If you want to start an affiliate marketing business, then you’re not alone. It might be difficult to go from wishing to doing, but you’ve come to the right place to make that change by yourself.
It’s easy to start planning your affiliate marketing career: think about what you can promote, how your blog might look, what content you want to write about, etc.
Actually doing something about it is a whole different story, though.
Maybe you don’t know how to start. Maybe you’re hesitant about getting a domain and hosting.
There are many reasons why someone doesn’t take that first step, but don’t worry; I’ll help you there.
Let’s get started.
Let’s set up some expectations
Now, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to generate passive income.
If you want to make money without having to tie yourself to a full-time schedule, then the effort you’ll invest in affiliate marketing will be worth it.
However, a lot of gurus try to sell it as a way to make quick money with minimum investment, and that’s only half true.
Specifically, the only truth in those statements is that it doesn’t require a lot of money.
You can start your own affiliate business with about $100 monthly, and that greatly depends on which tools you get and the hosting service you decide to use.
You can get a domain for about $15 yearly and hosting for about the same amount every month, at least using what most people recommend.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and go for something like Bluehost, you could start with between $30 and $50 for the entire year.
That’s because Bluehost starts at $2.95 for their cheaper plan, and that comes with a free domain.
That makes up around $36 for the entire year, and even the more advanced plans won’t break your budget.
With that in mind, it’s far from a “get rich quick” scheme. You need to put in a lot of effort if you want to start making money in few months, and that’s still the exception.
It’s usually at least a year before you start making a noticeable income, depending on how many sales you make every month and your commissions in relation with the price of the products you promote.
That being said, it’s completely possible to make an entire living out of affiliate marketing, and lots of people end up replacing their full-time jobs with their affiliate income.
These people put in as much effort as they can, for it’s the same as starting any other type of business.
Finally, you don’t really need any tech experience—like coding or programming—since most platforms offer intuitive ways to design your pages and posts.
You’ll have a difficult time finding a CMS platform that requires you to mess with code when programming; most offer this as an option, but it’s never necessary.
Besides, this guide is for complete beginners, so don’t expect me to go crazy recommending you to get a degree in computer science or anything like that.
You want to start by identifying your niche
When it comes to online entrepreneurship, finding a niche is paramount.
Offering products from every industry might sound great: it lets you target even more people.
However, not only does that mean learning less about every category, it also makes your website lose focus and feel disorganized.
None of those things are good for any affiliate marketer.
You want to become an authority in your niche; the more you specialize, the better your content will be.
The result will also be that people trust you a lot more, thus they’ll be more willing to buy what you recommend.
Another very important thing is to pick a niche you like and can feel passionate about.
That will make it a lot easier to feel motivated to write new content, and learning more about it will become something you actively enjoy.
It’s also worth noting that if you go for a niche you actually consume from, it’ll be 10 times easier to get into the head of your audience.
After all, you’d likely desire the same things since you already enjoy the same things.
This will dictate more than a few things
Another vital reason for picking a niche is how much of your business will depend on it.
Yes, your products will come from your niche, and your business depends on those products, but that’s not the whole story.
You want to ensure your website feels like it belongs to the niche you’re in.
All niches tend to have their own “feel” manifesting via repeating patterns; color palettes, terminology, type of content, and similar elements will vary depending on the niche you’re in.
Once you’ve chosen a niche, the next step should be to research your future competitors.
Take note of all patterns you see repeating between the different sites and implement them while offering your own twist.
Don’t copy; you never want to do that both for legal and strategic reasons.
However, you do want people who visit your website to infer your niche properly after they land on your homepage.
The same goes for your content. You must offer relevant content to your niche.
If you’re selling pet products, you can’t write about musical composition; you want to offer content that’s useful for pet owners: your target audience.
Even your website’s domain will depend on your niche. It’s important for your domain to be related to the niche you’re focusing on.
Don’t worry, I’ll get into domains in the next section.
Just keep in mind how important is to choose your niche correctly, for your entire business will build on it.
Get your website into the internet
Alright, now that you’ve identified your niche, it’s time to create your website.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll divide this process into 4 parts: from its name all the way to ranking it on search engines.
Let’s have a look, then.
I’ll cover keyword research in the last step, but you should identify the most important keywords for the niche you’re in.
If you’re going for the music niche, then main keywords would be: music, guitar, drums, music production, musician, and other words like specific instruments if you want to focus on that.
Take note of the words that come to your mind whenever you think about your niche.
Then, think about which of these words you can use for your website’s name.
This is another way in which your niche affects your site’s design.
Once you have a name—preferably a list with a few—it’s time to get your domain.
In case you don’t know, your domain name is the URL that houses your website. Amazon’s domain name is amazon.com, for instance, and Instagram’s is instagram.com.
You get the point.
It’s time to grab the lists of names you have and check their availability.
There are plenty of tools you can use for this purpose.
Now, the next step would be to register this domain, but if you decide to go for Bluehost, you can register your domain for free, so feel free to skip that for now.
When deciding your domain, take a few things into consideration.
Firstly, you want to make sure your name is specific enough to build a brand around it; however, you don’t want it to be too specific to prevent you from branching out into new products within your niche.
In other words, it’s better to name it after your niche instead of after a single product.
The other important consideration is to stick to .com domains.
It might be tempting to switch to other extensions, but they perform a lot worse than its .com counterpart.
This is the main reason why I recommend you list several names. If you find exactly the name you want, but it’s not a .com domain, then you might be making a mistake by going for it.
Alright, hosting is a lot simpler than finding your domain.
It’s a lot more technical, sure, but you just need to worry about choosing a good company that will take care of the difficult side of things.
Basically, hosting refers to keeping entire websites in servers.
Hosting companies register your domain in their servers and take care of keeping it live and working properly.
Since they’re responsible for your website’s security and stability, it’s important to research your prospects enough to be 100% sure they won’t fail you.
That’s why I recommend Bluehost; It’s my personal favorite, and it’s served me and countless other people well.
It’s even the service recommended by WordPress.
Once you make your choice, the rest is easy.
You just need to head over to their official website, choose a plan that fits your needs and budget, create an account, and pay.
If you go for Bluehost, you’ll be asked to register your domain name for free during your account creation.
After you’ve created your account, password, and all that, you must install WordPress.
Thankfully, Bluehost also takes care of this for you, so you’re free to hop into WordPress and start working.
Now, there are many CMS platforms available, but I recommend WordPress because it’s free and unbelievably flexible.
You can find free themes and plugins to make designing easier and add more features to your website as well.
Once you hop into WordPress and install your theme, feel free to play around the dashboard until you get used to everything.
Once you’re familiarized with it, you can start designing your website.
The theme you chose will most likely arrange everything for you.
Your only task will be to edit the layout and add your own content until it looks the way you want to. When it comes to content, it’s basically divided into pages and posts.
Those are the most important ones, so make sure to start with those.
Keep in mind you need to be 100% transparent about being an affiliate marketer.
Other useful sections might include an FAQ, testimonials for your products, etc. Make sure you cover the critical pages first before getting creative.
Then, we have posts. These are simply your articles and blog entries. If you’ve used Word or Google Docs, you have a solid foundation to work on your posts with WordPress.
Formatting is almost the same, but it’s more important to get things right. You have text types—different heading levels and paragraphs—lists, fonts, size, bold, italics, etc.
Of course, you can add hyperlinks, which is what you’ll use to link to your offers.
You can save your posts as drafts in case you want to write several and publish them periodically one by one, too.
Finally, once you hit “publish,” your website is live.
Now, you can just write anything you want and publish it, but that’s not the ideal approach if you want to rank your website on search engines. That’s where SEO and—most importantly— keyword research comes in.
Now, SEO includes a lot of variables you need to consider, and I’d recommend you research this topic yourself.
I can cover the basics, but you should consider watching tutorials and courses to grasp this concept fully; you also want to stay on top of any relevant changes to search engines.
When it comes to SEO, two of the most critical aspects are loading speed and uptime.
These depend on your hosting service for the most part. You also want to avoid using too many high-resolution images and videos on your website to keep a healthy loading speed; the same goes for installing too many plugins.
However, for bloggers, SEO mostly boils down to keywords. Keywords are the words and phrases people use when looking for something in Google and other engines.
For instance, you probably landed in this article after searching “how to create an affiliate marketing blog”; that’s a key phrase you could target if you were writing a similar article.
Research your keywords
Keywords will come from your niche. Just like you did for your domain, start brainstorming relevant words you identify with your products and niche.
Then, use those words to form phrases and find related terms you’d use if you were looking for your products or the information provided in your website.
You can search similar products in online stores if you want to find more keywords. Take note of the words and phrases that repeat the most.
Once you have your list, you should check out how competitive they are. You want to target keywords that people are likely to search, but that not many websites are using.
For instance, “how to build an affiliate marketing blog” is probably very competitive, so you could target “how to build an affiliate marketing blog for beginners easy steps”.
The same goes for any niche you’re in, and a solid rule of thumb is that the closer you can get your keywords to your affiliate products, the lower the chances for hard competition.
Once you have identified your keywords, try to use them in all posts you write.
There are some keywords you’ll want to repeat in all articles, and there are others more specific to the topic you’re dealing with. Just repeat the same steps I mentioned, and you should be fine.
Finally, don’t overdo it with your keywords. A good standard is to use each keyword a couple of times every 500 words.
Also, there are tools like Yoast SEO, which can make wonders for your SEO work. You should definitely consider investing in them if you want to make your life a lot easier; it basically analyzes your content and comes up with suggestions to improve your ranking.
Become an affiliate
The last step is to find your products to start writing content and selling them.
Finding affiliate programs today is as easy as typing your niche or product into Google and adding “affiliate program.”
You’ll be greeted with countless offers from different websites, but make sure you go for reputable ones.
You want to research all your potential programs and read their conditions carefully.
Some require you to work exclusively with them, and I’d personally recommend you avoid them unless they’re from a huge company that’s guaranteed to last a good while, has a good reputation, and can offer you more money than any other offer you find.
That’s because you want to try and offer different products from different programs.
You’re not in control of their conditions, and you could find yourself without a product if they stop producing it.
You always want a safety net, and several products offer that. You can also find products to promote on Clickbank or the Amazon Associates program. Udemy is also filled with courses you can market.
If you followed these steps, then you’re already an affiliate marketer.
Now, the most important advice I want to give you before you go is to prioritize your content. Your content comes first, and sales come from that content.
If you write compelling and valuable articles, people will want to buy your product without you even inviting them.
The key to a good successful site is to focus on offering the best content you can.
If you can provide meaningful insights to help people’s lives, then your content will do the rest of the work for you.
In the end, that’s exactly how passive income works. Don’t forget it!