Affiliate marketing is often promoted as one of the best ways to make passive income online. This is true – there are many people out there making excellent money promoting e-commerce products to niche markets online.
However, there are also many people struggling to get their affiliate marketing operation off the ground. Before you start earning significant income, you have to publish a website, create content, optimize your site for search engine marketing, and manage a rapidly growing list of partnerships – all while maintaining your website and keeping it running smoothly.
If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is! Your income won’t truly be “passive” until you automate as much of your workload as possible. Your website tech stack plays a huge role enabling that level of efficiency and optimization.
That’s one of the main reasons why affiliate marketers choose WordPress as their content management solution. As the world’s most popular web platform, WordPress gives web creators the tools they need to build efficient, highly automated revenue streams online.
But that doesn’t mean your WordPress website will write and manage itself. WordPress is a highly customizable platform that supports more than 55,000 individual plugins, and you’ll have to choose the ones best positioned to help you achieve your affiliate marketing goals.
We’ve identified eight steps you can take to position your affiliate marketing website for success in today’s web environment. Pay close attention to how you set up each aspect of your website so you can minimize your workload and maximize your profits.
Step 1. Select the right website builder
WordPress is a powerful and flexible content management platform, but it’s not an intuitive one for non-technical users. If you’re comfortable writing code in HTML, PHP, and CSS, you can create your own web pages from scratch directly on the platform, but this takes considerable time and energy to do.
Fortunately, there is another option. Code-free website builders like Elementor can provide you with the tools you need to create a comprehensive website from scratch. You can design and publish new web pages with a full suite of valuable functionalities in mere minutes.
Best of all, you don’t need any coding knowledge to use Elementor. The plugin’s intuitive user interface gives you full control over the appearance and usability of your website, allowing you to configure each and every element to your liking.
Simply drag and drop widgets directly onto your web page and configure their settings to meet your needs. Elementor Pro users have access to more than 90 widgets that do everything from displaying text and images to soliciting sign ups and showing customer testimonial carousels.
As an affiliate marketer, you probably want to establish a set of landing pages and review templates that showcase your brand value to website visitors. Elementor makes it easy for you to create, configure, save, and share these templates so you don’t have to start every new page from scratch.
In fact, with Full Site Kits at your disposal, you can create a complete, fully featured affiliate marketing website in mere minutes. Full Site Kits go one step ahead of templates, linking a professionally designed frontend with fully connected backend functionality. All that stands between you and your completed website are a few brand-specific images and some text – a few minutes’ worth of work at most! By using a professional logo generator or hiring a designer, you can get more appealing brand visuals. When it comes to texts, consider working with a content writer to get everything done more productively.
Step 2. Select a growth-friendly hosting package
Before you start publishing affiliate content, you’ll need to find a reliable website host. The quality and security of your website depends on the technology your website host makes available to you. That’s why hosting plan prices span the range from a few dollars a month to hundreds of dollars and more.
To be successful, your affiliate website will have to instill a great deal of credibility and trust in its website visitors. Website performance is one of the most important indicators of trust that a modern website can provide. A professional website that loads quickly and responds intelligently to users is far more likely to earn visitors’ trust than a sluggish, unresponsive one.
This isn’t just conjecture, either. A great deal of evidence shows that website performance correlates directly with conversion rates and overall website profitability. Take a look at some of these statistics for yourself:
- 38% of website visitors will leave your website if it loads in five seconds or more.
- Nearly 70% of online buyers say that website speed impacts their purchase.
- Three out of the top four user experience quality signals used in SEO rely on page loading speed.
The better your hosting plan is, the faster and more reliably your website can serve a growing number of visitors. Choosing a great plan means going beyond the cost-saving benefits of a shared hosting package. Many affiliate marketers jump straight to dedicating hosting, which provides them with a unique server that is totally under their control.
However, this route can be expensive, especially for non-technical users. Fortunately, you may be able to find managed cloud hosting solutions that are compatible with your particular WordPress tech stack. This lets you only pay for website resources you actually use, while providing you with WordPress as a pre-installed software.
Step 3. Invest in technologies that can secure your website
In today’s digital environment, cybersecurity is more important than ever. Your affiliate marketing business is as susceptible to cybercrime as any other. In fact, new reports indicate that small businesses are targeted far more frequently than large companies.
You may not be in a position to deploy an enterprise-level detection and response system for your business. However, there are valuable steps you can take to keep your data secure and prevent cybercriminals from targeting your affiliate website or defrauding your customers and partners.
One of the most important steps you can take towards this goal is obtaining an SSL certificate. This provides robust protection against some of the most widely encountered threats website owners face. At the same time, it is inexpensive and easy to implement.
Your SSL certificate has an important job to perform. It guarantees that your website visitors are actually accessing your website, from your web server, and not an imposter’s spoof site. It also guarantees the integrity of the data you share with website visitors, keeping threat actors from reading or manipulating that data while in transit.
That happens more often than you think. Cybersecurity researcher Troy Hunt has extensively researched automated cryptojacking attacks that exploit unsecured websites. You don’t even need to be targeted specifically – it’s enough to simply transmit website data through a compromised datacenter anywhere in the world.
You can easily check if a website has SSL certification by looking at its URL. SSL-secured website URLs start with “https://”, while unsecured websites only have “http://”. Non-profit services like Lets Encrypt can help you obtain an SSL certificate for free.
Step 4. Focus on getting your most important pages right first
Your affiliate marketing website needs to accurately categorize niche audiences and guide them towards purchasing products that meet their needs. As a result, it will probably have a large number of individual pages, organized under a variety of different categories. On top of those, you’ll need platform-specific landing pages, promotional content, and more.
It may be tempting to get started on this content first. However, getting your highest-traffic web pages right first might be a better idea. There are a few web pages that deserve a bit more attention than the rest, and the earlier you give them that attention, the better.
Before you start creating affiliate marketing content, consider starting with your:
- Home Page
- About Us
These four pages will communicate your brand more powerfully to website visitors than individual review pages do. They will serve as a home base that supports the rest of your content and helps drive the value of your affiliate marketing engine.
From a graphic design perspective, getting these pages right early on will help you make more detailed decisions down the line. With Elementor and WordPress at your disposal, you have an enormous number of layouts and customizations to choose from. This is a good thing, but it also means you can unintentionally disrupt the user experience for visitors traveling from one part of your website to another.
If you already have your core web pages published, branching out into your affiliate content is much easier. You will already know where to put navigation elements, promotional materials, and other widgets on each page. The web creation process will be less of a guessing game, and more of a consistent journey.
Step 5. Create a blog and update it consistently
As an affiliate marketer, your primary job is essentially helping people make good purchase decisions. One of the ways you may do this is by reviewing popular products. But for your reviews to be effective, you must first establish yourself as an authority.
Authority is an important factor that many affiliate marketing newcomers neglect to dedicate enough time and resources to. Whether website visitors see you as a trustworthy source of information can make or break your affiliate marketing efforts. Blogging is one of the best ways to cultivate that authority.
Blogging helps you establish your position in the niche you plan on operating in. It gives you a platform for expressing your opinions and making predictions about your industry in general.
It also plays an important role in search engine optimization.
It’s not just website visitors that are looking for authoritative sources of information. Search engine crawlers are also evaluating your website for indicators of authority. If your blog is successful and gains a large number of incoming links from other websites, you will enjoy a privileged search engine ranking for keywords related to your topic of interest. This can turn your website into a leading source of high-quality information, trusted by experts and amateurs alike.
Nowadays blog writing can be powered by AI. Use Anyword to write blogs 10X faster without compromising on quality. Anyword generates complete, well-written, organized, and engaging blog posts — all in just a few clicks. Users can incorporate keywords, choose their ideal length, and even have the AI writer complete their sentences
The best way to achieve these kinds of results is to actively look for opportunities to develop business partnerships using your blog content. Guest posting on other websites is a great way to share insights and audiences with other members of your community.
Given the low costs and high rewards it offers, there’s no reason not to invest significant resources into your blog from the very beginning.
Step 6. Incorporate popups and forms to capture leads
Achieving success as an affiliate marketing isn’t just about bringing traffic to your website. You need to convince website visitors to take their interest one step further. They need to actually click on the links you provide them and make purchases from your partners. That’s how you earn your commissions.
This means incorporating technologies that will optimize your conversion rates. Two of the most successful tools you can use are popups and custom forms. High quality affiliate websites use these tools to bring visitors further along the sales funnel and gradually entice them to purchase their partners’ products and services.
Popups are frequently misunderstood by digital marketers. Most people think of them as annoying advertisements that disrupt the user experience – and many of them are. However, when used correctly, they can be powerful conversion tools that actually enhance the user experience.
The key is effective targeting. When a popup triggers at the right moment, displaying the right message to the right people, it can boost conversions in extraordinary ways.
This might mean setting call-to-action popups to trigger for users who have already read multiple blog posts, or who have already clicked on links leading to your partners’ e-commerce pages. Elementor’s popup builder lets you configure these factors so that popups only trigger for users who are ready and primed to make a purchase.
Forms have a similarly important role to play. In many cases, the website element that convinces visitors to sign up for your newsletter or lead generation content is a form.
Advanced form capabilities will help you make the most of your lead capture initiatives, helping you make the most of each website visit you receive. A fully featured form builder makes the process of creating forms easy and intuitive.
Step 7. Optimize for mobile
When you run your own website, you can start capturing analytics data that gives you valuable insights into your target audience and its behaviors. One of the things you’re likely to find is that a surprising number of users visit your website on mobile devices.
One of out two internet users report they are likely to make an online purchase directly from their mobile device. Your e-commerce partners almost certainly have a responsive, mobile-friendly online store – you’ll need to make your affiliate website matches that standard.
Enabling mobile responsiveness depends on your particular WordPress tech stack. If you use a fully featured website builder to create and publish your web pages, you should be able to see the mobile version of every page in real-time. Without such a tool, you may have to invest in a separate plugin that gives you that functionality.
Even the choice of colors you use may impact the mobile user experience. If a mobile user accesses your website outside with their back to the sun, will they be able to see it? The answer to that question could make a big difference in your commission-based income.
Step 8. Integrate with important CRMs and sales enablement tools
As an affiliate marketer, you fill an important gap between product manufacturers and their customers. Manufacturers rely on you to connect those customers to the products and services they are looking for.
To do that, you need to know your customers. The more information you collect on them, the better you will be able to predict and serve their needs.
This is one of the main reasons why top-performing affiliate marketers invest in customer relationship management software. A good CRM solution gives you the ability to cater to customers needs and develop deep, valuable relationships with them. It enables you to retarget repeat customers, providing greater value than you would by simply waiting for them to come back and buy more of your partners’ products.
Similarly, sales enablement software provides you with the information, content, and tools you need to manage your sales strategy more effectively. In today’s affiliate marketing landscape, information is the most valuable asset you can have. Managing it effectively will give you a significant advantage.
WordPress web creators are fortunate because they can readily implement almost all of the market’s most reputable CRM and sales enablement tools. However, to make the most of these tools, you’ll need to choose compatible plugins with native integration capabilities. Elementor lets you easily connect your website with many of the world’s most sophisticated marketing technologies natively – no expensive API development contract necessary!
Make Your Affiliate Website Work for You
Without a robust set of marketing technologies working for you, the process of earning affiliate marketing income is anything but passive. You’ll have to put constant effort into getting publishing content, building new partnerships, and expanding your technical infrastructure to meet your needs.
To truly generate passive income through affiliate marketing, you’ll need to deploy highly automated workflows that take much of this work off your shoulders. You shouldn’t be writing every web page from scratch in HTML. You certainly shouldn’t be keeping customer data in an Excel spreadsheet when an advanced CRM could do the job for you.
Each of these small steps brings you a little bit closer to a fully automated affiliate marketing workflow. Once you have that in place, you’ll be able to quickly expand your content offering and capitalize on consumer trends much faster and more reliably than ever before.
About the Author
Yoni Yampolsky is a Marketing Manager for Elementor. With more than 10 million active users, Elementor empowers just about anyone to create stunning WordPress websites, code-free.