affiliate marketing for beginners
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Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate marketing has become recognised by more and more as one of the best forms of generating online passive income.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide on affiliate marketing for beginners. This guide will explain to you everything you need to know from start to finish. Everything from choosing an affiliate marketing niche, to building your website.

Without further a do, let’s get into it.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

You might be asking this question yourself. What is affiliate marketing? I found this quote from one of my favourite affiliate marketing guru’s, Neil Patel, which I think explains it well:

“Affiliate marketing is based on revenue sharing. If you have a product and want to sell more, you can offer promoters a financial incentive through an affiliate program.

If you have no product and want to make money, then you can promote a product that you feel has value and earn an income from it as an affiliate marketer.”

Neil Patel | neilpatel.com

As more and more of us strive to pursue a living funded by online passive income, affiliate marketing is becoming increasingly popular.

And why wouldn’t it be? The idea of sitting back at home whilst your online business is making passive income sounds like the dream, right?

Youtube channels like Wholesale Ted are helping to share the message that making passive income through affiliate marketing is not only possible, but also profitable.

This has brought with it a new wave of affiliate marketers into the field with the hopes of getting rich quick.

As most of us will know, it takes hard work to get success in anything, but my hope is that this affiliate marketing for beginners guide will help you understand what it takes to become a successful affiliate marketer.

Within this guide, I’ll set clear expectations of time and money investments and the tools you’ll need to help you along the way.

How to Make Money from Affiliate Marketing

Making money from affiliate marketing is certainly possible, but there are a number of steps you need to first follow.

In this affiliate marketing for beginners guide, I’m going to walk you through those steps and by the end of this post, you should have a pretty good idea about how to start your affiliate marketing business.

Choosing an Affiliate Marketing Niche

Choosing an affiliate marketing niche is arguably one of the most important steps to making money from affiliate marketing and becoming a successful affiliate marketer.

“Finding a niche is one of the most daunting steps in an affiliate marketer’s journey. But it’s a step that can’t be overlooked or rushed through.

Finding the right niche is the key to tapping into a strong buyer’s market that’s not saturated with competition.”

Quicksprout | quicksprout.com

Even before thinking about the success of your business, make sure you take onboard what I’m about to say:

Choose an affiliate marketing niche that you’re passionate about.

Creating content is so much easier when you’re talking about something you’re passionate about, trust me. Moreover, your content will ooze passion and your readers will want to keep reading.

When researching ideas for your affiliate marketing niche, you may come to the conclusion that what your passionate about is in a saturated market.

So what do you do when your affiliate marketing niche is saturated?

“It’s always good to keep in mind that even a saturated niche can hide business opportunities that are passing by unnoticed.”

Hotmart | blog.hotmart.com

Hotmart go on to give Uber as an example of a business opportunity within a saturated niche.

The important part in this exercise is understanding your role in your affiliate marketing niche.

Once you’ve got a clear understanding of what your affiliate marketing niche is, you should use Google Trends to support your research.

This will help you understand search trends over a period of time.

If there is an uptake in search volume over a period of months or years, you can be confident that this is a profitable affiliate marketing niche to spend your time on.

What you need to know:

I recommend: Google Trends

Investment time: 1 week

Cost: Free

What Products or Services in my Affiliate Marketing Niche can I Make Money from?

Ok, you’ve chosen your affiliate marketing niche, what next?

Well, you want to ensure there are products or services out there which you can market and make money from.

There are thousands of online affiliate programs offering millions of products, but it can be difficult to decide which ones you should choose.

One of the most widely used affiliate programs used by affiliate marketers  is Amazon.

Their affiliate program, Amazon Associates offers up to 10% commission for any products purchased after clicking through your affiliate link.

There are a number of other popular affiliate programs out there which you can use to market products or services, for example; Commission Factory and Rakuten.

It’s also worth remembering that just like Amazon, there are a ton of brands out there offering their own affiliate programs. If a company has an affiliate program, you’ll normally see a link to it in the footer of their website.

Want to find out the best affiliate programs for beginners?
Check out our ultimate guide here.

Do your research and understand what companies align with your niche and apply to join their affiliate programs.

Each company will offer a different commission rate, but anywhere between 5-10% is industry standard.

What you need to know:

Investment time: 1 week

Cost: Free

Further reading: Top 10 best affiliate programs for beginners

What CMS (content management system) should I use to become a successful Affiliate Marketer?

A CMS (content management system) is essentially an online database that serves as a home for all your posts, images and web content.

There are a number of different CMS platforms that you can use, but I’m going to keep this short and sweet and recommend the platform I’ve personally used for many years, WordPress.

WordPress is extremely user friendly, especially if you’re just getting started as an affiliate marketer.

It requires very little technical experience to set up and operate your own website and has a bunch of free themes and plugins you can use to customise and optimise your site.

I read recently that WordPress powers 28% of the internet (as of August 2018), and there’s good reason for that.

When it comes to WordPress, you have two options, but they both serve very different purposes. WordPress.com is very much for beginners and will take care of web hosting and domain name registration.

WordPress.org on the other hand requires a little more technical knowledge, but will give you much more flexibility to customise your site.

What you need to know:

I recommend: WordPress.org

Investment time: 1 day

Cost (WordPress.org): Free

Cost (WordPress.com):  $4 – $25 USD

Further reading: Why you should use WordPress

Choosing your affiliate domain name

When choosing a domain name for your affiliate website, try to think of a short catchy URL that can be easily remembered.

If your affiliate niche is focused around gym leggings, you might want to go for something like: gymleggings4u.com as opposed to thebestandmostcomfygymleggings.com.

The first option is likely to attract more people back to your site simply because the URL is easier to remember.

Circling back to my point earlier around short and catchy domain names, you’ll also want to think about what search engine keywords you’ll be focusing on when choosing your affiliate marketing domain (more on this later).

There’s research to suggest that search engines give priority to sites with focus keywords in their domain name.

For example, a website that focuses on TV reviews with a domain name along the lines of: www.tvreviews.com will rank better in google than a website whose domain name doesn’t contain these keywords.

When your search keywords are competitive, i.e there are a lot of websites focusing on similar content, this is an easy way to get your site more visible in search engines.

Be mindful of your competition

When choosing your affiliate website’s domain name, be mindful of your competition.

If there are other affiliate websites with the same name, try to work out how active they are, for example, are they posting regular blogs? If yes, you may want to decide on another domain name.

What you need to know:

I recommend: Namecheap

Investment time: 1 hour

Cost: $10-15 USD per year

What web host should I use to host my affiliate website?

Ok, so you’ve picked a niche, chosen your content management system and now you need to find a company that will reliably host your affiliate website.

There are a lot of web hosting companies out there. Many of them will lure you in with low monthly costs and gimmicky features, but it’s important to really understand what you need from them before committing. You should always consider:

  • Support – What level of tech support do they offer? If you’re just getting started, this is very important,
  • Server types – If you’re just starting up, shared hosting may work for you. However, if you’re generating a decent amount of traffic, you may want to look at other options,
  • Domain name – Own your domain name, always. This gives you flexibility if you need to change providers.

I’ve personally used Host Gator for the last few years across a number of sites and have been happy with their service, performance and price. You can check them out here, but it’s always recommend you do your own research and find the best host for you.

What you need to know:

I recommend: Host Gator

Investment time: 1 day

Cost: $3-15 USD per month (depending on your needs)

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