This will be the first post in my Affiliate Marketing Series which will teach you everything you need to know from starting your first website, signing up to affiliate programs through to your first income. Building a website for free is definitely your first step!
It’s important to know straight away that Affiliate marketing is not instant cash nor is it “like printing your own money” which I’ve heard so many people refer to it as.
Affiliate marketing takes time and real dedication in order to create an income stream which varies in amounts. The amount you earn will differ between sites and changes monthly for the first few years. I’ve always been fascinated with affiliate marketing and how it works and now I’m proud to say I earn a really decent income each month from my variety of sites. Now I can show you how to do the same.
Decide how serious you are
Before rushing off and signing up to the thousands of Affiliate programs out there its important to know what you want from affiliate marketing.
Are you just trialling it out as you think its a get rich quick scheme? If so then you should probably explore something instant such as Matched Betting where you can get paid within an hour of placing your first bet with some bookies.
As I keep banging on about, affiliate marketing takes time. It can’t be rushed or sped up. The time it takes is based partly on you getting set up, then churning out the content but lastly (and possibly more importantly) is that it takes time for people to find your site. From google indexing, search engine optimising and then just natural organic traffic, I usually say it takes around 18 months to 2 years for your site to get found.
Stake your claim
The most important part is having a website that people can visit. Most people start off with a free WordPress account (I know I did) however it can have some cons as well as Pros. Let’s start with the good points first:
WordPress is simple and easy to use. It’s so simple in fact that most people can set up a WordPress website in just 15mins and be ready to start writing! WordPress includes everything you need to get up and running. It will host it for you so it costs nothing, creates your own subdomain to share with potential followers plus it has dozens of free themes that are updated regularly and maintained.
I love WordPress themes as they are so easy to use and customise. The coding around the is fairly simple and you can usually get help directly from the creators! Its no wonder that thousands of people every week sign up for a free WordPress account!
The downside however is that you don’t have that much control. Thats fine when you are first starting out and are eager to create your first website however if you want to them turn that site into a money making machine, your options are fairly limited.
The free hosting of WordPress does not allow affiliate links to be posted. This means your affiliate dreams are over unless you upgrade to a WordPress paid plan. If you have spend the best part of 3 months creating content for your Free WordPress site then it can be soul destroying to learn you can’t use the site for what it was intended to be used for!
Another option is to use a Web Hosting Platform that offers a free trial or money day back guarantee. I started this blog originally on a WordPress site that was free. I paid for a WordPress account and it worked fine for a few months. Suddenly the site crashed along with all my content and WordPress were unable to restore it.
Thankfully I found SiteGround. I signed up using their 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not happy and I’ve never looked back since. SiteGround have support on hand around the clock and they really do help.
I’ve asked for help from everything from forgetting my passwords to messing up a coding experiment gone wrong They have never let me down.
Ah, the details! What will your site be about? what will it be called? what programs will you sign up to?
These are usually the bits that aren’t really covered when you’re looking to start out your affiliate marketing journey. I will cover more of the specifics in subsequent articles but for now, you just need to know what it will be about and what it will be called.
There’s big business in discovering your niche ie finding out what it is that you’re going to be writing content about. I personally don’t think it needs to be as hard as everyone makes out. You can easily find out what your going to be writing about by following the steps below:
- Write a list of all the things you are interested in and enjoy. This should be made up of hobbies both current and future, things that you like to do, and things that you would like to learn more about.
- Look at your list again and write next to each one between 3 – 5 post title ideas. Write them as if you are searching google for information on it.
- I bet not every item on your list has 3 – 5 post titles next to it. These are no-goes for now so cross them out. The ones that are left are your niche list.
- If you want to ensure that writing about these items will make you money and gain your traffic (basically the same thing as without traffic there is no money to be made!) then you need to use a Keyword Tool. There is no point writing 10,000 words about Frozen Yogurt only to find that you would have ranked the first page on Google if you’d have referred to it as FroYo. I swear by Jaaxy. Not only is the world most advanced keyword tool it’s also easy to use. Sign up using my link and get a free trial! Then if you like it you can upgrade here and choose the best plan for your site.
Simply put the post titles you’ve written into Jaaxy and see what the stats are. If they are high ranking and fairly low competition then you are good to go. If not, repeat the steps again until you have a solid topic to write about. This will be your niche.
Now all the guess work is taken care of, you get to have some fun!
Choosing your website name sounds hard and people write huge posts (and even websites about it) but it isn’t really that hard. My FroYo example before? I’d call my site something simple like “I Love Fro Yo” See not that hard.
You can also let your creative juice flow when designing the layout of your site and all the little extra bits such as widgets and images.
As you can see starting a website doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, it can be as cheap as you want it to be. There are a lot of choices that you can make to keep costs down whilst your building up your site.