How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
You partner with a company selling products/services you would like to recommend to your audience. If they buy something using your affiliate link, you get a commission from the sale. There are other types of affiliate programs, but this is the most common and is also what I do.
1. Find Your Niche
My career journey went like this: online marketing > web design > WordPress web design > WordPress SEO > WordPress speed optimization. Now I’m focusing on WordPress hosting.
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there was a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed and hosting companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
I expanded my SEO blog and started writing about hosting, cache plugins, and other relevant topics… while recommending Cloudways in many guides. I added social proof like the Facebook polls where they were rated #1. Each tutorial was super detailed (like this one) and tons of people found them helpful – many get 100+ visitors/day since great content = higher rankings.
Once I found my niche (WordPress speed optimization), a solid hosting company with a high commission affiliate program (Cloudways), and created tutorials around topics people in my niche would find helpful (and might want to change their host), that’s what got me to $150k.
2. Start A Blog Or YouTube Channel
A blog and YouTube channel are completely different, not just because one is writing and one is shooting videos. But each of them are different in terms of SEO, conversions, time, and the cost.
Blogging vs. YouTube Videos
- Ownership – you own your blog, not YouTube.
- SEO Traffic – it takes longer to get SEO traffic to a blog than YouTube.
- SEO Difficulty – the SEO competition in YouTube is often less than Google.
- Cost – YouTube is free, blogs require domain, hosting, development costs, etc.
- Content Updates – it’s easier to update a blog post than to remake a video.
- Coupon Codes – YouTube is great if your affiliates let you use coupon codes.
- Time – it takes longer to set up a blog, (though Astra Sites have made it easier).
- Expectations – in your niche, do people prefer watching videos or reading articles?
Start A WordPress Blog (read my guide)
- Domain – GoDaddy or Namecheap.
- Hosting – Bluehost for cheap/slow, Cloudways for good/fast.
- WordPress – what I recommend building your website/blog on.
- Astra Starter Templates – WordPress themes most people are using. They look amazing, are mobile responsive, and are 1-click import. Just install WordPress in your hosting account, login to your WordPress dashboard, and download the Astra Starter Sites plugin. Pick a theme and import it in one one 1-click, then you’re ready to start customizing your blog!
- Have A Developer On Hand – to this day, I still pay Pronaya (my developer from Bangladesh) to do things I can’t. If it takes him 1 hour but it takes you 3 days to install your WordPress theme, just have him do it. He can be found on freelancer.com with the username bdkamol. Here’s his profile link. I’ve been working with him since 2011, so yes, he’s legit.
3. Sign Up For Affiliate Programs
Hosting, Amazon, and affiliate programs related to “making websites” are very popular.
Websites – if you’re in the “how to make a website/blog” industry, I’ve accumulated a list of affiliate programs for WordPress, hosting, themes, plugins, SEO, email, CDNs, and services. Remember that to get approved, some companies require you to be somewhat established.
|Affiliate Program||Category||Commission||Recurring||2 Tier|
|A2 Hosting||Hosting||$55 – $125||x||✓|
|All In One SEO Pro||SEO||20%||x||x|
|Asset CleanUp Pro||Plugins||20%||x||x|
|Cloudways||Hosting||$50 – $150+||✓||✓|
|GreenGeeks||Hosting||$50 – $100+||x||x|
|GridPane||Hosting||1 free month||x||x|
|Hello You Designs||Themes||20%||x||x|
|HostGator||Hosting||$65 – $125+||x||x|
|JohnnyVPS||Hosting||2x monthly price||x||x|
|KeyCDN||CDN||100% of 1st payment||x||x|
|Kinsta||Hosting||$50 – $500||✓||x|
|Long Tail Pro||SEO||30%||✓||x|
|NameHero||Hosting||$50 – $125+||x||x|
|Restored 316 Designs||Themes||20%||x||x|
|Scala Hosting||Hosting||$50 – $200||x||x|
|SiteGround||Hosting||$50 – $100+||x||x|
|SpinupWP||Control Panel||$25 credit||x||x|
|ThemeForest||Themes||30% of 1st payment||x||x|
|TubeBuddy||Other||30% – 50%||✓||x|
|WPX||Hosting||$70 – $100+||x||x|
Affiliate Marketplaces – these have hundreds of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and checks the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on their site. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I use ShareASale and Impact.
|Affiliate Marketplace||Number Of Brands||Popular Brands|
|ShareASale||15,200+||Hewlett Packard, Sears, LovePop, Grammarly, Daily Harvest, NameCheap, WP Rocket, WP Engine, Envira Gallery|
|CJ Affiliate||3,800+||Overstock, GoDaddy, Zappos, Walgreens, TurboTax, QVC, Newegg, Hotels.com, HelloFresh, TeamViewer, Guitar Center|
|Impact||800+||Airbnb, AppSumo, Constant Contact, Envato Market, HostGator, InMotion, Lending Club, Levi’s, Squarespace|
|Rakuten Marketing||50,000+||Udemy, Walmart, Macy’s, StubHub, Hulu|