How To Build Affiliate Marketing Websites – A Step-by-Step Guide
Today we are going to walk you through how to set up your own Affiliate Website using WordPress.
Secondly, we'll briefly outline how to publish your first WordPress blog post and then how to capture email addresses using ConvertKit.
ConvertKit will allow you to capture email addresses, build an email list and continue marketing to your website visitors.
Okay, so you’ve decided that affiliate marketing sounds like a good way to start a side-hustle.
And we agree; Affiliate marketing is perhaps the easiest and most attractive entry point into passive income.
First things first, we believe you need to have a website to be truly successful at affiliate marketing.
In the first part of this in-depth guide, we will cover why you need a website for affiliate marketing as well as the following:
➤ What is a Website;
➤ Types of Website;
➤ The components of a website; and
➤ How to set up your first website.
But first …
Remind Me, What is Affiliate Marketing Again?
In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you create a marketing/sales system to market someone else’s products which results in you gaining a sales commission.
That’s right – the products aren’t yours.
For many, this is what makes affiliate marketing so appealing because you don’t have the hassle that comes with sourcing, storing or shipping products.
There is also no post-sales customer service required.
Instead, in this model, you just need to focus on using your marketing skills to find audiences who's problems can be solved with the product you're trying to market.
Every time someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you take home a cut of the profit from the sales.
The more sales you make the greater your commission.
Why Build A Website?
Okay, so to be clear you can indeed theoretically be an affiliate marketer without a website.
But we believe you’re going to find it damn hard to make consistent cash.
Because operating without a website in our opinion is building your business on unstable foundations.
So why is a website so important?
Here are a few reasons:
Websites Are Permanent Assets That You Own & Control
A website is an asset that you own which works for you 24/7, collecting leads and making sales.
Even while you sleep and dream of unicorns, your website is collecting leads and making sales, unlike a job where you only get paid when you show up.
Your website, it’s not there just to look pretty – it’s there to be your automated sales machine selling to customers and then reselling to them time and time again.
The beauty of a website is that the content you place on your website will remain there permanently forever.
This is unlike other platforms which you can get banned from and where you are not in control of your data.
That's right Youtube, Facebook, Instagram etc can all remove you and your content at a moments notice causing your business to disappear.
Websites Allow For Free Organic Traffic
Next, there’s the small matter of SEO or Search Engine Optimisation.
This is the process by which you improve the visibility of your content with search engines like Google and Yahoo.
This is generally done through a process of getting other websites to link to your website and creating super valuable content.
The better your content and the higher ranked your website is by a search engine, the more likely you are to be on page 1, spot 1 of the search result listings.
Search Engine Optimisation can result in organic or free traffic coming to your website.
SEO done correctly can be a super-powerful source of high-quality traffic leading to sales and sales commission.
Websites Allow For Greater Flexibility
Building a website allows you to create a marketing funnel (a funnel is simply a sales or lead generating process) that directs customers from multiple sources to a permanent place that you own which cannot be taken down.
For example, this could mean you post your content on Quora, Youtube, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and then direct the traffic to your website.
As the website is yours you then have more options on your website to market or even capture your customer's email address.
Take for example Instagram there is no way for you to capture a visitors email address.
A website allows you to build a permanent, solid foundation for your business while also giving you maximum flexibility.
What is a Website
A website is a digital platform that allows you to communicate information or market to your audience via content.
Having an understanding of the purpose of your website is super key to ensuring your website's message is clear.
Types of Websites: Websites Versus Sales Funnels
Before you rush off to create a website you need to be aware that two types of websites exist.
You also need to be aware of when to use each type of website.
Sales funnels are a type of website that is created and exist for a specific purpose.
Usually, sales funnels are focused on either selling products or for lead generation i.e. capturing emails or other details so you can remarket to a visitor.
A sales funnel is generally more compact versions of a full-blown website.
Sales funnels typically do not include home pages, about pages or blogs.
Often sales funnels are purposely built without menu bars or content that can allow customers to get distracted.
This is because a Sales Funnel website’s sole purpose is to sell or collect leads.
An example of a lead funnel could be a webpage that gives you a free ebook in return for your email.
Or a webpage that hosts a limited time 30% Off sales discount offer if you purchase in the next 10 minutes.
As a result, this can make it extremely hard for a Sales Funnel Website to get ranked in by a search engine as the website does not often offer any content with real value.
This can then result in little to no organic traffic and your website being invisible unless you run paid advertising like Facebook ads or Google AdWords to your website.
However, if you build a complete website with WordPress which includes a blog this can allow you to create content with real solutions that truly help your visitors.
This done correctly will cause Google to rank your website content and allow you to gain free traffic.
So which should you use?
In reality, you would use both websites and sales funnel website.
Your regular website that could be built with WordPress so that you can take advantage of the Blogging platform.
This would also allow you to obtain the SEO optimization/organic traffic benefits of creating quality content.
You would then also build a Sales Funnels using a program like Clickfunnels and integrate this into your WordPress site.
By sending your customers to purpose-built sales or email capture pages this can help improve your chances of visitors taking the actions you desire.
However, when starting out unless you have a killer super exclusive offer we always recommend to provide value first.
This should be done by creating quality super valuable content that (perhaps discreetly sells) but primarily is all about helping your visitors.
This way you can also start to create a business model that gains you free regular search engine traffic flow.
If you’re an inexperienced beginner and you start by using paid advertising to send visitors to your sales funnel webpage without offering value this could be a very costly exercise.
The Components of a Website
There are 3 key elements to consider when you create an affiliate marketing website:
➤ Content Management System (CMS)
Domain Names Explained
Many people confuse domains with websites but the two are separate.
They are connected but a domain name is what a user types into their browser to find you.
It can be used for your website but it can also be used for email.
For example, if my website is called How To Build a Website for Affiliate Marketing i.e. howtobuildawebsiteforaffiliatemarketing.com would be my domain.
That’s a long name, of course, and choosing the right domain name is going to be key to your success.
As a general rule, you want to try and keep your domain name as short as possible.
Avoid numbers and hyphens, and pick a domain that people will have no trouble spelling.
This way it will be easy for people to remember your domain name spelling.
To choose a name, it’s a good idea to use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find the terms and phrases people are using in your market.
Once you’ve got an adequate keyword, try to add it to your domain.
Stick with a.com if you can, too, because people include “.com” in their searches more than they include “.net” or “.co.uk”
Meanwhile, you can use this free tool below to see if your desired domain name is available:
Choosing a Content Management System
A Content Management System or (“CMS”) is the piece of software that lets you create, edit, organize and publish all your website content.
A website is essentially a mixture of text, pictures, and videos that need to be organized and arranged by a CMS in order to appear on a website correctly.
The most popular CMS in the world is WordPress and is estimated to power 30% of all websites in the world.
The key difference between the different website solutions that exist is the ability to be able to customize your website.
“Out of the box” solutions like Wix tend to come with Content Management Systems that offer a limited ability to customize site design and layouts.
Having a CMS that has complete flexibility over site design and layout is extremely important.
Because website design plays a crucial role in communicating your message.
Poor or muffled communication will result in muted messages being communicated.
This can severely limit your ability to influence site visitors to take desired actions.
That being said, you’ll still notice that a lot of people create affiliate marketing websites using Wix.
So what’s the difference between the two?
WordPress has a plugin store with a selection of more than 50,000 plugins for you to choose from.
Wix, on the other hand, is limited to less than 1,000 tools and apps.
You can think of the WordPress plugin as being similar to the Apple app store.
The sole purpose of the WordPress plugin store is to provide free and paid solutions to help website owners make their website function better.
Ease of use:
WordPress allows for full customization and full flexibility.
With this in mind, it can lead to having a slightly greater initial learning curve.
Wix, on the other hand, is a simple drag-and-drop site that’s super easy to get the hang of.
Wix is just not as powerful and uses stock templates that limit customization and your ability to look credible and professional.
WordPress doesn’t actually require you to have an amazing head for coding or know any code at all for that matter!
Anyone can get the hang of WordPress if they have some patience.
WordPress is home to a massive community of coders and developers who are always answering questions in the forums.
If you have a problem, a simple search should yield a suitable response.
However, there’s also the chance that you could be searching for a while until you find an answer to your specific problem.
Wix doesn’t have the community that WP has, but it does offer the ability to talk to a support team.
If you need an answer fast, you can also jump on a call with a team member.
While your domain name gives your website an address (so to speak), it’s the web hosting that gives your website a home and powers your website similar to electricity.
Hosting is essentially a service that stores and powers all the info on your site.
As such, it’s pretty damn important that you have a host.
Without one, your website won’t be stored anywhere and your customers won’t see it.
There are a few key things to look for when choosing a hosting service:
➤ Bandwidth and storage – If you have a super small budget, you can choose a hosting service plan that offers a pricing model based on limited (and potentially small) bandwidth and storage.
If you have a bigger budget and a data-intensive website (i.e. loads of videos etc), you can choose a pricing model that offers unlimited bandwidth and storage.
Affiliate marketers generally don’t need a lot of bandwidth and storage.
That said, if you’ll be posting lots of videos to your site, your hosting needs will change.
➤ Shared hosting – This is the cheapest type of hosting where your data is stored on the same computer as many other sites.
For many newbie affiliates, it’s a good starting point, although the features are limited.
➤ Reliability – If your website constantly goes down, it will be of zero use to you as an affiliate marketer, especially during a promotion!
Check reviews before committing to a hosting service.
➤ User-friendliness – A lot of the hard work will be done for you already, but you’ll still need to make your website as user-friendly as possible.
If a hosting service has a good support team on hand to help you out, it’s always a good sign.
We Recommend Using Bluehost
If you're new to starting a business and you're not 100% certain you can make it work then we think it's always good to minimize your upfront costs.
Because if this money-making model turns out to not be for you, then this will help reduce the amount you've invested!
Below we will show you step-by-step how to use Bluehost to set up your very own blog, email capture page and write your first blog post.
The first thing you’ll want to do is use this discount link for BlueHost.com, then click the “get started now” button.
Choose Your Hosting Plan
You can make your own decision about which hosting plan to sign up for, but when getting started the BASIC plan should be sufficient.
If this is your first affiliate marketing website, the basic plan gives you everything you need.
Plus you can always upgrade later.
However, if you feel more comfortable with a higher plan, by all means, feel free.
Choose Your Domain Name
Have you been able to find a good domain name yet?
If not, don’t even stress about it.
You should get a popup that says “choose a domain name later” and you can get started with a free domain to start.
Otherwise, enter your new or existing domain name in the relevant box.
Enter Your Account Details
Pretty self-explanatory step here.
Just enter your account details in this step.
Review Your Web Hosting Package Details & Payment Info
Make sure your personal details are correct and add your payment method.
Check Your Email
Now that your account is all set up, head over to your email.
You should have a welcome email that looks a little something like the above.
Go ahead and click the box to set your password.
Set Your Password
You should then see a screen like above.
You can now set up your account password.
Remember don’t lose it!
Log Into Your Bluehost Dashboard!
You’re now all set up for web hosting!
Just a few more simple steps until your first affiliate marketing website is live for everyone to see!
Go ahead and log into Bluehost to get familiar with the dashboard.
Next, we need to install our CMS of choice.
Fortunately, Bluehost has made it extremely simple to install WordPress.
There are hundreds of free WordPress “templates” you can use.
These are basically pre-built sites that you can pick from, then customize to make your own.
Simply choose a design layout you like.
You can always change it later.
Once you’ve picked a theme, click one button to install it!
Choose Whether Your Site Is For Business Or Personal Use
If you’re building this website to start affilaite marketing, select that it will be used for business.
Get Familiar With Your WordPress Dashboard
Once in your WordPress dashboard, you can play around or launch it and make it a real, living website!
Don’t worry if you don’t really know what you’re doing yet, just click Launch and let’s get this baby out there!
Why You Need To Capture Visitor Email Addresses
Capturing visitor email addresses allows you the chance to be able to continue to communicate with your visitor once they have left your website.
This allows you to be able to continue to educate, re-market or to sell new and improved products over time to your visitors.
Capturing a visitor's email address gives you a second chance to provide value or warm up the customer before trying to make the sale.
This becomes especially valuable if you are running paid forms of advertising to get visitors on your website.
Having the ability to re-market or market different products to customers can help you increase the average lifetime value of a customer.
Email also gives you the chance to build up a very personal one-on-one connection with your visitors, which can allow you to deliver tailored messages.
Tailoring a message to your visitor is important because the more relevant you make your message, the greater the chance of your message getting through to your visitor and you getting the sale.
Part 1 – How to Capture Visitor Email Addresses & Remarket To Your Website Visitors Using ConvertKit
Before we get started, I want to emphasize that there are many different programs and combinations that you can use with your website.
In this tutorial, we are going to use our personal favorite which we think is one of the easiest and most comprehensive emailing programs out there.
ConvertKit is an easy to use program that will allow you to capture website visitor email addresses using fully customizable email opt-in boxes (also known as capture forms).
You can then create fully segmented email lists as well as auto send emails to your users at whatever time interval you desire.
So let's begin!
Step 1- Sign Up For A ConvertKit Account & Test-drive For Free
The beauty of ConvertKit is that it allows you to have a free 14-day trial to try before you buy and see if you like it.
The industry standard is to offer plans based on how many email subscribers you have on your list.
The first plan level starts for 0 – 1000 subscribers on your email list where you will pay $29/month and it goes up from there.
If you're brand new we recommend starting here.
As your list grows you will be automatically upgraded.
As a word of caution, it pays to go with a premium email provider from the start.
For me, I initially went with a cheaper provider, grew my email list and added many templates and email sequences etc.
However, as I became more advanced I started to realise I needed more functionality.
And believe me when I say this: “merging email providers is SUCH a pain in the a*rse of a task”.
Copy/pasting and reformatting all of your templates and recreating your email sequences can take forever.
That is why I recommend starting off with a provider like ConverKit which can do it all from the start.
To start with ConverKit hit Get Free Trial.
Inform CovertKit Whether You Have An Existing Email List
If you are new to starting your business and don't have an email list with another provider simply select “I'm brand new”.
Inform CovertKit Whether You Have A Website
If you have followed the steps above and created your WordPress website using Bluehost then select “Yes”.
Inform ConvertKit About Your Website Content Management System
Again, if you've already followed the steps above and created your website using Bluehost and WordPress then select “WordPress”.
Create Your Account Email Address & Password
Here you need to input your business email address and password.
We strongly recommend using an email address linked to your domain name rather than “@hotmail.com” or “@gmail.com” as this is more credible.
As your business grows and you begin to email people they are going to trust you a lot more if you have a professional email address rather than a hotmail address.
Familiarise Yourself With The ConvertKit Dashboard/Homepage
ConvertKit is really simple and intuitive to use.
In the picture above, you can see ConvertKit offers four main features:
1 – Email sequences: These are simply emails that are sent in sequence at a predetermined interval by you.
For example, you could send an email every day for 5 days.
Or you could send an email to a subscriber on the 1st day, 2nd, 5th day and 7th day after they have subscribed.
2 – Email Automation: These tend to be a little bit complicated for beginners.
But in essence what these are is a more complex form of email sequences.
Where for example, say a subscriber buys a product then the automation will put them into an email sequence to upsell them towards a new product.
If the subscriber ignores the email and doesn't buy a product then the sequence may continue and send them a follow-up email.
Email Automation can quickly become complex but they are very very useful for advanced marketers.
3 – Forms: These are also known as opt-in boxes and are used to capture email addresses and visitor information so you can re-market to visitors.
4 – Email Broadcasts: This is a way of sending one-off emails to your list.
Part 2 – Building Your First Email Capture Box
Selecting Your Email Optin Style
Next, we need to advise ConvertKit how we are going to collect our customers' email addresses.
Are you going to have a whole webpage (sometimes called a landing page) devoted to collecting email addresses; Or do you simply want to integrate an opt-in form into a blog post or on a webpage?
In this example, we will show you how to create an opt-in form to allow visitors to subscribe to your email list at any point on a blog post or webpage.
That way visitors can continue to receive notifications such as new blog posts you have created once they have left your website.
It also allows you to market to visitors custom affiliate products through email marketing long after they have left your website.
Choose How Your Optin Box Will Display
Next, you need to determine how your opt-in box will show.
Will the opt-in box hover over the webpage and need to be filled-out or exited before a user can continue to read your blog page?
Or does it simply form part of the webpage?
The key here is to test over time to see which capture box tends to work better and capture more emails over time.
Forcing customers to fill out their email or making them close the opt-in box might frustrate your users and cause them to leave your website.
On the other hand, having the opt-in box blend into the blog post might cause the box to become invisible and skipped over by users.
There is no right or wrong solution.
By testing each opt-in box over time you can see which works best for your website and your visitors.
Choose An Opt-in Box Display Format
Next, you will need to figure out what type of Opt-in box you want.
For me personally, I have found that simpler more minimalistic opt-in boxes tend to work.
They are also a lot easier to design and implement!
However, again the real key to success is that you need to test to see which works best for your website and your traffic!
Start Editing And Customising Your Form
Here you need to think about writing and articulating your words in a way that is persuasive but concise and communicates the benefits of your visitor handing over their email address.
You also need to think about formatting the colour of you capture box so that it fits with the format of your website.
When I first started out, I used a combination of hiring website designers from Freelancer.com and asking a friend who was a graphic designer on what works best.
Decide What Website Page A Visitor Should Go To After Subscribing
In this section, you can decide what should happen or where to direct your visitor after they hit subscribe.
A handy tip is to send them to a thank you page which also provides them to a link to join your Facebook Group.
This way you have yet another avenue to potentially market to your visitor.
As they may simply unsubscribe from your email list as soon as they get your ebook gift or voucher.
A Facebook group is another great low commitment way to get users to become part of your world as they can easily leave your group at any time so users will be more likely to join.
Does Your Subscriber Need To Download Anything?
A common affiliate marketing/internet marketing tactic to get a visitor to give you their email address is to offer them a gift or voucher.
This is often called a lead-magnet (where the visitor is the lead and the magnet is the gift to attract them) to give their contact details.
Hit Embed Form & Select WordPress To Reveal The Correct Code
Next, you need to generate the website coding to paste into WordPress.
Once you paste this code into your WordPress post your capture box will show on your website.
Hit Forms At Any time To Be Taken To The Forms Homepage
This should reveal a page similar to the image below.
How To Edit Your Form
Per the image above, you can edit your form at any time by clicking on your form on the bottom left-hand side on the forms menu page.
Part 3 Setting Up & Using Your Email List
CovertKit Includes Broadcast Email Sending Features
The broadcasting feature as the picture indicates exists for sending one-off emails to your list.
CovertKit Includes Email Automation Features
Email sequences are perfect for scheduling email sequences to your subscriber once they join your list.
An example could be:
Day 0 – Send lead magnet
Day 1 – 48 Hour Coupon relating
Day 2 – a reminder that coupon expires in 24Hours
Day 3 – Link to popular blog post
Day 7 – Link to a useful product review.
And so on and so forth.
CovertKit Allows For Importing Of Email Addresses From Existing Sources
Per the picture above, you can also import existing email lists into ConvertKit.
Step 7 – Choose The Filters You Want To Use To Build Your Email List
ConvertKit allows for you to create multiple email lists based on numerous different features.
Step 7 – You Can Even Build A List Based Upon Subscribers Signing Through A Specific Form
This allows you to create lists for specific purposes and allows for more specific marketing.
For example, if customers sign up through a specific offer form for a certain product you know they are interested in that product and hence you can send a more specific message.
Step 7 – Label Your New List Segment & Hit Save To Finalise Settings
Once you have finalised your email list settings hit save.
View Email List Statistics By Hitting Subscribe
You can edit your email lists by hitting edit on the bottom left-hand corner the subscribers page.
Part 4 Installing The ConvertKit WordPress Plugin
In order to have your email forms display on your website, you need to install the ConvertKit WordPress plugin.
Step 1: Download The ConvertKit WordPress Plugin & Install
To locate the plugin store go to Bluehost WordPress website.
On the left-hand side menu in WordPress hit plugins, and add new.
Next, you need to search for the plugin by typing “ConvertKit”.
Installing The ConvertKit Plugin
To install hit “Install Now”.
Next Hit “Activate” To Active The ConvertKit WordPress Plugin
Copy API Key From ConvertKit Account Info Page Into The ConvertKit WordPress Plugin
In order to for the WordPress plugin to work you need to head back over to ConvertKit and go to Account Info page.
Next copy your unique ConvertKit API key so you can paste this into your WordPress plugin.
Add Your ConvertKit API Key Into Your WordPress Plugin
Once this is complete you are now ready to draft your first blog post using WordPress.
If you don't follow the above steps, when you paste in your ConvertKit email forms into your blog posts they will not display in your posts.
Copy The WordPress ConvertKit Embed Form Coding & Head to WordPress
Part 5 Drafting Your First WordPress Post
There are two main ways you can create your first WordPress Post.
The first method is:
Click on the New button on the admin toolbar, and then select Post
The second way is: Click on “Add New” from the Posts menu.
This will look similar to the screen below:
Upon clicking one of the above options this will take you to a screen similar to below.
However, if you’ve installed any WordPress plugins, then your post editor screen could look very different.
In the picture below, you can see the main features that you can use in the WordPress blog post editor to style your blog post.
Draft Your First WordPress Post And Insert The Email Capture Form Coding
One of the first places to start is to give your new post a title.
Your post title will then be displayed on your post.
Next, you are ready to build your post.
WordPress makes the process of inputting your content straightforward.
Click in the text area and begin typing.
You should think about adding images to separate big chunks of text.
Using big blocks of text can intimate visitors and cause them to bounce off the page as it looks far too much effort to read.
To add an image place your mouse cursor at your desired position in your post where you want to display the image.
Then click on the Add Media button.
Once you are finished writing your post don't forget to add your ConvertKit email capture form shortcode.
The preview button allows you to view the post as it would appear on your website.
This can be a handy way to see how your readers will view your post before it is live and published.
When you are happy you can now publish your post.
Publish by hitting the Publish button and your post will be visible to website visitors.
Then you published post will look like something similar to the post below:
So if you want to get started becoming an affiliate marketer we recommend you create your own website.
By far the cheapest and cost-effective provider is Bluehost who can set you up with your very own website hosting and fully customizable content management system: WordPress.
Start your affiliate website today using Bluehost for as little as USD 3.95 per month including a 30-DAY Money Back Guarantee!
If you want to turbocharge your results then we recommend you start building an email list using ConvertKit.
ConvertKit comes with a 14-Day trial and will allow you to capture email addresses so you can market affiliate products to visitors long after they have first visited your website