Let’s get back to basics.
You need three things to make money as an affiliate marketer:
- A website
- Affiliate products
If you have these three essential components, you will make sales and earn commission.
In this guide, we’re going to take care of the first crucial component.
You’ll learn how to use WordPress to build an affiliate website from scratch.
We’ll go through the whole process step by step, from setting up hosting to connecting your site to Google Analytics.
- What is an Affiliate Website?
- Types of Affiliate Websites
- What is WordPress?
- WordPress Pros & Cons
- What Do You Need to Get Started?
- How to Build an Affiliate Website Using WordPress
What is an Affiliate Website?
An affiliate website is a site that promotes products and services to its visitors.
Affiliate websites can promote physical products, digital products, and services.
When a visitor clicks on an affiliate link and completes a purchase, the affiliate website is credited with the sale and the owner receives a commission.
Types of Affiliate Websites
You have plenty of options when you’re deciding which type of affiliate website you want to create.
Each type of affiliate website has pros and cons, and some are more suited to particular niches than others.
Here’s a rundown of the most popular types of affiliate websites:
Daily Deals Website
Daily deals websites provide time-limited offers and discounts to their visitors.
This type of website has fallen out of favor recently, but you can still make money and carve out an audience if you do a good job of promoting your site.
Groupon is one of the most well-established daily deals websites, with a massive number of people visiting the site every day to seek out deals and discounts.
They have coupons and deals for different products and brands, with some significant cost-saving discounts offered to their visitors.
Everybody loves a discount, so there’s a broad audience for this type of affiliate website.
However, there are lots of daily deals websites out there, and standing out from the competition is no easy task.
If this is the type of website you want to create, you’ll want to forge relationships with brands and try to get exclusive discounts you can offer to your audience.
Price Comparison Website
Everybody has used this type of website before.
The last time you booked a flight, you probably used a price comparison site to find the cheapest tickets.
Skyscanner is a great example of a price comparison website.
Price comparison websites collate the prices of products from multiple retailers, making it easy for people to find the lowest prices.
After somebody has checked prices and clicks through to complete the purchase on the merchant’s website, the affiliate receives a commission on the sale.
If you want to set up a price comparison website, you’ll need to create a tool that automatically seeks out pricing data from around the internet and updates your site with the latest pricing information.
This type of site can be more challenging to set up, but it can run on autopilot once it’s up and running.
Product Review Website
Product reviews are a staple of the affiliate marketing world and are responsible for some of the biggest affiliate marketing success stories.
In 2016, the affiliate marketing review website The Wirecutter was sold to the New York Times for more than $30 million.
For this type of website, you simply sign up to affiliate networks, find products to review, and create valuable review content that helps people to make informed purchasing decisions.
When somebody reads your review, clicks your affiliate link, and completes a purchase, you are rewarded with the commission on the sale.
You can review products in a particular niche or narrow your focus even further and review items in a specific product category.
Affiliate blogs are a great way to balance monetized reviews and recommendations with content created to drive traffic to your site.
You can create a niche blog on anything from tennis to dog training.
Making Sense of Cents is a great example of an affiliate blog in the personal finance niche.
By publishing content that solves problems for a specific audience and including affiliate products as an additional resource, you can earn consistent income from a loyal audience that trusts your recommendations.
In 2018, bloggers and content sites were responsible for 40% of the total US commission payments to publishers.
Before you create your affiliate site, you need to choose which type of affiliate website you want to create.
As long as the content is relevant to your niche, you can always use different elements to create a hybrid affiliate site.
For example, if you create an affiliate blog on golf, you can create reviews of golfing gear and offer price comparisons.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that makes it easy for anyone with an internet connection to create a website.
Started as a blogging platform back in 2003, WordPress has grown to become the most widely used site builder.
Just to make it clear, there is a WordPress.com paid hosting service, but the WordPress.org CMS is what we will be referring to in this guide.
You’ll need to purchase hosting and a domain name, but WordPress is entirely free to install and use.
WordPress Pros & Cons
We recommend using WordPress to create your site, but before we start the step by step guide, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of using this CMS:
Pros of WordPress:
Complete Control and Ownership of Your Site
You can shop around for the best hosting and easily migrate your website.
The major drawback of website builders like Wix and Squarespace is that you are tied to the platform...
... And if you want to move, you risk losing all of your work.
There are tens of thousands of plugins and extensions you can use to increase your website functionality...
...The flexibility of WordPress means that you can do pretty much anything you want to.
Huge Range of Themes
You can choose from a vast range of free themes and templates to create your site...
...If you want something unique, you can purchase a builder like Oxygen or buy a custom-built, professionally designed theme.
WordPress is so widely used that you never have to worry about compatibility issues with third-party tools and applications...
...All of your affiliate tools, email marketing solutions, and SEO tools will function well on WordPress.
Cons of WordPress:
You’re Responsible for Your Site
You need to make sure your website is secure and regularly updated.
You’ll also need to create regular backups of your site in case anything happens…
...You can download plugins to automate most of these tasks.
Back End Editor
WordPress works from the back end of your website while Wix and other website builders offer a drag and drop page builder...
...When you make edits to a web page, you’ll need to preview the page before you commit to your changes.
However, there are some great paid drag and drop builders that integrate with WordPress.
Learning to code isn’t a necessity, but having a basic grasp of HTML and CSS can make creating and maintaining your website a lot easier.
Most people pick up some basic knowledge as they get more used to using WordPress...
...And it’s always a good idea to improve your skill set.
What Do You Need to Get Started?
If you want to rank high in search engine results and offer a great user experience to your visitors, you need to invest in reliable hosting.
There are tons of hosting providers out there and setting up hosting only takes a few minutes. We’ll walk you through the process step by step.
This isn’t something you want to rush. Take some time to come up with a catchy domain name that isn’t overly long or complicated…
...Make it relevant to your niche, and try to make it memorable.
There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes to choose from...
...Take a look through the free themes and choose a versatile and lightweight theme that doesn’t bring your loading speed down to a crawl.
You’re going to be writing a lot of content about topics in your niche, so it’s best if you have a real passion or knowledge about the subject.
Take a look at your hobbies and evaluate the products you regularly use to find a niche that interests you.
How to Build an Affiliate Website Using WordPress
Now we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into it.
Here’s the step by step guide to building an affiliate website using WordPress.
Step 1: Choose a Domain Name
The first step is to choose a domain name.
You have the freedom to choose any domain name you like, but there are some key considerations you should keep in mind:
You want your brand to be unique and memorable, so try to choose a domain name related to your niche, but different from what’s already out there.
Keep your domain name short and easy to remember.
Try to make it easy to type and hard to forget. You don’t want people to have to think about how to spell your domain name.
Related to Your Niche
You want people to know what you are about as soon as possible. Try to include a niche-related keyword in your domain name.
There are over 2 billion sites on the web, so finding an original and unique domain name isn’t as easy as you might think.
You can use free tools to check if your chosen domain name is available and generate domain name ideas related to your niche.
Head over to Instant Domain Search and enter a seed keyword, and it will generate a page of suggestions.
After you’ve chosen your domain name, the next step is to register it and purchase your hosting plan.
Step 2: Purchase Hosting
The majority of hosting providers offer domain registration as an additional add on.
For this guide, we’re going to use Bluehost, but every provider has a similar setup for purchasing hosting and registering your domain.
Head over to Bluehost and click on the “Get Started” button:
Choose the pricing plan that suits the needs of your website.
If you choose a decent hosting provider, you should be able to upgrade your hosting plan later if you need to.
You’ll now be asked to create your domain name.
If you followed the above steps, you’d know that your chosen domain name is available.
Once you’ve entered your domain name in the “Create a new domain” box, click “Next.”
Fill in your account information (email address, name, address, etc.)
You’ll be offered a bunch of add-ons, but you can always add these later if you need them.
Scroll down the page, add your payment details, and complete your purchase.
Once your payment is processed, you’ll be asked to create a password for logging in to your hosting account control panel.
The control panel is where you manage administrative tasks like email accounts, databases, and website files...
...It’s also where you install WordPress.
Step 3: Install WordPress
Bluehost will guide you through the process of installing WordPress.
You’ll be asked which type of website you want to create:
Which features you want to add:
You’ll need to name your site and come up with a tagline:
And choose a theme. You can always change your theme later.
After you’ve selected your theme, WordPress will be installed on your site.
You’ve installed WordPress, and you’re ready to start building your site.
You can also log in to your WordPress dashboard by entering your domain name, followed by wp-admin, into your web browser. It should look something like this:
Enter your WordPress username and password to log in.
Step 4: Choose a Theme
Your WordPress theme determines the visual presentation of your website.
A WordPress theme is a professionally designed template.
Once you download and install a theme, your website’s appearance will be altered to match the template.
When you first install WordPress, your site will have a preset basic theme that looks like this:
It’s time to install a new theme.
There are thousands of free themes that you can install on your site.
If you want something different, there are plenty of online marketplaces like Creative Market, where you can purchase a unique WordPress theme.
To change your theme, click on “Appearance” in the WordPress dashboard, and then “Themes.”
Select “Add New.”
You can now choose from thousands of free WordPress themes listed in the themes directory.
You can sort results, add filters, and search the directory to find a theme that suits your needs.
Click on the “Preview” button to see what the theme looks like up close.
Once you’ve found a theme that you like, click on the “Install” button.
You can make changes to your theme by clicking on “Appearance” and “Customize.”
Step 5: Create Web Pages
It’s time to add some content to your website.
WordPress has two default types of content: pages and posts.
Posts are the content that form the different pages of your blog.
They appear in reverse chronological order, showing the newest content at the top of the page.
Static pages are the fixed content pages like your homepage, about page, and contact page.
You don’t need to worry too much about the content of your pages. You can add more content and update these pages later.
For now, we’re going to go through the process of adding new pages to your site.
Select “Pages” from the dashboard and click “Add New.”
You’ll now be directed to the page editor:
The first thing you need to do is to give your page a title. If it’s your homepage, type “Home” into the page title box.
In the text editor box below the title, you can add your text, images, and embed videos.
You can preview your page to see how it looks by clicking on the “Preview” button in the top right of the editor.
After you’re happy with how it looks, click on “Publish” to make your page live.
Repeat these steps to add more static pages to your website.
Now it’s time to create your first blog post.
From the dashboard, click on “Posts” and “Add New.”
You’ll be directed to an editor page that looks similar to the static page editor.
Give your post a title and use the text editor to add content.
There are some additional options like categories, tags, and post formats.
Just like the static page editor, you can preview your post before you go live.
Once you’re happy with your post, click “Publish.”
Step 6: Customizing Your Website
After you’ve published some content, it’s time to customize your site and make it look good.
The first step is to set a static front page for your site.
Creating a Static Front Page
From the dashboard, select “Settings,” followed by “Reading.”
Select “Static front page” and choose the “Home” page that you created in the previous step.
Make sure that you click on “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page to save your changes.
Your “Home” page will now be set as your website’s front page.
Change Your Title and Tagline
If you followed the above steps, you would have already chosen a title for your site.
As a default setting, WordPress automatically assigns your website a tagline “Just another WordPress site.”
To change your tagline, you need to click “Settings” followed by “General” on the main dashboard.
From here, you’ll see a page containing the name of your site and the default tagline.
A tagline is a single sentence that describes your website.
Click on the tagline box and change your tagline to something more relevant to your site.
Remember to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page.
Create a Navigation Menu
If you want people to stick around, read your content, and check out your affiliate products, you need to make it easy for people to find their way around.
Adding an intuitive navigation menu is a must for every website.
Here’s how you can add an intuitive navigation menu to your WordPress website.
From the main dashboard, click on “Appearance” and then “Menus.”
Give your menu a name and add the pages you want to display in your menu.
Choose from the list of pages and click on “Add to Menu.”
You’ll see the pages appearing in the space under your navigation menu.
You can rearrange the order of these pages to position them where you want.
After you’ve finished adding pages, you need to choose where your menu will be displayed.
The number of options you have depends on the WordPress theme you chose for your site.
The majority of themes feature a primary menu at the top of the page.
Click on “Create Menu” and visit your website to test out your new menu.
Step 7: Installing Plugins
Plugins are little bits of code that add new features and capabilities to your website.
You can use plugins for contact forms, image galleries, SEO, site security, and more.
There’s a huge number of plugins you can install entirely for free.
A quick word of warning.
Generally, the more plugins you install on your site, the more HTTP requests your website will send when somebody visits.
This can significantly slow down the speed of your site.
Always keep the number of plugins installed on your website to a minimum.
If you don’t need the plugin, uninstall it from your website.
Here’s a rundown of the top free plugins you should consider installing on your website:
This plugin is the easiest way to add a contact form to your website.
You can use the drag and drop editor to create your form and have it live on your website in a matter of minutes.
Perhaps the most popular WordPress plugin ever.
Yoast SEO helps you to optimize your website and content to improve your SEO and get more organic traffic from Google.
The recommendations aren’t set in stone, but it’s a great plugin to make sure the SEO of your website is up to scratch.
Security is essential for you and your website visitors.
Sucuri is a great way to boost the security of your site for free.
It offers a firewall to protect your site from malware, DDoS, brute force, and host of other hacker attacks.
TinyPNG is a great way to increase the speed of your website.
It compresses the size of your PNG files, reducing the storage required to store the data.
Smaller files mean reduced loading times and happier website visitors.
This caching plugin boosts your WordPress website’s speed by automatically using gzip compression, pre-loading, and page cache.
It’s a fast and effective way to increase your website speed with zero technical skills required.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
Monster Insights is a beginner-friendly plugin that connects your WordPress website to Google Analytics.
It’s been installed by over 2 million webmasters.
You can easily set up Google Analytics and track your website traffic and performance.
It’s super easy to set up, even if you have zero coding knowledge.
Pretty Links Pro
This is an excellent plugin for affiliate websites.
It makes it easy to manage your affiliate links.
You can see all your links from your WordPress dashboard and easily cloak, redirect, and shorten your links for sharing on social.
It’s not free, but it’s a great time saver for affiliate marketers.
It’s always a good idea to have a backup of your site.
UpdraftPlus is a great way to automatically backup your website.
You can set the plugin to store your backup in Google Docs or Dropbox.
If something goes wrong, you’ll have a backup ready to restore your site in minutes.
How to Install a WordPress Plugin
The fastest and easiest way to install a plugin is to use the WordPress plugin directory.
All of the plugins listed in the WordPress plugin library are free to install.
If you need one of the paid plugins listed above, you’ll need to upload files to your website.
The plugin vendor will have a guide to show you how to do this.
For free plugins, head to the “Plugins” option in the dashboard and click on “Add New.”
You’ll be able to search the library for the plugin you need.
You can also add filters and search by functionality.
Find the plugin you need and click on “Install Now.”
Once WordPress has downloaded and installed the plugin, you’ll see the “Install Now” button changes to “Activate.”
Click on “Activate” to start using the plugin.
Your WordPress plugin will now be up and running and ready to use.
Step 8: Finding Affiliate Products
Once you’ve created your WordPress site, you need to find affiliate products to promote.
The easiest way to find affiliate offers is to sign up for an affiliate network.
Here’s a quick rundown of the top affiliate networks:
Beginner-friendly affiliate program that enables you to promote any product listed on Amazon.
With over 350 million products for sale on Amazon, you’re guaranteed to find affiliate products that are relevant to your niche and appealing to your audience.
ClickBank is a beginner-friendly affiliate network with a huge number of digital products.
You can sign up and start generating affiliate links in minutes.
Founded in 1998, CJ Affiliate is a well established affiliate network that works with both household brands and smaller merchants.
They focus mainly on physical products, and offer innovative features like real-time reporting.
Rakuten Affiliate Network
Rakuten has a smaller list of merchants than some of the other affiliate networks, but they do have some exclusive partnerships with some of the world’s largest retailers.
AWIN is one of the largest affiliate networks, working with over 13,000 merchants.
You can find physical products from big brands like Hyatt and Hewlett-Packard alongside dating apps like eHarmony and even insurance affiliate programs.
Established in 2000, ShareASale has maintained a position as one of the best affiliate networks for over two decades.
They work with over 3,900 merchants, with a good mix of physical and digital products.
From digital courses and software to shoes and garden furniture, you can find millions of products from thousands of different merchants on these affiliate networks.
You should only promote products and services that are related to your niche.
If you write about gardening, don’t try and promote weight loss supplements just because they offer a high rate of commission.
When you choose products to promote, you should pay close attention to the rate of commission and product price.
If you choose a low-value product, you’ll need to convert a large number of your website visitors to generate a significant affiliate income.
Let’s say that you promote a $20 Amazon product that offers a 10% commission.
To make $500 a month promoting this product, you’ll need to generate 250 sales.
If you promote a $100 ClickBank product that offers a 50% commission, you’ll only need to convert 10 visitors to generate $500 in a month.
Step 9: Create Affiliate Content
When you’ve identified products to promote, it’s time to write high-quality content that will convert your website visitors into buyers.
There are lots of different content formats, and what works for you will depend on your website and your niche.
The majority of affiliate websites use the following content types:
Reviews form the backbone of the majority of affiliate websites.
Answer the common questions people have about a product, be honest about the pros and cons, and try to offer something different and better than what’s already out there.
Choose two of the top products in a category in your niche and compare them.
You can use keyword research to find out which products your audience is searching for, and create a comprehensive comparison post to help people choose the product that is right for them.
This type of content can be a great way to generate consistent conversions and affiliate sales over a long time.
Target the common problems people experience and write a post that shows how to achieve their outcome.
You include your affiliate products as the tools people need to achieve their desired results.
Product roundups are a great way to promote lots of affiliate products in a single post.
If you create a comprehensive “top 10” or “best of” article and keep it regularly updated, you can earn a commission for months and years ahead.
Whichever content format you use, focus on offering value to your visitors.
Affiliate marketers are rewarded with a commission for the value that they provide to their audience.
Help people make informed purchasing decisions by providing all the information they need to purchase the right product.
Step 10: Monitor Your Performance
Profitable affiliate websites aren’t a case of set and forget.
You need to measure performance and continually improve your site to generate a sustainable affiliate income.
That’s why monitoring your performance is so important.
By monitoring how your visitors engage with your website, you can make better decisions, identify the types of content that your audience likes, and earn more money.
The number of visitors, time spent on-site, and the number of page views are the basic metrics you need to track.
You can use this information to judge your content’s performance and optimize your webpages for more conversions and sales.
Set Up Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an essential tool for monitoring the performance of your website. It’s also entirely free.
Here’s how to set up Google Analytics in 3 simple steps:
1. Create a Google Analytics Account
Head to the Google Analytics homepage and log in if you already have an existing Google account or create a new account.
You’ll be directed to an account setup page.
Add an account name, and you’ll be asked to submit your:
- Website name
- Time zone
After you’ve entered this information, click on “Get Tracking ID.”
Accept the terms and conditions, and you’ll receive your tracking ID - a long number that begins with the letters “UA.”
2. Install Google Analytics by MonsterInsights Plugin
After you’ve received your tracking ID, the easiest way to connect Google Analytics is to install a free plugin.
Google Analytics by MonsterInsights, is a well-established plugin that automatically connects your WordPress website to Google Analytics.
To install the plugin, navigate to your WordPress dashboard and click on “plugins,” followed by “Add New.”
Search the plugin library for Google Analytics by MonsterInsights and click “Install Now.”
Once the installation is complete, click “Activate” to turn it on.
Once the plugin is installed and active, you’ll see the “Active” option fade.
3. Connect the Plugin to Google Analytics
When the plugin is activated, head back to the WordPress dashboard and click on “Insights,” followed by “Settings.”
From here, click on “Connect MonsterInsights.”
A pop-up window will appear requesting permission to connect to your Google account.
Click “Allow” to proceed to the next page.
You’ll now see a long code of random numbers and letters.
Copy this code and paste it into the box located on your WordPress dashboard and click “Save authentication code.”
The page will refresh and show a dropdown menu.
Select the website name that you created in the first step and click on “Save changes.”
Your website is now connected to Google Analytics.
Creating an affiliate website is the best way to make money online.
There’s the minimal investment required, you don’t need to stock and store any products, and once your website is set up, you can earn money while you sleep.
However, it’s not a get rich quick scheme.
Just like every successful business, it takes time and effort to build a profitable affiliate website.
But if you put in the effort and keep striving to improve, you will make sales and earn money as an affiliate marketer.