The hardest part of affiliate marketing (for beginners) is setting up a brand new website and getting organic rankings on search engines.
The reason behind this is that in the beginning phase you won’t get any visitors which makes it hard to test things and find out if your website is going in the right direction.
As someone that has gone through this entire process, I know how frustrating it can be to not get any feedback and hope you’re doing everything the right way.
This is why I’ll give you some tips that will help with making sure your blog is going in the right direction.
Affiliate Marketing Guide for Beginners – How to Start
1. Pick the right niche
What is a niche?
According to Google, a niche is a group relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.
Why is picking the right niche is important?
As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to get people to buy the products you promote based on your suggestions. The most effective way to do this is to position yourself as an authority in their eyes.
This is why it’s better to pick a specific niche and become an expert in it than creating a general website and coming off as a jack of all trades.
Does this mean you need to know everything about your niche?
No! You just have to be interested enough to learn and eventually you’ll become knowledgeable.
How to pick the right niche? (Check our full guide on how to find your blog niche + 80 most profitable niches)
When picking a niche there are three things you have to factor in your decision.
Making money with affiliate marketing isn’t something you do by making shallow content for 2 months. You’re going to have to create in-depth content on a consistent basis for a long period of time.
This means you at least have to be interested in your niche so that you’re motivated to keep learning and keep creating content even when things seem like they aren’t going well.
The more people are competing within your niche, the harder it’s going to be to stand out. This is why you’re going to have to narrow down your niche.
Let’s say you want to make a website dedicated to fitness. This is going to be hard because there are a lot of fitness websites already out there. This is why it might be better to pick a sub-section of that niche.
You can go from “Fitness” to “Fitness for disabled adults” or “Fitness for basketball players”.
It’s hard to come up with sub-niches from the top of your head so I use something called the alphabet soup technique.
You take a niche type it into Google and put the word for after it and let google come with suggestions by adding letters of the alphabet.
Results for “fitness for a”
Results for “fitness for B”
Results for “fitness for c”
You can go through the entire alphabet like this and find tons of niches that you can work with.
Affiliate marketing is only going to work when you actually have products to promote. This is why before you start making your website you need to know if there are products worth promoting in your niche.
Having a lot of competition in the broad version of your niche is a good indicator that your niche is profitable but to make sure you’ll need to look for actual products you see yourself promoting.
You do this by researching affiliate markets like Clickbank and JVzoo or by typing “affiliate program” + “your niche” into a search engine.
Check this list of the best affiliate networks/programs here!
What a smooth navigation actually means
Website visitors need to be able to find everything they need on your website easily. This means thinking about what to put on your menus and widgets to get people where they need to be.
Why navigation is important
When website visitors have a hard time getting to the content they initially came for they often leave. This doesn’t only affect the website visitors that are already coming to your website but it also has negative effects on attracting new website visitors.
Google will see the people leaving your website as a signal that people don’t value your content and as a result will lower your rankings in their search result pages.
How to create good navigation for your website
I’d advise you to sketch a map with the actions you want your visitors to take. Then connect these with the pages that make that possible and use that sketch to create the main menu for your website.
3. Create consistent in-depth content
Affiliate marketing websites that have high rankings have one thing in common. You’ll notice that most of them upload content on a consistent basis.
Let’s take a look at a study that details the importance of having a high posting frequency. 1096 Bloggers contributed to this study from Orbit media.
Orbit Media (2018) Blogging Statistics and Trends: The 2018 Survey of 1000+ Bloggers
As you can see in the graph the people that post the most get the “strongest” results.
Why is it important to create in-depth content consistently?
There are multiple reasons why you should create content consistently.
It’s good for your SEO
Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo prefer relevant in-depth content because their users often value that more.
This factors in giving content higher ranks in their search engine page results. The highest ranked content gets the majority of website visitors directed to them which means they can make more money promoting affiliate products.
High rankings => Traffic => Money!
The moment website visitors find your content valuable and they know you’ll create more content that they’ll likely find valuable too they tend to return to your website.
Products become dated
A big part of affiliate marketing is making product reviews because they’re traffic sources. Over time you’ll get less traffic from reviews because they become dated this is why you need to keep making new product reviews.
How can you make sure you stay consistent
In my opinion, most of it can be achieved by changing your view on affiliate marketing. You need to view affiliate marketing as your job which means holding yourself accountable.
These are some things you’ll have to do:
- Create a content schedule
As I said, hold yourself accountable plan ahead and create deadlines.
- Incorporate affiliate marketing in your daily plans
Affiliate marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. Assign a certain time-span during the day to affiliate marketing and stick to it.
- Use habit trackers
It’s all about creating good habits and letting go of bad ones. Use habit trackers to monitor your progress and slowly get to the point you want to be at.
You also need to look at the psychological aspect of being consistent and productive.
There’s a great article about staying productive while working from home that talks about how your surroundings can affect your work.
4. Your SEO strategy should focus on long tail keywords
What are long tail keywords?
long-tail keywords are less popular keywords derived from other keywords. One main characteristic of longtail keywords is that they contain multiple words. They can be questions or statements.
Remember the example I used when I showed you how to narrow down a niche. Longtail keywords are often narrowed down keywords.
Keyword: Affiliate Marketing
Long Tail Keywords: Affiliate Marketing for beginners, Make money with affiliate marketing, Where can I learn affiliate marketing
Why you should use long tail keywords?
The most popular keywords are often targeted by big websites and organizations you’ll have a hard time competing with because of their authority.
It’d be hard to rank number 1 for “link building guide” if Backlinko.com and Moz.com already rank for this keyword but you might be able to rank for “Link building guide for lawyers”.
You’ll get fewer visitors but your chances to rank are a lot higher. Keep targeting long-tail keywords and eventually, the number of visitors you’ll get from them will add up.
How to find long tail keywords
Alphabet soup technique
You can use the alphabet soup technique to come up with long tail keywords and put them in a keyword research tool to find out how many websites are competing for that same keyword.
Related search results
You can also type a keyword in the search bar of a search engine and then look at the bottom of the search engine result page. You’ll find a list with related search results that can also serve as long tail keywords.
5. Monitor your competitors to make sure your content is worthy of being on the first page
Why you should monitor your competitors
Search engines only care about providing their users with the best content as they should. This means they don’t give out “pitty” ranks.
You’ll need to look at what content there is on the first page of the keyword you’re targeting and try to make your content better than theirs.
How you can make first-page worthy content?
Look at the first 10 websites that show up when you search for your target keyword. Then start looking at their content and try to find ways to:
- Expand on what they’re saying
Go deeper, add more examples, provide more context, etc.
- Make it easier to digest the content
Add a table of content, Use more visual objects(videos and pictures), add links for further illustration.
- Use more credible sources to back up your content
I know this is really hard as a rookie affiliate marketer so just try the best you can and at a later point when you get better at creating content you improve your old content based on these factors.
What is a linking strategy?
A strategy built on linking to both internal and external pages on the internet.
Why is it important to have a linking strategy?
Why external links are important
Here’s a graph created by Backlinko detailing the correlation between a website’s positioning in Google and the number of backlinks they have.
Backlinko(2019) Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List
Luckily affiliate marketing websites often target keywords based on product reviews that aren’t targeted by websites with hundreds of backlinks so you won’t need as much but it’ll still be a factor.
Why internal links are important
By linking to other pages on your website you show search engines that you have a lot of valuable content and you’ll also lower your bounce rate and increase your session time which helps with ranking.
How do you create an effective linking strategy?
According to an article from Yoast first, you’ll have to decide what content you’d like your website visitors to see the most.
You start to build a pyramid structure starting from those pieces of content and connect them to your other content.
I personally group my posts in different categories and every category has a page I internally link to.
You can internally link to other content by:
- Adding contextual links
- Add a related post section
- Adding links to popular and recent posts
How do you get external links?
It depends on in which direction the external links go. Both are needed for your affiliate marketing website to succeed.
Link from your website to an external website
Just like with internal links you add a contextual link but instead of it linking to another page on your website it links out to another website.
Websites linking back to your website (backlinks)
Getting backlinks is a little harder because you need other people to link back to your website. This isn’t something people often are willing to do without getting something in exchange.
There are multiple ways to provide value and get people to link back to your website such as:
Create content for other websites in exchange for a backlink.
- Creating link magnets
Create ridiculously valuable content such as ultimate guides, infographics, etc. that people can’t help but to link back to.
- Broken link building
Google resource pages of websites and find broken links which your content can replace.
When you have a brand new website you won’t immediately see the results of your linking strategy but it’s an important part of creating a website that’ll succeed.
7. Update old content regularly
Why bother updating your old content
Content is what is going to bring in website visitors and sales but nobody starts out as an expert content creator.
Often there’s a learning process that has to occur before you’re able to make high-quality content. You’ll have to practice a lot and educate yourself on how to write quality blog posts.
You’ll learn a lot in a short time especially in the beginning because there’s so much you don’t know yet.
This is why it’s important to go back to your old content every now and then to incorporate everything you’ve learned since making those first posts.
This way you’ll know your content will get better with time and will always be up to date which is a plus for website visitors.
How you should go about updating your old content
There’s a lot you can do to improve your content but I think it’s important you have a structure so in the future when you’re getting traffic you can measure the effects of your updates.
These are the things I focus on (besides the quality of the content) when updating my content:
- Title tag
Make sure it’s benefit-driven and invokes curiosity.
- Meta description
Expand on the title tag.
- Internal links
Link to your highest quality content that’s relevant
- External links
Link out to websites with a high authority
- Embed YouTube video
Embed a relevant YouTube video to prolong the session time of your page.
Here You Have the Right Affiliate Marketing Strategy!
When you’re starting a brand new website you’re going to have to make a mind shift. You’ll have to change from having a result-oriented mindset to having a process-oriented mindset.
The steps on how to start with affiliate marketing website aren’t a secret. You just have to follow them and trust in the process.
Rogier Giersthove is a freelance copywriter, marvel comics lover and digital marketing enthusiast. On his website Real Digital Success, he helps people with website marketing, online conversion, and online entrepreneurship by giving tips, hacks, and product recommendations.