If you ask any major blogger what income streams they have on their website, odds are good it'll follow a fairly predictable pattern- display ads, affiliates, and sponsored contents almost universally round out the top three.
Display ads and sponsored content are easy to explain; bloggers are paid in exchange for a certain kind of promotion.
Affiliate income is, well, not as easy.
On the surface affiliate marketing is simple- a blogger recommends a product and makes a commission when they make a sale. Most promote products they already use, love, and write about, making it an attractive way to earn money on things they were going to write about in the first place.
But implementing affiliate marketing and becoming successful at affiliate marketing it are two drastically different things, and it is at this point most bloggers shrug and say their affiliate process is “a work in progress.”
We're no different in this regard and have spent years trying to perfect our efforts into affiliate marketing.
So when our friend Amanda from A Dangerous Business asked if we wanted to provide feedback into her course, Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers, we were in- not just to help her out, but also to see if we could learn anything new along the way.
Today, we want to share our thoughts for others who may be in a similar position and are considering purchasing this course.
Disclaimer: As noted above we received this course complimentary to provide feedback to Amanda only as we have been friends and colleagues for quite some time. We were not requested to write a review and are doing so at our own discretion. Outbound links are affiliate links, however.
Breaking Down Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers
The course Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers should be taken as an introduction to affiliate marketing only. We need to say this upfront and will reiterate this many times within this review.
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The course does a fantastic job outlining all of the aspects of affiliate marketing you need to know, from what it is, the networks travel bloggers may want to join, to basic strategies to keep in mind both for promoting links and writing content that is affiliate oriented.
So if you're starting from scratch and wanting to take a holistic look at everything you need to know, this one is for you.
The part about this course we like the most is that it does a great job at talking about how travel blogging is often not at the right end of the sales funnel (when compared to, say, fashion blogs which trigger impulse buys and kills it on affiliate marketing) and does a good job at highlighting the need to shift your content to those who are actively looking to buy.
When it comes down to it, this is the biggest lesson you can take away from the course more than anything else and should be reiterated time and time again.
The Course is Not for Seasoned Affiliates
The biggest con to the course, in my opinion, is the same reason it is a pro but from a different angle.
The course is quite comprehensive to affiliate marketing and is great for beginners, but it draws a clear line between more advanced tactics that we, as established bloggers, may look for.
What kind of advance tactics are we referring to? Well, some of the following are good examples:
- Using the AdInserter WordPress plugin for link placements (one of our go-to's for affiliate marketing).
- Detailed methods for A/B testing multiple programs to optimize earnings.
- Evaluating when to use cost-per-lead programs vs true affiliates on bookings.
- …and other similar topics that go way down the rabbit hole.
So if you already know a bit about tracking links, are a member of a few affiliate networks and have made some money (we'd say on the order of $100/month or more), got a few ideas the second we wrote about the need to shift your content to people looking to buy (above), and are looking to expand your earnings, you may not need to purchase the course to fill in the gaps you are missing.
In this case searching for free articles in Google may do the trick for you, and there is no shame in that.
Who Should Buy the Course?
If you do not fall into the above situation, than odds are good this course is for you!
We have to reiterate that the Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers course is structured entirely for beginners. The six sections and 17 individual lessons/chapters/videos can easily be digested in a first pass in just a few hours, but is comprehensive enough that you'll be referring to it often as you grow your blog.
Those who have dabbled in affiliate marketing in the travel niche may find some value (even we learned some things and we make thousands of dollars a year in affiliates), but when it is all said and done it is best suited for those starting from scratch and want a great summary in a single resource.
After reading you should have a holistic understanding of how affiliate marketing works and have many ideas to get started implementing this revenue stream on your blog.
You could certainly find all the information that is included in this course elsewhere, there is no doubt about that, but if you are looking for a concise guide that has everything you really should know in one easy-to-follow spot this guide is it.
Then there is the added bonus of the private Facebook group where members of the course can discuss tactics, success stories, and more that reinforces many of the topics illustrated in the course.
One Final Note Before You Buy
If you are considering purchasing this course, we do have to make one final note.
Most affiliate marketing programs have minimum page views and/or monthly conversions required to maintain active status. Some will actively remove you from their program if you do not meet these thresholds (and most bloggers we know have a story or two of this happening to them early on).
As such, it is highly recommended to not get into affiliate marketing until you reach approximately 10,000 monthly page views– if not more depending on your level of engagement.
While some tightly focused niches can kill it in affiliate marketing at traffic figures well under this, if you are focusing in travel blogging odds are good you'll be tied to the numbers game like everyone else.
As much as jumping into affiliate marketing on day one will make your life easier, getting burned on an affiliate network for not converting too soon can do more damage than its worth in the long run.
As such, if you are not at 10,000 monthly page views at this time we may recommend holding off implementing the teachings of this course. Rework sucks, but getting burned from an affiliate network is even worse. Keep that in mind, take to heart the lessons in this course, and you'll be well ahead of most in understanding the complicated world of affiliate marketing.
To check out Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers, click here.
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- Performance Foundry - Premium hosting.
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If you are looking for tips, check out our Blog Your Trip series!