HOW TO START MAKING MONEY ONLINE AS AN AFFILIATE MARKETER (BEGINNER FRIENDLY)
- Author Max Well
- Published September 9, 2020
- Word count 4,094
HOW TO START MAKING MONEY ONLINE AS AN AFFILIATE MARKETER (BEGINNER FRIENDLY)
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST FREE AFFILIATE TRAINING PROGRAMMES I HAVE FOUND.
To use one of these three networks, all you need to do is sign up, browse through the available products and then apply to work as an affiliate for a few. You can see data and information about each product, such as the number of sales, the cost etc.
From there, you want to choose a digital product that is making a lot of sales but also offers you a good amount of commission. Think too about how you’re going to market each of those products and what ‘angle’ you’ll go with to make it desirable for your audience.
Trying out the product is a very good idea, as is finding one that offers free marketing materials that the product creator designed. Some will come with free landing pages, blog posts, email autoresponder sequences and more that you can utilize.
Promoting digital products means you make more money per sale and it means there’s less that can go wrong. It’s also the preferred method for many experienced internet marketers, which means newbies to affiliate marketing can easily find a lot more advice and help.
Other Affiliate Networks
There are many other affiliate networks for those that can’t find what they’re looking for on those three.
Commission Junction was once one of the very biggest networks but was renamed CJ Affiliate by Conservant a while back. They’re one of the biggest networks but aren’t a great choice for beginners, being hard to get approved and being quite complex.
DigiResults is another interesting network choice that is somewhat smaller than the others we’ve looked at but has the advantage of paying out immediately (yes immediately!) into your PayPal account. It’s very flexible and free but doesn’t have quite the same range of products to pick from.
One criticism of many affiliate networks is that they very often tend to focus on the digital marketing niche more than any other. Browse through ClickBank, WarriorPlus, or JVZoo and you’ll find that the majority of what’s there falls into this category.
If you want a broader range of niches / categories and associated products to sell, including tons of physical products, then you might want to consider the Amazon affiliate network…
Amazon has an affiliate program where you can promote their products on your site and get commissions. This of course gives you access to millions of different products across every niche imaginable. For example, if you have a fitness site, now you can sell dumbbells, running shoes, and fitness monitors, etc. Likewise, if you have a website about computer games, you can sell all the games that you’re recommending directly.
Amazon also has lots of great tools to make it easier to promote your products and to manage your sales. But it also doesn’t give you very much commission; expect to get commissions of 1% rising to a maximum of 10%, depending on the product category (see table below). This is pretty low and it means you can sell a lot of games, books, DVDs and protein shakes and still come away with just a few dollars to show for it.
However, Amazon has lots of high priced products as well so that, for example, 6% of a $350 product is a $21 commission. Sell 5 of those per day and that’s over $100 per day. Again, not too shabby! In fact many affiliate marketers concentrate on Amazon and make serious incomes as a result.
Finding Products Online
One option is simply to find products online and this will open you up considerably in terms of the types of products you end up selling. As an example, take a look on the web for things like protein shakes, orthotic shoes, diabetes treatments, etc., and you will find that many of them have the option to ‘become an affiliate’ listed right down at the bottom of their website. Now all you need to do is sign up through their site and start promoting in the exact same way with your own link.
The same also goes for a lot of services. Gambling sites, stock brokers, and more will often offer you commission on referrals and the best part of this is that often this commission is for the lifetime of that membership. What this means is that if someone signs up to a binary broker online using your referral link, you’ll then get a percentage of all the profit they make subsequently. This means you can feasibly stop marketing completely eventually and still be making a huge profit while you sleep… forever!
The problem with finding affiliate products this way is that you’re relying entirely on the goodwill of the merchant / vendor with no intervening third party (affiliate network). At the same time, you’ll generally get much lower commissions. If you find shoes to sell online you probably won’t get 30% of every sale – apart from anything else they have much higher overheads themselves to account for. For this reason beginners are advised to start with one or more of the affiliate networks mentioned above.
Terms of Service
Whenever you join an affiliate network or sign up to a direct affiliate program, be sure to read the Terms of Service, or ‘TOS.’
You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any restrictions that may interfere or cause problems down the road. For instance, some merchants prohibit affiliates from using the merchant’s brand name with paid traffic sources such as Google’s Adwords.
Another concern would be exclusivity; some affiliate programs won’t let you promote competing products on the same website.
In short then, you need to carefully consider which affiliate network is best for you. But bear in mind that digital products are very popular, sell well and, at between 50% and 75%, their commissions are usually much higher than for physical products, so are ideal for newbies.
- Setting-up Your Website (WordPress)
While there are many free combined website builder / hosting platforms out there, e.g., Blogger, Weebly, Wix, etc., it is NOT recommended that you use these for your main money-making website.
Your money website is your main place of business; it’s where visitors — potential customers — show up. So your website is absolutely critical to your business.
There is a maxim in internet marketing that says ‘own everything that impacts your sales funnel.’ It was actually borrowed from the offline business world. The idea is a simple one: don’t leave critical parts of your business (especially in internet marketing) vulnerable to things outside your control.
For example, it’s not unheard of for a free website / hosting provider to close down a website due to some real or perceived violation of their terms of service. Or even from a complaint (malicious or otherwise) from a member of the public. When that happens, you are almost always stuck with a complete loss.
So, even as a beginner, it’s highly recommended that you register your own domain name and use paid hosting in order to have as much control over your website as possible.
There are 2 WordPress platforms; one provides the website platform and its hosting for free (wordpress.com) while the other provides the free website platform but not its hosting (wordpress.org) — you have to host your website on your paid hosting account.
But wordpress.com suffers from the same issues as the other free options discussed earlier. WordPress.org is under your control and so is what is recommended here.
For beginners, and indeed anybody else really, WordPress (.org) is the easiest and most manageable means of putting up a website that you own and control.
While originally designed as a blogging platform, WordPress is now considered to be an all-purpose CMS (Content Management System), and is used by millions of people and businesses to create many different types of websites. In fact, more websites run on WordPress today than on any other platform.
Some Advantages of WordPress:
No coding knowledge required.
Thousands of free and premium plugins to increase functionality and customization.
Thousands of free and paid themes.An easy-to-use admin system to update sites on a regular basisSetting Up Your WordPress Site
Setting up your site consists of first registering a domain name, then getting a hosting account, pointing your domain to your hosting account, and installing and configuring WordPress.
Don’t be frightened of this; it’s really rather easy, especially since most reputable hosting companies provide step-by-step videos on how do do these things and, of course, you have 24 hour access to their customer support services when you need help. In addition, they will normally have an online forum where other, more experienced, webmasters can help newcomers like yourself.
And many, if not most, hosting companies have a simple-to-operate client dashboard called ‘cPanel’ which allows you to perform all the operations you need at the click of a button, and without needing any technical knowledge whatsoever; an ideal tool for a beginner. For example, installing WordPress itself is very easy via a button called ‘Fantastico.’
In order to display your website properly you will need a WordPress ‘theme.’ This is like a ‘skin’ that defines your website’s look & feel — it’s what your visitors will see and experience when they land on your site. So spend some time selecting your theme and get it right.
Select a simple, clean, but professional looking theme. It should be easy to read and navigate around. The point of your site isn’t to have someone visit and go ‘love that look & feel’ — it’s for them to devour your content and buy what you are promoting, nothing else.
There’s nothing wrong with having an attractive looking site, but that’s a secondary consideration, your first priority should be to select a theme that’s simple enough to put the emphasis on the things that are important to your business — the great content, the product(s) you’re promoting, your opt-in form (to build your email list), and your ads. There should be no other distractions.
Wordress.org has thousands of free themes that you can choose from. They’re easily selected from your WordPress admin panel and, in a couple of clicks, uploaded and activated. There are also many premium theme websites where you can buy higher end themes that are compatible with WordPress.
Finally, make sure that your theme is ‘responsive’, i.e. automatically adjusts itself so that it is easily viewable on a mobile phone. Google is now penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly. So look for the word ‘responsive’ in theme descriptions.
A plugin is an ‘addon’ to your WordPress site that increases its functionality — think ‘apps’ on your smart phone. You can view, select, upload, and activate free plugins via your WordPress admin panel in a couple of clicks. There are also premium plugins for sale online.
Without plugins your site will be pretty basic. But with the right plugins the user experience will be greatly enhanced and you can make changes to your site layout without having to know any coding or any other ‘techie’ stuff. It’s all ‘point and click’ and / or ‘drag and drop.’
Just don’t overdo it. Although many plugins are ‘nice to have,’ concentrate on the ‘must haves’ because the more plugins you have activated on your site the slower your site will load in a searcher’s browser with the result that they are more likely to hit the back arrow and not even reach your site. Downloaded plugins are also potential security weaknesses, so the more you have the higher the risk.
The most important plugins help to enhance SEO (search engine optimization — to help your rankings in Google), prevent spam comments, make it easy for people to share your content (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), automatically cache pages to help site load times, automatically back-up your website and database, and help the Google bot crawl your site.
The first thing you’ll need is a domain name that acts as the world wide web (www) ‘address’ for your website. If you hope to use a lot of content marketing to build a recognizable ‘brand’, then you will need a domain name that’s easily recognizable and perhaps catchy at the same time.
Your domain name is important, very important. It’s effectively the name of your business and website. So it should describe what you do in a few words. You’re domain name should reflect the niche you’re operating in. You only have a short amount of time (a couple of seconds) to make an impact when visitors land on your site, so ensure that both your website and domain names reflect what you do and what they can expect to gain by staying on your website.
That said, we don’t want to overcomplicate or overthink things. Much has changed in the online world regarding domain names…
Google used to give tremendous weight to the domain name when it came to deciding where to rank a website. As you might imagine, this resulted in people choosing domain names almost exclusively for its ranking benefits. This resulted in Google reducing the amount of weight a domain name carries, with the added significant side effect that if Google determines you are using your domain name largely for its ranking value, they will actually penalize you.
Choosing Your Domain Name
So how do you go about choosing your domain name? Simple: your first objective should be something memorable, ideally something memorable that includes a word or phrase describing the actual topic / niche you are operating in.
It should be as short as possible (3 words max) and preferably end in ‘.com’ (the domain extension) as it’s generally accepted that .com performs best of all the domain extensions and is the most easily recognized by the public.
If you can’t get a .com extension for your preferred name then next best are .org and .net. Although it may be cheaper than the others, don’t go for .info as, in my experience, it doesn’t rank nearly as well in Google.
Be creative. If you can’t get your first choice name but definitely want to have a .com extension try a different arrangement. For example, let’s say you wanted ‘yogaforhealth.com’ but it wasn’t available, then you could try ‘healthyyoga.com’. But if you absolutely wanted to stay with ‘yogaforhealth’ then see if a .org or .net extension is available first.
Remember that shorter is better, you don’t need to have every word of your niche in the name. For example ‘seniorsweightloss’ or ‘weightlossforseniors’ are much better than ‘weightlossforpeopleoversixty.com’. And avoid hyphens, e.g. ‘seniorsweightloss’ not ‘seniors-weight-loss’.
Next you’re going to need a hosting account. While your domain name is what will act as the ‘address’ for your website, the hosting account is going to be where all your website files will be stored.
To understand a server, it’s helpful to imagine it as essentially being a large computer that is constantly connected to the world wide web and contains a number of websites. When you buy server space (your hosting), you’ll be getting storage space on one of these computers which will likely be situated in a secure building somewhere and looked after by a series of expert technicians to ensure it stays safe and secure against hackers, faults, etc.
When someone then types in the domain name you’ve bought, it points their browser to that particular space on the server. This then gives it access to the files that make up your website, including the HTML and CSS files that define the layout, design and formatting, as well as all the images and content. They can then view your website in all its glory!
Whatever you choose though, you’ll first need to compare some of the features and pros and cons of different types of hosting.
Types of hosting include:
Shared Hosting: This is the basic type of hosting, which means you get a portion of the space on a specific server. If you imagine a server to be like a computer, it’s as though you’re getting 20% of the hard drive space to yourself, while other users will share the rest.
Practically, this doesn’t make much difference to you – you’ll never see the files of the other users and they’ll never see yours. What it does mean though, is that you’ll have less available storage space and less ‘bandwidth’ (bandwidth is how much data can be transferred before the server goes down temporarily or gets very slow – the more people using the same server, the greater the strain will be).
Dedicated Hosting: This way you get your own server that no one else gets to use. That means more space, more bandwidth and more flexibility regarding what you’re allowed to install. For instance, if you want to build a web app, you’ll need to install a PHP Framework. Some of these, such as Symfony, will only work on dedicated servers.
In some cases, dedicated hosting users will even be permitted to sell storage space to other people as a reseller.
Cloud Hosting: Here you will have multiple copies of your site on different servers (either shared or dedicated) meaning that if one server goes down, the hosting provider can simply redirect traffic to another copy of your website. This means less downtime and of course it also means you get several times the amount of storage and a far less stingy bandwidth limit.
As a beginner in affiliate marketing, your hosting requirements will be relatively modest. You won’t have too many people visiting your site at once and when they do, they won’t be downloading lots of large images. You can start with a shared hosting account to keep your initial investment low and then just build-up to the more expensive solutions as your business grows. But many affiliate marketers find that shared hosting covers their needs, even while making significant income.
Other things to consider are customer support, the amount of downtime (read reviews) and additional features. Something very useful to look for is cPanel, which is an easy-to-use dashboard with a selection of tools that is very handy for all webmasters, but beginners in particular.
- Adding Content to Your Website
In order to succeed as an affiliate you must have quality content. That does not mean you have to be a great writer or even that you have to do the writing yourself; you can always outsource it if you prefer.
The Internet runs on content. Nobody goes to a site that doesn’t have good content or doesn’t provide the information they’re looking for, at least not for very long.
The entire foundation of your affiliate marketing business is a topical (niche) website to which people with interest in that particular topic can go and get real value.
Focus on Quality Rather Than Keywords in Your Content
“Content” is everything that appears on your website; text, images, videos, etc., but, on balance, it’s the words and phrases in your content that will have the biggest bearing on your ability to attract targeted traffic (visitors) to your website.
“Keywords” is the name given to the words and phrases that people use to search for something on the Internet, for example “best exercises for seniors.”
=>>In the past, search engines such as Google used keywords on a web page to determine what the page was all about and the number of times those keywords appeared on the page to determine how relevant that page was to a search enquiry using those keywords. It was actually much more complex than this, for example, backlinks from other websites was included in the calculation along with other markers, but you get the idea as far as content goes.
The problem with this was that many webmasters focused almost entirely on ensuring that their content included lots of references to the niche keywords that they were trying to rank for in Google, and not on the quality and depth of information that their site visitors were actually seeking.
The outcome was that many of the web pages served up by the likes of Google in their SERPs results (Search Engine Results Pages) for any given search term were sometimes poor or even very poor quality as far as the searcher was concerned.
However, search engines, particularly Google and Bing, have improved immensely and undergone profound changes in recent years. They are getting so much better at figuring out the most relevant, highest quality web pages for any given search term, and then presenting the searcher with those improved results in their SERPs.
So, in order to succeed today, the most important consideration is ‘Content Focus’ not ‘Keyword Focus’. Your content must focus on your readers and the topic you are writing about. Content optimization efforts should be applied to being descriptive & informative, using variations, synonyms, alternative phrases, alternative meanings, etc., and NOT focused on specific keywords that are repeated over and over in the content (keyword-stuffing).
For the most part, search engines are getting extremely good at understanding content quality, depth, and relevancy, and so don’t need to be force-fed keywords anymore. In fact, your website will be punished with much lower rankings, perhaps even be removed completely from their SERPs, if you use those outdated tactics today.
To summarize, you want your articles to be based on topics within your niche, rather than based on specific keyword phrases that you know people are using to search the Internet. Highly relevant, high quality content, now trumps keyword stuffing / focus.
The best way to add relevant content to your website is with a Blog. This will be where you will publish your posts and let people know about your business. At the same time, you can then combine this with a strong social media presence, heavy branding, and maybe even a YouTube channel, such that your audience can get to know you better.
Being successful at this is largely about posting regularly and offering real value to your readers. Don’t try and sell right away but, instead, spend your time building up trust and respect in your niche. Every time you publish a blog post, you should ask yourself: is this something you would read? Is it comprehensive, engaging and unique enough to stand out from all the other posts in this niche? Does it make you look like you really know your stuff?
This might all sound like a lot of work for a beginner and you might find the idea of becoming a thought leader to be nerve wracking. However it is very much worth it. The main reason for this, is that when you are an authority in your niche, you will not only be able to sell the one product – but really any relevant product that you subsequently want to. You’ll have a direct ‘route to market’ letting you directly reach thousands of buyers and they will always be happy and willing to take your advice.
This is the strategy that most affiliate marketers use to become truly wealthy but it does take a little longer. Note as well that if you’re going to use this strategy, you do need to think carefully about the quality of the products you recommend. If you promote substandard products too often you will lose the respect of your buyers and ultimately they’ll be unlikely to consider your future recommendations.
- Driving Traffic to Your Affiliate Website
Once your site is built and running it is now time to consider promotional methods to get traffic (visitors) to your site. Without traffic there will be no audience to convert and no money to be made.
Keep in mind that typically a 3% conversion rate is considered to be good, so do the math. For example, if you have 1000 visitors per month and a 3% conversion rate you are not likely to make much money, unless the affiliate commissions are very high.
Conversely, when you have 1000 visitors per week, that same 3% can be much more profitable. So highly targeted traffic, and lots of it, is critical to success.
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