Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn income from the comfort of your home. It is getting a lot of attention because it is a legitimate way to make money online. For those looking to improve on their financial security or for those looking to eventually ditch their 9 to 5, this is a tried and true method.
Although Affiliate Marketing is very inexpensive to get into, many people want to test the waters before investing any money at all. Others truly do not have the funds to spare. This post will address the question of how to start in affiliate marketing for free.
I am excited to get into this topic because it is very near and dear to my heart.
Let’s get started!
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Affiliate marketing is basically a formal agreement between a product owner and someone that promotes that product on behalf of said owner.
Here is how it works. Let us say that you have a blog about dog obedience. You cover all matters of dog related subjects. Because of your deep knowledge of the subject matter, you know that excessive barking is a huge pain point for your audience/readers.
You do a lot of research and locate an amazing product/course/service that would solve the excessive barking problem for your readers. You introduce the product/course/service to your readers through an affiliate link. If your readers trust you enough and buy through your link, you will get a commission from the product owner.
Basically you get paid for selling other people’s products!
How does the product owner now that YOU referred a customer and how do they know to pay YOU? The way it works is that when you sign up to become an affiliate you receive an affiliate link that is specific to you and only to you. You place the link on your blog and every time someone clicks on it they get sent to the merchant site.
At the same time they get sent to the merchant site, they get a cookie on their computer/mobile device. A cookie is a small file that contains your identifying data. It can last for 1 hour up to several months. I will explain the significance of cookie time length later.
When the purchase is made, your identifying data is sent to the merchant and voila! You get credit for the sale and a sweet commission to go with it!
Now that we have explained what Affiliate marketing is and how you get paid, let’s move on.
THE AFFILIATE MARKETING MODEL
This is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of how the affiliate marketing model works. However, I will cover the process so that you have a good idea of what it entails in general terms. This may be a simplistic explanation but the beauty of it is that it does not need to be more complicated than what I am about to tell you.
As you learn more, you can use more complex and more comprehensive tools but the main idea and the underlying premise is always the same. There are no secrets. Here are the 4 steps to building a successful Affiliate marketing business:
- Choose a niche/interest
- Build a Website
- Attract readers
- Make Money
That’s it! It really is as simple as that. The issue is not that the model is complicated. The issue is that it takes, work and patience to succeed!
HOW TO DO EACH STEP FOR FREE
This article is showing you how you can complete every step of the Affiliate Marketing model for free. But before I continue, I want to stress that at some point, you will need to invest some money in your business.
I am not talking about tons of money. In fact, the low financial barrier to entry is what attracts people to this online money making model. But spending money on things like a domain, a hosting service and some basic tools will make your life much easier. It will also improve your chances of success in the long run. OK, now that I got that out of the way, let’s get back to starting affiliate marketing for free!
1- Choose a Niche: A niche is a group of people that interested in the same topic. You can also look at a niche as a group of folks that have a common problem that they want to solve.
As an example, people that love to catfish are a niche. People that suffer from eczema and are looking for a solution to their condition are a niche.
It really is not more complicated than that.
The advice out there is to pick a subject that you are passionate about. The logic behind that advice is that you are an expert at things you are passionate about. It will also make it less likely that you will get bored with the subject if you absolutely love it!
I agree with this advice but it is not a requirement. If you can see yourself becoming a subject matter expert in a topic, it can very easily become your niche. Look for forums on topics that you are interested in. See what kind of topics they are talking about and what problems they are discussing. These topics and problems will be what your blog addresses and fixes in order to bring value to your readers.
2- Build a Website: This step is what gets people hung up. They worry about the technical difficulties of building out a site. But building a site these days is not as hard as it used to be. There are tools available that will help you put a website together in short order.
This is where I need to reiterate the point I made earlier. At some point you will have to spend some money and buy your own domain name. Many affiliate programs will only accept you as an affiliate if you have your own domain name and your own hosted site. Again this is not a show stopper but free sites are limiting you from making more money.
You can use a site like Weebly. They offer one site for free. It has limited functions but it will work for affiliate marketing. Click Here to start building your Weebly site for free!
3- Attract visitors: One of the best free methods of attracting visitors is by providing your readers with original, engaging and helpful content. This can be done through writing posts, creating videos or preferable both.
This is an extremely important step. In fact, it is the backbone of this entire process. You need to get free visitors to your site. In order to do this, you need to show the Googles, Bings and Yahoos of the world that your posts are providing benefit to readers. Only when they are convinced that you are an authority on the subject, will they start showing your posts to readers.
Essentially you will be focusing on specific keywords and writing posts and articles that are specifically targeted to those keywords. As an example, you can decide that the keyword you want to focus in on is “left handed golf swing” (a great keyword BTW 🙂 ). Next you research the topic and write a good, engaging and helpful article specifically on this very topic.
You will need to find many keywords and write a lot of content to start drawing a good readership. This is the absolute best method in my eyes. It is also absolutely FREE
4 – Make Money/Earn Revenue: This is the part that all new affiliate marketers want to reach. Unfortunately, the previous three steps need to be completed and done correctly. You need to know your niche, build a Search Engine Optimized website and attract visitors with helpful content. Only then will you be able to monetize. How do you do this?
You find a good affiliate program that offers products and solutions that will benefit your readers. Remember that you are not in the business of selling. You provide value to your readers first and foremost. Offer them only the best and most effective products and solution. A few things to keep in mind when selecting an affiliate program:
- 1- Never pay to belong to an affiliate program! It should be free.
- 2- Length of cookies: If you can, select a program with cookies that last as long as possible. A one-day cookie means that a referral of yours will only get you a commission if they visit and purchase within 24 hours of using your link. By contrast, a 30-day cookie means that you will earn commissions if your referral makes any purchases within 30 days of using your link. See the difference?
- 3- Payout method: Make sure you understand how you will get paid. What are the minimums? Do they send checks? Do they only use PayPal? This is all very important because you are located in a country where PayPal is not offered? Make sure that you can get paid!
As promised, I have given you the steps to start in affiliate marketing for free. As you can see the steps are not overly complicated. The implementation of those steps is a bit more involved.
A BETTER SOLUTION?
While you certainly can go about researching and learning how to implement each step, I have a solution that will be much easier for you. It is a community of folks that help and guide each other through this amazing journey.
The community has amazing tools at their disposal that allow them to pick great niches and perform in-depth keyword research. It offers a tool to build a fully functioning site in about 30 seconds. In keeping with the spirit of this article, you can have limited access to the tools and services for FREE.
Here is a video that will show you how Wealthy Affiliate tools will help you build a site from scratch in 30 seconds!
I am a paid member of that community. It is called Wealthy Affiliate. You can join the community for free and have the ability to build 2 free websites, access to 10 free courses that will walk you step-by-step through all the 4 stages listed in this article. All for free!
By the time you go through the courses, you will have a fully functioning website, along with the knowledge and ability to turn your website into a money generating passive income machine.
You will get access to the following topics. Each lesson will have a step-by-step video!
- Getting Rolling
- Understanding how to make money online
- Choose a niche
- Building your own Niche Site
- Setting Up Your Website
- Getting Your Site Ready for Search Engines
- Creating Your Initial Website Content
- Creating Custom Menus on Your Website
- Understanding Keywords
- Congrats and Next Steps
I highly recommend that you make use of these free resources. There is no need to enter a credit card number, free is free. You can stay a free member as long as you please. You are not required to upgrade if you don’t want to.
I hope that you found this article helpful. If you do not want to sign up for the free wealthy affiliate membership, you can still use the information from this post. You will just need to perform some more searches to learn a bit more about each step. It might take a little while but eventually you will get there. Remember, it is not hard!
I would love to hear from you. Please leave me any comments or questions in the comment section below. I will respond as soon as I possibly can.
To your affiliate success!