**This contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission (cup of Joe) on some links that you may click. I am appreciative if you do so, however, you do not have to*

If you haven’t heard of affiliate marketing yet, let me explain! 

Affiliate marketing is when you promote another person(s) product and then receive a commission when someone you refer to bought something. 

You may remember seeing referrals on apps like Uber. “Invite a friend and get $10 on us”. This is just one way to do affiliate marketing. 

What is an affiliate marketing website?

An affiliate marketing website is a digital asset that you can build, which generates passive income over time. If you are excited about passive income, you need to know that this side hustle is active in the beginning, but can become passive. 

If you’re passionate about a specific topic or hobby, creating an informational based website is a great way to stay on top of new trends, get free products and earn some money. 

What do you need for an affiliate marketing website?

The barebones nature of this side hustle is what attracts so many people to it. You don’t need much.

You’ll need:

Nice to have things are:

  • Keyword research tools (paid and free)
  • Camera
  • Budget for product reviews
  • Paid advertising
  • Social media

You can create a well-run, passive income-generating machine just with the first 4 items. However, you can really speed up the process and 10x your returns by adding any or all of the “nice to haves”. 

Okay, so how does it really work (infographic)?

How To Monetize

How do you monetize a website writing about puppies? The truth is, no matter what you write about there are ways to monetize this side hustle easily. I will cover 5 different ways you can monetize this side hustle, starting from the easiest to the most difficult.  

Display Ads (Ezoic)

On the above website, you will see an advertisement from TheBay.com. You’ve seen several of these advertisements browsing through websites. 

Have you ever thought, “Wow, I was just looking at those”? These display ads are programmed to know what you were looking at in order to show you relevant ads. 

You put the placement spots, and the media network will decide what advertisement to show the visitor. 

When the visitor clicks on the ad, you get money! 

Ezoic.com is the platform I recommend to get started with display ads. It’s easy to sign up and get ad spots on your website. 

Sponsorships

Depending on the niche you are in, sponsorships may be even easier than display ads. Sponsorships are more about who you know and what you can negotiate. 

For example, if you are building a website about cycling, you can approach a cycling company to sponsor your website. Sponsorship packages will vary on what you offer, but here are some ideas:

  • Sponsored product posts
  • Banners that always have that companies branding
  • Video reviews of product
  • Social media posts

You can get creative with this one!

The more niche you are, the easier it will be to find companies that want to sponsor you. 

Affiliate Links

Affiliate links are the most common term that people know when it comes to digital assets like this. Simply promote and product and get paid when it sells through your link. 

Every affiliate program is different and will have unique offerings for you. The lowest barrier to entry is the Amazon Associates affiliate program. Since Amazon is so large and easy to sign up for, they don’t offer amazing commissions. 

Depending on your niche, you may be able to find specific companies with affiliate programs. 

Just Google search, “[NICHE] + affiliate program” and see what is available. 

I searched for “Cycling affiliate programs” and several different bike companies have their own affiliate programs. It’s that easy!

If you are promoting products, make sure to promote products that you believe in and use. There is nothing worse than getting recommended for a product that sucks, and they later realize you promoted it to make money off of it. 

This is how you lose trust. 

Memberships

If you want to get a little fancier and love the niche you are in, consider starting a paid membership group. 

If you get into this side hustle just to make money but are not 100% passionate about your niche, I would not recommend starting a membership. 

You will need to show up on video, be involved, and stay up to date if someone asks you questions. 

I am incredibly passionate about side hustling, and that is why I started the Side Hustling Made Easy membership (which you’re in!). 

What you charge is up to you and will differ depending on your offerings. 

I use Gumroad to collect payments and manage subscribers. I highly recommend it. 

Products

Once you get started in your niche, people discussing problems are naturally going to happen, especially if you have a membership! 

When you have all this information at your fingertips, it becomes easy to solve problems by creating products! 

Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income has a community of people who do a lot of videos. They stressed that selfie sticks are unreliable and there was no high-quality product on the market. He created a product called, The Switch Pod, which is a high-end selfie stick. 

Financials

There is lot of buzz around digital real estate because we know that real estate is generational wealth building, but so unaffordable for most. Digital real estate building offers a bridge between the two, where you can put in the upfront work for generational wealth, at a fraction of the price. 

Costs to get started

You can get started for less than $100. At the bare minimum, all you need to spend money on is your domain and hosting. 

I have two different recommendations for domains and hosting. 

If you are non-tech savvy, Bluehost offers to host packages that start at $4/month, which comes with a free domain for the year. 

The pro to Bluehost is that you have excellent customer support, one-click WordPress installations, and automatic backups in case something were to happen.  

The downside to Bluehost and several of these common hosting providers is that your server may be far away from you. This means that load times vary and depending on how technical you are, you may want more control. 

For more technical people, I suggest Cloudways as a hosting platform. Cloudways offers a more technical experience, allowing you more control over your settings. If you are not familiar with the tech involved, I would stay away from this option.

Expected income

Not giving a generic answer on “what is my expected income” is so difficult. The truth is, you will earn relative to what level of effort and strategy you put in. 

If you are strategic and find opportunities where you can gain lots of traffic, you will earn lots and fast. If you waste time writing about opportunities you have no business being in, you will spend lots of time and earn none. 

This is dependent on:

  • Keyword research
  • Affiliate programs
  • Traffic 

After talking with Ben Adler, founder of Keyword Chef, he shared that if you produce consistently in a niche that has the opportunity, you will start to rank and bring in a small amount of money in the first 30-50 days.  

Exit Strategy

Just like any side hustle, you should know what your exit strategies are. With building a niche site, you will not have to take on early investment or worry about outside investors. The startup is low cost and you can build the business the way you want to exit. 

The most common exit in an affiliate marketing business is to sell on the market exchanges. 

MotionInvest.com is one of the largest exchanges for affiliate websites. 

Below is a list of the top 6 websites that are for sale on Motion Invest. In the “multiple” column, you will see the lowest at x29, and the highest at x43.

Click here to look at Motion Invest for yourself.

Get Started Today

If you’re passionate about a topic and ready to get started with affiliate marketing websites, now is the best time! Every day you wait, more blogs are started, making more competition for you in the marketplace. 

Here are the 2 ways to get started with affiliate marketing. 

Start a website

Are you low on money, but have time and drive? Starting an affiliate website is going to be the easiest way to get into the business. 

Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to get started:

  1. Research a niche using Keyword Chef
  2. Purchase a Domain + Hosting (Bluehost for Beginners, Cloudways for tech savvy)
  3. Install WordPress + a theme of your choice
  4. Start writing content using proper SEO frameworks 
  5. Install Google Analytics and Google Search Console
  6. Monitor traffic, performance and site issues
  7. Promote content on social media
  8. Continue to research new content ideas and write more blog posts daily
  9. Rinse and repeat and you will start to see your traffic increase 

Buy a website

If you want to fast-track your income, consider purchasing a website that is already generating revenue. You will most likely be looking to pay x29-44 multiple on monthly earnings. 

Before you buy a website, here is some advice. 

Due Diligence 

  • Is anything suspicious about traffic patterns? Is it bot traffic or human traffic?
  • Does the content real, authentic and made by a person (not robot)? 
  • Is there something that you see is wrong that you can easily fix?
  • Is there any seasonality to the business (Are you buying on high season earnings?)?
  • What value do you bring to the project? 
  • Are your strengths an asset to the current weaknesses of the website?
  • Is there ongoing support from the owner? 
  • What are the monthly fees associated with the website?
  • What are the profit margins? Don’t just look at revenue, as they may be net negative.

Marketing & Growth

There are several different ways to grow your affiliate marketing website. How you decide to grow the website will be relatable to your strengths and what you know. Remember, your main goal is to drive more traffic to the website.

Traffic = Money. 

Below are 5 different sources you can drive traffic to your website consistently. Choose whichever you feel most confident in and follow through. Don’t worry about doing every single one unless you have the time to dedicate to that. 

Keyword Chef (or other keyword tool)

One of the easiest ways for consistent growth of new followers is to spend time doing keyword research. My favorite tool is Keyword Chef, however, there are several others. Ubersuggest, AHREFS, and SEMRush are all keyword research tools. 

Your goal is to find low competition keywords that you can rank in the first 3 spots of Google for.

Websites that are easy to outrank on Google are user-generated content websites like Reddit, Quora, and Medium. If those websites are ranking on the first page of Google for any term that you want to rank for, you should have no problem outranking them.  

Use a keyword planner that tracks your growth and allows for better internal linking. Do not overstuff your blog posts with keywords. 

By consistently producing quality content over time, your website will begin to rank higher and traffic will increase consistently. 

My favorite part about focusing on proper keyword research is that ranking on Google is something that will last. It is not like social media, where when you stop posting, you will see a dip in traffic. This strategy allows for active work upfront to collect passive income down the line. 

Social Media Channels

Social media channels are always a great way to get organic traffic and to build an audience. The problem with social media? It takes time and is hard to get your first 1000 true fans! 

Once you can build the following, it becomes a snowball effect. 

With all the social media platforms, it is hard to choose which one to focus on. Do you use Facebook, Instagram, or something newer like TikTok? 

The reality is, you shouldn’t choose which social media platform to choose based on your preference. You should choose which social media platform based on where your audience is!

See the difference there? 

Social media is a long-term strategy and has great long-term impacts on your business. Over time, you will build a loyal following that will be there to sample new products, give feedback, and pre-order. 

NerdyNuts, a small batch of nut butter made by Craig Mount, grew NerdyNuts through social media primarily. In his first year, they did $2.2m, and are on pace to do over $6m in his 2nd year. 

Here are Craig’s thoughts on Facebook Groups for brands:

“If your brand doesn’t have a Facebook Group… start one. Our Private Facebook Group, Nerdy Nuts Nation, has reached 12k members. It’s really cool. You guys should all get one. I highly recommend it”. -Craig Mount

Regardless of what you do, pick 1 channel and it’s great. Don’t try to pick every single social media channel. If you do, you will just do them all pretty poorly. 

Podcast

Do you enjoy networking and expanding your connections? If so, podcasting may be for you. 

When I first started my podcast, The Hobby Hustler Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google), I never knew what would happen. Fast forward years later, I’ve had the opportunity to interview famous athletes, successful entrepreneurs, but more importantly, just inspiring people. 

Starting a podcast is easy! 

All you need is:

  • Hosting (I recommend SoundCloud)
  • Microphone (iPhone could work, but I recommend Samson Q2U for beginners)
  • Recording software (I use Zoom)

Wondering how you are going to get guests? It’s incredibly easy! 

Getting guests sounds daunting, but the reality is, most people enjoy talking about themselves and their business/hobbies. 

A simple request for them to come on your show to speak about their business should do the trick. Use the names to get bigger guests, and slowly work your way up to more a-list people in your industry. 

Email List

The most common answer to my famous podcast question, “what would you change if you could go back now?” is “I would start an email list sooner”. 

Starting an email list is simple. Sign up to an email service provider (MailerLite is what I use and recommend) that suits you. I find that MailerLite has the best combinations of features and pricing. 

Wondering how to grow your email list? Offer a freebie. 

If your affiliate website is around the topic of Vegan Dishes, offer “25 Vegan Recipes Made In 30 Min or Less”. 

If your affiliate website is around the topic of Bass Fishing, offer “Get the 10 Best Lures for Catching Bass In The Summer”. 

One of my favorite features of MailerLite is that they give you automation with the free plan. This means that you can automate a welcome series email campaign that new subscribers would get when coming on your email list. 

Here is my 3 step email welcome series that I follow, inspired by a friend Liz Wilcox.

  1. Welcome (introduction to me) – freebie
  2. Best content samples
  3. What to expect moving forward

Email marketing doesn’t have to be hard! Don’t overthink it and only send an email when you have something of value. Try to create a level of consistency, but don’t stress over having to send one every 7 days. 

Tools of the Trade

There are a few different tools that were not mentioned in this that are necessary for your success. They will help you analyze what you are doing and fast-track success by optimizing your priorities. 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is free-to-use software that allows you to track your traffic to your website. It will give you lots of information, such as demographics (age, location, income, etc.), device (phone, tablet, desktop), time on site, and more! 

It is free to install too! Click here to go to Google Analytics.

Here is the traffic dashboard of one of my sites. You can see the level of information just on the dashboard. 

If you ever plan on selling your website, having Google Analytics will help increase the value and provide real data to the potential buyer. 

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is similar to Google Analytics, the main difference being that Google Search Console relates to search-engine insights, whereas Analytics relates to data of visitors that are on the website. 

The Search Console is easy and free to set up (click here).

It will also give you information that will help you optimize posts, create new posts, and what information you will want to fix to improve your search engine rankings. 

WordPress

WordPress is an easy-to-use platform to build your website on. It is free, and with most hosting companies, it is a 1-click install. 

WordPress makes it easy to create blog posts, install themes and plugins, and optimize settings. 

WordPress is considered a better option than Wix, Weebly, Shopify (unless eCommerce), Carrd,  and many others. 

Are You Ready To Build an Affiliate Marketing Website?

Building an affiliate marketing website is not for everyone. 

If you are open to putting in work upfront for long-term passive income, this is for you. If you are looking for quick cash, this may not be the best side hustle for you. 

Did you start an affiliate marketing website? 

Send it to me and I’ll offer a complimentary review on our next group call