The affiliate marketing global market was worth over $17 billion as of 2020. And out of this, the US market is worth over $6 billion. This is projected to grow exponentially each year, offering great business opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.
In this guide, we discuss how affiliate marketing works, the steps to get into it, and tips on how to build a successful affiliate marketing website.
- Affiliate marketing is a lucrative venture if you are looking to build a passive stream of income.
- Choosing a niche is one of the important steps in getting into affiliate marketing, as this will make or break your business.
- WordPress.org is a great choice for creating an affiliate marketing website.
- It’s important to have expert, high-quality content if you want to be an authority in your niche.
- Once you create your website, make sure to optimize it for both mobile and desktop users. This is especially important in today’s mobile-centric world.
- Social media is a great tool to promote your website and increase visibility.
- Make sure to track your affiliate website’s performance at regular intervals and respond appropriately to any trends.
What Is Affiliate Marketing and How Does It Work
Simply, affiliate marketing involves promoting products and services in exchange for commissions. The affiliate marketer promotes the product on their website or other platforms, such as social media, and receives a commission when someone purchases the product through their link.
It is a performance-based marketing strategy—a business rewards affiliates for each visitor or customer they bring.
How to Get Started
If you own a website and want to start doing affiliate marketing, here are the steps you need to take:
1. Choose Your Niche
Think about the category of products or services most appealing to your target audience, and choose a niche that aligns with your interests.
2. Find an Affiliate Program
After choosing a niche, find an affiliate program related to your niche and the products of your choice.
There are many affiliate programs on the internet, so it’s essential to research and find one that fits your goals and interests.
Examples of popular affiliate programs include:
- Amazon Associates
- Commission Junction
3. Create Quality Content
Once you’ve found a suitable affiliate program for your niche of choice, it’s time to start creating quality content around the products or services you want to promote.
You can create content such as blog articles, Videos, Podcasts, whitepapers, or product reviews with links pointing to the merchants’ products.
The content you create should be informative and engaging to your target audience. This will encourage them to read through and take the appropriate actions by clicking on your affiliate links.
4. Promote Your Content
Finally, you’ll need to promote your content so that more people can find it and click affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing is a game of numbers—the more traffic on your affiliate website and the more people who click on your links, the more commission you earn.
You can promote your content using strategies such as:
- Social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube)
- SEO strategies (e.g., Keyword research and backlink building)
- Email campaigns
- Paid advertisements.
Step-By-Step Guide to Building an Affiliate Marketing Website
Building an affiliate marketing website can seem daunting, but it can be a relatively simple process with the right tools and resources.
And now that you have seen some of the best affiliate marketing websites, let’s learn how to build your own.
Step 1: Select a Platform for Creating Your Website
A platform for creating your website is the software or service you will use to build and manage your website. It’s the foundation for your website and provides the tools and resources needed to create, design, and publish your website.
Several types of platforms are available for creating websites, such as website builders, content management systems (CMS), and custom development. Let’s look at these options.
Think of website builders as a “Lego set” for building a website. Just as a Lego set comes with pre-designed blocks and instructions to build something, website builders provide pre-designed templates and user-friendly tools to build a website.
Do you know how a child can use a Lego set to build something without prior knowledge or training? In the same way, you can use a website builder to create an affiliate website without any coding or technical knowledge.
Website builders offer a wide range of templates and tools to create a professional-looking website. And to make the website more complex, you can add more features and functionalities using website builder’s add-ons and plugins. Here are some of the Affiliate Marketing.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
Content Management Systems (CMS) are another type of website platform where you can build and manage your website. Unlike website builders, CMSs require more technical skills and knowledge, as they are built with code.
Imagine your website is a big house, and you want to decorate and organize it in a specific way. A CMS is like a blueprint or a plan that shows you where to put the furniture, how to lay out the rooms, and how to make it more functional.
In this analogy, think of the website builder as a pre-designed house that comes with all the furniture, while a CMS is more like buying a plot of land and building the house from scratch. With a CMS, you have more flexibility to customize and design your website according to your needs.
CMSs are great for creating more complex websites, like e-commerce stores, forums, and membership sites.
The two most popular CMSs are WordPress and Drupal, which are used by millions of websites across the world.
Custom development is the most complex and expensive option for building your affiliate website. This option involves hiring a developer to build a custom website from scratch. This is like creating a custom-made suit.
However, this method offers you the most flexibility and customization options. It’s perfect if you have unique and specific needs that can’t be met by using website builders or CMSs.
Tips to Help You Choose the Right Platform:
- Budget - As we stated earlier, website builders are the most affordable option and ideal for small businesses or individuals with a tight budget. CMSs are more expensive and require more technical knowledge, but they offer more customization options. Custom development is the most expensive option and requires the most technical knowledge, but it offers the most flexibility and customization options.
- Scalability needs - If you plan on growing your business in the future, you will need a platform that can scale with it. Website builders are not as scalable as CMSs and custom development. So, if you think your business will grow and change in the future, then CMSs or custom development may be a better option.
- Technical skills - Website builders are the best option because you don’t require any coding or technical knowledge. CMSs will require you to have more technical skills, while custom development requires the most technical knowledge.
- Features – Consider which features you need for your website and select a platform accordingly. For example, WordPress is considered one of the best platforms for an affiliate marketing website because it allows for easy customization and scalability.
Research website builders and choose one that fits your budget, technical skills, and scalability needs.
Go to HostAdvice and explore their top ten best website builders.
Step 2: Register a domain name
Purchase a domain name relevant to your niche and easy to remember. Some popular domain name registrars include:
- Domain.com, etc.
To get a perfect domain name, come up with at least 10 domain names related to your niche. Next, choose the best five from the bunch. You can ask a friend to help you choose the best one. Then, check their availability at NameCheap domain name search. When you get one that is available, purchase it.
Step 3: Sign up for hosting
Hosting allows your website to be accessible on the internet.
There are many different hosting providers, such as Bluehost, HostGator, or SiteGround. So research a few options to find one that fits your budget and offers the features you need. Here is our list of the Best Web Host Providers.
Then register and sign up for hosting. This typically involves providing your personal information and creating a password.
Next, choose a domain name. Your hosting provider may offer the option to register a domain name while you sign up for hosting. If not, purchase a domain name separately, as explained in the above step.
After you’ve signed up for hosting, you’ll need to configure your hosting settings. This typically involves setting up email accounts, FTP access, and other technical settings. You will then need to install a CMS. This is the Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress.
Finally, after installing the CMS, upload your website files to the server so your website can be accessed on the internet.
Step 4: Customize Your Site with Plugins and a Theme
Once you’ve installed your CMS, you’ll need to install plugins for things like SEO optimization, affiliate links, and analytics. Customizing your affiliate website can be done easily using plugins and themes.
Think of plugins as small add-ons or “power-ups” for your website. They are small pieces of software that add specific functionality to your website.
For example, you’ll need a plugin like Yoast SEO to optimize your site for search engines. You’ll also need a must-have plugin like AffiliateWP payout service to manage your affiliate links and commissions. Then an analytics plugin to track your website’s performance.
On the other hand, themes are like the skin of your website—they change how it looks but not how it works. Popular themes for affiliate websites include magazine themes and eCommerce themes.
Tips for Selecting and Installing the Right Plugins and Themes
WordPress has thousands of free and paid plugins, but it’s important to be careful when selecting and installing them. One bad plugin can cause your website to crash or slow down.
A good rule of thumb is to always read reviews and check for updates before installing a plugin. Also, make sure you install plugins compatible with your WordPress version. Themeisle highlights what to look for when choosing free plugins.
And when choosing a theme, it’s important to choose one that is responsive and mobile-friendly. This means that it adjusts to the screen size of different devices. Additionally, the theme should be compatible with the plugins and easy to customize to match your brand.
Step 5: Set Up Personalized Affiliate Dashboards
Personalized affiliate dashboards allow your affiliates to track their performance, commissions, and other important metrics in real-time.
In marketing, dashboards are essential data visualization tools. They help you or your affiliates to easily overview key performance indicators (KPIs). And failure to track these important metrics often leads to poor decision-making and a lack of performance oversight.
Affiliate dashboards enable you to track visitors, clicks, impressions, orders, sales, revenue, and profits. This data is valuable for optimizing your affiliate program and identifying areas of improvement. This data also helps your affiliates stay on top of the trends, adjust their strategies accordingly, and optimize their campaigns.
Some popular affiliate dashboard platforms include:
- Post Affiliate Pro
Tips to Consider When Choosing a Dashboard Software
Affiliate dashboards reduce the hassle of paying commissions and tracking sales, so it’s important to select the right one for your business.
So what should you consider when choosing an affiliate marketing dashboard?
- Security and fraud detection - Your dashboard should offer sophisticated security features such as fraud detection, IP address blocking, and user authentication. This will help curb rogue marketers and protect your profits. Also, does your provider use their own servers, or do they use third-party providers? If not, then you risk having your data stolen or hacked.
- Ability to set different commission types - Different commission structures can be used to encourage affiliates and reward top performers. And other than pay-per-sale, you might be planning to use pay-per-click, pay-per-lead, or revshare models. Your provider should be able to accommodate these different commission types with ease.
- Easy setup process - Setting up an affiliate dashboard should not take much time. The provider should have a simple setup process that is easy to follow. Additionally, they should offer support in case you run into any issues.
- Integrations - For example, what payment processors does the provider integrate with? And if you’re using a CRM or email marketing tool, does the provider integrate with it?
- Resources repository - You must provide your affiliates with materials such as banners, logos, product images, etc. These will ensure they have all the necessary resources to promote your products. Therefore, ensure the provider you choose offers an easy way to upload and store these marketing materials.
Integrating an affiliate dashboard into your website can take some time, but it’s a necessary step to ensure that you have a successful affiliate program.
Step 6: Share Banners and Links to Promote Your Brand
Banners and links are essential tools for affiliates to spread the word about your products and services. Without them, driving traffic to your website and generating sales will be difficult.
Banners are visual advertisements that affiliates use to draw attention to your brand. They can be placed on websites or blogs and in social media posts. Affiliate links, on the other hand, work differently. These unique URLs direct visitors to a specific page on your website. Affiliates can use these links to track conversions, and commissions earned.
When creating banners and links, ensure they match your website’s look and feel. The text, font, and colors should be consistent with your branding. You can use software or online tools like Canva to create visually appealing banners.
Tips for Creating Effective Banners and Links That Will Increase Conversions
When it comes to capturing your audience’s attention and driving conversions, visually compelling banners are a game-changer.
Our brains process images a remarkable 60,000 times faster than text. So, whether you’re promoting a new product or service, or simply building brand awareness, taking the time to create visually striking banners is sure to pay off.
Here are a few tips you should consider when creating banners:
- Use attention-grabbing headlines - Headlines should be concise yet attention-grabbing. Focus on a unique benefit your product or service offers and craft a headline using that.
- Use a clear call-to-action - Provide your audience with a clear and straightforward message that tells them exactly what you want them to do next. For example, use something like “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Sign Up.” Also, make sure your call-to-action is prominently displayed and easy to find.
- Use mobile-optimized banners and links - With mobile usage continuing to rise, mobile optimization has become a non-negotiable aspect in marketing. Ensure your banners and links look great and function smoothly on smaller screens.
- Use A/B testing - This is a process where you create two versions of a banner or link and test them with different groups of people to see which one performs better. For example, you can test different headlines, images, or call-to-action phrases. Then analyze the test results to identify which version of the banner or link is most effective.
- Use landing pages - These pages are the first thing your audience sees after clicking on a banner or link, and they play a crucial role in guiding visitors through the conversion process. Tailor your landing page to a specific product or service. It should also focus on one goal, such as getting visitors to purchase or sign up for a newsletter.
Step 7: Create and publish content
Craft compelling and engaging content that provides value to your readers. The big goal is to be an authority in your niche. Ensure the content is well-written, easy to read, and includes a clear call to action.
Also, content comes in many forms, including written blog posts and articles, videos, podcasts, and more. So choose the content type that best suits your audience. Be sure to include affiliate links in your content to help you make more money with your website.
Finally, remember to promote your content on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. This will help you build a larger audience and drive more traffic to your website.
Step 8: Monitor Your Affiliates’ Success and Issue Payments
Once you have set up your affiliate program, it’s important to monitor the progress of each affiliate. You can identify which affiliates drive the most sales and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Issuing commission payments is another essential task when managing an affiliate program. And it’s not easy to keep track of each affiliate’s sales, commissions earned, and the payment method they prefer.
Hence, most affiliate programs use third-party tracking software to manage payments. You can also use these systems to track customers’ purchases and commissions, as well as determine how much each affiliate should be paid:
- OSI Affiliate
- Post Affiliate Pro
Tips for Selecting the Right Tracking and Payment Software
- A software that provides help with tax calculations - The software should be able to generate the necessary tax forms for affiliates in different countries. This eliminates the need for you to manually prepare and file these forms.
- The software should be able to detect fraud - It’s important to know that fraud exists in the affiliate marketing world. Ensure your software can detect fraudulent clicks and sales and alert you to suspicious activity.
- Integration – The right software should integrate with your existing tools, such as accounting software or CRM. This ensures that all of your data is in one place, making it easy for you to manage your finances and taxes.
Which Website Builders Are Best for Affiliate Marketing?
When it comes to building an affiliate marketing website, you need a platform that is secure and reliable. Here are a few choices to consider:
WordPress.org is the most popular content management system (CMS) that powers over 60% of all websites. It’s an open-source platform known for its flexibility, scalability, and wide range of features.
However, WordPress is not an outright “website builder” in the traditional sense. It’s better to consider it a ”framework” where you can build an affiliate marketing website.
Understanding the difference between the two is important when it comes to creating an affiliate marketing website.
Here we explain in more detail the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com .
Wix Website Builder is a popular website builder that allows you to create a website without having any coding or design knowledge. It’s also one of the easiest website builders to use, and it comes with a wide range of features and templates.
- The basic features of Wix include the following:
- Drag-and-drop editor
- Hundreds of professionally designed templates
- SEO and analytics tools
- Free hosting
- Google Ads integration
Wix offers a range of pricing options, including a free plan and several paid plans. The free plan includes a Wix.com domain, 500MB storage, and 1GB bandwidth. Paid plans start at $4.50 per month and offer more storage, bandwidth, and features such as eCommerce and a custom domain.
Shopify is a popular eCommerce platform that allows you to create your online store. It’s a website builder that specializes in eCommerce stores.
You can use Shopify to create an affiliate website with an eCommerce layout.
Now, Shopify lets you put products on your website, but you are not the merchant. So, how does it work?
When you create an affiliate marketing website with Shopify, you essentially create a digital storefront where you showcase products from other sellers. You won’t be responsible for selling the products. Instead, you will direct potential customers to the seller’s website through your unique affiliate link.
The basic pricing plan is called Basic, it starts at $24 per month, and it’s designed for businesses that want to sell products on social media or through a website.
The second pricing plan is the Shopify plan, which starts at $69. The third pricing plan is the Advanced plan, which starts at $299
Webflow is a website design and development platform that allows users to create websites using a visual drag-and-drop editor. While it’s not specifically marketed as an affiliate marketing website builder, it can be used to create an affiliate marketing website.
Webflow also has a built-in CMS, which allows users to manage their website’s content and create custom fields and data structures. This can be useful for creating a personalized affiliate dashboard for tracking affiliate performance and commissions.
Some of the key features of Webflow include:
- Visual drag-and-drop editor - This allows you to create your website without needing to know how to code.
- Cleanest HTML code - A blank page in Webflow only has three lines of code, unlike WordPress, which has an average of 100 lines of code.
Webflow offers a free trial. After that, it starts at $18 per month for the basic plan.
How Much Will It Cost To Build an Affiliate Marketing Website?
The cost of building an affiliate marketing website will depend on the site’s complexity and the platform and hosting you choose.
The costs will also vary depending on your chosen website builder, domain, and other necessary tools.
- Website builder - This can range from free (such as Wix or WordPress) to a few hundred dollars per month (for Shopify or Webflow). Free plans have limited features and functionalities.
- Hosting - Hosting allows you to store your website files and make them accessible to users. Hosting costs can vary, starting from as little as $5 per month to as much as $50 per month, depending on the type of hosting you choose.
- Domain – A domain name is the address of your website, and it’s a necessary component of your website. The domain cost can vary, but typically it ranges from $10 to $20 per year.
Also, there are a variety of other necessary tools that you may need to purchase to build your affiliate marketing website. These can include analytics tools, affiliate management software, and email marketing services. These tools can cost anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars per month.
While it’s possible to create a website for free, you may need to invest in paid plans, hosting, and other tools to fully utilize the features and functionalities of your website.
Overall, you can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars to build a professional and fully functional affiliate marketing website.
What Type of Website to Make For Affiliate Marketing?
When creating a website for affiliate marketing, there are a few types of websites that can be effective.
Here are a few popular types of websites that are commonly used for affiliate marketing:
- Blogs – Blogs are a great way to promote affiliate products and services because they allow you to create content around a specific niche or topic. You will use the blog to provide helpful information, reviews, and comparisons of different products and services, which will help build trust and credibility with your audience.
- Product review sites - These sites are dedicated to reviewing and comparing different products and services, and they often include affiliate links to the products they recommend.
- Niche-specific sites - Niche-specific sites are websites that focus on a specific niche or topic, such as health, beauty, or travel. You can create a site like this to promote affiliate products and services related to the niche or topic.
- eCommerce sites - As we explained with the Shopify website builder, you can use an eCommerce site for affiliate marketing. You do this by adding affiliate products and links to your store.
- Landing pages - These are single-page websites designed to convert visitors into customers. You can use landing pages to promote a specific product or service. You will be including affiliate links on these pages.
How to Choose the Type of Website to Make For Affiliate Marketing?
Here are some tips for choosing the right website type based on your goals and target audience:
- Identify your goals - What are your goals for your affiliate marketing program? Are you looking to build trust and credibility with your audience? Do you want to provide helpful information and reviews of products and services, or do you want to make sales through an e-commerce website?
- Know your target audience - For example, if your target audience is primarily composed of busy working professionals, a blog may not be the best choice as they may not have the time to read through long-form content.
- Consider your niche - You should take into consideration the niche you’re in when choosing a website type. If you’re in a niche that relies heavily on visual content, a product review website with a lot of pictures and videos would be more effective than a blog with only text.
- Think about scalability - Some website types are more scalable than others. For example, an eCommerce website may be more scalable, allowing you to add more products and services to sell over time.
- Test and evaluate - Once you’ve chosen a website type, you should test it to see how it performs. This will help you to evaluate whether it’s the right choice for your goals and target audience.
By following these steps and putting in the necessary work, you are on your way to building a successful affiliate marketing website.
Affiliate Marketing Website Examples
Here’s a list of successful affiliate marketing websites to inspire you. They serve different niches, but they all have one thing in common: they are successful.
1. The Wirecutter
This affiliate marketing giant, now owned by The New York Times, is an invaluable source of inspiration to many who want to get into affiliate marketing.
It’s one of the most-trusted technology and gadget review websites that provides in-depth reviews and recommendations for a wide range of products. It’s so trusted that it creates the ‘Wirecutter effect,’ which is an increase in sales for products featured on this website.
It was acquired by New York Times in 2016 for $30 million, and as of May 2022, it had 11.7 million organic clicks per month.
The Wirecutter embodies Google E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). They provide in-depth and detailed reviews and recommendations for a wide range of products, which helps visitors make an informed purchasing decision. They also have a team of experts who test and evaluate the products, which adds credibility to their reviews.
Another thing that makes this website successful is how they provide a pleasant user experience. The website uses a clean and simple design that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they want.
The website has a consistent layout, with a navigation bar at the top containing categories. Also, the use of high-quality images and videos makes the website visually appealing.
2. Makeup Alley
Makeup Alley is a popular beauty and cosmetics review website. It was launched in 1999 and has since become an authoritative website in the beauty niche, with an impressive 1.5 million organic visits per month and more than 2.5 million reviews of beauty products.
The website provides reviews and recommendations for the best makeup, skincare, and hair care products. It has an active community of users who discuss different makeup products and share their experiences. This helps you know the favorite products among consumers.
Makeup Alley is also operated by a team of experts who provide helpful advice on how to use the products. This helps potential buyers make informed decisions and gives the website credibility.
What else makes this website successful?
- The search options - Makeup Alley has built-in powerful search functionality, which makes it easy to access the products and the millions of reviews on the platform. You can search by specific categories like “neck cream,” filter by “percentage of people who would purchase again,” filter by reviews, or filter by date.
- Message board - MakeupAlley message board contains beauty and makeup tips from experts and other users.
- App for iOS, Android, and Windows - With this app, users scan products at Ulta, Sephora, or even their local drugstore to get instant reviews.
3. The Points Guy (TPG)
The Points Guy (TPG) is a top-of-the-line website dedicated to travel and credit card rewards. The site helps its audience to make the most of their spending by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to earn more points and miles.
According to CEO Brian Kelly, in 2018, the website experienced a substantial increase in revenue of over 50%. This financial success was driven almost entirely by affiliate commissions.
The website covers various topics, from credit cards and loyalty programs to travel tips and tricks.
Kelly, the CEO, believes service content is key to their success. He says content helps turn newbie audience members into knowledgeable, loyal readers. Additionally, their content’s level of detail and expertise helps The Points Guy build its authority as a reliable source of travel and reward programs.
TPG publishes around 20 new pieces of content daily, covering topics from credit cards, loyalty program information, and travel deals.
Key Takeaways From the Whole Article
- Affiliate marketing is on an upward trend, and building a website is the best way to get into it.
- Choose a niche, select products to promote, and build an optimized website.
- Promote your affiliate products using SEO, social media marketing, paid advertising, and email marketing.
- You can also promote products without a website using social media platforms, influencer marketing, forum posting, and YouTube.
- Having a website gives you more control and helps you build credibility.
- Setting up a personalized affiliate dashboard and tracking performance is important.
- Stay updated with the latest trends and strategies in affiliate marketing to ensure success.
Next Steps: What now?
- Start by researching the best niche that will be the focus of your affiliate website. Take time to look at market trends, consumer behavior, and what products are in demand.
- Once you have selected a niche and identified the right products to promote, start building your website. Remember to optimize your website for search engines and readers, create content regularly, and promote it using the strategies mentioned above.
- Finally, set up an affiliate dashboard to track your performance.