Although this site is mainly about affiliate marketing we can't ignore the fact that there are multiple streams of income ideas available for any online business.
Affiliate marketing is only one of the multiple income streams you can use to earn a monthly income online.
The 4 streams of online income that I believe to be the most profitable are: affiliate marketing, digital products, marketing ads, and membership platforms.
The question is, which one of those 4 income streams is the easiest to start and which one has the highest chance for the biggest income?
I will give you the answers within this blog but first I will describe what each of those income streams is, how you can create them, where you can get the tools and training, and when you can expect to start making money.
4 Streams Of Income Explained
1-What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Seeing that this site is about affiliate marketing, naturally, there are a couple of blogs about that subject on my website.
If you want a deeply detailed article about what an affiliate marketer does then Click Here.
Want to learn more about affiliate programs and networks the Click Here.
Here is a brief summary of what affiliate marketing is.
As an affiliate marketer, you will establish a partnership with merchants that have products or services to sell. Once you have a special link on your website you can have your readers/customers click on those links to be brought to the merchant's website. If your reader/customer purchases a product or service you will earn a commission paid out by the merchant, at no extra cost to the customer.
Many of those special links, or what they call affiliate links, do have cookies attached to them that are then downloaded on the customer's computer.
Merchant cookies have various durations, such as Amazon's are only 24 hrs and others can last several months.
So if that cookie is still active, even though the customer did not by during the initial click and buy something while the cookie is still active, you still earn that commission.
The merchant does not have to pay any fee if the customer does not buy anything.
Here's a little infographic to explain it:
Affiliates will get traffic to their site by 4 main methods:
- Free, Organic Traffic using Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)
- Social Media
- Video Media (YouTube)
Organic Traffic: Now in order for affiliate marketers to get customers to click on links, they rely on traffic, mostly free/organic traffic from people searching on search engines about the niche subject that affiliates are writing about.
They will use SEO strategies and tools to try to bring their site to the first page of search engine queries on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Using a keyword research tool can help the affiliate marketer find words used by people when they search online.
This organic traffic is FREE once you learn how, which I'll talk about further down but it can take several months for a new site to get enough free traffic to start earning a decent income.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC): Some affiliates rely highly on pay-per-click advertising but are then having to give up some of their profits for their advertising budgets.
PPC is something that can cost you a lot of money up front if you don't know what you are doing. All talk about this in further detail on how to create PPC.
The advantage with using PPC is that you can get high volumes of traffic to your site really quickly.
Social Sharing: Affiliates will also use social sharing to get the word out about their niche website.
Social sharing is another method to get FREE traffic to your website but it does take extra steps and time to do it effectively. Again I'll be explaining how to use this method for your income streams further in the "How To Create 4 Streams Of Income".
You, as an affiliate marketer would not be up to date on the latest strategies if you didn't integrate an email subscription strategy to try and get those that came to your site in the first place to come back.
Some affiliate marketers claim that they can make 40% of their affiliate commissions by reaching out to past readers so this is something you don't want to skip over.
2-What Are Digital Products?
You can create an awesome passive income stream by creating a digital product and selling it over and over for years!
A digital product is something that you can create with your computer, like an eBook on any topic, step-by-step lessons, blueprints, woodworking plans, video clips or a collection of photos to name a few.
Your imagination and creativity is the only limit to what you can create and sell.
You may be asking, "Why do people buy digital products when they can get everything online for free?"
The reason people buy digital products is usually for the convenience and the trust you've built with your audience.
Sure, you may be able to find the information or digital stuff you are looking for from around the web from different sources but how much time does that take, how reliable is the information, and what kind of quality are you getting for free?
That is where digital products come in. People can just click a button, pay a fee and Voila!
They get to download everything they were looking for instantly.
If they don't like the quality of the digital product they can ask for their money back.
The coolest thing is that if you create the right product and do a good job of it you can keep selling unlimited amounts of that product for years to come without doing any more work than what it took to create it in the first place.
Take for example, if you created a course for learning the basics of playing the guitar.
How you learn the basics of playing the guitar now has not changed for decades and will likely not change for decades to come.
In this case there would be no reason for updating it, except maybe to update your hairstyle and clothing to look like you are still from this century.
You will learn more about the creation of your digital product further down "How To Create 4 Streams Of Income."
3-What Are Marketing Ads?
Income from having ads on your website can be quite lucrative.
Marketing Ads can be in the form of text, banners, videos, or a combination of images and text that will link to a company that pays you through a network agency when someone sees or clicks on the ad.
Many online experts will say that having ads on your site is not worth it.
The other will disagree and say that about 40 to 50% of their revenue comes from ads.
So which is correct?
They may both be correct but it depends on the type of website you have and how traffic comes to your site.
Most new bloggers will not have enough traffic coming to their site to make ads be worth their while or the focus of their site may be towards affiliate sales,
Affiliates may actually lose huge commission sales if a reader decides to click on an advertisement for the same product instead of an affiliate link on the same page.
The click on the ad may only provide a few cents in income whereas the affiliate link may have produced hundreds, if not thousands in affiliate commissions.
Then on the other side of the spectrum, you may see mature websites get thousands of visits to their site every day.
Having well placed, premium, non-competitive ads can earn them thousands of dollars per day in ad revenue without having to deal with any affiliate sales.
You will learn more about how to get premium ads and where to place them in the how to create 4 streams of income section of the blog further down.
4-What Are Membership Platforms?
Probably one of the most lucrative online income stream opportunities you can create but also one of the most complicated.
A membership platform is where you can create an online website, where people need to pay a weekly, monthly or yearly fee to access your site's content or services.
Your site may provide exclusive content for paying members that can include courses, tools, products or services.
One difficult part with membership platforms is having to create a unique website where non-paying members can only get limited access to your services, then having a mechanism where paying members to get access to all of the content and services.
You may even have varied levels of access depending on your content and services.
You have to provide all this access while maintaining high-security levels to ensure your member's privacy and payment information is secure.
Then once you have your members, you have to ensure you continue to add new, original content or services for your members to keep paying their membership.
If you just create a bunch of content and hope that people just stay on as a member then you will lose all your members fairly quickly and for good.
So membership platforms can be lucrative but are a little harder to create and are not considered a passive income stream.
Updates and adding content to your membership platform will be ongoing for as long as you have paying members.
I will get into a little more detail about a membership income stream further down but I think this method will require its own blog post to explain it thoroughly on how to create it step-by-step.
How To Create 4 Streams Of Income
The Key to having a stable online income is to Create 4 streams of income.
1-Become an Affiliate Marketer
To become an affiliate marketer is quite easy and very cheap.
You can become an affiliate marketer basically by buying a domain name for about $13.99/year and pay for a hosting site for as little as $2.95/month.
That means you can start your online affiliate marketing business for under $50/year.
There are actually options available to start your online business for free by signing up here, where you can register a FREE domain name and host that site for free as long as you maintain an active membership.
The free option is perfect for those starting out but you see the opportunities affiliate marketing has to offer you will likely want to go with a paid membership to boost your online business to financial independence with passive income.
The key aspects of starting an affiliate marketing website are to choose a niche topic that you are passionate about, have experience with the topic is ideal or plan to explain the topic as you learn it.
You can learn more about choosing a niche my blog about it by clicking here.
Once you've created your website and added quality content then you will need to wait a few weeks for your website to start ranking in Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Currently, the ideal number of blogs you need to write within the first 4-6 weeks is said to be about 30 blogs. (This is not a guarantee to rank #1 but has proven to be the most effective).
Those 30 blogs need to substantial in size and content. Most blogs that rank #1 on search engines are on average about 1800 words. So more in-depth information the better.
When you are starting out it is recommended that you don't even try to apply for affiliate partnerships for a couple of reasons.
- Most affiliate partners won't accept your requests until your site has enough content to analyze to determine if your site aligns with their marketing plan. You may be rejected from the start and may be harder to get approval later once your site is mature being that you were declined in the past.
- It is natural human nature for new affiliate marketers to end up writing their content solely for the purpose of sending people to affiliate programs without providing quality content. I've seen so many sites where they give a very basic description of the product or service and then place a link saying just go there for full details. This type of tactic does not help the reader and the search engines will not rank your site anywhere close to the first page. Provide good and helpful content first then go back to add your affiliate links once you start getting ranked on the first page of Google.
Take this website for instance. I do have affiliate links but currently only 2 to 3 different affiliate programs.
I don't have all my affiliate links plastered all over the place either.
I've only started adding real content to this site in mid-December 2018 and already a couple of my blogs are being ranked on the first page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo for some long tail keyword queries.
So now I've added about 2 to 3 affiliate links to each blog or sometimes just direct the link to 1 call to action at the bottom of the page, so if the reader is not prepared to leave my site right away they can wait until the end of the blog to sign-up to that affiliate link.
If you are new to affiliate marketing start by creating content, once your site starts ranking and getting increased traffic then you can add your affiliate links.
To get your affiliate links you can search for affiliate programs right from Google by typing affiliate program then "+" and your niche topic, as shown in the image below.
You can learn more about affiliate networks in one of my blogs by clicking here.
Once you have traffic to your site and that your links to your affiliates work then you will start earning your affiliate commissions.
Your first stream of income is all set up and almost a totally passive income stream to boot. All you need to do is continue adding some content and keeping the current content up to date.Click Here To Learn More
2-Create A Digital Information Product
When you create your own digital product you essentially become the merchant.
You can either sell your product directly to your audience or you can rely on affiliates to do it for you.
That means you are basically able to make money by both selling your product from your niche website for 100% profit by using your affiliate marketing website traffic to purchase and have the other option to have affiliate marketers to sell your product for a commission.
So if you are not successful in selling your product on your own maybe other affiliates will.
Now how do you create a digital information product?
I believe that this subject on itself will eventually end up as another complete blog on its own but I will give a good start here today.
As mentioned earlier, a digital product can be an eBook on any topic, step-by-step lessons, blueprints, woodworking plans, video clips, audio books, podcast recordings, computer apps or a collection of photos to name a few examples.
So far I have only created a short 4-step beginner introduction course for this website.
It is not a downloadable product and generally can only be viewed if you subscribe to my site first but you can take a look at it by clicking here.
You will have to open up your imagination of what type of digital product you want to create.
When it comes to individual online marketers most digital products are information type.
Where you are providing a downloadable information package that people can read, watch or listen to.
The hardest part may be what type of product you are going to create.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before creating your product:
- How does your audience interact with you? (Website, Youtube, Social Media)
- Do they prefer to read, watch videos or listen to audio?
- What would be the best format to deliver your product?
- What type of formats can you produce?
You have to remember that not everyone accesses information in the same way, some have PCs with Windows, others have Apple products, others prefer to use their mobile phones.
You will have to decide whether to create one format or all formats that your audience can choose.
Once you've decided what type of content and in what format you want to develop then you have to decide how you want to sequence your offers.
It takes a few interactions with your potential client before they accept to make the purchase.
To begin you may want to give away a 4-10 page introductory document that you give away free in exchange for your potential customer's email or subscription.
Then if they accept the introductory gift then you can provide weekly updates of what you've been adding to your site and an offer to purchase the full digital package that will have 100+ page step-by-step training manual or a combo of manual with associated videos or audio recordings.
How you present the digital product you want to sell is all up to you. The key to success is having at least 3 interactions to build up that trust.
There are a number of tools you can use to create your digital product.
The 4-step course I created for this site I used a plugin tool called Thrive Apprentice.
To ensure that people can download your content you want to use a format that anybody can download.
When starting out you may want to use Google products as everybody can have access to their platforms.
Using Google you can create downloadable slide presentations, spreadsheets, and text documents.
They even have already made templates you can use to get you started fast.
It's well integrated so you can add your YouTube videos right in the documents or slide show. Just make sure that the videos in your downloadable content are not accessible by everyone on the internet.
Make sure your YouTube videos are listed as "unpublished" for this content so only your paying customers can access it.
I'll be sure to provide a more in-depth process of creating digital products in the near future.
I've already added it as a draft post topic. 😉
The awesome thing about digital products is that they truly are another form of a passive income stream.
Once you've created your product and have the sales funnels all setup, other than updating some information here and there, it basically runs on autopilot.
3-Getting Ads On Your Website
Here we are at income stream #3.
Now that you've built your website for affiliate marketing, the easiest way to earn online income, and developed a digital product for sale you may be ready for the next step of adding ads to your website.
Now you may be saying there is no way that I can make money with ads.
They only pay about a quarter of a cent per view.
That is entirely true, at the beginning but if your site is starting to get over 30,000 views per month then it may be time to consider placing ads.
When you start having over 30,000 views/month you may be able to generate about $150/month.
It's not a huge amount but it is a positive cashflow which really doesn't take much work to implement now that you have your website established.
You can put the ads in the sidebar, or on a bottom banner that doesn't impede on the user experience and maybe a couple sprinkled here there around your blog posts.
The trick with using ads is to not lose the user experience but also remember that your users are already accustomed to having ads on websites so it won't be any surprise.
Just keep it on the low down and place them strategically on your site.
As your website has increased traffic, in the 100,000+/month levels then you can start having access to more premium ads that will pay more.
That is why you don't want to start too soon otherwise having ads on your site may impede your chances of having increased traffic as Google may see your site as spam if it is too new with ads on it.
As always start with quality content only, no ads, and no or little amount of affiliate links so that Google, Bing, and Yahoo see that your site is fresh, clean, and helpful.
Once you've built that trust, that authority with the search engines then you can start squeezing a little more affiliate links and ads but always remember to keep the user experience as your #1 priority.
When you get to the 100,000+ visitors per month then you can get premium ads from sites like Adblade.
Once this site starts to have increased visitors I plan to place one ad in the sidebar in a sticky mode so it will follow the reader down on the side which will add longer exposure for better returns and a higher possibility for clicks.
I would also add a sticky bar banner at the bottom of the screen so all devices can view them and that would be all.
Having ads will just give that little extra boost of income every month.
Sites like EZOIC have awesome tools to help test how the ads are performing and whether they are affecting the performance of your site overall.
Then once you have the perfect ad placement recipe the ads just run on their own with little to no changes required.
You just need to check your accounts to see the money coming in every month.
4-Creating A Membership Platform
Last but not least, as a membership platform is probably one of the most profitable income streams you can create online.
Having a list of hundreds, thousands or millions of members paying you every month has an amazing return on investment. (ROI)
Starting a membership platform does have its drawbacks, mainly being that it is not a passive income stream and take considerable more work to setup properly.
Once the platform is set up it will require ongoing content creation, support, and interaction with your members.
To create a membership platform you essentially build a website and add a WordPress membership plugin.
Start by keeping your membership site simple.
As long you can get your members to register, pay, and then log in that is all you need.
When you have registered members now coming to the paid side of your website you will need a couple of things.
You will need content and an active community.
To create a community is quite easy.
WordPress again is awesome for giving access to a number of discussion or forum plugins you can use on your website.
Then you will need to create content for your members.
One way is to create the content in advance that may include lessons and video tutorials.
Once you have a good foundation of content for your members to access on registration you can then start offering weekly webinars.
Webinars is an amazing way to create content on the GO!
Of course, you will be recording them and allowing your members to view them later.
The cool thing is that members don't usually expect webinar content to be as polished as a pre-recorded tutorial so the time you spend creating useful content is cut down dramatically.
The disadvantage is that you will need to host webinars on a regularly scheduled basis which means that having a membership platform is not a passive income stream.
I hope you will come back to my site for an in-depth step-by-step process to create and manage a membership platform in one of my future blogs.
Where To Get Tools and Training
You were provided with some tools or plugins as we went through the processes of creating each of the 4 income streams.
I figured you would appreciate a quick access list of all the tools and training you will need to get them all going.
Quick list of tools and training platforms
1- Affiliate Marketing
- Wealthy Affiliate (Learn More)
- Income School
- Jaaxy Keyword Research Tool (Learn More)
- Grammarly the world's best automated proofreader
- Canva to create awesome images (Learn More)
2- Digital Products
3- Marketing Ads
4- Membership Platforms
When To Expect An Online Income
Now that you've done all that work you may be wondering when you will start seeing money transferred to your bank account.
It really all depends how fast and determined you are in making your online business grow.
I feel that if you stick with starting with creating your affiliate marketing website first the other 3 income streams can build off of that foundation over time.
Focus on creating that awesome content. Create posts that are about 2000-2500 words on average. Create at least 30 posts that size within the first month or so.
Then work your way through creating digital content. Once your site starts getting traffic your affiliate links and digital content will be quick to start earning your income.
Honestly, though it can take about 3 to 6 mths for your site to rank on the first page and get the traffic you need to earn that income so you need to be patient.
Sure you can use tricks and paid clicks to get money to come in fast but those tactics tend to burn out fast.
Then you are left having to start completely from the ground up again.
To make your online business and the 4 income streams to last a long time, 2, 3, 10 years you need to create content that will stand the test of time.
I hope I didn't spook you with the amount of information here on how to create 4 streams of income but I really wanted to touch on each stream enough to make you realize the work it will take to have those 4 streams last along time.
So many people try all those tricks from so called gurus all over the internet only to find out that there first step in the process has already crumbled before they got to the second step.
They are left creating the first step over and over again and can never get ahead.
Now is the time to get started.
Start writing your blog posts no matter how bad they may seem at first, it gets easier and better all the time.
Have you started any of the 4 income streams above?
If you have, please comment below, if not let me know why.
If you have any questions or comments please leave below in the comment section.
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