HOW TO GET STARTED IN AFFILIATE MARKETING
This is Part 1 of a short series of blog posts about how to get started in affiliate marketing by a Money Shed member called Kristian
I have been building an affiliate marketing business (on a part-time basis) for the past 7-8 months now, and the purpose of this post is just to briefly explain what affiliate marketing is and how I got involved at the beginning of 2014.
Affiliate marketing is becoming an increasingly popular method of making money online and it is likely to be a growth area as people continue to spend more money online instead of trudging around the local High Street looking for bargains.
I should make it clear that this is how “I” got started in affiliate marketing and must point out that it is certainly not the only way to make money from a blog or website. Furthermore, just because I have managed to earn a reasonable amount of money from these activities in a relatively short space of time, this is absolutely no guarantee that you or anyone else would be able to do the same. For every person that succeeds in this business, they are also many who do not succeed and it is not always through lack of ability or effort. As in most businesses, there is bound to be an element of luck involved as well. You cannot control every aspect of any business and you are sometimes at the mercy of other more powerful entities.
Finally, before explaining what Affiliate Marketing is, I should first explain what it is NOT. It is certainly NOT a “get rich quick scheme” and there are no cheap tricks that can be relied upon to make you lots of money. It requires a lot of hard work and the creation of lots of good content before you can even hope to have any chance of making a living from it.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
In short, affiliate marketing is a way of earning commission payments by introducing buyers and sellers of products via your own website. In next week’s post, I will explain a little about how easy it is to set up your own blog / website these days, but for now just take my word for it … it is a very simple thing to do provided you have some basic computer skills and the desire to learn some basic techniques.
There is nothing complex about the basic affiliate marketing business model. Once you have set up a simple blog / website and signed up with a few carefully selected online stores, the process as follows:
- Write about products on your blog;
- Put a link on your blog to a place where your visitors can buy that product online;
- If your visitors click on that link and buy that product (and/or anything else) within a certain timescale, you get paid a commission by the online store.
It really is as simple as that.
If you are doing it properly, you will be providing your visitor with useful information and showing them where to buy the things that they need at the best price. So, the customer gets what they want, the online shop gets a customer that they might otherwise have missed out on, and you get rewarded for your efforts. It’s is a win-win-win situation.
How I Discovered Affiliate Marketing
Prior to January 2014, I had absolutely no idea what affiliate marketing was and had never seriously considered building a website, let alone trying to make money from one.
Fast forward about 8 months and I am the proud owner of 5 websites – all built by me without any previous web development experience and making me a reasonable extra income each month.
So, how did that happen?
Well, I was sat at my work desk watching YouTube videos about online money making methods (and laughing about the ridiculous and unrealistic promises that were being made by various scam artists), when I stumbled across a video from someone that calmly claimed that you “might” be able to make some money as an affiliate marketer if you worked very hard at it and learnt how to do it properly.
This was a very refreshing change from the other nonsense videos, and so I signed up for some free training and haven’t looked back since. I should add that the free training wasn’t detailed enough to teach me all that I needed to know about affiliate marketing and I have had to pay for further training along the way. But, for me, the investment has been well worth it and without it I don’t think that I would have been able to make the steady progress that I have made in the past 8 months or so.
How Do You Decide What to Write About?
It is not a good idea to just set up a website and fill it with random posts about 101 different subjects and hope that visitors will come and like what they read. People generally like to visit websites that give the impression of expertise and specialism rather than websites that are full of random rants about dozens of unrelated topics. But, it is not just a matter of visitor experience that requires an affiliate marketer to concentrate their website content on a specific niche, there are well-documented search engine benefits to specialisation. If Google sees that you are writing lots and lots of posts about organic gardening, they will eventually realise that you are an expert in this field and are much more likely to bump you up the rankings for “organic gardening” related search terms than if you fill your website with single posts on dozens of completely unrelated subjects (one of which might be about how to grow organic cabbages!).
So, if you want to succeed in affiliate marketing, you need to first choose a niche. Your niche is effectively the subject that you plan to write about and it can be absolutely anything.
I would highly recommend that anyone starting out in affiliate marketing should choose a subject matter that they already know a lot about and the best place to start looking is your past and present hobbies / interests. Perhaps, you are a keen chess player or vegan cook? Maybe, you are an expert on hair straighteners or simply like to take photographs of butterflies? Any of these subjects could form the basis of a niche website – the trick is to focus on a relatively narrow subject matter to start with, but provide room for your website to expand into other related areas in due course.
It is best to choose something that you already know a lot about since that will make it much easier to write useful content, but it is perfectly possible to choose a niche that you don’t yet know lots about, but that you are prepared to research thoroughly as you go along. In fact, you could make the process of learning about a particular subject into your niche! So, if you are interested in learning how to create games and applications for mobile devices, you could write blog posts about your quest to write the next Flappy Bird blockbuster and recommend training resources that you have found useful. If you are in the process of getting into shape using a new and exciting piece of exercise equipment, why not write a blog about that and tell people where they can buy this machine at the best price etc?
Although you can choose any niche that you like, not all niches are created equal and there are certain steps that you need to take to research the potential of any proposed niche before you start. An explanation of the ins and outs of keyword research and where to position keywords within your blog posts to get good search engine rankings is beyond the scope of this post. Although it’s not rocket science, it does take a little effort to fully understand the process.
Next Week’s Post
Next week, I will be explaining more about how to start your own affiliate marketing website, how much time and effort is required to make a reasonable amount of money, the start-up costs, and also a few “do’s and don’ts” that I have picked up along the way.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about how to get started in affiliate marketing, feel free to send me a PM at TMS [TheRewardGuy].