You need a name, a niche market, a program, a hosted website, a content plan, and more.
Getting the affiliate website up and running scares most people away before they even begin.
But you're not most people.
In this step-by-step guide, we'll give you everything you need to get set up with your own affiliate blog website and generate serious passive profit.
Unlike other “affiliate blog guides,” we’ve cut the fluff and will give you everything you need to make a profitable affiliate blog website without 1000 words of "here's why affiliate marketing is good…"
We’ve done the research and have assembled a tactical, step-by-step process to get your affiliate site published and earn you affiliate commissions in no time.
Before we start building your site, let’s look at some of the defining characteristics of affiliate blog websites and a few examples.
Affiliate Blog Websites: A Brief Overview
Affiliate blog websites generate revenue through an affiliate link you embed in articles on your affiliate site. Most blogs have a centralized focus or topic.
Some of the most popular blogs focus on the writer, a lifestyle or a passion. As you publish new posts, you can integrate affiliate links into the articles and drive traffic to partner websites.
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How Do Affiliate Blog Websites Work?
The premise of affiliate blog websites is simple. Affiliate blog websites are all about attracting an engaged audience with high-quality content.
Once you’ve acquired that audience, you can monetize them. As you partner with brands, you’ll receive your own affiliate links that you can embed in your affiliate marketing blog.
Once a reader clicks on the link and purchases, you’ll earn a commission.
Why Do Affiliate Blog Websites Work?
Consumers read blogs and are actively searching for engaging blog content. In fact, consumers spend 3X more time on blogs than they do on email.
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However, consumer trust in bloggers is actually the competitive advantage for affiliate blog sites compared to other options.
81% of US online consumers say that blogs are trusted sources of information and advice, compared to only 25% for advertising.
How Do Affiliate Blog Websites Provide Value?
The value provided to the affiliate blog owner, brand and the reader are closely linked. Affiliate blogs deliver community and product recommendations to subscribers who trust the writer.
For brands, the blogs can act as an extension of their channel activation strategy.
It may be cheaper for the brand to pay an affiliate commission on sales to the blogger if they are delivering relevant customers to the brand’s site.
That’s why it’s so important to focus on producing engaging content to attract an audience that brands seek.
Custom Image: Pros and Cons of Affiliate Blog Websites
Real-Life Examples of Affiliate Blog Websites
Now that you know how an affiliate blog website works, let’s take a look at a few live sites that are excellent examples of success.
#1: The Penny Hoarder
The Penny Hoarder targets budget-conscious consumers by creating content focusing on saving money and finding new, non-traditional ways to make money.
Credit card, financial services and insurance brands could team with The Penny Hoarder to reach customers who may be interested in their products.
Jay Clouse is an entrepreneur who helps other entrepreneurs and freelancers acquire customers, launch businesses and sell their products. Jay includes affiliate links in his blog posts when he references a SaaS product that he recommends.
When someone clicks on it and signs up for a free trial or purchases a subscription, Jay receives a commission.
Pinch of Yum sells itself as a “food blog with simple, tasty recipes.” The blog focuses mainly on recipes but also has a Shop page with a variety of cooking products listed on Amazon.
The site is an affiliate of Amazon and receives a cut from all purchases that were originally sourced from the links on Pinch of Yum’s blog post and Shop page.
Creating Your Affiliate Blog Website
To start bringing your affiliate blog website to life, we’ve assembled an eight-point checklist to guide you in your process.
In just a matter of time, you can publish your first article and be on your way to earning your first affiliate commission. Let’s dive right in.
1. Use signals and keyword research to pick a blog focus.
Different web signals and keyword research data will point you in the right direction for what consumers are actively looking for on various search engines.
Websites like Trends and Glimpse are great places to start merely to see which topics are gaining popularity from consumers around the world.
Your blog can focus on yourself, a lifestyle, a passion, or an industry. However, in order for it to be effective, it should attract readers that companies are interested in and serve them content that they are actively seeking.
Keyword research identifies topics and keywords that are generating high search volumes.
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If the competition for a specific keyword is low and it fits the focus of your blog, this would make a useful topic for a future post.
You might even find that the topic you were intending to write about isn’t being searched for often. If this is the case, you should reevaluate the focus of your blog.
To start your keyword research, pick a free or paid SEO tool to use:
- Ahrefs – expensive, but thorough for keyword research and optimization
- Google Keyword Planner – free tool to see search volumes
- Moz – free keyword research tool with paid component
For our example, we’ll use Google Keyword Planner. If you want to create an affiliate blog about leather boots, you can input that keyword to generate the search traffic for a list of similar ones:
As you can see from the list, there are a handful of related keywords such as wide calf boots, waterproof boots, men’s dress boots, and black leather boots.
In addition, you can analyze the monthly searches and competition to understand how important each topic is for your blog.
Collectively, these indications will make you well-versed to proceed with a topic and focus that is valuable to readers who are searching for it.
2. Choose a name for your blog.
Selecting the name for your blog is an important decision. The wrong name can be confusing, unclear, and not representative of the type of content you’re publishing.
To start, use a blog name generator to source ideas from related keywords. Even if you don’t use any of the names generated, the results may inspire you to think of the name you need.
For example, if you were starting a lifestyle blog about beach life, you could add the keywords “Beach Living” and click generate.
Then, you’d be paired up with hundreds of ideas for your blog’s name.
Once you have the name in mind, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the named representative of the type of content you’re going to write about?
- Is the name straightforward and not misleading?
- Does the name align with keywords that your audience is searching for?
If the answer to those questions is yes, you’re ready to see if the domain is available.
3. Buy the domain and hosting service.
To ensure your domain name is available, you can do an Instant Domain Name Search to see which options you can buy.
Once you have the domain in your possession, you can transfer it to the hosting service of your choice.
WordPress and Squarespace are simple, easy-to-use content management systems. WebFlow is also an option to consider if you want more flexibility and have time to learn how to customize the platform.
If you’re just starting out, we’d recommend WordPress as your blogging platform. WordPress is the category leader for blog hosting sites. Over 409 million people currently use WordPress, publishing 70 million new posts on the platform per month.
In addition, WordPress has 50,000+ plugins offered in the WordPress Plugin Store, providing you with greater flexibility to create the site you envision.
The WordPress dashboard makes it super easy for a blogger to build their affiliate marketing website and start publishing their first blog post in no time.
4. Use a content calendar template to map your content.
With your site now live, it’s time to start producing content. But what will you write about?
That’s where your content calendar comes into play. A content calendar is a master plan for your content production schedule. It should contain the blog title, topic, URL, focus keyword, publishing date, and the writer assigned.
To get a head start, download a free content calendar template and customize it.
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As you plan your content, always check back to the keyword research you’ve previously done to guide you in topic ideation.
5. Hire contract writers and designers.
While it might be important to work independently at the start, you’ll eventually need a fleet of writers and designers at an arm’s length.
Adding contract writers and designers to your team will be needed in order to scale.
The easiest way to find writers and designers to help is to add a posting to an online services marketplace such as Fiverr or Upwork. Most engagements are on a per-project or per hour basis depending on what you’re seeking.
If you want to hire a freelance writer or designer that works on a part-time basis, consider posting a job on a popular job board like Indeed or AngelList.
5. Optimize your content for search engines and subscriber acquisition.
Once you have your content drafted, it’s time to optimize it.
With the right optimization, you can increase the article’s ranking and improve its chances of being found.
We could write an entire article about blog optimization, but for now, we’ll concentrate on the high-level optimization techniques you need to do for every post. These include:
- Adding headings (H1s, H2s, H3s) throughout the article
- Including 2-3 internal and external links to relevant, high-quality sites
- Ensuring related keywords are included in the post
- Adding titles and alt text to images
When consumers go on a search engine or social media, they should be able to find your affiliate site if it is optimized correctly. However, Google and other search engines will need time to properly crawl and rank your site on search engine result pages.
A skilled blogger is obsessed with their SEO; it is what will make their niche site and blog discoverable.
You should also include an email capture form embedded into each blog. As users are reading, they may like the content and wish to subscribe.
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As you acquire their email address, you can remarket your content to them and use your audience as leverage when you are partnering with brands.
6. Promote your content on relevant channels.
Before you set up affiliate partnerships, you’ll need to prove you have readers.
The easiest way to start getting readers while you wait for your SEO efforts to kick in is to promote your content wherever your target audience hangs out.
This may include LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, Reddit threads and more.
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If you can get targeted with your promotion efforts, you will have a higher chance of reaching relevant audiences that are interested in your content.
7. Set up affiliate partnerships and integrate links into your posts.
Start thinking about companies that would want to market to your readers.
Many of these brands likely have an affiliate program page on their website that you can review and apply to become a partner. They’ll take a look at your site and readership to decide whether or not you’d make a good affiliate.
Most affiliate programs are listed in a site’s footer:
Once you get accepted, you’ll receive an affiliate link for that specific partner. This is the link that you can add in your blog posts when you reference that company or its products.
To ensure you are receiving the commissions you deserve, you can use an affiliate platform like Rewardful and Tapfiliate to manage your affiliate relationships and earnings.
At first, you may think it’s easy to manage each affiliate by yourself.
However, as you establish more partnerships over time, it can be tough to keep track of everything.
8. Add an affiliate disclaimer to your site.
Consumers like to know when they’re reading a paid promotion or advertisement. In addition, the FTC advises bloggers to make these relationships transparent for their readers.
Here’s an example of an affiliate disclosure from Jay Clouse’s blog we featured above:
Your site will only be a success if you’re ethical. You don’t want to lose the trust your subscribers have in your content and your writing.
Adding an affiliate disclaimer lets your consumers know that you may earn a commission from your recommendations.
An affiliate link disclosure makes your entire operation more transparent and adheres to FTC guidelines.
Affiliate blog websites are impactful ways to grow a following, make a name for yourself, and earn affiliate revenue through product recommendations to your audience.
Blog reading has become a daily habit for millions of people around the world.
If you can find a way to stand out and grow your subscriber base, you can form a lucrative affiliate business.
By following these instructions, you will be one step closer to launching and profiting from an engaging blog that consumers love and can’t wait to read.