If you’re wondering how to start an affiliate marketing website, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve created this step-by-step guide with novices in mind, so even if you’ve never created a website before, we’ll show you how it’s done.
What is affiliate marketing?
Passive income is the goal of affiliate marketing. Your website is always up and running, even while you’re asleep. And that site generates revenue the entire time.
Here's how it works:
- You connect with a company that has a product for sale.
- You build an affiliate marketing website that promotes that product.
- Your readers click on links within your website that lead to the product.
- You make money via clicks, purchases, or both.
Build the right site with a robust audience and you could make money every day.
Now that you understand the concept, let's dig into how to create a website for affiliate marketing. Below are 8 steps for starting an affiliate marketing website.
1. Choose your affiliate marketing niche.
There are hundreds of thousands of products for sale. You could try to entice people to buy all of them. But in general, it's best to focus your work on a single niche.
The right niche has:
- Plenty of valuable associated keywords. Keywords are critical. They link what people search for to the content you create. Your niche should be tied to many potential keywords or phrases that people tap into Google or similar search engines.
- Products with a high price point. In most affiliate marketing programs, you'll make a percentage of each sale. The more something costs, the more you stand to make.
- Low competition. Plenty of people are in the affiliate marketing business. You want your voice to stand out, not join a chorus of competitors.
How do you find that niche? Take three steps.
1. Use Google's Keyword Planner.
Find out how many people search for a specific term each month with this free tool from Google. Tap your keywords into the planner and Google will give you a hard number for how many people search that term. The higher the better.
If you can't find what you're looking for with Google, don't despair. There are many other top keyword research tools available in the market today.
<div class="tip">Not quite sure where to even begin with deciding on a niche? Check out these niche blog ideas (and examples) for some inspiration.</div>
2. Seek out price points.
With your chosen term in hand, head straight to Amazon. Paste your keywords into the search box, see what results come up, and fish for items with moderate to high prices.
Suppose we've settled on the key phrase "lamps for the living room." We find products ranging in price from $19 to $129.
However, if we choose "Tiffany lamps for the living room," our per-unit price rises considerably.
3. Assess your competition.
Visit Google and check for other affiliate marketing sites. If you scroll through several pages of results and realize that the market is too saturated, reconsider your choice of niche.
2. Choose your affiliate program(s).
Completing step 1 gives you an ideal product and its associated keywords. Now it’s time to find the ideal partner for your affiliate work.
Remember: An affiliate partner sells the product you promote. A formal relationship comes with:
- Dedicated links. Companies create affiliate marketing links for you to sprinkle into your website.
- Payment agreements. Contracts ensure you get paid for the work you do.
There are plenty of affiliate programs out there, including:
You can also reach out to manufacturers directly to create an affiliate relationship; just hop into Google and search for their brand name along with the term "affiliate marketing program."
Step 3: Choose your domain name.
A domain name follows "https://" in a browser’s address bar. It's your online mailing address, paired with a bit of marketing power.
Remember those keywords you identified? They matter here. Putting a keyword in your domain name comes with a proven visibility lift. Search engines like Google think that websites with keywords in their domain names are valuable for people searching for that keyword.
Use a tool like Instant Domain Search to determine if an address you want is available for purchase. If your domain appears below the search in red, it's not available.
Keep tinkering until you find one you love, but don't purchase yet! We'll tackle that step in a minute.
Step 4: Choose your hosting service.
A hosting service is critical for your affiliate marketing website. This company agrees to store all the files for your website, including your writing and your images. A reliable hosting service has a high uptime guarantee—the percentage of time your site is online and accessible.
There are plenty of hosting service companies competing for your business, such as:
Some of these sites offer perks that help you get up and running quickly, including:
- Domain name registration. Remember that title you chose? Some companies, like Bluehost, let you use that name for a year at no cost.
- Website design plugins. Some hosting services connect with companies like WordPress. Sign up and build your website through your relationship with the hosting company.
- Online support. Some companies will help you build your site and step in if you get stuck. Others will only answer questions about your hosting relationship.
If you don't find a hosting company you love, don't worry. Some affiliate marketers tackle this task a different way: They find a web-building program for hosting and domain services.
Some options are:
5. Create your affiliate website.
Now comes the fun part. Here, you'll determine what your site will look like and how it will function.
No matter what company you work with, the process typically looks like this:
- Choose your template. Unless you have a web design background, you're probably not ready to start with a blank website. The companies we've mentioned offer templates with drag-and-drop functionality. Choose the one that best fits your business.
- Customize. Choose the colors and images that match your product and brand.
- Add pages. In general, you'll need a home page and a blog (more on that in a bit).
- Test the site. Make sure everything looks and works just as you want it to.
- Send the site live. Your work won't be published until you give final approval.
There are many steps, but don't be intimidated. With a website builder, you can make a professional-looking blog or website for affiliate marketing in as little as a day or two. These builders—including Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress—are made with speed in mind, and they're remarkably easy for anyone to use.
6. Create your content.
Blogs are at the heart of affiliate marketing. In each blog post, you highlight the features and benefits of the products your customers should buy. Each post also contains links to those products.
Start by creating a robust content calendar. Affiliate marketing blogs cover:
- Product reviews - What makes one product stand out from the others? Why would you buy it, and why should others do the same?
- Tutorials - How do customers set up or use these products?
- Recipes - If you’re working with foods, how would someone incorporate a product into a meal?
- News - How could your product solve a pressing issue that's dominating headlines? Or how does your product fit into current industry trends?
Take time when crafting your content. Affiliate marketers with sites rich in engaging, relevant content tend to get more visitors and more engaged readers. The number of visitors your website receives and how long visitors spend on your website determine whether search engines see your site as something of value—which in turn determines your search engine rankings.
7. Disclose your affiliation.
The Federal Trade Commission has strict rules concerning affiliate marketing. Write up your content without disclosing your financial relationship, and you could get in deep trouble with your blog or website for affiliate marketing.
Each post you write should explain that you get a reward for each click, purchase, or both. Put that statement up high in your blog, so even casual skimmers will see it.
8. Spread the word.
If a website gets no visitors, does it really exist? Unfortunately, plenty of companies have this problem. In fact, local businesses get only about 414 visitors per month, on average.
If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing, make sure people know about the content you're creating and entice them to come to your site to view it. Share the news via:
- Twitter - Put a link to your latest blog post in a tweet. Don't forget to include brand-related hashtags.
- Facebook - Share your post with a snappy caption that entices people to stop scrolling and start reading.
- Reddit - Browse subreddits related to your niche, and engage with other Redditors. Link to your site when relevant, but try to avoid sounding overly promotional.
- Email - Send your post out via a newsletter. Reach out to folks in your address book—your friends and family might be happy to help you.
There is no shortcut if you want to build an affiliate marketing website. But is it worthwhile? Absolutely. The passive income source you cultivate will make money even while you’re asleep. This means making your dreams of a secure financial future a reality. And with the tools available today, it’s easier than ever to get started.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Jean Dion.