Starting an affiliate website is a great way to make money online.
What make it especially great is that it feels awesome to make money while creating a resource that people actually get some value from.
If you haven’t explored it yet, creating affiliate marketing websites is a legitimate business model that can make you thousands of dollars per month in affiliate commissions.
In this post, we’ll take you through the basic steps required to:
- Pick a topic to create your website around
- Start your first affiliate website
- Setup the hosting, domain, and other tools required
- And finally, come up with a content strategy that will deliver affiliate sales
Let’s dive in.
Niche Selection: What’s Your Website Going To Be About?
In this guide, you’re going to learn all about creating your very first affiliate website.
You might have created websites in the past, and they weren’t affiliate websites, or you might not have created a website at all.
We’ll cater to folks at all levels in this guide.
The first thing you need to think about has nothing to do with hosting, or domain names, or website software. All those things matter, of course, but they’re not the first things you should be thinking about.
The first thing you have to decide is what your website will be about. And because you have the goal of earning money with affiliate marketing, you have to be careful about this decision.
If you created a website about helping local homeless people, for example, it might make you feel good, but the potential for earning money with affiliate marketing would be low.
“The Riches Are In The Niches”
You might have heard this saying before. I’m not sure who said it first, but I would like to shake their hand, because it’s what has led me to create multiple five-figure websites over the years, earning money with a mixture of our own products and affiliate marketing.
“Niching-down,” as it’s called, means focusing your energy to serve a smaller group of people.
This makes it easier to:
- Find people
- Figure out what their exact pain points are
- Deliver to them in a way that makes them feel like you truly understand them
Because you aren’t trying to deliver something to a broad group with mixed interests and pain points, you can get really targeted and speak to your niche in a way that really resonates. It’s as if you’re getting right inside their heads.
This is where you’ll find massive traction quickly.
Niches Within Niches (Within Niches)
Imagine you wanted to target the fitness niche.
To me, that is too broad. Ask pretty much anyone and they’d say they have a desire to be fit.
It’s hard to make a site that targets such a broad group, because how do you get people to the site without spending bucket loads of money?
What you need to understand is there are niches within niches, and it’s cheaper and easier to target these than to target a broader niche.
The fitness niche can break down even further:
- Healthy eating
- Muscle building
- …Etc., etc., etc.
This breaks up the fitness niche into more targeted segments. Niches within niches.
Can you go even further?
Sure. Let’s look at the cardio niche.
You have lots of different kinds of cardio:
- Long distance running
- Cardio exercises you can do at home
- Circuit training
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- …Etc., etc., etc.
Don’t Go Too Deep
Focusing yourself on a particular niche can really help you target people; for example, building a site around the niche of rowing for fitness.
You can even niche that down further into rowing for weight-loss, which would give you some lateral movement to complementary topics like diet.
But a warning…
Don’t go too deep with your niche selection.
Rowing for post-menopausal women in Australia is a niche that just won’t have enough people to target.
Make Sure Your Niche Has Future Affiliate Opportunities
You also want to make sure that the niche you select has affiliate opportunities.
Think about the people in your niche, and if you can’t immediately think of at least four or five types of products they might want to purchase, it might be worth considering other niches.
If you really want to validate whether there are existing affiliate opportunities, you can sign up with some affiliate networks or look for particular products that you could review for that niche. Then verify that you can get paid for recommending them online.
It doesn’t hurt to take this extra step, and it will take you less than an hour in most cases to get confirmation about whether or not there is something to promote.
It’s pretty cheap insurance to spend an hour finding products to promote as opposed to spending hundreds of hours building a site only to have no options for promotion after all that work.
Step By Step: Building Your First Website
You didn’t skip the niche selection step, right? Good.
Now you’re ready to actually take some action and build your first website.
Let’s take note of what you need:
- A domain name
- A web host
- Website content management software (CMS)
- A content plan
Easy right? It’s only four things!
If you’re anxious about the tech stuff, don’t worry. These days a lot the moving parts are taken care of for you with one-click installs provided by hosting companies. Actually, they want to make this tech stuff LESS complicated for you.
If you think about it, they’re motivated to make the process less complicated because it means more people will start websites. So you can rest assured that you have what it takes.
What is a domain name?
Since you’ve already selected your niche, it should be a little easier to figure out what to actually call your website. As mentioned, spend some time researching and selecting your niche. Go back and do that now before moving on to buying your domain and hosting.
A domain is essentially just an easy way for someone to point their web browser to your site.
Instead of having to type an IP address – which is what identifies a computer/server on the internet and looks like a set of numbers (123.234.432.321) – your visitors type your domain name, like janesrowingsite.com.
It’s just an easy way to remember a name.
Another way to think about it is like the address of your house. The domain lets people find and identify where your website (house) is.
What is a web host?
So what’s a web host, and how is it different from a domain name?
If your domain name is like your house’s address, your web host is like the land your house sits on.
It’s space that you rent on a server – which is just a special/more powerful computer compared to the one sitting on your desk – where you can build your website.
What is Content Management Software (CMS)?
Back in the nineties and early two thousands, if you wanted to build a website, you had to learn how to program HTML.
HTML is a special language that tells your browser what a website looks like.
Thank goodness those days are past us.
That’s where content management software, or CMS, comes in.
A CMS is a bit of software that does this HTML coding stuff for you. It stores all of the articles that you write in a database.
When someone comes to a page on your website, like:
The CMS will go and fetch the page titled “Best Rowing Machines For Losing Weight” and show it to the visitor.
The best/most-popular CMS is called WordPress. Of the entire internet, 54% runs on WordPress. The rest comprises custom made sites and other smaller CMS systems.
I wholeheartedly recommend WordPress in this guide. That’s because if you ever need help with your site, it is one-thousand times easier to find someone fluent in modifying WordPress websites than it is to find someone capable of editing a site in some obscure CMS that requires specialist knowledge.
You’ll also find that it’s cheaper to find people willing to do work on your WordPress-based website because of its popularity.
Selecting Your Domain Name Provider and Web Host
I’m going to recommend a domain name provider and a web host for you in the links below (yes, they’re affiliate links, so I will get credited if you choose to start an account with them).
If you don’t like my recommendation that’s totally okay – no hurt feelings! I strongly suggest you do your own research anyway. It’s a big internet out there with literally thousands of web hosts and domain name providers.
My motivation is to make this as easy for you as possible by recommending a host I’ve personally worked with many times over the years and I know to be beginner friendly.
Do I use this hosting company myself? Yes. While I do use other more powerful servers for some of my bigger sites, I still recommend this hosting company and use them for some smaller sites that I own.
Bluehost has been around for nearly 20 years, hosts over two million websites, is priced very competitively, operates its own servers and facilities based in the state of Utah, and features a one-click install of WordPress (very important for de-complicating the whole thing).
It’s also cheap. You can pick up hosting for less than $50 a year.
Let me ask you: What was the last thing you spent $50 on? Was it on something that could grow that $50 into much more? Or was it on something you’ll use once and never use again?
I’ve had single meals that cost more than Bluehost hosting for an entire year. It’s almost ridiculous.
Sign up for Bluehost here →
I’m not sure if they’ll run the special price below forever, and at the moment it also includes free registration of your domain name. That just makes it more of a bargain because you don’t have to register the domain name elsewhere and worry about configuring it.
Setting Up WordPress On Bluehost
As mentioned, Bluehost has a one-click install. So just click on this link, click on the big green Get Started Now button, and follow the registration process.
Next, choose your domain name:
Since you receive free domain registration with this deal, you’re best off using it.
However, I’ve found that Bluehost’s tool for looking at which domains are available is not that great.
I suggest you use Namecheap.com’s tool to find the available domain names, because their searching mechanism is much nicer.
Just type in your idea for a domain name and see what you can find. The more unique you make it, the more likely it will be available.
Once you’re done selecting your domain name, fill in your personal and billing details to create your account.
After you’ve paid, selected your password, and the account is all set up, you’ll be directed to the installation process.
Bluehost actually drops you inside the backend of WordPress for their wizard:
Now click Launch, and your site is almost ready to go:
Choose the name and site description (these can be changed later in Settings…