The internet has changed the business world beyond all recognition in three decades. For entrepreneurs across the planet it has opened up an abundance of opportunities and made setting up your own start-up a much easier proposition.
One discipline to which this applies is affiliate marketing. In this article we explain how affiliate marketing works and how using online tools like Word Press can help you to earn traffic through Google organic search and start growing revenue in your new business.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a way for businesses to add sales of their products or services by paying third parties commissions for customers and traffic referred through their own website or other channels like social media. It is a huge part of online commerce with everyone from Amazon to Ebay, Fiverr and Shopify running affiliate programs.
It is a great solution for marketing departments as they only pay when a sale is triggered, meaning they can track exactly the return on their spend for revenue generated through affiliate marketing. For the affiliate partners themselves, this is a fantastic way to monetise traffic to a website. And for those with the skills to rank a domain on Google through SEO, it can be a good way to make money when you aren’t starting out with a huge budget.
Successful affiliates have been known to rake in 5 figure monthly commissions from sales generated through well-ranked websites! The journey starts here!
Getting Started – Choose an Affiliate Program
If you are planning to start your own affiliate marketing business, the first thing you’ll need to do is to choose which industry you want to work with. The choice is huge, but it makes sense to choose something that you have an interest in. For example, if you are an avid reader, setting up a review site that covers the latest book releases and referring traffic to a retail site like Amazon makes sense. If you are interested in beauty products, then you may want to write about these instead and set up to sell traffic to a retailer like Avon. These are just two examples. There are many more for you to choose from.
Here are some points to consider when choosing a program to affiliate with:
- Do you like the product they sale – you will need to create content around the product for your website, so choose something you enjoy writing about.
- How competitive is the industry and how saturated is it? Niches like health and beauty are very competitive and earning traffic from Google will be tough.
- How much does the program pay – some industries are more profitable than others, and you should work out what you can expect to earn before you dive in.
- Regulation – are there any specific legal concerns around the industry you are planning to go into and will the rules around marketing change in the future?
Building Traffic Through SEO
There are many ways to work as an affiliate. You can become a social media influencer and refer your followers to a brand or product. You can pay for advertising on Google search results pages or use an email database to contact potential customers online. These are all valid affiliate strategies.
But today we are looking at the virtues of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This covers the way in which we get a website to appear in the Google listings for a particular search term related to the content on our website. For example, if you are selling a web hosting package for the UK on your site you would want to appear in the top position on Google when a user types in the phrase, ‘UK web hosting package’.
To achieve this you will need a good quality website that runs smoothly and efficiently on desktop and mobile, great content relevant to your search term, and lots of links pointing to your site from other respected websites that rank well in your niche. Sounds easy, right?
If you are starting out on your own then we recommend that you build your website using Word Press. It is by far the most popular content management system (CMS) for both small and large businesses with an online presence. And the great news is, it doesn’t require a huge amount of technical know how to get started. In fact, you’ll probably be able to get your first few pages live and indexed by Google with a nice design and layout within just a few days. Pretty much all affiliate sites use the Word Press tool to create dynamic, easily managed content – check out this one as an example.
Once you have content indexed by Google, over time your pages will start to rank higher for your chosen terms. You will need to invest further time and money into building more pages throughout your site relevant to your subject and engage other webmasters to encourage natural links back to your site.
How Long Does It Take to Obtain Good Rankings for an Affiliate Site?
The discipline of SEO is a tough nut to crack and there are no definitive answers as to how long it will take to start earning traffic and revenue from your users. In highly competitive industries it can take over 12 months to start seeing the fruit of your labours, but if you are working in a less competitive niche and your website follows Google Guidelines properly, you can start seeing traffic build much more quickly. A word or caution though – SEO is a slow process so don’t expect miracles!
In summary, in this industry it pays to be patient. Keep working hard and you will get the pay off in the end. Good luck and follow these links for further reading on the subject.