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How to Kill it With SEO for Your SaaS

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A growing number of online entrepreneurs and businesses are realizing that even with a great SaaS, getting your offering the exposure it needs to provide you with those big returns, in a sea of highly similar and competitive options, is a major undertaking.

You can absolutely focus on paid acquisition strategies and social media to provide a short-lived stream of users. But if you want that long-term, self-sustaining, scalable growth, then your SEO game needs to be on point, because it is the marketing foundation upon which all others will succeed. Below are some things you really should be doing if you want to kill it with your SEO and make your SaaS stand out. 

Build A

Understand Your Buyer’s Journey

Most buyer journeys for SaaS are non-linear, which is to say, they will not always come to your site in search of a solution to their problem. Sometimes they do, but they often have no idea you are offering one, and so they find you through questions asked online. Invariably, those questions are asked via Google, by searching long and short-tail queries relevant to customer problems. “How do I do X faster,” how to make X simpler,” searches in this vein. 

Your SEO, therefore, should be layered, with different content focused on different stages of the journey. The beginning stage involves blog content that focuses on the targeted keywords contained in your customers’ “problem-solving” searches. This blog content should start as an informative description that aims to educate, and gradually lead into how your particular SaaS is the solution to their problem.

Content geared towards those in the second stage of the journey is targeted at those who are aware there are SaaS solutions to their problems, but shopping for providers. Your SEO at this stage should be focused on middle-of-the-sales-funnel keywords that are describing what it is your service provides–”the best email outreach,” “the best CRM,” “the best productivity measurement tool.” Instead of the educational tone that you would use at the beginning of the customer’s buying journey, focus on specific features, integrability, and product categories. 

Those at the final stage of their buying journey (i.e., the buyer knows what they need, why they need it, and which specific products meet those needs) require an even different content approach. Here is where buyers compare and contrast their shortlist of products to see which one makes the most sense for them. This is where you should be attracting product-aware buyers using keywords that focus on comparisons and alternatives–“versus” lists and “alternatives to” lists. 

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Link Building: The Other Vital Piece of the Puzzle

SEO is really a dual process. It involves content creation–which we just covered–and link building. Layered content that attempts to reach your target market during different stages of the buying journey is crucial. But that, plus a steady supply of solid backlinks from relevant high DR sites, will take your SEO to the next level.

Link-building, however, unlike content, is more painstaking and requires more expertise. It is a much more systematized process and the investments required to learn, do and scale it (not only money, but in time and opportunity cost) are too much for many businesses to handle in-house. If you are serious about dramatically increasing your visibility, look into a solid link-building service, especially ones that specialize in generating high-quality SaaS links. 

Most of the reputable link builders will work with you on a pay-per-link arrangement, which means a budget is established and then each time a link is built, you are charged. The more solid DR sites you have linking back to your SaaS pages (whether your home page or specific content pages), the higher up in Google’s search results your site will appear when people look for keywords related to your service. 

Don’t Forget About HARO

People who use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) either love it or hate it. Pitching HARO queries takes time and it can be a while before you see a return on that investment. Sometimes the articles you are hoping to be featured in won’t be published for four, six, maybe even twelve weeks. What makes HARO so valuable, however, is that it’s free. Anyone can sign up for HARO and start responding to blogger and journalist queries. 

HARO shouldn’t be the only way you build links for your SaaS, but it should certainly be one of them. The chance to score high DR links from relevant sites for free is too important to pass up, and if you have real expertise in your niche and can write a good ~200-word quotable response that answers a query’s questions or provides unique insight, you can land some really solid links. Try to leverage both your personal expertise and your niche’s relevance (either together or separately) when choosing which queries to go after. 

journalist

Build A Social Media Presence 

YouTube is the web’s second-largest search engine behind Google (its parent company). It has over 2 billion monthly users and it is the next major SEO frontier. When was the last time you searched something in Google and the top results were YouTube videos on the topic? Those results could (and should) be you. If you have an SaaS and you want to convince prospective customers they should buy it, show them how it works on your branded YouTube channel. 

You can create ‘sister’ YouTube content to accompany your blog posts (which you can also cross-promote) and apply the same SEO keyword tactics to coming up with the titles and descriptions of your videos. Your YouTube content can include “how to” videos on the various functionalities of your service; troubleshooting videos, and you can even use YouTube as a place for feedback that can be incorporated into future patches and designs. You can count on brutally honest YouTube users to tell you where your service’s shortcomings are and what you might change to improve your UI and UX. 

Conclusion

SEO, when done right, is the absolute best way to build an affordable, long-term marketing plan that can be scaled as you go and which, when done right, becomes self-sustaining. Getting your SEO off the ground takes some time and money, but if you pick and choose who you work with and where you allocate your resources, you can build a large pool of potential customers who are in the market for precisely what your service offers. Keep the above tips in mind and you will absolutely kill it with your SEO for your SaaS.

The post How to Kill it With SEO for Your SaaS appeared first on Zac Johnson.

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How To Use LinkedIn For Personal Branding

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co-founder

Creating a personal brand can be a powerful way to achieve important professional and business goals. When you develop a personal brand, you make yourself more recognizable and take charge of how you are perceived online. When done correctly, a personal brand can help you achieve the following: 

Building a personal brand is different from becoming an influencer. A personal brand is oriented towards a professional audience and involves content for B2B or B2C audiences.

For this reason, LinkedIn is a good place to start your personal brand building journey.

LinkedIn is the largest networking platform for professionals. It has over 500 million professionals to date and a significant chunk of this network consists of high-level decision-makers. Another interesting LinkedIn stat is that for B2B businesses, 50% of their social traffic just from the platform.

You have the best chance of building a strong personal and professional brand by leveraging LinkedIn. Let’s get down to the specific ways you can use it and become a recognized figure in your industry.

Build a strong profile

Before you can start any other step, you need to have a robust LinkedIn profile for your audience to visit. The profile section is where people will learn more about you so that they can connect with you, follow your content, and figure out if you’re the right fit for their goals. If they’re looking for someone to hire or to get interesting content, your profile content will help them understand if you’re a good fit.

Before you can start writing your profile details, there’s are two things you need to do:

  • Brainstorm the goals of your personal branding efforts because this will direct how you write your profile and posts
  • Determine the right keyword to use in your profile and content. LinkedIn can be compared to a search engine for people. Leveraging the right keyword will help people find you using the search feature

When you’re clear about what you want your branding to achieve, you’re going to shape your content by keeping your goals and the keywords at the forefront. Here are different areas of your profile that you can optimize.

Headline

One of the elements of your profile that’s visible in a LinkedIn search result is your headline. It’s also the first thing that draws people’s eyes after your picture and name. In this spot, you need to create a descriptive headline that includes the keyword you want people to find.

Keep it short and eye-catching so that people want to continue exploring your site.

The About Section

You can write up to 2000 words in your profile’s About section. However, it’s the first sentence that will determine if people read it fully. Create a good hook in the first five words and try to create a story here. End your About section with a call to action. For example, ask your audience to send you an email or to connect with you.

Experiences

Another way to highlight whether your profile is relevant is to add helpful details to your work experiences section in your profile. Elaborate on what you’ve done and try to tie it together with what you currently do. This will help you build a robust profile that gets recognized as a good result for specific searches.

As you create your profile, make sure that it provides information that goes beyond what’s on your resume. Try to make your personality appear in the way you write. LinkedIn is a networking site and you want to reach people at an emotional level by generating trust. Use conversational language and keep your content easy to read to draw more people to your brand.

Connect with your target audience

LinkedIn allows you to connect with 30,000 people. But when you make connections, pick people who potentially belong to the audience that will value your content.

Once you’ve built your profile so that your audience can find out more about you, your next step is to connect with the right people.

To do this effectively, consider your goals and who your audience is. If you’re trying to become a thought leader in the arena of data science, then you need to connect with other data scientists and people in related roles. Getting connected to people who are involved in, say, orthodontics will not serve you. Your content won’t interest them and this will show through a lack of engagement on your posts.

Use LinkedIn’s search feature to find people who are your target audience. Filter by location and keywords and send a personalized note when you do add a connection.

To get more attention and engagement, comment on their posts, wish them on their work anniversaries, and also follow up on your invitations.

The most important thing you can do is to send an invitation that explains why you want to connect with them and how connecting with you can benefit them. This will make it more likely that you’ll get a positive response.

Create engaging LinkedIn posts

So, you’ve made a solid LinkedIn profile and have connected with the right people. But the final ingredient in the mix is to make great content. LinkedIn is like any other social media network in the sense that emotions are the key to engagement. Here’s how to structure your posts:

  • Make the very first line a hook that expresses your point of view in the form of a statement or the start of a story
  • Use short sentences and line breaks to make your post easy to read
  • Tell a meaningful story or share your insight on a trending topic
  • Add a call to action inviting people to comment
  • Use hashtags to make your content findable by topic

Put these tips into practice and you’ll see a rise in engagement as well as views on your profile.

Conclusion

The steps suggested here will all improve your profile’s performance on LinkedIn. However, there’s no substitute for real passion for what you do. Be consistent with the techniques given here and make content regularly that shares what you think.
As you continue to build your personal brand, you should see an increase in followership and get recognized as a thought leader on the topic you focus on. Keep engaging with other people too and you’re bound to grow your personal brand on LinkedIn.

Syed Balkhi is an award-winning entrepreneur and online marketing expert. He is the co-founder of OptinMonster, WPBeginner, MonsterInsights, and WPForms.

The post How To Use LinkedIn For Personal Branding first appeared on John Chow dot Com.

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8 Tips That Will Help You Build a Winning SEO Content Strategy

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Companies that exist to improve other company’s search engine visibility rake in a collective 80 billion dollars in revenue annually. That doesn’t come as surprise to us given the unmistakable importance of outstanding SEO content strategy. SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of tailoring content to play well with search engines in hopes that content will rise to the top of result pages. Given that billions of searches are conducted on platforms like Google daily, optimizing content for search engine consumption is a must for any business that wants to survive in the digital age. But how can a

Digital marketing google MARKETING Online advertising

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4 Day HostGator Summer Sale – Start Your Blog for Only $2.08

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My web host, HostGator, is doing a 4-day sale by offering 70% off all shared hosting plans. That means you can start a blog right now for as low as $2.08 a month!

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We’re offering 70% off all of our annual shared hosting packages† from today, July 20th at 12:00 AM CST through Thursday, July 23rd at 11:59 PM CST. This offer includes free domain registration as well!

The sale is on right now and will run until Thursday, July 23 at 11:59PM CST. To get the 70% off, use coupon code JULY70 at checkout. If you’ve been thinking about start a blog, now is the time to do it. I’ll even help you get started.

Free WordPress Installation and Setup

Order your web hosting with HostGator and I’ll set up your new blog for you for free! Not only that, I will also install for free the following plugins to get your blog started on the right foot:

  • All In One SEO
  • Google Sitemap
  • W3 Total Cache
  • Show Top Commentators
  • WordPress.com Stats
  • Akismet Spam Filter
  • After The Deadline

All In One SEO is the ultimate SEO plugin for WordPress and will help your blog rank higher with the search engines. In addition, I’ll set up your new blog with search engine friendly URLs. Google Sitemap will help get your blog pages indexed quickly on Google. W3 Total Cache will make your blog load a lot faster and handle more traffic. Show Top Commentators encourages readers to comment on your blog. WP Stats will let you know who is visiting your blog. Akismet kills off the comment spam and After The Deadline will proof read your blog post for grammar and spelling. These are some of the best WordPress plugins available and they’re included free with the WordPress installation service.

All you have to do is order a web hosting plan from HostGator, then forward me the cPanel login information to johnchow [at] johnchow.com, and I’ll install WordPress for you. Afterwards, I’ll email you back the login information for your new WordPress blog and you can start blogging!

I will also include instructions on how to change all your login passwords. I will not keep any of the forwarded information from HostGator. Once WordPress has been set up, I will destroy the email.

$200 of Google AdWords & Bing Ads Credits To Promote Your New Blog

Not only will you get your blog hosting at a once-in-a-year discount, but every hosting plan at HostGator comes with $100 of Google AdWords and $100 of Bing Ads credit that you can use to promote your new blog. Start your blog for up to 70% off, get a free domain name, get WordPress and plugins installed for free and get $200 of advertising credits. You won’t find a better web hosting deal anywhere!

The sale is on now! If you were thinking about starting your blog, RIGHT NOW is the time to do it! Order your web hosting plan and let me set up a new WordPress blog for you.

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Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: How to Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale in 7 Steps

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The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?

But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first. 

To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.

The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.

All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it. 

So, what do you need to do to get started?

7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission

We've broken down the process into seven steps for affiliate marketing beginners. Following this guide will set you on the right course and have you earning your first commission in no time.

1. Choose a Niche

Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.

Obviously, if you don't know what your site is about or who you're going to target with it, you can't really build a site around it…can you? 

If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps.

If you don't quite know what your niche is yet, here's some advice that you might find useful. 

Some key questions to ask yourself when determining your niche are:

  • What topics am I already passionate about?

It's much easier to work on something if you're passionate about it. Plus, when you have a passion, you're usually quite knowledgeable about it too, so that definitely helps. For example if you have a passion about about makeup, your niche of choice might be makeup related, too. 

  • Is there money in this niche?

While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it's likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right? 

For example, KitchenFaucetDivas is clearly a site that was built for profit, not passion. Unless of course there is someone out there with a serious passion for kitchen faucets! 😉 

authoritative site

  • What topic could I see myself easily writing 25, 50, or 100 blog posts about?

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 

MoneySavingExpert is a great example of a site with a topic for which you would have a never ending supply of content ideas. 

B2B

  • Is there room in this niche for another affiliate marketer?

There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets (e.g., weight loss). Before jumping on board with a hugely popular niche, make sure there's enough room for you. That is — will you be able to make money and compete with already established marketers? If not, keep looking. 

  • Is there enough interest in/demand for products in this niche?

The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn't going to make you much money. 

  • Are there affiliate programs available in this niche?

This is obviously a crucial factor to consider. You might come up with an idea for a niche you know a lot about, but are there affiliate programs for the niche? No affiliate program = no sales. Time to look for a different niche. 

Additional Resources for Choosing a Niche

Want to learn more about choosing a profitable niche? Here are some excellent resources we recommend for further reading:

2. Research Affiliate Programs

Once you've decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You've probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper. 

Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!

Digital marketing

When choosing an affiliate program, keep these key points in mind:

  • What type of merchants use the program/ affiliate network? 

You want to make sure other similar sellers are also using the network, as this can help you gauge your likelihood of success with the particular program.

  • How much commission are you likely to make from the products?

Make sure you sign up for programs that are profitable and generate a sufficient return in on investment. Some tips:

  • If using ClickBank, products should have over a 50% commission (preferably 60%), and have a high gravity rating (meaning they’re in demand).
  • For CPA (cost-per-action) programs, commissions should be over $1, and products shouldn't be overly restrictive in how you can promote them.
  • For physical products, look for commissions over $40.
     
  • Do you want to be associated with the products and services?

The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 

Ads like the one below often lead to sketchy products — do you want to be associated with a product that promises results that may or may not be true?

First Affiliate Commission

  • What kind of support does the program provide?

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Additional Resources to Find the Right Affiliate Program

We've given you a few quick tips to help you choose an affiliate program that is right for you. For more information, be sure to check out the following: 

3. Build a Site

Steps 1 and 2 are all about research and figuring out what's possible and profitable. Now, it's time to start putting your research into action. 

Assuming you don’t already have a website built, this will be the next step. Fortunately, building a site isn’t as complicated or labor-intensive as it was in the past.

Jeremy Schoemaker

If you're a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site. 

You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:

  • Buy a domain.

Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name

There are several places you can buy a domain, including our very own Affilorama Domain service. Other well-known options are: GoDaddy and NameCheap

  • Purchase and set up hosting. 

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

MARKETING

For more details on how to choose a reliable host, make sure to read our free lesson on What to Look for in a Hosting Provider. Some affordable and reliable hosting providers we recommend are GoDaddy, HostGator and BlueHost

If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don't panic, it's a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.

  • Install WordPress.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 

  • Install your theme.

A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later. 

The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest. 

  • Create content.

Finally, once your site is ready, it's time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly. More details about content creation in Step 4. 

Additional Resources for Building Your Site

For more information on building your first affiliate marketing website, we recommend the following resources:

4. Produce Excellent Content

Now that your site is set up and you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’re ready to begin perhaps the most time-consuming (but potentially rewarding) part of the affiliate business: Producing content.

This is where the overused but truer-than-ever phrase “content is king” comes into play.

Your goal for your site will be to establish it as an authority site in your niche, and the main way to do this is to consistently produce unique, high-quality content.

This could consist of:

  • Product reviews.

Your affiliate site model could be based off writing reviews about different products or services. This is a common model and if done well, can prove very useful in generating affiliate income.

Outline of marketing

For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from. 

  • Blog posts that address common problems, questions or issues relevant to your target market.

Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 

For example, Security Guard Training HQ has a very extensive blog on a variety of topics relevant for anyone interested in security guard training, jobs and more. 

search engine

  • Evergreen content.

If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content. 

For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 

search engine optimization

  • Informational products.

Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.

A good example is DatingMetrics, where you're tempted with a Free Texting Crash Course in exchange for your email. The real marketing will begin once the user has downloaded this course. 

affiliate marketing

The type of content you create for your website will largely depend on your niche, as certain types of content perform better in some niches than others.

Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).

Additional Resources for Creating Your Content

5. Build an Audience

Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you. 

So how do you start building an audience for a completely new site? Here are some ideas: 

  • Promote your content via social media.

The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 

I'll use MoneySavingExpert.com as an example again. The site has over 154,000 likes on its Facebook page and it connects with the audience by sharing links to content but also asking money-saving/budgeting related questions. The highly engaged readers then visit the website, where they read content and no doubt make purchases.

authoritative site

  • Guest post on high-traffic blogs.

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

  • Build an email list.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

  • Use basic SEO techniques to increase search engine traffic to your site.

Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it's important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don't forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.

Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!

  • Invest in paid advertising.

Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.

Additional Resources for Building Your Audience

If you're interested in learning more about how to build an audience and start generating traffic for your site, check out the following resources:

6. Promote Affiliate Offers

Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for!

This, my friends, is where things really kick into high gear. Many fly-by-night affiliates will jump right to this step and bypass steps 1–5 completely. And this is what will set you apart.

Once you’ve shown that you can offer something of value in your niche, it’s time to continue adding value by promoting products that will be useful and helpful for your audience.

You can promote your offers in a number of ways. It will depend on the type of site you've built and also what you're selling. Some ideas include:

  • Product reviews.

Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don't just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details. 

Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they're interested. If do, hooray! You've made your first sale. 

  • Banner ads.

You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  

Below are some examples of banners that Templatic provides to its affiliates. 

B2B

  • In-text content links.

This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

  • Email promotions.

If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you. 

  • Discounts and giveaways. 

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 

Digital marketing

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 

Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers. This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.   

Additional Resources for Promoting Your Offers

7. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat

Now that you're done with Steps 1 – 6, Step 7 is simply to keep doing what you're doing. Yes, seriously!

Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell. 

Review of Key Points

It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!

To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won't seem so overwhelming at all. Here's a quick recap of what you need to do:

  1. Choose your niche.
  2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
  3. Build a site.
  4. Produce excellent content.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
  7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!

 

As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale. 

Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale? What’s holding you back from getting started? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help. 

We hope you enjoyed this.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: How to Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale in 7 Steps

This may be of interest to you.

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affiliate marketing

The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?

But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first. 

To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.

The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.

All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it. 

So, what do you need to do to get started?

7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission

We've broken down the process into seven steps for affiliate marketing beginners. Following this guide will set you on the right course and have you earning your first commission in no time.

1. Choose a Niche

Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.

Obviously, if you don't know what your site is about or who you're going to target with it, you can't really build a site around it…can you? 

If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps.

If you don't quite know what your niche is yet, here's some advice that you might find useful. 

Some key questions to ask yourself when determining your niche are:

  • What topics am I already passionate about?

It's much easier to work on something if you're passionate about it. Plus, when you have a passion, you're usually quite knowledgeable about it too, so that definitely helps. For example if you have a passion about about makeup, your niche of choice might be makeup related, too. 

  • Is there money in this niche?

While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it's likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right? 

For example, KitchenFaucetDivas is clearly a site that was built for profit, not passion. Unless of course there is someone out there with a serious passion for kitchen faucets! 😉 

authoritative site

  • What topic could I see myself easily writing 25, 50, or 100 blog posts about?

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 

MoneySavingExpert is a great example of a site with a topic for which you would have a never ending supply of content ideas. 

B2B

  • Is there room in this niche for another affiliate marketer?

There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets (e.g., weight loss). Before jumping on board with a hugely popular niche, make sure there's enough room for you. That is — will you be able to make money and compete with already established marketers? If not, keep looking. 

  • Is there enough interest in/demand for products in this niche?

The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn't going to make you much money. 

  • Are there affiliate programs available in this niche?

This is obviously a crucial factor to consider. You might come up with an idea for a niche you know a lot about, but are there affiliate programs for the niche? No affiliate program = no sales. Time to look for a different niche. 

Additional Resources for Choosing a Niche

Want to learn more about choosing a profitable niche? Here are some excellent resources we recommend for further reading:

2. Research Affiliate Programs

Once you've decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You've probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper. 

Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!

Digital marketing

When choosing an affiliate program, keep these key points in mind:

  • What type of merchants use the program/ affiliate network? 

You want to make sure other similar sellers are also using the network, as this can help you gauge your likelihood of success with the particular program.

  • How much commission are you likely to make from the products?

Make sure you sign up for programs that are profitable and generate a sufficient return in on investment. Some tips:

  • If using ClickBank, products should have over a 50% commission (preferably 60%), and have a high gravity rating (meaning they’re in demand).
  • For CPA (cost-per-action) programs, commissions should be over $1, and products shouldn't be overly restrictive in how you can promote them.
  • For physical products, look for commissions over $40.
     
  • Do you want to be associated with the products and services?

The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 

Ads like the one below often lead to sketchy products — do you want to be associated with a product that promises results that may or may not be true?

First Affiliate Commission

  • What kind of support does the program provide?

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Additional Resources to Find the Right Affiliate Program

We've given you a few quick tips to help you choose an affiliate program that is right for you. For more information, be sure to check out the following: 

3. Build a Site

Steps 1 and 2 are all about research and figuring out what's possible and profitable. Now, it's time to start putting your research into action. 

Assuming you don’t already have a website built, this will be the next step. Fortunately, building a site isn’t as complicated or labor-intensive as it was in the past.

Jeremy Schoemaker

If you're a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site. 

You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:

  • Buy a domain.

Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name

There are several places you can buy a domain, including our very own Affilorama Domain service. Other well-known options are: GoDaddy and NameCheap

  • Purchase and set up hosting. 

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

MARKETING

For more details on how to choose a reliable host, make sure to read our free lesson on What to Look for in a Hosting Provider. Some affordable and reliable hosting providers we recommend are GoDaddy, HostGator and BlueHost

If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don't panic, it's a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.

  • Install WordPress.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 

  • Install your theme.

A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later. 

The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest. 

  • Create content.

Finally, once your site is ready, it's time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly. More details about content creation in Step 4. 

Additional Resources for Building Your Site

For more information on building your first affiliate marketing website, we recommend the following resources:

4. Produce Excellent Content

Now that your site is set up and you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’re ready to begin perhaps the most time-consuming (but potentially rewarding) part of the affiliate business: Producing content.

This is where the overused but truer-than-ever phrase “content is king” comes into play.

Your goal for your site will be to establish it as an authority site in your niche, and the main way to do this is to consistently produce unique, high-quality content.

This could consist of:

  • Product reviews.

Your affiliate site model could be based off writing reviews about different products or services. This is a common model and if done well, can prove very useful in generating affiliate income.

Outline of marketing

For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from. 

  • Blog posts that address common problems, questions or issues relevant to your target market.

Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 

For example, Security Guard Training HQ has a very extensive blog on a variety of topics relevant for anyone interested in security guard training, jobs and more. 

search engine

  • Evergreen content.

If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content. 

For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 

search engine optimization

  • Informational products.

Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.

A good example is DatingMetrics, where you're tempted with a Free Texting Crash Course in exchange for your email. The real marketing will begin once the user has downloaded this course. 

affiliate marketing

The type of content you create for your website will largely depend on your niche, as certain types of content perform better in some niches than others.

Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).

Additional Resources for Creating Your Content

5. Build an Audience

Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you. 

So how do you start building an audience for a completely new site? Here are some ideas: 

  • Promote your content via social media.

The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 

I'll use MoneySavingExpert.com as an example again. The site has over 154,000 likes on its Facebook page and it connects with the audience by sharing links to content but also asking money-saving/budgeting related questions. The highly engaged readers then visit the website, where they read content and no doubt make purchases.

authoritative site

  • Guest post on high-traffic blogs.

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

  • Build an email list.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

  • Use basic SEO techniques to increase search engine traffic to your site.

Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it's important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don't forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.

Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!

  • Invest in paid advertising.

Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.

Additional Resources for Building Your Audience

If you're interested in learning more about how to build an audience and start generating traffic for your site, check out the following resources:

6. Promote Affiliate Offers

Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for!

This, my friends, is where things really kick into high gear. Many fly-by-night affiliates will jump right to this step and bypass steps 1–5 completely. And this is what will set you apart.

Once you’ve shown that you can offer something of value in your niche, it’s time to continue adding value by promoting products that will be useful and helpful for your audience.

You can promote your offers in a number of ways. It will depend on the type of site you've built and also what you're selling. Some ideas include:

  • Product reviews.

Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don't just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details. 

Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they're interested. If do, hooray! You've made your first sale. 

  • Banner ads.

You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  

Below are some examples of banners that Templatic provides to its affiliates. 

B2B

  • In-text content links.

This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

  • Email promotions.

If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you. 

  • Discounts and giveaways. 

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 

Digital marketing

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 

Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers. This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.   

Additional Resources for Promoting Your Offers

7. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat

Now that you're done with Steps 1 – 6, Step 7 is simply to keep doing what you're doing. Yes, seriously!

Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell. 

Review of Key Points

It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!

To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won't seem so overwhelming at all. Here's a quick recap of what you need to do:

  1. Choose your niche.
  2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
  3. Build a site.
  4. Produce excellent content.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
  7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!

 

As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale. 

Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale? What’s holding you back from getting started? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help. 

We hope you enjoyed this.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: How to Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale in 7 Steps

This may be of interest to you.

.blogpostContent img.pull-left:first-child display:none; .blogpostContent img margin-right: 0; width: auto; max-width: -webkit-fill-available; margin:10px 0; display: block; .blogpostContent img.no-border border: 0; -moz-box-shadow: none; -webkit-box-shadow: none; box-shadow: none; margin-right: 0; margin-top:0; .blogpostContent ul margin-top:10px; .blogpostContent li margin-bottom:10px;

affiliate marketing

The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?

But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first. 

To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.

The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.

All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it. 

So, what do you need to do to get started?

7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission

We've broken down the process into seven steps for affiliate marketing beginners. Following this guide will set you on the right course and have you earning your first commission in no time.

1. Choose a Niche

Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.

Obviously, if you don't know what your site is about or who you're going to target with it, you can't really build a site around it…can you? 

If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps.

If you don't quite know what your niche is yet, here's some advice that you might find useful. 

Some key questions to ask yourself when determining your niche are:

  • What topics am I already passionate about?

It's much easier to work on something if you're passionate about it. Plus, when you have a passion, you're usually quite knowledgeable about it too, so that definitely helps. For example if you have a passion about about makeup, your niche of choice might be makeup related, too. 

  • Is there money in this niche?

While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it's likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right? 

For example, KitchenFaucetDivas is clearly a site that was built for profit, not passion. Unless of course there is someone out there with a serious passion for kitchen faucets! 😉 

authoritative site

  • What topic could I see myself easily writing 25, 50, or 100 blog posts about?

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 

MoneySavingExpert is a great example of a site with a topic for which you would have a never ending supply of content ideas. 

B2B

  • Is there room in this niche for another affiliate marketer?

There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets (e.g., weight loss). Before jumping on board with a hugely popular niche, make sure there's enough room for you. That is — will you be able to make money and compete with already established marketers? If not, keep looking. 

  • Is there enough interest in/demand for products in this niche?

The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn't going to make you much money. 

  • Are there affiliate programs available in this niche?

This is obviously a crucial factor to consider. You might come up with an idea for a niche you know a lot about, but are there affiliate programs for the niche? No affiliate program = no sales. Time to look for a different niche. 

Additional Resources for Choosing a Niche

Want to learn more about choosing a profitable niche? Here are some excellent resources we recommend for further reading:

2. Research Affiliate Programs

Once you've decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You've probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper. 

Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!

Digital marketing

When choosing an affiliate program, keep these key points in mind:

  • What type of merchants use the program/ affiliate network? 

You want to make sure other similar sellers are also using the network, as this can help you gauge your likelihood of success with the particular program.

  • How much commission are you likely to make from the products?

Make sure you sign up for programs that are profitable and generate a sufficient return in on investment. Some tips:

  • If using ClickBank, products should have over a 50% commission (preferably 60%), and have a high gravity rating (meaning they’re in demand).
  • For CPA (cost-per-action) programs, commissions should be over $1, and products shouldn't be overly restrictive in how you can promote them.
  • For physical products, look for commissions over $40.
     
  • Do you want to be associated with the products and services?

The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 

Ads like the one below often lead to sketchy products — do you want to be associated with a product that promises results that may or may not be true?

First Affiliate Commission

  • What kind of support does the program provide?

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Additional Resources to Find the Right Affiliate Program

We've given you a few quick tips to help you choose an affiliate program that is right for you. For more information, be sure to check out the following: 

3. Build a Site

Steps 1 and 2 are all about research and figuring out what's possible and profitable. Now, it's time to start putting your research into action. 

Assuming you don’t already have a website built, this will be the next step. Fortunately, building a site isn’t as complicated or labor-intensive as it was in the past.

Jeremy Schoemaker

If you're a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site. 

You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:

  • Buy a domain.

Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name

There are several places you can buy a domain, including our very own Affilorama Domain service. Other well-known options are: GoDaddy and NameCheap

  • Purchase and set up hosting. 

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

MARKETING

For more details on how to choose a reliable host, make sure to read our free lesson on What to Look for in a Hosting Provider. Some affordable and reliable hosting providers we recommend are GoDaddy, HostGator and BlueHost

If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don't panic, it's a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.

  • Install WordPress.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 

  • Install your theme.

A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later. 

The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest. 

  • Create content.

Finally, once your site is ready, it's time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly. More details about content creation in Step 4. 

Additional Resources for Building Your Site

For more information on building your first affiliate marketing website, we recommend the following resources:

4. Produce Excellent Content

Now that your site is set up and you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’re ready to begin perhaps the most time-consuming (but potentially rewarding) part of the affiliate business: Producing content.

This is where the overused but truer-than-ever phrase “content is king” comes into play.

Your goal for your site will be to establish it as an authority site in your niche, and the main way to do this is to consistently produce unique, high-quality content.

This could consist of:

  • Product reviews.

Your affiliate site model could be based off writing reviews about different products or services. This is a common model and if done well, can prove very useful in generating affiliate income.

Outline of marketing

For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from. 

  • Blog posts that address common problems, questions or issues relevant to your target market.

Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 

For example, Security Guard Training HQ has a very extensive blog on a variety of topics relevant for anyone interested in security guard training, jobs and more. 

search engine

  • Evergreen content.

If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content. 

For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 

search engine optimization

  • Informational products.

Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.

A good example is DatingMetrics, where you're tempted with a Free Texting Crash Course in exchange for your email. The real marketing will begin once the user has downloaded this course. 

affiliate marketing

The type of content you create for your website will largely depend on your niche, as certain types of content perform better in some niches than others.

Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).

Additional Resources for Creating Your Content

5. Build an Audience

Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you. 

So how do you start building an audience for a completely new site? Here are some ideas: 

  • Promote your content via social media.

The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 

I'll use MoneySavingExpert.com as an example again. The site has over 154,000 likes on its Facebook page and it connects with the audience by sharing links to content but also asking money-saving/budgeting related questions. The highly engaged readers then visit the website, where they read content and no doubt make purchases.

authoritative site

  • Guest post on high-traffic blogs.

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

  • Build an email list.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

  • Use basic SEO techniques to increase search engine traffic to your site.

Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it's important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don't forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.

Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!

  • Invest in paid advertising.

Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.

Additional Resources for Building Your Audience

If you're interested in learning more about how to build an audience and start generating traffic for your site, check out the following resources:

6. Promote Affiliate Offers

Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for!

This, my friends, is where things really kick into high gear. Many fly-by-night affiliates will jump right to this step and bypass steps 1–5 completely. And this is what will set you apart.

Once you’ve shown that you can offer something of value in your niche, it’s time to continue adding value by promoting products that will be useful and helpful for your audience.

You can promote your offers in a number of ways. It will depend on the type of site you've built and also what you're selling. Some ideas include:

  • Product reviews.

Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don't just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details. 

Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they're interested. If do, hooray! You've made your first sale. 

  • Banner ads.

You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  

Below are some examples of banners that Templatic provides to its affiliates. 

B2B

  • In-text content links.

This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

  • Email promotions.

If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you. 

  • Discounts and giveaways. 

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 

Digital marketing

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 

Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers. This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.   

Additional Resources for Promoting Your Offers

7. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat

Now that you're done with Steps 1 – 6, Step 7 is simply to keep doing what you're doing. Yes, seriously!

Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell. 

Review of Key Points

It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!

To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won't seem so overwhelming at all. Here's a quick recap of what you need to do:

  1. Choose your niche.
  2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
  3. Build a site.
  4. Produce excellent content.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
  7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!

 

As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale. 

Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale? What’s holding you back from getting started? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help. 

We hope you enjoyed this.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: How to Make Your First Affiliate Marketing Sale in 7 Steps

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affiliate marketing

The lure of affiliate marketing is undeniable; who can resist passive income?

But to make that passive income happen, you have got to put in some work first. 

To succeed in affiliate marketing, there are a number of crucial steps you must take before you earn that first affiliate profits. And these steps are, well … not passive.

The good news is that if you’re determined to make this work and are willing to put in the time and effort, you’re already well on your way to affiliate marketing success.

All the work you put in is to help you make your first affiliate marketing sale. There is nothing like a first sale to motivate you and make you keep at it. 

So, what do you need to do to get started?

7 Steps to Earning Your First Affiliate Commission

We've broken down the process into seven steps for affiliate marketing beginners. Following this guide will set you on the right course and have you earning your first commission in no time.

1. Choose a Niche

Before you even begin building your first site, you’ll need to decide which niche you’re going to target.

Obviously, if you don't know what your site is about or who you're going to target with it, you can't really build a site around it…can you? 

If you’ve already figured this one out, way to go! This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult and overwhelming steps.

If you don't quite know what your niche is yet, here's some advice that you might find useful. 

Some key questions to ask yourself when determining your niche are:

  • What topics am I already passionate about?

It's much easier to work on something if you're passionate about it. Plus, when you have a passion, you're usually quite knowledgeable about it too, so that definitely helps. For example if you have a passion about about makeup, your niche of choice might be makeup related, too. 

  • Is there money in this niche?

While following your passion is definitely the recommended option, sometimes the possibility of making money in a profitable niche trumps passion. So, you might not necessarily know much about your niche, but if it's likely to make you money, you can always learn more about it, right? 

For example, KitchenFaucetDivas is clearly a site that was built for profit, not passion. Unless of course there is someone out there with a serious passion for kitchen faucets! 😉 

authoritative site

  • What topic could I see myself easily writing 25, 50, or 100 blog posts about?

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 

MoneySavingExpert is a great example of a site with a topic for which you would have a never ending supply of content ideas. 

B2B

  • Is there room in this niche for another affiliate marketer?

There are several profitable niches that are also very popular among affiliate markets (e.g., weight loss). Before jumping on board with a hugely popular niche, make sure there's enough room for you. That is — will you be able to make money and compete with already established marketers? If not, keep looking. 

  • Is there enough interest in/demand for products in this niche?

The niche you choose might draw enough interest from your audience when it comes to reading and acquiring knowledge, but are they willing to buy relevant products too? Without consumer interest in products, your niche isn't going to make you much money. 

  • Are there affiliate programs available in this niche?

This is obviously a crucial factor to consider. You might come up with an idea for a niche you know a lot about, but are there affiliate programs for the niche? No affiliate program = no sales. Time to look for a different niche. 

Additional Resources for Choosing a Niche

Want to learn more about choosing a profitable niche? Here are some excellent resources we recommend for further reading:

2. Research Affiliate Programs

Once you've decided on a niche, it’s time to find out what’s out there in terms of programs and products to promote. You've probably already done a bit of research for this while researching your niche — now you need to dig deeper. 

Choosing an affiliate program will take some work, but don’t be afraid to invest a significant amount of time into it because this is, of course, where your income will come from. Choosing the right program will make it well worth your while!

Digital marketing

When choosing an affiliate program, keep these key points in mind:

  • What type of merchants use the program/ affiliate network? 

You want to make sure other similar sellers are also using the network, as this can help you gauge your likelihood of success with the particular program.

  • How much commission are you likely to make from the products?

Make sure you sign up for programs that are profitable and generate a sufficient return in on investment. Some tips:

  • If using ClickBank, products should have over a 50% commission (preferably 60%), and have a high gravity rating (meaning they’re in demand).
  • For CPA (cost-per-action) programs, commissions should be over $1, and products shouldn't be overly restrictive in how you can promote them.
  • For physical products, look for commissions over $40.
     
  • Do you want to be associated with the products and services?

The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 

Ads like the one below often lead to sketchy products — do you want to be associated with a product that promises results that may or may not be true?

First Affiliate Commission

  • What kind of support does the program provide?

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Additional Resources to Find the Right Affiliate Program

We've given you a few quick tips to help you choose an affiliate program that is right for you. For more information, be sure to check out the following: 

3. Build a Site

Steps 1 and 2 are all about research and figuring out what's possible and profitable. Now, it's time to start putting your research into action. 

Assuming you don’t already have a website built, this will be the next step. Fortunately, building a site isn’t as complicated or labor-intensive as it was in the past.

Jeremy Schoemaker

If you're a newbie to building sites, the easiest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. The WordPress CMS is very easy to use and while coding skills can come in handy, for the most part you will not require any tech knowledge to set up your site. 

You need to follow a few steps to have your site up and running:

  • Buy a domain.

Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name

There are several places you can buy a domain, including our very own Affilorama Domain service. Other well-known options are: GoDaddy and NameCheap

  • Purchase and set up hosting. 

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

MARKETING

For more details on how to choose a reliable host, make sure to read our free lesson on What to Look for in a Hosting Provider. Some affordable and reliable hosting providers we recommend are GoDaddy, HostGator and BlueHost

If you purchase your domain and hosting from different companies, you will need to link the two together. Don't panic, it's a simple process. Check out our lesson: Linking your Domain with Your Hosting.

  • Install WordPress.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 

  • Install your theme.

A WordPress theme provides all the styling of a site that you (and your audience) see on the front end. There are thousands of themes available, so choosing one might seem daunting at start. Our advice: go with something simple and easy to customize. You can always change it later. 

The AffiloTheme is a great option. Completely customizable, and built specifically for affiliate marketers, you can use this WordPress theme to bypass much of the initial learning curve other affiliate marketers will experience. You can also search for themes on a site like Theme Forest. 

  • Create content.

Finally, once your site is ready, it's time to create content for it. The content you create must be relevant to your niche but also interesting and engaging enough to keep your audience coming back. You should also ensure the site content is search engine-friendly. More details about content creation in Step 4. 

Additional Resources for Building Your Site

For more information on building your first affiliate marketing website, we recommend the following resources:

4. Produce Excellent Content

Now that your site is set up and you’ve joined an affiliate program, you’re ready to begin perhaps the most time-consuming (but potentially rewarding) part of the affiliate business: Producing content.

This is where the overused but truer-than-ever phrase “content is king” comes into play.

Your goal for your site will be to establish it as an authority site in your niche, and the main way to do this is to consistently produce unique, high-quality content.

This could consist of:

  • Product reviews.

Your affiliate site model could be based off writing reviews about different products or services. This is a common model and if done well, can prove very useful in generating affiliate income.

Outline of marketing

For example, The Wire Cutter is focused on writing reviews of several different kinds of products and helping their readers make the best decision about the product they want to buy. After reading a review on their site, if the user clicks through to the product/service using the affiliate link, The Wire Cutter will earn a commission from. 

  • Blog posts that address common problems, questions or issues relevant to your target market.

Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 

For example, Security Guard Training HQ has a very extensive blog on a variety of topics relevant for anyone interested in security guard training, jobs and more. 

search engine

  • Evergreen content.

If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content. 

For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 

search engine optimization

  • Informational products.

Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.

A good example is DatingMetrics, where you're tempted with a Free Texting Crash Course in exchange for your email. The real marketing will begin once the user has downloaded this course. 

affiliate marketing

The type of content you create for your website will largely depend on your niche, as certain types of content perform better in some niches than others.

Remember: Purchasing generic content is NOT an effective method to build your site. While it may be tempting to populate your site this way, in the long run it won’t help you to position yourself as an expert in your niche (and ultimately means less traffic and fewer sales).

Additional Resources for Creating Your Content

5. Build an Audience

Building an audience for your site will, in some ways, follow naturally once you start producing excellent content. An interested audience will not only bring you consistent traffic, but also result in consistent sales for you. 

So how do you start building an audience for a completely new site? Here are some ideas: 

  • Promote your content via social media.

The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 

I'll use MoneySavingExpert.com as an example again. The site has over 154,000 likes on its Facebook page and it connects with the audience by sharing links to content but also asking money-saving/budgeting related questions. The highly engaged readers then visit the website, where they read content and no doubt make purchases.

authoritative site

  • Guest post on high-traffic blogs.

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

  • Build an email list.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

  • Use basic SEO techniques to increase search engine traffic to your site.

Organic search remains an important source of traffic for any website, so it's important that you optimize your website for search engines as well. When creating your content, you must always do so keeping the reader in mind first, but don't forget to follow a few basic SEO principles as well.

Learn SEO yourself or hire a good SEO marketer to help you maximize on-page and off-page SEO opportunities for your site. If your site starts to appear in search results for terms relevant to your niche, it will be a huge boost towards building your audience (and your sales)!

  • Invest in paid advertising.

Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.

Additional Resources for Building Your Audience

If you're interested in learning more about how to build an audience and start generating traffic for your site, check out the following resources:

6. Promote Affiliate Offers

Finally, the part we’ve all been waiting for!

This, my friends, is where things really kick into high gear. Many fly-by-night affiliates will jump right to this step and bypass steps 1–5 completely. And this is what will set you apart.

Once you’ve shown that you can offer something of value in your niche, it’s time to continue adding value by promoting products that will be useful and helpful for your audience.

You can promote your offers in a number of ways. It will depend on the type of site you've built and also what you're selling. Some ideas include:

  • Product reviews.

Write honest, real reviews about products. Build up trust with your audience, and remember that they rely on your opinion. Don't just point out all the positives of a product and gloss over the negatives. An honest opinion will be valued. Add compelling images and make mention of useful features, specifications and other details. 

Your product review can then link to the page (with your affiliate ID attached), where your audience can make a purchase if they're interested. If do, hooray! You've made your first sale. 

  • Banner ads.

You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  

Below are some examples of banners that Templatic provides to its affiliates. 

B2B

  • In-text content links.

This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

  • Email promotions.

If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you. 

  • Discounts and giveaways. 

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 

Digital marketing

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 

Also, make sure you have a disclaimer on your website that advises your audience that you may have links that promote affiliate offers. This is necessary for several affiliate programs and also a basic courtesy to your website visitors. In the U.S., the FTC mandates disclosure for affiliate marketers (and anyone issuing endorsements), as well.   

Additional Resources for Promoting Your Offers

7. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat

Now that you're done with Steps 1 – 6, Step 7 is simply to keep doing what you're doing. Yes, seriously!

Your ongoing work as an affiliate marketer will be to repeat steps 4 – 6 on a continual basis. Building a site up to a point where it can make you consistent income takes a bit of work and you must be willing to constantly create, promote, market, innovate and of course, sell. 

Review of Key Points

It can feel overwhelming to do all the necessary work involved in setting up your site and building your reputation. But trust me, once you’ve made that first sale, all the hard work will be worth it!

To sum it all up, making your first affiliate commission requires a bit of work but if you break it all down and follow it step by step, it won't seem so overwhelming at all. Here's a quick recap of what you need to do:

  1. Choose your niche.
  2. Research different affiliate programs and products.
  3. Build a site.
  4. Produce excellent content.
  5. Build an audience.
  6. Promote your affiliate product(s).
  7. Repeat steps #4–7 on a continual basis!

 

As you can see, there is a tried-and-true strategy when it comes to affiliate marketing for beginners. Put in the work, and you’ll soon be reaping the rewards of your first sale. 

Do you feel overwhelmed about making that first affiliate sale? What’s holding you back from getting started? Let us know in the comments below and we'll be happy to help. 

We hope you enjoyed this.

The Importance of Coming Soon Pages (with Examples)

This may be of interest to you.

Promoting your website is one of the few universal keys that unlock the doors of digital success. Creating good content is super important. Running good campaigns, alluring design, collaborations, creativity…all of those pieces play a very important role respectively, but promotion is just one step above, because regardless of the outstanding quality of your content, how can anyone see it of you don’t spread the word? 

There are many great techniques of promotion, but one of the most prolific ones, reserved for only the superfine players that know success is right around the corner, is pre promotion. Some people start their promotion from their first postings, but losing out all of the users and traffic that you can attract from starting to spread the word out before the website itself gets launched? Not a chance! 

You need to build the story up, get people hyped about their new favorite bookmark and emphasize that there is a great new story coming up and that they need to be a part of it. That’s where the ‘coming soon’ page kicks in. By setting it up and promoting it on social media, forums, comments and other sections, you get an audience before the content itself gets released. 

complicated software

Coming Soon Pages — What They Are and Why You Need Them

Firstly, you need to set up a good looking coming soon page – humans are visual beings and if the design meets their appetites, there is a much higher chance that they will stick around. The next step would be to add all of the relevant information about the website that is going to emerge in the following period. The countdown timer is a beautiful touch so the people know exactly when to expect your website to log in, and in addition it gives a tone of anticipation and excitement which works highly in your favor. 

Throwing in an email subscription form is of very high value as well. Offer some type of promotional discounts, newsletters or something similar for the upcoming users to engage in a reward system for their loyalty. A coming soon page can do wonders for your SEO, because if you start optimizing before the launch, you will get better results faster. And as pointed out in these landing page examples, when creating a ‘coming soon’ page for your site, you will also want to make sure it represents your brand and first impression as well.

So much sure to include the following elements on your coming soon page:

  • Contact info or contact form
  • Brand logo and why the site is down
  • Links to your preferred social platforms
  • An email subscribe form for updates

By having all of these in place, you will see much better results with your temporary page, versus just throwing a white page up and saying “come back later”. By linking out to your social profile pages, this is also a great way to bring in new followers while your site is under construction.

Since we agree on how social media is important for the growth and overall success to your website, it’s extremely important to include these elements within your pages, while also making them easy to view and access at all times. Your coming soon page is the perfect place to pin your social media accounts with buttons, so you can drive more users towards the accounts where you will frequently notify them about all updates of your website.

When you engage in the process of website making, it can be a messy place with tools all around the floor – disordered sections, plugins randomly working, widgets out of place…it’s not an environment to brag with, and no potential user should have that kind of unflattering insights that will scare them away immediately. Same goes for updating your website or doing some type of construction work where your website is under maintenance, and the visitors just shouldn’t stick around under those circumstances.

And what is the solution? The fitting plugin of course! 

To set the most remarkable coming soon page or under maintenance mode, get the hype up, raise awareness and spread the word, expand on social media and email marketing fields, kickoff the SEO and create the best story possible, you need a helping hand from the right tools that will stand by your side. 

Popular Coming Soon Page and Under Maintenance Solutions

Just like everything when it comes to site design or using WordPress, you are going to have plenty of solutions to choose from. The same is true for coming soon pages for your site as well. And it’s not just about choosing a design, it’s also about knowing which options are best and where to find the right customization and features for each.

Not sure which ones to pick from the wide selection of available plugins? Don’t worry because we are about to cover the best ones for you to choose from and snatch your new loyal helper:

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1.) Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode

You’ve got a thing for plugins that make your life easier with straightforward features that you’ll actually use, that is simple to learn and use and that will do the job just as you like it? Well you’ve arrived at the right place. One of the most crucial perks is what you care about the most, and that is the speed that won’t get brought down even by a bit. It keeps things clean, fast with a design that you’ll be able to craft to your exact will. Let’s jump into the features and discover what you obtain with this plugin:

1 Million+ Free Images

In the digital sphere, sight is distinguished as the most important sense, considering our visualizing nature, which leads us to a conclusion that remarkable images are a must have on your website. And with over a million free specimens in high quality, you will undoubtedly find the ones you need.

120+ Remarkable Themes

No matter what type of business you’ve got rolling, finding a theme will not cause a second of stress. Simply customize it to your own preferences and enjoy a wide selection of professional, attention-grabbing, remarkable themes.

Get Things Done Faster

While creating this plugin, the focus was streamed towards making it simple to learn and use, instead of creating something that will waste your time by producing a complicated software that takes hours to master. Download and start working!

Easy Access for Clients

It’s time to show off your progress and hard work on your website, but only to the client? With this feature, you will be able to generate a secret access link and provide it to your client for them to be satisfied, but still keep it a secret from the users.

Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode includes more features, such as SEO setup with analysis, search engine preferences, Google analytics, or email collecting compatibility with autoresponder, CRM, webinar and marketing software, but I’ll leave it to you to poke around and satisfy your curiosity by clicking here. A touch of class from this plugin is the Risk-Free Guarantee policy, where if you don’t like a plugin within the next seven days, you will get a full refund. Will you use this feature? I’m pretty sure not. There is only one way to find out.

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2.) UnderConstructionPage

Introducing the Swiss Army Knife of coming soon and under construction pages that has the solution for every scenario you might encounter. This plugin beautifully fulfills its purpose, but the fact that it takes so little effort to get so good results is what makes it stand out. Claiming that it has absolutely everything you need to create a perfect coming soon or under construction page needs to be corroborated, and there is no better way to do it than reviewing the features:

Beginner Friendly Drag & Drop Builder

Your level of expertise becomes irrelevant when using this plugin because the usage simplicity makes it approachable by everyone. User-friendly, fast and functional.

1 million+ Premium Images

We’ve mentioned the importance of images in online content creating, and with over a million of them in HD and 4K resolutions, this section gets an A+ degree. Search for the ones that meet your needs and get everything done within clicking range.

210+ Templates

When you are in a tight time schedule and need to setup an under construction page in less than a minute, what do you do? With this plugin, you set the timer, pick one of the 210 templates available, type in the appropriate text and stop the timer. Done within minutes, guaranteed!

Affiliate & Traffic Tracking

Tracked inbound links and targeted traffic for the best possible conversion rates are under check. Activate this feature and share away!

Add to that maximum flexibility and customizability of the entire website, exceptional support and even more features accessible, and you’ve got yourself a winner. Over 3.5 million downloads, countless 5 star reviews, Risk-Free Guarantee included in this plugin as well…there are more than a few reasons to give this plugin a test drive, and you can do it by clicking here.

MailChimp

3.) Maintenance

To end on a good note, we turn towards yet another exceptional plugin that exudes with simplicity and functionality – Maintenance. Tailored to look glorious on all devices, customizable through all relevant categories and simple for setting up and running, those would be the key words to describe this plugin. Its multilanguage feature allows you to translate the coming soon or under construction website in over 100 languages, and all it takes is one click. Collecting emails falls into the easy category for this plugin considering that it’s fully integrated with MailOptin, which then allows you to connect to MailChimp and other autoresponder services. Other features include:

  • retina ready HTML/CSS layout
  • Full-screen background (Backstretch)
  • Blur background effect
  • Upload your own logo
  • User login on frontend
  • 503 error on/off
  • Google analytics support
  • Exclude selected pages from Maintenance mode
  • Support for all popular caching plugins

A minimalistic approach that allows you to set everything up in minutes with precise features and completely free to use is what Maintenance is all about. Over 400,000 active installations; are you ready to become a part of the pack? If the answer is yes, click here.

All Sites Need a Well Designed Maintenance Page for All Situations

In conclusion, a coming soon page is vital for a strong start of your website. The benefits of promoting your upcoming content, strengthening your social media, upgrading the SEO…they are just too good to miss out on. When your website is going through crafting and preparing, there needs to be content available so the users know exactly what’s cooking, which is why a maintenance mode page can’t be left out. 

With these plugins, you will be able to get the perfect result every time, and whenever your website needs to go incognito, you’ll have the solution ready with only a few clicks. That’s why it’s time to give them a test run, pick the ideal one for your preferences and start constructing.

online content

We hope you enjoyed this.

5 Big Reasons to Embrace Video in 2020

This may be of interest to you.

Better late than never, right? Maybe you feel like you may have already missed the train when it comes to online video, but that’s truly not the case. If you haven’t embraced video as part of your overall content strategy, though, you are missing out on a world of opportunity. Don’t be intimidated by the prospect, because there’s so much to be gained from embracing video in 2020. 

Here are five of the best reasons why you should get into video in a big way this year.

Foster the Human Connection

Long gone are the days when content could more or less stand on its own. I mean, it still can, but a much bigger part of the equation now has to do with nurturing the relationship you have with your readers and followers. Your content still needs substance and value, of course, but the fact of the matter is that your readers can consume all kinds of similar content from hundreds or thousands of other content creators.

google

What makes you unique is, well, you. Let that personality come shining through and demonstrate that you are indeed a real, three-dimensional, living, breathing human being. You are a real person with real depth and feelings and insights. It’s only when you do this that your readers can develop a sense of trust with you. 

Words can only go so far, and people have become increasingly skeptical of heavily edited photos. Video, especially in-the-moment and increasingly unedited and authentic video, really connects.

Captivate the Mobile Audience

The best place where you can see the biggest impact with online video is on mobile. When people sit down at their computers, they’re much more inclined to read an article or sift through other forms of content than when they are on their smartphones (and tablets). 

The latest stats reveal that mobile video consumption is growing by 100% every year. Whereas watching a video on a mobile device only made up about 14% of all online videos in 2013, that figure has skyrocketed to over 60% as of the second quarter of 2018. Nearly two-thirds of all online video is watched on a phone or tablet. You need to get in on that.

Make It Easy to Consume

This ties in to the previous point. Let’s be perfectly honest with one another here. People are lazy. Articles like these can be useful and I’m happy you’re here to read it. But, if we were to convert this text into a short YouTube video, there’s a good chance that you’d rather watch that, right? I know I would.

instagram

This is a big reason why video plays such a big role here on John Chow dot Com, as well as on countless other websites and across various social platforms for many a blogger, marketer and influencer alike. People want things to be easy, and watching a video is way easier than reading a chart, perusing an article or even listening to a podcast. 

Explore the Possibilities

True, YouTube is very much the elephant in the room here. That’s obvious enough. But what you’ll find is that even if you don’t want to put in the effort to carefully plan, script, shoot and edit a video for that platform, you can still take embrace video in 2020.

Keep it simple and spontaneous with Facebook Stories or Instagram Stories. Share slightly longer videos on IGTV, or throw something together to share with your followers on Twitter and Facebook. Do your demographics skew toward a younger, hipper generation? TikTok might be where you’ll find your biggest following.

Leverage The Search Advantage

You’ve likely heard this before and you’re probably going to hear it again, but it’s even more important in 2020 than ever before. From a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint, video offers a HUGE advantage. Google LOVES video and you’ll find that relevant YouTube videos often appear right at the top of the search results.

This means that if you produce a high quality video on a topic and it ranks well in YouTube, it could also land on you on the first page of Google, above equally good written content on other websites. But even if it’s not on Google search itself, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. 

Many people search for topics on YouTube before they even search the rest of the web. Get in on that video action. 

Just Get Started

It’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t bother with online video unless you have the best possible equipment. Sure, better equipment can produce better-looking video with higher production value, but stellar content shot on mediocre equipment will always be better than mediocre content shot on stellar equipment.

John Chow

You don’t need that expensive camera. You might find that a $200 vlogging setup is more than adequate. Realistically, the camera on your smartphone is probably already better than what you’d be able to get out of a point-and-shoot. If you’ve already spent upwards of $1000 on a phone (if not more), why not leverage it as a business tool beyond mobile games and silly selfies?

The point is you just need to get started with what you have. And it starts with embracing video right now. What are you going to shoot first? 

mobile device

We hope you enjoyed this.