Online affiliate marketing has gone through a few phases of growth. Affiliate marketing has grown up with the Internet from websites that offer links to hundreds of products, or a link to today’s information-rich sites.
Even though affiliate marketing is more complicated than that, it is potentially profitable if you understand how to leverage it.
Anyone can create a website full of affiliate links, but there’s much more to creating a successful and profitable website. The best affiliate sites target a profitable niche with several potential affiliate partners. Affiliate sites also create content that draws targeted traffic from search engine results.
What Is an Affiliate Website?
An affiliate website is a site that contains links to products or services that earn the website publisher a commission each time someone clicks a link and makes a purchase from their site.
Websites can be based on a single affiliate product. Others focus on a niche topic and may have links to several affiliate products throughout the site.
If you’re a Zeropark client, you will most likely deal with affiliate websites for a single affiliate product. What’s commonly referred to as a landing page is nothing more than a simple affiliate website for selling/promoting a single product or service. While landers for simple offers are usually minimalistic, those for higher-payout offers need to contain more information and look more professional.
While creating simple sites is a necessary part of PPC affiliate marketing, let’s not forget that many members of the industry have additional streams of revenue.
Affiliate sites are one of the most popular ways to earn passive income online. As long as you have a flow of targeted traffic coming to the site, the passive income earning potential of an affiliate website is unlimited.
How Do I Create and Succeed at an Affiliate Website?
To create and succeed at an affiliate website, start with researching a niche topic that offers several affiliate programs you can use to generate passive income.
So is affiliate marketing worth it and can you become successful with it?
Build a website populated with keywords that will help it rank high in search engines to attract targeted traffic. Targeted traffic consists of people searching for solutions to their problems.
For instance, someone bothered by snoring might go to Google and type in something like, “How to stop snoring?” In order for your site to earn an affiliate commission from products that promise to help with snoring, you’ll want to rank high in search engine results.
Keyword research can help you compile a list of keywords and phrases that searchers use so you can fill your site with keyword-rich content.
You also need to keep track of conversions, which are clicks that convert to sales. Tracking is complicated, especially if you have several affiliate products and programs on the same site.
Software that tracks everything for you or integrates with the most popular affiliate programs to give you detailed, actionable data and information about your conversions. Using other affiliate marketing tools to stay on top of everything will help you succeed.
Best Affiliate Website Examples
You can learn a lot about creating a successful affiliate website by looking closely at some of the best affiliate website examples and some of the top affiliate programs.
Cup of Jo is a website dedicated to the important things in life: style, design, food, culture, relationships, travel, and parenting, with a target demographic of women. It began as a weekend hobby by the creator, Joanna Goddard, who has worked for Glamour and New York.
They aren’t your average affiliate website.
Instead, this site gives its readers real value and showcases that it isn’t just trying to sell something by stating the many charities that it supports. They’re also upfront about which posts are sponsored and using affiliate links to keep the website afloat.
Otherwise, they provide genuinely quality content about things that women really care about in a compassionate and thoughtful way.
One thing that really sets Cup of Jo apart is her use of personalized content. She not only openly discusses her personal experiences with candor and grace, but she uses photographs from her life to really hook in visitors, helping them to feel connected to Jo’s content but also to trust her.
Plus, she curates gift guides with items that seem genuine and are outside of the box, which shows value to her readers while proving she isn’t just trying to ply them with Amazon links.
Best of all, Jo offers genuine engagement with her visitors.
Even though her website gets millions of hits and hundreds of comments a month, she takes the time to respond to questions and encourage a sense of community. It may sound cynical, but that’s a sure-fire means of increasing revenue from your affiliate links.
Nerdwallet is a niche site that focuses on financial products.
The site offers financial advice and reviews of financial products like credit cards, loans, mortgage refinancing, and types of insurance policies.
Multiple tools and calculators on the site let users plug in their numbers to help them make financial decisions.
The site has tons of up-to-date financial tips and advice that’s useful whether or not you’re in the market to purchase any of the products advertised. The quality content will bring users back, so the rate of return visitors who may buy on their second, third, or fourth visit is high.
NerdWallet is also one of the best examples of a powerful Call to Action (CTA). Most articles follow solid information with one or more CTAs that lead the reader to the kind of financial product the article introduced.
For instance, an article about the best low percentage APR credit cards will contain two or three links to apply for them.
Articles not designed to lead to a CTA often contain tools and links to other parts of the site that can lead to purchases.
An article about how to lower your energy costs, for example, will lead to an article about how to read a utility bill that links to a product to help you track spending and create a budget.
Wirecutter started as a tech review blog and earned affiliate commissions on the sales of electronic gadgets, computers, and things like TVs and DVD players.
Brian Lam founded the site in 2011, and it became so successful that The New York Times purchased it in 2016 for about $30 million.
Since the purchase, Wirecutter has expanded to include more general interest articles that have nothing to do with tech or electronics.
All these articles contain affiliate links, but the articles are journalistic in tone and not sales letters. The website stresses that the writers aren’t aware of which products might be linked, so the information isn’t biased in any way.
Wirecutter benefits from being part of The New York Times, which lends legitimacy to the articles and its voice of authority when discussing topics. The large number of “Best of” articles help with search engine ranking, but the association with The New York Times draws huge amounts of traffic.
Though affiliate commissions are the main engine for Wirecutter’s profits, the site has recently expanded to a subscription model to create another income stream.
A small number of articles per month are free for everyone, but after that, a $5 a month or $40 per year subscription is required to continue reading the site.
ShareASale is one of the oldest and most successful affiliate programs online. Founded in 2000, ShareASale lets people partner with top brands such as Cricut, Reebok, Erin Condren, and Sun Basket.
They feature brands in 39 consumer categories so affiliates can promote everything from shoes to snacks to stationary.
ShareASale has a long history of successful affiliates. Unlike some programs that focus on promoting one product, affiliates who sign up get to choose from a variety of retailers and products they offer. Affiliates aren’t limited to one or two brands or items to promote on their sites.
Because of the site’s history and reliability, major brands align themselves with ShareASale. Recognizable brands are easier to promote than new brands, so the products are easier for affiliates to sell.
ShareASale offers multiple tools and tips to help affiliates make the most of their partnership. Tools like a bookmarklet to generate an affiliate link and a tool that makes a sales page for any product give affiliates an easy way to start earning fast.
Amazon Associates is an affiliate program where affiliates can promote almost any product sold by Amazon and earn a commission.
Started in 1996, just two years after Amazon’s founding, Amazon Associates is the oldest affiliate program of its type. Amazon claims it’s also the largest affiliate program with nearly one million members around the world.
Even the most niche website can find something to promote from Amazon. Amazon’s massive product range and recognizability around the world instill a measure of trust in anyone coming across an Amazon product on an affiliate website.
Amazon is well-known, so buyers don’t have the hesitancy they might have with ads for unknown companies.
Amazon offers a variety of tools to help affiliates add products to their site with widgets that offer different sizes and amounts of information for each product.
The ads are branded in a way that makes it obvious the products are from Amazon.
A feature of Amazon Associates that makes it easier to earn commissions is the tracking cookie. When someone clicks on an affiliate link on a website, anything they add to their cart and purchase in the next 24 hours earns the affiliate a commission.
eBay was founded in 1995, and its Partner affiliate program was launched in 2008. eBay is an auction site where users bid on items or put items up to sell.
Through the eBay Partner program, affiliates (known as publishers), can promote products on eBay and earn a commission with each sale.
The eBay Partner program is a great program for newcomers to affiliate marketing. While some affiliate programs have certain requirements affiliates must meet to join, eBay Partner is relatively easy to join, even with websites that don’t generate much traffic.
The low threshold makes it easy for new blogs and websites to join.
Publishers can choose between promoting items up for auction or “Buy it Now” items, or both. The buying choices eliminate the need for publishers to constantly scan auctions to ensure they’re promoting live auctions rather than those that have expired.
If someone clicks an affiliate link and places a bid, the publisher earns a commission if they win that auction within 10 days.
eBay is an old, large, and trusted website. Affiliate marketers, especially those who are new, can trust the program to follow through with its claims. They offer tools to help marketers promote products and succeed through the program.
Shopify is an e-commerce website that lets people start a business on their platform. Users pay for a subscription and use the platform to set up a store to sell their products. Merchants can also sell in person with the Shopify Point-of-Sale (POS) app.
The affiliate program lets users earn a commission for referring people to the Shopify website who go on to purchase a subscription.
One of the benefits of this affiliate program is that while it’s in the home business niche, any business that sells a product, whether a physical product, an app, or an information product, will work in the Shopify platform.
Shopify has an app store where users can download apps that help them set up their store without programming or HTML knowledge. The site also has a list of experts a store owner can hire for custom work.
Shopify provides every aspect of a business website, from the storefront to the payment processor to the back-end and marketing information.
The site is an easy sell to people who want a business without the technical knowledge necessary to create a website and find a payment processor and marketing analytics software on their own.
DollarSprout is a niche website about earning money.
The site’s tagline is “Maximize Your Earning Potential,” and the site goes on to show people how to do that with job searches, side hustles, online businesses, and ways to generate passive income, like affiliate marketing.
How to make money online is one of the hottest topics and one of the top affiliate marketing niches.
DollarSprout capitalizes on that with a well-organized site that categorizes ways to earn money into offline and online pursuits. Searchers can read about every aspect of making money and get good information for free.
The affiliate promotions are less obvious on DollarSprout than many other sites because most of the linking is internal, leading you to articles that expand on the one containing the link. The site offers many downloadable guides to various careers and passive income-generating businesses.
Some of the ways this site earns affiliate income are through promoting:
- High-dollar business and marketing courses
- Financial products like online accounts and investments
- Expensive niche training courses like those to become a virtual assistant or a transcriptionist
Fit Healthy Momma is an authority site on the topics of fitness and health.
A list of media sites that have featured information about the site shows on the front page, offering social proof. This site attracts women and mothers interested in fitness and health, so there’s also information about fitness and nutrition for kids.
Fit Healthy Momma has a Facebook group, which appeals to its target market of mothers who want to get in shape or stay in shape. The social and community aspect of a Facebook group draws in people who might not be that interested in a website.
In addition to reviews of fitness equipment, they offer reviews of meal delivery services, supplements, home workouts, and fitness apps.
All affiliate links are accompanied by detailed information and reviews, which create trust with the readers.
The reviews and how-to articles contain several images showing workout moves or the proper use of equipment. Images add interest to keep people on the site longer, and if they have good meta-information, they can help with search engine ranking.
Little Coffee Place is a niche site for coffee lovers. Reviews of coffee brands, coffee makers, coffee grinders, and all kinds of coffee accessories fill the site, with affiliate links sprinkled throughout.
Little Coffee Place is a great example of a highly targeted, niche affiliate site that has a singular focus and makes the most of it primarily with Amazon and ShareASale affiliate links.
Coffee lovers can find tons of information about every aspect of coffee making, from finding the right beans to brewing the perfect cup. Because of the many review articles, the site is rich with “best of” style articles, which tend to rank high in search engine results.
The articles aren’t there just to hit the keywords. Each one provides detailed information on the topic.
Instead of “buy now” links or even urges to buy products, the buttons on this site often say “Check Current Price,” which will create more clicks than a “Buy Now” link.
Curious people who may not be ready to buy might click through to see the price, and the Amazon links ensure that if they purchase anything in the next 24 hours, the website will receive a commission.
The site also has a sign-up for a newsletter offering free coffee tips, and how-to articles are a large part of the content.
The regular updates ensure coffee fans will return to the site for more information, raising the probability they’ll make a purchase.
When planning the content for your affiliate site, you can benefit from some general advice from sites like Forbes and Investopedia, as well as free keyword research tools like Keyword.io. This keyword tool provides dozens of long-tail keywords and keyphrases you can target.
Content is vital to affiliate marketing, so be sure to create valuable free content on your affiliate site that draws in the target market and keeps them reading.
When you choose the right affiliate products, offer valuable free information, use strong CTAs and carefully track your conversions, you can make informed decisions to help boost your odds of affiliate success.