One of the legitimate business opportunities I previously mentioned for making money online was earning money from your own website.
In this post, I will explain how to get started building your own affiliate marketing business.
What is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way for a company to sell its products by signing up individuals or companies (“affiliates”) who market the company’s products for a commission.
Put very simply, as an affiliate marketer, you promote products developed by someone else. You find a product you like and trust. You promote it to others via your website or social media. You earn a commission when a sale is made that comes from your recommendation. The sales are tracked via special affiliate links.
As this is very cost-effective, affiliates are only paid when a sale is completed, more and more companies are using this form of marketing.
What is an affiliate?
An affiliate is someone who markets or provides information about a product or service for the company that offers it for sale. When a customer follows a link from the affiliate’s website to the seller’s website and they continue the process to buy the product the affiliate receives a commission.
Why choose affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing can be a great business for many people (stay at home parents, pensioners, students, someone who has a regular job and wants to make some extra cash) If you’re willing to put in the work this could be for you, however, if you think this could be an easy way of earning some quick money don’t consider this.
As an affiliate marketer, you can start your business from your own home almost immediately. You should find affiliate marketing enjoyable, researching, learning about, and writing about a subject that interests you. Also, you have the flexibility to work when and where you want.
You will need a website and you will have to write content, this will take a certain time and is quite a lot of work, but it is possible to do all this without spending any or very little money.
Some of the benefits of affiliate marketing
- One great advantage is that you don’t need to buy the actual products that you sell. With most online businesses selling products you need to spend money before you start to have some stock.
- The product is produced by the seller, your job is just to promote the product
- The seller is responsible for delivery and customer service
- You are not responsible for any refunds
- All payment processing is managed by the merchant
How to start in affiliate marketing?
Before starting I hope you realize affiliate marketing takes work, but not just any work. You have to do things that will make your affiliate marketing business model work. If you simply create a website with affiliate links and you expect people to click on your links and buy, you are going to be disappointed.
The key to finding success with affiliate programs is to build a content-rich website with useful information centered around a specific topic or theme, your niche. It is important to remember that for your affiliate marketing to work, you need to provide value to your readers, first and foremost you should think of helping rather than just thinking of selling.
Choose a niche
Ideally, choose something you like or are interested in, something you can write about, and something that you will be happy to learn about. The more you enjoy doing something the less it feels like a job and the more productive you are going to be.
A niche is really a group of people who may be looking for a certain product or searching for a solution to a certain problem. When you choose your niche, don’t choose a niche that is too large. Your niche needs to be focused. That means you need to choose a very narrow topic and stick to it, so you can position your blog or site as a true niche blog. It is explained very well in the article below.
- rather than choosing a broad topic such as dogs, you could choose a niche topic such as dog training or even more focused train your dog not to bark.
- instead of choosing health as your niche, which is too broad, you could target knee joint pain.
When people search on the web they look for something specific, they do not search for “dogs” or “health” but for “how to stop my dog from barking” or “how to stop knee joint pain”
Our job is to provide answers to these questions. Obviously, we cannot answer all the questions on a broad subject so we need to narrow down the subject to a specific problem and create a website that will become an authority site.
Can you make money in any niche?
Once you have chosen your niche you should verify that you can make some money. Here are a couple of things you should consider:
- how many sales do you need to make to earn a profit that is acceptable to you (if you are an affiliate with Amazon you will earn say 6% from each sale if your product sells for $20 you will make only $1,20 per sale, how many sales will you have to make to earn what you need)
- are there related niches that you could branch off into
- are there many affiliate programs in your niche
If you are happy that you can make money in your niche then you can go ahead and create your website. If you think your niche will not be profitable, search for another niche.
Get a domain name and hosting
Now you have decided what you will be selling you need to get a domain name. See my post on choosing a domain name.
Your website on the internet needs to be stored on a server somewhere, and that’s what we refer to as hosting. There are many different companies that provide this service, but if you are starting out my choice would be Wealthy Affiliate.
Create a website
Making, maintaining, and adding content to a website is probably the biggest challenge when it comes to affiliate marketing. You may find it difficult to figure out where to start, I certainly did.
I don’t think I could have done it alone. I decided to become a member of Wealthy Affiliate a site that teaches its members how to become effective at affiliate marketing. With the step-by-step training courses, you are shown how to create your website, which only takes a couple of minutes. The course continues to the point where you have a nice looking and profitable website.
When you become a member of Wealthy Affiliate you are given 2 free websites that are hosted on their servers.
I think it is definitely worth taking a look at Wealthy Affiliate, there is a free membership that you can try to see if you like it and you can see how easy it is to build a site with their site builder in the video below.
There are of course other website building platforms that you may choose to use, but none have the training and support that you will find at Wealthy Affiliate.
Now you have your site, the real work starts. You need to create great original content, articles that your readers will like, posts that will inform, teach, or advise. The articles should also be unique and understandable. Basically, you need to write articles on the subject of your site that the reader will find useful and it is also good to encourage some interaction or comments.
Your articles should not be written for the search engines, but for the reader and each and every article that you write should be thoroughly researched.
Researching, writing, and finding images to use takes time, that’s why affiliate marketing is a lot of hard work and is also why many people fail. Ideally, you should try to write regularly at least once or better twice a week.
The main reason why adding content is important is that in the long-term it will help you get higher natural search rankings. The search engines love new original content.
Keep working, be patient
To get these good positions in the search engines will take a certain time, but keep writing your quality content, 1 or 2 articles every week and it will come. Also, you will establish yourself as an authority in your niche and people will buy from you once they trust you. When you have some good search rankings you will get traffic and with traffic sales.
If you have any experience in affiliate marketing or you would simply like to leave a comment, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for the great read and wonderful breakdown of affiliate marketing.
I also enjoyed the rest of your site.
As an affiliate marketer where you are just passing folks to the bigger sale how important do you think Branding is?
Seems like a lot of work to build all the Good Google Juice, or do you really think its worth doing it the right way even for just affiliate marketing.
Thank you Gary. I think it’s important to build your brand. Personally, I want people to come to my site, letsworkonline.net, to get an honest opinion about a product or a service. Basically, your brand is the way you are seen by your customers or visitors.
To me, there is only one way to do affiliate marketing, it’s a lot of work, but as I said I want people to consider my site as somewhere they can get a true review so I wouldn’t consider taking any shortcuts. Anyway, if you want to make money online or offline, there are no real alternatives to hard work and putting in the time.
Thanks for your visit,