Affiliate Marketing has been around for quite some time, and you’ll find a lot of different information on the internet about it. Some positive and some negative. Unfortunately, there some unscrupulous marketers out there who have given Affiliate Marketing a bad name.
However, I assure you that if done the right way, Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to make money on the internet. Not only that but again if done the right way, it’s one of the most honest ways to make money as well.
How am I and why should you listen to me? My name is Michael and I’ve been involved in Affiliate Marketing in one way or another for about a decade. I’ve done things the wrong way and failed miserably, and I have now learned how to do things the right way and achieve success. I certainly do not know everything, no one does, and if they tell you different they are lying outright. I’m an active member of an Affiliate Marketing community you may have heard of called Wealthy Affiliate.
In this how-to Affiliate Marketing guide, we will cover all the aspects of how to get started in Affiliate Marketing and answer many of the questions you may have had coming into this, and give you some valuable resources to boot. So let’s get started.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: By clicking the affiliate links on this page I may earn a small commission from Wealthy Affiliate, Hostgator, or Bluehost (at no cost to you). Should you use these links, I appreciate your support! Click here for the full disclosure.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
First of all, let’s talk about what Affiliate Marketing is, and is not.
It is not about creating websites for the sole purpose of selling products. Amazon does that. And is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
What it is about, is building a business by helping people obtain information about a particular problem, need, or desire, and providing potential solutions. And no, it does not happen overnight, it does take time and does take work.
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success. -Swami Vivekananda
So here’s the process in a nutshell.
Step 1: Choose an Interest or your niche. Many people start off with something they are already familiar with, an interest or a hobby, something you can already relate to. It tends to make things somewhat easier when you’re first starting. If nothing immediately comes to mind, that’s OK too. There are many ways to find niches.
Step 2: Build a Website. This is your internet real estate, the foundation from which your Affiliate Marketing Business will be built. Websites used to require a lot of expertise to build, however, these days it is really quite easy. With content management website platforms such as WordPress, you can literally create a website in minutes.
Step 3: Attract Visitors. How do you get visitors’ to your website? Relevant and useful content. Remember when I said this was about helping people, well you do this through your content. Content can be information about your particular niche, a product review, or other helpful tips.
Step 4: Earn Revenue. How do you earn revenue, well one way is Affiliate links. You refer people to products related to your niche they would be interested in, need, or otherwise want. Affiliate Marketing has become very popular in all markets today. It is a cost-free way for companies to market their products and it is very common in the digital product world. There are also many other ways you can monetize your website.
Here is another diagram that shows the flow of Affiliate Marketing.
With nearly 4 Billion people on the internet today and more products being purchased online all the time, the opportunities are almost endless.
The Importance Of a Step By Step Plan
A step by step plan is critical to your success. You have to walk before you can run and you must build your business foundation before you can make money.
In this section of our how-to Affiliate Marketing guide, we are going to break out each of the primary steps mentioned, into more concise, actionable steps.
Step 1 – Choosing Your Niche
Many people tend to get hung up on choosing a niche or niche market. It’s really not that hard at all. If you have an interest or passion you want to pursue then you’ll want to narrow that down to a specific group of people that will make up your niche.
What I mean for example is, if my niche is “losing weight”, I will need to dig down into weight loss and narrow my focus to a specific group in the weight loss market. Why? Because weight loss is just too broad with too much competition. However, if I went with something like “lose weight naturally”, I’ve narrowed my focus down to a specific group of people in the weight loss market which will be less competitive.
Spend some time using the techniques outlined in this article: Examples of a Niche Market
Step 2 – Building a Website
The process of building a website involves a few different steps. Most of all you need to know that you are building not just a website, but a brand. Yes, a brand, like Nike, eBay, Walmart, etc. Your brand is what people are going to remember. It is your business.
- We need to identify some options for a domain name. A domain name is basically the name of your website. It is the address of your internet real estate. Domain names end in .com, org, .net, .co, .gov, .edu, and so on. Many of these have specific purposes like .gov or for government sites or .edu for educational sites. For our purposes ideally, we want a .com address which the most common. If you can’t get that, then a .org or .net. It’s a good idea to come up with a few different names in case your primary choice is taken. Also, avoid using the “-” symbol, try to make it as short as possible, but still represent your niche.
- Once you have identified some options for a domain name you’re going to have to purchase the domain name, usually about $15/yr. Most of the time it is easiest to purchase your domain name from the same place you’re going to host your website. Since you want quality WordPress hosting, you’re going to want a company like Hostgator or Bluehost which will run you about $3-$4 per month. SiteRubix is also another great option as you can get 2 Free SiteRubix websites just for signing up as a free member.
- So, you’ve got a domain and you’ve got website hosting. The next thing you’re going to want to do install WordPress. All the companies I’ve mentioned provide WordPress installation with just a few clicks. It’s as easy as selecting a theme (the look of your website) and clicking install.
- Next, your going to log into your WordPress Admin Dashboard which will be located at https://yourdomian.xxx/wp-admin/ Just replace “yourdomain.xxx” with the name of your domain.
- Once logged in you will want to do some housekeeping by removing the sample Hello World post, sample Pages and Comments.
- Install basic Plugins: All-In-One SEO and EWWW Image Optimizer. I also recommend Pretty Links to be used later when creating Affiliate Links.
Step 3 – Attract Visitors
Now we are getting to the meat and potatoes in our how-to Affiliate Marketing guide. What I mean by that is how we start creating content.
Creating content involves:
- Identifying low competition keywords: Keywords or Keyword phrases are what your website visitors type into Google, Bing, or Yahoo, to find the content they are looking for. They need to be low competition because these are the keywords you’ll be able to rank in the search engines. If you pick high competition keywords that get 1,000’s or searches you will not be able to compete with all the competition. So low competition means over 50 monthly searches and less than 75-100 competing sites. The lower the number of competing sites the better. Take a look at this article that explains how to find these keywords. Your keywords should span the breadth of your niche from every possible angle you can think of. The referenced article shows you how to do this.
- Writing content around your keywords: Once you identify your keywords you’re going to want to start writing articles in the form of posts on your website. You want to use the keyword for your article in the post title, 1 to 2 times in the body of your content, and then again in the conclusion of the article. See this article on how to write content for your website with ease.
These two steps are going to be ongoing throughout the life of your website/business. You want to be publishing articles consistently, on a weekly basis, if not several times weekly. Once you get used to this it will become second nature. As you write more articles/posts your website will start to gain authority in the search engines and your posts will start to rise to page 1 over time.
While your website is still young, I mean less than 3-4 months, your only goal is to publish content. Build your website and make it into an authority in your niche. Successful websites have 100’s of posts. Remember, you’re building a business and building your brand.
Utilize comments on your website to build more content. Make sure you answer each question or comment quickly, and try to keep the conversation flowing. You can also integrate your Affiliate links into your comments where appropriate. Remember to set your comment approval to Manual Approval and Comment author must fill out name and email under your WordPress Settings – Discussion options.
Promote your website on social media. You can also use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to promote your websites. To this, simply make what we call micro posts to your social media pages. Use your articles as sources of information for your micro-posts. Be careful not start selling on Facebook, but mention your interesting posts through pictures and short micro-posts that summarize things.
Check out this discussion on Handling Social Media.
Step 4 – Earning Revenue
Up until now, we’ve focused on building your website and your content. Now we are going to talk about how you monetize your website. Revenue is going to come from promoting relevant products through your posts on your website. You can also place banners and widgets with your Affiliate links.
What are Affiliate Links? These are special links that identify you as the referrer to the product which allows you to get credit for the sale. Most Affiliate programs use special information packets called “Cookies” which stay on a visitors’ computer anywhere from 30 to 90 days which allows you to get credit for sales on those Affiliates sites long after they’ve clicked your Affiliate link. Each product will have its own Affiliate link. This is where that Plugin “Pretty Links” comes in handy. You can use it to shorten your Affiliate link to something short and simple.
Here are some great Affiliate Product sites
You can also find many independent Affiliate programs related to your niche. Simple go to Google and type in “[Product Name] Affiliate Program”. Replace [Product Name] with your Affiliate Product. You’ll be surprised at the results.
Avoid Getting Overwhelmed
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article and it may feel overwhelming at first. It’s very important to just take one step at a time. Focus on the step at hand, then move on to the next step. Trying to do it all at once will lead you to frustration.
The process is straightforward, but it requires step by step execution. Each step building upon the other. I’ve referenced quite a few resources in this step by step training, so take your time and learn each step the process.
My Best Advice: Surround Yourself With Successful Marketers
There’s an old saying that going something like “If you want to make a million dollars, surround yourself with people who are making a million dollars, and do what they do.”
It’s no different with Affiliate Marketing. Surround yourself with successful Affiliate Marketers and do what they do. This is what I have done through being a member of Wealthy Affiliate. Not only will you benefit from their experience, but you also begin to pick up the same habits of those who are already successful.
In this how-to Affiliate Marketing guide, we’ve covered each step in the process of becoming a successful Affiliate Marketer. Use the many resources provided here to learn each step in the process.
Remember, you’re building a business and a brand. With persistent effort, you can and will be successful.
To your massive success,
PS. Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you like the guide. I will be happy to answer questions you may have.