Some people claimed that affiliate marketing is dead. That it is a thing in the past and you can’t make money with affiliate marketing anymore. However, each affiliate commission that I’m making on website reminds me that affiliate marketing is very much alive.
So, how do you start an affiliate marketing website? And generate a constant stream of online passive income.
In this article, I’m going to show you how I’ve created a website that generates sufficient income to pay my bills and more using only affiliate marketing. It is not a get-rich-quick strategy nor can I guarantee you overnight success.
Before we move on, let’s take a look at what affiliate marketing is all about.
What Is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a marketing model where affiliates refer customers to vendors and make a commission from the purchases made. It sounds similar to referrals in brick and mortar businesses except that affiliate marketing happens online.
There are a few parameters that determined whether you qualified for making that commitment.
- You need to sign up for the affiliate program. (more on this later)
- The user needs to click onto an affiliate link on your website and be directed to the vendor’s website.
- The purchase needs to be made within the cookie period. Cookies are files stored on your browser to track your online usage and activities.
You’ll also want to check out other terms and conditions set by various vendors that may affect the payout of the commissions. For instance, you can’t use your own affiliate link to generate earning for your own account.
Why Affiliate Marketing?
To be frank, there are various models that you can use to generate an income online. Some people run e-commerce websites while others do dropshipping on eBay.
Bloggers often put up advertisements like Adsense hoping to generate some money, but often failed due to the lack of massive volume of traffic needed.
Some sell e-Books on Amazon Kindle or promote them on their websites.
Nevertheless, affiliate marketing has been my all-time favorite. Here are the reasons.
- You don’t need to keep inventories, shipping and handle returns.
- You don’t need to deal with unhappy customers.
- You don’t need massive traffic to start making decent money.
- It generates income continuously even if you stop working on it.
- The more you grow your website, the more time you’ll have.
I have to admit that I’m quite lazy and that means the notion of leveraging on people and technology as the website grows makes it an attractive income generation model for me.
But to get there, be prepared to work very hard for it.
How Do You Start An Affiliate Marketing Website
You may have come across a few articles teaching you how to create affiliate marketing websites and they may employ different strategies. My way of creating income generating website lies on the power of FREE traffic. And that means getting them ranked on Google.
It also means that I’m not doing any social engagement, paid advertisement, and other promotional efforts for my websites. Free traffic is always the best traffic for me.
So, let’s get started.
1. Identify A Niche
Before you even decide on a domain name, you’ll want to identify a niche that you’ll want to market to. Here is where most affiliate marketing newbies made mistakes, including me.
A niche is NOT products. Kitchen knives are not a niche. Neither is cat foods.
While you’ll get varying definition on what a niche is. For me, it’s a group of people sharing a common set of problems. And as affiliate marketers, we’re trying to help them solve problems.
Get that right.
If you want to be successful in affiliate marketing, you need to solve problems and let the vendors handle the sales. Try being a slick salesman and your readers may just get turned off.
Ok, let’s get back to finding a niche.
Female cat lovers in their 30s is a good niche.
So is stay-at-home moms who love baking cupcakes.
A niche that does well for affiliate marketing shouldn’t be too broad. Neither should it be too narrow. What’s more important is that you have to be highly passionate in, especially if it’s your first website.
Note that I mention passionate and not expertise because you don’t need to be an expert to be a successful affiliate marketer.
2. Find Profitable Products
Generally, there are two broad categories of products you can promote as an affiliate marketer. Physical and digital products. I’m going to use physical products in this article, but the same concept can be applied for digital ones.
Having a passion will last you a while in the initial phase when you build the website. But sooner or later, you’ll need to make money.
It is important that the niche you’re passionate about have profitable products to promote.
How do you find profitable products?
- Go to Amazon.com
- Search for a product related to your niche. e.g. ‘stainless steel kitchen knives’. Check out the number of reviews on the top-rated items. Anything below 50 means they are pretty slow moving.
- It’s also great if the products within your niche are priced between $50 – $150. Because anything below $50 gives you lesser earning and expensive products are harder to convert.
- You can also run a quick search on Google and check out if vendors are paying to advertise. Check out how Ikea is paying for the top spot in my region.
3. Get A Domain And Create A WordPress Website
You’ve found a niche that you’re in love in and it has ample profitable products for you to market. Now you’ll want to pick a brandable name for your website.
Gone were the days that you need to pick a keyword-matching name for your domain to rank high on Google. Names like “StainlessSteelKnives.com” don’t work anymore. And it’s not something that stands out as a brand.
Instead, go for domain names like “MomsCutlery.com” or “CupcakesGalore.com”.
After you’ve bought the domain, you’ll need to create a WordPress website on a web hosting provider.
But why WordPress?
Because it powers most of the websites worldwide. It’s easy to manage and there are helpful plugins you can use to enhance your website.
As for hosting your website, there are many reliable providers, like Bluehost. However, my websites are hosted at the online marketing platform where I’ve been a premium member for years.
4. Search For Affiliate Programs
Before you can make a dime online, you’ll need to sign up for affiliate programs for the products or services you’re going to promote.
Regardless of the niche, you’re in, there will be some sort of affiliate programs that you can sign up to. Some affiliate networks require a live website to register while others just need the domain name.
Here are some of the most popular affiliate programs.
You can also search for more affiliate network for what you’re promoting by searching on Google. Type the name of the product + ‘affiliate program’ and you’ll have a list of relevant results.
For instance, here are what you’ll get for searching “kitchen knives + affiliate program”
My personal favorite affiliate program for physical products is Amazon. That’s because it is an established brand and there’s little you need to do except sending traffic to Amazon.
While it has a relatively short cookie period, you’ll get a cut for every single product ordered by the user, even if it’s not what you’re promoting.
You’ll only need a select few affiliate programs to start making money with affiliate marketing.
4. Keywords Research
Remember that I mention that you don’t need to spend on hours social media trying to get followers or spend excessively on paid advertising? And that the free traffic from Google is all that you need?
The idea here is to have articles from your website appearing on the first page of Google whenever someone searches for info or product.
That’s how keywords research come into play.
It’s the process of identifying keywords that people are actually searching and have relatively low competitors. The latter is important because it’s foolish to go head-ons with a large number of competitors, especially when you’re a brand new website.
Keyword research is also a must-do step before you create any articles on your website.
There are various keyword research tools on the internet. If you’re tight on the budget, you can use to the Google Keyword Planner, which is free.
Searching “stainless steel kitchen knives” returns an average monthly result of 100 – 1k. It is a rough figure but you can’t complain when the Keyword Planner is free to use.
I’m using a professional tool designed for affiliate marketers which provides more accurate data. Here’s how the same keyword search looks at Jaaxy.
The keyword has an average of 104 searches a month and the QSR value indicates direct competing pages ranking for the same keyword. In this case, there are 81 of them.
5. Write And Publish Articles
The next step after you have a list of keywords is to flesh them out in great articles. Remember that you’re trying to get ranked on Google. Google is a search engine and has the motivation to return the most relevant results to the users.
With this in mind, you’ll want to create the most in-depth article that gave the users everything they wanted to know on that specific search phrase.
Does this mean that you need to be a terrific writer?
Getting ranked on Google and generating income has nothing with perfect grammar. It’s rather about communicating with your readers effectively. If you’re able to produce intelligible texts that convey your thoughts, that’s more than good enough.
Of course, you can always hire freelance writers to produce the articles, but I’ll recommend that you get your hands dirty to know what works and what not when creating articles in your niche.
6. On-page SEO
Write, publish and the articles will hit the first page of Google?
Sorry, but that’s not how it works.
You’ll need to understand and apply on-page SEO on your website, or specifically on each article of your website. There’s no link-buying, PBN or shady black-hat SEO practices involved. And you don’t want to overstuff the keywords in the article either.
To learn what are the on-page SEO strategies that I’ve used, check out this article.
And don’t expect your pages to hit page #1 overnight. It takes time, especially if your website is brand new. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you some fancy service that you never need.
Consistency is key to building a successful marketing website. This means maintaining a regular publishing schedule.
Leveraging On Tools For Success
Building an affiliate marketing website is not rocket science. There are lots of information regarding this topic on the internet. However, I believe that it helps when you have a structured learning environment that you can leverage upon.
You grow faster as an affiliate marketer when working in a community of super affiliates. One such community exists on this affiliate marketing platform that I’ve been a part of since 2016. It will take me longer to be successful had it not from the training that I’ve received from the program.
Anyway, I hope that you have a better idea of building an affiliate marketing website from this guide.
Hey, it’s Kenny here. I’m a single dad, freelance writer, an affiliate marketer. I have been making a living online since 2016, after quitting a 10-years engineering profession. When I’m not on the laptop, I’ll be in the kitchen experimenting with new cuisines.