There are loads of ways to promote affiliate products, but most of the advice you’ll hear will recommend setting up a website and driving traffic from search engines.
But is that the only way to make money with affiliate marketing?
You don’t need a website to succeed as an affiliate marketer, and if you keep reading, you’ll find a step by step guide to help you make your first commission without a website.
However, before we get started with the techniques you can use to make money affiliate marketing without a website, there is something important you need to know.
When you create an affiliate website, you are building online real estate that grows in value and can be sold at a later date. Affiliate websites often sell for much more than their average monthly income.
As you can see below, an affiliate website that earns $1,755 per month can easily be sold for $60,000 plus:
Think of it this way, if you are affiliate marketing without a website, you are renting property online. The online platform you use to promote your affiliate links is your landlord, and if they choose to ban affiliate links or close down, there’s not a lot you can do to protect your affiliate income.
If you create your own website, you are the owner of your online property, and you can sell it for a healthy profit if you want to.
You need to think of affiliate marketing as a career, with income goals that you want to achieve. If you feel you can reach those goals without a website, then have at it.
How exactly can you make money as an affiliate marketer without a website?
In no particular order, let’s have a look at your options.
The Internet is excellent at bringing like-minded people together in online communities and forums. These places offer a great opportunity to promote your affiliate products.
The first step is to find a forum with an audience that will be interested in the products you are promoting. For example, Mountain Project is a website that brings together people that are interested in rock climbing:
After you’ve found a website with a solid online community, check the forum guidelines to make sure they allow affiliate links, sign up, and start contributing to the online conversation.
Another way to get your affiliate offers in front of an online community of engaged people is to create your own Facebook group and foster discussion around your niche. Not only will you have more control over the posting guidelines, but it can be a profitable way to promote your affiliate offers with weekly promotions.
The key to affiliate marketing is to build a relationship and establish trust with your audience. Before you start promoting your products, offer something of value, and give people a reason to trust your recommendations.
Solo ads enable you to reach new audiences by paying to leverage other people’s email lists to promote your affiliate offers.
How do solo ads work?
Let’s say that you have started your affiliate career focusing on the fitness niche. You have signed up to an affiliate program and started to promote your affiliate offer on social media and online forums.
You’ve made a few sales, but you want to expand your reach and find a new audience to target with your offer.
You can research influencers in the fitness niche that provide a solo ads service using websites like Udimi.
If the solo ads provider thinks that your offer is a good fit for their email list, they will send your offer to their subscribers for a fee - charged at a rate per click
Not only can solo ads yield instant commission, but it can also help you to generate more opt-ins if your merchant is running an affiliate contest for opt-ins.
However, not all solo ads providers are equal. Some will send poor quality traffic to your offer that doesn’t convert. You need to carefully assess the reputation of a solo ads provider before you invest your money, and you need to track every campaign to measure your results.
If you find a solo ads provider that offers a decent ROI, keep going back to them, month after month. Solo ads are also an excellent way to test an offer out before investing too much time into other forms of marketing.
This affiliate marketing strategy is quite simple.
You create an ebook on a hot topic that people are interested in and embed your affiliate links into the content. When somebody clicks your affiliate link and purchases a product, you earn a commission.
Sounds easy in theory, but you’ll need to conduct comprehensive research to find a topic people want to read about and invest a lot of time to create a quality ebook.
You can use Google Trends to help you find a hot topic that people are interested in. Look at what's trending and receiving significant search volume.
If you promote products in the fashion niche, you could create an ebook on the Egirl style and link to affiliate products that come under that the fashion style.
Even with a hot topic, you’ve got a lot of work ahead to create your ebook, and with no guarantee that you will see a significant return on the time you invest in the project.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and it’s a great place to earn affiliate commissions without a website.
Whenever you see a YouTuber reviewing products or asking you to “click on the link in the description,” that’s affiliate marketing in action.
To succeed as an affiliate marketer on YouTube, you will need to produce excellent content, learn how to leverage keywords to increase the reach of your videos, and build an audience of loyal subscribers.
Without a website, the most profitable way to promote your affiliate offers on YouTube is to drive traffic directly to affiliate programs that provide a free give away, or a low priced product, as that's less likely to turn into complaints from people watching your videos.
You can also pay a hosting vendor to host a sign-up form and direct your YouTube traffic to a free offer and get people to sign up to your email list. Once somebody has subscribed to your email list, you can send them weekly newsletters to promote your affiliate products.
You can also earn advertising revenue by signing up for the YouTube Partner Program and placing ads on your videos.
The major drawback of this form of affiliate marketing is that you are at the mercy of YouTube’s moderators. If your channel is flagged for any reason, you can lose your whole channel and all of your affiliate income in one fell swoop. Luckily this happens very rarely, especially when you focus on producing quality content.
Paid affiliate advertising can see fast returns, but it also comes with more risk and investment on your part.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the two leading advertising platforms that affiliate marketers use to promote their affiliate products. These platforms work on a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising model.
You create an ad, bid the maximum amount you are willing to pay to display your ad, and only pay a fee when somebody clicks on your ad.
There are several drawbacks to this strategy, especially if you are new to affiliate marketing and operating without a website.
Google takes the landing page your ad is directing traffic to into consideration when assigning your ad a quality score. If the merchant site you are advertising offers a poor user experience, you will end up paying more for your paid ads.
Even worse, if the content on the merchant's website violates Google’s advertising policies, your Google Ads account can be suspended until the landing page is fixed to comply with Google regulations. Facebook Ads also have similar rules regarding compliance.
Acting as an affiliate for the merchant, you have no control over the merchant's landing page. If they refuse to make the landing page compliant with the advertising platforms regulations, your account could be suspended indefinitely, and you won’t be able to advertise.
These advertising platforms also restrict the number of ads directing traffic to the same landing page. If multiple affiliates are advertising the same offer, your ads can be canceled, and your account suspended.
Without a website, you can only successfully utilize these platforms if you are the only advertiser directing traffic to an offer. While the opportunity for instant traffic and commission can be tempting, you need to be attentive and methodical in your approach to PPC for affiliate marketing and proceed at your own risk.
This form of affiliate promotion is very similar to the forum and online community method. Rather than posting in online forums, you post your affiliate links on classified ad websites.
Craigslist is the largest website of this kind, with millions of people posting ads on city pages across the world. You can promote your affiliate links by posting ads, product reviews, and other helpful posts to the relevant categories of classified ads.
You can earn an affiliate income using this technique, but you will need to be committed to posting multiple times per day across numerous websites.
Aside from being time-intensive, you are also vulnerable to changes in policy from the classified sites. If they decide to ban the posting of affiliate links, you will be unable to promote your products.
Medium and Steemit are the two most prominent free publishing platforms you can use to promote your affiliate products.
Anybody can create an account and publish content for the world to see.
Medium has a readership of nearly 100 million, offers some great analytics tools to monitor the engagement of your articles, and also has a high domain authority to help your content rank in Google.
You need to inform your readers about any affiliate links in your content to avoid any issues with Medium’s moderators.
Steemit is similar to Medium, but publishers receive payment for the engagement their content generates in the form of the cryptocurrency Steem. Affiliate links are allowed, so you can start publishing your affiliate content once your account is verified.
Social media can be an excellent channel for affiliate promotion. Instagram has seen massive growth over the last few years, while new video-based platforms like Tik Tok are only going to get more popular with the rollout of 5G and increased internet speeds across the world.
If you want to succeed as an affiliate marketer without a website, Instagram is a great platform to promote your affiliate offers. Some Instagram marketers make the top 5 of leaderboards, boast over 1 million followers, and see high engagement when they promote their affiliate offers.
Instagram doesn’t allow you to link directly in your posts, so you’ll need to direct users to your bio. You can create posts promoting your offer and instruct users to check out the ”link in bio.” You’ll need to grow your following and focus on creating posts that get lots of feedback, likes, and shares, to grow your affiliate business.
You’ll need to monitor the engagement of your posts and focus on providing content that makes the most impact on your audience. After you’ve built up a substantial following, you can start promoting your affiliate products.
While social media is still an excellent channel for affiliate promotion, recent years have seen a significant decline in organic social media traffic.
Facebook, in particular, is becoming a pay to play platform.
You can use Facebook Ads to increase your reach and target users with your affiliate offers. However, if you send traffic directly to your merchant’s landing page, you run the risk of breaking Facebook Ads regulations and receiving a suspension of your account.
Another way to harness social media to promote your affiliate offers is to purchase traffic from social influencers. For example, many Instagrammers with large followings leave their email address in their bio. If you find an Instagrammer that has a following that would be interested in your affiliate offers, send them an email and see if they offer advertising. Depending on the niche, the product, and the following, this can be a profitable way to reach an engaged audience and promote your affiliate offers.
Email marketing is a potent tool for affiliate marketing with or without a website. The first step is to build a list of email subscribers that are interested in hearing from you.
There are companies that will sell you an email list, but the quality of these email lists is questionable at best.
So how do you build an email list?
There are loads of vendors that provide sign up form services, and they will provide the hosting, so you don’t need a website.
To convince people to provide you with their email address, you’re going to need to provide a compelling offer in exchange. This can be anything from a free guide to a free course or resource.
After you’ve built your form and created your offer, you need to direct traffic to your sign up form. You can post on social media, and even use paid social media ads to speed up the process of building your list.
Once you’ve got a substantial number of subscribers, you can start sending regular emails and promote your affiliate products. Just like any other form of affiliate marketing, focus on helping your audience with useful and informative email content that offers value.
If you are going to succeed at email promotion, you’ll need to be proficient at email copywriting. The key is to pack in as much value as possible, providing all the necessary information to convince the receiver to take action in a short email message.
Did you know that on average, only 2% of visitors make a purchase the first time they visit an online store?
You can earn affiliate commission by advertising to the 98% that don’t convert the first time around. His form of advertising is called retargeting, and it works.
The clickthrough rate (CTR) of a retargeting ad is 10x higher than a regular display ad.
When somebody visits an ecommerce store, their information is ‘cookied’ using a tracking pixel.
After they leave, this cookie information can be used to target the person with ads for products they have shown an interest in using a retargeting platform like Google Ads or Facebook Ads.
Just like a regular ad placement, you only pay a fee when somebody clicks on your ad. The cost of running these ads depends on your niche, with some industries costing much more per click than others.
Here’s a rundown of the average cost per click (CPC) on Facebook Ads:
Affiliate marketers make money by offering retargeting to merchants that are looking to capitalize on their website visitors that are yet to make a purchase. You will run the retargeting campaigns and receive a commission for every sale that you generate.
Now you know your options when it comes to affiliate marketing without a website, let’s go through the process of making your first affiliate commission using a free content publishing platform.
While it is possible to target multiple niches at the same time, you’ll find it much easier to build a reputation as a trusted source of information if you narrow your focus to a single niche.
The more you know about your niche, the more informative and valuable you can make your content, and the more likely people are to trust your product recommendations.
So how do you know if a niche is profitable?
Ask yourself the following questions:
How competitive is the niche?
The best way to determine if a niche is competitive is to search Google for long-tail keywords related to the topic. If there are lots of notable brands competing for long-tail keywords, you will struggle to get a foothold in search rankings and generate enough traffic.
If there are lots of smaller affiliate websites competing for the long-tail keywords, that’s a good sign that the niche is profitable.
Are there lots of products in the niche?
Making money is the name of the game, and you do that by promoting affiliate products. You want to choose a niche where people need to purchase products or equipment. For example, rock climbing is an activity that lots of people are interested in, and it’s an activity with lots of products and gear:
If you are going to promote Amazon products, conduct a search for products in your niche.
How much can you make promoting products in the niche?
You’ll need to check the commission that Amazon Associates offers for products in the niche. Amazon offers different levels of commission for different categories of products:
As you can see, Amazon Associates offers a payout of 5.5% commission for products in the Outdoors product category. It’s advisable to choose a category with a payout of above 4%, and with an average product price of $60+.
You don’t want to spend hours of your time creating great content for a niche with low-value products and low rates of commission. You’ll need to generate hundreds of sales to get anywhere near a decent payout.
GiddyUp is another excellent source of affiliate offers for physical products, with higher than average commissions:
If you want to earn a higher rate of commission, you can find thousands of digital products to promote on ClickBank:
Digital products offer much higher rates of commission compared to physical products.
After choosing a good niche, you need to identify the keywords you are going to target in your content. If you are promoting physical products from Amazon, you’ll want to focus on buyer intent keywords - the phrases people are searching to help them make a purchasing decision.
To maximize your impact in the SERP, you want to focus on long-tail keywords. These are search queries that contain multiple words. While long-tail keywords will attract less traffic than shorter high-value keywords, they have a lot less competition and are easier to rank for in search results.
You can use Google to help you find long-tail keywords to target in your content.
For example, if you search for the competitive search term “best rock climbing harness,” you will find a list of related search queries at the bottom of the SERP:
You can also find low competition long-tail keywords in your niche using the free tool Ubersuggest.
Enter your seed keyword into Ubersuggest, and it will return lots of helpful information to inform your keyword strategy. You can see the estimated search volume per month, the difficulty of appearing in the paid ad placements, and the difficulty of ranking organically for the search term.
Ubersuggest will also provide you with related search queries:
Ideally, you want to find a long-tail keyword that has a low search difficulty and high search volume.
If you’re new to online publishing, you want to choose a platform that is easy to use and create content, and with an intuitive dashboard to keep track of your page views.
Medium is an excellent platform to publish your first article. It works similarly to a social media website. You create an account and follow the instructions to start writing your first article.
Medium also has a high domain authority, which should help your content achieve a higher ranking in search results.
This step is vital. You need high-quality content if you are going to rank high in search results and generate conversions for your merchant.
Focus on quality over quantity, and follow the best practices for online content writing to engage your readers.
The more people that engage with your content, the higher you will rank in search engine results, and the more exposure you will generate for your affiliate links.
This is where your keyword research will pay off. Incorporate your keywords naturally into the content and aim to provide the best content online for the keywords you are targeting.
You can increase the reach of your content by promoting it on social media. Share your article in relevant social media groups and online forums. This will help you to rank higher in search results, but it can also help you to generate more commissions too.
How long will it take to rank in Google?
There are lots of different factors that contribute to your ranking and how long it will take to start ranking high in search results.
If you published on a high authority website like Medium, you could expect to wait around six months for your content to rank on Google. If you conducted solid keyword research, created high-quality content, and promoted your content on social media, you can expect to achieve a high ranking in search results and start earning affiliate commission.
Once you’ve completed your first article, rinse and repeat the process to target new keywords and promote new products. While it’s always recommended to create your own affiliate marketing website, it is possible to earn an affiliate income without one.
As you get more comfortable creating content for the web, you can put your new skills to use and create your own affiliate website when you’re ready.