How do you start Affiliate Marketing? (9 Steps)
The fact you have found this site, means you are ready to start your affiliate marketing business. Alternatively, you are researching what it entails and you are trying to decide if it is for you. Either way, I hope this post helps you, as I answer the question “how do you start affiliate marketing?”
Before you start
Before you start, there are a few things you need to know about affiliate marketing. The first thing is, affiliate marketing is a very cheap way of starting your own business. However, it isn’t free as you need to know a few things.
- You will need to buy a domain name. You can get free domain names, but doing this limits your potential. Free domain names are great if you want to test the water, but not if you are serious about your business.
- Success doesn’t happen overnight. You may find a few affiliate marketing platforms that suggest you will earn lots of money straight away. This is definitely not the case! Affiliate marketing takes time, even when you know what you are doing. It is relatively easy to do, but it does take some time to learn how to do it properly. You don’t need any special skills, such as programming, but there is a lot to learn.
This post is for those that know little or nothing about affiliate marketing and want to get started. We all had to start somewhere, and I knew nothing about it before I started doing it.
To answer the question of “How do you start Affiliate Marketing?” I am going to break it down into steps. Hopefully, this will make the process very clear and give you a head start.
1. Choose a Niche
Before setting up your website, you need to choose a niche. Your niche needs to be something that you are interested in. However, you need to choose something that isn’t too broad.
For example, my first site was a mountain bike website. It is going well, but really, I should have narrowed it down at the beginning. It probably would have been better to start with something like mountain bike helmets. This is because it would take months to create content about helmets alone.
The idea behind having a very narrow niche is that it will be relevant to your users. For example, someone who is just getting into mountain biking will search for information on helmets. He could go to forums and manufacturers websites to learn about them. But, what if he came across a website created by someone who is an authority on mountain bike helmets? He would spend a lot of time reading all about helmets and gaining trust. This is when he would take on board recommendations and buy a helmet. Over time, your site will gain followers, links and shares on social media. Then, when you are ready to expand your site, you already have a following.
2. Search for Keywords
There is no point having a good website if nobody can find it. Therefore, researching what your target audience will search for is essential. The majority of people will find your website with search engines. What people type in to search engines are keywords. For example, the keyword for this page is “how do you start affiliate marketing?”. With some keyword research, I found that it was something that is often searched for.
You can use keyword search tools such as Jaaxy. This is a keyword tool that makes research easy. It also lets me know how many other websites use this keyword. The reason for knowing this is is to see how much competition I have.
But there are ways to do keyword research for free. Have a look at the video below to learn how to find great keywords without spending a penny.
You need to create a huge list of relevant keywords. In this list, you need about 100 different quality keywords. By quality, I mean high traffic and low competition and relevant to your audience. This list will last you months.
3. Get a Domain Name
Your domain name your website’s URL, like www.adventurousaffiliate.com. A lot of the good domain names are taken, meaning it can be difficult to find good ones. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a domain name.
- Make sure you have a .com – If you are want your website to succeed a .com is a must. This is because people are more likely to take it seriously
- Make it relevant – For example, this website is aimed at people who want to be affiliate marketers while living an adventurous lifestyle. Mu mountain bike website is www.MTB-Threads.com and I have a website based around gadgets for food and drink, www.clubnomnomnom.com.
- Think of the future – You need to leave room for expansion. I mentioned earlier about my mountain bike website and I possibly should have focussed on helmets first. However, if I called my site www.mtbhelmets.com, I wouldn’t be able to expand in to other aspects of mountain biking later on. You need to think about where your site could be in five years time.
Registering a Domain Name
There are thousands of places you can register a domain name. You do this at a domain registrar, but it is easier to register your domain at the same time as setting up your hosting. I have all my sites registered and hosted with Wealthy Affiliate.
You can, of course use other domain registrars, such as GoDaddy.com.
Finding a Domain Name
Finding a domain name you are happy with is just trial and error. GoDaddy.com has a very easy feature to allow you to find a suitable domain name.
If the domain name you want is available, you will be able to chose the suffix. i.e. .net, .com etc. As I said before, you really need to stick with a .com.
This process can be laborious and frustrating, but don’t give up, you will come up with something great.
After selecting the domain name you want, you need to select how long you want to reserve it for. Once you have done this, you need to pay.
4. Web Hosting
To start your affiliate marketing website, you need to choose a web host. A web host allows you to put your website on the internet. There are lots of web hosts, but one you might want to check out, is Bluehost. Bluehost is reliable and very easy to use. Additionally, they are very competitively priced.
3. Choose your hosting plan – To start off with, just go for the basic plan. You can always upgrade later.
4. Enter your domain name
5. Enter your details
6. Enter your payment details and check your emails. You will have an email allowing you to create your password.
7. Log in!
5. Building your Website
So now you have a website! Now all you need to do is start building it. Bluehost makes it very easy to start building a WordPress website. WordPress is a very easy to use and free platform for building your website.
The first thing you need to do is pick a theme.
There are thousands of themes to choose from. You can buy themes, but there are lots of free ones too. My advice for choosing a theme, is to make sure it fits in with your type of site and that it is responsive. A responsive theme is one that works well on mobile devices. This means it is user friendly and loads up quickly on users phones. On my first website, I concentrated on a theme that looked great on a desktop. However, 75% of my visitors were mobile users and they didn’t stay on the site for very long. This meant that I had to change my theme and do lots of extra work to revamp it.
Once you have picked a theme, just follow the instructions Bluehost gives you.
If you go through Wealthy Affiliate, there is step by step training on how to do all of this and gives you lots of tips along the way.
6. Learn About WordPress
This will take you a bit of time to get to grips with. However, it isn’t that difficult. You don’t need to know about html code and other complicated stuff. Just click on everything and get to know where everything is.
The free Wealthy Affiliate training actually is great way to get your head around it all.
7. Your First Page
When it comes to content, your will be creating Pages and Posts. Pages are usually the “permanent” aspects of your website, such as About me, disclaimers and your home page. Posts are what you will be creating most of the time. These will be your blog posts and reviews etc.
Your first page is usually the “About me” page. This is where you tell the world about your website and/or you. At this point, you need to decide whether your site is an “us” site or a “me” site.
An “us” site makes you seem like a big business and a “me” site makes it more personal, like this one. There is no right or wrong way, however a “me” site is said to convert a bit more easily.
8. Your First Post
Once you have decided on the direction you are going with on your website, it is time to get cracking. Remember to use your keyword list to create your first post, in order to make the most out of your affiliate marketing website.
The free Wealthy Affiliate training gives you the best practices for keyword research as well as creating content. However, have a look at the video below to get a good idea on what to do.
9. Joining Affilaite Programs
Now you have a little website with some content, but you need to make some money out of it. You do this by joining affiliate programs. If you are worried that there are no affiliate programs for your niche, don’t be. If there is a product or service, there is probably an affiliate program for it. The biggest one is Amazon and it is super easy to use. The commissions you earn may not be the highest around, but it is a good start. I use Amazon for www.clubnomnomnom.com.
To find affiliate programs for your niche, just google your niche with “affiliate program” in quotes. You will find loads of things to promote.
You now have an affiliate marketing website!
This post is an overview to answer the question of “how do you start affiliate marketing?” With this information you will have:
- A niche
- A Keyword list
- A domain name
- A website host
- An About Me page
- Your first post
- Found an affiliate marketing program
From this point, you need to get creating content. Content is king!! So you need to post quality content regularly. Your keyword list will keep you going for a while. You may get disheartened from time to time, but you just need to keep plugging at it.
Good SEO Tips
When writing content, you need good SEO. SEO is Search Engine Optimisation and this is how search engines find your content.
A great thing to do, is to install an SEO plugin in to your WordPress site. I recommend All In One or Yoast. They are both free and help you create content that is easier for search engines to find. There are a few other techniques you can use. Check out the video below.
How do you start Affiliate Marketing?
Now you know! I hope this has helped you and put your mind at ease. As you can see, you don’t need to be a technical wizard or web designer. With the correct research, training and effort, you can make it work. At the time of writing this post, I’m not at a point where I’m living in a mansion driving Porsches yet, but I am living as very flexible lifestyle allowing me to do what I want. I spend my winters snowboarding and summers mountain biking amongst other things. If I can do it so can you.