How To Build An Affiliate Marketing Website In Your Spare Time
In this post, I am going to tell you how to build an affiliate marketing website in your spare time. You will have your own reasons for wanting to do this, but I started my first affiliate marketing website with a view to hopeful do it as my full time job. And it worked! I now work for myself and it is what I spend most of my working days on, along with the odd freelance blog writing jobs. Some people start affiliate marketing websites as a hobby, an additional source of income or like me, because they want to change their lifestyle. First of all I am going to answer a few frequently asked questions.
Is It Possible To Earn Money In With An Affiliate Marketing Website?
Absolutely! There is a huge amount of earning potential. For example, depending on your niche, the products and services you are promoting and the affiliate programs you join, it is totally feasible to earn £30/$30 per sale through your website. Check out the infographic below.
As you can see, it can be pretty lucrative by anyone’s standards.
Is It Possible To Do In My Spare Time?
Yes it is. My goal in the early days was to get to a point where I could work for myself. But, discipline was the key to doing this. As soon as I got home from work, out came the laptop and I learning about affiliate marketing and creating content for my website. Working late every night got me to a point where I could go part time and now I solely work from home. Sometimes, the last thing I wanted to do after a day at work was start learning and working, but it is now paying off.
If you want to make a success out of building an affiliate marketing website, you need to manage your time properly. If you are thinking about working on your site in the evenings after work, set goals. For example, have a plan of creating a new post every night. I found that creating drafts of all the posts I want to write about at the start of the week made me more productive. By putting all the headers in the draft, I never start writing with a blank page. This means I can churn out content more quickly.
Is It Complicated?
I wouldn’t say that building an affiliate marketing website is difficult, but there are quite a few techniques to learn to make sure your website is successful (I’ll come to these later). But, I found that having proper training was invaluable to me. It has reduced the amount of mistakes I make (and I make quite a few) and I have realised that the rate of my success is much faster than it would have been than if I tried to find out all the information myself.
Will I Get Rich Overnight?
Definitely not! Affiliate marketing is a slow burner, there are a few reasons for this:
- Search engine algorithms – Google makes new websites wait a few months before they allow them to rank easily. This is to ensure that you are providing a good amount of quality information.
- The learning curve – The chances are, you are starting from scratch with affiliate marketing. Therefore, there are lots of things to learn and you need to remember to incorporate the techniques to get your website infant of your audience.
- Time to create content – With practice you do get quicker at creating content and you will find techniques that work for you in order to increase your productivity. But, it is time consuming, especially when you need to do lots of research for certain posts.
- Mistakes – As part of there learning process, you will make mistakes. I have looked over old content and thought “I must have been having a bad day when I wrote this” and “what was I doing here?!”. Some of these mistakes will not be found for months and they will make it so certain posts will never be found by your audience. But, you can take a lot from these mistakes and make sure that you don’t make them again on future posts. They are also fixable most of the time.
Is It Expensive To Start Up?
One of the best things about an affiliate marketing business is the low start up costs. You do need to buy a domain name and you need to spend a little money on hosting your website (I will go through this later). If you want to do it properly, I suggest getting some training. I will reveal the training I used (and still do) further down this post.
Who Am I?
My name is Tom and I have had my affiliate marketing business for a while now (that’s me above competing in the Spartan Race, that chain was horrendous!). The main reason I chose affiliate marketing as a business, was to have total flexibility in my life. I live in the French alps and have a passion for the outdoors, especially snowboarding and mountain biking. I want to be able to take advantage of the best conditions, which I couldn’t do working for someone else. I had to hope that the weather was good on my days off. But now, I can have a couple of hours on the mountain in the morning to get my fix and get on with work afterwards. As long as I complete my list of weekly tasks, I am happy that I have been productive enough.
There are of course times when I have to say no to the mountains and get stuck in to work. There are lots of late nights and missed parties, but this is my choice. I work way more than I did when I was employed, but I enjoy life way much more.
Reasons Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing
When I was looking for the best online business for me to start, I had a few prerequisites that my new venture had to meet.
Be A Legitimate Business
By this I mean I wanted to make sure it was a real thing. You never know what people are up to on the internet. The last thing I wanted to do was waste my time on something and I really didn’t want to get in to the business of scamming people.
Affiliate marketing is a proven business model. It is used by the majority of websites you come across from newspaper websites, review websites to blogs.
I didn’t want to put in loads of effort for no reward. As I mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing has incredible earning potential. It now allows me to life the lifestyle that I want.
Give Me Flexibility
The main reason for starting my own business, was so I could enjoy life. Yes, I work a lot, but I also play a lot too. But, your reason for starting your own business may be different to mine. The flexibility it gives you means that you can fit in the other aspects of your life that are important to you. This will mean some late nights in front of the computer, but when you manage your own time, it is more valuable to you.
I have no plans to move from the French alps, but if I ever decide to, there is no problem. This is because I can run my business from anywhere in the world.
Have Good Training Resources
I was going to be starting my business from scratch without any experience or knowledge. Therefore, I need to know that I could learn how to do it properly. The research I did led me to lots of people selling eBooks and courses. But, I was sceptical about all of them, as they were too pushy. I was about to give up, but found a great training resource called Wealthy Affiliate. I will come to them later, but they came across differently than the “gurus” that had shouty YouTube videos.
As you can see affiliate marketing ticked a lot of boxes for me. One of the things I love about this business, is that I can earn money 24/7. My websites have no opening hours and have the potential to earn money all day and all night from all over the world. It is great to open up my laptop in the morning to find out that I have made some sales overnight. This passive income is great and the right content can earn you money for months or even years.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
The affiliate marketing business model is super simple and benefits everyone. There are three parties involved in the process:
- The customer – Has a problem they want solving, so they search for the answer in a search engine such as Google
- The merchant – This could be a manufacturer of a product, an online store or a service provider
- The publisher – This is the affiliate marketer. They promote the products and services provided by the merchant. This can be done with reviews, buyer’s guides, blogs etc
The customer searches for a solution to a problem. This may be because they need help with a particular purchase decision, they are looking for gift ideas for a particular person with an interest or they want to change their current position.
Because you have a website that specialises in the particular problem that the customer needs solving, it comes up in their Google search. They like what they read and take on your recommendations.
The customer buys the product after being directed to it through the affiliate link on your website.
As you have directed the customer to the product they bought, you get rewarded for it. Depending on the affiliate programs you have joined, you can earn 1 to 75% of the sales value of the product or service.
How To Build Your First Affiliate Marketing Website
To build an affiliate marketing website, there are a few step to take. They are not complex, but the chances are they are completely new to you. This is nothing to worry about, anyone with enough determination can do this.
Choose A Niche
Everything you create for your website needs to focus on a certain topic. Therefore, the first thing you need to do, is choose a niche to work in. A niche is a group of people with a common interest. If you want some comprehensive training for this check out this free online course.
The process of choosing a niche is very important. If you choose the wrong one, you may never make any money, even if you work seriously hard on your content. Not all niches are equal in terms of how profitable they are.
The niche you choose has to have the following characteristics for it to work:
- Focussed – A focussed niche concentrates on a small number of people that have an interest in it. It is really tempting to go for a niche that could possibly spread far and wide to attract lots of different people. This is a mistake I made. I built a website that was too broad. This meant that the people the visited saw a lot of content that wasn’t relevant to them. Also, the competition was huge, making it very difficult to rank high in search engines.
- Be something you are passionate about – If you are not interested in it, you are going to get bored and this will show in your content and the quality of your website. Also, you want to enjoy your work, so why would you choose something that is not interesting to you.
- Be relevant – By this I meant that it has to not go out of fashion. There is no point spend all your time working on something that nobody will be talking about in a few months time.
- Have a good following – If your potential audience is too small, there won’t be enough people searching for your content.
Therefore, researching your niche is extremely important to your success. I have created a guide to take you through the process of choosing the right niche for you.
Once you have decided on your niche, you need to choose a domain name. This is the URL that you will use for your website. For example the domain name for this website is adventurousaffiliate.com. Here are some tips for choosing your domain name:
- Don’t make it difficult to type – Don’t try to be too creative and cool by using strange spellings. This will make it harder for people to find your website.
- Keep it short – This leave you open for spelling mistakes, which will prevent people from finding your website.
- Use keywords – If you can, they to use a keyword in your domain name relevant to your niche ( I will come to keywords shortly).
- Avoid numbers or hyphens – I have done this one. By having either of these in your domain name, you have to explain that it people. This awkward and hyphens are often forgotten about stopping people reaching your website.
- Make it easy to remember – If people can remember your domain name, they are more likely to come back to your website.
- Make it a .com – .com websites are taken more seriously by the public than a .org or a .biz for example.
- Make it brandable – Your domain name should help to build you brand.
- Relevant to you niche – If your domain name has no relevance to your niche, people are going to find it difficult to relate to it.
- Allow room to expand – If your domain name is too focussed, you won’t be able to expand later on when you have a good following and an authority status in the niche.
Once you have decided on your domain name you need to register it to claim it, so nobody else can use it.
Choose A Host
You need to host your domain name. There are loads to choose from and they are all very similar. However, some really cheap ones are not particularly reliable, nor are they particularly fast or secure. I recommend Bluehost. This is a really well known host and is very reliable.
Once you have signed up to your web host, you will need to install the platform your website will be built around. Many affiliate marketers use WordPress. This is a super easy platform to use, as it is designed for people that don’t know how to write code. You can easily add features and functions to your website with plugins. All of my websites use WordPress, including this one.
To see the steps to building a website through Bluehost click here. However, if you want to know an even easier way of building your website with a whole load of other features such as training and business tools keep reading.
Create Quality Content
Many affiliate marketing websites fail because they look like online brochures for products within the niche. The more successful websites are the ones that focus on helping people before making money. There are a couple of reasons for this. The more helpful your content is, search engines deem it to be more relevant to peoples search terms. Also, people don’t like the hard sell. If you go in all guns blazing BUY THIS BUY THIS!! They will be put off. Therefore, your content must be helpful to satisfy search engines and your audience. But first, you need to make sure you are writing about the right things.
By coming up with ideas out of thin air, you are shooting in the dark. So you need to create content based around what people are searching for. This is where keywords come in. Keywords are what people type in to search engines. Therefore, writing around quality keywords brings free traffic to your website. This means that you don’t have to rely on paying for promotions and adverts to attract your audience, they will find you.
By having good knowledge of keywords, you can make sure your content is targeted to your niche’s needs. So, proper keyword research is essential to your success. This isn’t as laborious as it sounds and you don’t have to do it very often, as a good list of keywords will last you months and only takes half an hour to make.
By using certain techniques, you can determine how popular a keyword is, how much traffic it could bring you and how many other websites are using it. This information gives you everything you need to know so you can decide if it is worth using for your next post.
Learn About SEO
Creating good content based around keywords is just one SEO (search engine optimisation) technique. There are a whole host of SEO techniques that will help your content get to the top of Google searches. The higher your content is, the more people are going to see it and click on it. In turn, you will earn more money.
These techniques are not difficult, it is just a case of being aware of them and remembering to use them. I have created a checklist of ways to get your content in front of as many people as possible.
To learn more about SEO, I recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate. This is where I learned all about it. But, the training (even the free course) goes in to much more detail about how to do it properly.
Monetise Your Website
So, you have a website, you know how to attract traffic to it for free, now you need to know how to make money. Some websites use advertising banners. This is where they will get paid for clicks on the advert, that will take customers to the advertiser’s website. This really only works if you have a huge amount of traffic coming to your website. Also they are a bit of a distraction for your audience. The best way to monetise your website is with affiliate links.
Affiliate links are the links that track your sales. Most of the time the customer won’t know that they are clicking on an affiliate link. But, that doesn’t matter as they don’t have to pay any more money for a product or service for buying through one.
You get affiliate links to products and services by joining affiliate programs. These are really easy to find with a simple Google search. If you can think of a product that can be bought online, there is a huge chance that there will be an affiliate program for it.
An example of an affiliate program is Amazon Associates. This allows you to promote and earn money from anything available on Amazon. It is a good one to start with, as there are no restrictions when it comes to being approved for the program. However, there are a lot of strange rules that you really need to make sure you stick to. There have been a lot of affiliate marketing websites that relied solely Amazon that have been rendered useless because simple rules have been broken.
I recommend that you check out a few affiliate networks. These are website that manage hundreds of affiliate programs. The big advantage of affiliate networks, is that you can be a member of multiple programs and the network manages all the payments together. This means that you get paid a lump sum from one place, rather than having to check in to different programs to make sure you are getting paid from each one.
How to use affiliate links
Once you have joined an affiliate program, most of the time it is just a case of copying and pasting the affiliate link to the correct place.
For example, if you have written a review on the Globe The All-Time skateboard below and was a member of the Blue-Tomato affiliate program, you can drop the affiliate link in to the attributes of the picture, a text link or even in to a “buy now” button.
If you were to click on the picture, button or text above, it will take you to the Blue-Tomato website. If you bought it, I would get 7% of the sales price.
So you can see how that having theses links in a review, buyer’s guide, best of post can convert your recommendations in to sales. But, this could be anything from TVs to saucepans, depending on your niche.
Where To Learn About All This
Earlier I mentioned Wealthy Affiliate, this is the platform I use to learn about building my affiliate marketing business. After all the research I did on this subject, I believe that Wealthy Affiliate is the best training available. The training courses themselves are very thorough and comprehensive. The lessons take you through all the steps necessary for building your business from scratch. I really like that at the end of each lesson, there are tasks to perform before you move on to the next one. This means that you don’t miss out any essential steps.
Training consists of hundreds of tutorial videos with related articles to read through. Additionally, each week you can watch (and join in with) live training sessions. These are up to date and very useful. They are all recorded too, so you don’t need to worry about missing any of them. This is useful for me, as they are hosted in Canada, so they are usually in the middle of the night for me.
When I was first looking in to starting an online business, I wasn’t sure which path to take. Ideally, I wanted to try something out before commenting time and money in to something totally new. Therefore, I signed up to the free membership at Wealthy Affiliate. This allowed me to do some training and play with two free websites without committing to anything. All I needed was an email address to sign up.
Not Just A Training Platform
Wealthy Affiliate is kind of a one-stop-shop for building your affiliate marketing website. It is a domain name registrar, a website host, it provides a keyword research tool and a whole host of other training and support options.
Therefore, it is not just convenient, but really useful and very helpful. Above all, it is trustworthy. I realised this after signing up to the free membership, as it is obvious that there are no secrets.
I believe that you would be able to make money with the free membership, but if you are going to take it seriously, you will want to go for the premium membership. Once you have gone through a few of the lessons, you will know if you want to carry on or not.
That Is How To Build An Affiliate Marketing Website In Your Spare Time
I really hope that this post has been of use to you. If you can spare around 10 hours per week to build your affiliate marketing website and stick to it, it has the potential to change your life and become your main source of income. And with all that flexibility, could be the best thing you have ever done.
I am a premium member of Wealthy Affiliate. If you sign up to the Free membership on this link I will get a notification. I will make contact with you and you can ask me any questions you may have. If you just want to check it out for yourself you can just click here.
Alternatively, you can leave your thoughts and questions in the comments section below.