As an author, one of the biggest resources we have at our disposal is one we create ourselves—our author website.
It can be used to connect with our current fanbase, announce new releases, and serve as a line of professional business communication. But can it help you turn a direct profit?
Monetizing your author website isn't as difficult as you might think. By creating a blog and utilizing affiliate marketing, you can start putting your online scribblings to work. But to start doing so, there are two principles you need to understand: what affiliate marketing is and what types of blog posts help to generate income.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a direct commission program that you earn money from by being the conduit for a third-party sale. For instance, if you're promoting the upcoming Ernest Cline novel Ready, Player Two via Amazon Affiliate link, you'll receive a direct commission on whatever's purchased through your gateway. If they purchase the book, you earn money. Or, if they purchase anything else on Amazon within 24 hours of clicking your link, you earn money. This can really help out your overall revenue!
In a nutshell, it’s an active form of advertisement. But instead of selling ad space, you’re promoting items and services of your choice. Many different companies have affiliate programs, but it’s been shown that Amazon is one of the top earners.
So, now that you understand what affiliate marketing is, let’s talk about articles or posts you can create that not only create value for your readers, but also increase your affiliate income.
4 Types of Blog Posts that Can Make You Earn Money
When writing these kinds of articles on your author website, you can incorporate affiliate program links for your readers to click on. However, some articles are more likely to attract readers who are more interested in buying.
Keep in mind that these article themes work for just about every single industry. Below, I’ll provide some incredible examples of each article that spread across all professions, hobbies, and niches. Each of them has a unique element that may help you create your unique style.
The “Best Of” Article
One of my favorite money-making articles to write is the Best Of article. It’s essentially a list of some of your favorite things! To help give you some ideas of what you can write on your author website, you could create a list of your favorite books, writing software, notebooks, or even pens. As you list each one of your favorites, you’ll provide a brief explanation as to why it made the cut and why you love it.
These articles are super simple to write and can be even more entertaining to read—especially if you can rank in them order. But how can Best Of articles make you money?
Well, for each item you list on the article, you can put corresponding affiliate links and buttons. If a reader wants to purchase one of your favorites, they can click on those links which guide them to an online marketplace such as Amazon. And you’ll get a commission for anything they buy!
Some websites like Top SciFi Books create nothing but Best Of articles. In their article about the best LitRPG books, they take the concept one step further. Not only do they list the books, but below that, they put a handy buyer’s guide that can teach newcomers to LitRPG what the whole genre’s all about.
Elements from Other Markets to Borrow:
To help you with create top-notch best of articles, here are some tips and tricks taken from other markets for you to borrow. Each one has an example to show you what I mean.
Separate Your Favorites into Different Categories: You might find that when writing your list that it would be best to break it up into different categories. No problem there, just split your list up as you see fit. Here is an example of a website that realized that the type of card readers needed to be split between Laptop and Desktop. Notice how they structured the article so that it immediately makes sense and provides value.
Keep Your Format Simple: When writing your best of articles, it’s easy to get carried away with extra embellishment. However, it’s the simple posts that are easier to read and therefore buy from. Take a look at this neatly organized blog post as a great example for showing their favorite products.
Make It Easy to Buy: The main goal of this article is to make money. But that’s tough to do if your affiliate links and buy buttons are hard to find. Using an easy-to read purchasing table like this one can be a simple way to ensure your readers can buy quickly.
Product or Service Reviews
Another great income-earning post you can write on your author website is a product or service review. These are where you sit down and write an in-depth review about one particular item or service that you really enjoy.
For instance, if you’re in love with Moleskine notebooks, you can write a review on them. In this, you could talk about their bindings, paper quality, and even lining patterns. A great review doesn’t just include good things about the product either. You should write about the cons of the item as well.
Like the Best Of article, you can put your product reviews to work through affiliate marketing. In these articles, you’ll definitely want to affiliate link out to the product being reviewed, but you can also link out to similar products or accessories as well.
Elements from Other Markets to Borrow
Creating a great product review isn’t limited to author websites. Many different industries use product reviews to make money. They also use a wide array of different tactics to be more effective. Here are some of their strategies and an example for each.
Go into Detail: Writing a general review is nice, but your article will be more effective if you provide important details. Often, it’s individual elements of the product that will make people want to buy the product. For example, in this review of an online course the author talks about individual lessons in order to pique the reader’s interest and convince them that it’s the right course for them.
Focus on the Big Picture and Give Strong Recommendations: It’s one thing to just give details about a product or service, but it’s more beneficial to your reader if you give strong recommendations about it. Here’s an example where I reviewed the book writing software Vellum and gave a concrete opinion on each major feature the program has. Afterwards, I was able to take all of those factors and make a solid end recommendation.
Make Your Article Easy to Skim: Most online readers are skimmers. And an overly complicated article will make a reader quickly lose interest. This review here makes use of bold headings that stand out and make the article easy-to-skim for readers looking for specific information.
Product Comparison Articles
Have you ever sought out a comparison between two similar items to find out which is best? If so, chances are you’ve stumbled across a product comparison article. These articles (also known as vs. articles) compare two or more products to determine which is best.
For example, as an author, you’ve probably come across other authors who argue that Scrivener is the best book writing software, or that authors should just use Word. How cool of an article would it be if you compared the two and give a final recommendation? Basically you could do this for anything that you think is a good side-by-side comparison of any product, service or even book.
When writing a product comparison, you should break down major features of each product and compare them to each other. This can be done in long-form paragraph or even simple bulleted lists. Whichever approach you choose, I recommend that you provide a clear-cut winner at the end of each section. Some readers may care about some features more than others. And it could be that feature that helps them make their ultimate decision on which is best for them.
Product comparison articles are my absolute favorite type of article when it comes to making money on my author website. That’s because the vs. article is the post that is most likely to have people buy from. People who read product comparisons are often at the end of their buying decision-making process. If you can help your reader decide which is best and provide an easy-to-access affiliate link, there’s a good chance they’ll buy through you.
Elements from Other Markets to Borrow
When done correctly, product comparisons can be the most effective money-makers you have on your author website. And it’s often in other markets where you can find some of the best ways to convince your reader to buy through you.
Back Up Your Claims with Data: Sometimes when doing a product comparison, you’re going to need to show specifications and hard data in order to make the best argument between the two. The more complex the product, the more data you’ll need. Here is a great example comparing the 30-06 to the .308. To best show this, see how they included graphs, and even charts to show how those two compare.
Create Tables to Compare: A comparison article isn’t just two reviews. You’ll need to ensure you’re actually comparing the subjects through individual features. The best way to do this is with a side-by-side table so people can see their features or specs next to each other. Here is a great example of when someone was comparing two book marketing softwares, they started with the big pictures in their tables.
List of Resources
The last style of money-making blog posts is the list of resources. And when compared to the other articles, this is normally the easiest to write. That's because you're writing about products, services, or tips that you regularly use or are your favorites. In some articles, all you need to do is make a bulleted list of products!
As an author, you can make a list of all the tools you use when writing a new book. This can include your favorite book-writing software, Amazon keyword marketing tools, go-to editors, or even the coffee that helps to keep alive through the whole process.
Another angle you can take when writing these articles is creating “How to” or “Tips and Tricks” posts. By writing these, you’re doing all the research on a certain topic for your reader. This can keep them coming back to your site instead of searching out other resources.
To make money on these articles, all you need to do is provide an affiliate link to each product or service you list. If you’re writing a list of tips or a how-to article, you can always link out to a product that will help the reader accomplish a particular goal.
Elements from Other Markets to Borrow:
You’ll find that many authors have a list of resources on their website. However, they’re often not as clearly written as they could be. Let’s take a look at some examples from other industries that have got it nailed down.
Break Down Large Articles: No one wants to read a large wall of text even if it’s about a helpful topic. Instead, you should write in smaller easier-to-read paragraphs. A great example of this concept is shown in this tips and tricks article that provides 15 different strategies to monetize your website. You’ll see that even with 15 strategies, the article is still very easy to digest.
Give All the Info You Can: The more information you can provide to your readers, the less likely it is they will need another resource. For example, this article provides over 101 different tips with affiliate links throughout. With so much info provided, a reader will likely be able to find everything they’re looking for and more.
Use Bulleted Lists: Bulleted or numbered lists are an excellent way to provide quick facts and information to your reader. In this article, the author utilizes bulleted lists to provide important information about each item they list. Using structured lists on your articles will also make writing it so much easier for you.
What to Expect When Writing These Articles
Writing these articles isn't going to guarantee automatic success. But it will give you a direct platform to start generating income with your author website. Your next step will be to strive and gain traffic to each of these posts to maximize their earning potential. Also, you'll want to give people an opportunity to join your email list, so that even if they don't buy right away, you can follow up with them in the future. Writer Tim Denning's blog offers a good example of this, featuring a free eBook right on the homepage to incentivize people to join the list.
I hope this article has shown you that, with hard work and dedication, you can turn your author website into a money-making asset.