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

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A short, straight answer before you ask. Yes, blog is still — and always — relevant and has a bright 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 incomeβœ…βŒ
Editable contentβœ…βŒ
Full control over business assetsβœ…βŒ
Extensibleβœ…πŸ˜•
Easy to startβœ…πŸ˜•
SustainabilityMore guaranteedYouTube can close your account at any time
Blog vs YouTube.

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.

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 already exists.

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. If you have a blog about WordPress, for instance, 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 products.


πŸ€” Where to Start?

The best way to start your blogging journey is by writing on the topic you master. If you understand WordPress, you can write articles about WordPress. If you understand photography, you can write articles about photography. And so on.

However, there are some strategies you need to adopt regarding the content creation. The most crucial one, you need to create a pillar content or two on your blog.

Pillar content is a well-written content, backed by research or experience. Typically, it is a long-form content that you need to push on SERP and social media platforms. To have pillar content is crucial to make the promotion process be more efficient, especially if you plan to use a paid marketing channels such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads.


πŸ‘€ Steps to Create an Affiliate Blog with WordPress

1️⃣ Step 1: Pick the Affiliate Programs to Join

Since our main goal is to create a passive income business via blog, you need to pick an affiliate program that offer recurring commissions.

There are a lot of affiliate programs that offer recurring commissions. Such as Kinsta, GetResponse, Leadpages, ClickFunnels, and so on. Before joining a certain affiliate program, make sure to learn the commission structure it offers first.

Some affiliate programs might offer recurring commissions, but not for a lifetime. ConvertKit, for instance. It pays recurring affiliate commisions for only 24 months.

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.

Why Lifetime Recurring Commissions Matter?

Again, our goal is to create a passive income so picking an affiliate program that offer lifetime recurring commissions is something you can’t negotiate.

We have been running affiliate blogs for over 5 years and there are countless lessons we learned. The most important one is regarding how we earn money from the content we have published.

Creating content is not easy. Some content even costs us money. So, if you only earn a one-time commission from the affiliate product you promote, it doesn’t seem fair.

Also, recurring affiliate commissions allow you to build recurring revenue on a monthly/yearly basis. In case your blog traffic declines due to some unexpected events (search engine algorithm update, for instance) you will keep earning money even if you don’t manage to make any sale during a certain period of time (this is the essence of passive income, by the way).

Here are out top 10 recommendations of affiliate programs that offer lifetime recurring commissions:

BrandProduct/Service
KinstaWeb hosting
CloudwaysWeb hosting
Elegant ThemesWordPress themes and plugins
GetResponseEmail marketing tool
AWeberEmail marketing tool
ActiveCampaignEmail marketing tool
LeadpagesLanding page builder
ClickFunnelsLanding page builder
NordVPNVPN
PureVPNVPN

2️⃣ Step 2: Pick a Blog Name and Register the Domain

Once you have an idea which affiliate program(s) you want to join, the next step is to find a name for your blog and register the domain. You can use any name for your domain, but is should be related to the topic of the blog you want to create.

If you plan to create a blog about WordPress, for instance. Something like WP Posts (wpposts.com) can be a great idea.

By the way, can you guess why we named our blog WPPagebuilders? Because from the begining we planned to write about page builder plugins a lot (Elementor, Divi, Breakdance, etc.).

Of course, you can write broader topics as your blog runs and grows.

After deciding a name for your blog, the next step is to register the domain name. Some domain registration services we recommend are:

  • Hover
  • Name.com
  • Namecheap
  • GoDaddy

You can buy domain only on these services.

Note: We strongly recommend you buy domain only on the services above. We have recommendations of which hosting service you should use.

3️⃣ Step 3: Pick the Right WordPress Hosting and Theme

Apart from domain, other two main components you need prepare to run a WordPres blog are hosting and theme.

πŸ“‚ Hosting

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 of becoming a hosting hopper in the future. More importantly, using a solid hosting is great for SEO.

Some WordPress hosting services we recommend for a business-oriented blog are:

Hosting ProviderKey FeaturesPrice
Kinsta

Learn more Kinsta
Fully managed WordPress hosting, CDN, caching, scheduled backup, intuitive control panel.Starts from $35/month
Rocket.net

Learn more Rocket.net
Fully managed WordPress hosting, CDN, caching, scheduled backup, integrated with WordPress.org repository.Starts from $30/month
Pressable
Learn more Pressable
Fully managed WordPress hosting, CDN, caching, scheduled backup.Starts from $25/month
Cloudways

Learn more Cloudways
Dedicated server resources, CDN, caching, schedule backup.Starts from $14/month

The hosting services we recommend above might look pricey 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
  • Scheduled backups

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

FeaturesPriceKinsta, Rocket.net, Pressable, 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.

We have tested all the hosting services above. Here are crucial things you will get by using one of the hosting services above:

  • Better score on PageSpeed Insights (above 90)
  • Core web vitals assessment (one of the ranking factors in SEO)

🎨 Theme

Theme is a required component in the WordPress system. You can’t run a WordPress-based blog without installing and activating a theme.

There are tons of WordPress themes available. From free to paid. A WordPress theme we recommend for a business-oriented blog is Divi.

Divi is a paid theme, costing $89 per year (or $249 for lifetime membership). Looks pricey at first, but it has some useful features for blogging, including:

  • Page Builder: You can use this feature to create the core pages of your blog. Such as homepage, about page, contact page, to landing page
  • Theme Builder: You can use this feature to create custom header, custom footer, custom single post template, to custom archive pages
  • Form Builder: You can use this feature to create a contact form and email opt-in form

Furthermore, Divi is a perfect option if you plan to create multiple blogs. With a single membership account, you can install Divi on as many blogs as you want.

A Brief Intro About Theme Builder

A WordPress theme — including Divi — consists of parts like header, footer, single post, archive pages, and so on. The appearance of these parts (layout, design, etc.) are controlled by template files written in PHP. Most themes have a feature to customize these parts, but the options are limited.

A theme builder allows you to create custom templates for the mentioned parts, using a visual editor. This allows you to create site parts like header, footer, and single post template with your own design.

In the context of blogging, you can make the most of theme builder to create custom single post templates for different content types.

In general, the types of articles you will write on your blog fall into three forms as follows:

  • Listicles
  • Reviews
  • How to articles

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.

In this blog itself (the one you are currently reading), we have two single post templates for two different article types:

You can read this post to learn more about theme builder feature of Divi.

4️⃣ Step 4: Setup WordPress and Connect Your Domain

So you have bought a domain name, subscribed to a hosting service, and joined the Divi membership. What’s next?

Once you are done with the steps above, the next step you need to do is to setup WordPress and and connect your domain.

If you use one of the hosting services we recommended above, you don’t need to install WordPress yourself. Instead, you can simply add a new website from the control panel. When you add a new website on these services (Kinsta, Rocket.net, Cloudways, and Pressable), the hosting service will prepare everything to get your website ready, including WordPress.

After the website is ready, you can access it via a temporary domain provided by the hosting service you use. Then, you can connect the domain you have just bought so that you can access your blog using your domain instead of the temporary domain:

You can refer to the following posts to connect your domain:

5️⃣ Step 5: Make the Required Settings

There are two settings 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 as it will ruin your SEO hard work.

6️⃣ Step 6: 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 β€” other than newsletter plugin β€” 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 sitemap, and so on.

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 software). In such a case, you only need to change the destination link instead of the existing articles β€” 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

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

Well, the answer to the above question can be vary depending on the stack you use. If you use Divi and Kinsta for instance, you need to spend about $42 per month (exclude domain).

If you use Rocket.net and Divi, you need to spend $37 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 + Divi + Hover$43.8
Rocket.net + Divi + Hover$38.8
Pressable + Divi + Hover$33.9
Cloudways* + Divi + Hover$22.8
*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)
  • Pressable 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)
  • .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‘ˆπŸ».


✍🏻 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.

Keep in mind, no matter the topic/niche of the blog you want to build in, there are always competitions. And it takes planned strategies to win the competition. 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.

Developing a blog is no different to other businesses. You need to build trust!

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 to win the competition on search engines. 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 pillar content. What is that?

We have briefly mentioned about pillar above.

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

A pillar content should be at least 2,000 words in length.

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

Two main metrics you should notice when researching pilar 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 internal links, naturally, to the pilar content and other content on your blog. You can write shorter articles — between 300 to 600 words — in the form of tutorials.

One crucial thing when adding a link to a pilar content. Make sure the anchor text is contextual. Avoid using anchor texts like “click here”, “learn more here”, and the similar words. Here are two examples of how internal links should be build (read the post).

Examples of how internal links should be build.

🚨 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

πŸ”Ž More About SEO

If you are completely new to SEO, this infographic from Semrush is quite useful.


🎁 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)
  • You can monetize it

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:

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 has 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 Divi, 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 your topic 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

SEO is a long-term game. If you can’t wait with it, 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 most industries. 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/yearly basis as long as your reffered users keep using the product/service.

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

If you have more capital, we suggest use Google Ads instead and display your ads on Google Search Network. People who search something on Google have way better buying mood. The fact is that ads displayed on Google Search Network have higher conversion rate (around 4% on average).


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.

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.
Aliko Sunawang

Aliko Sunawang

Aliko is a WordPress expert and lead blogger at WPPagebuilders. He has been blogging with WordPress since 2012. He is responsible of all content published on this website.

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13 thoughts on “How to Create a Successful Affiliate Blog with WordPress (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
  3. Smart idea. While the article is aimed specifically at those wanting to create a blog about WordPress, the mentioned points can also be applied to other topics. If you ever noticed, most SaaS businesses out there harness affiliate marketing. Some of which also offer recurring commissions just like Kinsta and other affiliate programs mentioned in the post. Good luck to anyone looking to start their affiliate blog project!

    Reply
  4. Great post, Aliko. Enjoyed it so much. Love the bonus section in particular. The biggest challenge with this affiliate marketing approach is to find trusted companies that have a strong commitment with their affiliate programs as I found some companies stopped their affiliate program. In a case where companies stop affiliate program, you will lose your revenue stream as well if you have no backup.

    Reply
    • Hi Javi,

      Totally agree. Finding committed companies is the biggest challenge in this approach. That’s why I also added some companies in which their affiliate program I personally recommend. In fact, we also join the affiliate program of the mentioned companies.

      Also, I strongly recommend to not depend on a single affiliate program. This way, you have a backup when the company you rely on the most suddenly stop its affiliate program. Focus on your website growth has always been the key.

      Reply
  5. Great idea. After all, I think that the WP community needs more reliable media outlets given today’s well-established WP-focused media outlets often write biased content due to certain WP product ownership.

    Reply
  6. Nice read, Aliko. I have read countless blog posts about affiliate blog creation. None of them offered the perspective like yours. They mostly covered the basic blogging setup and extremely basic promotional method β€” like share your post to social media or something like that. If you want to build a solid blog that last longer, build the email list is something you can’t negotiate.

    And while your blog post specially covers about blogging on the WordPress topic, anyone can steal the idea to be implemented on other topics. The key is to pick affiliate programs of PaaS and SaaS instead of Amazon Associate and the likes that sell tangible products.

    Reply

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