Monetizing your blog (part 2)

For lots of bloggers, their biggest dream is to eventually live from the money they make with their blog. Once your audience is getting a bit bigger, you can start making money with your blog. I already discussed selling your own products and advertising as ways to monetize your blog. In this post, I will talk you through the possibilities of writing promoted posts and affiliating as ways to make money with your blog.

Make money with your blog

Read more: ‘Monetizing your blog (part 1) ’ »

Promoted posts

If your blog has a large (and loyal) audience, companies may be interested in reaching your audience, telling them about their stuff. They could ask you to write about their products. And they could pay you to do so. Lots of bloggers receive products to review and use. Some bloggers are only paid by the free products or services they receive, but some companies also pay bloggers to write about their products. Writing posts in which you promote a product can be a nice way to make money with your blog.

Writing promoted posts also has a downside. Your objectivity as a blogger could become the object of speculation. It could be wise to make clear to your readers when you’re being paid for your opinion (in writing, or by making it clear in the design). It all depends on your blogging style and subjects.

When you’re selling promoted posts, receiving products for free or adding affiliate links to your site, make sure to disclose this to your readers. Not only is this the morally right thing to do, you’re also required to disclose this by law in many countries.


Another way to make money with your blog is via affiliate products. An affiliate product is a product that you recommend or write about in a blog post, or for which you place a banner or an ad on your website. If someone clicks on the link on your website they will go to the webshop of the company which product you are promoting. If people actually buy that product, you will receive a percentage of the amount they are paying.

A lot of retailers offer an affiliate program. You will receive a trackable link that you include in one of your blog posts (or in an ad). You will get a commission if someone clicks on the link and buys a product via your blog. How much commission you’ll get varies greatly on the type of product. It could be only 1 or 2% for physical products, but for digital products it could really be a lot more.
There are a number of affiliate networks you could join, large ones like CJ and Shareasale, but there are also company specific networks, like Amazon’s affiliate network and the eBay affiliate network. What fits well really depends on your niche and what type of product you could sell to that niche.

Affiliate can be a really good way to make money with your blog. As with promoted post, the risk with affiliate could be that the objectivity of the author could become object of speculation. In our view, you should make sure that the products you promote are products you really like. Products you would recommend to your friends and family as well. That way, you will make sure that you’re not promoting things to your beloved audience that do not fit you or your blog.

Make sure to add a rel=”nofollow” attribute to each affiliate link and to any and all links in promoted posts so they don’t count for Google and other search engines. You need to do this to make sure you’re not getting penalized as Google might deem you to be selling links.


In my view, there are four major ways to make money with your blog:

  1. by selling space on your blog for advertisements;
  2. by writing promoted posts;
  3. by affiliating (promoting products or services on your blog and getting paid if someone buys that product or service via a link on your blog);
  4. by selling your own products or by increasing indirect sales with your (company) blog. 

The way you choose to make money largely depends on your own preferences and on the audience your website attracts.

Keep reading: ‘Monetizing your blog (part 1) ’ »

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords


So you’ve just been banned from AdWords … now what?

If that’s the question on your mind, you’re in the right place.

On a personal note, I didn’t really mention this until now, but one day, I too got banned from AdWords.


As a matter of fact, I can even do you one better. I got banned from AdWords twice!

It happened a couple of years ago, at a time when I was making some nice monies with the AdWords-to-affiliate business model. Everything was going well, until this email appeared in my inbox (actual email):


Hello AdWords Advertiser,

Your AdWords account has been suspended because it doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies and our AdWords Terms and Conditions. Please note that this means your account and any related accounts have been suspended, you can’t create any new accounts, and your ads will no longer run on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements.

Let me translate this into plain English:


We, Google, don’t want to have anything to do with you. And although you are ready to throw a lot of money at us, we won’t accept it because f*** you, that’s why.

So how did I manage to get banned twice? I don’t know why exactly (I can only imagine that it’s because there’s a big mess at Google), but a stunning 2 years after the initial ban notice, I got another one saying the exact same thing.

I don’t know, maybe Google feels that once in a while, they need to remind me I am banned.

Anyway, onwards.


The not-effective way of handling an AdWords ban


A standard human reflex is to just send an email back asking about the issues, trying to negotiate, saying that you will improve, promising to be a good boy, etc.


But with Google, none of that works.


Google AdWords is notoriously known for not responding to any email, so you’re just hitting a wall with every attempt to experience any form of actual human interaction with anyone at Google.


The alpha-male way of handling an AdWords ban


Note. Sorry, but if you’re looking for classic “nice guy” advice, this is not it. I won’t be talking about how you should fix your site, reach out to Google, apologize, and so on. None of this has made its way to this tutorial.

Before I go into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the two possible scenarios that you might be in at the moment:


Scenario #1:

AdWords was the only traffic source for your site. A fairly common thing in the online business space, especially if your business model is affiliate marketing or advertising.
Scenario #2:

AdWords was just one of the traffic sources.
Now, this might sound counterintuitive, but the first scenario is a lot easier to deal with, even though you are losing 100% of your traffic after the ban.

Here’s what you do:



Things to do if AdWords was your only traffic source


Step #1.

Start by buying a completely new domain, new hosting account (at a new IP address; you can do this with IXWebHosting, by the way – they offer unique IPs to every customer).


Step #2.

Install WordPress, pick a new theme, and create a new structure on your new site.

The structure should be a bit different than that of the original site, but it should provide a somewhat similar experience.


Step #3.

Copy your old content to the new site. At this point, your new site is very similar to the old one, content-wise. But it does have a new design and a new structure. Not to mention the new name and web address.


Step #4.

Now the best part. Create a new AdWords account with another credit card number.

Yeah, I know, Google tells you that you can’t do that, but the fact is that it’s not so much that you can’t … you’re just not allowed.

Kind of like your mom saying “don’t touch the pie until it cools down.” You know you’re not allowed to, but you will do it anyway…

With Google, the worst that could happen is them banning you again. In which case, you will just repeat the process.


Step #5.

Launch new campaigns on your new account.



Things to do if AdWords was one of your traffic sources


This is a bit tougher.

You can’t just scrap the site because you don’t want to lose those other traffic sources, but you still want to get your advertising traffic flowing.


The simplest solution, although I will be sounding a bit obvious, is to start testing new advertising networks. Often, it’s also the best solution.

These days, there really are many possibilities. And I’m not only talking about other PPC networks, like Yahoo Advertising, 7search. You can also try media buys, direct blog ads, sponsored posts, newsletter ads, and so on.


Let me emphasize the point here. This really is the first thing I would try after being banned from AdWords.

However, if you do want to somehow get back in the system, you can do the following.

Note. High risk method.


Step #1.

Create a gateway site. This site is just a one-page site – a landing page. It should play a role of a middleman between your ad and the target page on your main site.

This means the gateway needs to feature some strong copy to convince the visitor to click through to your main site. This will obviously lower your overall CTR, but that’s another story.

The technical side of this gateway is similar to the approach described a couple of paragraphs above – you need to get a new domain and a new host.

Step #2.

Cheat your way into AdWords one more time with a new email and a new credit card. Just like described above.


Step #3.

Set your campaigns and point them to your gateway.

I’ve labeled this method high risk because it’s a lot easier for Google to get a grasp on what’s going on, so the lifespan of your new site will be even shorter.


What about “the right thing to do?”

There’s no right thing to do here.

I said it multiple times in the past and I’ll say it again; I’m not here to teach the right thing to do. I’m here to list the possibilities and leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a path worth taking in your specific situation.

I’m not judging. If you are okay with the methods described here, it’s your call. If not, that’s cool too.

Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords |

10 Types of Spam to Be Aware of When Browsing Your Inbox

Just a week ago or so, I published an article on whether or not sending spam works for grey-area entrepreneurs. Just in case you missed it and you don’t feel like reading it right now, let me just say that in conclusion, spam works and brings serious profits.

Anyway, I decided to follow up on the topic and point out some specific types of spam we’re attacked with on a daily (again, that’s daily) basis. I’m publishing this list as a kind of a strange resource just to keep us on our toes when going through our inboxes.


Now, the list has a particular order. I start off by pointing out the types of spam that have the best chance of tricking us, and then move on to some of the more obvious ones.

1. “Delivery fail” spam

The idea of this type of spam mail is to pretend that it’s sent from your email delivery server as a result of a failed messaging attempt on your part.

For instance, in a genuine situation, when you try emailing a nonexistent email address, your server will return the message to you along with a mail delivery failure header.

What spammers try to do is send fake such notices and attach a malicious file pretending to be the original message. So when you open this attachment, you get a virus.


A general rule is to simply not open any failed delivery notifications if you can’t recall sending the email in the first place.

2. Sneaky spam

Sneaky spam is when the spammer uses a common social media notification subject to lure you into opening the email. Here’s an example:


The “You Have: [1] Unread Message” is probably the perfect book example of a sneaky subject line. The link inside the email is, of course, a fraudulent one.

And one more thing. I encourage you to click the spam button on anyone who sends such emails, even if it’s someone you initially opted in to get messages from.

3. The “Re:” trick

This is one of the older approaches in email spam, but it’s still easy to get tricked by it.


The subject line is just meant to convince us that we are the ones who initiated the conversation. Then, if we open the email, the author moves on to something completely unrelated right away (usually to some offer).

4. PayPal spam and other payment-related spam

PayPal spam is when a spammer pretends to be PayPal and emails you about some changes in your account or some new transfers that need to be “authorized.” If you do get tricked and click the link in the email, you will be redirected to a fake PayPal site that’s been set up to steal your login and password.

Other payment-related spam messages work the same way, but there’s just no direct mention of any specific payment processor.


5. General outreach spam

Every once in a while, you will get some poorly targeted email outreach. Like I did a couple of weeks ago; the screen I shared last time:


This type of spam could actually work if only the spammer had done a better job at researching who are they sending the email to.

6. General affiliate crap spam

I really have nothing against affiliate marketing, but some stuff that people send out is just plain ridiculous. Like this thing, for example:


The way this sort of email gets created is fairly simple: (1) start with an unbelievably world-changing headline, and (2) promote some crappy affiliate offer right away.

7. “Biz op” spam

Very similar to affiliate spam, only the headline is more down-to-earth and the message usually tries to point us directly to a given site instead of using an affiliate gate.


The main principle is still the same though: Make some money without breaking a sweat.

8. Fake gifts and prizes

The story is always the same … “Hey you won something, click here to collect the prize!”


‘Nuff said.

9. Rolex spam

You’re likely to receive a handful of those every month. Rolex spam is still one of the big three most profitable spam markets (something I talked about in the previous post).


10. The old school of spam

The old school of spam is about stuff like Viagra and porn. This never gets old. And although these two are the most profitable spam markets, I don’t think that it’s because people get tricked into clicking the links inside the emails.

It’s much more probable that one in a couple of million recipients is simply in need of some pills or entertainment, and they click on the links consciously.

(Sorry, no screenshot here…)

11. ?

That’s it for my list. If you have any ideas for no. 11, don’t hesitate to let me know.

10 Types of Spam to Be Aware of When Browsing Your Inbox |

How to cloak your affiliate links

We regularly consult for sites that monetize, in part, with affiliate links. We usually advise people to redirect affiliate links. In the past, we noticed that there wasn’t a proper script available online that could handle this for us, so we created one to tackle this problem. In this post, I explain how you can get your hands on it and how you can get it running on your website.

Why should I cloak my affiliate links?

A quick online search will result in tons of reasons as to why you should redirect your affiliate links. The “historical” reason for this is hiding from search engines that you’re an affiliate. It would be naive to think that search engines don’t understand what’s happening, but nevertheless this seems like a valid reason.

There are also a few more advantages to cloaking your affiliate links, such as:

  1. Ease of management
    Sometimes you might need to change your affiliate links. If said links are spread out across your blog, this could become a quite time-intensive task. By centralizing the affiliate links, you have one location to manage all of them.
  2. Prevents leaking PageRank to advertisers
    Affiliate links are ads and should be nofollowed or otherwise altered to prevent leaking PageRank to the advertiser. Instead of having to do this manually for every individual affiliate link, you can do this is a single location without much hassle. This also prevents the possibility of forgetting to add nofollow to one of the links.
  3. “Clean” links
    Different affiliate programs tend to use different permalink structures. Some might have relatively ‘clean’ links, whereas others tend to add a lot of gibberish. Using the redirect script can help you deal with this issue because the cloaked URL will always follow the same structure. This makes it a lot clearer for the user where the link is taking them to!

Get the most out of Yoast SEO, learn every feature and best practice in our Yoast SEO for WordPress training! »

Yoast SEO for WordPress training$ 99 - Buy now » Info

Cloaking affiliate links, the how to

The basic process of cloaking affiliate links is simple:

  1. Create a folder from where you’ll serve your redirects. At Yoast we use /out/.
  2. Block the /out/ folder in your robots.txt file by adding:
    Disallow: /out/
  3. Use a script in your redirect folder to redirect to your affiliate URLs.

Step 2 ensures search engines won’t follow the redirects, but we’ll add some extra security measures in our script to prevent accidental indexation of our affiliate links. Step 3 is as easy as manually adding each redirect to your redirect directory’s .htaccess file, assuming you’re running your website on an Apache-based server. Alternatively, you can use the script we produced to make it easier on yourself. The added bonus of this script is that it also works for servers running Nginx!

Affiliate link redirect script

The script we created consists of three files, one of which is optional: an index.php file, a redirects.txt file and, to finish it all off, a .htaccess file to prettify your URLs.


This file contains the logic that handles the actual redirection by performing a 302 redirect. Additionally, it sends a X-Robots-Tag header along to ensure search engines that can detect this header, obey the noindex, nofollow rules we pass along in it. We do this as an extra security measure in case you might forget to exclude the affiliate link in your robots.txt.


The redirects.txt file is a comma-separated file that contains a list of names and destination URLs like so:


Note that the file should always contain the following line at the very top to ensure people don’t attempt to redirect themselves to a non-existing URL:


Just change to your own domain and you’re ready to go!


If you only install the above two files, you’ll already have enough in place to get things running. However, we advise you prettify the URLs, because this dramatically increases the readability. Without prettifying your URLs, you’ll end up with something like /out/?id=yoast instead of /out/yoast.

Prettifying can be achieved by adding a .htaccess file to the mix. This small file also helps ensure people can’t access your redirects.txt file to take a peek and see what affiliate links are available.

What about plugins?

In the past we’ve received questions about using WordPress plugins to tackle this cloaking issue. Despite there being a lot of valid options, they have one small caveat: speed. Because these plugins depend on WordPress’ core code, they need to wait for it to be fully booted before being able to execute themselves. This can easily add a second or two to the total loading and redirecting time if you’re on a slow server.
Our non-plugin solution is faster because it doesn’t depend on WordPress to run.

Ultimately, the best option depends on your needs. If you want to collect statistics on your affiliate links, you might be better off with a plugin. Otherwise, just use our script to keep things fast.

The files

If you’re interested in running this nifty script on your own website, head on over to GitHub. Feeling adventurous? You can find the source code here. People running Nginx can find sample code in this gist to see how to make it work for them.

Read more: ‘Playing with the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header’ »

5 Diet Methods That Appeal to the Entrepreneurial Mind

Portrait of a styled professional model. Theme: teens, education, sport.Today I want to talk about something a bit different. If you know me then you’re aware that I’m a big fan of healthy living and being in shape in general. And by healthy living I don’t actually mean being a vegetarian or any of that BS. My rules are simple, (1) exercise, (2) drink yerba mate, (3) eat a lot of dead animals, and (4) enjoy your life.

But why am I even telling you this? The thing is that being an entrepreneur is not the healthiest profession out there. Most business people are usually stressed out and think that they don’t have time to be healthy (as silly as this might sound).

That’s why today I want to take a break from the usual business-advice-driven post and focus on something that’s probably even more important than our businesses themselves – our health. Yes, I really think that way. If I had to choose between my health and my business, I would go for my health with no hesitation.

The following is a guest post by Matthew.

Enter Matthew

Entrepreneurs are known for their challenging and innovative approaches not only when they launch a business venture but also when they want to solve an everyday problem. Once they perceive an opportunity, they position themselves in a way that brings them big results from small efforts – a condition called “leverage.”

Obesity in the US has reached 30%. That means, 1 out of 3 entrepreneurs is obese. When it comes to losing unnecessary weight, knowledge is the biggest leverage. One of the biggest problems most people have with weight loss plans is that they are difficult and confusing to follow. And for this reason, many people get frustrated and give up which only leads to further weight gain.

But entrepreneurs look for simple, easy everyday things anyone can do to lose weight. They will stay way from unpractical, unproven, difficult to follow diet programs that have little leverage. Instead, they have identified methods that have been scientifically proven to work; methods that give big results for small efforts. This gives them the motivation and incentive to achieve their weight loss goal.

Here are five of the easiest ways to lose weight that appeal to the entrepreneurial mind:

1. Put The Right Images in Front of You

Images are not only for blog posts. Entrepreneurs believe in the power of images. They use images to help their mind focus on what they want to achieve because images can direct our thoughts. And since our life moves towards the direction of our predominant thoughts, entrepreneurs use the right images to get to where they want to go.

Have you ever noticed how hungry you become after looking at a picture of food or watching a food commercial on television? Well, there is a good reason for this. The blood levels of hormone ghrelin, which affects appetite and the physical process of food metabolism, increase when you look at images of food.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry observed that when people were exposed to images of food, the amount of ghrelin increased in their blood. The hormone did not increase when people were exposed to images of non-edible objects. The bottom line-turn off the television and avoid magazines or periodicals that are heavy on the food articles and advertisements if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight.

Get the right images in front of you! Put a picture of a lean, muscular guy on your refrigerator and visualize you are this person, and your life will start moving there effortlessly.

2. Start Big

If you have read Dr. David J. Schwartz’s all-time best seller book “The magic of thinking big” you know that in order to attain great success you need to start with a big thinking. Expect success. Set unrealistic goals. Realistic goals are not that motivating. When I started my online venture I set my first goal at $5,000/month. That was way more than my 9-5 job was paying me at that time. I achieved my goal and moved beyond that.

How does this relate to your diet? Should you start your day “thinking big” about food? Yes, you can eat cake, cookies or a doughnut for breakfast and still lose weight. How is this possible? Researchers from Tel Aviv University discovered that starting your day with a big breakfast, that includes dessert, a healthy serving of protein, and carbohydrates, can help people lose weight.

The study divided 193 obese people into two diet groups. Both groups were given the same amount of calories each day. However, one group was given a low-carb 300-calorie breakfast while the other group ate a big 600-calorie breakfast high in protein and carbs, which always included a dessert (cookies, cake, or chocolate). Participants who ate the big breakfast with the dessert lost on average 40 lbs more than the low-calorie breakfast group over the course of the 8-month study.

By indulging in the morning when your metabolism is most active, you have the rest of the day to work off these extra calories, explains Prof. Jakubowicz. One of the biggest problems people face when trying to lose weight is that they crave carbs and big meals. If you start your day with a big breakfast you do not have to worry about that.


3. The Chocolate Business

There is no business like the chocolate business” says report Jeanette Hurt of describing the inspiring stories of 3 chocolate-entrepreneurs. And some of you may have heard of Katrina Markoff, Vosges Haut-Chocolat’s founder, known as the most avant-garde chocolate entrepreneur, who started her company when she realized the need to innovate in chocolate.

Well, when it comes to weight loss, do you know of any diet that would allow you to eat chocolate? Probably not. Sounds outrageous huh? (Think: “Announcing The Chocolate Pie Diet“). After all, chocolate is full of sugar and fat, and will make you fat, correct? Well, quite the opposite. Scientists from the University of California at San Diego asked 1017 people how often they consume chocolate. They discovered that those who ate chocolate at least twice a week had a lower BMI (Body Mass Index, a metric that shows how overweight you are) than the non-chocolate eaters.

Interestingly, it was the frequency rather than the amount of chocolate consumed that predicted a lower BMI. Other studies have linked chocolate to lower cardiovascular mortality. Researchers believe that the antioxidant effect of a polyphenol called epicatechin contained in chocolate helps you burn fat and increase muscle mass. This is good news for chocolate lovers all over the world.

4. Lean Thinking

When it comes to building businesses, entrepreneurs understand the concept of “lean thinking described in Womack’s and Tones’ book. It is the application of value-based strategies that aim to create more value for customers while minimizing waste.

It’s the implementation of Pareto’s Law of 80/20. Eliminate 80% of your activities, which produce only 20% of the desired results. Similarly, strengthen and multiply the 20% of your activities, which are responsible for 80% of the desired results. When it comes to losing weight, “lean” means eating more protein. You have undoubtedly heard many times how important eating protein is-especially after a workout.

But there is much scientific proof as to why eating more protein is a great way to lose weight. Several recent studies have shown that a high protein diet (one that provides up to 35% of calories from protein) leads to lower energy intake. While researchers do not have a definitive answer as to why this happens, there is evidence that replacing fat with protein has a satiating effect and therefore decreases the risk of weight gain.

5. Green Coffee – an Emerging Weight Loss Business

It’s fascinating to watch a business idea unfolding before your eyes. A few months ago (Spring 2012), Dr. Joe Vinson discovered that unroasted green coffee beans reduce body fat, an effect he attributed to a substance called chlorogenic acid.

When coffee is roasted, the acid breaks down so it has no weight loss effect. But consuming coffee beans in their natural state results in weight loss even if there is no change in one’s eating or exercise habits.

The study participants lost nearly 10% of their body weight and 16% of their body fat during the twenty-two week study period. The interesting part is that today two companies are selling green coffee capsules under their label already. And while more research on the exciting weight loss effect of green beans is still pending, the “green coffee” business idea is facing a promising future as it is perfectly positioned to offer the highly desired inexpensive, safe and easy weight loss that 30% of the population is craving for.

About the author: Matthew Denos blogs at An entrepreneur passionate for online ventures, Matthew started his affiliate marketing website promoting weight loss products in 2008. Creating a successful online business requires a set of values-the entrepreneurial values. These values and principles can also be used by an overweight person to lose weight permanently and live a healthier life.

5 Diet Methods That Appeal to the Entrepreneurial Mind |

Leveraging the Obesity Epidemic to Design a Profitable Online Business

clip_image002Hold on, before you go, let me tell you why this might just be the droid post you’re looking for. As you know, this blog is about creating a profitable online business. A couple of days ago I got an email from Matthew offering me a guest post on doing just that in the weight loss niche.

I was probably half way through the post but I already knew that it’s going to be a great addition here. Matthew really knows his stuff and presents a real and well researched stance on weight loss as a great business area for online entrepreneurs. Tune in.

Enter Matthew

What is an epidemic? It’s a disease that has affected a large number of people in a population within a small period of time. When the disease affects almost every individual in the population, then it becomes a pandemic.

Today, obesity is an epidemic predicted to become a pandemic within the next few decades. What does this mean for entrepreneurs like you and I? Well, apart from the fact that, according to the statistics, you who are reading this article are most likely overweight, it also means that obesity has created a huge need for a solution.

And since a need for a solution is what drives the demand for every successful product in the market today, the high obesity occurrence is what gives many weight loss products their current high earnings potential. Is the demand for weight loss products high, indeed?

As you drive through the city where you live, you will see closed businesses, houses for sale, and gas prices that are astronomical and you know people have to be very choosy with their money. However, the amount of money that people are willing to spend on weight loss products steadily increases. Weight loss purchases are more and more every year. Just take a look at the information below and you will see how much of an increase there really is, and how you can take advantage of that to make money.

The War with Weight is Truly a $60 Billion Market

All over the world people are gaining weight. According to the World Health Organization between 2005 and 2015 there will be a continued increase of overweight adults from 1.6 billion to 2.3 billion. In the same period, the number of obese people will grow from 400 million to 700 million, globally.

And with that kind of overweight and obesity rise it is no wonder more and more money is being spent on weight loss. The total amount has surpassed $60 billion annually. This is because obesity causes a host of other diseases (i.e metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, etc.) and therefore the medical expenses for obese people are significantly higher than these of normal weight people.

What is even more astounding to me is that smoking is now second to obesity on the list of preventable death in the United States. Smoking causes cancer – an expensive disease. Yet, obesity is more expensive. The U.S. alone is now spending $190 billion on medical expenses to treat obesity, Reuters reports. This accounts for 21% of US health care costs, according to Cornell statistics. At the rate Americans are going, the cost will increase to $550 billion by 2030, says a CBS News report.

The frenzied growth of obesity in the US is reflected on the fact that while in 2000 there were no states with obesity rates higher than 30%, by 2010 twelve states had obesity rate of 30% or more. Today, 35.7% of American adults are obese. This number will be 42% in just 18 years from now, researchers predict.

So if billions of dollars are being spent on obesity there has to be a way for a person, who sincerely wants to help people become healthier, to capitalize on this money making opportunity in a legitimate and ethical way.

How to Get Your Share of The Pie in the Weight Loss Market

There are many ways one can capitalize on the growing weight loss trend, but in this article I will elaborate only on the one I am most familiar with: Affiliate Marketing. It is one of the fastest ways to make money online today. It’s not the easiest, but it works fast.

This is because as an affiliate marketer you connect with businesses that are already successful. That means you don’t have to create a product yourself. The product and the market are already there for you. In other words, you take advantage of an existing trend – a proven product that sells successfully in a thirsty market.

As an affiliate marketer, not only do you not need to create your own product, you don’t have to market a product either. You don’t have to keep a stock, pay employees, handle shipping, answer phone calls, respond to lawsuits, etc. All this is taken care of by the merchant you are affiliated with.

What’s more, to succeed as an affiliate marketer in the diet niche, you don’t have to be a dietitian or a health professional.  Your job is only to endorse the product. You do need to become a master in SEO, though, so that people will get to see your endorsement and  click on your affiliate links. This is a two-step process.

1. Identify Successful Weight Loss Products

It’s important that you associate yourself with the big players in the diet industry. That is, companies that have a proven record of success. Some of the top weight loss programs are Weight Watchers, Medifast, and Nutrisystem.

These companies have been offering weight loss solutions in the form of diet food (meal delivery, meal replacements), digital products (online weight loss tools) and one-on-one support (advice from dietitians, meetings with other dieters) for over three decades. They have helped millions of people lose weight and keep it off.

You don’t want to associate yourself with fad products. The weight loss industry is notorious for its deceptive, short-lived, magic diet pills and cabbage soup diets that become popular for one year or two before they fall into oblivion.

Stay away from products like Acai Berry – a product that is associated with scientifically unsupported health claims, and diet pills like Hoodia – a supplement proven to be 70% counterfeit. They are destined to live a short life, as the snapshots from Google Trends show below:


The Hoodia Bubble. The photo shows how the number of searches (demand) for the term: “Hoodia diet” changed over the years. It peaked in 2007. Today, the Hoodia market is obsolete.


The Acai Bubble. The photo shows how the number of searches for the term “acai for weight loss” changed over the years. The Amazonian berry appeared all of a sudden in 2009.  The acai diet was a total fad. Today the interest for Acai berry to lose weight is almost extinct.


Weight Watchers – a stable product. The photo shows how the number of searches for the term “Weight Watchers,” changes over the years. The product enjoys a steady demand with only seasonal fluctuations.

2. Create a Website

In your website you will provide information that relates to the products you are affiliated with. Thousands of people query Google every day to find information about fitness and diet products. I will give you an example. In my website, I have two pages were I review the Weight Watchers program and the Nutrisystem meal plan.

Here are some keyword phrases that people type on Google before they land on these two pages of my site, based on my Google Analytics account:

  • Does Weight Watchers work for men, too?
  • How much will I lose on Weight Watchers
  • How does Nutrisystem work?
  • How does Nutrisystem compare to Weight Watchers?

All you need to do is align yourself with the well-known weight loss programs. People needing answers to their questions about weight loss go online every day. There will be questions as basic as “how do I lose weight” to more focused “did Weight Watchers work for you” to “if I take Solo Slim will my tongue go numb.” Every question and the way you handle it is vital. People trying to lose weight will spend their money on something they feel has the potential to work for them.

In my website, I try to answer all questions that people might have about the merchants I am affiliated with. My goal is to be as objective as I can. If a product has a disadvantage, I make sure I mention this so that the reader will be informed. If your intention is to help people make an informed decision, your effort will be appreciated. People will trust your opinion and they will rely greatly on you for choosing the product that suits them best.

The more questions you sincerely answer, the better. You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to find potential topics people are interested in or you can use common sense. For example, I recently published in my site a real testimony of Jackie, a lady who lost weight on Weight Watchers. I did that simply because I know that potential customers want to read other people’s experiences before they decide on a certain weight loss program.

For every merchant you are affiliated with, here is some information you need to provide in your website:

  • Describe the product in detail, its history, why it has been created, who is it best for, what it can do for your readers. Break down how the programs works. Does the program incorporate shakes, or real meals? Does the program include going to meetings?
  • Compare your merchant’s product to other similar products. In what ways is the product you are featuring better than others in the industry?
  • Put yourself in your visitor’s position and understand what concerns you would have if you were looking for a solution to your weight loss problem. How would you feel? People often want to avoid spending time researching a product. They want somebody who will tell them what to do, believe it or not. This is where you come in answering their questions, explaining to them the benefits of the product, the various options, the pros and cons.
  • Are there any scientific studies that support the effectiveness of the particular diet pill or weight loss plan? Are there any side effects? Is the product appropriate and safe for a specific class of people (vegetarians, diabetics, etc.).
  • People love to hear real life success stories about a product they are thinking of spending money on. Put together reviews on the products you are endorsing showing potential customers the great (or not so great) experiences others have had using those products.

The weight loss industry is booming and with it the opportunity to make money online. Your goal is to help people identify what you honestly believe works. If you have tried the product yourself and has worked for you, then all the better. Give your readers the information they are looking for so that they will make an intelligent decision. You will be rewarded with affiliate commissions.

The weight loss market wave is strong and still far from the hitting the shore.  The question is, are you willing to ride it?

About the author: Matthew Denos is an internet entrepreneur who studies the weight loss market, its profitability, and the opportunities it offers to open minded webpreneurs.

Leveraging the Obesity Epidemic to Design a Profitable Online Business |

Why You Should Launch an Affiliate Program

launchEvery online business owner in on a constant search for multiple income streams and different ways to make money in general. But selling something yourself is not the only way around…

In a series that’s been running on this blog lately I’m explaining some of the more popular business models for anyone who wishes to do business over the internet, so I’m not going to mention them here.

However, I will say right away that this post is about products, and different ways of marketing them. If you’ve read my post about products as one of online business models then you know what the biggest advantages of offering products are.

The only difficulty, however, is to actually sell those products. Or better yet, sell them successfully.

You can try different approaches here: advertising, social media, email marketing, SEO, and many many more. And this is also where affiliate programs come into play.

I have to say right away that affiliate marketing is not the most obvious technique out there. It doesn’t come to mind right away if you don’t have some online marketing experience under your belt.

Using affiliate programs to market your products is also a little intimidating at first because there are some mandatory steps you need to take before you can take part in it.

(Note. The online business models series also features an episode on affiliate income, but this is not the same thing as what I’m about to discuss here.)

What’s affiliate marketing

There are two sides to affiliate marketing:

  • You can be an affiliate – promoting other people’s products on a commission basis.
  • You can be the product owner – earning money because of the sales that other affiliates have generated.

Here I’m going to discuss the latter.

No matter what type of product you’re offering you can always create and launch an affiliate program of some kind.

The basic rules of an affiliate program are:

  • Affiliates can promote your products in exchange for a commission if they generate sales.
  • You provide the product.
  • You provide the marketing materials.
  • You take care of the payment processing.
  • You take care of paying your affiliates.

Sounds like a lot of work on your side, right?

But there’s one really big advantage for you here. If any of your affiliates manages to generate a sale this means free money for you.

Think about it. Even though you have to handle many things that can be considered the setup period, after that, every promotional task falls upon your affiliates, and you don’t have to pay for any promotional methods they use.

That means that the risk is all on them. If they manage to get a sale they get a commission, which will hopefully be bigger than the cost they had to take to get that sale. But you don’t have to take any preliminary costs. You’re paying only once you get a sale through one of your affiliates – hence the free money.

In a nutshell, affiliate marketing can be explained like this:

  1. Someone promotes your products.
  2. Your products get sold.
  3. You get the money.
  4. You pay a percentage of this money to the affiliates who have brought the sales.

Who needs affiliate programs

In the online world, essentially no one needs anything. But if you just simply decide that launching an affiliate program is not for you then you’re probably leaving a lot of money on the table.

First of all, try to think if you’re offering any product that can be easily multiplied or produced at really low costs.

Just a hint, if your product is digital then it most certainly fits the description perfectly.

Some examples of digital products just to refresh your memory:

  • E-books, reports, and all kinds of PDF and text content.
  • Membership sites.
  • Software, tools, and all kinds of apps.
  • Themes, scripts, and all kinds of programming related products.
  • Wallpapers, graphics, resource packages, and all kinds of visual stuff.

Also, many kinds of online services are great here too. If you’re offering a service then it means that some actual work has to be done, but if the service is easy to handle then it’s great as a base for an affiliate program too.


What if you don’t have such a product?

A fair question. There are different online businesses and not every one of them has to offer a product that’s easy to multiply.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t create it…

Having an entry level product is always good for a business. It’s simply something cheap that you as a business owner use to get a new customer through the door so you can market to those people later with your other more expensive products and services.

Such an entry level product is also great for using as a basis to creating an affiliate program.

The idea is that you start by coming up with an idea on what is the most basic area of your expertise (or your business focus) that you can use to create an entry level product around. This idea shouldn’t be simple just for the sake of it. You still need to make it attractive for the prospective customers, that’s the whole point.

Product development is a very large topic so I’m not going to focus on it here, and I welcome you to check out some blogs that talk about this primarily.

Once you have such a product created you can start crafting your affiliate program.

How to launch an affiliate program

There are two basic paths you can follow:

  • be the host of the affiliate program yourself, or
  • sign up to an affiliate network.

Being your own host is great if you have some big marketing power and can reach some top affiliates directly. Also, this approach creates a lot more costs on your part. Moreover, running an affiliate program yourself requires quite a serious tech backend.

What I mean is that the program has to run on a custom-made affiliate software. So you either have to get it created (on a contract basis with a programmer, for example … very expensive), or create it on your own if you happen to be a programmer yourself.

Either way, it will require much time, money, and dedication. That’s why I advise you to sign up to an affiliate network.

Affiliate networks take care of all the technical aspects of the thing, and sometimes also make the payments to your affiliates too (on your behalf, so you don’t have to do it by hand).

Some of the more popular affiliate networks are: Clickbank, Commission Junction, ShareASale. Depending on the kind of product you want to offer, some of them will work better for you than others.

I advise you to go to each of the above networks and carefully read the rules of signing up and doing business with them. Depending on the company there will be slight differences.

Where’s the kicker? There’s of course a modest payment you have to pay to the affiliate network in exchange for their platform. Depending on the network this amount can vary. But it’s usually in the range of 5% of your product’s price (plus an additional constant rate).

Since I’m talking about the percentages let’s take a minute to decide what commissions you should offer to your affiliates…

Commissions and affiliate tools

For digital products, the market-wide standard is between 50% and 90% (60%-75% is probably the best rate).

For physical products, the commissions are much lower (because of the big cost of creating such products) and they often end up in the range of 10%-20%.

Now the affiliate tools.

Chances are that your affiliates will already have a plan on how they want to promote your products, but you still need to make their lives as easy as you can. That’s why you should provide some quality affiliate resources and tools.

These are things like: banner ads, example e-books, email marketing copy, ad copy, samples of your products, product images, and everything else that your affiliates can find handy for promotion.

Depending on how you want to make it happen it can require some additional investments. But it usually pays off because affiliates are more likely to do business with product owners who treat them seriously. Providing a great affiliate package is the best indication of that.

There you go, we’ve reached the end of this post. Launching an affiliate program is not a one-evening task. It will take a while until you can start seeing some affiliate sales, but if you do it right you can make significantly more money than you are making now, without that much additional work after your program is launched. It’s the setup phase that’s the most time (and money) consuming.

What’s your opinion on all this? Do you find an affiliate program as a good addition to your online business?

Related Posts:
  • No Related Posts

Why You Should Launch an Affiliate Program |