The Biggest Affiliate Marketing Mistake I Have Ever Made

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I talk about my blogging mistakes from time to time. I have been blogging since 2009, and I’ve worked on dozens of blogs and made hundreds of mistakes along the way.

You might ask: have you ever repeated a blogging mistake?

I’d say no because once I realize what I’m doing wrong, I try to fix it as soon as possible.

Before I dig deeper into the biggest affiliate marketing mistake I have done in the past, I’d like to give you the backstory of it.

I started off blog monetization with Google AdSense and did it from 2009 to 2011. Then, I realized that I must have additional income streams on my blogs. So I added affiliate marketing and freelance writing into the mix. I tested affiliate marketing as a monetization tool back in 2013 for almost a year, but I stopped it despite some success in it. The reason was that I had sold my blog that was being monetized through affiliate marketing.

I was using my personal blog to market my freelance writing service, and things started to work out really well in 2015. So I decided to crank it up a notch, meaning, I went all in. The success in freelance writing made me completely overlook affiliate marketing from 2015 to 2018. Then, in January 2019, I decided to get back to affiliate marketing and resume where I left off.

During that 2013-phase, when I have had only affiliate marketing to make money online, I did get sales every now and then, but I made a horrible mistake during that time. Let me share that mistake with you.

I Started Promoting Multiple, Irrelevant Products

It may seem a very simple thing to fix, but I was a rookie in blogging at that time and didn’t realize what I was doing. It doesn’t look like a big deal, but it really was a huge affiliate marketing mistake. Let me elaborate on what happened afterward.

Multi-niche blog
It directly affected the content strategy of my blog because joining multiple affiliate products made me write specific content that could promote those irrelevant products. As a result, my blog turned out to be a multi-niche blog. It perhaps doesn’t matter if you’re monetizing the blog through the PPC ad program, but when it comes to affiliate marketing, it’s a no-go.

Multiple Affiliate Programs
I didn’t comprehend the result of having a multi-niche blog. The first disadvantage of a multi-niche blog was that I had to join different types of affiliate programs. This means I was joining the affiliate networks as well as self-hosted affiliate programs of different companies. Turns out, I ended up signing-up for too many products across half a dozen platforms.

Money Got Stuck
When I started making a little bit of money through affiliate marketing, I realized that the money is stuck in various affiliate programs. Since the affiliate commissions were dispersed across multiple affiliate platforms so I wasn’t reaching the minimum threshold on any platform in spite of making money every month. So the money was stuck at multiple platforms, which was a huge pain point.

Payout Methods
I joined so many affiliate programs, and some of the affiliate programs didn’t payout to the affiliates through any payment system other than PayPal. Since PayPal wasn’t available in Pakistan so I had to stop promoting those products. Some of you would say that you could figure something out and could release those payments to someone else’s PayPal account. Well, I did that a few times, but I couldn’t keep on asking people to receive my payments and send it to me. Nowadays, people fashion a lot when it comes to PayPal account, but back then, there was nothing you could do.

What’s the point?
I realized that promoting the wrong products led to other problems.
Although, I was able to get some sales here and there, which proved two things.

1. Affiliate marketing works
2. I can pull this off

The circumstances made me prefer freelance writing because I had sold my blog and there was no solid foundation to build an affiliate marketing business.

Now, I’m getting serious about affiliate marketing. In 2019, I took StartedBlogging seriously, and 2020 is all about affiliate marketing.
One of the reasons why I shared my story with you is that affiliate marketing success comes through honesty, loyalty, and trust. If I’m not being honest with you, you may trust me once, but you won’t do it again. So I’d rather be honest with my readers than to lose them forever.

Moreover, a lot of blogging starters could take away something valuable from this blog post. Affiliate marketing is something bloggers taste at some point because PPC and CPM ad networks aren’t enough unless you have millions of website visitors per month.

Does this blog post help you in some way?

Let me know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: The blog post may contains affiliate links. Read disclosure section for more details.

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