In practice there’s no real difference between creating a website for affiliate marketing and creating a website for any other purpose.
The search engines don’t serve up different web pages like that – they deliver pages that their computer algorithm decides (in the blink of an eye) are the best fit for the search.
Also – despite comments you might read to the contrary – the search engines don’t care how you build your website.
It can be “pure” HTML or HTML with CSS to make it look pretty or it can be a programming language like PHP that creates the pages.
Don’t worry if that sounds like double Dutch to you.
The end result is a web page that can be viewed on whichever device and whichever browser the site visitor cares to use.
If you choose the “view source” option in your browser (easier to do on a regular computer but if you’re geeky enough you can do it on your phone or tablet) then you’ll see lots of weird code around the text.
Much like the early days of word processors when all the commands to show bold text, etc. were shown on screen as just that – commands – rather than formatting the text and showing you a pretty version.
WordPress is a good way to create an affiliate marketing website
If you follow the crowd – and in this instance it’s a big crowd, with an estimated 1 in every 4 new websites created with it – then you’ll use WordPress.
You can then tweak it to your heart’s content, changing the design, adding fucntionality and content.
WordPress does all the hard work for you:
- It generates the (often scary looking) code that goes on behind the scenes to make your site look nice
- It looks after the logic behind page names
- It helps you add links to other pages on your site or elsewhere on the web
- It lets you add images (something I don’t do very often on this site) or include (embed) videos or audios or PDFs or near enough anything else on your pages
And – importantly – it lets some of those links be affiliate links so that when people click on them and buy whatever it was you were recommending, you earn a commission.
I like to weave affiliate links into the posts and pages I create.
Incidentally, WordPress is a bit weird in some of its terminology.
Mainly due to its roots as a personal blogging system.
It has two different names for the pages you create on your website:
In the eyes of the search engines, there’s no difference between those.
They’re just something that could potentially show up in the search results.
But WordPress differentiates between them and most themes handle them slightly differently:
Pages usually appear in a menu bar – either near the top of each page (or post) on the site or on the left or right hand side.
Posts may appear in a list on the site – that’s what I do with this site – or they can be shown (either in full or as an excerpt with a link off to the full post) on a page that appears in the menu bar.
It’s up to you which you prefer.
Some people like their affiliate marketing sites to be fairly rigidly structured – that works well for review style sites.
Other people like their sites to look closer to the original online-diary concept of WordPress and just show posts (usually the most recent first) and let people delve around.
There’s no correct or incorrect solution.
There are lots of different options and it really is what works best for you.
Unfortunately, that means a lot of people can get stuck when it comes to creating their affiliate marketing site.
We’re programmed in our everyday lives to think that things work one way.
- Your kettle boils water – it doesn’t freeze it.
- Your microwave heats food – it doesn’t preserve it for later.
- The route you take for a regular journey probably doesn’t change much, even if there are alternative routes
- Unless you work shifts. you probably wake up and eat and go to sleep at roughly the same time each day
And all of those happen in approximately the same way with other people you know.
But websites – whether they’re for affiliate marketing or not – are different.
Certain things are similar – there’s probably a search function, there will be a main page that the designer probably obsessed about, there will be sub-pages that go into more detail.
But the look-and-feel and even the functionality is different.
- One page websites – often used for sales letters or to encourage people to sign up to your list. It’s unlikely that you’ll use this style for an affiliate site but it is possible
- Review websites – a very common ploy with affiliate marketers (because reviews work!) and the site could feature one product or several products or even hundreds or thousands of products. There may or may not also be supporting pages that go into tips and tricks for using the product. So a cookware site may well decide to include recipes. And it may well decide that one of the main reasons for including the recipes is to feature cookware that people will want to buy via their affiliate link.
- General advice websites – these can work really well. Because they look as though you’re just being helpful (which you are) but link off to places where you’ll earn a commission if you generate a lead or a sale. A lot of hobbyist sites start out this way and their owners gradually learn that there are ways to make the site pay its way.
- Advertising style sites – there are still affiliate sites being made where the majority of the income comes from displaying advertising. The advertising might be in the form of Google AdSense blocks, it could be banners, it might be pop-ups or pop-unders, it could be a short extra page (Forbes do that) or a pre-run video (YouTube do that unless you’ve installed an ad blocker) or anything else that’s designed to get people to click away from your site and earn you some commission.
All of those – and doubtless others I haven’t mentioned – work for affiliate websites.
Pick a direction!
That’s probably the most critical piece of advice in this whole article.
There are so many different directions that you could follow and so many side tracks based on those directions that it’s easy to stall.
People freeze like a deer in headlights.
Or run round frantically like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
Or just buy in to the next “must have” product that lands in their inbox with amazing regularity and promises to transform your affiliate marketing business overnight.
Lots of people get stuck that way and then give up because they think it doesn’t work. Whereas in reality it’s their lack of direction that is the real culprit.
You need to pick a direction.
Almost any direction works with affiliate marketing.
- There are people making money selling low-price products to their list on a daily basis – internet marketing affiliate marketers are often good at doing this and so long as you keep your wallet firmly locked it can be worth signing up for some of their lists to see how they do it.
- There are people making money selling various Amazon products – maybe cheap Kindle “books” to get their sales and therefore their affiliate percentage higher, maybe higher priced products (night vision sights, drones, that kind of thing).
- There are people selling high price products – you often encounter these on webinar presentations (live or “pretend live”) where the webinar says you’ll learn lots of new stuff but in practice it’s really a sales pitch for the must-have multi-dollar product. You can introduce people to these webinars if you’re in their affiliate program and that can be lucrative.
- You can introduce people to recurring commission products. These are nice if you can find them. People tend to stay with an autoresponder company because it’s not fun to change. Hosting – despite being a recurring expense – usually only pays a one-off commission and because that commission is often quite sizeable it tends to be a very competitive area for affiliates.
Whilst you can make your affiliate commissions by running in seemingly every direction at once, it will be a lot less stressful if you pick one direction to follow.
Then regularly create content for your newly created affiliate website.
It’s a long term process.
So the more you follow your chosen direction and the less you go around in circles or chase rainbows the better. Check out my affiliate marketing guide for more information.