If you are trying to make money with your WordPress blog you may be confused by all the advice on SEO, marketing tactics and web design. All of that works great to bring traffic to your blog, but once you have that traffic you need to convince them to click on your affiliate links. And how do you go about that? Through great content.

Step 1: Understand What Your Audience Wants

You cannot increase the conversion rates of your blog without understanding your audience. There are many ways to do that:

  • Learn to use Google Analytics and look at what terms attract people to your site, which content seems to be more popular and which articles are bringing in sales.
  • Look at what other bloggers in your niche are talking about.
  • Become a participant on forums or Q&A boards, and look at what people are asking. Chances are, before asking their question they tried to search on a Search Engine and got no results.
  • Use Twitter to see what's trending and what are people talking about.

You should always keep an eye on what's hot on your niche, and look for subjects where you can provide value, such as your unique expertise or a different point of view. If you have problems finding things to write about on your blog try dedicating an hour a week just to research titles, and use an editorial calendar to keep track of your upcoming posts.

Step 2: Create Valuable Content

Once you have understood where the interests of your target audience lie, it's time to create great content that delivers. You want people to come back to your blog to read more of your posts, and establish yourself as an authority on your industry. This is not the time for selling, but for building trust and showing your expertise.

This is where most bloggers who use auto-blogging software or spun content fail. You cannot keep human readers interested with illegible content or content that is clearly copied from somewhere else. Yes, you may get some visitors, but you won't get incoming links or any sort of long term traffic and people won't buy the affiliate products you are recommending because you aren't building trust. So save yourself the money and don't buy software that promises you to create blogs for you. Machines don't create good content, yet.

Step 3: Sell Solutions to Your Audience Problems

If you want to be succesful at affiliate marketing and make money from your blog, you will need to learn how to select products that are useful for your audience, not only those that would make you a lot of money. Once you have shown your audience that you are somebody to trust, who understands their problems and knows a lot about fixing them, it's time to suggest them to buy the products you recommend. There are other things you can do to increase your affiliate sales, but the right timing with your sales pitch is probably the most important.

You don't even need to do this through your website. You can create an ebook, free or not, with affiliate links, or you can use your quality content to encourage people to join your mailing list, and sell to them on the newsletter. Just remember to pay it forward: Before actually getting clicks on your affiliate links you'll need to understand your audience and provide lots of useful and well crafted content.