Are you interested in becoming an affiliate marketer? You're not alone. As per Rakuten Marketing, 81% of advertisers and 84% of publishers are already engaged in affiliate marketing. Fortunately, you have come to the right place. Authority Hacker has assisted over 11,000 students in becoming better affiliate marketers.

With our experience constructing and selling numerous authority sites across various niches in the last ten years, we know what it takes to achieve affiliate marketing success and can share that knowledge with you.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is performance marketing that compensates affiliate marketers for directing customers to a business. As an affiliate marketer, you will search for products or services that are appropriate for your audience and that you are willing to endorse. You will then generate content related to those products or services, embedding your affiliate link.

This content could be a blog post, a social media post, a YouTube video, an email marketing newsletter, or something else entirely. You will earn a commission whenever someone clicks on your link, visits your affiliate partner's website, and makes a purchase.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Function?

Is affiliate marketing a profitable venture? What is the earning potential of an affiliate marketer?

This question is frequently asked, and it's not surprising. We have even written an entire article on how much money affiliate marketers can earn.

As an affiliate marketer, you can generate no limit to the amount of passive income. As seen in our case studies, successful affiliate marketers can make five figures (or more) each month. By creating and selling an affiliate website that generates consistent traffic and revenue, you can earn significant money, potentially even seven figures.

However, there are no guarantees in affiliate marketing. For some people, it's a side gig that generates a few hundred dollars each month on top of their regular income, while others may not see any return on their efforts.

It's essential to remember that affiliate marketing success requires hard work and dedication, and it typically takes a few years to establish a profitable affiliate marketing business. Be cautious of anyone who claims to have a “top secret affiliate marketing strategy” that will make you a millionaire overnight.

How to Obtain Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing depends on identifying products or services to promote and then directing potential customers to them using affiliate links.

But how do you get these crucial links?

There are two primary methods:

1. Affiliate Programs

  • Working directly with the merchant can result in a more substantial relationship
  • Higher chances of negotiating better commissions or other affiliate marketing terms
  • Payouts are often more significant because there is no affiliate network to receive a portion of the profits

2. Affiliate Network

  • Access to thousands of merchants from a single dashboard
  • Joining an extensive affiliate network reduces the risk of being scammed
  • Payments are often more reliable due to the backing of an extensive network
  • Tracking and reporting are often more precise as well.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Receive Payment?

Affiliate marketing payments are determined by the number of “events” you generate.
The specific “event” can differ depending on the type of affiliate program or network you join, but some common examples include the following:

  • Clicks: Pay-per-click affiliate programs compensate affiliate marketers for each click on their affiliate link.
  • Leads: Cost-per-action affiliate programs reward affiliate marketers for driving tips through actions like form submissions and software downloads.
  • Sales: The most prevalent affiliate program type pays a fixed commission, either a cash or percentage amount, for each verified sale.

Affiliate marketers typically receive commission payments at regular intervals, with most affiliate programs and networks paying monthly after a minimum threshold of actions or value has been met.

However, some affiliate programs offer weekly or even daily payment options if you prefer to receive your affiliate earnings immediately.

Important Affiliate Terms to Familiarize Yourself with Before Starting

As with any other digital marketing channel, affiliate marketing has its own set of jargon that you must understand to succeed. To help you navigate this world, here are some of the most important terms to know:

  • Affiliate link: Each affiliate has a unique link to track the desired “action” (click, lead, or sale) that originated from their website. Without affiliate links, affiliates wouldn't earn the commission they deserve for the actions they drove.
  • Average order value (AOV): Average Order Value (AOV) is a performance metric representing the mean amount spent per completed transaction. This is calculated by dividing the total revenue generated by the number of orders placed.
  • Conversion rate: Conversion rate is the ratio of the number of visitors who complete the desired action, such as making a purchase or submitting a form, to the total number of visitors to a merchant's site. It is calculated by dividing the number of conversions by the total number of visitors.
  • Cookies: Small files stored on a user's computer are used to identify website visitors. In affiliate marketing, cookies track referrals and usually expire after a set period.
  • Cost per action (CPA): The commission paid to affiliates for each agreed-upon step, such as a form submission or software download.
  • Cost per click (CPC): The amount affiliates earn for every click on their affiliate link.
  • Cost per sale (CPS): The amount a merchant pays for each conversion from an affiliate's link.
  • Earnings per click (EPC): Earnings per click (EPC) measures the average affiliate income earned for each click on an affiliate's link. It is calculated by dividing the total earnings by the number of clicks.

Becoming an Affiliate Marketer: A Step-by-Step Guide

After learning about the basics of affiliate marketing, you may be eager to start immediately. To become an affiliate marketer, follow these five steps:

Choose a Niche:

Choosing the right niche is crucial in your affiliate marketing journey as it directly impacts your earning potential. A well-chosen place can still yield results even with an average website, while a poor niche may not yield returns regardless of how much effort is put into it. To discover good places, browsing Flippa, an online business marketplace, is an effective method.

How to Research Affiliate Programs:

Selecting high-quality affiliate programs is essential to your success as an affiliate marketer. Choosing the right program can earn higher commissions as more referrals will convert. Additionally, you can rest assured that you will be paid on time and won't be deceived by your commissions.

Amazon Associates' affiliate program is a great starting point for new affiliate marketers, even though the commissions may be less attractive. Amazon sells almost everything, and it has a solid reputation. However, you are not limited to Amazon.

Many affiliate programs are available, and you'll eventually want to step out of Amazon's shadow. To locate the best affiliate programs and offers, Ahrefs Site Explorer is a valuable tool. You can input a competitor's website, preferably in your niche, and look for Linked Domains.

This will provide you with a list of all the websites your rival links out to, and you can quickly determine which affiliate programs they use. You can also locate the affiliate product they're promoting by looking for affiliate networks and merchant site names in your niche. While you can join some of the same programs as your competitors, they chose those programs because they generate decent money from them. So, it's reasonable to assume that you can do the same.

Creating and Setting Up Your Affiliate Marketing Website:

Your website is the most effective platform for your marketing efforts. You need to have a well-planned and search-engine-optimized website to drive traffic. And with traffic, you will earn revenue from affiliate marketing. Unfortunately, most affiliates need proper planning to build their sites, which leads to failure before they even start.

So, how should you approach building an affiliate site? The first step is to create a list of competitors. You have already identified some competitors while researching niches and affiliate programs. Now, expand your list using Ahrefs' Competing Domains tool, which displays the top 10 Google search engine results in pages for the exact keywords as your target website. Add any new websites that you come across to a “master list” of competitors.

Start Creating Content:

Congratulations on building your first affiliate marketing website! Now it's time to create high-quality content to help grow your affiliate business.

The key here is to prioritize “quality” above all else. Successful affiliates earn good money by providing visitors with valuable, engaging content that answers their search queries and offers trusted product recommendations.

Build Backlinks:

Congratulations on creating excellent content for your affiliate marketing website! But what good is it if no one sees it? You need a highly profitable niche with significant margins to afford to pay for Google Ads to drive traffic to your site. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) and link-building come in.

Google and other search engines use external website backlinks to signal that your website is a trusted resource. It would help if you had quality links from high-DR (domain rating) sites to improve your rankings. While there are various ways to generate backlinks, the three primary tactics are HARO, guest posting, and skyscraper link-building.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) involves using your expertise to help journalists answer a question related to your niche, and in return, you'll likely receive a backlink. 

Guest posting means writing a blog post for another website and getting a link to your site. 

Skyscraper link-building involves

  • Finding an existing piece of content with many backlinks.
  • Creating something better.
  • Asking those who linked to the original content to link to yours instead.

While we won't delve into all three strategies here, the HARO technique can be a useful starting point. HARO is a platform with over 75,000 journalists and bloggers and more than one million experts available to answer their questions. You can answer relevant queries and earn backlinks by signing up as a source. Although there are paid plans available, a free account should suffice.

 Add as much detail to your profile as possible to increase your credibility with journalists. Instead of focusing on a particular niche, select Master HARO in the preferences section to receive more opportunities to respond to journalist requests.

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