 Yet Another Bonus

If you can’t wait with SEO, you can use Facebook Ads to gain traffic to your blog. We recommend Facebook Ads as it is relatively more affordable than Google Ads. Of course, you can use Google Ads if you have enough capital.

On average, Facebook Ads has 1% conversion rate in the tech industry. The more investment you spend on Facebook Ads, the more return you will get as well. If you spend $5,000 per month, for instance, you will get about 141 sales. If you join Kinsta affiliate program, 141 sales per month equals to $9,517 affiliate commission per month. You can learn more about the calculation here.

Here are the details about the calculation based on the above illustration:

  • Facebook Ads budget: $5,000/month
  • Estimated daily clicks: 471 – 1.4K (let’s take the lowest number, 471). 471 x 30 (days) = 14,130 clicks in total
  • Estimated conversion: 14,130 x 1% = 141.3
  • Estimated monthly commission if you join Kinsta affiliate program: $9,517/month

Remember again. Kinsta — and other affiliate programs we recommended above — offer recurring commissions. So, you will keep earning the affiliate commissions on a monthly basis as long as the users you referred to keep using the product.

You can stop your ads on Facebook once you think the recurring commissions you earned are enough.

β˜•οΈ The Bottom Line

The content creation trend has shifted from text-based to video-based in the recent years. Not just YouTube, but also TikTok and even Instagram Reels. But there is always a room for a blog to thrive amid this trend.

One thing you can achieve with a blog that cannot be achieved with YouTube and the similar platforms is passive income. To have a passive income is great as you can do things that matter more in your life other than work. Spending times with family. Going on vacation without interrupted notifications or calls. Doing your hobby. And so on.

This post is indeed designed specifically for those who have WordPress knowledge, but you can also apply it on other fields by taking notes of the main points.

Just like other business types, it takes time — and capital — to build a blog. So, be patient. If you are an employee, you can start it as a side project. It’s wise to not quit your job if your blog doesn’t earn you money in an enough amount yet.

Share your thoughts on the comment form below and let’s have a supportive discussion.

This page may contain affiliate links, which help support our project.Β Learn more.

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6 thoughts on “How to Create a Successful Affiliate Blog with WordPress in 2023 (Passive Income Oriented)”

  1. Cool blog post. Joining an affiliate program that offers recurring commission is a smart move. It is good for a sustainable online business.

    Reply
  2. Great article, Aliko. Kinsta affiliate program looks so promising. May I know if you also join it? Also, do you know the detailed the requirements for the blog to get accepted? Like number of posts etc. TIA.

    Reply
    • Hi Clare. Yes, we also join Kinsta affiliate program. You learn here about the affiliate programs we join. About the blog requirements demanded by Kinsta, we have no idea about it. You may want to visit this page to learn more. Or you can ask the affiliate manager before you register.

      Reply

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