Affiliate marketing is a business strategy used to make money by taking a commission from selling a product or service that you don’t actually provide yourself. Instead, you provide sales leads for someone else, and they give you monetary compensation in return. This type of arrangement is known as an affiliate program, and there are affiliate programs for almost every product or service that you can find for sale on the Internet. There is a general process to follow if you want a solid foundation to build your affiliate marketing business, and our goal here is to provide for you a clear guide to getting started.

Your Most Important Tool: Building a Website

As an affiliate marketer, your website will be the primary tool you use to communicate with potential customers. Unlike traditional salesmen, you won’t have an opportunity to adapt to individuals. Instead, you’ll use static messages in the forms of emails or website content to sell to potential customers. There are many methods to building or creating a website, but you’re primarily going to be concerned with something quick and easy so that you can focus more on your content than on web programming and design.

It’s recommended that you use a pre-packaged content management system like WordPress or Drupal for your website since it usually just takes a few clicks from most web hosts to get started. Designing your own website with HTML, PHP and CSS is a valid option, but you want to put as much time as possible into working on the content and keyword research for your website. Tinkering around with the inner workings of your website can easily lead to wasting valuable time, which means wasting profits.

The Two Models for Web Traffic

Once your website is up and running, you have to decide how you’re going to get potential customers to view it. There are two main methods to get traffic. The first is through the use of search engine optimization, also known as SEO. The second method is by purchasing pay per click advertisements, also known as PPC. Both methods can bring success, but they are particularly different in how they operate.

For beginners, it’s probably best to start with SEO. The use of pay per click traffic requires a sizable upfront investment, and this investment can easily be lost if you aren’t skilled at analysing markets and evaluating the worth of keywords. In contrast, the work required for search engine optimization can all be done yourself. The results of work put into SEO tend to last much longer than the results of PPC advertising, but it takes a bit longer to see real results with SEO.

Choosing Which Industry You’ll Work With

At some point you have to decide what sort of industry or niche you are going to focus on for your affiliate marketing campaign. If you’re just starting off, it’s best to choose an industry that you enjoy writing about and talking about. Your interest will help fuel your motivation when you’re just starting out and haven’t seen any profits yet to keep you moving. You’ll be writing a lot of content as well, and being interested in what you’re writing about can help you to write higher quality material. In turn, high-quality content will tend to convert better, so you’re actually seeing better profits by choosing a topic you’re interested in.

Choosing Affiliate Programs and Putting Up Your Content

Once your industry has been decided, you can pick out a few affiliate programs in the industry to try out. Your content will be geared around selling the readers on the affiliate programs you’ve picked, but it’s also there to rank well in the search engines to get you traffic in the first place. Write good content and try out new things to see what works best, and you’ll find yourself really getting somewhere in affiliate marketing.

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