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Should You Create an Affiliate Marketing Website?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways of making money online. Some people will tell you that anyone can create a website and start promoting products or services to make money. That may be technically true, but it glosses over the fact that there is a lot of work involved.

Just as with anything else, your success with affiliate marketing will mostly depend on how much effort you put into it. If you have enough free time to nurture your website and create quality content, you’ll be able to find an audience and start earning money.

In this article, we’re going to talk about the benefits and difficulties of building an affiliate website, and explain why you should consider starting one. Then we’ll walk you through three basic steps to getting your site off the ground. Let’s get to work!

What an Affiliate Marketing Website Is (And How It Can Benefit You)

An example of an affiliate website.
Affiliate marketing websites promote products in exchange for commissions.

Affiliate marketing websites are built to refer visitors to products and services that fit their needs. Each time you make a successful referral, you get paid a commission by whatever program you signed up for. This sounds simple, but it can be tricky to get right.

This type of marketing is a popular way of monetizing websites, however, and here’s why:

  • It doesn’t require much startup capital. Anyone can set up a blog and start writing content, even with a small budget.
  • There are hundreds of affiliate programs to choose from. There are affiliate opportunities for virtually any niche you can think of.
  • It can be automated. You can use dedicated tools to streamline the process, and even hire people to create content for and manage your website.

In our experience, affiliate marketing sites are a solid option if you’re looking for a side project that can earn you some extra money. Let’s talk about how to know if they’re a good fit for you.

How to Decide Whether to Start an Affiliate Marketing Website

In the past, building a successful affiliate marketing website wasn’t that difficult. All you needed to do was set everything up and to start creating content. These days, however, the competition is fierce in many of the most popular niches. Therefore, you’ll need to put in a lot of effort to stand out.

With that in mind, if you fall into one or more of the following categories, affiliate marketing might suit you:

  1. You have some free time on your hands. If you have downtime and a steady income, you can grow your affiliate website over the long term on your own.
  2. You have experience with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is one of the most critical skills for a successful affiliate marketing site, since its success will rely on organic traffic.
  3. You have web development experience. If you know how to build websites, you can save money by doing everything yourself.
  4. You have the budget to outsource most of the work. If you’ve got some money you’d like to invest over the long term, you can outsource the work of creating and running your affiliate website.

To sum it up, you probably need at least two of the following three qualities to succeed in affiliate marketing: patience, a strong work ethic, and a sizable budget. If you fit those criteria and fall into one of the categories we described earlier, this type of website should be a solid fit for you.

How to Get Started With Your Affiliate Marketing Website (In 3 Steps)

Keep in mind – there’s a lot to learn if you want to succeed at affiliate marketing. These are just some basic steps to point you in the right direction and get your first website off the ground. Let’s start by talking about niches!

Step 1: Choose a Niche for Your Site and Find an Affiliate Program

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide which ‘niche’ you want to dedicate your website to. You can be highly specific when it comes to your niche, or pick one that encompasses multiple subjects, such as technology or fashion. However, the latter approach is often more difficult for beginners. After all, the more subjects you have to write about, the harder it’ll be to compete with more established websites. Instead, it’s often best to start out by focusing on particular product types, such as running shoes, lawnmowers, or even graphics cards.

Next, you’ll need to choose one or more affiliate programs. If this is your first time trying out affiliate marketing, we recommend that you stick with an established program like Amazon Affiliates:

The Amazon Affiliates homepage.

Amazon offers a massive selection of products you can promote, so you can focus on those you feel comfortable writing about. On the other hand, if you want to look for a more targeted program, there are plenty of alternatives.

Step 2:  Set up a Domain and Find a Web Host

This next step is much more straightforward. Once you have a niche in mind, you’ll want to register a domain name for your upcoming website:

Registering a domain name.

You can use any registrar you want. All you have to do is pay for a year upfront, and the domain will be yours.

Next, you’ll need to look for suitable hosting. We offer plenty of affordable plans, so feel free to check them out if you haven’t already:

An example of multiple cheap shared hosting plans.

Armed with a domain and a hosting plan, it’s time to get to work on the website itself! If you’ve never set up a site before and don’t have a solution in mind, we recommend using WordPress, which is fantastic for affiliate websites.

Step 3: Start Creating Content for Your Niche

Now, all that’s left is to start creating content related to your niche. The more articles you have on your site, for example, the easier it should be to attract traffic – as long as you follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Try to publish content on a regular schedule. If your visitors know that you follow a set schedule, they’ll be more likely to check back periodically.
  • Optimize your content for specific keywords. Each article in your library should target a keyword related to your niche, to attract people looking for that term.
  • Keep publishing even if you don’t see quick results. It takes time for a new website to gain authority and establish itself, so be patient!

As for what types of articles to publish, it’s always smart to look at what your competitors are doing. That way, you can study their techniques and build on them. Also, in our experience comparison pieces and long-form content are winning formats, so stick with those whenever possible!

Conclusion

Affiliate marketing is still one of the most reliable ways to earn a recurring passive income online. It takes more work to build a profitable website than it did a few years ago, but it still can be done. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort at the beginning, but afterward you should be able to outsource most of the work and focus on other projects.

Here are three steps to help you get started with your affiliate marketing website:

  1. Choose a niche for your site and find an affiliate program.
  2. Set up a domain and find a web host.
  3. Start creating content for your niche.

Do you have any questions about how to set up an affiliate marketing website? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!

Image credit: Pixabay.

About Brad Litwin

Brad Litwin is the Marketing Manager for A2 Hosting. He has been with the company since 2007. His specialties include affiliate marketing, content writing and SEO. In his spare time he enjoys running and reading.

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