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How To Start Affiliate Marketing - A Complete Guide For Beginners

by Jeremy Harrison | Last Updated: January 11, 2024
How To Start Affiliate Marketing - A Complete Guide For Beginners

Affiliate marketing – you have probably heard about it from a Youtube video and want to learn more about it.

But is it legit? Or is it something that you need special skills to do?

Being involved in affiliate marketing since 2016 I know I had the same questions running through my head.

After many successes (and failures) I have gained some insights that I believe can help you start your affiliate marketing journey.

Affiliate marketing is an effective way to make money and generate income if you already run your own blog.

If you don’t have your own blog, or social media following it can be quite intimidating jumping into affiliate marketing.

Most people are attracted to affiliate marketing because they hear things like “passive income” and how they can employ “easy copy and paste” methods that will print them money.

After trying many different affiliate courses and getting scammed numerous times, I can say that affiliate marketing isn’t easy or passive as many people make it out to be.

However it is both very rewarding and challenging. ​​​So let’s dive into it!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

what is affiliate marketing?

The first thing that to know about affiliate marketing is that it is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Getting good payouts from affiliate marketing takes a lot of time and hard work. The great thing, however, is that you can do it right from the comfort of your home.

To define affiliate marketing, you should first consider your website as a subtle form of online advertising. The world we live in today is one where many people make purchases online and look for websites to help guide their buying decisions.

The question is, how do people who search online actually find what they are looking for?

The internet can be a confusing place. Many people do not buy things blindly, so they look for independent third-party opinions.

For retailers, the solution is having other websites drive traffic back to them, which is where you as the publisher, comes in.

If you have a blog or website, it is possible to form an affiliate relationship with a retailer either through an affiliate network or by working with them directly.

This gives you the opportunity to act as an online salesperson and send traffic back to the retailer’s website by including a special “affiliate” link from your content.

If a user clicks on your link, tracking cookies in their browser inform the retailer that the visitor came from your website or blog. If the person buys something on the retailer’s website, you receive a commission of the sale.

How does Affiliate Marketing Work?

how affiliate marketing works

Today, there are numerous ways to track affiliates, but they are all based on a person clicking your special tracking link, also known as an “affiliate link”.

You have probably seen affiliate links in popular Youtube videos and not even realized what they were.

Cookies are the most basic and common form of tracking.

If someone clicks on your affiliate link, a small file known as a cookie is stored on their computer. If they make a purchase, the merchant will see that you referred them.

It is also possible to track affiliate sales using advanced methods based on the IP addresses or email. For example, Clickfunnel’s affiliate program uses a “sticky cookie” that tracks users across devices.

But this is getting into the boring, technical side of affiliate marketing, and I don’t want to bore you here with those details.

How much Money can I Make with Affiliate Marketing?

How much money you can make with affiliate marketing depends on a few different factors. Such as your experience level with SEO/PPC and online marketing, what niche you are in, how much money you can invest and how lucky you are.

I tend to categorize affiliate marketers into five categories, according to their monthly revenue:

  • Tadpoles: $1 to $1000 per month
  • Small fish: $1000 to $10k per month
  • Medium fish: $10k to $20k per month
  • Big fish: $20k to $50k per month
  • Big tunas: $50k to $100k per month
  • Successful Beet Farmers/Dwight Shrutes: $100k+ per month

The cold hard truth is that most people who start affiliate marketing won’t make it past the first level. 

However, as you go higher up the monthly income level, you realize that people who are successful have entire systems and teams behind them. 

In fact, if you look at one of the biggest affiliate marketing players in the game Future PLC and you look at all the affiliate websites that they own, you will see that affiliate marketing is BIG business.

Here is a look at just some of the brands that they own:

example of affiliate websites

Of course Future PLC is a big diverse media company, with investors with big pockets. So you might be be thinking to yourself “that’s all well and good, but how much money can I make with affiliate marketing?”

To answer that question, in September 2020 Matt Diggity posted a poll in his Affiliate Lab Facebook group to see how much people that took his course were making with affiliate marketing from 282 respondents:

affiliate marketing income poll

The breakdown of how much people made with affiliate marketing were as follows:

  • 62 people made $0 per month
  • 15 people made $1 to $100 per month
  • 16 people made $500 to $1000 per month
  • 83 people made $1k to $5k per month
  • 25 people made $5k to $10k per month
  • 99 people made $10k to $50k per month
  • 10 people made $50k to $100k per month
  • 22 people made $100k+ per month

When people think of successful affiliate marketers, people think of big names like Matt Diggity or Pat Flynn – however, what this poll shows is that there are lots of affiliate marketers making Pat Flynn money – but they do it on the down-low.

Affiliate marketing is not an easy path, but with a lot of hard work and effort, people are making it their lucrative full-time career.

How do you Become an Affiliate Marketer? 5 Real Life Affiliate Websites Analyzed

You may be reading this and thinking that even though affiliate marketing seems like a good idea, in theory, you have no idea how to actually do it.

Well, the good news is that with a bit of time and effort, almost anyone can start their own website and become a successful affiliate marketer.

To help illustrate this, we are going to take a look at 10 real-life affiliate websites and break down how much they make and how they make money.

To get find these websites, we are going to use Ahrefs which is a tool that lets us analyze websites and gives us a whole bunch of useful stats like, how much traffic a site gets, who links to them and how much money they earn per month.

So we are going to find a whole bunch of sites that use Amazon’s affiliate program to make affiliate commissions.

To do this we are going to find all the websites that uses Amazon’s link shortener “” and look for pages that get a lot of traffic:

finding affiliate marketing sites with ahrefs

To do this we are going to enter ‘’ and do the following:

  1. Go to the backlinks section under ‘Backlinks Profile’
  2. Select ‘One link per domain’
  3. We are only going to be looking for ‘English’ websites
  4. Then we are going to filter website traffic to 50 to 100,000
  5. Now to really filter out the noise, we are going to look for the keyword ‘best’ in the titles of the referring pages

Once we do this, I also sorted the results by ‘Traffic’ to give me the pages that are getting the most traffic.

But even after doing this we get a lot of pages are great examples of content marketing, but most aren’t typical product comparison pages that exemplify affiliate sites :

sorting through ahrefs for affiliate sites

So from here I will manually go through the top results and give you the top 10 affiliate site examples.

1. Healthline

Approximate Monthly Earnings: $99.1 Million

Monthly Traffic: 106,000,000

Domain Rating: 92

For most people, when they think of Healthline they think of expert medical advice from doctors and medical experts.

But mixed in with all of the high-quality content are big affiliate money pages targetting highly valued keywords like “best pre-workout, best CBD oil, and best weight loss pills”.

keywords for healthline affiliate site

Healthline has benefitted tremendously over the years with Google’s updates which have favourite high authority websites with expert advice, especially in the health niche.

Key Take Away: Enter the health niche at your own risk, unless you have access to expert writers or are an expert yourself.

2. Scopes Field

scopes field affiliate site example

Approximate Monthly Earnings: $22.6K

Monthly Traffic: 45,100

Domain Rating: 41

I have never heard of Scopes Field before, but I can easily see why it is successful. It has a very simple, clean design and it is solely focused on gun scopes. The website is run by Richard Douglas, and a quick look around the site doesn’t show his picture and a Google search revealed that he has written numerous high-quality guest posts on gun scopes.

Looking at his affiliate pages, they are in-depth with a ton of custom images. You can tell that he knows what he is talking about and he appears to spend time actually reviewing the products he recommends.

Scopes Field doesn’t have much content, it appears to only target affiliate “best” keywords and ranks very highly for them such as “best scope for ar 15, best scope for 17 hmr, best file scope”:

affiliate keywords for scopes field

Scopes Field is a relatively new site and is using some advanced link building tactics such as using a 301 redirect to help power up the website. So this, combined with writing guest posts on very relevant sites appears to be what is causing Scopes Field to be ranking high for very competitive terms.

This affiliate site is a good example of an obscure niche that is obviously very profitable, where the owner has taken the time to become a topic expert on the matter.

Key Take-Away: Creating unique content and taking pictures of products really can make your own affiliate site stand out.

3. Cable TV

cable tv affiliate website example

Approximate Monthly Earnings: $5 Million

Monthly Traffic: 1.6 Million

Domain Rating: 70

Cable TV is another big authority site that uses its high domain rating to dominate affiliate terms. This is a trend that many authority websites are jumping on as they can significantly increase their website's revenue by just creating a few different articles.

Cable TV was started in 2011 but judging from their ahrefs traffic, it looks like they really started to target “best” keywords in 2019. Some of their big-money keywords are “best streaming service, best modem router combo and best xfinity compatible modems”:

cabletv affiliate site keywords

Cable TV does not rely on just Amazon for affiliate commissions, it appears to have numerous affiliate partners that it works with such as Netflix and Youtube.

The articles on the site are long and in-depth, but almost anyone who watches TV could write articles for this site. Being a professional binge-watcher is something most people can talk about.

In terms of how it got so big, it appears that Cable TV employs at least 5 people full time and they are constantly updating the website with fresh content and creating linkbait articles that other big websites want to link to.

For example, two of the most linked-to articles on the site are $1000 giveaways for people to watch Marvel and Star Wars movies.

Key Take-Away: Focusing on creating link-worthy content early on is a great way to grow your site even if you’re on a shoestring budget.

Questions to Ask Before Promoting an Affiliate Product

questions before promoting affiliate

When selecting products to add to your new affiliate site, it is important to take time to assess which products you want to promote.

Product identification is important as it can make the difference between making a sale and generating income, or your visitors not finding what they were looking for and exiting your site quickly.

When deciding what products you will promote, make a list of any items you think will fit well in your niche. Try to come up with as many as you can.

Consider if they are something that most of your audience would actually use or benefit from. The trick here is to try and anticipate what it is your audience is looking for and provide it for them.

You should consider things like:

  • Would this be a product that my audience will use?
  • Is this a product that I would use myself?
  • Will this item address a need or provide a function that my audience requires?
  • Will this item provide value to my audience?
  • Is it an easy buying process for my customers
  • Will it provide me a decent commission rate?

The last question on this list is just as important as the prior questions, but it is one that can get overlooked.

Yes, you are creating an affiliate site to provide a service to your customers but ultimately to build a business and create an income for yourself.

There is no point incorporating products that don’t help you reach your income goals, so take a moment to check the commission levels for products that you include.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 8 Steps

  • Step 1: Choose a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Niche
  • Step 2: Create a Website or A Blog
  • Step 3: Find Products in Your Niche That You Can Review
  • Step 4: Select Affiliate Programs to Work With
  • Step 5: Create Awesome Content That is Optimized for Google
  • Step 6: Earn Links Through Great Content and Outreach
  • Step 7: Build a Social Media Presence
  • Step 8: Use Other Ways to Monetize Your Affiliate Site

Step 1. Choose a Profitable Affiliate Marketing Niche

One of the most important steps in starting with affiliate marketing is narrowing down your niche.

This might seem counterintuitive at first. You might be thinking, “But Jeremy, I don’t want to limit myself! I want to rule the inter webs!”

While I commend your enthusiasm, I encourage you to curb it.

You want to start out small because this is the best way to eventually compete against bigger competition.

You want to start and get small wins early. If not, you will become frustrated and quit. The question is, how is it possible to tell which niche is likely to generate the highest revenue with affiliate marketing?

Here are some of the steps to follow when choosing your niche:

Identifying Your Interests

You will be doing a lot of writing about the topic you choose. So if you have selected a niche that you don’t really like, your website is not likely to last very long.

I was a victim to this mentality. I started a website about a diet I was interested in at first. After the first year, my interest waned, and I was stuck with a site that I spent a bunch of time and money on for which I was no longer passionate.

However, you should remember that just because you like something does not automatically mean that you should write about it.

Follow Your Passion vs Making Money

Just because you're passionate about something does not mean you will be successful at it.

Here is a great clip from Scott Adam as he explains his time as a loan officer at a bank and how he would decide which person to give out money to:

Your previous knowledge can be highly useful in niche selection, but you should not allow yourself to be narrowed down too much by this.

If you are willing to do some research, you don’t even have to be an expert in your niche.

Let’s say that you are a travel enthusiast like me. If you were to start your own website, you might to start off with a small country like Myanmar as your website’s niche of choice since you love to travel.

Starting in a small niche would make sense as there will not be a lot of competition, and because you are passionate about travel, you will be interested in it.

The niche you select should fit into your previous knowledge and current interests, but also be small enough that you can compete in the space. ​

It is important to note that the niche that fits your previous knowledge and interests might not always be the most profitable one. You might be aware that finance and finance are two highly profitable niches, but they just don’t interest you.

So, when you are deciding on which niche you want to get into, make a list of topics you find interesting. Then decide whether you know a lot about them already or if you have enough interest that you are willing to learn.

Check Your Niche’s Popularity

Certain niche’s popularity are finicky and changing constantly.

For example, let’s say you are big fan of the South Beach diet. That may have been a great niche to get into ten years ago, but now that diet is considered passé. People have moved on to other diets.

To start, it is important to see what people are actually looking for when searching your topic of choice.

You can use various tools to check the popularity and search results of various keywords.

Some of my free favourite tools to do this are:

  1. Google Trends 
  2. ​Keywords Everywhere
  3. UberSuggest
  4. Answer The Public

Google Trends is a great tool to start because you can see the popularity of your niche over time. If it peaked a few years ago and plummeted, that’s a red flag.

You can also use other tools such as the Keywords Everywhere browser extension. It will let you see the search volume of any keyword typed into Google in a particular month.

Simply put, the higher the numbers here, the more preferable. It means that there’s demand for the topic online.

The next step is checking whether the demand is likely to stick or just a passing phase.

Google Trends is the next tool you should use. It will help you find out the popularity of a particular keyword or topic over time, whether it is over the past hours, weeks, or even months.

Google Trends will let you see whether the demand for your chosen topic is increasing or whether people have started to get bored with it already.

Find Out Which Niche Has Products That Sell

You have most likely narrowed down the original list of niche ideas to just a handful of topics that enjoy popularity online. Now, how can you choose a niche that will earn you the highest amount of money?

Affiliate marketing has to do with the recommending of services and products to readers. So, it is now time to find out which of the niche topic ideas has product and services that people are willing to buy.

Here’s what you need to do: take your list of niche ideas and list the problems that people within that niche face alongside each item. You should then list the products in your niche likely to solve the problems.

For instance, let’s assume that women’s hiking clothes is your chosen niche idea. Problems that your audience are likely to face may include finding good, durable hiking boots, finding breathable clothes, buying clothes for winter hiking, etc.

It is now time to find out whether those products are selling online.

Amazon is probably the largest retailer online and runs an interesting affiliate program for niche websites. However, the website is also useful when it comes to finding our whether various products are selling.

Search your niche keywords on Amazon and see just how many results you get. Hopefully, you will get thousands of results for general niche keywords.

Check for consumer ratings and reviews within those products. You need to take note of the number of reviews you see on niche products and whether any products have hundreds if not thousands of reviews.

If there are, you will have found your perfect niche!

Step 2. Create a Website or a Blog

Now that you have decided on the industry, the niche, and the products, you need to consider the actual website itself. How will you design it?

Will it be set up as an online store or shopping portal? Maybe your niche will work better as a review site. Or maybe designing the entire thing as a blog is the best way to go.

Whatever you decide, you should try and put yourself in your new customers’ shoes and imagine what it is they may be hoping to get from your site.

Do they just want somewhere to go online and easily access the products they need? Or are they looking for some kind of resource to provide them ongoing information and help? Could a blog be the answer?

Setting up your first website can be complicated, but in this video, I break down setting up your first WordPress site step by step:

Choosing A Domain Name For Your Affiliate Site

When creating your website, don’t forget to choose an appropriate domain name. If you can get a .com site, it usually is regarded more favorably by Google for ranking purposes. While many names have already been taken, there are still literally thousands available.

You can often get the name you want by being a little flexible…

For example, the site may be unavailable, but may be available. With a little creative spelling, you can get the domain name you desire while still conveying the same message.

When it comes to choosing your domain, there are a variety of ways you can do this. You do want to think about what your business is and try to incorporate your business somehow in your domain.

This gives people an idea of what you are about. Try not to be too generalized, and speak to your niche.

If ideas don’t come easy to you, then use one of the many online domain name generator services to give you ideas. There is a whole blog post listing great domain name generators here that you can use to help.

Once you determine the structure of your site, you can set about creating it.

If you are reasonably techy, you can use an online website builder. There are lots of these around, but places like Squarespace or Weebly are very reputable.

If you bought your domain from a larger seller like GoDaddy, they include web building and hosting options for just a few dollars a month.

If you have decided to create your site more like an online store, then Shopify offers various packages to get you started and help you grow.

If you are already comfortable with web design, then you already know the benefits of WordPress and its many useful features and plugins.

Should You Use A Free Blogging Service?

If you are not comfortable with WordPress and looking for a free alternative, you can start by using a free service (such as Blogger).

The most common setup for blogs is WordPress, which is used widely by bloggers to generate their website and get it online. This does require some knowledge of how to use WordPress and its plugin, themes, etc. to create the site you want.

If the technical side is a problem for you, then there is an easy option. To get your site up and running quickly, you could elect to use, which is a free blogging service owned by Google.

This service will give you a free domain or you can connect your own, and this will simplify the blogging process.

image of blogger

Be warned, however. Google can remove your blog at any time, which has famously happened to one or two well-known websites.

Also, if you are looking to get serious with affiliate marketing, you should really consider getting a WordPress blog and a hosting provider so that you have full control and flexibility over your site.

Learning about WordPress may be difficult at first, but it is highly recommended to learn about it if you don’t know how to use it.

Is A Website Necessary?

Most people need a website for visitors to come to and a place to insert your affiliate marketing links.

However, this is not always necessary depending on your strengths and your niche.

There are people who make a KILLING doing Youtube and Pinterest alone, but most people starting affiliate marketing usually start with a website and draw traffic from various sources back to their site.

However in this post, we will focus on affiliate marketing using a website.

Step 3. Find Products in Your Niche to Review

Now that your new website is up and running, you will want to provide content for your site visitors.

People coming to your site are in search of something. They could simply be looking for general information about a topic or for information on the reliability or usability of a product.

Whatever the reason, it is worth spending time assessing and identifying the areas that customers are looking for and tailoring content to fulfill that need.

Here is where you can make sure that your affiliate links and products are leading your site visitors to the answers they seek. Spend some time looking at competitors’ sites to see what they are providing.

Run searches on Google to see what kind of results are being returned and how many sites are catering to those questions. Are they authority sites? Is there a high number of them?

Make notes and compile your own list of searches, questions, and the pain points of your audience. Once you know what people are looking for, you can design your site around providing products for them.

This is where keyword research comes in handy as you can see the number of monthly searches for a particular item or category and see if there is enough search volume to justify your hard work.

Provide HONEST Reviews

Providing honest reviews is a key ingredient for your success as an affiliate marketer.

For example, if you look at my Wealthy Affiliate review article, you will see that I give an honest look at what I really think of the course.

Being honest can cost you some commissions in the short term, but I think it signals to readers that you can be a trusted source long term.

Step 4. Select Affiliate Marketing Programs

Now that your website is up and running, you will want to spend some time selecting the products that you will review or sell via your online portal or store.  We have already covered the types of questions that you’ll need to ask yourself when selecting and identifying items for your affiliate marketing business.

Now you need to find out exactly where to source the products that you will be selling and identify the affiliate partners and marketers that will be supplying the products to your end customers.

There are many affiliate marketing partners out there available for you to choose, and one of the most popular ones is Amazon Associates. Their program is the largest affiliate marketing programs in the world with over one million registered associates.

The commissions range from three to ten percent. Amazon has a range of tools to help you begin your affiliate business and is perfect for beginners to more advanced affiliate marketers.

They also have an uncanny ability to turn customers into repeat customers and generate future business from sales making them a valuable partner to have.

Amazon’s affiliate marketing process is simple, the conversion rates are high, and the selection of available products is virtually unlimited. Additionally, Amazon is a brand name that is recognized and trusted the whole world over.

image of amazon affiliates

A second very popular and runner-up network to Amazon Associates is the eBay partner network. The commission structure is a little different from the typical affiliate network partners, but a nice touch is that for new associates signing up with the platform, they offer double commissions for the first three months.

image of ebay

eBay pays a commission on the fees they charge for sales of products. This means that as the product price goes up, your commissions rise too.

With payments going up to 70% of auction fees, this means that the affiliate marketers can net themselves a tidy sum from products that are sold or auctioned. eBay’s huge product range and promotion tactics are almost as good as Amazon’s, which makes them a viable choice for affiliate marketers.

A newer player in the last few years, but one that is fast gaining popularity, is Jet has a product range that is comparable to Amazon’s wide variety. The downside to Jet is that prices can sway quite a bit depending on their algorithm.

image of jet

Their business model attempts to offer the cheapest possible prices to customers shopping in real time. This is great for customers, but not always great for you as an affiliate marketer whose business is based upon commissions for sales.

Many people are not aware that the retail giant Target has an affiliate marketing program. The popular retail outlet has a large product range and offers generous commissions, which makes it an appealing choice for affiliate marketers looking to sell products.

image of target

However, as you may imagine, the product categories are limited to items they would normally sell through their store (, electronics, home goods, and beauty products). If your website is promoting any of these products, then Target can be a good option for you.

These affiliate programs are really just the surfer, there are many other independent companies like the Clickfunnels affiliate and the SEMrush affiliate program that can offer very high affiliate commissions that are also recurring.

Estimating Revenue Potential

Determining how much money in profit you can make from your website is not an exact science.

It will be dependent on things like how good your SEO is, where your site is ranking in Google Search results, and how much traffic you get on a daily basis to your site. However, there are certain tools and tactics that you can employ to provide you with some indication of potential revenue levels.

For this, you will need to research tools similar to SEMrush or Ahrefs. Entering searches and keyword terms around your products will return results that show how often those particular products and search terms have been Googled.

image of SEMrush

Using the statistics returned by these tools, you can estimate the value for each customer. Please note: This is simply an estimation of the amount of revenue you can make for ranking for the specified search terms. 

Your potential profits will also be dependent on your conversion rate. As a rule of thumb anywhere from one to three percent of site visitors making a purchase is considered a good conversion rate.

Depending on what your commission rates are, you will then be able to calculate roughly what the revenue potential is for your specific products or search terms.

Product Terms Keyword Research

To generate sales from your affiliate business, it is necessary to understand buyer intent. This is the indicator that shows the likelihood of a visitor to your site making an actual purchase.

Buyer intent can be determined from the use of certain keywords that indicate how ready a customer may be to make an actual purchase.

For example, a person searching for  “types of iPhone chargers” may simply be doing some research, and the buyer intent may be only medium at best. Someone conducting a search for “where to buy iPhone chargers online” indicates an extremely high intent to buy the actual products.

This information is what we can use to convert visitors into sales. Identifying the problem or answering the question for a customer is key.

Once you know what your visitors are searching for, your goal is to have your site rank for that term so people can find your product pages and make the actual purchase through your site, rather than from one of the hundreds of other sites out there.

This is where you can use modifier keywords to your advantage. Search terms like “best iPhone chargers” or “top iPhone chargers,” and then take a look at the Google search results.  if the searches return a slew of affiliate marketing sites and online stores, then you know this category is saturated and will be harder to rank for.

When you find an area that is not completely saturated by super high authority sites, take the domain names and use your SEMrush or Ahrefs tool again.

Enter each of the domain names, and it will give you a list of all the search terms that the website is ranking for. By utilizing this information, you can generate a list of your own search terms that you want your own site to rank for.

The idea is that you build a strategy around identifying high traffic keywords with low competition. In affiliate marketing terms, this is the sweet spot. If you can position your site well enough to rank within it, then you should generate maximum profits.

Direct Affiliate Marketing Partnerships

We have looked at some of the best affiliate marketing programs from where you might source and supply your own range of products. While easy-to-use networks will provide you with a large item and product range, there is also a method by which to directly partner with companies and earn commissions.

This differs slightly from affiliate network marketing in the sense that instead of partnering with a large network that provides a variety of consumer goods, you will partner directly with a company to sell or promote one specific product or service.

In some cases, it actually makes more sense to directly partner with the provider than to partner with an entire product network.

A good example of this is selling domain names or website hosting services. Companies like Blue Host or GoDaddy will offer direct partnerships to their associates in order to sell more of their products.

Where this direct relationship is available in these instances, it is useful to take advantage of it rather than going through a network. Using this method can result in higher commissions for you.

image of GoDaddy

Step 5. Create Content That is Optimized For Google

Part of the challenge you will face when you become an affiliate marketer is the sheer amount of competition you will be up against. Virtually any product, site, or service you can think of and enter into the Google search bar will return literally hundreds of pages of results.

Having your site rank successfully will make all the difference between making it in the affiliate marketing world, creating sales, and generating income, or just sliding into obscurity and abject failure. So, with so much competition, how do you set yourself apart from the masses?

Well, there are several things you can do. We have already covered some of them such as effective keyword research and product targeting, but you can also employ tools and methods on your website or online store to help you rank higher in the Google search engine listings.

Content creation is your secret weapon and will go a long way in helping you realize better search engine rankings. Google’s algorithms circle around many different factors.

One of the main factors they are looking for is: “Are you an authority site?”

This means you are a true authority in your niche and can supply relevant information and provide helpful guidance to your website visitors. The more of an authority you can be on a subject, the higher your rank in the Google search engine results.

Spend some time focusing on creating great content for building authority. One way you can do this is by adding a blog to your website.

This gives you an outlet where you can educate and inform your site visitors by providing helpful information that they seek. It’s also another area where you can include a few product links.

It is worth thinking about setting up a posting structure or schedule. For your blog writing, you may be comfortable sharing two or three posts a week, or maybe once a month is really all you can commit to.

Depending on your time restrictions you can also consider outsourcing your blog writing. Whatever your posting structure, make sure you stick to it and post on that predetermined regular basis.

What you don’t want to do is post everything you can in the early stages then run out of steam. This leaves you with a dead blog–the internet is full of them.

To commit to a regular blog posting schedule will take a little bit of patience and determination. Many blogs don’t see much traffic in the beginning (sometimes for as much three to six months until you really start to build some authority within your niche), but if you can stick to it, it will yield results.

You can also employ additional tools in your blog like the ability to allow readers to share your blogs to their own social media accounts. You can post your blogs on your social networks to generate more readers and leads.

When you are creating new blog content, this should be given the same level of research as your site products and review pages on your website. Meaning that keyword research should be used along with generating titles that will grab your reader’s attention.

Making your articles almost irresistible to click on and read is crucial. The Sharethrough Headline Analyser tool is useful for this and is free to use.

image of Sharethrough Headline Analyser

It will score your headline and rate for engagement, interest, and other factors. The higher the score, the better the headline.

When creating blogs, make sure they are nicely formatted and easy-to-read with short sentences and paragraphs, bullet point listings, and plenty of images.

Note: If using images, make sure they are sized correctly and not taking too long to load as this will slow down your site and may increase your readers’ bounce rates.

Step 6. Earn Links Though Creating Great Content And Promotion

Building your site’s authority to rank higher in Google listings and to gain more traffic can be done partly by creating great content.

The other part of it is you will need external sites to link to your site in order to build a network and continue to increase your site’s authority.

Every time a site links to you it is basically a vote of confidence that your site provides relevant and helpful information to users. Google recognizes this, and the more backlinks you have, the higher your site will rank.

Now don’t take that information and go out and buy links or generate a bunch of useless links because Google is smart enough to recognize that too. This means that you will need to elicit links from other high authority and relevant websites.

Along with having great content, you can promote your website and products via social media and other platforms hoping to gain a few links.

An additional trick you can use that is a tried and tested method of gaining backlinks from other sites in your niche is to spend some of your content-creating time generating valuable statistics.

This can be in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, side-by-side comparisons, pie charts, graphs, bar charts, or any other visual method that conveys the statistical information that you have compiled.

Infographics can also be useful in this area.  Instead of referencing and linking to numbers or percentages on a particular topic, it is really worth taking the time to research and generate your own statistics.

This makes your content valuable, informative, and most importantly, highly linkable.

Another great thing about generating your own information this way is that it really doesn’t take you any more time than you would spend creating your blog content.

To learn more about this method, check out Income School’s great video:

Get Links Using The Skyscraper Technique

This method was first developed by Brian Dean back in 2015 and gained a lot of attention.

image of backlinko

The method was simple, and it generated much site authority and backlinks for the pieces that were written.

The basic concept is to find good and relevant internet content within your niche that has a large number of backlinks and therefore is a popular piece. Then generate your own, even better, content.

This is where you can utilize your SEO tools again to explore content and keywords relevant to your niche.

Identify quality posts and blogs with a high number of backlinks. Then set about creating your own content that improves upon the original in various areas.

Brian Dean recommends you focus on these areas:

  • Article Length – If the old post is “20 best ways to…” then make your post “30 best ways to…”
  • Current Information – Check that the information, news data, statistics, and any other factual statements are completely up-to-date.
  • Design – Make sure the article is formatted to make it easily readable and update any tired or outdated images.
  • Depth – Add more detail. For facts or statistics, show how they are actionable and relevant.

Be on your guard, though, against adding “fluff.” You want to IMPROVE the content, not just make it longer by adding irrelevant or useless information.

Everything that you change needs to add value to your reader and create a quality piece that is worth linking to.

Once your new Skyscraper post is created, then you can reach out to the people that linked to the original piece and reference your own article as the bigger, better, newer, more authoritative piece to give true value to them and their own readers.

The idea is that since they already linked to the original content, they will be more likely to want to link to your bigger, better, and newer article.

When emailing make sure you include an introduction and a brief explanation of why you are reaching out to them. Add the link to your article and highlight why it is better than the current content they are linking to.

Make sure you include a call to action asking them to link to your content.

For further information on the skyscraper method, you can watch this:

Step 7. Build a Social Media Presence

As part of your website promotion efforts, social media is an easy and free strategy that can increase awareness and click-through rates to your website.

Using social media can be a great way to build your audience and generate a following. You can post photos of new products, highlight any special offers, link to new blogs, and generally just create a positive rapport with your customer base.

There is also the option of using paid advertising on any of the social media sites. You can always go that route if you wish, but for now, we are focusing on the free methods.

You may want to manage your social media accounts by yourself or depending on your available time you can always outsource and have someone manage them for you for a relatively low cost.

How To Start:

Set up free accounts on the four main social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Create your profile, and make sure that you set it up completely with all of your information, website links, profile pictures, and cover photos. An incomplete profile looks unprofessional, so be sure that you are making each one you set up 100% complete.

When To Post:

Determine your posting schedule: Will you post once a day or five times a day? Which platforms will you post to more often? There are several factors to be considered.

You can tweet and retweet to Twitter in high numbers, but it may be detrimental if you try to do the same on Pinterest, which has tight anti-spamming rules.

There is also a variance between each platform when it comes to the most effective times of day to post.

Some experimentation to find out which times are most effective for you can be useful. Once you have identified the optimum posting times, you can build your social media calendar around that.

What To Post:

Don’t be frightened to share a variety of different posts. You can display various products or simply reach out to your audience with witty quotes and memes.

It is best to keep them professional, but everyone likes a little humor to brighten their day. It will also make you seem more approachable.

Be available to engage and respond to any social media comments. This will help you to build a community and generate customer loyalty.

You can also post competitions, rewards, and giveaways, which are usually well-received. Everyone likes something for free, and you can request that your existing social media followers share with their own friends, thereby increasing your reach even further.

You can also post any behind-the-scenes items you want to share. You may want to show screenshots of a project you are working on or pics of your office, your cat, or your dog–anything that makes you more relatable to your audience.

Sharing Is Caring:

On your website, make use of the many sharing tools and plugins that are available. Many of these come in free and premium versions, and often the free ones will be enough for what you need.

These include buttons that embed at the beginning or end of your posts and give your readers the ability to share your articles.

A number of them include “hover over” sharing buttons that pop up when someone moves over your photos and gives them the ability to share the pic and link to their own Instagram or Twitter feed so that their friends can access it too.

Analyze Your Success:

All social media platforms come with built-in analytics that you can review and utilize to determine which posts and types of posts are working most effectively.

Some platforms require you to set up a business account to access this information, but the setup is usually free.

Once you can access analytics data you can monitor the performance of specific posts and view statistics like engagement rates, likes, and clicks through to your website. Some platforms will show how many times your profile has been viewed and the number of clicks on any of the links included there.

Facebook Groups

Along with the usual social media channels, Facebook Groups are worth a look. These are a great way to connect with people who are interested in your niche or industry and to help drive traffic to your website.

You can quickly become a regular poster and information provider on these sites, making you an authority person in that niche. You can also create your own Facebook group and invite users to participate in creating a community all of your own.

Guest Posting

Once you have a somewhat established website and have gained some credibility within your chosen niche, you can think about reaching out to other website owners and offer guest posting services.

Writing blogs and creating content can be time-consuming, so you may be surprised to find out how many sites will entertain the idea of you providing content for them in exchange for a nice, solid, authority backlink.

This is easier if you have been a solid contributor to the website already by responding to comments and providing helpful information and insights.

How To Do It:

Approach the owner of the website with a number of suggested ideas for articles that pertain to their niche and that you think will add value to their own audience.

Ask them if they have any interest in the listed articles and would consider publishing any of them. If you get an affirmative answer, then create and supply the content, of course, including at least one link to your own site.

This will generate a good authority backlink for you, and as an added bonus, you may pick up a few new readers yourself from people clicking on your link. Make sure any posts you supply are quality and provide helpful information.

Trying to make life easier by creating vague or fluff pieces is not going to get you anywhere and is a waste of your time. Even though this method requires a bit of effort, it will yield very good results in the long run.

Participate In Question And Answer Sites

In addition to guest posting, you can also increase your reach and build your audience by posting and responding to questions on websites like Quora and Reddit.

image of reddit

People who are seeking answers to their questions post on sites like these looking for helpful responses.

Many of the answers provided on these sites can be far off the mark or just plain nonsense. This gives you the opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your niche and provide helpful and relevant information.

Spending some time answering a handful of questions each day can establish you as a resource, gain more followers for you, and drive additional traffic to your site.

You can also include links that point to your own relevant content for the reader and subsequent readers of that post.

Make YouTube Videos

A fast-growing traffic driver currently is video marketing. YouTube has gained more and more ground in recent years as a valid and effective promotional method.

People by nature are drawn to visual displays, and attractive videos that include interesting and watchable content can go a long way to driving traffic to your website. Videos can also give your business a “face” if you are willing to go in front of the camera to share information with your audience.

Try to generate good, quality videos, but don’t worry about trying to make them perfect. Even though you may be doing them from your laptop, which does not always provide top-quality videos, focus on creating interesting content or useful information.

There is a surprising number of videos out there getting a lot of views that have outdated information.

For example, last year I created a tutorial video for creating a new YouTube channel:

I noticed that the top search result for “how to make a youtube channel” was made three years ago and was outdated.

So I created an up-to-date video, cut it in an interesting way, and made a better thumbnail. It currently has over 280k views and makes me almost $100 per month.

Not only that, but this video gets me hundreds of visitors to my website and helps me grow my email list on autopilot.

All this was done with just a microphone, free video editing software (iMovie), and an inexpensive screen recording app.

By focusing on providing value to your audience you can really set yourself apart from your competition and also make your channel more valuable.

Step 8. Use Other Ways to Monetize Your Affiliate Site

This article is dedicated to the obvious way to make money from your website using affiliate marketing–advertising and selling products and making money from the sales commission.

But did you know that there are several other ways you can monetize your site and create additional income streams to bolster your earnings?

You are not limited to affiliate marketing alone, and once you have your site up and running, there are other methods you can use to create income. Most of these methods require very little effort on your part and can add extra cash to your bottom line.

Banner Ads:

Be careful with these. They can look a little bit tacky if you overdo it, but a discreet banner ad placed in the header or footer of your website can be a way to gain a few extra cents here and there.

They are typically free to set up and usually just involve pasting a bit of code on your site. As visitors click on the banners, you will earn money. These days, many of them get blocked by adblockers, but they can still earn you a few dollars.

Optimize Commissions:

This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you are using more than one affiliate network for your products, be sure to check your commission levels for items across the platforms. Use the one that gives you the highest payout.

Also keep an eye on specials, promotions, and bonuses you can take advantage of to boost your earnings.

Adsense Ads:

Sign up for the free advertising service from Google. This marketing platform will put ads on your website and strategically include ads throughout your blog posts.

If a visitor clicks on the ad, you will earn a commission. It’s easy to set up, and once your account is approved, you are good to go.

One word of warning though: Google wants to be sure that it is meeting specific criteria when it comes to sites they place their ads on, so not all sites will be approved. Once you are, however, you have some control over the site, type, and frequency of ads shown.

Similar to banner ads, the setup is just a portion of code that is copied and pasted to your own website, then you are ready to start earning. Adsense provides its marketers with a comprehensive dashboard that shows commission amounts, statistics, and other useful information.

In-Text Links:

There are plenty of opportunities to include in-text links to your affiliate products and services on your website. This differs from ad placement as in-text links are, just as they sound, links that are included in text pieces.

When writing blogs or articles, it may be beneficial to include a link to one of your items for sale, or to an external site that leads to a service for which you receive a commission on sales.

These links can be discreet, so much so that the reader may not even realize you earn money from them. The nice part about in-text links is that you can add them whenever and wherever you feel is appropriate.

Try not to over do it though. A whole bunch of links added to your article will look just like what it is – a method to advertise and drive people to make a purchase. This usually doesn’t sit well with readers, so keep it discreet.

Product Reviews:

Along with the strategy of using content creation and blogs, product reviews can be very helpful to your readers.

Imagine your knowledge is limited, but you need to find information on the best removable hard drives available, for example. If your niche is selling tech products, it’s extremely helpful for your customers to be able to access pages that offer comparisons or ratings on items.

Many times visitors to your website are coming not only to buy a product but to research information about that product.

This gives you an excellent opportunity to provide comprehensive reviews, engage your audience, and provide them with the resources they need to arrive at a purchasing decision. If done correctly and you answer their questions, this will help you drive product sales.

Product reviews can be set up as listings such as “10 best items for…” or they can be turned into a conversational piece such as “How I found the best item for…” It can also simply be a review piece for a specific item–“XYZ hard drive review.”

There are several ways to structure and generate review pieces. Try a few methods and see which ones get you the most results.

Final Words in 2021:

Starting off in affiliate marketing is not an instant, get-rich-quick scheme. Just like building any business, it will take time, patience, and dedication to get to the results you want.

Much of it can be trial and error until you determine what works best for your specific niche or industry. It is not an overnight process. Gaining the necessary levels of traffic you need can take time, and it’s easy to get frustrated.

However, the information included in this article should give you some great resources on where to start, what to include, and how to successfully identify opportunities.

This should help you successfully build and monetize your affiliate marketing website.


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