How To Earn Money On Blogging: Exploring The Ingredients Of Affiliate Marketing

Just the other day I was talking to a good friend of mine. He is a firefighter, his wife is a paramedic. Real heroes!

We started talking about how I make money online, and he got really curious. Not primarily for the financial benefits (after all, he’s a public official with a good salary and retirement plan). He was rather interested in what the “inner mechanics” of “making money online” are. What are the “secret ingredients”? And how to earn money on blogging?

All Technical Fluff Aside

After telling him that there is no real secret and no “golden bullet”, I started getting pretty technical quickly.

How To Earn Money On Blogging - All Technical Fluff Aside
Let’s take a look at How Blogging can lead to earning money. Without all the technical details…

Until I realized: Hold on, he isn’t interested in the technical stuff. He is interested in getting an answer to the question: “How on earth does writing an essay and putting it up on your website TODAY can earn you money for YEARS TO COME? How can words, written on a website, actually make ANYONE money?”

To him, it felt like I was pulling money out of thin air! What is it that makes my work as an Online Marketer “valuable”, right? After all, he rescues lives! And I write “essays” for my blog, a “tiny website” to make a living? How does that work?

He wanted to know how content creation can lead to money after all, and what the “inherent value” of this kind of work is. WITHOUT getting into the technical fluff (like how to actually build a website, how keywords and SEO work etc.). So, let’s break that down.

The 5 Non-Technical “Ingredients” Of Affiliate Marketing

The 5 Ingredients Of Online Marketing - Infographic
The 5 Ingredients Of Online Marketing

I would break down “making money online with blogging” into five major components:

  1. Relevant Content
  2. Traffic
  3. Trust
  4. Product Recommendations
  5. Commissions

The ultimate goal is clear: Earning money, right? These “commissions” (Component #5) are what make the beautiful blossom that sits on top of your wonderful Online-Marketing-Flower, ready to be picked.

However, every flower needs leaves in order to grow, right? These are our components #1-4. And you want to nail all four of them in order to grow the ultimate $$$-blossom.

The blossom and individual leaves are all interconnected by the flower’s stem. Think of the stem as how the individual components interact. We’ll get into the details below, but for now, just understand that they can’t exist on their own, without the others.

Like a real flower, our Online-Marketing-Flower needs love and care. Especially in the early stages, when it is still growing. Later, when it is established with rock-solid roots, care isn’t required every single day, but you should definitely look after it every now and then. Make sure that it won’t dry up and doesn’t get overgrown by weeds…

That’s the beauty of Passive Income, as this kind of income is also called. I don’t want to go into this too deep here. If you want to learn more about it, however, I’d like to invite you to check out my article about Passive Income Opportunities here 🙂

How They Match Up

Great! That’s the big picture. So let’s take a brief look at how these components match up, work together, and influence each other.

The commissions, that beautiful, sweet blossom at the top of our flower is the ultimate goal. I get that! That’s where you want to go right away. It’s so delicious!

But, unfortunately, there’s no blossom without the leaves. So let’s forget about the $$$-blossom for a minute and, first of all, take a look at the “bread-and-butter-leaves”, and start with the one where it all begins:

Content Is King

How To Earn Money On Blogging - Online Marketers Create Content On Their Blogs To Help People
Online Marketing means creating blogs and other forms of content to help people solve their problems

A blogger creates blog posts, right? That’s his content. A YouTuber records, edits, and uploads videos and a podcaster creates audio shows for his audience. If that content is created with the right intentions and is of some quality (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and relevance it WILL attract an audience!

Content should always be written with the right intention (more on that below) if you want to build a business you can be proud of. And it should be relevant to your audience. What I mean by that is that it should help your readers solve a specific problem that they may have and that they are searching for a solution to.

Relevant Content Leads To Traffic

See, people have problems! Everybody has them. There are roughly 8 BILLION people out there, all with their individual questions, needs, and problems. 8 billion people you could potentially help out with your content. Isn’t that great?

People search for solutions to their problems online. They use google, bing, or duckduckgo to find what they want to learn about. And they may eventually find your content through their searches.

That’s how content leads to traffic. Traffic simply means that there are people visiting your blog, watching your videos, listening to your podcast, etc. Real people who are consuming your content.

Traffic And Authenticity Lead To Trust

Then, traffic and relevant, authentic content lead to trust. When people start consuming your content, they will also start leaving comments and interacting with you. That together with you being authentic and credible, ultimately leads to trust.

People will start to respect you as an expert in your niche. They will start trusting your judgment, and new visitors will realize that others trust you already.

How To Earn Money On Blogging - Relevant Content That Helps People Leads To Traffic
Relevant content that actually helps people solving their problems leads to traffic…

Trust + Product Recommendations = Commisions

When people trust you, they are likely to follow your recommendations. Now we are getting closer to the top of the flower.

When people trust your judgment, you can start helping them beyond just writing articles for them. You can recommend products and services to them. And by doing so, the seller of the product you recommend to your visitors will pay you a commission. That could be everything from pennies on the dollar to literally hundreds of dollars for a person buying some high ticket online course you recommended, for example.

As your visitor’s trust in you and your judgment grows, your understanding of your audience, i.e. your visitors, grows as well. When you understand them better, it’s easier for you to recommend products to them that suit their needs and that actually solve their problems.

That is, in a nutshell, laid out how good content, created with the right intentions, leads to making money in the long term.

Did You Ever Make An Online Marketer Money? A Real-Life Example

Have you ever searched for the “best battery powered lawn mowers for 2020” or so? Did you come across a website where a hobbyist gardener wrote a review of several lawnmowers and finally recommended the one he liked best with all the pros and cons? Did you ever click that shiny Amazon-button he put there and then bought the product from Amazon?

If so, that gardener nailed all of the components I laid out above and earned a decent commission on your purchase. He did a great job! He helped you with solving your problem, which was to make an educated purchase decision, right? And he earned some cash in return.

How To Earn Money On Blogging - All Kind Of Content Creators Offer Their Experience To Help Their Visitors Solving Their Problems
A simple google search for a problem you may have reveals all kinds of content creators (magazines, bloggers, YouTubers) who offer their experience with the topic to help you solve your problem – In this case: Finding the right mower!

A Word About Your Intentions

That’s the basic roadmap of online marketing success. All the tech aside, just the core business idea and strategy laid out for you.

When you browse the internet with your eyes wide open and that knowledge in mind, you’ll quickly realize that there are only two types of online marketers out there:

  • The Good Ones, and
  • The Bad Ones.

Sounds pretty obvious, right? But I’d argue that, unfortunately, there are too many successful, yet bad online marketers around. Personally, I define good and bad by their intentions.

A GOOD Online Marketer Is a Problem Solver

Content is the heart and soul of your business. And everything, every little step along the way to your success is based upon that content!

How To Earn Money On Blogging - A Good Content Marketer Is a Problem Solver
A good online marketer understands the PROBLEMS his visitors want to solve and tries to help them find a solution for them…

As a blogger, helping other people must be near and dear to your heart if you want to be successful in the long term and build a business that you can be proud of.

Creating HELPFUL content should always be your TOP PRIORITY. And every piece of content that you create, should ideally be centered around this core idea.

How To Earn Money On Blogging - Authenticity Leads To Credibility And Trust
Do you want to be one of the good or the bad guys?

Never write content to “cash-out” on your audience. Always write content to help! Do not trick your audience, or try selling them products that pay good commissions to you but are, in fact, bad products and won’t help your visitors, who trust in your judgment, solving their problems! I understand why this may be tempting. But you are gambling with your reputation, and your self-esteem as well.

I know: There are many online marketers out there that do exactly that. Don’t be one of those!!!

If you follow that simple premise in all your online business efforts, success will ultimately follow. There’s pretty much no way around it!


Let’s wrap this up. What have we learned? The value of the work that content marketers do is first and foremost in helping others by sharing their expertise on various subjects. They do so by creating content (in form of articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) that answer their readers’ questions and help them solve their problems.

This content then leads to traffic.

Traffic and authentic content lead to trust.

Traffic and trust lead to visitors following the online marketer’s recommendation on products and services.

“Selling” these products and services then leads to revenue in form of commissions.

Puzzle Solved – Or Is It? 🙂

But wait! You may think: “This article is such a content piece you were talking about, right? But you didn’t try to sell me ANYTHING! How do YOU, Chris, make money???” – Gooood question!

Not every single article should try to sell stuff to your visitors. Remember? First and foremost, I am trying to provide some insights and valuable information to you, my fellow readers. Recommending stuff, selling things, and making money should always come last. This article isn’t selling anything. This article, hopefully, was entertaining and informative to read! (Was it?)

Yet, right here, I want to ask if I got your attention and if you’re hooked? Maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that affiliate marketing and passive income sound pretty cool!?

If that’s the case, and you think to yourself: I would like to start a blog myself! – Then I have an interesting read for you: In that case, you may probably want to check out my review of Wealthy Affiliate, which is an all-in-one platform for online marketers. It has essential training, an incredible community, and much, much more to offer. And when you have chewed through that review, and like what you’ve read, THEN you will find a link that would, potentially, pay me a commission if you decide to sign up by clicking on it. Pretty transparent, huh?

Rock It From Home - Wealthy Affiliate Review
Make sure to check out my review of Wealthy Affiliate

Or, if you would like to broaden your view by learning more about other passive income business models, then I’d like to invite you to read my other article about passive income opportunities that work for everyone.

But you won’t find a single commission-making affiliate link here in this article.

Pinky Promise!

Your Feedback Is More Than Welcome

How did you like this article? Was it informative? Did you learn something new? Do you have anything to add? Please let me know in the comments below.

All the best and much success with all your business efforts,



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6 thoughts on “How To Earn Money On Blogging: Exploring The Ingredients Of Affiliate Marketing

  1. Andy says:

    Hi, and I have to compliment you on focussing on the softer aspects of what leads to successful affiliate marketing. I agree wholeheartedly with you that your intentions as a website host, or blogger, though I must admit I have some resistance to that term, will be clear to your audience and sets the tone of your site. But there is a strange phenomenon here. I think we all know when we enter a casino that the odds are against us and the chances are we will walk away with a lighter wallet, but we, or at least many people go there nevertheless. I think the same is true of many websites. There are many websites that just scream scamminess at you and frankly feel like a casino with all the bright colors, gaudy fonts, and flashing lights. Popups leap out of the corners if you so much as think about leaving. It’s as if we know we are about to be exposed to a hard-sell sales funnel and the free offer leads to a one-time special offer available for a limited time at $1.99 but then somewhere at the end of the trail there will be thousand dollars upsells that we couldn’t possibly live without. But somehow, we still hang out there, hoping that we will be able to get at least some new information, some new insight, or whatever and leave with the shirt still on our backs. Personally, I don’t want the experience people have of my site to be anything like that. Yet some people positively embrace the glitzy look and feel, and some as you say are successful and make money at it. I guess it takes all sorts to make a world. Best regards, Andy

    1. Chris says:

      Hey Andy.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s highly appreciated.

      I really enjoyed reading your casino-analogy! And when I think back of oh-so-many webinars I’ve watched, and the sales pitches associated with them… Holy moly, that’s literally the same psychology at work as it is when your gambling at a casino. Chances are that you MAY crack that jackpot, hence we are willing to get invested, both emotionally and financially. Interesting and eye-opening. Love it! Thanks for that!

      All the best to you and your business efforts, Andy!


  2. Hannie says:

    LOL, pinky promise? I only learned what that is a week ago by watching a movie. I know, probably a bit late. But I hadn’t looked at any movie in about 4 years.

    Anyway, great information and you nailed it right on the head with your explanation about good and bad intentions. Although I still find it a thin line at times myself. Even with good intentions we may be given not so helpful information. I comfort myself with the thought that it’s mainly the intention that counts and in time will find out what is really helpful and what not. Don’t you think?

    I love your infographic of the flower. Very explanatory and an image that sticks! Thanks. 🙂

    1. Chris says:

      Hi Hannie,

      I agree with pretty much everything you said above. Sometimes it’s hard to judge in advance what is helpful and what isn’t. If you overthink it too much and try to write the perfect article, you’ll never get it out there. Better write 10 okay-ish articles a month than try to nail that ONE perfect blog post a month 🙂 Over time, experience grows and new marketers get a better feeling for their craft. However, and I think that’s what you meant when you said “it’s mainly the intention that matters”, I think that being honest and upfront with your intentions or at least not blatantly lie at your readers is something that even the “greenest of greenhorns” can nail if he or she really wants to, right?

      Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment.
      I wish you all the best,

  3. Samantha says:

    Hi Chris,
    An incredible and truly amazing article, beautifully explained how a true, affiliate marketer should achieve success in its online business.

    The concept explained by illustrating it with the help of a flower and the ingredients to let that flower bloom is great imagination.

    Tips you mentioned in your article are so pure as it guides step by step instead of misleading people just to earn that commission, I totally agree with your fact that getting trust should be more important and this will eventually lead to growth in visitors, traffic.

    And yes rightly said GOOD online marketer should be a problem solver first and then a commission earner.
    Thanks for sharing this amazing article!


    1. Chris says:

      Hi Samantha,

      I’m super excited to read that you enjoyed reading my article. Glad to read that you agree with my take on the topic! Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with in case you decide to start your own affiliate marketing business.

      Cheers and regards,



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