How to Start a Blog for Affiliate Marketing in 11 Steps (2023)

How to start a blog for affiliate marketing

There are a lot of ways to make money online using the affiliate marketing business model.

Personally, I’ve been a full-time affiliate marketer for the past 2+ years and my business generates a consistent $15,000 per month using my affiliate marketing techniques, including this blog. 

Blogging is one of the time-tested methods of affiliate marketing that is never going to go away. 

When people are looking for specific information or a recommendation, the first thing they are usually going to do is search for the answer on Google, and when your blog post provides the answer they are looking for, you make money if it leads to a purchase. 

But blogging is supposed to take a long time, right?

Not always.

 If you know how to execute the process correctly, a relatively new blog can start earning affiliate commissions in just a few month’s time. 

Let’s cover how to start a blog for affiliate marketing in 11 steps so you can be up and running, and monetized, as fast as possible.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Step 1: Choosing A Niche

How to choose a niche for your blog site in how to start a blog for affiliate marketing

The first thing you need to do for any affiliate marketing business is choose a niche – a specific and profitable area of interest that resonates with you. 

The niche you choose should be something that you are knowledgeable and passionate about. Trying to write articles for your blog on a topic that you aren’t familiar with is very hard, and less profitable as a result. 

Additionally, Google will recognize credibility and authority, if you have none it will influence how well your articles rank in the search results. 

To ensure your niche is viable, use SEO tools like Ahrefs to determine traffic value and potential. Competition is also an important factor. 

All niches are going to have some level of competition, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. It should, however, be something you are aware of when predicting how long it may take for you to become relevant. 

After identifying your niche, create a business plan for that niche.

You want to know exactly who you are writing articles for. 

Determining the demographics like age, gender, and interests, knowing the common pain points of the target audience, as well as the wants and desired outcomes of who you are targeting will affect how well your articles perform. 

Without this information, you cannot move forward and expect to be successful.

Once you’ve got that done, its time to choose a blogging platform.

Step 2: Choosing a Blogging Platform

WordPress is a preferred choice for affiliate marketing blogs when selecting a blogging platform. Its flexibility, customization options, and strong SEO capabilities make it the perfect fit for your affiliate and content marketing needs. With WordPress, you’ll have complete control over your blog.

WordPress is often going to be included with your web hosting. 

Step 3: Securing a Domain Name and Hosting

Choosing hosting and a domain name for your blog

A memorable and relevant domain name is crucial for your affiliate blog. It acts as your blog’s address on the web and is essential for helping users find and remember your website. 

Personal branding is always the way to go. You don’t want to select a very specific domain name that pigeonholes you into a small category. 

For example, the domain name for my blog is “ryanhalbertofficial.com”, which is my name. 

I also use the domain name “ryanhalbert.com” for connecting all of my sales funnels to.

Make sure you always choose a “.com” domain name as well. Simple reason being, that is what people know. 

People will automatically type in .com when searching for your website, if it lives on something else, like .net or .org, then they will either not find your blog or you will be sending that traffic somewhere else. 

If you have a common name, like Mike Smith, and your domain name is not available, try to find another word to put in, like “official” or “thereal” at the beginning or end. 

After securing your domain name, the next step involves selecting a dependable hosting provider. 

Bluehost is an excellent solution for hosting your affiliate blog. Bluehost offers a free domain name and WordPress web hosting starting at $2.95 per month, making it an affordable choice for beginners that is very high quality. 

Having a dependable hosting provider is crucial for your blog’s success. 

A poor web host can negatively impact your search rankings, waste resources, and damage your online reputation. 

Avoid free hosting providers, as they may not be reliable and could lead to the loss of your website or blog.

Step 4: Designing Your Affiliate Blog

How to design your affiliate site

To create an appealing and user-friendly affiliate blog, consider using a visually pleasing theme like Kadence. 

A well-designed blog will not only attract visitors but also make it easier for them to navigate and engage with your content. 

Take a minimum viable approach to this. 

You aren’t going to need a professionally designed site when you start blogging, just four essential pages:

  • Home Page
  • About Page
  • Blog Archive
  • The Blog Posts Themselves

When designing your affiliate blog, keep in mind that your primary goal is to showcase your content and encourage conversions. 

Most visitors will be visiting a specific post from a Google search and clicking on an affiliate link, not navigating through your entire site. 

Focus on creating a clean and organized layout that highlights your affiliate products and makes it easy for users to find relevant information.

Step 5: Essential Plugins for Affiliate Marketing

Choosing the right plugins for your affiliate marketing blog

There are a few necessary plugins that you will want when you first start your blog. 

The first one is going to be ThirstyAffiliates, which helps you manage and cloak your affiliate links.

The next is going to be Google Site Kit, which integrates Google Analytics into your WordPress dashboard, providing valuable insights into your blog’s performance. 

You also want WPRocket, a caching plugin that improves your blog’s loading speed and overall performance.

The last important one will be ShortPixel, to optimize images and compress them so you can have faster page load times.

You’ll end up adding many more affiliate marketing tools as you progress, but these are the essentials for launching.

At this point, you’ve got your niche, domain, hosting, and essential plugins, so it’s time to create content.

Step 6: Making Sure Your Blog Is Compliant

How to make sure you're following affiliate marketing compliance

Making sure you are up-to-date on affiliate marketing compliance is a common oversight. 

The penalties for non-compliance can range from your posts not ranking all the way up to monetary penalties or a complete shutdown of your blog. 

Make sure you have the right disclaimers and policies in place to protect your blog.

Being compliant isn’t hard, but if you are not an attorney or professional when it comes to the legal side of doing business, I would strongly recommend connecting with a business lawyer who can provide you with the necessary compliance materials. 

Get High-Quality Legal Templates!

Not having the proper disclosures in place is a MAJOR compliance violation that could mean hefty penalties. Grab high-quality legal templates prepared by a legal professional and protect your business!

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Step 7: Creating High-Quality Content

how to create content for your blog

Having a successful affiliate marketing blog lies in crafting high-quality, search-optimized content. 

By conducting thorough keyword research and focusing on various content types, such as product reviews, tutorials, and comparison posts promoting affiliate products, you’ll be able to attract more traffic and increase your affiliate sales.

To ensure your content remains fresh and relevant, regularly update and optimize your blog post by monitoring your SEO (search engine optimization) performance and staying active in your niche. This will not only help you maintain your blog’s success but also promote continuous growth.

Keyword Research

Performing keyword research is a crucial part of creating top-notch content for your affiliate marketing blog. Tools like Ahrefs or Google Keyword Planner can help you identify relevant and high-traffic keywords for your niche. 

By targeting these keywords in your content, you can make sure you are only writing for keywords that are actually being searched for, and have little to no competition so you have a chance at ranking as a new blog.

Also make a list of your direct competitors, analyzing your competitors’ keywords and URLs can uncover a lot of content ideas and keyword opportunities.

You won’t make much progress just writing articles randomly, there are going to be specific keywords that will give you the best results early on.

Also, don’t get the process backward. As an affiliate marketer, it’s easy to look at affiliate products we like and try to figure out how to promote them, but this is wrong.

First, find transactional keywords, usually ones that start with “best”, that indicate that the person searching is looking to make a purchase. Once you find some opportunities, then write the articles and figure out which affiliate products are a good fit. 

Content Types for Affiliate Promotion

There are 2 content types you want to start with to get traffic and conversions as soon as possible, Transactional and Informational.

A transactional post, is something that is intended to make recommendations and promote affiliate products. Examples of these can be product reviews, product round-ups, and this vs. that posts.

You also need informational articles to support your transactional articles. These searches usually start with “how to” or “what is”. These posts can be promotional in ways, but they are mainly there to get your search traffic and establish you as an authority on your niche. 

For every transactional article you write, try to have a least 3 informational articles that are directly related to it. 

Step 8: Building an Email List

how to build an email list from your blog

No successful affiliate marketing business doesn’t include email marketing.

Providing an email list that your visitors can opt in to so you can update them on your blog whenever there is new content will drastically increase your traffic and conversions. 

Choose an affiliate-friendly autoresponder that you like and connect it to your posts either with a pop-up, a sidebar, or an inline form. 

In addition to just updating your list about new content, you can also create promotional campaigns that your subscribers will be interested in to promote additional affiliate products. 

Most customers don’t become customers on the first visit or click, so follow-up campaigns are a great way to stay in touch with them. 

In fact, in 2022 I was able to generate $87,500 in affiliate commissions from email marketing alone. Definitely not something to leave on the table.

Step 9: Driving Traffic to Your Affiliate Blog

How To Drive Traffic To Your Blog

In a perfect world, when we create blog posts they will show up in a Google search for various keywords and we will get all of our traffic from search engines. 

A lot of your posts will show up in a Google search, however, for it to be life-changing we need to be on the FIRST page of the Google search. Which isn’t so easy when starting out. That takes time. 

But there are ways to get traffic to our blog faster early on. 

Social media marketing is an effective way to drive traffic to your affiliate blog. By promoting your content on platforms like TikTok and Pinterest, you can reach a wider audience.

Guest posting on other websites in your niche is another great way to drive traffic to your blog, as it exposes your content to new audiences and builds valuable backlinks.

Another viable strategy is to use Google Ads to drive traffic to your transactional articles, this way you’re guaranteed to show up on page one of the SERP, which will give you more clicks on your article and affiliate link. 

By utilizing these traffic-driving strategies, you can ensure your affiliate marketing blog receives the attention it deserves and continues to grow and succeed.

Step 10: Joining Affiliate Programs

Joining Affiliate Programs

Now that your affiliate blog is set up, you’ve got some articles written and you are getting some traffic, you want to start joining affiliate programs. 

A lot of your affiliate income and products will be predetermined by the articles you have already written and what you plan to write.

Affiliate networks like Commission Junction, ShareASale, and Clickbank can help you find affiliate programs and products to promote. 

When choosing an affiliate program, make sure to consider factors like commission rates, payout thresholds, and cookie durations.

Promoting products or services you truly endorse can lend authenticity and success to your affiliate marketing efforts. Try to avoid promoting things just because they pay a high commission or seem easy.

By aligning your affiliate promotions with your niche and audience preferences, you can ensure that your recommendations resonate with your readers and lead to higher conversions.

Step 11: Monitoring and Optimizing Your Affiliate Blog

Monitoring and optimizing your affiliate blog

The sustained success and growth of your affiliate blog depend on regular monitoring and optimization. By tracking your blog’s SEO performance with tools like Ahrefs and Google Analytics, you can identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies accordingly.

In addition to monitoring your SEO performance, make sure to:

  • Stay active in your niche

  • Keep your content updated and relevant

  • Continuously engage with your audience

  • Stay informed about industry trends

By following these steps, you can determine what steps you need to take to amplify your results. 

When you see that some of your content begins to rank for certain keywords or certain articles produce more affiliate commissions than others, you can double down on what worked for more success. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a powerful business model that allows you to earn income by promoting products or services through unique referral links provided by affiliate programs. 

When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you will be compensated for that sale in the form of a commission. 

All bloggers are affiliate marketers. Whenever you look at a blog post, a YouTube video, or find some form of a recommendation for a product or service, there is likely an affiliate link nearby. This article is no exception.

Affiliate marketing is a win-win situation because a successful affiliate marketer can earn from the companies that they recommend, they will only recommend things they think are a good fit for their audience to not tarnish their reputation, which helps consumers, and the company selling the product only has to pay for the results.

This allows companies to have a more calculated marketing strategy and higher profit margins. 

Wrapping Up

That’s it! 

These are all of the steps I took to get my affiliate marketing blog up and running, and earning. 

Just last year, my income totaled close to $120,000 just from affiliate revenue.

Building an affiliate website is a great way to get started, but it isn’t the only way of making money with affiliate marketing

Other strategies like marketing on social media platforms and Paid Advertising are lucrative ways to make affiliate marketing work. 

That said, not all of my income in my business comes from affiliate blogging. I’ve implemented all of these strategies to capture traffic and make money online. 

If you want to start affiliate marketing the right way, you’re going to need to get the right information and strategies.

Investing in a course from leaders in the affiliate marketing industry will always be the best way to get the right information that is up-to-date, and has actually produced substantial results. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are blogs good for affiliate marketing?

Blogging is an excellent way to earn money from affiliate marketing as it offers low overhead, no customer service needed and an opportunity to create quality content that attracts readers interested in what you have to say. With an affiliate blog site, you can maximize sales of the products you write about and potentially generate a passive income that pays off for months or years.

How do affiliate blogs make money?

As an affiliate, you promote a company’s products or services and earn a commission when a reader clicks your link or purchases the product you’re promoting. Affiliate links are included in content to connect users to external sites where they can purchase the recommended product, earning the blogger a commission for each sale.

For affiliate marketing, WordPress.org is the recommended blogging platform for its flexibility, customization options, and strong SEO capabilities.

How can I choose a profitable niche for my affiliate marketing blog?

Determine the potential and traffic value of your chosen niche with SEO tools such as Ahrefs, to ensure it is profitable and specific.

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