How to Make a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Website
Affiliate marketing is the brightest and loudest example of lazing on your couch, sipping coffee and letting the cash roll into your account. Sitting at home and not moving too many fingers while making a hefty amount of money is what we call passive income, and affiliate marketing is the hottest and trending way of earning it.
It’s the most popular income-generating mechanism right now, and it continues to grow. For beginners and established digital marketers, affiliate marketing is the stepping stone into revenue heaven. Through affiliate marketing, so many large online businesses have found their income flow.
A competitive but promising field, affiliate marketing is a whole industry in itself, with different layers of stakeholders, key players, and revenue cycles. Thus, you may get bewildered by all the nitty-gritty details at the initial stage when you want to consider becoming an affiliate marketer and tap into the potential of this exciting industry.
We’ll provide you with a detailed overview of affiliate marketing, how it works, its key players, setting up your affiliate website, and how you can earn maximum profits through it.
- What is Affiliate Marketing, and How Does it Work?
- Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
- Why Do You Need an Affiliate Website?
- What Kind of Website Do You Need For Affiliate Marketing?
- How to Make a Profitable Affiliate Website
What is Affiliate Marketing and How Does it Work?
Very simply, affiliate marketing is the process of earning money by promoting other brands’ products or services. You do this by creating an affiliate platform like a website or a blog and putting up links to the products you want to market. Every time your site visitor clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you earn a fixed commission. Commissions are not limited to only user clicks and purchases. You can earn your commission based on other measurables like the number of downloads, email subscriptions, or free trials.
Below is the typical process chart of affiliate marketing.
1) You put up a product link on your page.
2) Site visitor clicks on the link.
3) Visitor makes a purchase.
4) Affiliate network records the purchase.
5) Merchant/brand confirms the purchase.
6) You get your commission!
There are four key parties or players involved in the affiliate marketing process:
- The Merchant
The manufacturer of the product you’ll promote, or the brand whose’ product or services you will market on your page.
- The Marketer
This is you, as the affiliate, who will promote another brand’s product on your page through an affiliate link. A marketer doesn’t have to be one individual, though. There are several companies that have made income generation through affiliate marketing their primary source of revenue.
- The Customer
You’ll entice these site visitors into clicking on product links and making a purchase. A key player in the whole process, as a customer’s purchase or favourable action, ensures the income flow and revenue generation.
- The Affiliate Networks
These manage the affiliate partners.
It may appear like a straightforward method, but the ground reality is that affiliate marketing is an art or a technique that must be learnt. It’s not as simple as putting up links on your site and automatically receiving cash. You must familiarize yourself with techniques that make your affiliate website profitable by attracting the right traffic. Moreover, you have to put in hard work to convert your site visitors into customers. This is done by engaging your audience through attractive, genuine, and helpful content. You must also keep your affiliate partners happy by providing them with the proper monitoring and tracking tools.
Is Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
There is no one-word answer to this question. On the whole, affiliate marketing as an industry has massive revenue potential as more and more digital marketing individuals and companies join this field each year. There must be a rosy picture of good profitability for the industry to be the most popular passive income generating method in recent times.
According to popular online statistics, the affiliate marketing industry’s revenue size and worth are forecasted to reach a whopping $8.2 billion by the end of this year. This is a significant upward jump from its size of $5 billion in 2017. Thus with a high popularity ratio and revenue growth each year, we can safely say affiliate marketing can be a profitable business.
Though success stories reveal digital marketers and bloggers making thousands of dollars each year from affiliate marketing alone, how profitable it is for you depends on how much effort and smart thinking you put into it.
You can make your business a game-changer by employing the right SEO and marketing strategies to ensure the right audience diverts to your page. The more the traffic, the more convenient it becomes to earn your commission by pushing people to make purchases through affiliate links. You can also sell your products through email marketing; by sending out attractive and informative emails to your email subscribers.
How much you make also depends on what your product niche is. Some niches do better than others. Therefore, how profitable affiliate marketing varies across individuals is a subjective and relative concept.
Why Do You Need an Affiliate Website?
Although you don’t necessarily need a website to do affiliate marketing, having a dedicated platform to operate your business is the best way to get ahead smoothly. A website geared explicitly for affiliate marketing ensures that you utilize all affiliate tools and functionalities to the fullest and carry out your operations in an organized and professional manner.
Your affiliate website will help you track affiliate data like CTRs, purchases, and payments using various plugins and add-ons. It will also provide a place for your partners to copy links and banners while monitoring their own data through personalized affiliate dashboards.
Using affiliate tools on your website, you can track the progress and cogency of your affiliate partnerships. This would be impossible without a website, as other platforms don’t provide you with the tools and plugins necessary for affiliate marketing operations.
What Kind of Website Do You Need For Affiliate Marketing?
There are four primary types of websites that you can build for affiliate marketing.
Using a basic WordPress blog is a great starting point for beginners, as it can be easily set up by installing WordPress. You can attract traffic to your blog through interesting and regular posts on your niche topics, thus increasing the chances of people clicking affiliate links on the blog.
With a blog, you have two different options; you can either write a separate post for each product you want to promote and add the relevant affiliate links on the page. Or, you can generally write exciting posts about relevant topics and incorporate the links into the page.
- Product Reviews
Your website can focus on providing detailed product information and expert reviews for each product. You can include reviews and testimonials of other users. It’s preferable to review products that you’ve used, as your audience banks on your authority and trusts your opinions. If your reviews help people make purchases, you earn a commission.
- Daily Deals
A daily deals website lists down discounts and promotional deals on products. Here you can post and display product ads to cook up a visual appeal for your audience. With such a website, you work on the urgency strategy. This implies that with short-lived deals you create a sense of urgency in the buyer to make an impulsive and quick purchase before they miss out on a great offer.
- Product Comparisons
On a product comparison site, you compare the price and features of the same product from different stores. Each time a user clicks a product link, you earn your commission. This site is also a great place to put up user reviews for products.
How to Make a Profitable Affiliate Website
As we mentioned, earning revenue through affiliate marketing is not as simple as merely putting up links on your website and forgetting about it. You will make money only if you do it right by following all the prerequisite steps and using the proper affiliate marketing techniques.
From deciding to build an affiliate site to working out the finances to incorporating techniques to make your site profitable, much work and deliberation are required.
We’ll guide you through the entire process so that you can conveniently set up your site and start making good money out of it.
Decide What Products You Want to Market
Before you officially begin your affiliate marketing journey, you need to research and identify what your product niche will be. Ideally, you need to be looking at products to market that interest or excite you. For example, if you’re into interior design, you would like to market home decor products like rugs or lampshades.
Since you have to produce content and write descriptions and reviews of the items you’ll be marketing through affiliate links, we advise you to choose a niche of interest and relevance to you. Reach out and work with brands you like and those relevant to your niche.
More importantly, a niche is a broad area to cover, and chances are there will already be lots of information and websites on it. Therefore be as specific as you can by selecting a focus area within your chosen niche. This will get you more traffic on your affiliate platform. Think about your target audience and what products would appeal to them. Research consumer trends through tools like Google Trends to identify trends within your niche.
Furthermore, to maintain your followers and traffic and become a successful affiliate, you must establish your authority and influence in your chosen focus area. Your audience will trust your judgement and authority on a topic. So you should be able to help them make informed buying decisions. Hence, research your niche and focus area well to come across as a knowledgeable authority to your target audience.
Choose an Affiliate Program
Though one way to build affiliate partnerships is by directly approaching the brand or merchant of the products you want to market, joining an affiliate program is more effective and viable.
Affiliate programs are large networks that have multiple affiliate programs to choose from. Once you register with a network, you can select a range of products you want to promote. Your program will later send you a unique affiliate link for your chosen product. You can then use these special links on your affiliate site or blog.
Affiliate marketing often works on lead generations and customers’ successful call to action, which can be anything from email subscriptions to starting free trials to requesting more information. The rate of commission and commission organizing policies vary across different affiliate networks. Some networks pay you according to costs-per-click. Others pay through a cost-per-action approach. The action doesn’t always imply a purchase.
We advise you to select your affiliate network wisely, as the success of your business banks on it. Not all programs may suit your needs. So it’s always a good idea to spend some time reviewing a network’s terms and conditions, their commission policies, and the affiliate tools they offer.
Choose a Web Host and a CMS to Build Your Website
Once you’ve selected your product niche and registered with a suitable affiliate program, it’s time to get down to the real work of setting up your affiliate website. Before you do that, however, you’ll need to select a domain for your business. Simultaneously, you’ll need web hosting to provide web space and website building and maintenance tools to your site. Next to that, you’ll need a CMS (content management system) or a website builder to physically build your site and add content to its pages. The best way to go is to incorporate all these services into one web hosting provider.
Most reliable and credible web hosting companies offer free domain registrations and various hosting plans. These hosting plans include everything from unlimited web space to bandwidth and storage, site security and maintenance, daily backups and updates, administrative control panel, business email, and so much more.
CMS allows you to add and manage content on your website. The most popular and widely used CMS for a significant chunk of websites around the world is WordPress. It’s highly recommended for beginners as it’s incredibly user-friendly and includes a free version. Further, WordPress provides users with a wide variety of affiliate plugins and add-on tools that enhance and facilitate your affiliate marketing operations. Additionally, most web hosting plans include a pre-installed or easy-to-install CMS or website builder.
If you choose to go a different route and opt for a website builder instead, some of the best options are Wix and Squarespace. They have drag-and-drop website building tools and a set of professional-looking pre-made templates that help you set up your website with a few clicks, without any prior coding or HTML experience.
Add Affiliate Plugins to Your Website
Plugins are essential add-on installations that help you incorporate additional functionalities into your website. In the case of affiliate marketing, WordPress provides its users with a plethora of affiliate plugins and affiliate themes that help you efficiently manage your business.
Once you’ve built your website, install a suitable theme that compliments your site’s branding and is consistent throughout all site pages. Persistent design is elemental in maintaining professionalism in your affiliate marketing profile.
To make your site profitable, you must install a good mix of affiliate plugins. These plugins perform various affiliate functions, from enabling a payment system on the site to monitoring sales, tracking affiliate data, managing and organizing affiliate links and much more. ThirstyAffiliates is a great WordPress plugin for optimum affiliate management and the functioning of your website.
Set Up Affiliate Dashboards
The plugins you install on your website also enable you to set up individual affiliate dashboards for each affiliate partner. WordPress’s excellent selection of affiliate plugins makes it easy for you to set up these personalized dashboards on your site in no time.
Through these fully-abled and loaded dashboards, your affiliate partners can monitor and track their progress through each step of the marketing process and across different components. They can conveniently track their CTRs and sales, review their commission records and payment histories, and download affiliate banners and links.
These dashboards are an essential part of your website that will keep your affiliate partners happy and help you organize your marketing operations.
Create Engaging Content and Affiliate Links on Your Website
Now you’ve reached the stage where you have to do the actual ‘marketing.’ Begin by filling your pages with genuine, engaging, and informative content related to the products you will market. There are no fixed rules on the type or format of information you must put out there. It can be anything from educational blog posts to product comparisons and reviews. You can also put up flash deals and user reviews. As long as you keep your audience hooked to your site.
The quality of your content will persuade users to click on the affiliate links and make a purchase. For that, you have to maintain your influence on them enough for them to want to believe what you say and be convinced enough to make a purchase. It is always best to review products you’re familiar with or ones you already use, as your audience relies on you to help them with buying decisions.
A helpful way to keep your audience engaged is by publishing regularly and frequently providing fresh content. Give the audience enough information and expert opinions to be thoroughly convinced. Through your content, users will be persuaded to go ahead and click that fateful link which will bring in the cash for you.
To stay ahead of the curve, research keywords based on popular user queries around your product niche. Incorporate these keywords into your content to divert more traffic to your site and keep people hooked to your page. Alongside keywords, add attractive visuals and graphics to make your content more attractive to the users. Visual appeal always does excellent in terms of complimenting the content and adding value to the website.
Attract the Right Audience to Your Site Through SEO
It’s great that you have engaging, genuine, and informative content on your website and well-positioned affiliate links. That, however, isn’t enough. Despite the hard work you invested in designing a great website; you won’t generate any income unless you attract the right traffic.
To divert traffic to your affiliate site, you must invest and plan for best SEO practices. The first step is keyword intent research to analyze the type of people flocking to your site. Determining whether your site visitors match the profile of your target customers is necessary.
Use tools like Google Analytics to determine top queries relevant to your niche that appear in organic search results. Use a list of essential keywords based on these queries to incorporate into your website’s content. This will hugely improve your site’s search engine performance and ranking, thus enabling it to reach a wider audience.
Installing and using the Google Analytics plugin will enable you to optimize your site for SEO to boost your sales. Through this helpful tool, you can track the performance of all your affiliate links and identify the major profitable traffic sources. Google Analytics also helps you determine which pages are doing well in terms of conversions. This will facilitate you in channelizing your marketing efforts in the right direction and on the right platforms.
Mastering SEO strategies and best SEO practices are like learning the secret code to a successful and profitable affiliate marketing website.
You can take some time to understand how online marketing works and which strategies you can use for your affiliate website.
What Should You Avoid in Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is about content strategy, SEO techniques, and intelligent connections. It can be easy money if you make sure to avoid a few common mistakes. Firstly, prioritize helping and informing your audience about your products through remarkable content. By focusing wholly on selling and not helping, you may compromise on the quality of your content.
Secondly, prioritize fast server speed. Nothing leads to bounce-back rates faster than slow-loading pages. Invest in a reliable web hosting service that provides excellent server speed. Alternatively, optimize your site images to increase the page loading speed. There are also several plugins you can install which contribute to page optimization and faster load time.
Third, never put up content that is hard to read and understand. Go for easy-to-read font styles and sizes, and keep your sentences simple and short. Avoid using too many complicated and fancy words. Remember, you want to be understandable to a large segment of your target audience.
Besides, always promote products you’ve either used or are familiar with. Never market stuff that you are unfamiliar with, as this will only dampen your influence and authority over your audience, thus negatively affecting your sales.
Do Affiliate Marketers Pay Taxes?
Yes, affiliate marketers have to pay self-employment tax. Employees working for an organization pay Medicare and Social Security taxes on their incomes, which their employers directly pay to Social Security and Medicare. On the other hand, affiliate marketers are self-employed and have to total these tax amounts themselves and pay them.
Is Affiliate Marketing Illegal?
Anything is legal if it’s done by the book and the rules of law. It’s considered illegal if a marketer uses fraud to cheat their affiliate partners or merchants. There have been scammers who cheat their affiliate partners into paying them false commissions.
Summing It Up
Affiliate marketing has long been known as a quick and easy money-making strategy. Where that may have been true for many digital marketers in the past, filling up their bank accounts with nice hefty sums, the true essence of the industry has changed over time. Nowadays, affiliate marketing is more about creating genuine quality content and building relationships of trust with your audience.
Prioritizing selling over informing your audience will only give you short-term rewards and may eventually lose your credibility as an affiliate brand. If you’re in for the long haul, you should learn the fundamentals of intelligent marketing, employ techniques that will make your website profitable, and promote products that you genuinely care about.
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