Are you interested in making money with affiliate marketing but have no technical skills? Don’t worry; you can build an affiliate website without writing a single line of code. In this post, I will guide you through the process.
Benefits of building an affiliate website
There are many ways of promoting your affiliate links. You can monetize your mailing list, youtube channel or go with pay per click advertising. However, even if you are already successful with other promotional methods, creating a website has many benefits:
- Collect email addresses
Building your mailing list will allow you to get to know your audience and send newsletters. There are plenty of tools you can use to capture email addresses on your website.
- Engage with your readers
Reply to comments and answer questions from your audience. A website can help you establish yourself as an expert. People buy products and services recommended by the people they trust.
- Use AdWords
Some brands do not allow their affiliates to directly promote their products with ads and bid on the same keywords. Brands take terms and conditions of their partner programs seriously and breaching the rules usually results in the affiliate account suspension. Affiliates are allowed to buy ads to drive traffic to their website where they can showcase and compare the products and promote their links.
- Create effective affiliate landing pages
You can create different landing pages for each of your campaigns. Their purpose is to convince the visitor to take action (e.g., sign up for a trial, install an app). The landing page is in the middle between traffic source and the offer page.
- Get accepted to more affiliate networks
Some programs require their affiliates to have a website. Having one increases the chances of your applications being approved and gives you an opportunity to promote a broader range of products and services.
The difference between a website builder and a CMS
Two main types of platforms enable you to create a website with minimal to no coding skills:
Website builders offer an intuitive design with drag-and-drop editors. You can design your site by selecting elements from a menu (such as an image or a text form) and dragging them to your website’s page on your screen. They are web-based so that you can build your site directly from your browser. All you need to do is choose your website template, add widgets and specific elements then hit the publish button.
Website builders come with the out-of-the-box feature set. They offer all the essential features to build and grow a selected type of website.
There are plenty of website builders on the market, including Wix, Weebly (see the screenshots). Free plans usually come with a non-unique domain and limited options. For example, you cannot remove Weebly branding and customize the footer with your content unless you upgrade.
Content Management System (CMS)
CMSs are more powerful than website builders. They give you complete control of every aspect of your website. However, they are self-hosted, so you need to handle hosting, backup and security by yourself.
As website builders come with a limited set of functionalities, in this post, I will show you how to create a website with the most popular CMS WordPress.org (not to be confused with a website builder WordPress.com). Not only does WordPress controls nearly 60% of the CMS market, but also over 30% of all websites use it. And, according to Internet Live Stats, there are over 1,8 billion websites online.
Many well-known sites are powered by WordPress. It is simple but more technical than website builders. It doesn’t work as drag-and-drop. However, you will also be able to build your website without writing the code.
The advantages of WordPress are:
- many hosting companies offer 1-click installation
- it gives you full control of the code
- it’s highly customizable
- there are thousands of plugins available
- there is a massive community of developers in online support forums so you can easily find an answer to any questions you may have
site content can be imported and exported so you can change your hosting provider or even a domain name.
A step-by-step guide to building a website with WordPress
WordPress is self-hosted which means that you need a domain name and hosting to get started.
Choose a domain name
Think of your domain name as of your identity on the web. Take a moment to choose one and make sure it represents your website well.
Things to consider when choosing your winning domain name
Make it pronounceable and easy to type
Don’t make people wonder how to say and spell. Don’t use a hyphen, slang, and words difficult to spell. Your domain name shouldn’t be confusing. Read it aloud or even say the name to your friends and ask them to spell it for you.
Keep it short, but not too short
The longest possible domain name for a website can contain 63 characters, but that’s much more than you need. The best domain names should be less than 15 characters.
Infringing on a trademark can lead to legal troubles. Avoid brand names in the domain name. You don’t want to be sued and forced to give up the domain.
Use an appropriate domain name extension
There are many extensions available from geographical to niche ones. Go after “.com” unless you are sure that you will provide a country-specific content. Dot-com domains are the most memorable and well-established. When people are not sure about the extension, they will most probably type “com” first.
Don’t make it too narrow
In case you want to promote products from a broader niche, a specific name can make it impossible. You don’t want to limit your options so give yourself a room to expand.
Choose a web hosting provider
Once you have your perfect domain name secured, the next step is to choose a hosting provider. You can keep your domain name with the registrar company, separate from your hosting account or purchase both from the same company.
In case creating a free hosting website crossed your mind, I suggest you drop this idea. Sure, it is possible to create a site without spending the money but only if you don’t want to monetize it. You can’t run advertisements or make money from free web hosting websites. No affiliate links are usually allowed.
Bluehost, SiteGround, DreamHost or Hostgator are just some of the most popular of web hosts available on the market.
Once you have successfully secured your domain name or hosting, it’s time to install WordPress. You can do it manually, but most of the hosting companies have integrated 1-click-installation for WordPress. All you need to do is log in to your panel and follow the instructions.
Pick a theme
Once you have installed WordPress to your domain, you can start playing around with its look. There are many free and paid themes available. Make sure you choose a responsive one. Draw a mind map to plan and outline all of the main topics you want to cover on your website. Choose a design layout that enables you to support your goals.
By installing WordPress, you will get access to almost 50 000 plugins. Here are some to start with:
Google Analytics– metrics are crucial in online marketing. With Google Analytics you can track the number of visitors, traffic sources and other details you should check on regular basis. You can add Google Analytics, e.g., with MonsterInsights
Seo plugin– optimize your WordPress site for search engines, e.g., with Yoast SEO that has over 5 millions active installations.
Social Media share buttons– make it easy for your readers to share your content. There are many plugins to choose for so check their design and pick the one that you like the most.
Backup plugin– guard against losing all your data. Check UpdraftPlus Backup and Restoration, WP-DB-Backup, BackUpWordPress or any other plugin that can backup and restore your content.
Security plugin– Wordfence will help you reduce the risk of your website being hacked.
Check the most popular plugins for more ideas.
Post vs. page
WordPress comes with two content types: posts and pages.
Posts are listed in reverse chronological order. The one marked as sticky will appear before the newest posts. They are displayed in various sections like Archives, Categories, Recent Posts or other places. Use them in the blog section to share your articles and the news. By checking the posts, a reader can see how often you update your website. You can set how many posts are shown on blog pages.
Pages are not sorted by date. They do not use tags or categories. Use pages to publish information that doesn’t change much. Examples of pages are: Contact, About, Terms & Conditions.
You can use as a homepage a static page or latest posts. There is no limit on the number of posts or pages you can create.
Creating content for your affiliate website
Before you start writing your articles, you should focus your efforts on finding a market and selecting keywords. Research the market to pick your niche wisely, get to know your potential audience, and what are their needs and products that meet their requirements. Once you have gathered necessary information, you can start creating content.
You need to decide how much time you want to spend on your website. Will you update it regularly? An authority site is a content-driven website considered a respected and trusted source of information. To establish authority, you need to:
- provide high-quality content
- stand out from other websites
- cover the topic in-depth.
However, these rules work for any site. Both terms often overlap. Niche-focused sites are usually smaller, so you can publish them quickly, but you can also grow them in the future.
The most popular types of affiliate websites
- Review websites– influence your readers’ purchase decisions. Provide in-depth reviews and create rankings.
- Price comparison websites- help people find the best deal. A good comparison site should have a wide selection of vendors. It should enable your audience to compare prices, shipping options from multiple merchants on a single page.
- Voucher focused website– offer your visitors coupons and discount codes.
- Blog/ content-based websites- a collection of articles relevant to the particular market.
Main types of posts perfect for an affiliate site:
- reviews– test and describe your experience with a product. What did you like and dislike about it? What problems does it solve and who can benefit from using it?
- “how to” post– step-by-step guides and instructions
- comparison posts– show the difference between product A and B
Read more here about how to write a product review that converts to affiliate sales.
Being able to program or design a website is not the key to success in affiliate marketing. What you need is first of all your enthusiasm to plan, test, analyze results and optimize your campaigns. CMSs like WordPress are an excellent solution for affiliates that don’t have technical skills but would like to build an affiliate website, customize it and keep full control over the content, ads, and plugins.
Your affiliate website should provide valuable content and call-to-action buttons. Give your audience all the information they need to make a purchase. People don’t visit your site to click the links. Your content should drive them to do so.