2. Of course, nearly all my readers are using WP so I’m biased. But even so, most successful affiliates use WordPress. There are less restrictions in terms of hosting (site speed), design customizations, plugins, cloaking affiliate links, lots of things. I would setup a free wordpress.com site just so you can play with the dashboard and see how you like it. Who knows, you might find a theme you really like (eg. StudioPress) and want to make the transition. I would at least test it out…it’s better to make the transition earlier than later.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look at how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you're using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
You'll also need ecommerce software, fulfillment software, worry about warehousing, customer service and refunds. But that's not all. You'll also need traffic. Think search engine optimization, Facebook ads, and other social media campaigns. It is hard work, especially on your own. You could opt for Amazon's platform, which might be the easier route. But, then again, at the end of the day, this is a serious business, which could produce significant profits. So you're either all in or you're not.
To test these websites, you’ll be asked to visit the site in question and record your reactions and thoughts as you go through it. To get started making extra money online by testing websites, sign up for some of the most popular services like UserTesting.com, Userlytics, TryMyUI, Userfeel, TestingTime (for people outside the U.S), or Side Income Jobs.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
For example, let’s say you’ve found a product that you think will benefit your blog’s readers. Once you place an affiliate link for the product in your blog copy, your audience members can click on the link and be taken to a page on the affiliate’s website that can lead them to a sale. Any time someone buys the product through your link, you will receive part of the money from that sale.
You can research what affiliate programs are already out there and try to compete with their commission rate. Try to get listed in affiliate marketplaces like ShareASale or CJ. I don’t have experience actually running an affiliate program but I personally look for good commissions and a company with a solid reputation with products that can actually help my readers. Make a list of relevant websites/influences that fall within that criteria and reach out to them about your affiliate program. I know it’s broad advice but that’s why I see other companies do – they often have affiliate managers that are constantly working on business development.