With affiliate marketing, you can make money selling products without worrying about inventory, shipping, unit costs or even coming up with a product on your own.
Affiliate marketing is actually pretty simple. You sell products online for other people and take a cut of the revenue for each item you sell. In essence, you’re an affiliate for the actual seller, leveraging your website traffic to promote the seller’s products and drive sales.
Building a successful affiliate marketing website requires following a few simple steps.
- Find a suitable niche and choose an affiliate program within that niche.
- Build an informative and engaging website for that niche, optimizing your affiliate links and ads on the page.
- Ensure your website maintains high search engine rankings by updating it regularly with well-written and informative content.
Choose a Niche and Affiliate Program
The first decision to make as an affiliate marketer is your niche. There are thousands of products and services available for sale online, but you can cull the list and choose the right products and services that relate to your niche.
The most successful affiliate marketers focus on niches that feature desperate buyers. These buyers have a pressing problem they urgently need to solve. As a result, they’re more likely to impulse buy a product that promises results, and they’re less sensitive to cost. Following this logic, an e-book to help the unemployed find work within 30 days is a more viable affiliate product than an e-book to help people improve their golf swing.
Another consideration is how much commission you can make per sale. Info products, such as downloadable e-books, work well for this reason; they cost next to nothing to make and distribute, so the revenue from each sale is pure profit. As an affiliate, you could earn up to 70 percent of an e-book’s sales price. You’d be shocked at how many people will pay as much as $50 for an e-book if it solves a pressing problem they have – and if you get a 70 percent commission, $35 goes directly into your pocket every time you make a sale.
Build Your Website
Once you’ve zeroed in on a niche and found products to sell, it is time to build a website around that niche to start driving traffic. The most effective affiliate marketing websites are known as authority sites. An authority site is a comprehensive website that educates visitors on all the particulars of a given niche.
If your niche is job-seeking, for example, your authority site would feature sections covering everything a candidate needs to know to succeed in the job market. Tips on resume building, interview strategy, salary negotiation, networking and job searching online would comprise the content of your website. The information should be comprehensive, but having said that, you want to hold a little bit back; this way your visitors have an incentive to drop the money on your affiliate products to access the good stuff.
No matter the quality of your website’s content, it won’t make money unless visitors click on your affiliate links. Place them prominently on your website, and give people an incentive to click on them.
Strike the right balance between high visibility and saturation. If your website features more ads than valuable content, visitors will leave quickly and search engines such as Google will punish you in the rankings.
Update Regularly With Quality Content
It would be nice if you could buy a website and domain, fill it with content, sprinkle some ads and affiliate links, and then watch it generate passive income for years to come. The reality is, however, that an authority site requires constant updates to stay on top of the search engine rankings and ensure that visitors continue to stream in.
The major search engines use esoteric algorithms to rank websites, and no one knows the exact formula that places one website ahead of another. One thing that is certain, though, is that stale content confers a major penalty. If several weeks or months pass without an update to your website, you can watch it start to slide down the rankings, sending your traffic numbers – and your affiliate sales – plummeting.
Set a goal to add fresh content to your website at least once a week. A good way to do this is to feature a blog on your authority site. Make regular blog posts about the latest happenings in your niche. For example, you can update your job-seeking authority site with commentary on the latest Canadian jobs data when the government releases it each week.