Starting an affiliate website is a great way to make money online.
It’s especially great because it feels excellent to make money while creating a resource that people actually get some value from.
If you haven’t explored it yet, creating affiliate marketing websites is a legitimate business model that can make you thousands of dollars per month in affiliate commissions.
In this post, you’re going to be taken through all of the steps required to:
- Pick a topic to create your website around
- Start your first affiliate website
- Setup the hosting, domain and other tools required
- And finally, come up with a content strategy that will deliver affiliate sales
Let’s dive in.
Niche Selection: What Is Your Website Going To Be About?
In this guide, you’re going to learn all about creating your very first affiliate website.
You might have created websites in the past before, and they weren’t affiliate websites, or you might not have created one before.
We’re going to cater for all folks of all levels in this guide.
The very first thing you need to think about has nothing to do with hosting, or domain names, or website software. All those things matter, of course, but it’s not the first thing you should be thinking about.
The first thing you have to decide on is what your website is going to be about. And because we have the goal of earning money with affiliate marketing, we have to be more careful about this decision than normal.
If you created a website about helping your local homeless people, for example, it might make you feel good, but the potential for earning money with affiliate marketing is much lower.
“The riches are in the niches”
You might have heard this saying before. I’m not sure who said it first, but I would like to shake their hand because it’s what has led me to create multiple 5-figure websites over the years earning with a mixture of our own products and affiliate marketing.
“Niching-down” as it’s called means you focus your energy serving a smaller group of people.
This makes it easier to:
- Find the people
- Figure out what their exact pain points are
- Deliver it to them in a way that makes them feel like you truly understand them
Because you aren’t trying to deliver something to a broad group with mixed interests and pain points, you can get really targeted and speak to your niche in a way that is almost eerie or creepy because it’s like you’re getting right inside their head.
This is where you will find massive traction quickly.
Niches within niches (within niches)
Imagine you wanted to target the fitness niche.
To me, that is too broad. Ask pretty much anyone and they’d say they do have a desire to be fit.
It’s hard to make a site that targets everyone because how do you get people to it without spending bucket loads of money?
What you need to understand is there are niches within niches and it’s cheaper and easier to target these than a broader niche.
The “Fitness” niche can break down even further:
- Healthy eating
- Muscle building
- … Etc etc etc
This breaks up the fitness niche into more targeted segments. Niches within niches.
Can you go even further?
Sure. Let’s look at “Cardio”.
You have lots of different kinds of cardio:
- Long distance running
- Cardio exercises you can do at home
- Circuit training
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- … Etc etc etc
Don’t go too deep
Focusing yourself on a particular niche can really help you target people.
For example, building a site around the niche of Rowing For Fitness.
You can even niche that further like Rowing For Weight-loss which would give you some lateral movement to complementary topics like diet.
But a warning…
Don’t go too deep with your niche selection.
Rowing For Post-Menopausal Women In Australia is a niche that just won’t have enough people to target.
Make sure it has future affiliate opportunities
You also want to make sure that the niche you select has affiliate opportunities.
Think about those people and if you can’t immediately think of at least 4 or 5 types of products they might want to purchase, it might be worth considering other niches.
If you really want to validate that there are existing affiliate opportunities you can sign up to some affiliate networks or look for particular products that you could review for that niche and verify that you can get paid for recommending them online.
It doesn’t hurt to do this extra step and it will take you less than an hour in most cases to get confirmation about whether there is something to promote or not.
It’s pretty cheap insurance to spend 1-hour finding products to promote as opposed to spending hundreds of hours building a site and then having no options for promotion after all that work.
Step By Step: Building Your First Website
You didn’t skip the niche selection step, right? Good.
Now you’re ready to actually take some action and build your first website.
Let’s take a note of what you need:
- A domain name
- A web host
- Website content management software (CMS)
- A content plan
Easy right? It’s only 4 things!
If you’re anxious about this tech stuff, don’t worry. These days a lot the moving parts are taken care of for you with 1-click installs provided by the hosting companies. Surprisingly, they actually want to make this tech stuff LESS complicated for you.
If you think about it, they’re kind of incentivized to make it less complicated because it means more people will start websites.
What is a domain name?
Since you’ve selected your niche already it should be a little easier to figure out what to actually call your website. If you haven’t yet, spend some time researching and selecting your niche. Go back and do that now before moving on to buying your domain & hosting.
A domain is essentially just an easy way for someone to point their web browser to your site.
Instead of having to type an IP address – which is what identifies a computer/server on the internet and looks like a set of numbers 123.234.432.321 – your visitors type your domain name like janesrowingsite.com.
It’s just an easy way to remember a name.
Another way to think about it is like the address of your house. It lets people find and identify your house.
What is a web host?
So what is a web host and how is that different from a domain name?
If your domain name is like your house’s address, your web host is like the land your house sits on.
It’s space that you rent on a server – which is just a special/more powerful computer compared to the one sitting on your desk – where you can build your website.
To continue the metaphor, your website is the house
What is Content Management Software (CMS)?
Back in the 90’s and early 2000’s if you wanted to build a website, you had to learn how to program HTML.
HTML is a special language that tells your browser what a website looks like.
Thank goodness those days are past us.
That is where Content Management Software comes in, or CMS for short.
A CMS is a bit of software that does this HTML coding stuff for you. It stores all of the articles that you write in a database.
When someone comes to a page on your website, like:
The CMS will go and fetch the page titled “Best Rowing Machines For Losing Weight” and show it to the visitor.
The best/most-popular CMS is called WordPress. 54% of the entire internet runs on WordPress with the rest made up of custom made sites and other smaller CMS systems.
I recommend it in this guide because if you ever need help with your site, it is 1000x easier to find someone fluent in modifying WordPress websites than it is finding someone capable of editing a site in some obscure CMS that requires specialist knowledge.
You’ll also find that it’s cheaper to find people willing to do work on your WordPress-based website than other platforms because of its popularity.
Selecting your domain name provider & your web host
I’m going to recommend a domain name provider and a web host for you and the links below will be affiliate links, so I will get credited if you choose to start an account with them.
If you don’t like my recommendation that is totally ok, no hurt feelings! I strongly suggest you do your own research anyway. It’s a big internet out there with literally thousands of web hosts and domain name providers.
My motivation is to make this as easy for you as possible by recommending a host that I’ve personally worked with many times over the years and I know to be beginner friendly.
Do I use this hosting company myself? Yes – while I do use other more powerful servers for some of my bigger sites, I still recommend them and use them for some smaller sites that I own.
Bluehost is a website host that has been around for nearly 20 years, hosts over 2 million websites, is very competitive on price, operates its own servers and facilities based in Utah, USA, and features a 1-click install of WordPress (very important for de-complicating the whole thing).
It’s cheap. You can pick up hosting for less than $50 USD a year.
Let me ask you… what was the last thing you spend $50 on? Was it on something that could grow that $50 into much more? Or was it on something you’ll use once or never see/use again?
I’ve had single meals that cost more than this hosting for an entire year. It’s almost ridiculous.
I’m not sure if they’ll do this special price forever and at the moment it also includes free registration of your domain name. That just makes it more of a bargain because you don’t have to register the domain name elsewhere and worry about configuring it.
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