You have done some research about how to start a business online and you have learned that affiliate marketing is probably the best business model.
In this article, we are going to cover how to start an affiliate marketing business. We are going to focus on that term – business or in other words your website.
How to build a website and most importantly how to get traffic to your website. Because traffic is essential.
If you don’t have traffic to your website you don’t have any business.
We will be covering how to get the traffic, meaning different sources of traffic.
In the end, we are going to mention what affiliate programs are best for beginners, so in the end, you will have a nice overview of what is most important when it comes to an affiliate marketing business.
But first thing first.
Do you know what is your specialized segment? In other words, what your niche is?
Let’s touch on this subject before we go into the nitty-gritty.
Choose Your Niche
This is a segment or a market where you will operate. Ideally, it should be something you have experience with, or even better – you are passionate about. Think about it from a business point of view.
I mean, it must be a segment where money already flows. We are not in the invention business, we want to dive into a kind of business where the chance to succeed is high.
In case you already know what your niche is – great. I am happy for you.
If you don’t let me help you with the following image:
This screenshot is not complete, and if you click on this link, you will get to the Amazon website with the list of all categories – think of each subcategory as a potential niche.
When you just starting out, it is recommended to go as specific as possible.
Meaning – you don’t want to start a business related to household furniture. It is advisable to go as specific as possible.
Instead of household furniture, choose something “smaller”, so the chance that you will rank on google is higher.
(Don’t worry if you don’t see a connection between a specific niche and ranking on google, yet)
Go for specific kitchen appliances. For example cookware sets. Or coffee machines.
Maybe TV gaming monitors.
Do you see my point?
So once you are clear about your niche, you can start to write content about it.
Do research about that topic. It doesn’t matter where you gather the information.
It is absolutely normal if you don’t have many ideas for content creation right away. It will come later as you dig into the topic deeper.
When I started with my niche, at first I was desperate to find content. I did not know what to write about.
Today I wish the day is 35 hours long since I don’t have time to implement all the information.
Here are some search tips that will help you to find more information:
- Use the website called Google News
You get the newest information regarding your niche, or any other subject you have an interest in.
Set the filter according to your preferences (geographical location, or whether you want to search within a business section, science, or health…).
- Search for specific information (keyword) within a website
In case you are looking for something specific and you want to get results related to one website only, here is how to do that.
In the google search bar type word “site” then use “colon” and then a website URL where you want to find the information.
– as per the screenshot above
Then, google spits out the information related to your Keyword but within that website only.
The reason for the Keyword being in quotes is that I wanted to have the results containing the phrase “Air Mattress”.
Some large websites contain also PDF documents, so instead of the keyword, you simply type “PDF” and see whether you find something.
Affiliate Marketing Business Requires Long-Term Thinking
First of all the important aspect of business online is long-term thinking.
If you think you can grab an affiliate link, post it on Facebook, and tomorrow you will have a $400 commission on your account, then you better forget about the online income right away.
At least for now, since generating revenue online takes more than just merely posting the affiliate link.
You may have already heard that to get visitors, first, you need to provide them with value. You don’t want to go out there chasing people.
The way I prefer doing marketing and that is what I have learned, is that people actually chase you.
How do they find you?
They google a specific term and they click on your website which is on the 1st page of google.
So this is our goal – to build a website that ranks well.
But we have to keep in mind that this does not happen a week after setting up the website.
Why does it take so long?
There are many reasons. To mention a few:
The amount of content on your website
A website with a lot of content (many posts) will rank better than a website with only a few short posts and fancy graphics.
It is important to keep in mind the user experience (visitor wants to be educated or entertained when visiting a website)
When you go to google, you also want to find the best information there is, right?
So you have to keep this in mind.
The domain age
You won’t find a brand new domain on the 1st page of google.
Keep creating content and within 3 months you may see impressions – give it 3 more months and you can have 1st sale.
That means, how long the visitor stays on your website. Does he leave right away? Does he go to another page within your website?
These aspects are important when it comes to rankings.
If Google sees, that people stay on your website longer than on the competition one, your website moves to higher positions. And another way around.
So you see there are objective reasons, why it takes time until you get to a higher position (and thus sale)
And it applies to YouTube as well.
You probably are aware of these YouTube millionaires. Did you check how many videos they have on their channel? When was the first time they have publishes the first video?
I bet, it was not last Sunday.
The reason why I emphasize long-term thinking is for you to avoid those “gurus” who promise you to make hundreds of dollars in a day if you buy their system (proven method or loopholes).
These claims are just BS and in many cases scams.
A Website is a Must for Affiliate Marketing Business
Now we can focus on the real business here.
The first and most important thing is the website.
What kind of website do we need?
You know what?
A simple blog will do the job just fine.
A simple website built in WordPress with a free theme and good quality content has more value and will rank better than a fancy website with nice graphics and poor content.
Simple as that.
I have personally built my website using the SiteRubix website platform.
Here is a short video, of how simple it can be done:
Here is the link to the website example.
This site where you are at right now (setaffiliatebusiness.com) looks exactly the same as in February of 2018.
You can start with adding pages and posts, basically, you now can start with content creation.
BTW, have you noticed how easy it was to build a website?
How to Get Traffic?
There are many sources of traffic that you can use to get visitors to your website. From free traffic, social media, and referral to paid traffic.
The most important though is the organic traffic or free traffic. That will be the biggest portion of the traffic on your website.
At least it should be if you want to have a sustainable business.
I am going to walk you through all these different sources of traffic.
I don’t know how much you know about SEO, but I admit I used to be “afraid” of the word. I used to think it is a kind of magic or coding or some high technological stuff that one must learn and master in order to have “the right SEO”.
But you know what?
It is nothing else than having your content (article or post) done in a nice readable way including images and videos, so your visitor/reader has a nice experience.
Sure there is some “stuff” behind the curtain you want to follow, but it is nothing to be scared of.
As a perfect example, it is the plug-in we have already mentioned.
It is called “All in One SEO”.
(Some people prefer a different plugin, Yoast, but one is not necessarily better than the other one).
Now, let’s concentrate on the content.
I have come up with 8 simple steps on how to improve Google search results.
If you follow the steps, the probability that your website rank well is pretty high.
Let’s go briefly over these 8 steps:
- Keyword in Meta Title
- Keyword in Meta Description
- Keyword Inside the Content – Ideally in the First Paragraph
- Image with Alt Tag – You Keyword Inside the Alt Text
- Internal Links
- External link
- Embedded Video
- Request Indexing – Let Google Know About Your New Post/Page
If you are not sure about some of them, just check the post (link above) with a detailed description.
What is also very important is the site speed loading time.
Websites that take too long to load, don’t rank well.
This has a lot to do with the hosting service you choose.
Of course, you need to optimize the images on your website and stuff like that, but having a great service is crucial.
Here is a little comparison of the best-managed WordPress Hosting:
I personally use WA Hosting.
The Wealthy Affiliate platform has provided me with great training in affiliate marketing.
Now let’s go over other traffic sources and that is Social media. We are going to mention all major social network platforms, but it does not mean that you have to use all of them.
Pick those you like the most, let’s say 2 or 3 are just fine.
Facebook – FB Groups
I hate to say it, but it is not so easy to drive traffic from Facebook to your page anymore.
The reason is that Facebook does not show your post to all your followers. It depends on the engagement, but generally speaking, only a small percentage of your friends/followers see what you have posted.
If you have a business account, it can also happen that FB can close your account without reason.
You can still join Facebook groups related to your niche and engage with others.
I recommend creating your own group. This may take a while until you have enough followers, but in the end, it is worth it.
What I find disadvantageous, is that there are many spammers within these groups. It also depends on the niche. Facebook groups related to the Make-Money-Online niche are especially full of spammers and scammers.
But there are always some legit questions or posts, and you can still make a comment with a link to your website. That way you can get some traffic.
This is also a great way how to drive traffic to your website
Personally, I don’t have much experience with Instagram. The thing is I don’t use it very often, but I know guys who have tens of thousands of followers.
That could mean already a significant portion of the traffic to your website.
Again it takes time but there are people who love Instagram and they add stories very often, follow people, and engage with the comments and this is the way how they build their followers.
Eventually, it can bring a lot of traffic.
Please note that I use “can”.
It means that your photos and your stories should be relevant to your niche. The point is, you can’t have an Instagram account related to the furniture and your website is about outdoor clothes.
Maybe one note regarding the IG. Make sure to build your audience organically. Don’t try to cheat the system by buying followers. It’s not worth it.
Pinterest is a good platform where you can build up your brand.
First of all, you want to create a profile, which is a business profile.
You should create at least 10 boards. Each bird should be a bit different.
Within a specific board go to search within the Pinterest search bar, for pins that you like, or draw your attention to.
Save at least 10 pins to your 1st board.
Go to the 2nd board and do the same.
In the end, you should have at least 10 pins within each board.
You can start creating your own pins.
Now people whose pins you save, see that and they will reciprocate. Meaning they will save your pins as well.
As with any other social network you need followers.
If you don’t have followers on Twitter yet, you can start building them.
Again the best way is to find them manually, and naturally.
And to be honest I don’t even know whether you can buy followers on Twitter. Maybe there is this option but I do NOT recommend it.
You may have a nice number in your profile (something like 4,532 followers) but what is the point of it if no one ever goes to your website?
Here is a short video of how you can get followers on Twitter without scamming others:
I know she does not like hashtags, but in my opinion, it doesn’t do any harm to use hashtags, especially when you don’t have enough followers.
Your link is visible to a larger audience.
There are 3 basic steps to take:
- Start following people who have also an interest in the niche you are involved in.
- Retweet other’s people tweets – many of them will retweet yours or they can follow you back
- Post a link to the new article you just finished on your website – use hashtags that are related to the topic
This is a great way how to both drive traffic to your website and even make money directly.
There are many affiliate marketers, posting videos on Youtube with affiliate links underneath the video. They don’t even have a website.
If you enjoy creating videos, this is probably the fastest way how you can get attention.
Sure, you can’t expect to have a lot of subscribers and views with 2 or 3 videos only.
You still need to come up with at least 30 to 50 videos to see some results.
What else is great about YouTube?
Once you reach 1,000 subscribers and your videos have generated 4,000 Watch Time hours over the last 12 months you can monetize your channel. Meaning you can add the ads to your videos (I know most of us, hate the ads).
But generally speaking for every 1,000 views you can make about $5.
If you have 30 videos and on average each has about 10,000 views that are about $1,500!
This is a great way how to earn some “passive” income.
Another great way how to generate revenue.
But this is something I would start doing once I have about 20 – 40 visitors per day.
You basically exchange your visitor’s email for some kind of information or offer.
The most important rule:
Do NOT buy emails!
- You don’t know what kind of people are these (these could be just bots or not-functional emails)
- You don’t want to spam people that have never been on your website.
- Even if you get some traffic, most likely it won’t be relevant to your niche
Email marketing is a quite complex topic, so we won’t go over the details here.
Referral traffic is traffic from other sources meaning, it can be from another website or forum.
The best way how to approach the forums is to build authority and then post a link.
Well, I know, we don’t have to be so serious about that, but a good rule of thumb is to be helpful first, and then when people see you know what you are talking about they ask for a link.
You post a link that directs people to your website and you have an additional source of traffic.
One of the good examples can be also Quora.
This is the last one – the reason is that it is the last one you want to use.
I know it is tempting to throw a few bucks and see how people go to your website.
I have “burned” thousands of dollars with only little results. Back then I did not know how to drive organic traffic, so I thought this was the only way how to become “visible”.
(this was way before I started this website)
But then I invested in education and learned how to get free traffic.
Since then it is the highest amount of traffic I am getting.
Regarding the paid traffic – be patient.
Here is what I mean:
Have 3 or 4 sales – get to know where it comes from and then use paid traffic to scale your business.
In other words to leverage that channel.
Affiliate Marketing Networks/Programs
The biggest advantage of Affiliate marketing is that you don’t deal with the products directly. You don’t deal with suppliers or customers.
You are helping other companies to sell their stuff.
How do you do that?
You simply search for their affiliate program, sign up, get your link and if someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.
There are a lot of companies out there, right? So It might be time-consuming to sign up for each company one by one.
That is why there are these affiliate networks. You simply sign up there and whatever product is listed within this affiliate network you can promote automatically.
All the tracking and payments are handled by this network – you just grab a unique link associated with a product you want to promote.
The best example is Amazon.
There are a few things you want to know about the Amazon affiliate program:
- Amazon accepts all (you don’t have to have a website and you can be completely new)
- You need to make 3 independent sales within 180 days (if not your account is closed. Then you can create a new one)
- Everyone knows what Amazon is, so it makes it easier to promote products listed on Amazon
- The commission is being paid directly to your bank account as well it is used to check only)
Then there are many other affiliate networks:
- CJ Affiliate
- Amazon Associates
- eBay Partner Network (EPN)
- Rakuten Marketing (formerly LinkShare)
In case you want to partner up with a specific company, go to google and type the company (or specific niche) and “affiliate program”.
You will have tons of results you can go through.
You can be associated with more partners at once.
That is the beauty of affiliate marketing. You are free, no one dictates what you have to do.
- Don’t overuse the affiliate links – meaning, you want to use affiliate links let’s say once per 500 – 1,000 words within your article.
- At the beginning of your journey, I recommend focusing on content.
Meaning getting traffic and getting better rankings. Once your site is on the 1st page then use the affiliate link.
Business online in principle is the same as any other business offline – you need customers in your store/restaurant on your website.
But before a person becomes your customer he or she was a visitor to your store.
In the online world, it is the same – you need visitors.
Oh, wait, – in the online world, it is much better since there are thousands and thousands of visitors per day your website can handle. Your store or restaurant has a physical limitation so, that is why successful restaurants have chains (of franchises).
With a website, you don’t need that.
We have covered how to start an affiliate marketing business and highlighted what is the most important thing when it comes to your business, and that is traffic.
I am sure you realize that it is not possible to build a business based on one post like this. Especially if you are a beginner.
There are a lot of details that need to be discussed.
What I find extremely helpful is the video training.
I am glad I have found the Wealthy Affiliate platform.
There are about 400 video training covering different topics regarding internet marketing, including case studies (how to start a website from scratch to generate revenue).
What else you can find within that platform?
Click on the link above to learn more.
If you have any questions regarding affiliate marketing, or how to set up an online business from home, let me know in the comment section below.
How much does it cost to start an affiliate marketing business?
Starting an affiliate marketing business does not cost a lot. At most, a few hundred bucks, and that covers hosting and also a decent course.
There is a lot of information for free, but it is recommended to make a small investment (about $500 to $1,000). There are several reasons, but most importantly:
- You get a step-by-step training
- Community of like-minded people (in most online courses)
And last but not least – it is human nature to appreciate something that cost money, compared to free stuff.
How do I become an affiliate marketer?
Pick a niche that you feel comfortable with. Then choose a specific affiliate program and start creating content about products or services within the niche.
When people consume your content, and via your affiliate link purchase the product/service, you get a commission and you officially become an affiliate marketer.
Can you start affiliate marketing with no money?
In theory, it is possible to start affiliate marketing with no money.
Please realize that you need an audience and that quite often requires a website or social media account, time, and energy.
It would be easier to make money with affiliate marketing for a person that is publicly known than for some average Joe.
Average Joe (just like me) should have a website or Youtube channel. Then it is necessary to come up with content that ranks well.
That requires some knowledge.
As mentioned above, with proper education (paid course) the process from an empty website to the first sale is faster.
Is it profitable to do affiliate marketing?
Yes, affiliate marketers can make 5, or even 6 figures per year.
These people are in business for several years, though.
A beginner with no previous experience needs at least 14 to 18 months until he or she sees some revenue.
In some cases, it can be even faster, but most of the time people tend to quit before they see some result.
So affiliate marketing is a profitable business model for people that applies the proper knowledge, are patient, and don’t quit when facing inevitable problems.