Start earning with affiliate marketing in 5 steps

10 min read
Leighton Burley

If you're trying to find ways to make money online, then affiliate marketing may be an excellent strategy for you. In fact, it should be at the top of the list for anyone who already has a successful blog or website.

The idea is to make small amounts over a long period of time.

Affiliate marketing is the perfect form of self-employment because it has low overhead to get started, and it doesn't require you to:

  • Hire anyone
  • Buy stock or products
  • Pay rent for a storefront or office

In this article, we are going to take a look at what affiliate marketing is and how you can start doing it on your own.

Editor’s note: Start a blog the easy way. Just choose a WordPress theme you like and off you go!

Start making money as an affiliate in 5 steps

Affiliate marketing isn’t totally effortless, but it is a great way to earn residual income with a modest investment of time.

  1. Choose a niche.
  2. Build a website/blog if you don’t already have one.
  3. Create high-quality posts, infographics and videos.
  4. Choose brands and products to promote.
  5. Apply to relevant affiliate programs.

Let’s explain exactly how this type of money making scheme works before we get into the steps to setup.

What is affiliate marketing, and how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is a promotional tactic where a retail business pays its affiliate marketers (publishers) for referring their products to their followers. The merchant pays out a commission for any sales that the affiliate marketer generates.

Every affiliate program has four core members that make it work:

The merchant

This term is used to describe the company that is paying the affiliate commission. It is also referred to as the 'retailer' or 'advertiser.'

The network

This term refers to the network that you will be using to get paid through. It will automatically generate your affiliate links, and provide you with a seller dashboard so that you can track your earnings.

The publisher

This term is used to describe you, the person who shares the videos, blog posts and reviews that contain the affiliate links. If you're publishing posts on your website with affiliate links, then you're the publisher.

The customer

This refers to the people who click on your affiliate links and subsequently make a purchase, resulting in commissions for you. Without the customer, affiliate marketing wouldn't work.

If you're still wondering how affiliate marketing works, then we will try to help you understand it a bit better:

  1. You recommend a product or service to your followers or online audience members.
  2. Your readers/viewers click on your affiliate links and make a purchase.
  3. You earn a commission of the sales that come from your affiliate links.

While this sounds pretty simple, we will take a more in-depth look at what it takes to become an affiliate marketer and show you how you can start making money from your blog or website.

How to get started with affiliate marketing

Now that you have a basic understanding of what affiliate marketing is and how it works, it's time to show you how you can become an affiliate marketer. Follow these five steps become an online affiliate marketer.

1. Choose a niche

If you're serious about affiliate marketing, then you'll need to pick a niche, or broad topic, that you want to build your website or blog around. Lifestyle is a popular niche, so are food, fashion and personal finance.

Choosing a niche is important because it will determine what your site is about and which products you'll be recommending.

Affiliate Marketing Chronograph Watch

Before you choose your niche, you'll want to ask yourself several essential questions that will determine if a specific niche is the right one for you:

What am I passionate about?

If you find a niche that you're able to write about, you'll want to be sure that you're passionate about that industry. If it doesn't excite you to write about a specific industry, then you may find it challenging to build an entire website or blog around that niche. Remember, the key to success here is sharing regularly over the course of years.

Am I knowledgeable about this topic?

If you're trying to become an affiliate in an industry that you have no knowledge about, you may find it difficult to write reviews and quality articles about the products that you're recommending.

Is this niche large enough?

Once you've found a niche that you're passionate and knowledgeable about, you'll want to make sure that it's broad enough to grow into. If the niche is too small, then you won't be able to write enough articles to make a living from your website.

Is the niche already full of bloggers?

The most lucrative niches often have a lot of competition, which means it can be tough for a new website to make money in a short period. If you want to make money faster, then you'll need to choose a niche that's not oversaturated with other popular blogs or influencers.

How much money does this niche generate?

If you think you've found the perfect niche, you'll want to make sure that it makes money. Many niches have low competition because they aren't very lucrative, so you'll want to do your research to ensure that your niche can make money.

After you've chosen the right niche for your website, you'll want to move on to the next step to becoming an affiliate marketer.

2. Build a website/blog if you don’t already have one

Once you've found a profitable niche that you have knowledge of and are passionate about, it's time for you to build your website so that you can start promoting products to an online audience.

Making money this way requires a sizable following, which can take some time to attract.

There are many different ways that you can build a website such as:

  • Having a web design agency or freelancer do the work for you
  • A DIY method such as website builders or a content management system like Wordpress

Regardless of the platform that you choose, there are several essential features that any affiliate marketing website should have:

Affiliate Marketing Woman Wearing Adidas Jacket

Contact Us page - This should contain all of your contact details so that your followers can connect with you. This page also makes it easy for brands to get in touch with you when they want you to partner with them.

About Us page - If you want to grow online, you’ll need to tell your audience who you are so that you can begin to build a strong relationship with your readers.

Disclaimer banners - If you're making money through affiliate links, then you're required to state this on the page so that your readers are aware.

Privacy policy - Your privacy policy tells your readers what information you will collect and how you plan to use it.

Terms of service - This page is essential because it limits your liability in the event that you accidentally provide misinformation on the products and services that you recommend.

Once you've completed these steps and have finished building your website, it's time to get started on the next step to becoming an affiliate marketer.

3. Create high-quality posts, infographics and videos

Now that you have the ground laid, you need to create high-quality content about your niche. This will help you attract and grow an online following and likely get your site shared on social media.

Think about what your readers want to know about and create different posts about every possible angle. Be sure to add keywords to attract readers/viewers via search engines.

While you may want to sign up with various affiliate marketing networks right away, it doesn't work like that with most networks.

Many affiliate networks require your website to have a certain number of monthly views before they'll approve your application and allow you to start earning commissions.

This is because the affiliate networks like to have publishers that have high-quality websites and provide value to their readers.

The best way to show that you can provide value is by having a lot of readers on a monthly basis.

This doesn't mean that you need to create a few hundred posts and get half a million views, but you should create five to 10 high-quality articles and try to get several thousand readers per month before you apply as an affiliate marketer.

4. Choose brands and products to promote

Affiliate Marketing Man Holding Camera
You’ll want to promote products and services of interest to readers/viewers.

Once you've published some high-quality content, it's time for you to start looking for products that you would like to promote. If you have decided on a niche, then it will be pretty easy to find products and brands that are associated with your niche.

After you have found products that are worth recommending to your audience members, you’ll need to create informational material that will help you promote these products to your viewers.

This informational material could be in the form of a blog post that reviews an individual product or an article that talks about some of the top products within that niche. You could even create informational or unboxing videos with your link in the description if you feel like getting in front of the camera.

Remember that these products should be worth recommending to your audience members. If you are recommending poor-quality products to make money, then you'll quickly lose viewers.

5. Apply to relevant affiliate programs

Affiliate networks are essentially marketplaces, where brands list the products that they want to have promoted by publishers like you.

The network that you choose will create your affiliate links and will act as a middleman between you and the brand that you're promoting. It also allows you to get paid without any issues.

While there are many different affiliate programs, here are some of the most popular affiliate networks:

Once your website gets enough viewers on a monthly basis, you'll be eligible to sign up for these affiliate programs. After you've been approved, you can begin creating posts for your website that promote the selected products or services and then use your affiliate links to start earning a commission on all sales that result from your links.

Slow and steady wins the affiliate race

If you're looking for new ways to generate income online, then affiliate marketing may be right for you. It’s easy to start because you have low startup costs and don't need to hire anyone to help you.

You can quickly get started by building a website and then creating high-quality posts, videos and infographics that attract a growing number of readers/viewers. As you increase your viewers on a monthly basis, you'll soon become eligible to sign up on various affiliate networks as an affiliate marketer.

Always remember that affiliate marketing isn't a 'get rich quick scheme,' and it often takes a lot of work and dedication before you start seeing sales. But as long as you continue to publish valuable articles and videos, you’ll continue to make money from them.

This post does not represent an endorsement of any of the affiliate networks mentioned here. Information was accurate as of publication date.

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