Affiliate sites are a great way for individual bloggers and web masters to make money while producing content on a hobby or passion. This tutorial will take you through the steps in making an affiliate site.
How Do Affiliate Sites Work?
An affiliate website starts with interesting, helpful, and entertaining content. At the same time, the site also provides referrals to purchase products or services by linking the products in the posts. If the reader follows those links to make purchases, the affiliate site may qualify for a set commission of those sales.
Painless Partnerships With Huge Profit Potential
By giving commissions to sales, popular bloggers, writers, and content producers finally have a direct way of making money without bombarding readers with ads. At the same time, sellers benefit by generating more sales.
Many bloggers with constant traffic do not realize how easy this process can be. In most cases, applying takes minutes. Once accepted, you receive a special URL that identifies your affiliate site. To refer users to a specific product in an online shop, one obtains a special URL to a specific product that notifies the seller that the link was from the affiliate site. In both cases, the seller website makes obtaining links for the blogger/ affiliate site rather painless, as simplicity will generate mores sales.
Steps Of This Affiliate Site Creation Tutorial
In most cases, you need to have your site created before you apply. Sites like Amazon want to check your site. Once accepted, Amazon gives you 6 months to make at least 3 sales, which serves as a probationary period of the partnership. If you don’t have a site made, Step By Step WP has you covered. This tutorial will walk you through the steps, and provide you with templates. That way, you can get your landing pages created, write a few blog posts, and then apply to be an affiliate.
- Get Hosting For Affiliate Website
- Create Affiliate Site
- Apply To Be An Affiliate Partner
- Create Great Content
- Outreach and Guest Posts
Get Hosting For Your Affiliate Site
Cost ~ $75 for 12 months
If you don’t have hosting, this is the default place to start. This is the company that will store your website on their server. If you need a hosting recommendation, it is hard to argue with wordpress.org, the company that maintains the WordPress framework. WordPress recommends three hosts, and this site runs on one of them, SiteGround. They have great customer service, and they continue to innovate for the small website owners that are starting out. Here is a video tutorial demonstrating step by step instructions for setting up hosting with SiteGround.
Use this link to SiteGround to show appreciation for these free resources.
Create Affiliate Site
Install Plugins and Themes
This tutorial uses almost exclusively free resources, except Elementor Pro. Elementor, the free version, is amazing in itself, but it doesn’t allow you to create blog post templates. With Elementor Pro, you can create post templates and blog page templates that will present your content professionally, which leads to more sales.
In the past, you might purchase a theme because of a layout or design. These days, you make one purchase (Elementor Pro). Install a free theme, use free templates you can customize, and you have much more control over your site. This tutorial provides free templates, and Elementor Pro provides several free templates. If those options don’t work, start with a template and customize it, or create any header, footer, page, post template, and blog archive page from scratch with Elementor Pro.
Free Theme – Astra
Astra is a lightweight, minimal theme that was created by the same group that created Elementor. Since the same teams work on these resources, it adds another level of safety when it comes to compatibility.
- Elementor (best page builder, required to upgrade to Pro)
- SEOPress (apply SEO to your pages)
- All in One WP Security (increase site security)
- Autoptimize (increase site speed)
- Under Construction (optional)
To backup your site, you can use UpdraftPlus, and put backups on your server, local computer, or Google Drive. If you used SiteGround for hosting, they provide automatic backups. You can roll back for free if you have the Grow Big package, or pay to have a backup installed if you have the Startup package. Once you spend some decent time on your site, and you have many hours invested, then start thinking about automatic backups on UpdraftPlus.
Install Elementor Pro
Cost ~ $50 for Elementor Pro for 12 months
If you want to use the free affiliate site templates provided by this site, Step By Step WP, you need to have Elementor Pro installed. While the templates are free, Elementor Pro is not free, but it is well worth the price. If you buy one piece of software for your affiliate site, this is the plugin to purchase.
With this plugin, you can create almost any look for your pages, posts, and contact forms. The days of buying a custom theme and being limited by that theme are over. Use a free theme, and create your site’s header, footer, pages, post templates, and archive templates in Elementor Pro.
You can use this site’s free templates below, or you can use the templates provided by Elementor Pro. This site’s free templates were created from Elementor Pro’s free templates, anyway.
Use this link to Elementor to show appreciation for these free resources.
How To Install Free Affiliate Site Templates
Cost ~ $0 but Elementor Pro needed
Download This Site’s Affiliate Template Files (Optional)
The Affiliate Site Template files included in the free download are listed below. The templates are completely free, but some of them require Elementor Pro. The Home, About, and Contact Page should work on the Free Elementor Plugin. The other templates require Elementor Pro, which is the only paid plugin this guide recommends.
- Home Page Template
- About Page Template
- Contact Page Template
- Blog Page (Archive Page) Template
- Single Post Template
- Header Template
- Footer Template
- Fake Logo
- Fake Product Photo
- Instructions text file
Download the template files to your computer by clicking this link here, and saving the Template file to your computer. You will download a zip file from google drive, and double click to unzip the file to see the templates.
If you don’t want to use this site’s free templates, you can use the free templates provided by Elementor Pro. In fact, the templates offered on Step By Step WP were created from the Elementor Pro templates anyway, so you might find some templates that work better for you. See Alternative To This Site’s Template Files below for more information.
Import Affiliate Site Template Files
Next, import the files into your WordPress site by clicking Dashboard > Templates, and picking import at the top.
Import the files that you saved your computer in the previous step, and edit them using Elementor. The process for editing a “Page” is different than editing a “Post Template.” Using a page template requires you to make a blank page in WordPress first.
Edit Page Templates
This section will show you how to use a template for Home, About, or Contact for your affiliate site. First, create a new page. From the dashboard, go to Pages, add new. Give the Page a Title. On the right, if you are using Astra like this tutorial, you will see sidebar settings. Pick No sidebar (if you want), and full width stretched. This ensures the correct layout before you import the template.
Next, save the blank page.
Next, enter the Elementor page builder by clicking “Edit with Elementor.”
With a blank page on your screen, click the folder in the middle section that contains templates. Click the my templates tab at the top, and select the template you imported. This is also where you can browse Elementor’s sections and page templates under the other tabs.
Edit Post and Archive Templates
The Post and Archive templates require you to adjust the settings under the template file (no need to make a blank page like above). Before you open the template file in Elementor Pro, adjust the settings of the template under “Edit” (not “Edit in Elementor”). Under “Edit,” if you are using Astra, like in this tutorial, you will see side bar settings. Change this to “No sidebar,” and “Full-width stretched” on the right side. This will ensure that when you edit the template in Elementor Pro, it will not be squished with a side bar.
Now you can easily edit the post and archive templates by clicking “Edit in Elementor.”
To pick the rules for when the templates appear, inside Elementor editor, pick the little arrow next to the Update (green save button) Button in the bottom left. Then add rules to when you want to use each template.
Additionally, here is a tutorial on installing a blog post template so that your posts look amazing.
Alternative To This Site’s Template Files
As noted above, if you don’t like the free templates from this site, check out the several options Elementor Pro provides. To try a page template from Elementor Pro, create a new page like before, and “edit in elementor.” Inside the elementor editor, select the folder in the middle of the area for templates. You can insert entire pages, blocks, or insert your own templates that you saved from another page.
Free Option For Pages
If you don’t want to install Elementor Pro, you might be able to use some of the sections provided for free with the free version of Elementor for your Home, About, and Contact pages (as discussed above).
You can also try and use free pages and sections from the Astra Starter Sites plugin. Step By Step WP uses these for the Small Business Site Tutorial, and they are an amazing, free resource. The problem with these templates is that they are easy to use for your pages, but they are difficult to use for posts. That is why, for an affiliate site that uses lots of posts, Elementor Pro is the way to go, because you can use the single post template, or create your own.
Apply To Be An Affiliate Partner
If you are done with your site, you probably have some pages like Home, About, Contact, and Blog. It is also probably a good idea to write a few posts that show up in your blog page. Once your site is created, you are ready to apply to be an affiliate partner.
If you want to branch out beyond Amazon, you can research different affiliate site resources, and see what sites might pay more commission. The downside to Amazon is that the commission is less, but the upside is that people are more comfortable making purchases through Amazon.
Create Great Content
This part requires lots of work and dedication! It takes lots of time to create quality blog posts. Additionally, if you look at the Tech Review Posts on this site, you will see that the posts incorporate photos, links, and buttons to help readers/ customers find your affiliate links.
The Intersection Of Passion and Content For Realistic Search Expectations
Affiliate sites that are passionate about a topic can do well, but passion is not the only key. If you love iPhones, you might not do well sharing iPhone reviews because there are huge sites that will outrank your site at every turn. If you find an niche area you like to write about, you might be able to carve out some interesting content and gain readers. As you start out, you might want to target lower search volume keywords, where there is less competition. Check out Google Keyword Planner to find target keywords to write about that are not highly competitive.
Internal links are links within your posts that point to other posts. Internal links are an important way to signal to the search engines what other posts are about. It may seem redundant to link other posts within your posts, but both readers and search engines appreciate the additional information.
For example, if one post talks about a Govee motion sensor review, and within that post, you have an internal link to using a motion sensor as a car alarm, it strengthens the signal to the search engine regarding each post’s intent.
Nofollow Referral Links
If you are an affiliate partner, and you put a link in your post that might lead to a sale, you should add a “nofollow” tag to each link. This is also to signal to search engines that you don’t intend to link a product 5 times in a post to look spammy. More reading on “nofollow” links.
Outreach and Backlinks
Increasing traffic by search engine optimization (SEO) is turning into a huge industry. Hopefully, your niche isn’t too hard to break into the search engine’s good graces! Depending on how much you write, it can take 3-6 months, plus or minus, just to see views and posts start to increase positively.
One way to increase traffic is look at the first page search results of some topic you want to write about. Then, write something better. Reach out to some websites, and see if they want to link your awesome post. This takes lots of effort, and you will get turned down a lot. This process can be so frustrating and difficult that agencies charge well for this service. If you can convince a few to link to your post, then your traffic will increase.
Another SEO technique is to examine your competitor’s backlink profile. Some services charge for this, and sometimes, you can sign up for a one week trial. During this week, download all the info on your competitor’s site. Find out where they obtained links, and see if that web master would be interested in your better content.
Hopefully, your affiliate site is up and running! Don’t hesitate to leave any questions in the comments or check out more video tutorials on the YouTube channel.