One of the most popular methods for making money online is affiliate marketing. Nowadays many people are interested in diving into affiliate marketing to free themselves from the 9-5 and provide time to do the things they love.
If you have found yourself on this blog then you must be asking “how can you make money online with affiliate marketing?” and I’m sure this can be the start of an exciting journey into making money online.
The earning potential really is endless.
What is affiliate marketing?
Ok, before we get started I just want to make it inherently clear that affiliate marketing is not a “get-rich-quick scheme” that many people believe it is.
Just like building a “brick and mortar” business affiliate marketing takes a lot of learning and executing in order to be successful.
But where better to start than here at the beginning?
Affiliate marketing is basically directing customers to established business who offer a product or service.
If the customer makes a purchase at that website from clicking your affiliate link then you bag yourself a share of the profits.
Affiliate marketing generally includes four parties; affiliate website, affiliate network, the advertiser and the buyer. To help get a better understanding of exactly what affiliate marketing is I’ll describe these parties below.
The affiliate website is owned by the affiliate.
In other words an affiliate website really can be started by anyone looking to earn their share of commissions.
Affiliate websites are usually blogs (which can be started and written by anyone) that can feature reviews, how to guides, best of lists and basically anything surrounding the niche your have chosen.
Affiliate links will be placed throughout these posts so that if your viewer clicks the links and purchases the product or service you are recommending you earn commissions.
Don’t worry if you have never started a blog the process is extremely simple and we will get into that further through this post.
The affiliate network is what is used to track the potential customer as they move from your website to the advertisers’ website.
The affiliate network places a tracking cookie into the viewer’s browser that will associate the viewer with your site as they enter the advertisers’ website.
Affiliate marketing revolves around the affiliate network as without it the advertiser would have no way to track where their referral traffic was coming from.
So in simple terms, the affiliate network is basically used to track where the customer was referred from.
The advertiser can be any business that sells a product or service. For example this could range from massive online retailers such as amazon all the way down to your local clothes shop (if they have an online store and affiliate network).
Finally, the buyer. I’m sure this will be rather obvious but the buyer is the customer who will buy a product from the advertiser after landing on their site through your affiliate links.
Sounds simple right? Unfortunately it’s not that simple at all with many factors that will influence your success but yes it can be done. Affiliate marketing is a long but exciting learning curve that I believe anyone can achieve if they really put their mind to it.
Work from anywhere
With affiliate marketing you can genuinely work from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and access to a computer or laptop.
Many affiliate marketers travel the world while working on their online business.
In theory, you could visit a new place every day and still be able to work on your business.
Yep I know sounds like an absolute dream but it is possible!
Minimal start up costs
Another massive positive for affiliate marketing is the extremely low start up costs.
Realistically this could be as little as around $60 which is the price of your domain and hosting of your website.
To put it in to context, imagine starting a real “brick and mortar” business. You need to pay rent on a store, inventory to sell and pay staff just for starters without any real way of knowing if you will become successful and actually earn money. I know what I’d rather
How much do you think that costs? Yep it certainly is ALOT of money that most people won’t have.
The business model is low risk. What do you really have to lose apart from some of your time and $60.
It really isn’t a lot to put on the line for the chance to earn some serious cash and free up your time.
Billions dollar industry
Affiliate marketing is a billion dollar industry that is only growing year-on-year.
Think about this, you only need a tiny percentage of this overall industry to provide yourself with an exceptional monthly income.
No expertise needed
You don’t need any fancy degrees or knowledge become a successful affiliate marketer.
Affiliate marketing can be learned by anyone with the correct guidance and lots and lots of dedication.
Convenient and flexible
There is near endless possibilities for affiliate schemes you can try your hand at. For example by testing different affiliate schemes you can find what works for you and abandon the ones that are not successful.
Don’t need to deal with customer service
Customer service can become extremely troublesome and can take up ALOT of time in a lot of cases but thankfully for affiliate marketers this is not something you need to worry about.
Once you have directed customers to the advertiser website all customer service relating to the product or service is handled by them.
Earn while you sleep
Yep it really is true. With affiliate marketing you can earn money all day every day and even while you sleep.
Your website can receive traffic from anywhere in the world at any time of day which opens up potential for you to make commissions 24/7.
Competition varies depending on the niche you are aiming to start with but widely the competition out there is huge. This can show that affiliate marketing really is a sustainable and highly profitable business model or why else would there be so many people investing their time into it?
This shouldn’t scare you off though if you are extremely persistent and dedicated you can fend off this competition and become an authority in your niche.
If you don’t start you’ll never know if you can make it work.
You can’t establish customer base
Basically once a purchase is made the customer is highly unlikely to enter the advertisers’ site through your site again so the chances of recurring purchases are next to nothing.
Affiliate marketers rely on driving new customers time and time again through mainly providing insightful reviews on the products.
No guaranteed revenue
When you work for a company you are guaranteed to the agreed salary when working your contracted hours but with affiliate marketing this is not the case.
Basically there is no way to tell how much money you will be making in a certain time period. Only you can dictate this by how much effort you put into learning and executing consistently.
Let me tell you something though, once you start to see the first small commissions rolling in the possibilities are endless.
Choosing a niche
So one of the major issues beginners come across is choosing a niche.
A niche is things that appeal to a small specialised selection of people. For example this could be dog lovers, carp fishing or antique collectors.
So basically if you decide to create a website in the “dog lovers niche” your website could provide reviews on dog toys, leads, food and basically anything related to dogs.
A lot of people suggest going with something you are passionate with as you will find it far easier to write about something you love and you will also most likely know quite a lot about the niche.
A good rule of thumb before settling for a niche is to check the competition. A niche with less competition will obviously be far easier to become successful in.
When picking a niche make sure you the niche is not too specific or narrow and there is potential to write at least 100 post on the topic or you may struggle to gain authority and receive enough traffic to generate a serious income.
Buying a domain
Now that you have chosen your niche it is time to put your plans into action and start building out your new affiliate website and the first step is buying a domain name.
A domain is basically your site address. It is usually the name of your website and what people will enter to reach your site. For example the domain name of this site is: Aitka.com
When choosing a domain for a niche site affiliate site it should be something to do with your niche.
I find the best place to buy domains is godaddy.
Go daddy is the largest domain registrar and my personal favourite. They provide excellent support and quite often run promotions where you can bag yourself a domain for as little as $0.99 when they will usually cost you are $13.99.
Due to the massive number of sites online today the chances of your first choice domain name being taken are quite high but not to worry simple brainstorm ideas and enter them into godaddy to find out if they are taken or not.
If you are stuck on deciding on a name there are many tools online that will allow you to enter keywords and they will generate a list of domains that are available. If you enter a search for “domain name generator” you will find loads of websites you can try out to find your perfect domain.
I would recommend sticking to .com domains as they are what most people will recognise so more trust is built from your site. Also, .com domains tend to rank better in search engines which is imperative for gaining traffic which will hopefully be converted into affiliate purchases.
Once you have sorted your domain name it’s time to take you site live and find a hosting site to take your website public. The hosting platform I’d recommend is bluehost.
Currently bluehost are offering a price of online $2.33 per month which is extremely cheap.
Bluehost also offer a domain name for free for the first year which can save you $13.99. The investment risks to get started really are tiny with bluehost.
Bluehost is one of the go to hosting websites for affiliate marketers and other website owners and they power over 2 million sites worldwide so your site will definitely be in good hands.
When you land on the bluehost website it’ll look something like this;
As you can imagine you’re going to want to click the big green to begin the set up of your new website.
Now you are going to be provided with some options that you can choose from which will look like this;
Feel free to choose which plan you like but realistically the basic plan will be more than enough as you get started with affiliate marketing. Although you may feel like you have many ideas of niches you want to try out I’d highly recommend to just stick to the basic plan and build out one site at a time.
Now it’s time to enter the domain you have chosen and as I’ve said before I would highly recommend to stick to .com domains. Remember this name will be your brand that you are going to be building so choose wisely as this cannot be changed down the line without affecting your sites performance;
You will now be taken to the page that allows you to add personal and a payment method and that’s you.
Your website is now live and you are ready to start building out your site and within time start making some serious. Well done you’ve taken your first steps to becoming a successful affiliate marketer.
But as you can imagine you are far from ready to making money. To give yourself thew chance of making you first need to start attracting visitors to your store.
There are many ways you can do this but the first method you should focus on is learning how to write “search engine optimised content” to gain visitors from organic google searches which we will discuss in more detail below.
If you are looking for a little more information on Bluehost and why it beats it’s competitors have a read at my in-depth review of Bluehost vs Hostpapa.
Search engine optimisation and writing content
If you have made it this far you must be serious about learning how to make money with affiliate marketing and it’s not time to get into the more technical stuff, “search engine optimisation” or “SEO”.
Ok so what is it? Well search engine optimisation is the process of gaining traffic from google “organic” searches in other words, when someone types something relevant to your blog post into the google search you are aiming for your page to appear in the first position.
Is SEO easy? Well I believe yes the process can become easy but it is never easy to rank your posts on the first page of google and once again it definitely takes a lot of learning and executing but I believe anyone can learn and become successful with SEO.
I’ll outline some of the basics to get you started but to fully understand and learn the power of SEO it is best to sign yourself up for some sort of SEO course to fully learn all the ins and out to give you the best chance of success, I could be here for hours discussing all the factors.
SEO courses can cost upwards of $1000 but not to worry there are a few out there than you can bag yourself for as little as $49. In fact the course I would recommend is “Wealthy Affiliate” and you don’t just get SEO training you also get an extensive step by step guide with video tutorials that can take you from a complete beginner to an experienced affiliate marketer in no time at all.
With affiliate marketing “Content is king” in other words if you are not providing helpful insightful content it is highly unlikely that anyone will stick around and actually read your content which will destroy your chances of making any serious money with affiliate marketing.
Lets get started
I’m sure you will be well enough informed on how you can make money online with affiliate after reading this overview guide and I’m sure you are ready to go. The potential in affiliate marketing is massive and this really could be the thing that allows you to leave your constraining job and learn to enjoy life again. Keep in mind that this is just an overview of the steps you would take in order to get started and you still have ALOT of work to be doing. If you are not sure affiliate marketing is for you but you still want to earn money online the have a read at our overview of 6 real ways you can earn money online from home. If you are serious about regaining your freedom now is the time to start! I hope you found this blog useful and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.