You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.
These days, you have the best programmers in the world creating what are called Content Management Systems (CMS) that will build awesome looking websites for FREE. For example, this website is based on the WordPress platform. I did pay about $50 for a premium design, but other than that, I don’t have to know any computer code at all and either do you.
This sounds like a simple enough task, but I cannot recommend it more when you are looking to run an affiliate business from home. Setting up a home office gives you the space to differentiate from your home life and your work life. If you have a spare room to turn into an office, great, but even if you live in a small apartment, or in my case a small RV, pick a quiet corner, a special table or desk, or any area that can be used to establish the routine of running your business. Also, make sure that your household members understand that when you are in your workspace, you are at work and are not to be disturbed. This includes your pets, who, believe me, can be the biggest distractions in the house. Running an affiliate business from home can come with the pitfalls of distraction, from that pile of unwashed laundry to your children playing loudly. So make sure that you establish clear boundaries so you can work and really build your business.
Every affiliate program offers different commission rates (along with rules that you should know). For example, some programs give out 20% commission, but only on the exact product you posted on your site. In other affiliate programs, you’d receive commissions from any product sale the referred person bought from the store, as long as he/she completed a full checkout within a specific period of time. For example as an Amazon Associate, you are given a 24 hour cookie window.
Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!
If you try to sell a product that is in low demand then chances are that you are not going to get many sales no matter how hard you try. So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time researching and finding out if a product that you are thinking of promoting is a product that your audience needs. If your site gets decent traffic then you can conduct an online survey and easily get input from your visitors.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
You’re not just “starting a blog” or “building a website”. You are starting a business! You have to go into it with this mentality if you are serious about succeeding. It’s fine to “test the waters” so to speak and see if this is right for you as the risks are extremely low. However, if you are truly serious about earning a full-time living through affiliate marketing, you must treat it as a business. No business is quick or easy to build and affiliate marketing is no exception. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it’s easy to make money with affiliate marketing, but I’m not that guy. Is it possible? Yes, but it’s going to be hard work.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you.
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
The platform: You have several options for your site’s platform, including your hosting provider’s built-in website builder that features drag-and-drop style site creator perfect for beginners, or coding the website from scratch (which provides the most flexible option when it comes to customization but require advanced HTML and programming skills). The most popular platform used across the board is WordPress. It’s the industry standard and used by a third of every website online.
Affiliate marketing is an effective money-making strategy for countless online entities – however, as straightforward as it is in theory, success is rarely as easy as it looks. The best way to build a dedicated audience for any blog is to carefully and clearly define its target audience right from the start, and then create content that caters to that audience. It is also considered as important strategy for creating and publishing a successful blog is to develop content that isn’t readily available elsewhere in the blogosphere or on the web. Eventually, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
There are a lot of affiliate programs to choose from, but I encourage you to start your search by checking out ClickBank or Amazon Associates, as they have a lot of amazing affiliate programs for digital products. When you join an affiliate program, you will get an affiliate link, so that the person who is selling the product or service can track which sales were produced by you.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.