Welcome to a step-by-step guide on how to start an affiliate marketing blog.
You'll learn the following in this post;
- How to choose a lucrative niche for your blog
- How to narrow down your target market
- The actual process of setting up your blog, from hosting to choosing a theme and everything in between.
- How to create affiliate content that generates sales
- How to market your blog
- How to determine which products to promote
For inspiration, I've even thrown in a few examples of successful affiliate marketing websites. On top of that, I'll tell you the affiliate tools you can use to make the blog creation process easy.
Simply, this guide lays down everything you'd ever wanted to know about starting an affiliate marketing website.
Let's dive right into it.
We'll start by covering a few essential basics.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a business model where you promote other people's products and services for a commission for each sale.
While affiliate marketing enterprise takes many forms, this post focuses on how to run an affiliate business by setting up a website and promoting affiliate products on the site.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
The first step is to find a good affiliate program.
Here's a list of high-paying affiliate programs you can promote to get you started.
When choosing an affiliate program to promote, you'll want to do the following:
- Assess the types of products or services offered by the program
- The program's commission rate
- The program's payment methods
The best affiliate programs pay a reasonable commission and have products and services people want to buy. For instance, the Augusta Precious Metals affiliate program is one of the highest-paying affiliate programs out there.
Once you've identified a program you'd like to join, do the following:
- Sign up and await acceptance confirmation.
- Then, generate content, and include links leading the reader to the item you're promoting.
- Generate traffic to attract buyers. You earn a commission when a visitor purchases the item through the link. We'll talk more about creating affiliate content later in this post.
You can partner with individual companies or private affiliate networks. Most programs are divided into several categories to enable affiliates to choose areas that interest them.
Once approved, you can promote affiliate links on social media, in newsletters, on your website, or anywhere else you're allowed to share links.
You'll receive your commission once you've hit the minimum payout level or after a specific time such as per month, bi-weekly or weekly. Payment methods include checks, bank transfers, TransferWise, PayPal, etc.
5 Examples of Successful Affiliate Marketing Blogs
If you're a new affiliate marketer, a glimpse of what a successful affiliate website could give you some inspiration, right?
Before I showcase a few websites, I'd like to mention one thing — these sites are nothing out of the ordinary. The owners, however, did one thing right — they did enough research before jumping in.
Picking a profitable blog niche is key to becoming a successful affiliate marketer. I'll talk about how to choose a niche later but for now, let's look at five highly successful affiliate sites.
1. Adam Enfroy's Blog
Adam is an affiliate marketer extraordinaire.
His affiliate marketing website is wildly successful, generating hundreds of thousands of dollars per month. According to the income reports on the website, Adam made about $11,000 in the first few months and generated over $280,000 two years later.
Adam promotes tools that help aspiring affiliate marketers launch and grow their websites monetized through affiliate marketing.
The website vouches for tools Adam used to start and scale his own website.
Here's where it gets interesting.
Adam has created Blog Growth Engine, a super-in-depth step-by-step guide that teaches how to start an affiliate marketing blog.
The course isn't your everyday program, though. It lays out Adam's exact steps to achieve $280,000 a month in affiliate revenue.
I signed up for Blog Engine in August 2021, implemented what Adam teaches, and managed to grow my traffic tenfold. Even more impressive, I tripled my income to $10,000+ per month in less than 12 months.
Whether you're a new or an experienced affiliate, Blog Growth Engine will help you build a foundation that'll set you up for success. The program is my #1 for anyone who wants to start affiliate marketing and create a consistent passive income.
You can read my full review of Blog Growth Engine to find out whether it is for you.
2. Authority Hacker
Authority Hacker is an affiliate site created by Gael Breton and Mark Webster, two successful affiliates in their own right.
Like Adam Enfroy, Authority Hacker thrives by promoting affiliate tools to enable marketers to achieve success.
Authority Hacker derives its success from Mark and Gael's popularity as high-rated affiliates who've earned millions of dollars promoting other people's products.
The duo leverages its digital marketing experience to propel Authority Hacker into a massively successful website generating hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.
The site promotes old and new affiliate tools the duo has used to achieve affiliate marketing success over the years.
Mark and Gael have a training program called The Authority Site System (TASS) that teaches the basics of building an affiliate marketing blog.
As the name suggests, the course shows learners how to create authoritative websites, drawing a sizable number of visitors and a significant passive income.
TASS is an excellent program for affiliates looking to make more money with their websites. It is a good course if you struggle to take your site past the $1,000 mark.
Further, The Authority Site System is one of the best online courses for anyone looking to set up a portfolio of sites that generate passive income as efficiently as possible.
Read my Authority Hacker Review to learn about the program and how it can help take your affiliate marketing blog to the next level.
3. The WireCutter
The Wire Cutter is a perfect example of a successful affiliate site monetized by reviewing consumer goods, gadgets, and electronics.
The site was started in 2011 by Brian Lam and quickly emerged as a favorite, with buyers looking for in-depth, unbiased product reviews.
The Wire Cutter has morphed into one of the top 6,000 sites on the internet. The website cemented its position even further after the New York Times bought it.
According to stats, the site draws over 3.6 million monthly visitors and has 121,000 Facebook followers. The Wire Cutter boasted a mind-bending $1.5 billion revenue in 2016.
While the dating niche is super-lucrative, the industry is saturated with scammers and spammy websites.
DatingAdvice does things a little bit differently, making it stand out. It is appealing, easy to maneuver, and doesn't have generic content promoting affiliate products like many websites in this niche.
The website offers expert advice, tackling real issues related to dating.
With website visitors totaling 400+ and counting, DatingAdvice is one of the best affiliate marketing sites to inspire affiliates.
DatingAdvice has a Facebook following of 12,700 and over 6,000 Twitter followers. It has an Alexa ranking of 93,473 and a Domain Authority of 76. Impressive.
Runner Click offers product reviews, advice, and tips related to running.
The site helps visitors find and choose products like fitness tracking gadgets, supplements, and running shoes.
Runner Click boasts monthly traffic of 300,000+, ranking for over 130,000 keywords.
The site generates most of its revenue from the Amazon Affiliates program. The site leverages this feature to earn more income since people always look for a good deal. It also has a "Gear Deals" section to find running gear discounts.
Runner Click thrives on skim-able content layout, making it easy to find what you're looking for. It also has other tools, including "Find Your Injury," enabling visitors to find specific content.
With an Instagram following of 93,000+ and over 6,000 YouTube subscribers, this site is everything an affiliate marketing blog should be.
Let's now look at the actual process of starting an affiliate marketing blog.
Step 1 - Pick a Profitable Niche
The five affiliate sites above have one thing in common — the founders were spot on when choosing their niches.
Before you sign up for any affiliate program, you must ensure you pick a niche with enough potential to generate a reasonable revenue over time.
This website, for instance, focuses on the "making money online" niche. Is the niche profitable? Yes.
People are always looking for ways to generate passive income online, and many don't know where to start or what tools to use. In other words, there's a ready audience to promote products to.
I have been doing affiliate marketing for a few years and felt I had enough knowledge to guide aspiring affiliate marketers on starting and scaling their online businesses. I've also used many tools over the years, enabling me to recommend specific tools from the point of information.
Here's how to narrow your options when choosing a niche. Ask yourself;
- What are my interests and pastimes? Connecting with your target audience, sponsors and advertisers becomes easy if you pick a niche you're passionate about.
- Are there enough monetization options within the niche? Choose a niche with several monetization options like banner ads, sponsored content, membership programs, and Amazon products. That way, you can build multiple income streams.
- How stiff is the competition in the niche? You want to pick a niche with fair competition. Consider keyword search volume as well. Pick low to medium competition keywords. That way, you can relatively quickly rank your affiliate marketing articles in search engines.
- Does it solve a problem? A good niche opportunity solves a problem that people have. Think about make money online niche, for instance. It offers people solutions on how to make money.
- Is there a demand? There is no point in choosing a niche where is no market demand. You won't make any money if people don't search for information about it.
- Does this niche offer enough affiliate programs? The more the programs, the better.
Some lucrative affiliate marketing niches include;
- Pet care
Choosing a niche plays a significant role in the success or failure of your affiliate marketing business.
Picking a good niche enables you to narrow down your marketing efforts, quickly expand your audience, and, by extension, make more money faster.
Step 2 - Define Your Target Audience
You can't sell every product or service to anyone. You must find a specific end-user who'll benefit most from your affiliate product or service. Attempting to promote physical products or services to those who don't need them wastes your time and money.
Your audience must consume your content to generate affiliate sales and, most importantly, take the desired action. That will not happen if your content is irrelevant.
By understanding your audience's interests, behavior patterns, and demographics, you can create blog posts that resonate with your audience.
What's a Target Audience?
A target audience is a specific group of individuals most likely to be interested in your offer. These individuals share common interests and traits.
You can define your target audience by;
- Creating customer avatars based on demographics like income level, location, gender, age, marital status, interests, lifestyle, and values.
- Identifying their pain points. That way, you can create content that solves their specific issues.
- Evaluating your competition. You can research your competitors through tools like BuzzSumo.
The more you narrow down your specific audience, the easier it is to achieve more conversions.
Step 3 - Set up Your Affiliate Blog
At this point, you’ve done the following;
- Determined a niche worth pursuing
- Defined your target audience
It’s now time for the actual creation of your affiliate marketing blog. Here’s what you need to do;
A domain name is your web address. As I've done with this website, you can pick a name that consists of your actual name. Or, you can select a domain name around your affiliate content niche.
You don't have to limit yourself to one name. You can buy multiple domains that you can use later to create other granular sites in your niche.
A good domain name is;
- Easy to remember
- Unique and brandable
- Allows for future expansion. You don't have to change your domain name to accommodate your future needs as your business grows.
One of the best places to get your domain name is Namecheap, a domain registrar known for its affordability and excellent customer service. Domain registration at Namecheap starts as low as $1.98 per month.
Besides reasonable pricing, Namecheap also offers free domain name migration and privacy. In addition, you get detailed DIY videos to help you set up your website correctly.
A web host provides the infrastructure that enables you to publish your service.
When looking for a web hosting provider, you'll want to pick one that offers the following;
Excellent uptime scores. Choose a web host that can guarantee 99.9% uptime.
Allows you to upgrade your server. Pick a service with different plans to handle your needs as your website grows.
- Has a reasonable renewal pricing
- Offers critical features like a one-click installer, free SSL certificate, etc
- Have a quality customer care desk. You can determine this by reading reviews about the web host
- Provide backups for your website
SiteGround is one of the best web hosting services for your affiliate marketing site.
It is affordable for small businesses and individuals looking for quality web hosting services. Siteground promises 99.9% uptime, daily backups, and free email accounts.
In addition, the service has the infrastructure to accommodate your expanding needs. Plus, pricing starts at $3.99 per month.
Better yet, SiteGround guarantees your account's security by adding two-factor authentication (2FA) for your WordPress site.
The two-step login improves your account's security by ensuring it's not compromised. 2FA dynamically generates a password that changes every few minutes. To use 2FA, you'll need a smartphone app where you'll find the code you need to log in each time.
3. Install WordPress as Your Content Management System
A Content Management System (CMS) is a platform that enables you to create, manage and modify content on your site.
WordPress stands out as the best CMS for affiliate blogs. WordPress boasts a 60.8% share in the CMS market, powering 14.7% of the planet's top websites.
Why a WordPress blog? …because WordPress offers many advantages compared to other platforms, including:
- It's easy to install and setup
- The WordPress dashboard is straightforward and super-responsive
- The platform is free
- It is a search engine and SEO-friendly
- It offers regular, automatic updates
- You can add new features and functionalities using plugins
Side Note: SiteGround offers one-click installation to enable you to get started right off the box.
When choosing a theme for your WordPress site, you want to pick one that brings in a professional look without slowing down your site.
A good WordPress theme is well-coded and mobile-ready. In addition, it is compatible with many plugins and extensions. It should also offer cross-browser compatibility.
Thrive Suite is my all-time favorite for people looking to start affiliate marketing.
Why Thrive Suite? … because of the following standout highlights;
- An all-in-one toolbox with nine premium plugins like Thrive Architect page builder and Thrive Leads for collecting leads
- Affordable pricing
- Over 300 predesigned templates
- Instant access to Thrive University
- A detailed resource page and unlimited support
- Unlimited updates for themes and plugins
Moreover, Thrive Theme Builder offers one of the most flexible themes I've used, making it ideal for affiliate marketing sites irrespective of the niche.
Once you've installed and customized your theme, create the pages below. Then, upload more content and start promoting it to generate website traffic.
5. Install Crucial WordPress Plugins
After installing WordPress, the next step involved adding crucial plugins to bring more functionality to your website.
Below are essential plugins for your site:
RankMath: This is the best SEO plugin for WordPress. It allows you to optimize your content for search by providing integrated suggestions based on SEO best practices. You can customize settings based on how you want your site to appear in search with Structured data.
Siteground Optimizer: This is an all-in-one performance-enhancing plugin created by SiteGround to ensure your site performs at its best. It helps improve your site's speed through actions such as code, image, and web font optimization.
6. Set up Important Pages on Your Website
- With your website up and running, it is essential to create the following pages;
- Terms and Conditions: This page outlines the terms and rules of browsing your website
- About Us: As the name suggests, this page contains information about you and your skills. Here's how my About page looks.
- Contact Page: This is the page visitors can reach you on for questions and clarifications.
Step 4 - Create Content for Your Affiliate Marketing Blog
Below is a breakdown of the content creation process for your website.
Find the Right Keywords
When starting an affiliate marketing blog, the small wins count.
You'll therefore want to ensure that your keyword research strategy is on point. In the beginning, go with low-competition keywords with some monthly search volume. These are easy to rank in search engines and will help your site gain traction faster. You can target high-competition keywords later when your blog is getting traction.
Finding the right keywords starts by using the right keyword research tool. Ahrefs is one of the best keyword research tools.
Besides helping you find low-hanging keywords, Ahrefs also show you how difficult it is to rank the keyword in search engines. It'll also tell you an estimate of how many backlinks you need to rank the keyword on the first page of search results.
You can use Ahrefs to spy on your competition to see which content draws traffic to their website and the competitor's backlink profile.
Create Content for Your Affiliate Marketing Blog
With keyword research done, it's time to create your first blog post revolving around your chosen keyword(s).
While the end goal of your blog post is to help you generate affiliate sales, you should meet your reader's needs first.
Create posts that can help the reader find a solution to their problem. You'll recommend affiliate products and insert a referral link naturally without being salesy.
A blog post written for the search engine will not generate affiliate sales. Conversely, such a post will only increase your chances of being penalized by Google.
Research as much info as you can before writing your post. You want to create the best possible article around that topic to help attract more traffic and conversion.
Link to authoritative sites and write from the point of authority. You want to show your readers you know what you're writing to win their trust.
There are handy AI-powered writing tools available to help you with the writing process. My top recommendation is Jasper AI, which I have found to be the best tool in the market.
Your content must also be grammatically correct. You can use Grammarly to remove grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.
Apart from helping you create error-free content, Grammarly also comes with a built-in plagiarism checker to detect duplicate content.
Grammatically correct, free-flowing content enables your website to look credible. It also helps improve user experience.
Further, ensure your blog posts are SEO-optimized. That way, they have a better chance to rank as high as possible in search engine results. Use Surfer SEO to optimize your articles for search engines.
Surfer SEO has an integrated content editor that allows you to optimize your posts by helping you discover all the keywords used in similar, top-ranking articles.
The editor has a ranking score of 0 to 100. Basically, the higher the score, the better. You'll want to ensure that your posts have a score of 80+.
Which Type of Content Should You Write for your Website?
Content creation is one of the most critical elements of starting a successful affiliate site.
Content plays a crucial role in how well you'll sell your affiliate products. High-quality, informative content is your best bet for driving conversion.
Your website will contain informational and promotional content.
Informational pieces seek to answer questions your audience may have. The idea is to position yourself as an authority in your niche. Think of it as content that allows you to build trust with your readers.
When writing informational content;
- Avoid sales pitches
- Show your knowledge of the subject
- Avoid persuasive tactics
- Explain in detail
Promotional content revolves around your affiliate product or service. It aims to drive readers further the sales funnel, convert them into paying customers, enabling you to earn affiliate income.
Still, promotional content should show the target how your product or service uniquely benefits them.
Then you'll place your affiliate link within the content directing readers to where they can get the product or service.
Step 5 - Promote Your Content
Here's the thing, you need to place your content in front of your audience to generate sales. Sales will come once your website gains traction and has enough traffic. Some ways you can use to promote your content include;
Guest posting involves contributing to other websites.
Ideally, you'll find a non-competitor with a similar audience to yours and create a post that'll benefit them while simultaneously driving traffic to your site.
You can add a link to your website within the content or your author bio. Whichever way, guest posting enables you to discuss relevant new content and promote yours, expanding your reach.
You can also leverage guest posting as a link-building strategy.
Another benefit of guest posting is that you can become an authority in your niche.
Tips for getting guest posts;
- Contribute to roundups
- Bookmark blogs that accept guest post
- Use the "write for us" trick. Search "niche + write for us" on Google
People still read emails, and you should start building your email list from the get-go. An email list is an asset no one can take away from you.
IBM Marketing Cloud research found that 53% of people open emails, making this an excellent strategy to market your content.
Newsletters, for instance, enable you to pass your message and link to relevant articles. You can even list the content at the bottom of your newsletter.
While readers may not click on every link, they may be interested in something that draws their attention.
ActveCampaign is the email marketing software that I'm using myself.
Repurpose Your Content for Social Media
As a blogger, you can repurpose your content for social media. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your blog's content on social media:
- Use Facebook to share snippets of your blog posts and a link to the full article. This is a great way to drive traffic to your site.
- Use Instagram to share beautiful photos from your blog posts and captions that encourage readers to click through to your site,
- Use LinkedIn to share insights and analyses from your blog posts with a professional audience. Be sure to add hashtags and links back to your site so that readers can easily find your content.
- Use TikTok to create fun, creative videos highlighting your blog posts' best parts. This is a great way to reach a new audience and get people talking about your content.
By repurposing your blog's content on social media, you can reach a wider audience and drive traffic back to your site. So get creative and start sharing!
Websites like Reddit and Quora offer an opportunity to share your content.
You have to stick to some rules, though. Quora, for instance, doesn't allow blatant promotions. You'll need to work your content into thoughtful threads, like answering questions and linking your content to supporting material.
Other online communities you can use to share your content include;
- Growth Hackers
After creating content, it's time to find affiliate programs you can join.
Find Relevant Affiliate Marketing Programs
Start by assessing different affiliate programs and the possible commissions you can make per sale.
It is essential to promote many as many products as possible.
Why? …because in this way, you generate more income streams.
Choose programs that offer a reasonable product price range. The higher the price, the better the commission, and vice versa.
Other considerations to make when choosing an affiliate program include:
- Does the product offer real value to buyers? You need to promote offers that provide value to customers to succeed in your affiliate marketing efforts.
- Does the affiliate program offer recurring commissions?
- Does the affiliate program include a 2-tier model?
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like Click-through-rate (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC), and conversion rate.
Here's how to find affiliate programs;
Do a Google Search
The easiest way to find affiliate programs is to perform a Google search to find out does a particular product has an affiliate program.
Do a search:
"product name" affiliate program
Join the Main Affiliate Networks
Another way to find affiliate programs is to register for affiliate networks and search for affiliate programs worth pursuing.
The biggest networks in the U.S, for instance, are ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, Impact, Pepperjam, and Rakuten Marketing, to name a few.
Please remember that don't sign up for a program if your affiliate marketing blog isn't getting any traffic. Some affiliate programs have a timeline by which you must make a sale.
Amazon Associates, for instance, gives you 180 days to make a sale upon signing up.
When you start affiliate marketing, your goal is to draw traffic through a solid content marketing strategy first. When your site is attracting enough traffic and your posts rank on Google, it is the right time to join different affiliate programs.
How To Start an Affiliate Marketing Blog FAQs
How do I create a free affiliate marketing blog?
Affiliate marketing requires long-term thinking, especially when you're on a shoestring budget. The first thing you want to do is to lay a solid foundation, like choosing a niche and traffic source.
You are several platforms you can consider if you aspire to start affiliate marketing with no money. These include Blogger, Instagram, TikTok, etc. All you need to do is open a free account on any of these platforms and start sharing your content.
While this strategy can help you get started, I recommend shifting to a WordPress website and affordable web hosting service like SiteGround when you make enough to afford paid hosting.
How much do beginner affiliate marketers earn?
There's no limit to how much you can earn as a beginner.
The secret lies in getting the fundamentals right. You must be spot on regarding niche selection, keyword research, target audience, and products to promote.
Adam Enfroy, for instance, generated $250,000+ per month less than two years into affiliate marketing.
While Adam's story isn't the same across the board, you can generate between $1,000 to $5,000 per month in 6 - 12 months.
Enrolling in a blogging course can give you a head start by helping you avoid beginner mistakes and fast-track results.
What is the success rate of affiliate marketing?
The success or failure in affiliate marketing depends on your mindset. Affiliate marketing isn't a get-rich scheme. You must put in the hard work required to make it. However, there's a great chance of succeeding if you're persistent. Sure, there will be pitfalls here and there, but you can create a living as a full-time affiliate marketing blogger.
You now know how to start an affiliate marketing blog.
The information in this post is enough to help you get your first blog up and running and, most importantly, generate income in just months.
Utilize the right affiliate marketing tools to do the heavy lifting.
In addition, stay in the loop with what's happening in affiliate marketing circles. That way, you can know how to steer your blog to success. Never stop learning, and most importantly, never quit.
Now, go and start your affiliate marketing blog. You have what it takes.