So, you want to make passive income with affiliate marketing do you? Well, if you believe what everyone over at Warrior+ and other shiny object platforms tell you, then you may think it’s difficult and will have to buy their shiny objects before you crack the code.
Getting into, and understanding, affiliate marketing is ‘simples’.
Look, you promote stuff for people, via your website, who will pay you a commission when someone buys from your link. That’s it.
How you go about getting people to click your link is the tough part. How do you attract potential buyers? What do you use? What should you do? What shouldn’t you do?
When The Penny Drops
Embarrassingly, it took me about 4 years before I started to make decent money from affiliate marketing. You see, I always thought there was a magic button you pressed that chucked money at you. Spoiler: There isn’t.
If you want to earn a passive income from affiliate marketing, then you have to do some work. Not a lot, but enough to satisfy your expectations.
What I mean by that is, that if you want to earn 10k+ per month, you’d better be serious about making it your business. It will all depend on how ‘serious’ you want to be and how much money you want to spend to get you there.
I’m one of those affiliate marketers who does this without a dire need to make money as if my life depended on it. I’m happy with £2-3k a month, sometimes, especially after Christmas, that can double. I do this so I don’t have to go out and work the 9-5, be able to take breaks when I want and essentially, not get stressed out! But it took me a while to ‘get it’.
In the early days, I thought I knew better, but, well…I didn’t. Only through a bit of hard work, off my own bat, did things change.
You Are What You Are!
Now, saying that, I’m obviously not one of your BIG affiliate marketers. For instance, I don’t capture emails simply because I HATE email marketing!
I know a lot of successful affiliate marketers will say I’m missing out a lot of money by not doing this, but I just want a simple life. I may introduce an opt-in form soon for one of my sites, but only because I get a lot of questions sent to me about certain products in that niche. But to me, it’s just another thing I will have to faff around with.
Many affiliate marketers (in one of my niches) do go the ‘serious’ route. As an example, go and see what hikers Dave & Annie do over at Cleverhiker.com. If you want to see an excellent affiliate website go visit it. Not only are they passionate about their subject, they write cracking reviews.
Me, I’m not in that league. I simply don’t have a passion for ANYTHING to build such a site around! My sites are informative but not obsessive. Can you relate?
I’m happy building websites that I don’t have to be head-over-heels in love with and take the low hanging fruit that’s available for me to snatch.
Told you I was lazy!
How I 'Do' Affiliate Marketing
Below I will list the 10 essential things you need to start doing to make an honest passive income through affiliate marketing. I am taking it that you may have tried affiliate marketing before and know how to get an Amazon Associates account and a Clickbank account? If not, there are myriad YouTube videos that can point you in the right direction.
Or maybe you’ve just heard of affiliate marketing as a way of earning money online and would like to start. Either way, there will be plenty of advice from yours truly and a few links to other peoples websites (and YouTube videos) to help you understand the world of making money online. None of them are affiliate links, by the way.
Each of the 10 steps below will be detailed more in upcoming posts, but for now, each ‘snippet’ will tell you how to get your head around affiliate marketing. And in six months, if you carry out the steps below, you too will be earning a passive income from affiliate marketing.
This is about as basic I can explain the process:
It’s not a ‘must’ but it makes life so much easier. Writing long posts about things that you find boring will drive you to insanity! Also, you won’t have the interest to find what’s good and bad about the subject.
It will become a chore if the subject you choose doesn’t pique your interest. But if you find one that you, youself, find fascinating, the easier the process will become.
Start by going to good old Amazon and spend some time looking at stuff you would love to own. Dig deep into each category and make a list of things you know you would like to learn more about.
If you’re after an Amazon product or specific niche sold on that platform, then make sure each sale gets you at least £2 a pop. It’s no good, initially, going for products that pay you pennies for each sale.
Look for 7%+ commission at the least. Luggage is a pretty good niche to get into and the commission is at 11% at the time of writing this post.
If you’re going for digital products, like those found on Clickbank, make sure you are prepared to go deep into the subject. Clickbank products are over saturated because the commissions are so good. Sometimes 90% of the sale (if you sell a lot, but 75% is the norm)
The top affiliates are those who pay for FaceBook ads or can run a good backlink strategy. I’m not one of those. If I want to promote a Clickbank product, I go all out in the SEO field adding small social signals, such as a FB page, Twitter account, Pinterest…the usual suspects. It works when done well and correctly. And that leads to…
I can’t hammer home how important keyword research is. It’s not difficult but can be a repetitive exercise. Be Logical.
Literally, just find words and phrases people are using to find the product you’re promoting. Look at Google suggest, go to the forums in that niche and find questions you can answer in a post for your website. Use Quora to find questions AND answers and use the keywords and phrases you find for other posts. Dig deep.
Try to find phrases that have 800+ searches a month and use Keywords Everywhere in your Chrome browser to get those figures. Get one main keyword to use in your post/page title, then smatter it inside of the content of your post two or three times. Then choose another 5 to 6 keywords that are related to the main keyword and do the same with those in your content as well.
Keep it short and easily readable. If you can be clever and work in a related keyword to your subject, than go for it. But if it’s impossible, just go for a related name of two words married together. No hyphens though… and no numbers!
Use a good Domain provider that’s been around a while. Domains are cheap and easy to find.
The thing is, it’s not the Domain name that’s really important it’s the post or page titles that really matter. I only target the UK for my Amazon sites so use a .co.uk domain. I used to target the USA with some of my sites using a .com, but I got tired of the dodgy exchange rates and charges. A $600 dollar month was often rounded down to a £250 month. No thanks!
If I’m targeting a Clickbank niche, then I go for a .com… always.
(I still get charged too much, but it doesn’t seem as bad for some reason?)
Don’t go crazy. Get hosting that lets you have at least 10 websites on the plan, if not, unlimited. I use Smart Hosting for my UK targeted websites but recently they have put their prices up which has given me pause for thought. They are excellent, but my plan has gone up 200%!
I may stick with them because they offer free SSL certs and they are damned fast! AND it does work out cheaper than my Hostgator plan…it’s the alarming price hike that worries me a little.
There are hundreds of hosting companies out there, choose one that suits your needs but one that should cost under £20 per month. The jury is still out whether I look elsewhere for my hosting, but for now I’ll give SmartHosting another year.
As for the most popular hosting company, Hostgator, I’ve never had any trouble with them…but plenty of people have and they don’t offer free SSL certs at the time of this post.
Just make sure the hosting provides CPanel. More on that later.
It doesn’t have to be all singing and dancing…keep it nice and simple. Clean and clear. People don’t want to be bamboozled with lots of offers spilling onto their monitor/smartphone. They just want clear and concise information about the product they’re about to shell out for.
Use Yoast as your SEO plugin and a caching plugin to speed your site up. Adding others are down to your own opinion and usage. I use Elementor page builder with GeneratePress as the theme. I use the Pro versions of both, but you can easily get by if you use their free versions.
Use WordPress for your sites. It’s so easy to install through your CPanel that the hosting provides.
Often the downfall of many an affiliate marketer! This is why it’s quite important to have at least a smidgen of interest about the thing you’re promoting.
Write quality, informative posts about the good, the bad and the ugly things surrounding the product. If you’re doing Amazon, then look at the reviews of the product on their site…all of them and collect content from them to compose your review.
If you’re going the Clickbank route, go look at other websites that are promoting the same product and be better than them, content wise. Write posts longer than 1500 words but make them interesting and don’t write like a salesman! People are only too aware of the snake oil approach and will click away. Be yourself. This is why you should also only promote products you’re actually impressed by.
You should aim for at least 10 pages or posts in the first two weeks then add two or three posts of 1500 words a week for a couple of months. Don’t sell on every page. Provide useful information that will keep your visitors on your site. They will explore your content if they find it informative. In 8 to 10 weeks time you will have a website that is useful. The search engines will reward you, and so will your visitors!
Note: If working hard for 10 weeks is beyond you, then keep buying those shiny objects. Remember, these 10 weeks or so will pay you for however long you want. I’m assuming you can spare 4-6 hours a day to do this? Even 2 hours a day will get results, but it will take longer. If you have all the time in the world, then there’s no excuse. Stop faffing around, get off YouTube and Facebook and get going!
In brief, your title page or post must include the main keyword. Your content must have that keyword in it two or three times.
Use other keywords that are searched for when researching the product you’re promoting. Write naturally.
Keep the paragraphs short. Use bullets for important issues. Use H2 titles every 250-300 words. Be friendly, but factual in your reviews. Use good images that have been compressed to around 50-100kbs. Fill out the alt-tag with your keyword(s) and use it again in the description of each image. Describe what’s actually in the image…don’t use it to keyword stuff.
Use inner links (your own posts) to your other content and throw in two or three links to outside authority websites that are congruent with your post subject Use the alternative text to describe what that link will explain.
It’s a lot to take in at first, but getting into the frame of mind of an SEO’er will eventually become natural to you.
Firsty, add Google and Bing analytics to each and every website. This allows you to index your pages and posts as soon as you have finished with your content. Adding your sites to these platforms can get quite messy, but take your time and just follow their instructions. If it gets too messy, remember, YouTube is your friend.
Get yourself a FB page for each niche and post often. If you want to join groups in the same niche, go for it. It’s not that important, you only make a FB page to back up the fact that you’re ‘into’ the product more than the usual ‘promoter’ of such products.
Get yourself a Twitter account too and follow semantic ideas and niches. Get a Pinterest account rolling too and post often along with sharing other peoples pins within your chosen niche. These are the main 3, but there are many more.
Also get a WordPress.com account and post snippets from your posts that link back to your money website as well as doing the same with a BlogSpot blog on the product you’re promoting. The BlogSpot blog comes free with your Gmail accounts.
Use original content in these blog snippets of 200-300 words posts. It only takes an extra 10 minutes, then use a link to send to your ‘money’ site.
Using linkwheels are so 2010 and can ruin your hard work. Backlinks are not as important as you think nowadays. If your content is written well, using good, logical keywords, and giving out quality information, then you will rise in the rankings. Just use updated social signals as your backlinks. You will find you will get organic backlinks without trying once you provide value on your site.
Use a different google mail account for each website you make. This gives you more freedom with each website. You also get a YouTube channel with each that may come in useful if you decide to make a video or two.
And this leads to…
All the above can be put into a system. So one website per spreadsheet with each having details of your URLs, account passwords for your websites, CPanel, FB pages, Twitter accounts etc. and date them as they were created. Put the details into a folder on Google Drive.
This is one of the most important tasks you can do because in my early days I was forever forgetting passwords and even though I could see the accounts, I couldn’t get into them without jumping through hoops!
If you haven’t got Exel spreadsheets or other paid-for spreadsheets, use the very useful ‘Sheets‘ that your Google account kindly supplies.
Also, when writing content, use Google Docs from the same Google account. I find this better than Word because of the auto save feature. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve lost a 2000+ worded article simply because I didn’t save the Word Doc!
All the content you write for your websites will be available inside of your Google drive if ever something horrible should go wrong with your website.
Google may be a pain in some respects, but their free tools are a Godsend!
Once you get organised, and once you get your head around these very simple steps, things get much, much easier!
That's it! Job Done...Now Relax!
So there you have it. If you’re dedicated enough to earn a passive income from affiliate marketing, the above steps are what you need to do. It’s not rocket science is it?
There are internet marketers who make a living selling you the above information, only many of them leave out certain aspects so they can sell even more stuff to you. The above steps work if you are actually prepared to follow them through.
If I can muster enough energy, I will make a detailed post of each of the 10 stages above and turn it into a series. If I had an email opt-in form, I could send each post to your email address.