I would then get a hosting provider (a place to put the website on the internet) and a domain name (the name for the website), and then install WordPress so I could start playing around with the look of my website. I’d browse some free ‘themes’ (pre-designed ‘looks’ for websites) if I was tight on cash, or I might buy a high-quality one if I had the money. 
Hi Tasha and Abby, very intersting post . Tasha, I’ve noticed that you’re using Amazon links too. Doesn’t Amazon only allow affiliate links on your own website? No social networks, no emails, no ebooks, no nothing else… I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe I misunderstood the terms (they are complicated as hell for me). But good to know that with a less strict company it’s possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest too. Thank you for the info!

Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
Developing a website might seem difficult on the surface. You know that some website development companies cost thousands, 10’s of thousands, or even 100’s of thousands of dollars to build a site. You might also think you need to know a bunch of computer code in order to build a great site. That is nonsense. I personally know a little tiny bit of HTML and CSS, but I’m even using that less and less over time.

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
ZacJohnson.com – Zac Johnson’s blog contains more than 1,000 articles based on real-life experiences that exemplify lessons from the affiliate marketing industry. In recent posts, he gives tips on staying relevant, transitioning with a changing market to maintain a steady income flow and being successful in the travel marketing niche. Johnson’s blog also contains links to his recommended resources for marketers.
Paid advertising is NOT something I recommend for those who are just getting started. With that said, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what is known as PPC or Pay-Per-Click website traffic. In short, you can use services like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your site. You pay per website visitor, but you can make a lot of money doing this. Say it costs you $1 to send a visitor to your site, but each visitor on average earns you $2 in affiliate commissions. You, my friend, have a money machine on your hands.
Disclaimer: Reviews on FitSmallBusiness.com are the product of independent research by our writers, researchers, and editorial team. User reviews and comments are contributions from independent users not affiliated with FitSmallBusiness.com's editorial team. Banks, issuers, credit card companies, and other product & service providers are not responsible for any content posted on FitSmallBusiness.com. As such, they do not endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.
Side note – If you do have a blog, just about any and everything that you use on your blog (hosting, themes, plugins, etc) has an affiliate program so apply to them!  You can also check out my List of Awesome Affiliate Programs which includes everything I use on my own blogs and more!  Even if you don't “blog” about those things, you can use them for Pinterest!

Amazon’s language: “… you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).”
With all of this in mind, you also need to understand that affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick system. It’s a business. A real marketing business that will take some time to grow. All of the resources you need in order to succeed are listed above, but don’t expect overnight success. Give it a good 6 to 12 months and about 10 to 15 hours per week working on your business. If you do that, by this time next year, you should be an affiliate marketer yourself, at the very least making a nice secondary income. If not, in a year from now, you’ll be exactly where you are right now. Focus on the long-term and keep going with sustained effort. Of course, I’m always available as well if you ever want to contact me. I never charge a dime. 🙂
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
Tip #3 is to consistently post valuable content to your followers. Now valuable content will be different in each niche, but a good rule of thumb is to post inspiring, helpful, informative or motivational pictures and videos at least once a day. If you’re struggling to come with ideas on what to post just go look at what other influencers in your niche are posting, and post similar content. Of course you’ll want to make it unique, but looking at other accounts is a good way to figure out what type of posts the people in your niche respond to the most. An important thing for to mention here is to avoid making your account a pitch fest. Of course your goal is to get people to click the links in your bio, but if you make every other post about an offer or a link all your going to do is piss people off, and ultimately lose followers. I’ve found that one promotional post per week is the sweet spot to not piss off your followers, but make sure they know you have an offer out there.

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience.
×