Have you ever dreamt of earning an income online? We all have…
Did you know that it is possible?
And I’m not talking about a little side hustle. You can earn a passive income or even enough to replace your full time earnings.
There is so much bulls**t online about making money. But affiliate marketing is the real deal.
I’ve been an affiliate for over a decade. For the past 10 years I’ve also worked with thousands of affiliates as an affiliate Manager. Believe me, I have seen just how much they make.
Today I am going to show you how you can get started in affiliate marketing. It’s a long read but it’s worth it! So buckle up!
Below are the steps you’re going to follow;
- Find Your Niche
- Do Your Keyword Research
- Find a Domain Name
- Set Up Your Website
- Create Great Content
- Generate Traffic
First of all, let’s start at the beginning…
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a lot simpler than it sounds. (Even though many websites seem to over complicate it.)
As an affiliate you get money for recommending a company’s product or service.
You would pick products within a specific niche. Next you’d promote those products through your website. Or through other traffic sources such as Facebook, YouTube, or whatever marketing platform you choose to work with.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
When you join an affiliate program you will get given an affiliate link. This link is unique to you.
Your affiliate link might look something like this;
In this example, the number XXXXXX is the affiliate ID. This is a unique number to you and will be different for each affiliate.
The affiliate link will look different depending on which affiliate program you join. They do all work the same way though. (This one for example is from MoreNiche)
Now you have your link, what’s next?
Let’s say you have created a website on the fitness niche. You have written an article on fat burners.
In that article you have an overview of a product with your affiliate link. When someone clicks that it sends them to the offer page.
During the split second that they go from your website to the product website a small file is placed on their computer. This is known as a cookie. (Not the edible type unfortunately)
When they then go and purchase. The affiliate program will be able to link up this file with their own tracking to confirm that you sent the visitor.
They will then credit the sale into your account. Happy days, you just made a sale!
There are other tracking methods such as IP which works in a very similar way.
This cookie will have an expiration date. The length will depend on the affiliate program.
For example Amazon has 24 hours. So you only get credit sales in that 24 hour period.
Networks like MoreNiche do have lifetime cookies. This means you get credited sales even if they are placed several years in the future.
And that’s how it works…I hope you’re still with me?
Why Do Affiliate Marketing?
My answer to this is why wouldn’t you want to do affiliate marketing?
It is a serious question though. With different ways to make money online, why affiliate marketing…
The simple fact is….it’s a great way of making money.
Whether you are looking to make a little side hustle or enough to quit your job and work for yourself. (that’s the dream right?)
I just wanted to share with you a couple of reasons why I think affiliate marketing is worth doing…
Easy To Get Started
Affiliate marketing is really open to anyone. There are ZERO requirements to getting started.
You don’t need any experience or any kind of degree. It’s also possible to get started with little to no money.
So put simply, no matter your situation or background YOU can be successful at affiliate marketing.
You Don’t Need Stock
A way of making money online that people find appealing is selling your own products. I have looked into doing it myself.
I was always put off by having to deal with stock control, shipping and customer support. (they are not always right!)
You don’t have to worry about any of this with affiliate marketing. Just spend time building your website and growing the marketing empire.
Earn A Passive Income
You have heard the sales pitch. “Earn money whilst you sleep”. With affiliate marketing this is possible. (I love waking up to emails notifying me that I made a sale).
Building a website that ranks and generates traffic all day long, means you make sales all day too! So you can earn commissions whilst you’re not directly working on your website. (Obviously the more you work on it, the more you can make)
Work From Anywhere
Fancy working on a beach? Or how about by the pool? With affiliate marketing you can do it anywhere!
All you need is an internet connection.
Fancy going away somewhere?
Grab your laptop, get on the plane and earn an income from anywhere.
How Much Money Can You Make as An Affiliate?
How much do you want to make?
You can make as much or as little as you want. There is no maximum!
It does however depend on how much time and work you put into it.
Checkout the screenshot below. This shows what some affiliates have made in just one month!
This data is provided by MoreNiche. Names have been blurred out to protect privacy.
This is only a drop in the ocean for how much you could make through affiliate marketing.
I do want to manage your expectations though. Your commission will not look like this right away. Don’t let that put you off…hear me out…
The big commissions you see people earning takes time and a lot of hard work. Your commissions are going to be much smaller to begin with.
I wanted to show you the potential. There is nothing stopping you seeing commissions of $10,000, $20,000 for even $30,000 per month!
So now we know what you can earn….
Let’s get started on learning HOW to start affiliate marketing!
What You Need To Get Started
A great thing about affiliate marketing is the low entry bar. You don’t need a lot to get started.
Now lets be real, you will need to spend a little money to get started. You CAN get started with less than $100.
Like any business, you do need to put some money into it. If you do join the right affiliate program, you can make that back in just a couple of sales….
Here’s what you will need;
- An Idea on the niche of your site
- Domain Name
- Website Hosting
- WordPress (FREE)
- WordPress Theme (FREE & Paid options)
- Recommended Plugins (FREE)
- Time (as much as you are willing to put into it)
How To Start Affiliate Marketing In 6 Steps
I have broken this section down into steps. This really helps to simplify the process. It also makes sure no important steps are missed out.
Step 1. Find Your Niche
Now the first step is to actually find your niche. It might sound easy but its where many people do get stuck.
They want to find that “perfect” niche.
The problem is many people spend weeks if not months looking for their niche.
As a beginner I would recommend finding a niche that you have an interest in. This will make it easier for you to write content.
When you write about an interest of yours. That interest can really come through in your writing. Making it more engaging and keeping your readers attention.
That’s not the only reason…
You need to position yourself as an expert in your niche. If you know the niche then this is easier.
So, a question for you…
What are YOU interested in?
I have an exercise for you. It’s something I do every time I look for a new site to create.
Get some paper and a pen. Now write down a list of things that you are interested in. Continue writing the list until you cannot think of any more interests.
Here is a list of my interests:
Now you have the list, you need to see if you can actually make money from it. (No point in doing it otherwise)
Go to Google and search for “interest + Affiliate program”. You can also check out Amazon to see if they have related products. They usually do!
Now if I was to look at my list above. All of them except archery are pretty broad. They are also incredibly competitive.
What we need to do is look at how we can niche down…
First of all, what the hell is niching down?
We take our niche and see if there are any sub topics. With the examples above. Soup Makers or Air Fryers would be a sub topic of food.
With the fitness niche, Fat burning or even testosterone boosters would be a sub topic.
The idea is that instead of creating a website around fitness. I might start off with a ste around fat burners.
This is beneficial for a couple of reasons.
- Less Competition – Therefore easier to rank and generate sales
- More Relevance – Creating a site that has relevance can rank better.
So spend a little time and go through your list. See how you can niche these down.
Once you have narrowed them down, you need to pick your favourite.
Step 2. Keyword Research
Keyword research is often made to be more complicated than it actually is. So, let’s break it down…
When someone types something in Google or another search engine, they are typing in a keyword.
Keyword research is all about finding keywords that are;
- Related to your chosen niche
- Being searched by people
Now there are a number of tools that do this. Ahrefs is great and does offer a free keyword research tool. – https://ahrefs.com/keyword-generator
How do you use Ahrefs Keyword Generator?
The keyword generator from ahrefs is easy to use. You can get a decent list of keywords within minutes.
Check out this video on me doing some simple keyword research.
You should’ve got a decent list of keywords now. You want to keep them all in a spreadsheet for when you plan your content a step further down in this guide…
Step 3. Find a domain name
Now you have your chosen niche. You need to find yourself a domain name.
So what is a domain name?
A domain name is simply the name of your website. I like to think of our website as a building. The domain is the address to access your building.
There are different domain extensions, the most common being .com. I would always recommend going for a .com unless your was targeting a specific country such as the UK.
What should you pick for a domain name?
Now is the fun part. Picking your domain name.
This is going to be your website’s brand. So you want it to be good but also fit with the niche of your website.
Depending on how competitive the niche is, would impact how easy it is for you to find a domain name you like. (I have spent countless hours looking for domain names)
Tips for picking your domain name
Here are a couple of tips I like to follow when picking a domain name. (These do make it easier to find a good one)
- Keep it short
- Focus on just getting a .com
- Try and make it easy to remember
- Make sure its easy to spell
- Try and include your main niche keyword in the domain. Not as important but I still tend to do it. (And see results)
Hopefully now you have some ideas on potential domain names. You can use namecheap.com to see if they are available or not.
You can get the domain name from your host. I prefer to buy this separately from NameCheap.
Here we have a quick video showing you how to purchase a domain name.
Step 4. Getting Your Website Hosting
The third step in this affiliate marketing for beginners guide is setting up your hosting. (It’s not as hard as it used to be).
You can have your hosting up and running in less than 10 minutes.
So the domain name was the address to your website. The hosting is the plot of land where your website is. (I do like the housing analogy…)
It’s important to have a good plot of land for your site.
Search engines such as Google like your website to be fast.
For a beginner in affiliate marketing SiteGround is a good host to go for. (I have used them myself in the past)
Low cost to get started. Includes free email and SSL Certificate.
You can often get yourself a SiteGround discount code as well. So you can save a little more.
Which SiteGround Plan Should You Choose?
SiteGround has 3 plans to choose from. I would recommend GrowBig.
It has everything you need. But it does also give you the room to grow and expand. (I would NEVER recommend GoGeek. Cheaper to go for a premium hosting at that price!)
If you got your domain when you got the hosting, you can skip this step
Step 5. Set up your website
Now things start to get really exciting. By the end of this step your website will be up and running!
The first thing you need to do is install wordpress. This is incredibly easy to do.
In fact if you went through SiteGround it will be installed in just a few clicks. Check out the video below to show you step by step.
Your website is now set up. Okay it might be a bit basic and empty but it’s YOURS!
Connecting Our Domain Name & Hosting
Next we need to point our domain to our host. This is basically saying “This is the address to my plot of land”
We basically go into NameCheap and point the Nameservers to the ones provided by SiteGround. Don’t worry, I have included a step by step video below…
Installing Your Free SSL
One of the great things about SiteGround for beginners is the free SSL certificate you get.
A SSL certificate basically gives you the https. This shows people that your website is secure. Previously this was just needed for sites you place your card details on.
Now it’s recommended that ALL websites have one. Google even gives a ranking bump to those that have it.
Below is a video to show how to set up your FREE SSL certificate…
Adding A Theme To Your Website
Now it’s time to make your website look good. You can keep the default theme but I would suggest updating to a nice theme.
The theme itself will not just make the site look better. Many also offer more customization and better SEO.
You can get some great free themes such as Astra and GeneratePress. I would recommend looking at a paid theme. These usually offer better options and improved speed/SEO.
Both GeneratePress & Astra offer paid versions.
Adding a Theme is incredibly easy.
In WordPress, on the left hand navigation you just want to hover over appearance and click Themes.
This will take you to the themes you have installed. WordPress does come with some by default. To add different ones you want to click Add New.
Next you will see the themes that are available. You can either go through these or use the search box to find a theme if you know the name.
If you paid for a premium theme then you may need to upload the zip file. Simply click Upload Theme.
Finally once you have found one you like. Click the Install button. This will install the theme.
The install button will be replaced by activate. Simply click that to activate that theme on your site.
NOTE: If you have already done your site in a theme, changing the theme could impact the way it looks. Make sure to back up your website first, before changing themes.
Recommended WordPress Plugins
The last thing you might want to do in this step is install and set up your plugins.
What are plugins?
Plugins give your website additional functionality. As well as adding extra customisation. There are thousands of plugins but there are only a couple essential plugins..
The free plugins I would recommend you use are;
- Rank Math SEO
- Link Whisperer
- Contact Form 7
- Insert Headers and Footers
- Simple Author Box
So exactly how do you install them?..
Above is a screenshot of the wordpress dashboard. Hover over plugins and click add new. You can see what plugins you already have set up by clicking installed plugins.
Next you will see a list of all plugins available in wordpress. You can also use the search box to find a specific plugin.
Once you know which one you want, click install now. This will then change to activate. Clicking this will turn the plugin on.
NOTE: some plugins do require certain settings to get it set up correctly.
Step 6. Creating Content
Great work for sticking with me on this guide!
So at this point you should give yourself a pat on the back. You have picked a niche, a domain name and even got your very own website up and running. GO YOU!
These are BIG steps to starting your own affiliate marketing business.
The next couple of steps are all about adding content to your site. This is a BIG topic.
Even though I will be covering it, there will be more in-depth training on content creation in other articles.
Types of content
A good website will have a balance of different types of content. Some content is about helping you make sales.
There are however other types of content that are added to try and build traffic to funnel to your money pages. Or it’s just there to build backlinks to your site.
You should always remember 1 thing
ALL CONTENT SHOULD HAVE A REASON TO BE THERE
Don’t just write content for the sake of it. Each piece should be relevant, well researched and focused on specific keywords.
In this section, I’m going to go through the different types.
1. Individual Product Reviews
The first type of content is individual product reviews. This type of review will normally go through things such as what it is, how it works, features, benefits, etc.
The search volume for this content is usually lower. It’s less competitive and conversion is higher. Because people are looking for that specific product.
2. Best XYZ / Product Roundups
Next we have the Best XYZ style content. These are also “money” pages. (this basically means the main focus is to generate revenue from them).
This type of content would be a roundup of products within the same niche.
For example: Best Fat Burners.
Since it’s a roundup post, it will feature a list of the best products. Often featuring a bullet pointed list as well as an overview of each product.
It may also feature a buyers guide. Going into a bit of detail on the products such as what they are and what to look for when looking to buy one.
3. Supporting Content
Supporting content is the third type of content you will want on your website. Supporting content can be very POWERFUL.
This type of content basically supports your money content. As an example you have the best testosterone booster page. A supporting piece could be “Foods that increase testosterone”.
You would then link from the supporting content to your money page. This helps in two ways;
- It helps to funnel traffic from informational content to money focused content. This helps to increase your conversions.
- An internal link is good for SEO. Any backlinks your support content gets passes the link juice (or power) through to your money page. Money pages are normally very hard to build backlinks to.
This is also known as siloing or silo content (more on this in other articles)
4. Link Bait Content
The final type of content you want on your website is link bait content. This is NOT the same as click bait. (which I hate btw!)
With this content the aim is to not really build traffic, as it’s going to be competitive. We use this content to build backlinks to.
These backlinks are then pointed to our money content that we want to rank.
How does it work?
With your keyword research you would find keywords that are very competitive. These will normally have more people linking to them, as this is what makes them competitive.
You would then write a better version of that article and then contact those linking to the original. The idea is to then ask for a link back to your better version.
This type of content is usually saved until you have a decent amount of the other content types published.
Creating A Content Plan
I would recommend creating a content plan. It helps you to be more organized. (My wife laughs at my obsession with planning everything)
There is a reason why it will help you.
I’ll go into that in a moment.
First I’ll explain what a content plan is…
Put simply, it’s a spreadsheet that contains a list of content you would plan to write for your website.
Here is an example of one I have been working on.
Your content plan should include;
- Article title
- Main keyword
- Keyword difficulty & volume
- Top 3 competitors
- Average word count
So why should you create a content plan?
Writing Your Content
Now It’s Time You Start Working On Your Content!
7. Traffic Generation
You are now on the final step! Great job!
This last step is all about getting traffic to your website. Without traffic you are not going to be making sales.
Not all traffic is good traffic….
Now before I get into the different ways to get traffic.
It’s REALLY important that you understand that not all traffic is good.
There are two types of traffic targeted and untargeted.
I would much prefer 100 people to visit my site that are targeted than 10,000 people that are not.
Targeted traffic is generally looking for or is interested in what you are promoting. So you should expect much better conversions.
You also have to understand where the visitors are in the buying cycle. For example if you have someone that is thinking about losing a bit of weight.
They are not yet ready to purchase a specific product, so very little point pushing a product to them.
This type of traffic needs to be educated and put into a funnel to help get them further down the buying cycle.
So hopefully now you know what type of traffic you are wanting to get. Where do you get it from?
SEO is my go to type of traffic generation. It’s the one that I have the most experience in.
I have also classed this as content marketing, since it uses written content to rank in Google to generate traffic.
So to get this type of traffic, you will need to do your keyword research. Find the terms in your niche that people are searching for in Google.
You would then write content around this term and related terms. Whilst writing you want to make sure you include the keyword within the content and also do onpage SEO.
This is includes thing such as;
- Adding keyword in the title
- Using headers that also have the keyword(s) in them
- Include keywords and related keywords in content
- Add images and use ALT tags
- Add title and description meta tags
There is more to onpage SEO, if it is something you are new to. You can find more information on it within AM Ninjas.
As well as the onpage elements a part of SEO is to also build back links to your website. These are links from other peoples websites that point to yours.
These act like a “vote” and these websites are stating yours is the better website.
Link building is a big subject with a lot of controversy. Again you can find more information on it in AM Ninjas.
The biggest advantage to SEO and content creation is that the traffic is generally free. (Unless you’re paying for links.)
Traffic from SEO usually converts better. This is because you are targeting specific keywords. So you can manage how targeted the traffic is.
Now there are different types of paid traffic. You have your typical PPC where you use services such as Google Adwords and pay per click to your site.
This is usually pretty targeted as you are picking the keywords to appear for. However it is usually more expensive.
You then have paid platforms such as Facebook or Instagram. You can create ads and target specific audiences. It is however generally cold traffic. So even though it works out cheaper, you do need to put the traffic into a funnel to get it interested in what you are promoting.
Next up we have social traffic. This is traffic that comes from social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and even TikTok. More often than not the traffic is colder.
So you do need to make sure you run them through a good marketing funnel…
It is generally free traffic, although it does take a lot of time and effort to build up a good following.
One thing to make sure you do is target social media sites that are relevant to your niche.
For example if its a visual niche such as food or fitness, then Instagram would potentially be a better option than say twitter or linkedin .
At the same time if you are in the making money niche, instagram might not be as good as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.
Basically focus on social media accounts that your audience would be using.
The last type is video. Now you could class this as social but I like to think it as a different method. There are so many different things to think about when it comes to video.
This is more targeted traffic, as people are typically searching YouTube for specific keywords.
It’s free like SEO, unless you consider the cost of time and production of videos. It can however be worth it, as there is a lot of traffic to be had through YouTube.
Now its important to remember that video, does take a lot of time and dedication. You generally have to record, edit and create the video.
Like I said though, the traffic could potentially be worth it.
There you have it! If you manage to get here then you should give yourself a “pat” on the back.
I really hope you have found this article interesting and useful.
If you are new to affiliate marketing, hopefully this mini guide will help you.
By following it you should have picked your niche, got a site online and also started working on traffic.
I hope this affiliate marketing for beginners guide has helped clear up some of the confusions around affiliate marketing. I hope things are easier to understand.