How To Learn About Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
I remember when I had to get up in the morning and drive through traffic to work. Then once I got there, spending my days listening to annoying co-workers, doing a job that got more boring each day. The only respite I got was a quick walk around the cluster of grey office buildings next to a motorway at lunch time. Now I work from my home in the French Alps on things that I actually find interesting. I have the flexibility to choose my working hours and enjoy life, thanks to my online business.
I have a few fingers in different pies, but I spend the majority of my working time on my affiliate marketing websites. I will tell you why affiliate marketing is such a good business model shortly, but I will also go in to how to learn about affiliate marketing for beginners
What Is Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the business model that allows an affiliate to earn a commission for promoting another person’s or company’s products or services. The affiliate creates content on their website such as:
- Buyer’s guides
- Personal experiences
For more details on how it works, check out my post how can I make money from affiliate marketing?
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Affiliate Marketing
I always like to give my readers the full picture of anything I write about. This is because you came here to be informed and I will be doing you a disservice if I didn’t go in to the good things and the bad.
Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing
Fantastic Earning Potential
Affiliate marketing is gives you amazing opportunities to earn money, and the sky is the limit to what you can earn. You may hear some people say affiliate marketing is saturated, but this is not possible. This is because affiliate marketing is a process. There are saturated affiliate marketing niches, but choosing a good niche, will mean you can capitalise on its potential.
Imagine making $30 for each sale you make. This is a very realistic sum, depending on the niche and the affiliate programs you join.
From the infographic above, you can see that affiliate marketing can be quite lucrative. Imagine the potential if you have a whole website full of information that has this kind of earning potential. Of course, when you start becoming established, you can create other affiliate websites for multiple income streams.
You Can Start Affiliate Marketing In Your Spare Time
I started my affiliate marketing business while I was employed. Every night, as soon as I got home after work, I opened up my laptop and got working on my first website. When it started to gain traction, I went part time and now I work from home full time. Currently affiliate marketing isn’t the only thing I do, but it is where I spend the majority of my time.
Low Startup Costs
It is very expensive to start a traditional business. An example of this is if you wanted to open a shop, you would need to rent or buy the premises. You would also need to pay to fit it out, hire staff, pay all the bills, buy stock and store it. To start an affiliate marketing business, all you need is a computer, an internet connection and a hosted website. You may want to pay for some other things later on, such as premium WordPress themes, business tools or even some online advertising to boost your traffic.
Anyone Can Learn How To Do It
There are some new skills that you will need to learn, but you don’t need to be a super hacking computer whiz kid to be an affiliate marketer. There is a lot of information online and a lot of affiliate marketing gurus that you may be attracted to. However,I recommend that you get some training. In my experience, Wealthy Affiliate is the best platform for learning. Check out my warts n’ all review to learn more. But, affiliate marketing is something you can learn while actually doing it.
The flexibility of affiliate marketing is my favourite thing. When you work for somebody else, you are stuck working to their working hours. Affiliate marketing allows me to enjoy my life, as I can choose when I do my work.
Regular visitors to this website, may be aware that I live in the French Alps and spend as much time as possible snowboarding, mountain biking and hiking. These activities all rely on the weather, so when I was working for somebody else, I had to hope that the conditions were good on my days off. Now, I can go in to the mountains for a couple of hours in the morning and get my work done later. I will often have to work late at night, to make sure my list of weekly jobs are done, but that is totally fine with me. There are many times when I have to say no to going out to play, but affiliate marketing gives me a good work/life balance, as I can choose my working hours.
Affiliate marketing works well for parents, people that live in remote places, people that like to travel or anyone that would like to fit their work life around other things, rather than the other way round.
When you are working for somebody else and only have one form of income, you are one step away from not earning any money at all. If something happens to your job for whatever reason, you will need to find another job as quickly as possible. By starting an affiliate marketing business, you can develop multiple income streams. This could be in the form of different niche websites, or something completely different. Either way, if one of your income streams is interrupted, at least you have a backup until you can fix it.
Disadvantages Of Affiliate Marketing
It Takes Time
The biggest problem with affiliate marketing, is that it takes months before you even make a penny. It may even be a couple of years before, you start making decent money. Most affiliate marketers that fail lose hope enthusiasm when they don’t earn any money. There are a few reasons why it takes so long:
- Google algorithms – Google puts new websites in to what is known as the sandbox. This is where websites sit until they have proved themselves to be good sources of information. While in the sandbox, it is more difficult for your content to rank. After about four months, your website will come out of the sandbox and google will make it easier for your content to rank highly.
- The learning curve – As an novice affiliate marketer you will need to learn certain techniques. These techniques include effective content creation and search engine optimisation. They are not particularly complex, but they are essential to your success. Training platforms such as Wealthy Affiliate can help with speeding the process up.
- Content creation – Creating quality content takes time. As you get more experienced, you will be able to speed up and become more productive. This is because you will learn how to get organised for maximum productivity.
- Mistakes – You will make mistakes. Unfortunately, on most occasions you won’t identify them until a few months after you have made them. This is will be as your knowledge improves, or when you go over old posts to do some updating. But this is all part of the learning process. As long as you learn from your mistakes and don’t make them again, you are moving forward.
Working From Home Doesn't Suit Everyone
You need to be a certain type of person to work for yourself. It is quite common for people get lonely and some struggle with being on their own all day. One of the biggest problems, is that it can be very easy to get distracted at home. This is because you have nobody to answer to and nobody is checking up on your productivity. You only have yourself to blame if you are unproductive.
But there are ways to make this easier. For example, if you get lonely, you can hire a desk at a shared working space, or work from a local for a change of scenery and some human interaction.
If get distracted easily, you really need to be disciplined and organised. Set yourself goals, a schedule and some deadlines. This way, you can make sure that you are being productive enough.
There Can Be Lots Of Competition
You Can't Control Affiliate Programs
You need to place affiliate links to the products and services you are promoting. These come from their associated affiliate programs.
Affiliate programs have certain rules and conditions that you need to abide by. Normally, this isn’t a problem, but some affiliate programs have a tendency to change their terms (Amazon is well know for doing this). If you manage to build a good reputation, you can negotiate with some affiliate programs for better rates.
It Is Difficult To Get Repeat Business
It is better to keep a customer than have to try and win new customers. But, some people say that once someone has bought through your website, they are unlikely to come back to it again. In a way, this is true, but it depends on the product, your niche and how often you post new content. If you get these three things right, you will become an authority in your niche over time. This means that you will be remembered as a great source of information.
One way you can increase your chances of luring back customers, is to create a mailing list. This way, you can send your readers updates of things that they may be interested in.
As you can see the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Also most of the disadvantages can be overcome by hard work and by carefully choosing where to put your efforts. If you think you can cope with this, keep reading. I am now going to go in to how to learn about affiliate marketing for beginners.
The Different Methods Of How To Learn About Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
There are a few ways you can learn about affiliate marketing, but some are better than others. I will give you some options, including how I learned about affiliate marketing.
Search The Internet
This will be the first thing you do, and is probably how you found this post. The great thing about doing this, is that you can get lots of information from different perspectives. The problem is, is that there is so much information, you can get paralysis by analysis. By this, I mean that there is a lot of contradicting information, leaving you wondering where to start.
The other thing about looking for all the information online without any structure, is that it is easy to miss out important aspects of affiliate marketing. For example, you may never find the best practices for certain tasks because you didn’t know they existed.
I am not saying that trawling the internet for information is a bad way to do it. It is just that it leaves you open to making more mistakes and it will extend the time it takes for your website to become successful.
Pay A Guru
While trawling the internet, you will come across lots of affiliate marketing gurus. These guys will sell you a course or an ebook on affiliate marketing. I am not saying that all of these gurus are dodgy, but you need to be weary before you give them your credit card details. The ones that suggest that you can get rich quickly with affiliate marketing are not telling the truth. As I said before, affiliate marketing takes time and is a way of building up a sustainable business. If you can find a guru that gives you a realistic picture of what to expect, do some research on them before you hand over your money.
There are a lot of scam artists out there, so it is difficult to know if a guru is legitimate or not. Also, you have no idea if the course or ebook is actually any good until you pay for it. So, be vigilant if you decide to take this route.
Find A Training Course
There are some organisations online that offer great affiliate marketing courses. Before you sign up to one, you really need to do your homework on them. By this, I mean look for reviews on the ones you like the look of, and try to find what other people’s experiences are.
My personal recommendation for affiliate marketing training, is Wealthy Affiliate. This is more than a training platform, as it gives you everything you need to build your website, host it, create content and the knowledge to make a success out of it.
Wealthy Affiliate is what I started with and still use it to this day. The first thing that attracted me to it, was that they were not pushy like the gurus, but the really valuable part for me was the Free Membership.
When I was still trying to decide what online business I wanted to start, I really wanted some first hand experience without risking any money. The Free Membership allowed me to create websites for free while following the free training. This gave me the insight I needed to make my decision.
I go in to all the details about what you get in my post what is the Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership about?, but I will summarise it here.
The training you get with the Free Membership, is the first 10 lessons in the Wealthy Affiliate Online Entrepreneur Certification course. This takes you from day 1 of not knowing a thing about it all the way up to creating content for maximum success. Following this course, means that you get all the information in the right order. At the end of each lesson there are a number of tasks to complete, before you move on to the next one.
The lessons are delivered as a mixture of videos and blogs that are super easy to follow.
You get two free hosted websites included in your free membership. They have a .siterubix.com suffix rather than a .com, but they are ideal for learning the ropes, especially as you don’t have to spend a penny.
Personally, I would only use these free websites while you decide if affiliate marketing or Wealthy Affiliate is for you. If you like it and are serious about it, you really need a .com website, but you can do this through Wealthy Affiliate too.
Wealthy Affiliate gives you access to a website builder that gives you a hosted WordPress website in just a couple of minutes. This makes life much easier than finding a decent host, domain registrar and installing WordPress yourself.
Jaaxy Keyword Tool
Jaaxy is a very powerful keyword research tool. Tools like this are pretty essential for creating content that your intended audience will find. Access you have with the Free Membership is limited to 30 searches and 30 site rank scans. There are upgrade options, but this is enough to get a good idea about what you want to do at this early stage.
Access To The Community
As a new affiliate marketer, you will have questions that you want answering. With your Free Membership, you get unlimited access to the Wealthy Affiliate community for a week. This is your opportunity to grill as many people as you can for information and hear different peoples’ perspectives about the platform.
The fact that you can join Wealthy Affiliate for free, means that you can just give it a go without any risk. All you need is an email address and some spare time to try it out. If you don’t like it, you can cancel it or forget about it. If you like it you can carry on with the Free Membership or you can upgrade to the Premium Membership. To see it for yourself, click here to see what Wealthy Affiliate can do for you.
You can do a lot of research about Wealthy Affiliate online, but you will find that most of the information you find will be the same. You can find out why in my post is the wealthy affiliate a scam or not? I strongly recommend that you give this a read before signing up, as it will answer a few questions you may have.
That Is How To Learn About Affiliate Marketing For Beginners
I hope you have found this post useful and it has helped you in your journey for starting an online business. If you have any questions or thoughts about learning about affiliate marketing, please leave them in the comments section below.