The words How to Make Money on a chalkboardThere’s a lot of hype out there about affiliate marketing, both positive and negative. On the one hand there are those that claim all affiliate opportunities are a scam, and on the other there are those that sell affiliate marketing as an easy, passive income stream.

Neither line is really accurate, but one problem many people have is they don’t know how to make money with their blog. Traffic is minimal and they’re not monetizing their users correctly. In this post I’ll list the top 5 reasons why most affiliate blogs don’t make money.

Not Posting Enough

The problem with thinking that affiliate marketing is a source of passive income is that many expect it to begin providing returns after minimal effort upfront. This is a huge misconception about what passive income actually is, and one of the reasons most blogs fail. I’d even argue that a successful affiliate site is never passive.

You need traffic in order to earn revenue. If you’re suffering from low traffic the solution may be as simple as posting more frequently and more consistently.

Not Testing the Site Layout

Testing is hugely important when it comes to revenue optimization. Once you have significant traffic to your site, try playing around with different types of site layout and seeing how users respond.

You may be surprised to find that little adjustments to your site can have a tremendous impact on revenue potential.

Not Testing Effective Posts

Keeping with the theme of testing, many people don’t experiment with which posts are effective. Try to create different types of posts and see how users interact with the content. Do your readers click more on links embedded in the top, middle, or bottom of your posts? Can you rephrase sentences to get a higher click through rate to a target page?

Chances are you can, and you’re missing out on important conversions. Read this case study for one example.

Not Solving a Problem

Readers only go to affiliate sites because they help them solve problems. Sometimes that problem is related directly to a product you’re promoting (“best dog hair trimmers,” or “cheap seattle hotels”) but more often than not the problem is indirectly related to the product (“how to groom a golden retriever,” or “best time of year to visit seattle”).

You need to solve the problem at hand before you can sell the product.

Not Having a Clear Product Strategy

Another fatal mistake many internet marketers make is not having a clear product strategy.

Your product strategy doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does mean establishing clear guidelines about how and why you’re selecting the products to promote on your site. Not every page should be promotional. Trying to promote everything under the sun will make you appear spammy, and the user is less likely to trust your recommendation.

If your revenue numbers aren’t where you’d like them to be, try to step back and evaluate your blog as an outsider. Which of the above elements could you do better?