How To Create An Affiliate Marketing Website That's Actually Profitable - Beginner's Blueprint
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is when you promote a brand’s products or services in exchange for a commission. You sign up for the program, the company gives you a unique referral link, and each time someone purchases through that link, you get a certain percentage of the sale.
It’s not a recent invention: affiliate marketing has been around for quite some time. The man who came up with it was William J. Tobin, an entrepreneur who founded several startups.
One of his businesses, PC Flowers and gifts (founded in 1994) that sold custom flowers and provided gift services, was the first brand where affiliate marketing was utilized. Four years later, they had 2500+ partners and the company was sold to Federated Department Stores in May 2000.
Around that time, affiliate marketing giants, such as Amazon Associates or Commission Junction (CJ Affiliate) was established and today, affiliate marketing is a $12 billion industry that accounts for 15% of all digital media revenue.
It’s also a great way to monetize a blog or create passive income, and in today’s article, that’s exactly what we are going to talk about.
Is There Still A Potential In Affiliate Marketing?
Over 80% of brands use it as part of their marketing strategy and affiliate marketing spending increased by 27% worldwide.
With that said, affiliate marketing might seem like a competitive space where it’s hard to make a profit.
The good news is, affiliate marketing is still a lucrative way to generate income. As we said before, it is a multi-billion dollar industry that’s expected to grow at a fast pace in the next few years.
That means, the affiliate marketing space going to get more saturated, more people will join, more content will be created based on it, and it will be tougher for you to succeed.
So, if your aspirations of making it as an affiliate marketer, it’s better to start now, and next, we’ll show you how to do it.
Affiliate Marketing Without A Blog
Although we recommend you have a place where you can promote products, you don’t necessarily need a website for affiliate marketing.
Certain social networks such as Pinterest or Instagram allow the use of affiliate marketing. There, you can get create posts centered around what you’re promoting and insert the links inside the posts.
If you like video content more, and that’s the route you want to take, you can set up a YouTube channel.
It’s the second most widely used search engine (behind Google, which is the owner of YouTube), and hundreds of millions are using it.
The most effective strategy on YouTube is to build a channel where you make reviews about the products you’re promoting and putting the affiliate links in the description with a disclaimer (which is required by YouTube).
Another option, if you are thinking about writing reviews, but you don’t want to commit to a blog, is Medium.com.
It is a platform where you can publish your articles for free and using affiliate links is permitted as long as it’s disclosed.
Above a certain level, you even get paid for your writings by joining The Medium Partner Program.
On Medium, the difficulty is getting eyeballs to your articles. The staff handpicks the material that’s going to be shown to the readers, and if your goal to get featured (which it should be), then you have to create quality content.
Getting Started And Earning Money Consistently From Affiliate Marketing
Set Up A Website
As we said before, it’s not necessarily a requirement and you can get going without it, however, your ability to succeed in affiliate marketing will be limited. Social media and other sites such as Quora or Medium should be a part of your plan, but relying solely on those networks isn’t the smartest decision to make.
You don’t own the platform and if you violate the terms of service or other policies, you’ll get kicked out immediately and there goes all the effort you put in.
That’s why we advise having a website. Not only because it is entirely yours, but because many brands and advertisers will not accept affiliates without a website.
Fine, but how do I create a website, you may ask? We reviewed all-in-one, one-stop-shop solutions like Wix and Kartra. If you want to manage everything from one dashboard and you don’t have much experience, those platforms will be a good fit.
But, if you are looking for something that’s scalable and provides custom, bespoke options, you may want to consider using WordPress. That’s what we swear by and that’s what we are going to use as an example.
First, you’ll need a hosting provider. Bluehost is a relatively cheap option that comes with many great features. Nexcess, starting from $19 a month gives you faster servers and managed hosting, which means the host handles everything for you.
The second step is buying a domain name. It’s best to make it short and relevant to your niche.
Once you got to the domain and chose a name for your website, you need to install WordPress. You can do that from the hosting panel by just simply clicking a button.
After that, you need a theme. There is a fully customizable lightweight theme called Hello Elementor, which is available for free. If that doesn’t suit you, you can look for other options in the WordPress theme directory or purchase a premium theme.
Then, you can begin creating pages and customizing your website. To do that, install the Elementor plugin. It’s an intuitive, drag-and-drop tool used by millions that allow you to build web pages and complex visual layouts. Elementor has a free version that gives you access to most features.
Now, you have everything set up. From here on, you can add additional plugins and optimize your site for both SEO and page speed.
Pick A Niche
Choose an industry that you are interested in and has potential. Select some topics within that field, narrow it down, and there you go – you have your niche. For ideas, take a look at this list from Scaleo.
Make A List of Products & Services And Sign Up For Their Affiliate Program
If your topic is email marketing, you’ll want to promote email marketing providers. If it’s tech, you might want to look for a laptop. Find products and services that are in the realms of your niche.
Amazon can be a good starting point since it has all sorts of products.
Affiliate networks make it even simpler to find brands and sign up for their programs. Later, we’re going to discuss them and bring some examples.
Craft Content That’s Centered Around The Products
Content: the core part of your affiliate marketing strategy.
A way to establish credibility, build brand authority, and of course, make sales.
It gives you the opportunity to show your audience the features of a product, present a service and explain why it will better their life. Long-form content and detailed reviews typically do the best.
Expert roundups, where you ask well-known people in your space about their tips or recommendations, are also something you can go with.
When it comes to content, you don’t want to compromise on quality. Put out educational posts, cite resources, and show why your readers need the product, instead of forcing them into buying.
As for disclosing affiliate links, you probably noticed the disclaimer at the beginning of the article. That’s exactly what you need to put in your blog posts. To ensure transparency, regulators made it a requirement t inform your audience that you are using affiliate links on your website. Having a small disclosure placed in the introductory part of your post will be just enough.
Needless to say, you want to traffic to your website. Someone needs to read the articles and buy through those affiliate links. That why optimizing your blog posts and your website to SEO is essential.
Here’s a list to make the process easier for you:
Promote Your Brand
Posting on social media and can vastly expand your reach. Presenting your brand and building a following is going to further your affiliate marketing business quite a bit. And you can automate social media entirely with a tool like CoSchedule.
Building an email list is something you should also consider.
That will enable you to connect with your audience on a more personal level and send them specific promotions and affiliate deals. If you’re wondering which email marketing provider to choose, check out Sendinblue: it is a marketing platform with complex automation and segmentation features, it has a free plan.
The money part
There is no limitation on the money you can make as an affiliate marketer. It all comes down to the program you signed up for, the niche you chose, and the work and effort you put into it.
Michelle Schroeder- Gardner, founder of Making Sense of Cents, made $64,828 in a single month from affiliate marketing alone.
And the best part is, it works passively. Every time someone buys something, you get paid – the checks will keep coming in without you doing anything with it.
High-Ticket Affiliate Marketing Programs Anyone Can Join
A popular web host provider that has plans starting around a few dollars a month.
An easy-to-use webpage builder plugin for WordPress. As of today, it powers 5 000 000+ websites.
A hosting provider that specializes in cloud-based managed hosting services. Liquid Web promises 99.999% uptime and 24/7 access to support.
All-in-one marketing automation powerhouse that offers a generous free plan.
Well-known eCommerce platform trusted by 1 700 000 businesses all over the world.
A reputable email marketing service provider that was founded in 1998.
A cloud-based platform that allows users to manage every aspect of their online business from a centralized dashboard. We’ve made a detailed review about Kartra, where we discussed its features and what it has to offer.
Clickbank is one of the largest affiliate networks that specializes in digital products.
They feature smaller merchants, which might be their biggest drawback. The merchants are not always trustworthy, so pay attention when browsing around.
ShareASale is an affiliate marketing network product headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
The platform offers 4000+ merchants in a wide range of categories, which means finding the right platform will not be difficult at all.
An affiliate network with over 900 000 members, that’s maintained by the eCommerce Titan, Amazon.
The advantage is that you can promote just about anything, physical or digital, and you get a commission for additional products your referred customer purchases.
The commission structure is percentage based and the most profitable items are clothing, shoes, and furniture, though the highest it gets is only 10%.
CJ Affiliate (Commission Junction)
As we mentioned in the introduction, CJ Affiliate is one of the oldest affiliate marketing networks. It was founded in 1998, in Santa Barbara, California and it’s owned by Public’s Groupe.
It has over 2000+ merchants and you can submit your applications individually from a centralized dashboard.
Formerly known as Impact Radius, Impact Partnership Cloud isn’t just a regular affiliate network. They are a SaaS partnership automation platform, which includes publishers, influencers, and business partners, aside from affiliate programs.
On the intuitive affiliate dashboard, you will have access to the custom link generator, banner ads, text-based promotion materials, and analytics.
Awin or Affiliate Window is a global affiliate network founded in 2000. As of 2020, they have 16500+ advertisers and 225000+ affiliates on their platform and they generated $182m in sales so far.
Additionally, they offer a Google Chrome extension, where you can generate custom affiliate links.
Examples of Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites
Making Sense of Cents
The Points Guy
Tips For Becoming A Successful Affiliate Marketer
Be The Expert
Without providing information and additional details about your product, your chances of making it in affiliate marketing are next to nothing.
Constantly going for the new thing isn’t effective at all – you must go in-depth.
You need to know what you’re selling, why you’re selling it, who’s the company behind it, is the product high quality and how is it going to benefit your readers.
Put Out Useful Content Consistently
This ties back to our first point. If you’ve done your due diligence and you’re confident the product you’re promoting is worth it buying, you can craft content around it.
That’s going to the backbone of your affiliate marketing operation. You need to create something that provides value and at the same time, encourages readers to make a purchase.
Long-form content with some call to action placed in it is ideal – and of course, consistency is a must.
Promote Products You Believe In
Being too salesy and promoting low-quality products to make a quick buck will not pay off at all.
It will alienate your readers, and in the long term, you’ll see that your audience trusts your audience, which is something that can cost you your entire business.
The solution is to choose products that:
match the topics you’re writing about
provide value for your readers
are top-notch quality
The More Specific You Are, The Better
We’ve talked about specificity quite a few times here, on our blog. Trying to reach everyone and hoping that you can get a tiny percentage of the traffic from a competitive market is by no means a viable strategy.
Niching-down and focusing on a particular topic, on the other hand, is much more effective. By digging down a little bit and spending time with research, you’ll find a niche that’s worthy to talk about, interests your target demographic, and haven’t been taken advantage of.
That’s how you are going to get those visitors you need to build up your following. And, once you have them, the goal is to make sure they are coming back and engaging with your brand, and the products you’re promoting.
Another aspect an affiliate marketer must pay attention to – or anyone who’s running an online business for that matter. You want to know which are the areas you excel in and where should you adjust. That’s the only way to attain success in affiliate marketing. The type of data you’d want to look at is the following.
The bottom line is, learning and knowing your strength and weaknesses is essential, no matter which industry or field you’re in.
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now. It’s not too late. Stop worrying about how saturated the affiliate marketing space is – 5, 10, 15 years from now, it’s going to be even more competitive.
There is potential for you to build a profitable affiliate marketing business and make a living off of it – it’s a great challenge to embark on.
Follow the steps and keep in mind the tactics we talked about earlier – that’s all you need to start a profitable marketing business.
The links you see here are affiliate links. This is how we support our site. Each time you click on our link and make a purchase, we receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
A beginner-friendly, drag-and-drop tool that makes graphic design a piece of cake - plus, it's completely free.
Create complex visual layouts and professional websites in seconds using the Elementor webpage builder plugin.
A complex email marketing tool that allows you to create unlimited opt-in forms and landing pages for free.
A marketing calendar and a social media scheduling tool combined. Try CoSchedule risk-free for 14 days.