Affiliate marketing has become one of the go-to methods to create money online. If you search online, you may find affiliate marketing is hinted to be as easy as setting up a website, finding popular products to recommend, and you finding success. Sadly that isn't quite true, simply, it isn't as simple as that and there is a lot of work involved.
As with anything in life, your success will be determined by how much time and effort you put into it. If you have the time to dedicate to your website, such as through building original content, you will find your traffic increasing over time and you'll start to earn some money.
In this article, we are going to talk about the benefits and disadvantages when it comes to starting your own affiliate marketing website. By the end of this article, you should be able to determine if an affiliate marketing website is right for you, as well as the basics steps you can take to get your website off the ground. Ready? Let's get to it!
What is an affiliate marketing website?
The core concept of affiliate marketing is to refer visitors to specific products and services from companies you have an affiliate partnership with. Each time a visitor clicks a link from your website promoting a product and makes a sale, you will get paid a commission for that successful sale. Now, while that sounds easy, remember what we mentioned above, it isn't that simple and there are quite a lot of considerations and challenges at play.
It isn't hard to see why affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular methods of monetizing a website. After all, here are some of the key benefits of leveraging affiliate marketing:
- You don't need significant startup capital
If you are starting a new website with the goal of entering the affiliate marketing space, it doesn't cost much to get started. At the bare minimum, you need a WordPress Hosting account and a domain name. Anything else really is bells and whistles.
- Easy to inject into an existing website
If you have an existing website with existing traffic, you can easily implement affiliate marketing without cluttering your website with ads. A simple blog post article recommending relevant products to your audience would be a great way to start.
- There are thousands of affiliate programs you can choose from
Companies want a piece of the affiliate referrals generated by bloggers and website owners so you can bet there are plenty of affiliate programs for just about any niche waiting for you.
- Affiliate marketing can be automated
Affiliate marketing doesn't have to be a manual, tedious process. Quite the opposite, you can automate most aspects when it comes to affiliate marketing at once you reach scale, you can outsource certain areas to agencies or employees. One example of an area that can easily be outsourced is your content marketing strategies.
So as you can see, there are plenty of advantages to setting up your own affiliate marketing website. It may be especially good for you if you are just looking for a side hustle that may turn into a significant money driver given enough time. With that in mind, let's discuss how you can know if it is right for you.
Deciding if affiliate marketing is for you
There is no doubt, had you started an affiliate marketing website several years ago it would have been significantly easier than it is today. However, with affiliate marketing having kicked off, everyone wants a piece of it so your competition will be fierce in most of the popular niches - especially those with high-paying affiliate programs such as web hosting. With that being said, it is far from impossible and you can easily compensate with added time and effort to stand out.
We have broken down affiliate marketing into five different categories. If any of the categories below fits your situation, affiliate marketing may be a good thing to bet on.
- You have free time
If you have some downtime you can allocate to your website, and a steady income from another source (such as other websites, employment etc.), you can use that time to slowly but surely grow your affiliate marketing website. Many affiliate marketing websites have started this way and it is not uncommon to see those who have made it find enough success to go full time on their affiliate marketing websites.
- You have an existing website with traffic
If you have an existing website with traffic you are already at a huge advantage. In fact, you can simply start looking for relevant products in your website's niche and begin to register for affiliate programs that you feel makes sense for your audience.
- You have experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To refer customers to companies you need traffic. A great source of that traffic can and should be originating from organic sources such as Google Search. As you are found in the search engines for certain keywords, your traffic will increase as will your affiliate commissions. So with that in mind, if you are experienced in SEO you may find starting an affiliate marketing website to become second nature and hugely profitable for you.
- You have web development experience
If you have web development experience you can save a lot of capital on software licenses and build what you need to make a successful affiliate marketing website. Although paid software licenses is optional, you are at the advantage of tailoring your visitors experience to exactly how you see fit.
- You have the ability to outsource
If you don't have any of the above, but you have the budget to outsource most of the work the long-term ROI may be worth considering.
If you read any of the above categories and felt that describes you, affiliate marketing is something you should consider more. If none of the above fits you, affiliate marketing is probably not the best fit for you right now.
Getting started with affiliate marketing
Remember, there is a lot to learn if you want your affiliate marketing website to be a success. Below you can find some of the basics steps which should point you in the right direction in getting your first website off the ground.
Step 1: Choosing your niche & finding affiliate programs
The first thing you should decide is the 'niche' you want to focus on. This will ultimately be the topic of your website. The best part about choosing a niche is you can get as specific or as broad as you'd like. For example, you can choose a technology niche that can encompass multiple products & subjects within that technology group. If you choose a more broader niche, bare in mind it will be more difficult to break initial traction as you'll be competing against larger sites as well as have far more content to fill the gaps within your website.
With the above in mind, we recommend starting out with a more specific niche and if you wish to, when you have found success in that niche consider expanding out.
Once you have chosen your niche it is time to choose one or more affiliate programs you'd like to participate in. The affiliate programs you can part in will enable you to recommend products under that affiliate program and for each sale you bring to the website, you earn a commission. If you have a product focused website (such as product reviews), joining the major label affiliate programs such as Amazon Affiliates is a great way to get started.
Amazon alone can cover just about any physical product so you should be well covered when using their affiliate program. However, if for any reason you feel they are not the best fit, there are plenty of alternative affiliate programs (and affiliate networks) you can consider such as:
- CJ(Commission Junction) - Affiliate Network
- ShareASale- Affiliate Network
- ClickBank- Affiliate Network
- Impact- Affiliate Network
Step 2: Finding web hosting & registering your domain
This step is the most straightforward of the three and involves finding a web hosting provider as well as registering your domain name for your website. You can register your domain name anywhere you want (and host your website at a separate web hosting provider) though to save money, we first recommend choosing a web hosting provider as you may find they offer free domain registration as part of the hosting order.
We offer affordable shared hosting packages including a free domain registration so if you haven't already decided on a provider, feel free to give our web hosting a try.
Nearly there! With your domain registered and your hosting plan set up, it is time to start building the website itself. If you are new to websites and are not sure which software platform to use, we recommend WordPress which comes with plenty of features that you can leverage for your affiliate marketing website.
Step 3: Creating your website content
Now comes arguably the most important part in your journey to becoming a successful affiliate marketer, your website content. A general guide you can follow is the more articles you have, the easier it will be to bring more traffic to your website provided you follow a few simple guidelines:
- Publish at a regular schedule
You want your visitors to check back regularly, so following a content schedule and giving them regular new content will likely keep bringing your traffic back to your website.
- Optimize your website content
You want your website to start ranking and to do that, you need to optimize your website for specific keywords.
- Don't give up!
This is the most important. Don't give up! You may not see immediate results and that is perfectly normal. Given enough time your website will build authority in the space you are in and eventually you will start to rank, and your traffic will start to increase.
What about the type of content you should publish? Generally, it is good to look at what your competitors are doing. Find the keywords you want to target and run a search for them to see the types of articles the top 10 results have. You can typically get an idea for the type of content structure that is working for that specific term simply by searching and looking. For example, if you find 8 out of 10 results are long-form content articles, you know you should follow the same structure.
Affiliate marketing has become one of the most commonly used methods to monetize websites. Starting a new affiliate marketing website is not easy but given time and effort it is certainly achievable. While gaining this initial traction is far more difficult, once you break the initial barriers it does get much easier to keep growing and scaling.
As a reminder, here are the steps we used to get you rolling with your first affiliate marketing website:
- Choose a niche & find an affiliate program (or network)
- Choose a web hosting provider & a domain registrar
- Create relevant keyword-focused content on your affiliate marketing website
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