Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

Getting Started with Affiliate MarketingLast week, I talked about the importance of business planning, and I shared a resource I created listing the different types of online business models that exist today.  My goal with those posts was to help you figure out which internet business model is right for you, and to help you understand how important it is to put together a solid plan of action before diving in.

So starting this week, I want to get into how you put that plan together and get down to business.  Also, please note that from here on out, I’m going to be focusing the majority of my blog posts on affiliate marketing businesses – which is only natural, since that’s most of what I do.  However, I think you’ll still find this info useful if you’ve chosen another business model – so don’t run away just yet 🙂

Let’s get started…


Okay, so you know you need to have a plan for your affiliate marketing business, but how do you go about putting one together?

Here’s the basic process of planning, launching and building an affiliate marketing niche site:

Step 1 – Research a niche and specific keywords to target
Step 2 – Build your website (I prefer WordPress, but HTML sites are fine too)
Step 3 – Add content and monetization to your website (whether through affiliate banners, text links, etc)
Step 4 – Get traffic to your website
Step 5 – Use analytics data to optimize your website to improve conversions over time

Obviously, there are some holes to be filled in there, but that’s the basic process that every successful marketer uses to build affiliate niche websites.

Now, instead of reinventing the wheel (and because a blog post that explains every step of this process would easily top 30,000+ words…), I’m going to recommend some free and paid resources you can use that flesh out the outline above.  All of the following resources are ones that I highly recommend you take a look at for more info on how to plan and launch an internet marketing website:

The Common Sense MarketingAffiliate Strategy SecretsCourse – This course provides you with all of the information generated by the 2011 Community Marketing Challenge, where Jon Alford and I led a group of beginning affiliate marketers through the process of building and launching affiliate niche sites.  Basically, you get to watch over our shoulders as we reveal the exact processes and strategies we use as affiliate marketers, through a combination of webinar recordings, incredibly detailed forum posts and tons of other resources.

Pat Flynn’s Niche Site Duel – Pat Flynn’s blog “Smart Passive Income” is an amazing resource, and if you haven’t subscribed yet, I highly recommend you do so as soon as possible!

Anyways, last summer, Pat and Tyrone Shum did a challenge they called the “Niche Site Duel” where they each tried to out-earn the other using different affiliate marketing tactics.  They recorded every step of the process and shared their strategies with their readers, and the resulting Niche Site Duel archive is a gold-mine of information on planning and launching affiliate marketing businesses.

Ed Dale’s 30 Day Challenge – Widely regarded to be one of the web’s best free internet marketing resources, the 30 Day Challenge covers all of the basic info you need to get a niche minisite up and running.  It’s definitely worth a look if you’re just getting started!

Warrior Forum – I recommended the Warrior Forum as a resource in my Guide to Internet Business Models, but I wanted to expand on that recommendation a little bit here.  The Warrior Forum is a great reference tool, but it comes with some warnings.  First, it can be an overwhelming place if you’re just getting started online, and second, it’s incredibly easy to waste *huge* amounts of time here, so set a time limit before logging on!

Since the Forum can be so overwhelming, I recommend starting out with the “All-in-One” threads.  There are a number of these threads, and they’re intended to be a repository of everyone’s best advice on the given topic.  Although there aren’t any specifically related to affiliate marketing, you’ll find a lot of relevant information in the threads on article marketing and social media strategies.

AssociatePrograms.comAllen Gardyne’s site is a little outdated (most of the info was published in 2008), but I have a soft spot in my heart for it because this is one of the primary resources I used when I was first starting out online.  And although some elements of affiliate marketing have changed in the last few years (mostly promotional techniques, like social networking, link wheels, etc), the basic elements of this business model have remained consistent.

In particular, I recommend you take a look at his 18-step Affiliate Tutorial.  It’s a great resource that helped me a lot when I was first getting started online.


Do you have any other free resources you’d like to recommend?  Leave a note in the comments!

5 Responses to Getting Started with Affiliate Marketing

  1. Jon says:

    People can also try reading Jonathan Volk’s Free Affiliate Marketing guide via opt-in at his site jonathan volk dot com (remove spaces; “dot” is a period).

    Glen Allsopp is pretty savvy over at his site viperchill. His posts are lengthy but there’s lots of substance there if you read his free blog articles.

    I’m with you, Sarah, on the Pat Flynn fan bandwagon. Lately I’ve been batting the idea around of using his niche site duel strategy on an affiliate site pet project I started.

    Hey – any experience with Unique Article Wizard? (kinda off topic)

  2. Sarah says:

    Jon – Thanks, those are two other great beginning affiliate marketing resources that I can endorse as well.

    As for Unique Article Wizard, I’ve heard good things, but haven’t used it myself. For content, I typically write my own, spin through Power Article Rewriter and submit with Incansoft’s Articlebot.

  3. Ben says:

    Thanks Sarah for these posts. I’ve enjoyed your content so far.

    I’m wondering when you’re going to tackle some issues surrounding ethics as you mention it in your about me section.

    You’ve mentioned spinners and automating backlinks and those tactics have ethical implications.

    I’m curious to learn more about your views on them from an ethical perspective.

    • Sarah says:

      Ben – Thanks for stopping by!

      You’re right, things like spinners and automated tools are a little fuzzy from an ethical standpoint. My personal stances are as follows, but as I mentioned in an earlier post on ethical marketing, it’s really up to you to figure out where your boundaries are.

      When spinning articles, I am very particular about hand-spinning and checking each spun variation to make sure it makes sense. That way, I ensure that I’m still sending out good content, even if I have to change it up a little for the search engines.

      I think it’s Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income that has a great post on how quality spun articles aren’t really that different from sending out a mass press release to convey a message.

      With backlink submission, I try to only submit to legit sites (Reddit, Digg, etc) instead of junk directories, and I try to ensure that my links are categorized correctly so that the right people can actually find them and make use of them. If it’s good content, there’s nothing wrong (in my opinion) with using sites that are designed to disseminate information to do just that.

      Hope this helps!

  4. […] case study, I’m going to focus on something more narrow – hiring out elements of your affiliate marketing business, typically to someone overseas that allows you to take advantage of exchange rates and lower costs […]

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