Building a good affiliate website

A good affiliate website under construction

If you already have a succesful website with lots of visitors, then affiliate marketing can help you to make money using your website. Read on to see how you can improve your website to get better results from affiliate marketing.

But what if you don't have a (succesful) website yet? This may actually be a blessing in disguise. There is a lot about building a good affiliate website that is easy to do from the start, but hard to change once your site is up and running. You'll have to invest time and effort into building your site, but once you're done, you have something that can make you a lot of money.

I've written a step-by-step plan that you can use to start a new affiliate site. Use these guidelines to build a good affiliate website.

1. Plan ahead

There's nothing so tempting as to start building your affiliate website right away. You have some great ideas about articles to write and products to sell, and are eager to put those in practice. That's not the way to go. If you do this, you'll end up wasting a lot of time on things nobody will read or that won't attract any revenue.

A good affiliate website starts with a plan. You need to know on which affiliate niche you'll focus. You need to decide on the keywords for which you'll optimize your website. You need to think of a site structure that works well for both SEO, usability and sales conversion. You need to think about how you'll get visitors to your brand new affiliate website. And, most importantly, you need to decide on how your site is going to make money.

Sit down, do the research and write things down on paper. Any time invested at this stage will pay itself back tenfold later on, so don't worry if you spend weeks on planning without writing a single line of code.

2. Choose the right affiliate programs

So you've done all the planning? You know exactly where you want to go with your site? Then it's time to get the money making machine working. The affiliate programs you use will be the driving force behind your website, so you want to make sure that you pick some good affiliate programs. Read my article 'What is the best affiliate program?' to get you started.

It's important that you get your affiliate programs set up before you start writing content. When you're writing your website's content, you want to take every opportunity to get your audience closer to buying the products or services that you are promoting. You can only do that if you actually know what it is that you are promoting. Keep in mind that for some affiliate programs it may take a few days up to a week to get approved.

3. Get the technical aspects of your site set up

A good affiliate website also has a good underlying technology. You need to register a domain for your aite. If possible, it's great if your domain contains some of the keywords that you're focussing on. Just look at this site's domain name for an example: "affiliate good".

You also have to get webhosting for your site. Most domain name registrars will also offer webhosting packages, but they're not necessarily the best. You want to make sure that you have a fast, reliable webhost with good customer support. If you're using SiteSell SBI, good webhosting is already included. I personally use Rochen Hosting and think that they are among the best (though not the cheapest). If you really want to save on this aspect (but you shouldn't), consider HostGator. Their basic package is really cheap, but speed and service are often lacking.

Finally you're going to have to pick a content management system (CMS) to build your site. SiteSell SBI has a very easy point-and-click website builder included, which is perfect if you don't want to get too much into the technical side of building a website. Wordpress is an easy, flexible and free open-source CMS that you can learn without too much effort. I personally use Joomla!, which is also free and open-source, but much more advanced and complicated. Hey, I'm a bit of a computer geek. If you don't like the programming side and have some money to spend, you could also have someone build the technical framework for you, but that way you'll also learn less about making web building.

4. Get your main site structure in order

5. Start writing content

If you want to sell something on your website, you're going to need visitors (who are your potential customers). If you want visitors, you need to have content that is worth visiting. This can be just text articles (like on this site), videos, interactive games, a forum, or anything that you think might be interesting for your audience.

No matter how much you like multimedia content, there are good reasons to make sure that you have at least a healthy amount of text on your affiliate website. When writing text content, keep these four points in mind:

  • Write clearly. Use a good paragraph structure, use bullet lists where relevant, use headings, use hyperlinks to link to related articles, and use easy-to-understand language. This makes your website easier to find for the search engines and easier to use for your visitors.
  • Write for SEO. To attract many visitors, your content must be optimized for the search engines. So if you want a page to rank highly for 'canned dog food', make sure to include that term often enough on the page, in the title and in links to the page. Write in natural language related to 'canned dog food' and link to pages about that topic.
  • Write shareable. These days more and more content is found through shares/likes/+1s on social networks. You too want people to mention your site on these networks, because it will attract more visitors (potential customers). To do this, write content that is interesting, funny, shocking, insightful, creative or simple really good.
  • Write persuasive. In the end you're not just writing to attract readers, but you want to sell something to those readers. You do this most effectively by gradually getting them enthusiastic for the affiliate product you're promoting, without coming off as a used car salesman. You can find an excellend guide on persuasive writing in the free e-book 'Make Your Content Pre-Sell'.

6. Start attracting links