Affiliate programs are extremely popular on the web and is an easy way to get started on the web, for both producers of products and product promoters. It has a low cost of entry, and low risk, as you only pay for products sold whilst expanding your reach, and product promoters have no need to produce or store the stock they are selling.
What is an Affiliate Business?

Affiliate marketing is a common and profitable business model on the internet – where you essentially recommend products, services or offers from other businesses by linking to them on your site. A purchase will be picked up via the code embedded in the affiliate link for your commission to be paid.

  • Pros:
    • You can earn money practically as you sleep, from anywhere and at any time
    • Very low investment cost
    • No need for e-commerce infrastructure maintenance
    • No need for products – you promote other’s products
  • Cons
    • You still need to work to make this work!
    • You only get paid if there is a purchase, so you need a website, following, traffic and actual purchase conversions
    • Commissions vary – high traffic volumes required to make good money.

Why Use WordPress?

Used by around 75 million websites, WordPress is by far the most popular open source Content Management System in the world – highly customizable and flexible, free to install with thousands of templates and plugins. They have developed stunning purpose-built themes for Affiliate Marketing, which makes it easy to publish product images or videos, professional looking reviews, product comparisons, star ratings and more.

Choose a Niche

Different types of affiliate websites are available, such as affiliate niche blogs, authority blogs, daily deals, price comparisons or product reviews. Pick your niche carefully in a market you are familiar with. A niche refers to a small, specialized section of the market.

Choose Your Products and Affiliate Partners

Once you have chosen the niche products you want to promote, you can look at the footer of their websites to see which affiliate marketing programs they use, or you may want to look at the big affiliate marketing programs such as AWIN, Amazon Associates, ShareASale, and others to see what products are available and pick from there, once you have joined. You may want to find independent companies who offer their own affiliate programs that operate in the niche market you are passionate about.
WordPress Affiliate Site Builder Themes

When you are starting out it is better to go with a versatile theme like Total Responsive Multi-Purpose WP Theme, as you are more likely to succeed if you choose a purpose-built affiliate theme. WordPress Affiliate themes, apart from the crucial basics, are responsive with a wealth of customizations and plugins. Some of the most popular ones include

  • REHub, which includes a few affiliate plugins and is extremely flexible.
  • Compare, with a minimal design that lets products take center stage.
  • SteadyIncome, one of the fastest loading themes from the MyThemeShop team, very customizable and fully mobile ready.

Useful Tools and Plugins

  • Affiliate Link Plugins – a very popular plugin is ThirstyAffiliates (categorization of affiliate networks, allows for easy insert, cloak links and auto-insert links with performance tracking). AffiliateWP creates fully self-hosted programs.
  • Review Plugins – reviews are a great way to build trust in products if they are authentic. Some examples include Rich Reviews (rich snippets, ability to moderate), WP Review (star, point, and percentage), WP Product Review Lite (allows your customers to add reviews) and AllinoneSchema.org Rich Snippets (allows you to mark your reviews for Google).
  • Coupon Plugins – daily deals can be generated with Magic WP Coupons or Coupon Creator
  • Email Plugins – converting visitors to mail subscribers is very important and can be done with MailChimp, OutreachPlus (which has some powerful mail management features) and Constant Contact (beginner friendly).
  • Content tools – WP RSS Aggregator will automatically fetch content from affiliate sites and even create auto-blogs.
  • Data review tools – Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics
  • Pop-up solutions – OptinMonster is one of the best out there.
  • SEO tools – Yoast SEO will force you to choose a keyword when you publish and is a must-have for every site
  • No follow tool – Rel Nofollow Checkbox lets you mark links as no-follow links.


Setting Up Affiliate Links on Your WordPress Site

Sonia Bell, a marketing expert at SmartPillWiki says that “the easiest way to set up affiliate links on your website is through the Thirsty Affiliates plugin. Purchase a plan at their website, install the plugin and activate it. You can use the plan on multiple websites and the premium plan includes the auto-loader feature discussed above”.

Now simply load your affiliate links in the app or use the link in the editor screen to bring up a pop-up for adding.
Create Free Content to Encourage More Affiliate Sales

Creating free content that is useful, relevant and of interest is the best way to keep customers coming back to your site, whether it is a blog, product reviews or any other format of affiliate marketing. Your content must be of the highest caliber and meet the customer’s needs and must fit the theme of your blog. Do your research, make sure your content is well structured and written professionally. Content must fit the products that you are promoting. Telling a story is a popular way of creating interesting content.

Reviews of products must be authentic for them to trust your reviews in the future and to become returning and referring customers.  If you write glowing reviews for sub-par products your customers will flee before you can blink an eye. Ensure that your SEO is set up properly and use plugins to assist you with SEO’s.

Conclusion
Setting up an affiliate marketing website or blog with WordPress is a great way to create passive income. It has low overhead, very low upfront investment cost and if you do your homework and plan it properly, you can create recurring income streams with some initial hard work and dedication and minimal ongoing maintenance. WordPress has simplified affiliate marketing to the point where non-technical people can concentrate on producing the best content in that niche and let the themes and plugins do the rest. Don’t forget to disclose your affiliates as required by the FTC when promoting in the USA.

Sonia Bell

Sonia Bell is a freelance marketing consultant and blogger. She is interested in researching in the field of marketing psychology and artificial intelligence. Sonia is an expert writer in such topics, as marketing, company development, and blogging.

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