What’s that then?
Affiliate marketing is a term used for driving sales to online sellers for a percentage commission.
And how do I do that?
You promote someone else’s product on your own website. Your visitors click through from the link on your website to an appropriate page on the vendor’s site and buys the item in question. You then receive a percentage of the money from the sale.
But I can’t build websites
You don’t have to. Not anymore. Many affiliate marketers spend time and effort learning how to write code and build a website themselves. Many others think that they have to do just that and give up before they even get started. But with so many free options that require no programming skills to get you started you really don’t have to, so why not jump straight into an option that will have you trading faster and easier?
Where do I get a free website?
There are a plethora of free website building packages out there. You can consider WordPress, Blogger, Wix, 1&1, Squarespace, Tumblr, Weebly and more. The list is endless and they all offer basic free packages to get you started.
They operate on pre-designed template systems so you don’t have to be a designer either. Simply pick the one you think suits your niche and start filling it with content.
It’s beneficial to purchase and add your own personal domain name to your site as using the one provided for free will look professionally clumsy and more than likely add the provider’s name to the URL. Domain names are cheap and you’ll want to find one that looks professional, be part of your brand, and hopefully include a reference to at least one keyword relative to your market.
Where do I buy a domain name?
Your chosen free website builder will provide that facility. With some you may have to pay a subscription for the next package up but most will only charge you for the cost of the domain and automatically insert it as your new website URL.
Choose your niche market
This is such an important factor to take into consideration. It will most likely dictate whether or not you’re likely to see this through to the point where you not only make money but also keep making money.
Do your research. Join all the affiliate network websites. They have lists of thousands of retailers and the products and services they will pay you to promote. Go through all or as many as you physically can to get an idea of what you feel you can describe, discuss, advise about and have a genuine interest in; it’s likely that that is going to be your best market.
If you pick a retailer or product type just because it has a higher percentage of commission then there is a good chance that you’ll lose interest in the continual amount of work it takes to keep making sales. Each product is going to require regular promotion to attract search engines and visitors, without them you’re not going to make referrals and without those you’re not going to make any money.
So if you have a hobby already and it appears on the affiliate network lists, then that’s a great place to start. If you see something on the affiliate networks that you’d love to get involved with perhaps as a new hobby or interest then that’s great too.
If it’s interesting to you then your new part-time job will be interesting to you too. If it isn’t, then it’s going to make doing the work a chore that eventually you’ll resent having to work at just to make a few extra pounds.
Finding the right affiliate programme
Some retailers will offer their own affiliate programs. These in-house programs will guide you in how your partnership will work, how they recommend you set up your website, how you’ll make the referrals and how you’ll get paid.
If the products or retailer you’d like to utilise doesn’t have it’s own program then you’ll join the network program that they are signed up to and from there you will be provided with the information once again on how to create and use your affiliate links and how you will be paid your generated income.
Get some training
Most affiliate network sites will offer guidelines on the best way to utilise your website to make a profit. More than likely these things will include how to set
up your website, how to make the best from Google’s Webmaster Tools and how to gather important marketing data from Google Analytics. They’ll offer tips on search engine optimisation in order to promote traffic from organic web searches, possible use of email marketing, driving additional traffic from social media platforms, considering paid traffic marketing such as AdWords or Facebook Ads, and more.
Some of the more overlooked but most important skills to learn about are the ways you create content for your website.
If you’re going to present yourself as somebody who understands the products you’re affiliated to and create relationships of trust with your website visitors to the point they want to buy those products then you’re going to need to learn how to write engaging, informative and exciting copy. Your articles are going to be what turns your website’s visits into sales. You need to be persuasive without being forceful. There is an art to writing readable and driving sales copy and this should be high on your list of things to learn.
All the time that you are learning you’re finding new or better ways to operate. Joining affiliate marketing discussion groups is a great way to trade techniques and tactics. These people are working in the same field as you so should be offering up-to-date methods of how best to operate so lean on them. Never stop learning or working at becoming better at what you do.
If you’re expecting to build your website, link to your affiliate and then watch the profits roll in then you may as well stop now and pick another way to try and turn a profit. It’s a slow burner that takes real work in creating regular content and new input.
Search engines want to see up to date news, they want to see regularly updated websites in order to rank them as active in your chosen market, so adding three or four articles of content every week should be your standard. Linking them to your site from all the social media platforms, guest blogging on other sites, pushing your links from any opportunity you can is all part of the process. It’s a lot of work if you’re going to make it work well.
Don’t give up early
My biggest piece of advice is don’t give up too early. Your results aren’t going to come overnight. You’re going to have to work on your website until it gains suitable rankings for your products. It will also take time for search engine optimisation to become established and present the beginnings of the kind of traffic that you’ll need. It will take time for that fist trickle to start to fall into place and from there you will need to keep working with all that you’ve learned to grow your results into those where you’re finally becoming satisfied with your new income stream.
So keep plugging, keep blogging, keep putting in the hours, and hopefully, eventually, you’ll be pretty glad you did.