If you’re serious about it, you’ll have to do a bit of planning. And stick to one or few projects at a time. But more about that later. This guide will take you through some of the most important steps of getting starting with an affiliate website, from choosing your niche to get your first content published, and have your first visitors.
Introduction: From Retail Clerk to Ultimate FreedomMy name is Thomas. I’m the founder of Reviuu.com, a comparison website for vacuum cleaners. The site has been quite successful lately, but it took 6 months of work to get it to where it is today. Currently it gets 3,000 monthly visitors, but this number is growing at a steady pace.
I’ve been self employed since June 2014, and before that I’ve worked as a retail clerk. Some would say I’m uneducated, but I don’t consider myself stupid nor untalented. Finding your passion and working hard to make it possible is what really matters. You can do it with or without a University degree, depending on what you want to work with, of course.
Since the beginning I’ve had multiple affiliate websites within the home/garden niches, because I really enjoy helping people finding the right equipment and improve their daily lives.
Step 1: Choosing Your NicheChoosing your niche is the first and most important step. This is where you lay the foundation for your project, and your decisions in this stage will impact how successful your website gets.
Choosing your niche is easy. Here’s what you want to do:
Once you’ve chosen your niche and identified your competition, you’ll be all set and ready to get started.
Step 2: Choose Your Domain and Set up a WebsiteSome people spend days or weeks picking the right domain name for their website. Truth is, it doesn’t really matter. You should always go for a top level domain corresponding to the country you’re targeting, so if you’re targeting the US you should go for a .com top level domain, and if you’re targeting the UK you should go for a .co.uk top level domain.
If you don’t have a clue about which domain name you should choose, you can try a service like NameMesh. It will give you plenty of great ideas to choose from.
While choosing your domain, you’ll most likely be offered some sort of hosting as well. You should choose a cheap hosting plan, preferably with a one-click installer for Wordpress, to make things easier for you.
Wordpress is the way to go unless you have programming skills yourself, as it’s a versatile platform with unlimited possibilities. And it’s free!
Step 3: Making Content… LOTS of ItHere’s the thing: You can’t really run an affiliate website without creating lots of useful content. Let’s say you’re in the fitness niche. You’ll have to come up with tons of useful advice, reviews of various equipment, and it has to have some kind of personal touch to it.
Plan your content production using Trello
Trello is a great tool for many purposes. It will help you organize your work, and if you some day decide to hire staff, he/she would be able to see their tasks through Trello, and you’ll have a nice overview of what’s being done.
It takes a few hours of getting used to, but afterwards it will feel like a walk in the park to organize your tasks and add new ones as you go.
The basic concept of Trello is to create a board of each project. So if you’re writing content for your affiliate website, your board could be named “Content for website XX”. On each board you’ll have to create lists. Lists work as a flow of tasks, making you able to oversee what’s being worked on, and what’s completed. You’d want these lists on your board: Ideas, To Do, Doing, Done. Those are the minimum amount of lists you’d want.
After setting up a board with the lists mentioned above, you can start adding cards. Cards symbolize a task, you can add titles and notes to each of them. You’ll also be able to add notes as you go, to better organize a task while doing it.
Content is King
One term that’s usually heard throughout the online marketing world, is “Content is King”. And that is very true. Your content needs to be useful and well researched, though. But the more content you have, the more visitors you’ll eventually get.
Step 4: Be SeenAn important part of having an affiliate website, is of course to be seen. To be found on search engines, and especially on those search terms you want to rank on. Perhaps you’ve written a review of a new Dyson vacuum? Then you’d of course want to see your site ranking on the top spot, when someone is googling “Dyson vacuum review”.
To achieve this, you’ll have to market yourself. You’ll have to create a buzz around your website, and learn Google that your website is indeed trustworthy and should be ranked as that.
Building backlinks, also called link building, is highly debated within the online marketing society. There are lots of different opinions about getting links from other websites by paying them a fee or submitting your own content on them, but fact is: It works. And if done right, it works VERY well.
Link building isn’t something you should do, unless you know exactly what you do, though, It can either devastate your business or be the best thing you’ve ever done, but it depends on your execution.
Establishing an authority is an important part of being seen as well. You have to make yourself a credible source, if you want other people to believe in you. This can be partially achieved by appearing in different online forums such as Quora and Reddit, but also by maintaining profiles on social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
To further dive into this topic, I’ll recommend you to read this guide on Moz.com.
Startup Influencer: Top Founders and stories of success.