Beginners Guide: How To Make Money with Affiliate Marketing

Published: March 30, 2019 - Updated: April 7, 2019 - By: Lars A. Blomquist

Guide for beginners

This guide is intended for beginners looking to start making money from affiliate marketing recurring passively over time.

It is a 3 step guide where I try to explain the basics in the most useful and easy to understand way I can.

  • Step 1 – Get your own website online
  • Step 2 – Create content over time
  • Step 3 – Monetize and optimize

I myself have used this strategy to create 5+ profitable websites so far. These generate passive income for me and have made it possible for me to make affiliate marketing my full-time profession.

It is not a prerequisite to know web design or coding to make money using this strategy. You should expect to invest about $100 for 1 year of web hosting and for paying for a domain name for a year.

If you have feedback or questions – please post them in the comments below.

Note that this guide contains sponsored affiliate links.

Step 0 – Planning

Before you begin you should plan a bit. Think about what niches you would like to focus on from the start. The niche you choose will be the one you write content about and monetize with related affiliate programs.

You could decide your niches based on what affiliate programs you want to promote and how well those are paying, or you could choose something that interests you and you are passionate about.

Something in the middle is probably the way to go.

When planning what your website topic will be you can use some great free and paid tools to help you come up with ideas. The best way is probably just doing a google search for the topic and see what comes up. Both the organic search results as well as the suggestions that come up while typing your search phrase.

I also use Google Trends (free) and SEMRush (FREE & Paid).

The main thing is to choose something that a lot of people are searching for in Google as this will be your main source of traffic.

How much competition there is for a search phrase is also really important. The SEMRush tool shows the difficulty and search volume for keyword phrases. Remember that you are now just researching what topic your website will be about but you could also start thinking about what kind of content that would be suitable. You can use the same tools to research what content to write about on your websites later.

You won’t need to plan everything out before you begin. Some of my best earnings come from niches and Google searches that I did not plan for. You will learn a lot as you go!

Step 1 – Get your own website online

The first step would be to get your own website where you can publish content and affiliate marketing links.

I myself use Liquid Web to host most of my websites. After being unsatisfied with the quality and speed of my support requests at multiple hosts, I decided that the slightly more expensive web hosting plans by Liquid Web made sense. This host guarantees 59 second response times by their 24/7 online live tech support based in the USA. They even have copyrighted the phrase “The most helpful humans in web hosting”.

If you are a beginner with a limited budget though, I would recommend going with a cheaper web host. Please check out WHCompare.com (which is a recent website project of mine, not yet profitable). It lets you compare 200+ web hosting plans easily.

If you want to create multiple websites you should go with a web hosting plan that does not have a limit to how many websites you can create, like some of the cheapest web hosting plans do.

Creating multiple websites does require more work, but it also increases your tickets to win.

Once you have a web hosting account you need a domain name. Unless you got one for free with your web hosting purchase. I would suggest registering your domain name from Namecheap which offers free whois privacy and the cheapest prices I know of.

When registering a domain name I would suggest to make it as memorable and as short and easy to type as possible. It should also make sense for what the website is about.

Once you have a domain name and a web hosting account you would need to connect the two and install WordPress.

You can find tons of guides doing this online so I won’t cover that topic here.

Step 2 – Create content over time & get noticed by Google

Once you have your first WordPress website up and running you can start adding content.

As mentioned in the planning phase you can use certain tools to discover opportunities for what keywords to target with your content.

I use Google Trends (free), SEMRush (FREE & Paid), Answer The Public (FREE & Paid) and of course Google search.

I use these tools both to get ideas for what to write about in the first place and also for what sub-topics the content should cover.

Once you start writing and publishing content on your website the Google spiders will start crawling your website and it will consider adding it to their search results. This is a pretty slow process and takes some time, but once you start to rank the traffic will be pretty sticky, and tend to keep coming in day after day, month after month.

As there is a ton of content being published on the internet every day you should try to create quality that captivates readers and satisfies them.

This means that you should write with good grammar, use pictures and possibly videos where suitable. You should also use a lot of sub-headers and frequent paragraphs.

The opposite would be to write long texts with small letters with just a few paragraphs and headers.

The latter would result in your readers spending less time reading your article.

The Google search algorithms that you want to impress, to give you better visibility in their search results, recognizes how long the traffic they send you stays on your website. If they only stay for a short time and bounce back to the search results to click on another result they might rank you lower.

The art of getting search traffic is called SEO and is something I always try to learn more about.

One of the things most professional SEOs is agreeing is that getting good links pointing to your website, as well as having good content on your website are two of the most important things to get free search engine traffic over time.

Some content writers actually spend more time promoting their content than actually writing it. If you do or not it is at least important to do some promoting for some of your content.

To me, the most important factor is trying to get websites with similar audiences and topics to you to link to your content or home page. You would most likely need to do a contact a lot of websites (unless you know someone with similar websites as yours already) to get someone to link to you.

Having at least a couple of links is very important, and once you get that you should start seeing some traffic trickling in organically from related search terms.

Step 3 – Monetize & optimize

Congrats on getting to step 3 – You are already well on your way to making money with affiliate marketing, and you have probably learned a lot already!

Now it is time to optimize your website. It is also time to begin making money from affiliate programs.

You should start looking for affiliate programs suitable to promote on your websites and in your content. You should try with multiple affiliate programs and see which makes the most money for you.

You can also start creating content specifically written to promote an affiliate program.

Note that you need to have a notice on your website that your content contains sponsored links that you make money from.

When optimizing your websites you should try to improve your website loading speed. I use the excellent free tool called GTMetrix. It will benchmark your site and potentially give you lots of tips for where you can improve.

When optimizing content after it has started getting traffic from Google I use the free tool called Google Search Console. It will show you for what search terms you get traffic from. It does also show you for what search terms your website is currently ranking for but not getting traffic for.

You’ll probably get some great ideas for what search phrases to optimize for a little more. You could change titles and meta descriptions for higher click-through rates from the searches, or add more content to your article for specific phrases to try and rank higher for those searches.

A prerequisite for using Google Search Console is the Google has noticed your website and started to include it.

Continuing beyond this guide

This is just a pretty short beginners guide. Hopefully, it can show you how to get started. I would strongly suggest to read and research more as you are continuing with your affiliate marketing efforts though!

There are amazing free resources online that I believe you can benefit greatly from when using this strategy.

Check out these resources:

You might also want to hire freelance writers to increase your content output, or to help you out with technical aspects of your website. You can find lots of freelancers at UpWork.

For more resources, please check out my list with 20+ top resources for affiliate marketing online.

Thanks for reading and good luck. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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