Sep 13, 2022
How to Make an Affiliate Marketing Website in 10 Steps to Ensure Your Business Success
The affiliate marketing process is also simpler than selling goods or services online – you just place a link and earn money when people buy the brand’s product through it.
However, understanding how affiliate marketing works isn’t enough. Successful affiliate websites need proper preparation and strategies.
In this article, we’ll go over a step-by-step guide on how to build your first affiliate website and achieve success in making money through affiliate marketing.
1. Choose a Niche
The first step of building a successful affiliate marketing website is picking the right niche – a specific topic on which you’ll focus your content.
A good tip is to select a niche you know about and enjoy discussing. One of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes beginners make is choosing the most profitable and trending categories without considering their skills and passions. Ultimately, they stop making content because they lose interest.
Use this list of questions to help you choose a niche you’re experienced and passionate about:
- What are your hobbies?
- What industries have you worked in?
- What activities do you enjoy doing and often lose track of time?
- What types of topics do your family and friends usually seek your input for?
Check If the Niche Is Popular
After listing possible niches, try to write ten content ideas for each topic. If coming up with ten titles feels challenging, that niche may not be the best fit for you.
Besides matching the topic with your competence and interest, ensure it’s versatile. Avoid niches that people tend to lose interest in quickly. Google Trends is a great tool for knowing whether a topic is trending, stable, or decreasing over time.
Then, head over to Adwords Keyword Planner to analyze it further. This tool displays average monthly searches, competition, and bid estimations. If the bid is competitive and the average monthly searches are high, this niche will be a great choice.
For those who are still unsure, here are some of the best affiliate niches to consider:
- Health and wellness
Join the Right Affiliate Program
After deciding on a niche, it’s time to search for related affiliate marketing programs to join.
Mainly, there are two options to find affiliate opportunities:
- In-house affiliate program. It’s an affiliate marketing program published by the company itself, such as Amazon’s Amazon Associates and Hostinger Affiliate Program.
- Affiliate network. This platform is a middleman between the affiliate and the seller, covering multiple niches and brands. Examples include ShareASale and Awin.
It’s also possible to join multiple affiliate programs, even the combination of in-house programs and affiliate networks. However, consider these tips before doing so:
- Ensure the business has a good reputation.
- Pick products relevant to your niche.
- Search for affiliate marketing programs with competitive commission rates.
- Find out the cookie duration.
- Read the general terms and conditions, especially the criteria for successful transactions.
2. Decide on a Website Type
Choosing a niche is the initial step to narrowing your options when creating an affiliate marketing website. After that, pick a website type to become a go-to site for specific needs.
For your inspiration, we have compiled five options and the best example of each kind.
Blog owners can write about a certain topic and include an affiliate link in the content. The links should be relevant to the blog post so it doesn’t sound like an affiliate marketing scam.
The Points Guy is among the travel industry’s most popular affiliate marketing sites. It gives practical advice to the target audience on maximizing credit card and airline rewards for lower travel expenses. It earns commissions from several affiliate programs, such as United Airlines and American Express.
This affiliate website type looks like an actual eCommerce store. However, it lists other retailers’ items and redirects customers to their sites using affiliate links instead of showing its own products.
Look at Canopy’s website if you want to make this kind of affiliate marketing site. The team curates lists of trending, new, and most popular items and places Amazon affiliate links.
Product Review Site
Product review sites describe the products the owner has tested or used. It’s also possible to welcome contributors to write reviews on items they’ve used.
Gadget Review is one of the successful affiliate websites of this type. As the name suggests, it provides gadget reviews and best recommendations on different areas, from kitchen appliances to computer equipment. Each review will contain Amazon affiliate links.
Price Comparison Site
Price comparison websites show visitors a particular product and its prices from different stores, helping them choose the most affordable ones in no time. Some of them may also include users’ reviews and comparisons.
Skyscanner is a popular affiliate marketing site in this category. It compares flights, hotels, and car rental services from various providers to help visitors choose the most affordable option.
Daily Deals Website
Gain commissions by gathering deals from businesses and manufacturers in one place. This helps visitors save a lot of money by using coupons on the website.
A good example of this is Groupon. It compiles deals from various categories, including healthcare products and school supplies. Each deal page shows customer reviews and the promo’s details like duration as well as terms and conditions.
Search for top affiliate marketing websites in your niche before deciding on a website type. You can use them as inspiration or pick a completely different method that might fill a gap. SimilarWeb is a great tool for finding websites with a similar niche.
3. Choose a Domain Name and a Web Hosting Provider
After deciding what website type to build, purchase a web hosting plan – a service storing your website data online and making it accessible to internet users. You’ll also need a domain name to make an affiliate website, as it acts as the site address people type on their browser.
Many web hosts offer domain name registration, so you won’t have to buy hosting and domain separately.
Register Web Hosting
Choosing a web host with the cheapest offer might be tempting for beginners. However, we recommend investing in quality hosting for better long-term website performance.
Six aspects to keep in mind when choosing a web hosting provider are:
- Speed. Pick a web host with a stable and fast server speed to ensure your website will load smoothly. Check its uptime guarantee and status – the closer to 100%, the better.
- Security. A good web host should offer SSL certificates, regular backups, and essential security measures to protect your website from malware attacks.
- User-friendliness. Beginners should choose a web host with an intuitive control panel to help them set up a website easily.
- Price. Look for web hosts providing reasonable starting and renewal costs. Generally, web hosting costs anywhere between $2 to $500/month, depending on its type.
- Support. Ensure the hosting company provides 24/7 support to assist you whenever you face an issue.
- Scalability. A good hosting provider should let affiliate marketers upgrade their plans as their websites grow.
Many web hosts come with various offers, so buy a hosting package suitable for your needs. For starters, we recommend shared hosting or WordPress hosting as it’s affordable and easy to manage.
Figure Out Your Domain Name
A custom domain name is better than a free domain name with a website provider name in it. It’s clean, short, and makes a website look trustworthy.
A good domain should be short, simple, and easy to spell – preferably between three to four terms. Including relevant keywords in a domain name can also help users and search engines know what a website is about.
If you have a target audience in a specific area, consider choosing a top-level domain for the intended region. For example, go for .co.uk to target the UK residents and .es to attract the Spanish market.
Use a domain name generator if coming up with a good domain name is challenging. Simply enter keywords in your niche, and the tool will suggest many name ideas.
4. Select a Platform to Create Your Website
Choosing the right platform is the foundation of making a website, as it will influence its look, functionality, user experience, and maintenance.
Let’s take a look at four points to consider when choosing the best web platform for your affiliate marketing website:
- Ease of use. It’s possible to build an entire website without having to understand or write code. However, some web platform interfaces may be easier for some people, so consider looking at their walkthrough.
- Customization. Find a platform that enables you to personalize the look and features of the website based on your needs.
- Price. Check the platform’s pricing package and possible add-ons, then match the calculation with your budget.
- Support. Ensure the platform offers helpful support through tutorials, forums, or emails.
Generally, there are two primary website platforms – a content management system (CMS) like WordPress and a website builder like Zyro. The main difference between a CMS vs a website builder is that the former takes some time to master but offers better customization and scalability, while the latter has an easy-to-use interface but limited options.
Important! For this article, we’ll use WordPress to build an affiliate website. WordPress is free, powers millions of websites, and offers a large variety of personalization options.
WordPress plugins can enable advanced features like an affiliate management system and live chat support. Moreover, there are plenty of themes to customize the website’s appearance to suit your taste.
If you use this platform, the first step is to install WordPress. The quickest way to do it is using an auto-installer via the hosting provider’s control panel, provided yours offers such a tool.
Hostinger users can find the auto-installer under the Website section in the Hosting main menu.
Afterward, select WordPress, fill out the form, and hit the Install button. When Hostinger shows WordPress under Installed Applications, click the three dots icon -> Manage -> Edit Website to access the WordPress dashboard.
5. Customize Your Website
After installing the website platform, the next step is customizing the look and features to suit your style and make the site more appealing. A visually attractive website can improve first impressions and keep people engaged.
Choose a Theme
WordPress has many free theme options in its official directory. Each WordPress theme provides a different layout and features for specific purposes. Alternatively, purchase a premium WordPress theme from third-party marketplaces like Elegant Themes and StudioPress to get unique design and better support.
Whatever theme you choose, ensure it has a responsive layout. This means the theme can automatically adapt to the user’s device.
To find out whether the theme is responsive, check its description. Additionally, Google Chrome users can validate it by visiting the demo site, right-clicking on it, and selecting Inspect -> Toggle device toolbar. Drag the handles to resize the viewport – if it looks good and functional in any size, it’s responsive.
A good tip is choosing a theme with pre-built features based on your website type. For example, a daily deal website can opt for a coupon theme like Froday. As this theme offers pre-styled coupons, coupon countdown, and deals submission, you don’t need to install or purchase third-party plugins – saving on hosting storage and spendings.
Personalize Menus and Widgets
Navigation menus are a list of links to essential pages on your website, commonly placed in the header section. Some typical menus include the Home, Blog, and About categories.
Meanwhile, a WordPress widget is a block of content that users can add to their site’s sidebars, footers, and other areas depending on the theme. It generally contains media, navigation links, and additional information separate from the main content, such as the most recent and popular posts.
To add widgets or menus, click Appearance -> Customize on the WordPress dashboard and select Menus or Widgets. Here, you can edit the widget and menu’s hierarchy or styles and add media or links.
Install Essential Plugins
WordPress plugins can extend a website’s functionality without coding. Some essential plugins that can improve your affiliate website performance are:
- AIOSEO. It’s a search engine optimization (SEO) tool that can help affiliate marketers efficiently improve their search rankings.
- Wordfence. This plugin protects a WordPress site from malware, spam, and brute force attacks.
- Smush. It’s an image compression tool to let users display high-resolution images without slowing down the website.
- Everest forms. This plugin has a beginner-friendly interface to help create any form easily.
When choosing a plugin, ensure it’s up-to-date and compatible with the latest WordPress version. Also, check the active installations and rating – the higher the number, the more trustworthy it is.
6. Create Good Content
Good affiliate marketing websites must have high-quality content that can drive traffic and leads. Well-written content can also engage and retain readers because they find the article helpful, making them return regularly.
Below are three steps to make excellent content for your affiliate marketing website.
The first step to creating good content is researching relevant queries on your chosen niche. Doing so helps understand what people are searching for, providing a list of content ideas that answer their questions and generate traffic.
SurferSEO is a great tool for coming up with article ideas. Its Content Planner will suggest relevant queries from the main keyword and group them based on the search intent. This tool can also identify high-performing articles for that keyword for inspiration.
Plan the Content
After listing the relevant keywords, organize them on a content calendar to help you stay consistent.
There are many tools to create a content schedule. For example, I use Google Calendar and put in blocks of time to write, edit, and publish the content.
Besides Google Calendar, project management tools like Asana or Trello help organize content in one place – attaching files and breaking down the content production process. An alternative is using the Editorial Calendar plugin to plan content creation from the dashboard.
When you schedule blog posts, we recommend prioritizing evergreen content that is continually relevant to readers. This includes how-to articles and glossaries.
Alternatively, arrange the content around the best-selling affiliate products on the affiliate network or affiliate marketing program first because they have a proven track record of selling well in the store, which may impact your conversion rate and revenue.
You may also want to monitor any major events in your niche to create relevant and trending content. For example, fashion affiliate marketing sites can plan articles around popular fashion weeks.
Write Quality Content
Follow these tips to produce a high-quality blog post for an affiliate marketing website:
- Have well-structured content. Make text scannable by using headings, subheadings, and bulleted points and splitting a long text into shorter paragraphs.
- Be honest. Help visitors in their decision-making process by providing objective judgments. Give constructive criticism on the product and offer alternatives when possible.
- Use the correct anchor text. Avoid writing phrases like “click here” or “read more” as they don’t describe the linked content. Instead, aim for descriptive and short terms or mention the affiliate product names.
- Integrate visual elements. Visuals can break up the text and highlight important points. Furthermore, they transmit messages faster than text and stick in long-term memory.
To maximize organic traffic and see results, an affiliate marketer should upload content regularly – the ideal frequency is three to four times a week. Luckily, it’s possible to schedule your WordPress posts for future publication dates on WordPress.
7. Make Your Site Visible on Search Engines
Using the right keywords on your content is just the beginning of a solid SEO strategy. Integrating its off-page and technical methods is also vital to creating an SEO-friendly affiliate site that ranks higher on search engines.
Develop Logical Internal Linking Structure
Internal links are those pointing from one page to another on your website. A well-developed internal linking strategy helps search engines understand the site’s structure and assists users in navigating between relevant pages.
Place related internal links in the main content and ensure the anchor text is natural. Alternatively, put article recommendations at the end of the blog post to encourage readers to read them.
Add Alt Text
Alt text, also known as alt descriptions and alt tags, is a description of images, graphs, or charts. This enables search engines to crawl the website better and aids screen-reading tools to describe images to visually impaired readers, improving accessibility and expanding the audience.
Good alt text should be descriptive and concise. Consider using a testing tool like the Siteimprove Accessibility Checker extension to assess whether the page makes sense with images hidden and replaced by their alt text.
Ensure Its Performance and Mobile Friendliness
Page speed and mobile friendliness are top Google ranking factors. A four-second delay reduces page views by over ten percent, and more than 60% of people won’t return to a website that is not mobile-friendly.
Optimize images by choosing the proper format and compressing them with a free tool like ShortPixel or a plugin like Smush. Check the site speed regularly with a speed tester like Pingdom Tools and analyze which aspects need fixes.
To make the website mobile-friendly, affiliate marketers should use a responsive theme, proper font size, and easy-to-tap call-to-action buttons. Visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to know if the website is functional and appealing on mobile devices.
Publish Guest Posts
A guest post is a content piece bloggers write for another site. In exchange for the guest post, the website owner will allow some backlinks to your own site. It can establish authority, expand one’s audience, and generate traffic.
Discover guest posting opportunities by typing “your keyword + guest post” or “+ write for us” on a search engine. Alternatively, use Ahrefs’ backlink checker to monitor a competitor’s backlink profile.
Next, brainstorm ideas for the guest post and pitch them to the website owner. Once they accept it, write the content and follow the guest post guideline.
8. Create Documents for Your Affiliate Business
An affiliate marketer should disclose their relationship with the merchant and inform the visitors about receiving sales commissions if they purchase the product using the link. This will make the affiliate marketing business legal and transparent.
Some documents to prepare for affiliate marketing websites are:
- Affiliate marketing agreement. It’s a contract between a brand and an affiliate, stating the commission rates, payout process, and the contract period. Generally, an affiliate marketer signs this when registering for an affiliate program.
- Copyright notice. It explains how people can use your website content and graphics, protecting you from someone stealing your work.
- Affiliate marketing disclosure. It’s a statement on your blog informing readers that you receive commissions if they buy the product using your links.
9. Choose the Best Affiliate Marketing Tools
Suitable tools can speed up the process of managing affiliate marketing sites, from organizing affiliate links to ensuring the best web content.
Below are five essential affiliate marketing tools suitable for any type of website.
Use ThirstyAffiliates to manage affiliate links. This WordPress plugin helps affiliate marketers with link cloaking – turning long URLs into simple ones – directly from the WordPress dashboard. It also lets them group the links into categories and informs the broken ones. While ThirstyAffiliates is available for free with limited features, we recommend purchasing one of its paid plans, starting at $49.
It is a free tool that can track sales and analyze traffic data within your website. These insights will help you find out which blog posts and products perform well and what to improve. Add Google Analytics to WordPress using its tracking code or a plugin like MonsterInsights.
This link tracking software can identify the source of every click and sale. It’s perfect for affiliate marketers who use various channels to promote products and want to know which one performs better. Improvely can also detect and block fake clicks. This tool’s pricing plans start at $29/month with a 14-day free trial.
Grammarly is like a writing assistant that reviews grammar, spelling, and plagiarism, enabling affiliates to write mistake-free content. You can integrate this tool on Google Docs and WordPress post editor to check the writing in real-time. Use some of Grammarly’s features for free or buy its premium version starting at $12/month.
It is one of the best WordPress pop-up plugins, offering various opt-in forms, such as in-line and overlays, and a drag-and-drop editor to design pop-ups easily. The editor has a mobile mode to overview different opt-in looks on mobile devices. Thrive Leads’ pricing plans start at $19/month.
Some affiliates may also need specific tools to help with their process. For example, a product review site can use a review plugin like Taqyeem to add appealing rating styles. Meanwhile, those who join multiple affiliate networks can use Affjet to connect data from all networks in a single dashboard.
10. Share Links to Promote Your Brand
After building the affiliate marketing website, promote it on other platforms to grow your audience and increase sales. Two methods to promote your brand are using a social media network and building an email list.
Invest in Email Marketing
Promoting products with emails can attract potential customers by sending them personalized affiliate offers. What’s more, emails deliver a strong return on investment – you can expect an average return of $42 for every $1 you spend.
To build an email list:
- Optimize your website with signup widgets and pop-ups.
- Ensure the pop-ups are visible and not distracting readers.
- Produce great content and offer exclusive ones they can access only by signing up for the email list.
Install an email marketing tool like Mailchimp and Sendinblue to manage subscribers, create attractive emails, and track performance.
Every time I publish a new piece of content, I’ll do an email blast. I’ll limit my email blast to two or three weekly because you don’t want to burn people out on your best post.
Use Social Media
Another practical affiliate marketing tip is to promote your website and affiliate products on social media platforms. Depending on your target audience and content creation skills, you can use a Facebook page or Instagram Reels.
There are more than four billion social media users, and they spend an average of two hours daily on the platforms. With the right strategies, they may come across your profile and buy brands’ products from you.
The first step is to avoid a sales pitch and deliver quality content. It can be industry-specific updates, tips, and reviews. Then, include relevant hashtags to help social media users with a similar interest find the content.
Whenever social media developers update their features or release new ones, always check them out to increase views and grow your following.
Starting an affiliate marketing website is one of the best online business ideas since all it needs is a small upfront investment to build a site. It’s also an excellent way to generate passive income and establish your online presence.
This article has discussed ten steps in building affiliate websites, from choosing the right niche and website type to getting hosting and promoting your brand.
By the end of this process, you’ll have your first affiliate marketing website and be ready to make money online.