There is so much information available on the internet about making money online that one can get quickly overwhelmed.
Affiliate marketing is a big trend, and lots of people seem to make a lot of money with it month after month.
Truth to be told, as an affiliate marketer you can make tons of money, but it’s not an easy road. The approach is simple but there is a learning curve involved, and honestly, affiliate marketing is not for everyone.
If you are after a quick buck, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
In my post, I will explain what this kind of online business is all about, how it works and hopefully brings some clarity if this is a path you want to go.
I am by no means an expert or a Guru but someone who has started without any knowledge about websites, SEO, keyword research, etc. I still know what it feels like to get started and to make the first (baby)steps to success.
You’ll face obstacles along the way, frustration but also a sense of achievement once you make your first sale and much more after.
So grab yourself a cup of coffee or a beer and keep reading.
How My Journey Started
My exciting journey into the online business world started at the beginning of 2016 by ‘accident’ because I was researching an MLM company a friend had asked me to join.
Instead, I have found something more fascinating: a way to create passive income from virtually anywhere in the world.
No need to do cold calling, no need to try to recruit people into a business model where they have to hire even more people.
My reasons for wanting to create passive/residual income may be different to your desire to work online. My family lives in Germany, a 24 hours flight away from my new home country New Zealand. So when I go to visit my friends and family, I am staying for at least a month and longer.
What better way of earning money with a website which I can access from any place anywhere (only a WIFI connection needed)!!! I don’t have to worry about being physically at a workplace to keep money coming in.
When I had my first sale on Amazon and got my first commission of $6.51 I seriously thought I had won the lottery. I knew the system works. Yes, onwards and upwards.
Whatever your reasons are
- escaping the 9-5 grind
- working from home so you can be with your children
- freedom to travel whenever you want
- freedom to be your own boss
- building up a second income stream.
Building an online business is a fantastic way to have the freedom to do what you always dreamed about.
The good news is that starting an online business doesn’t cost much to get started.
But before I get into more details, what is affiliate marketing anyway and how does it work?
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
As an affiliate marketer, you are promoting someone else’s products and earn a commission when people buy it through a link on your website, on Facebook or on Pinterest.
For instance, I run a travel blog and promote a hotel booking company. If someone clicks on the banner or link I have placed on my site, the merchant (hotel booking company) can trace the booking back to my link, and I will get paid a commission in return.
Every brand has an affiliate program you as a website owner can apply for. To find an affiliate program just type in Google search “product ‘xy’ affiliate program.”
Once you are accepted, the company allocates your very own affiliate link which you place on your site. Simple, right?
Well, not quite! There are a few steps before you should apply for an affiliate program.
Step Nr.1 – Choose Your Niche
I have written a detailed post about What Is A Niche Website where I explain all the details regarding this topic. And it is an important one.
For newbies, I would recommend to start off with a topic you have knowledge about, an interest, a hobby, generally something you feel passionate about.
Why? Because you will be writing about your niche for the next months and even years. It is much easier to write about things you feel familiar with.
Later on, you will be more likely starting with a few more niche websites. By then, you know the process and feel more confident to be more strategic about choosing a niche.
That’s when keyword research and other metrics will become more and more important. But for now, I want to keep it simple. It’s more about giving you an idea.
[Learn step-by-step how to build a niche site: join my favorite online training platform here for free.]
Step Nr. 2 – Build A Website
No need to get scared, seriously. Building a website is as easy as turning on the tv. It only takes a little bit longer, less than one minute.
My favorite website builder is the SiteRubix platform for building and hosting a WordPress website.
[please read my step-by-step tutorial How To Build A Free Website]
You can also try it out for yourself. Just type in a name for your site (you can always change it later 🙂 ) and see for yourself.
Building a website is easy but building it up with content takes, of course, more work. Ideally, you want to add two posts a week to provide value to your readers.
Don’t worry too much if you are not used to writing. It comes with time and practice. You don’t have to be perfect. All it takes is to get started.
I am the best example: when I look back at my first post – oh dear! But hey, you can always go back and make them better. Just get started!
Step 3 – Get Traffic To Your Blog/Website
That will be the most challenging and at times frustrating part. You want your awesome content in front of as many eyes as possible.
The more readers the more clicks the more sales equals a Happy Dance!
That’s when the biggest learning curve is going to kick in. Keyword research yet again will be playing an important part as well as how to optimize your posts for the search engines (SEO) and promoting your posts through social media like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Promoting your posts on social media is the quickest way of gaining readers in my opinion.
The process of getting readers through Google, Bing, and Yahoo (called organic traffic) takes much longer. For the first few months, you will most likely see a trickle of traffic. But do not fear, that is part of the parcel.
Here is a link to an interesting study about what websites are ranking on Page 1 in Google. It turns out only 5.7% of one-year-old sites make it to the top in the first 12 months.
Interesting and reassuring for newbies!
Step 4 – Making Money
That is the exciting part! By now your site is a few months old, traffic is picking up, and the chances are high that you get your first sales.
Even though I am focussing on affiliate links in this post, there a more ways how you can earn money from your site.
[Read more in my post What Is The Best Way To Monetize A Website]
I know of many blogs that solely earn money by placing Google Adsense on their site or when they reach a lot of page views (around 30000 a month) using ad networks that are paying out more money than Google Adsense.
You can also combine affiliate links and advertising and see what works best. Either way, you will need visitors finding your website to earn money.
My tip: start off with creating quality content and get visitors to your site for the first few months. The money side will come later.
What have we learned so far? To get started with affiliate marketing you will need to
- Find a niche
- Build a website,
- Write content
- Get traffic to your site
and ultimately earn revenue.
The infographic above shows the process in a nutshell. Amazon is the biggest affiliate program, and many websites focus on only the Amazon affiliate program.
You can find more information in my posts How To Become An Amazon Affiliate and Nine Things You Should Know About The Amazon Affiliate Program.
I do like the Amazon affiliate program even though there are a few flaws to it. But the sheer amount of products one can promote through their program is mind blowing.
One thing for sure, there is so much information regarding affiliate marketing, niche websites, blogging, SEO, about building a website, hosting, etc. available online.
You can work your way through the jungle of Youtube videos and tons of websites with absolutely amazing content.
But I think, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by information overload.
My advice is to join a course that will teach you step-by-step a legit way of building a successful online business.
I wholeheartedly recommend to check out Wealthy Affiliate, the platform where I got started with blogging and building niche websites.
It is the best place to learn everything regarding building an online business. If I as a complete newbie without any prior knowledge can do it, you can do it too.
Not only that, WA is also a hosting platform, offers more than 1500 free WordPress themes, a free keyword research tool plus a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
I hope you have found this guide helpful. Please leave me a comment with questions and feedback – I’d love to hear from you!.
And don’t forget: If you want to change something, Take Action Now!
Please note: this post contains affiliate links.