This blog post contains affiliate links. We earn a small commission when you purchase services from our recommended merchants – at no extra cost to you.
Affiliate marketing is an efficient way to make money blogging – if you know how to do it right. Though you can start affiliate marketing without a blog, it is way more feasible if you have one.
A blog lets you control how your visitors engage with your content. It helps you build reputation and trust, thus driving more sales. Plus, you can create an email list and send newsletters to bring people back to your content. This increases exposure to your content and generates higher revenue. You can tie everything together and optimize your Affiliate campaign better with a blog.
In this blog post, you will learn how to create an affiliate marketing blog from scratch and set it up for success.
Here is the stepwise process:
1. Pick a Niche for your Affiliate Blog
Niche, essentially, is the topic that you want to cover through blogging. For example, Fitness is a niche. And so is Personal Finance.
Finding the right niche is the most essential step of the whole process. You will invest many hours into creating content under the niche. If you know nothing about the main topic or are unwilling to learn about it, you will fail.
Also, as a beginner affiliate, your blog will get a chunk of its traffic from Google. But some niches are too competitive, making it nearly impossible for you to rank on the first page.
Cooking, for example, is saturated with seasoned players. Another generic cooking blog is near impossible to rank.
Avoid generic niches if you are a beginner. I can’t stress this enough.
Beyond competition, you also need to gauge your potential to make money from the niche. Some niches may seem lucrative, but they may not have the right products for you.
For example, the automated cars niche has predominantly high ticket items – people do a lot of research before buying them. A single blog post from a non-branded source will not cut it.
Alright, so you shouldn’t pick competitive niches, so what should you do instead?
A sub-niche is a subcategory of a broader niche. For example, Vegan Cooking is a sub-niche of Cooking.
Sub-niches have lesser competition and higher potential to rank. It has a smaller search volume, but the traffic you get is more targeted and thus easier to sell to.
This guide is packed with all the information you need to pick the right niche for your affiliate marketing blog.
2. Register a Domain Name for your Blog.
The domain name is a brand component that helps people recognize your blog. For example, the domain name for this blog post is digigrow.
Your domain name must align with the sub-niche you plan to cover but should not be too specific. Otherwise, you are restricted to that sub-niche forever – you can’t expand into related niches after exhausting the current sub-niche.
Suppose your sub-niche is hiking shoes. You have already built authority over a few months, and the blog generates good affiliate revenue. But it’s time to grow. So you explore related niches like – hunting shoes, hiking backpacks, etc.
If your domain name is hikingshoescalifornia, it’s hard to talk about backpacks under the same banner. But if your domain name is hikinggearcalifornia, you have enough room to expand.
A few key aspects you need to consider while registering a domain name are:
1. Your domain name should include the main keyword.
This is an optional step, but having a keyword in your domain name helps SEO. For example, an article titled Best hiking trails in California will get support from the domain name – hikinggearcalifornia compared to walkthetalk.
2. Go for a dot com domain extension.
Unless your content is relevant to a specific country, go for a .com domain as it has a universal appeal. Country extension domains rarely rank well outside the geography.
3. Choose a Web-Host
A website hosting service provides you the tools required to create and maintain a blog. You want to subscribe to a host that is fast and reliable.
Last year, we faced many issues with our then web host – the pages would load lethargically slowly, and at times returned a 503 error. We then switched to Hostinger that increased page load speed by 6 times!
A slow speed may result in a high bounce rate. You lose out on affiliate revenue when people click on your affiliate page links but bounce away because it loads too slowly.
4. Start your Affiliate Marketing Blog with WordPress
WordPress is the best CMS for Affiliate Marketing. It offers a host of themes and plugins that make managing an affiliate business easier. Most of them are optimized for technical SEO offering excellent load speed, page responsiveness, and a clean design that makes blogging less frightening for beginners.
Here are the 3 steps to get started with affiliate marketing using WordPress.
1. Select a Theme that Meets your Requirements
A WordPress theme determines the look and feel of your website. It is a block of code that is optimized for website performance. Many themes are available for different industries. An affiliate blog on gaming, for example, should look different from one on personal finance – themes offer that differentiation.
WordPress offers many free themes. But if you are looking for more customized features, you can purchase one from ThemeForest.
There are 3 key factors that you must consider while selecting a theme:
Your web pages must load within 2 seconds to avoid a high bounce rate. Even though your web host has a role to play, your theme has an impact too.
A well-coded theme will have just the right amount of code to do the job. Themes with excess CSS/JS files will be heavier and thus put more load on the server, resulting in slow pages.
About 50% of the internet users are on Mobile. Your pages must be optimized for small screens – and a theme should ensure that.
A good theme will avoid any page cuts, line breaks, and the need to zoom into text on Mobile phones.
Your theme should let you create the design you like. If you want to craft a blog post with flying unicorns or a landing page with Dracula on it, you should be able to do that.
2. Choose only those Plugins that you need.
We recommend WordPress over any other CMS because of the plugin variety. A plugin is a piece of code that interacts with your theme to offer certain features.
For example, if you want to create cool tables to include in your blog post. But your theme doesn’t have that feature, you can find a plugin that does that for you.
Here are a couple of plugins that make affiliate marketing easier:
- Pretty Links
Affiliate links are a long string of alphanumeric characters that human readers can’t deduce. A URL that reads – affiliatesite.com/dhfsljk1242sd doesn’t provide any information to your readers about which page they will land on if they click on the link.
You want to create a clean URL that drives more clicks – you can do that by cloaking your affiliate links. And the Pretty links plugin can help you with that. It lets you create a facade for the main URL.
For example, a cloaked URL – yourdomain.com/refer/affiliate_site will still take visitors to the main affiliate page but has more information than the main URL.
EasyAzon is a useful plugin if you are an Amazon affiliate. It lets you create affiliate links right on the WordPress editor – without having to visit Amazon.
3. Optimize for SEO
WordPress makes it easy for affiliates to accomplish basic SEO tasks. Plugins like Yoast help you do basic SEO like adding a slug, internal linking, etc. While Lightspeed Cache or WP Rocket can help you optimize your page load speed.
But there’s a lot that goes into SEO than plugins. In fact, we have an archive of content focussing on SEO.
With SEO, you can generate organic traffic to your website. In fact, 80% of all traffic for most new websites comes from organic channels – Google being the biggest contributor of them all.
Also, organic traffic is highly relevant and thus converts at a better rate.
5. Create the Right Content
After establishing your affiliate marketing blog on WordPress, your focus must be on content for the initial few months. Your goal is to drive organic traffic to your content and engage your visitors.
You want to cover your niche in a detailed, comprehensive manner. But at the same time, remember that you are writing for your audience – not for yourself. You must write content on topics that people are looking up on Google.
Here are a few factors to consider while creating content for you affiliate marketing blog:
1. Stick to your Niche
As a beginner affiliate marketer, it’s easy to sway away from your sub-niche because you like related niches too. But that’s detrimental to your efforts in creating niche relevance on Google.
If your sub-niche is wireless headphones, do not write about wireless earphones just yet.
2. Spend time in Topic Research
Finding the right topics to cover is a skill. No tool can tell you what to write – you must decide that for yourself, but essentially, you want to find topics with a decent search volume and less competition.
But the problem is that no tool gives you accurate search volume data. You can estimate competition by what’s already ranking, but you can’t guess numbers.
That’s why topic research requires some degree of intuition and risk. You can, however, do topic research on Google SERP pages. Out there, you can find all keywords that people are typing into the search bar. Google autocomplete, people also ask, and related searches sections can help you identify topics.
3. Do a thorough Keyword Research
After you find your main topic, you must plan to write a blog post that covers the topic from all angles. You must provide more information than the top-ranking page.
To do that, you must find topics related to your title – that will eventually become header tags.
Each header can be treated as a subsection, and you can find more sub-headers within them again. You can find keywords the same way you found topics on Google.
Though you want to expand and make your affiliate blog post comprehensive, you don’t want to stray too far from the topic. You must draw a line between what belongs to the blog post and what qualifies as a separate content piece. It’s a skill that you develop over a few months of practice.
4. Search volume
As mentioned earlier, there is no way to find accurate search volume for keywords. But you need a rough estimate that can be used as a guideline.
SEMRush and Ahrefs are the top paid tools for identifying a close estimate of search volume.
However, Keywords Everywhere is the best free option available.
Irrespective of the tool you choose, take the search volume data with a pinch of salt. You can get generous traffic from topics that tools claim have zero search volume! We have experienced that with this blog too.
5. Align with search intent
Google search begins with search intent. As the name suggests, search intent is the why of every search. Rarely ever would someone search shoes on Google as it doesn’t capture search intent.
However, they may search for hiking shoes that indicate the purpose and alignment of the search. The user is probably looking for shoes for their next hike. Yet another keyword – the best hiking shoes for kids have a completely different intent than a search on hiking shoes.
Google search is coded to meet search intent. It is always on the lookout for content with all the information aligning with it. If you create that content piece – you will rank on Google.
6. Create informational content
Informational content has a higher search volume than affiliate content. Ranking for informational keywords will generate organic traffic that you can divert to your affiliate posts through internal linking.
But for the first 3-4 months, focus on writing only informational content. You want to first establish a steady influx of new and returning visitors to build trust before you try to sell affiliate products. And even after, write more informational posts than money posts – as a rule of thumb, write 1 money post for every 3 info posts.
6. Select an Affiliate Program for Your Blog
Businesses that want to sell more through affiliate marketing create an affiliate program on popular affiliate networks. Occasionally, companies host their programs in-house.
You want to find the right affiliate program that offers high revenue per sale along with stellar support, easy interface, and timely payments.
The program will detail the terms of the deal – Percentage commission, Payment Model, minimum payment threshold, mode of payment, etc. Sign-up for the programs that meet your criteria.
7. Include an Affiliate Disclaimer
When you hover over a hyperlink, you see the landing page URL at the bottom left of your screen. It displays the domain and page you shall visit if you click on the link.
Your blog visitors can see the same thing on your website, and most of them can identify an affiliate URL – even if you cloak it. They can instantly make out that you will earn a commission through them.
And here’s the catch. People don’t like to be taken advantage of. They expect transparency and reliability, and if your business can’t provide that – you can’t generate revenue.
To build trust, you must reveal on every blog post with affiliate links that you might make a commission on every purchase your readers make – at no extra cost to them. This revelation is termed as an Affiliate disclaimer.
In addition to mentioning that on the blog post, you must create a page that details your affiliate merchants and your business relationship with them.
8. Set-up an Affiliate Products Page
A products page – or a recommended tools page for digital products – enlists all the affiliate products you recommend to your readers.
This page will help you cross-sell. For example, if a blog visitor likes a product recommendation, they might click on the products page in the navigation menu to see what else you offer.
They may buy other products they like, thus generating more affiliate income.
9. Create an About Page
An About page gives information about you and your blog to your readers. It tells them why you do what you do, your story, and the motivation behind creating your blog.
With that, you give a face to your business. People know the person who may earn a commission from their purchases. And if they know you and like you, there would be less resistance to purchase because people like to buy from those they know and trust.
10. A Few Minor Aspects of Making an Affiliate Blog
1. No-follow affiliate links.
With a no-follow or sponsored tag, you tell search engines that you have a monetary agreement with the website you are linking to. If you do not nofollow affiliate links the right way, you risk a penalty from Google.
2. Do not copy content or images.
This is a strict no, not just morally but also legally. If you copy images from other websites, you stand a threat of a lawsuit filed against you, and you become liable for payments. Instead, pick from free repositories like Canva, Unsplash, Pexel, etc.
Also, be very careful while using images provided by the content writers you hired. Mention in the agreement that you own the images they create. If not, after the agreement period concludes, they may claim copyright.
3. Back up your website.
There are a lot of elements that would want to bring your website down, especially if you are outranking your competitor. Your website might be hacked, and content is edited without you knowing.
Or even a rookie mistake or a faulty plugin might crash your website, and with that goes your content and all the blog posts you ever created.
You must back up your website to safeguard yourself from any threats. If you use Hostinger, you automatically have the website back up. But if you are on another web host, you might want to invest in a plugin to backup your content to your cloud storage – Google Drive, Box, etc.
When it comes to affiliate marketing with a blog…
Be Patient and Persevere
Quoting my school principal –
With strong will and determination, patience and perseverance, you can achieve any goal.
It comes back to me when I do not see results or make a mistake that I learn about only months later.
Remember, the path to success is long. You will stumble across pitfalls and start to believe that you won’t succeed. But keep doing what you do – create more content, optimize your campaigns, and keep offering value to your readers.
It will take a few months for that to happen but you will sell affiliate products and set up a secondary income that provides for you and your family for years to come.
Affiliate Blog FAQs
Can I use WordPress for Affiliate Marketing?
It is very convenient to do affiliate marketing with WordPress. It offers many plugins and themes that help in creating, tracking, and optimizing affiliate campaigns. In addition, it helps build an ecosystem to support your affiliate business by making SEO and email marketing easy.
What kind of website should I make for affiliate marketing?
You must create a blogging website for affiliate marketing and publish informational content on it. This way, you can attract organic traffic from Google and channel them to your affiliate blog posts and product pages. If you create a landing page oriented website, you will find it hard to rank on search engines as it lacks informational content and is crafted with commercial intent.