If you’re looking to get started with content websites and affiliate marketing and feel overwhelmed with the number of courses, gurus, and advice out there, you’re not alone.
This is the number one problem I see amongst new SEO’s and affiliates and it’s something that is easily fixed with a simple mindset shift. Treat this like a business.
Below, I will guide you to creating your own content website that is not only super-simple to set up but has the potential to not just buy you a few coffees each week or pay your mortgage each month but buy you a new house or completely replace your salary and your J.O.B.
All from a little niche website. Here’s a snapshot of my earnings for one of my accounts:
If you want to learn more about me, what I do and the cloud income blog, you can check that out here. Now that we’ve got the ‘proof I know what I’m talking about’ out of the way, let me show you how you can do it yourself.
I’ve taught many others how to do this, including a family member and my previous VA (virtual assistant) who now both do very well for themselves.
Let’s dive in.
My Strategy is Simple
The way I make money online is via niche content websites that publish long-form content covering buyers guides, single product reviews, and helpful informational articles.
We use affiliate programs such as Amazon Associates and ShareASale and also display ads with Ezoic & AdThrive.
Choosing A Niche
Niche selection is important. The common advice is to go into a niche that you love. My advice is, it doesn’t matter if you love the topic, this is business. So follow the money and the traffic.
Any websites that I’ve started on a passion topic have resulted in sub-par results (this blog excluded). My successes have come from performing in-depth topic, keyword, and competition research, all of which I will cover below.
I’ve shared some niche site ideas here, which you’re welcome to steal from me.
Competition Research Guide
Before choosing a niche you should start with some competition research to determine if you’ll be able to compete with those websites currently ranking in the top 10 of Google for the main keywords.
Keyword Research Guide
Next up we have keyword research, this is similar to the above step, however, this time we’re digging into the depths of niches to find some easy to rank for keywords that we can dominate.
Keyword Tools Guide
To help with the above process, keyword research tools can greatly speed up the process and help you find some true gems. My personal preference is Ahrefs which is a paid tool, however, you can also use a free tool like Google Autosuggest.
Creating Your Website
This is where most people stop because they think it’s going to be to hard. Let me break down that barrier right now for you.
Building a website is easy, so easy a complete beginner can do it in just an hour
Don’t believe me? Check out my complete guide to starting a blog from scratch. That article breaks down the process into just 8-steps and is super detailed so you won’t get lost and give up.
For a more general overview, here’s what you need to do.
Get a domain name by using a domain name provider (or registrar). There are many options, I use NameCheap (they’re awesome) and stay away from GoDaddy (due to a few poor experiences), but the choice is yours.
You can use a tool like nameboy to generate a clever catchy name, or you can use a tool like expireddomains.net to see what has previously expired (no longer required by someone else) to get some ideas.
Of course, you can also use good old-fashioned brainpower. Stick your chosen domain name into NameCheap to see if it’s available and register it once you’ve found the one you love.
Hosting is how you show your website to the world, it’s where all of your files and content are kept and you need it if you want to start your content website empire.
Personally, I use WPX as it’s powerful and can run all of the websites in my portfolio. To get started, I recommend SiteGround which I also use for new starter sites and as a testing ground for projects.
We will be using WordPress as it’s the best CMS (content management system) out there and it makes it so easy to start blogging and affiliate marketing. Both hosting options above have a one-click WordPress install option, so you don’t have to mess around with all that technical stuff.
Follow the on-screen instructions, such as naming your blog, set a username and password, etc…it’s really simple.
Note: Be sure to use the self-hosted WordPress.org and Not the WordPress.com solution (with the latter you will never fully own your website)
Themes are what make your website look pretty. Thankfully WordPress has a huge repository of themes (Free and Paid) you can use to avoid having to be a design genius or technical wizard (I am neither).
There are also premium themes available from the likes of GeneratePress and StudioPress that offer more in the way of customizing the look and feel of your website.
There are several different forms of content, but we can categorize them into just two types:
1. Informational Content
Info content is super important for a number of reasons. First of all, it shows the search engines that we know what we’re talking about and provides our readers with helpful content.
Second of all, informational keywords are some of the easiest keywords to rank for. With a new website, there is often a ‘sandbox’ period, where Google is trying to figure out if your website and pages are worthy enough of ranking for certain keywords.
By creating informative content that targets ‘easy’ keywords, we increase our chance of success, ranking in the top 10 of Google and attracting traffic to our website.
2. Transactional (AKA Money) Content
Next up we have content that is transactional in nature, what I like to call money content. This is content that is designed to make us money.
We do this by targeting keywords that are likely to result in the user clicking and buying a product or service. We target terms like “Best X for Y“, “Product X Review” and “Product X vs Product Y“.
These keywords attract readers who are in the research phase and close to the end of the purchasing cycle. They just need more information from you on which product to choose, why they should choose it, and the benefits of doing so.
If you’re not a writer or you have more money than time, I suggest you look into outsourcing your content writing to freelance writers. I do this for all of my websites (except for Cloud Income).
Once you have a bunch of content on your website, I suggest at least 30 articles, with the vast majority being informational in nature. You’re ready to apply for some affiliate programs to start to earn some revenue for your business.
It’s best to wait until you are getting some traffic from the search engines before applying to these programs, as with Amazon you need to make a sale within the first 60-days to remain an affiliate.
They’ve gotten more strict over time, so if you’re rejected initially, don’t give up. Keep improving your website and adding content, and apply again in a few weeks.
I’ve also pulled together a bunch of affiliate marketing research and reports you can find here.
Note: I recommend you have a decent amount of quality content on your website before requesting to join either of these programs. By focusing on the content initially, you will have a great foundation to avoid any issues in the future.
We now need to start promoting our blog, you could of course do this before you start to apply to affiliate programs in order to gain more exposure for your blog and generate more traffic.
One of the best ways to do this is via guest posting. This entails reaching out to related blogs in your niche and writing an article for them to publish on their website. Inside of these guest articles, we will include hyperlinks (backlinks) to our own content, which is the best way to rank in Google and get your website known.
Here’s how to perform outreach for guest posts.
Social Media is another way to get the word out about your website and also increase the trust signals to search engines. At a minimum, you should be sharing all of the content you publish to various social channels, including:
- Facebook Page
- YouTube (if you have video content)
- Reddit (a niche subreddit)
Be sure to create a profile for each of the main social media channels and try to keep your username/branding consistent where possible.
You can use the Knowem tool to see if your desired username is available.
An advanced step is to create an email newsletter for your blog and entice readers to join by offering an incentive, such as a free PDF guide, tutorial, how to, cheat sheet…whatever fits with your topic and audience needs.
You can then send an email to this list each time you publish a new piece of content, to drive instant traffic to new articles and build a relationship with your audience to potentially market your products in the future.
Personally, I use ActiveCampaign for all of my email marketing, newsletters, and opt-in forms. There are others, all of which are similar in price. It’s a very competitive industry and each tool provides something a little different.
MailChimp for example allows you up to 2,000 subscribers completely free.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it, my guide to creating your own niche site empire from the ground up. If you’re new to the industry, it may seem like a lot of work, and I won’t lie to you, it is. But it sure beats being stuck in a job you hate and having that earning ceiling over you. With niche sites, the sky is the limit.