Lots of people every day are looking for ways on how to start affiliate marketing to earn an income from the internet. I know how hard it is to get quality information because there is so much misinformation out there. So if you’ve ever thought “How do I start affiliate marketing online?” then this blog post is for you. Let’s start!
What do You Need to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business Online?
It’s actually pretty simple and straight forward. You just need to have a computer with internet access and a topic that you’d like to talk about. If you don’t have a computer already I recommend buying one because it will be pretty difficult to get started without one. Obviously you can always start out with a smartphone, but as you’ll usually be writing content, I’d recommend that you do so on a computer as it’s just easier to do. If that’s not an option for you, maybe get a bluetooth keyboard to connect to your smartphone and write with that.
So now that you’ve got the necessary equipment, it’s time to get clear on how you can actually start a money making machine through affiliate marketing.
If you don’t know what affiliate marketing is exactly and how it works, you can learn all about it here in my How To Learn Affiliate Marketing For Beginners: Step By Step guide.
There are different ways to do affiliate marketing successfully. The approach I recommend is through an online blog. That’s because with a blog you can leverage the searches people do everyday on the internet. If someone searches for a particular information on Google, your website can pop up, they visit the post you write. And if the information you give it valuable to them, they might end up clicking the link to the affiliate offer you promoted on the post and buy. That’s when you get paid!
Keep in mind though that providing lots of words with little value won’t result in people buying from you. It’s just the way it goes, so refrain from wanting to make money more than wanting to help people.
Other than building your own website (which is very easy nowadays), you can also start a YouTube channel which gives you the same benefit of leveraging searches because it’s owned by Google and YouTube works just like a search machine.
Decide on an interest of yours (you don’t have to be an expert) and you can start your business right away. If you want to learn more about the importance of niche markets, read this guide.
Why do I Not Recommend Affiliate Marketing Through Social Media?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of the meme pages that amassed hundreds of thousands of followers in literally no time and now make 5 figures a month, right? Well, those stories could be true. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s a viable strategy for everyone out there. I’m not a huge fan of using social media because of the following:
The Algorithm is not in Your Favor!
That’s right. Did you ever notice that when you posted a new image to Instagram or a status update to Facebook, hardly anyone sees it? And for those that do – how long do they see it? 1-2 days? And what happens then? Your post gets lost in the huge amount of content produced on the platform every day and it’s hard to find. The search engines in those social media platforms are not made to find the most relevant content for your questions – unlike Google or YouTube. Instead they show the most popular content.
And if that’s not yours, guess what. Nobody’s going to find your post again. It’s not a smart way to spend your time, it’s not a good long term investment of your creativity.
Another reason why social media is not my favorite way to build a business is that the traffic is not really yours. What happens when the social media platform blocks your account? It happened to me a few times. Or someone hacks your account? Or the platform loses it’s appeal to a newer one like we currently see with Instagram/Facebook and TikTok? You lose your following, your community, your traffic.
So What Should You Do Instead?
Create a blog or a YouTube channel. That way, your content will gain popularity and influence over time instead of losing it. Sure, use social media marketing to promote your website and content. Promote it hard! But don’t use it as your main channel.
How to Create a Blog? A Quick Explanation
In todays world it’s super easy to start your own blog thanks to free and widely available content management systems (CMS) like WordPress. Actually, WordPress is the most popular CMS out there with over 30% of all websites on the world wide web running on this system.
You will still need your own web space where you can host your website though but don’t worry. WealthyAffiliate has a complete website ecosystem and you can start your website there for free. Also it’s super easy to create your website there. Instead of having to find a reliable hosting platform, register your domain, buy webspace and install WordPress, you can just click a button and it’s all done automatically for you.
I have about 10 years of experience in creating websites and the initial part has always been the one that I really dreaded. Creating accounts, filling out contracts, coping with FTP servers … oh god.
I don’t do that anymore. I have my websites and blogs running through WealthyAffiliate now. Start for free today.
If you want to know more about WealthyAffiliate and what it can do for you, read my honest review here.
Now You’ve Got Your Website. Now, How to Get the Money?
The Technical Part First:
You’ll need affiliate programs. Where can you get these? Literally everywhere. Almost every company nowadays has an affiliate program. Just do a quick Google search of whatever you want to promote and add “affiliate” or “affiliate program” to the search or read my explanation of affiliate marketing online programs for a list of recommendations.
So choose one that matches your niche, passion or interest. You can then apply for the affiliate program. It usually takes about a week to get accepted and then you get your personal promotional link that you can then implement in your website.
For a quick start you can also always start out with the Amazon Associates Program and promote everything available on Amazon.
Now the Emotional Part:
Focus on helping people. Nobody will buy anything from you if all you’re trying to achieve is just get a few quick bucks. You know why? Because people are going to leave your website if they don’t get any value. Try to help people with your opinions, reviews and recommendations and they’ll happily click your links.
Side note: You can always apply for more than one affiliate program and don’t be afraid to do so! Every time you write about something, just add your affiliate link. People might be interested and click, even if it’s a negative review. Nobody likes to leave money on the table so as a general rule of thumb:
The more affiliate programs, the better. Just make sure that they remain inside of your designated niche/interest. Don’t promote gloves for bikers when you write a blog about surfing, so to speak.
Next Step: Content!
So you have a website/blog, you have your affiliate programs/partners, now it’s time to actually start putting out content! I know this is the scary part for most people, but don’t worry, breathe. Creating content is not hard at all, it’s fun!
There generally are two concerns that new affiliate marketers have when it comes to content:
- What do I write about?
- I am not an expert, why should anyone care about what I have to say?
Let’s go through them. First up:
1. What Can You Write About?
Let’s think back to your niche or interest. It shouldn’t be hard to choose one, even if you have a lot of hobbies. Your first niche doesn’t have to be your last! (Once I knew that, it became easy for me!)
You ideally want to choose an interest that you like. Something that you’re willing to talk or write about even 1 or 2 years from now because you’re going to spend some time with it.
For our purpose, let’s say you chose the topic of surfing. Maybe you don’t really know much about it. You just recently started and you developed a passion for the feeling of riding the waves.
To find out what you can write about, you generally want to answer questions that other people have that are interested in the topic.
Search On Quora
You can find those on websites like quora.com. There are a lot of people who’re asking questions and you can take those as ideas for your blog.
Get Ideas From Google
Another great way to find ideas on what to write about is to use Google! When you start writing into the search bar, Google automatically gives you automatic suggestions of what people generally search there. You can leverage that to find questions that people are already asking and just start answering them in your blog or YouTube channel.
Do Keyword Research
This is something I recommend you do from the start. Keyword research will help you to write posts that are going to be ranked well in search engines, therefore sending people to your website (which we call traffic). Why is keyword research important? There’s already so much content out there that it can be hard to rank for some keywords when there are already a lot of websites that target that specific keywords.
So the right thing to do it to find keywords where you don’t have much competition which in turn gives you a much better chance to rank for that specific keyword and in turn gain more visitors to your website.
For my research I use Jaaxy, one of the industry leading keyword research tools.
You can register for a free account to do your research here. Also, if you have an account on WealthyAffiliate, you’ll have Jaaxy included in your membership.
2. You’re No Expert, Why Should Anyone Care?
Let’s come back to our example niche, surfing. You maybe just started out and you already evolved a passion for it, but you’re clearly not an expert yet. You don’t know much about styles, boards, waves, tides, currents etc. So why should anyone care what you have to say?
Well, there are a lot of people out there who want to start out but haven’t had the chance yet. Or they’re just interested in the topic in general but don’t really want to surf themselves, they just like reading and dreaming about it. Or maybe they’re interested in the progress of a beginner. These are just a few possible scenarios but the truth is – there’s always someone who’s interested in your point of view!
Even if you’re no expert, just start writing and talk about how you perceive the topic. You’ll become an expert while you’re writing your blog as you’re researching or thinking about the different blog posts. The important thing is to start so you can get better. Action builds confidence!
Starting an affiliate marketing business is easier than you might think. You can start by blogging or creating YouTube videos to promote your affiliate programs. The right strategy will depend on how much time and effort you want to put into starting up your new venture – but don’t worry!
WealthyAffiliate offers a free starter membership that will teach how to be successful with affiliate marketing and I’ll also be there to guide you, as well as the whole community. I hope this blog post helped you in gaining some clarity on how to start affiliate marketing online. If you have any questions, just leave a comment on this page below and I’ll be happy to get back to you.