Set up your affiliate website if you want to make it monetised. That sound logical for you?
Have you mapped out the plan for your affiliate website yet? If not, I suggest you read our previous articles just to familiarize yourself with the basics.
The rest of you, listen up, and tick off the following items on my checklist. Did you figure your niche, registered your domain name, chose your hosting service provider, and rounded up your targeted markets for money-making?
If you checked on all, congratulations for making it thus far! Now, it’s time for you to roll up your sleeves and execute our plan.
In this article, I will run you through the step-by-step process of setting up your own affiliate website. It’s not that complicated as you would think. You can develop your own site within minutes. No kidding.
At this stage, do not set your expectations too high, though. Your website won’t be anything like the design-driven and animated websites of known brands, that’s for sure, but, yes, it will be functional, and ready to publish that mind-blowing, income-generating content of yours.
And once you learn all this, you can put your focus on the most important part – SEO optimisation. But we will catch that in later tutoirals.
Ready? Let’s start.
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Step 1: Go to the website of your hosting service provider and obtain their DNS.
In the process of set up your affiliate website, you need to know the domain name servers or DNS of your hosting service company.
There are typically two domain name servers and would appear this way: ns1.mynameserver.com and ns2.mynameserver.com. Get these DNS from the website of your hosting company by just typing or searching, ‘nameservers.’
For example, if your hosting service provider is bluehost.com, their nameservers are ns1.bluehost.com and ns2.bluehost.com.
If you encounter a problem, you may ask them to send it to you.
Step 2: Go to your domain registrar website and type in these DNS.
There are slight differences in how to do this for each registrar company so let me illustrate this next step by using the procedure of one of the more popular domain registrars, Namecheap.com or name.com. Also, you can get a free domain with Webhosting!
In case you use domain name provider only first, you need to go to your registrar’s website which, in this example, is Namecheap.com and click on the domain that you had registered, then click on the ‘manage’ button. This will show the list of information about the domain name.
Scroll down and click on the section that says, ‘nameservers’ and select ‘Namecheap Default.’
Click on the ‘Namecheap Default’ and hold. Then, select ‘custom.’ You will see blank portions appearing on which to enter the domain name servers which you obtained from your hosting company. Type in these domain name servers on the corresponding spaces.
Afterward, click on the ‘check’ icon, which is located at the top right part, just near the blanks where you filled in the DNS. This action will save your entries.
Step 3: Install your content management system (CMS) on your hosting company website.
The term, content management system or CMS, is quite self-explanatory. It is a computer software application that is used to set up and develop your affiliate website while managing all your content.
There are basically three types of CMS:
1. Open Source,
3. SaaS (Software as a Service).
The first type, which is Open Source CMS, can be downloaded for free. That’s right. You do not have to pay for any licenses or upgrades but because of this, you get the most basic plan.
This means that you may have to pay extra charges for other services beyond those that the plan covers. These may be technical assistance which you may need in constructing your site.
Other features that you may also need to additionally purchase are more plugins to enable better functionality of your website, more relevant and functional templates if the basic ones do not appeal to you, and training in the technical aspects of operation especially for beginners.
Here are some of the more popular content management systems under the Open Source category: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, PrestaShop, and Magento.
Proprietary CMS, on the other hand, is a commercial content management system which are used by large companies with huge visitor traffic.
The proprietary content management system is dedicated and operated by only one company, unlike the Open Source CMS. To use it, you will be required to pay a license fee and additional maintenance and support costs.
You may be charged, as well, for other services such as customization, updates, additional training, technical assistance, and advanced security features.
Some of the more widely known proprietary CMS out there are Pulse, IBM Enterprise Content Management, Shopify, Sitecore, Microsoft Share Point, and Kentico.
For beginners such as you, this is not a suitable option at this stage.
Last of all, SaaS is a content management system that is hosted in the cloud. This CMS is highly customized to suit your preferred operation, and, like Proprietary CMS also comes with fees and additional charges.
With that being said, I would recommend WordPress for you. It is user-friendly and simple enough to populate which makes it the most vastly used open source content management system. Plus, it’s free.
WordPress installation varies, depending on your hosting service provider.
To demonstrate how to install WordPress, I will use Hostgator.com as the hosting company and show you how to install it here. For newbies, you will do the basic installation.
First, go to your hosting company’s cPanel. In this case, Hostgator’s cPanel. Log in with the details provided to you by Hostgator.
Next, enter your domain name into your account in Hostgator.
Click on ‘Addon Domain’ from the cPanel and key in your domain name. Do not include the ‘www.’ Remember to fill in only the fields that I mentioned here. Do not attempt to populate the other fields as these may affect the operation of your template.
Click on ‘website builder’ and select WordPress. Find the ‘Quick Install’ button or ‘CMS.’ For Hostgator, you will see ‘WordPress install’ in the ‘site software’ portion under the blogs.
Key in your preferred username and password as required. Make sure that these are secure, follow the guidelines in doing so. Do not make ‘admin’ your username because it is too general and very easy to figure by hackers. For your password, always use a minimum of ten characters. Include numbers, symbols, and combinations of upper-case and lower-case letters. These should be secure enough.
Be mindful not to tinker with the URL. It is best to leave it empty.
That’s it! You’ve done it. Easy, wasn’t it?
Now, let’s get to the more interesting stage. For those of you who love to get creative with your design, this may be your most favorite part.
Step 4: Design your affiliate website.
This part sounds complicated, but lucky there are so many pre-made themes you can apply with one click.
4a: Choose your theme in order to set up your affiliate website
As soon as you have WordPress installed, you’ll discover that there are a lot of themes to choose from. Like your computer applications, these provide you with quick references on how you want your website to look. Think of the theme as the interior design plan of your room.
Hang on. Before you lose yourself in this stage, trying to make your website look as attractive as you want, remember that this is not the goal. Never think that because you have a lovely website, money will come easily.
You may be surprised that there are many rudimentary sites out there that generate thousands of dollars as do those good-looking highly sophisticated ones. Believe me.
So, what is the golden ticket? Content. Yes, constant effective content. Users go to the internet to search and they do this by typing or using words, not images.
I’m not saying that you should discredit the value of visual design. I’m just stressing the importance of content over design. Surely, good design can establish trust, credibility, and brand identity, but it is the quality of the content that drives up the traffic, which, by now, you should know by heart, is our priority here.
That said, let us now have a look at the theme options that WordPress spreads out before you. You will learn that there are a good number of free basic themes to choose from and they are all perfectly okay to build on.
If you wish to have a really nice theme with a lot more functionality features, you can also opt for a premium plan once you are able to afford it. This premium package is minimally priced at USD 5 and may climb up to USD 100, depending on the services and other features that you add to it. Normally, this is only a one-time fee.
Among all its themes, my favorite solution for WordPress is Optimizepress premium package, because you get a license for 20 websites, you get funnels, modules for leads and page builder to build a professional website. Even this website is built on Optimizepress.
Don’t worry if you cannot afford to pay for a premium one. The basic free themes are good enough and you can upgrade later on once the money starts coming.
You just need to focus on the information that you will later on feed your audience.
4b: Decide which plug-ins to install.
What are plug-ins? These are features that you add to your affiliate website to increase the functionality and benefits to your visitors. For starters, these are the only ones you will need to get it up and running.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO), image optimization, catching, and spam blocker
Other developers may offer the following features for free as well:
All-in-One SEO pack, Ewww Image Optimizer, W3 Total Cache, and Anti-spam
Remember, the more plug-ins the higher the chance that your website will slow down so try to find your balance between functionality, available bandwidth, expected visitorl traffic, and cost.
I recommend at this stage, not to overdo the plug-ins. Only obtain what is most useful to you. Again, know what makes your website most useful to the audience and your growth as an affiliate marketer so that you are able to make an informed decision.
Another way to determine what plug-ins suit your website is to act as your target audience and do a random Google or browser search. Determine what needs to be improved from the perspective of the user and work on that.
Also, continue to monitor the performance of your affiliate website as you move along so you can customize, refine, or upgrade your suite of tools later on.
4c: Learn how to maximize your content management system (CMS).
In your case, learn to maximize WordPress in order to set up your affiliate website.
Devote time to study how to navigate and utilize all the functionality features made available to you. WordPress is very versatile, allowing you to customize and improve your website’s functionality in various ways.
Also familiarize yourself with your CMS’ menus, posts, widgets, comments, plugins, pages, themes, settings, and other features. As you grow, you will discover that these features add value to your website’s efficiency and effectivity as an affiliate marketing platform.
In WordPress, every theme differs in terms of features. There are some widgets that are not found on one theme but provided in another. The basic ones, however, appear on all themes and these are: custom html, search bar, text, page, and recent post.
If you feel inundated with too much information, take slow, deliberate steps. You’ll have plenty of time and opportunities to learn. What’s important is you keep growing and learning.
So, you’re all set!
Step 5: Write and publish your blog.
Now that you’ve now completed the creation of your website, it’s time to write your content as next step in process to set up your affiliate website.
WordPress is a straightforward CMS and so is its format for blog writing. You’ll discover that you are provided with a template where you fill in your title, meta description, and meta keywords. There are other features in this template which you can choose to customize how your blog is going to be treated as you upload it.
When I write my article, I make sure that it consists of the following parts: the title, a photograph that corresponds to the title, headline, body, another picture that normally connects to a discussion in the body, and then, the details that relate to the main body. If you are new to blog writing, you are welcome to use this as your guide.
WordPress also has a new editorial interface which they refer to as the ‘Gutenberg’ editor. It is an improved version from the classic editorial format and is more customizable to suit various styles of content. Having used and been accustomed to the original format for many, many years now, I’m still a bit averse to this new one, but, in your case, I would suggest you adopt the new version because I reckon the classic format will soon be dropped.
In ‘Gutenberg’ interface, your principal heading must include your key word, followed by your core article which should at least be a thousand words. At the right side of the template, you can opt for three to five categories for your article.
You will also encounter other terms here such as ‘tags,’ which are essentially minor categories of your blog.
Make time to brush up on search engine optimization (SEO) so you will understand how to manage the settings for this. There are a lot of basic and free tutorials for this.
As an option, you may consider using WordPress ‘blocks.’ Plainly speaking, these are tools that allow you to manage the content of your post. I recommend that you listen to the WordPress tutorial on how to maximize the use of these tools as they will, later on, be very useful for search engine optimization.
‘Blocks’ are quite simple to learn and you’ll get better with it as you become more comfortable with WordPress.
There are block plugins that WordPress is currently offering under the new ‘Gutenberg’ interface. It is helpful to check them out too so you can customize your website’s usability later on. Some of these well-reviewed plugins include the Kadence, Stackable, Ultimate Addons, CoBlocks, Otter, Lazy Blocks, Block Gallery, and Atomic Blocks.
Most of these plugins will enable you to make tables and testimonials, position newly designed content, drag and drop sections of your blog, add call to action and pop-up videos which are helpful in display advertising. These are also helpful in generating interest and increasing clicks, which translate to income for you.
Uploading content will be your main task as an affiliate marketer. By now, you know that content is your key driver toward achieving profitability. Aim for the thousand-word mark with two or three compelling images. Scan and edit for errors and then click on the button that says ‘publish.’
In case you need more time to finish the article, and would like to take a break, just save it by clicking on ‘click draft.’ Like working on a file in your computer, your work will be immediately saved, and you can pick up from where you’ve left, anytime.
If you wish to schedule the publication of your articles on certain dates, you can just click on ‘immediately’ and you will see a calendar appearing. Click on your preferred date of publication on this calendar.
Later on, when you find yourself managing more than one website, this feature will be very handy. It will ensure that you populate your websites regularly, without you having to go back to your article and click on ‘publish’ every time.
The equivalent of sticky notes in WordPress is the ‘stick to the front page.’ As you accumulate content, it will be difficult to scour back important files that have been earlier published.
If you have a blog that you need to refer to all the time, this ‘stick to the front page’ is your answer.
Just label this article as ‘sticky’ and this post will, then, be filed on top of all your articles, regardless of how many posts you’ve made.
You can try this feature as soon as you’ve made several articles on your site.
Now that we’ve laid out the foundation of your affiliate website, let me add these 10 writing tips to help you put together the quality of content that will drive up visitor traffic to your new website.
Of course, these are not hard and fast rules but based on experience. For non-bloggers, these tips may be able to guide you when you start and keep the ball rolling.
Know what your market likes to read.
The more interesting your content, the more attractive it’s going to be to your market. If you know what interests them, then you know what you should write about. It’s as simple as that.
Learn to ‘curate’ content.
For those of you who aren’t quite knowledgeable about their chosen niche, you do not need to reinvent the wheel.
Read existing similar content and then build on it according to your style of communication. Don’t forget. You will be writing lots and lots of blogs and will thus need this particular skill to sustain your affiliate website.
The more interconnected the world is, the easier and faster it is to access information. This means that there’s just so much information out there that the average attention span has become shorter and shorter. In order to set up your affiliate website trust me, as easier your content is it will result in more shares and visitors.
If your article is too complicated to understand, chances are your reader will lose interest and jump over to the next site. Hence, learn to edit and break portions into bullets and subtopics for light and easy reading.
Add non-text data, such as photos, infographics, and tables.
This is also related to my previous point of not overwhelming your audience with too much text. Visuals break up the heaviness of an all-text post and connects to a different part of your brain.
Have an inspiration journal.
To sustain your affiliate website, you need to have a constant inflow of ideas and insights.
Besides rounding up a list of topics for blogging, you may also want to keep a journal where you jot down all those light bulb moments for you to explore later on.
If you aren’t the type, learn to be one. This will ensure that you keep those articles coming. So when you start to set up your affiliate website, once you start it should be an ongoing process.
Arm yourself with a planner and a posting schedule.
This will enable you to establish continuity of discussion from one article to another. This way, you keep your readers wanting to visit your website regularly.
There’s more to a title.
The title of your article does not only have to be catchy. It must also be SEO-friendly and a call-to-action in itself. Always bear in mind, that you need to draw your market so that they eventually act on your offer.
Keyword is key.
Include keywords in your articles to ramp up your ranking. Do your homework and find out what keywords result in better performance. While you set your affiliate website be careful about this part because if you fail here you failed with everything.
Practice ethical writing.
Plagiarism will hurt your affiliate website’s brand and get you into legal battles. Just don’t.
Recalculate in order to set up your affiliate website
As you grow your affiliate website, you will pick up a lot of lessons, especially during the initial stages.
This is when you must closely and regularly monitor your website’s performance and your market’s response.
Persist and adapt.
I’ll be going into much more detail about how to create effective content and sustain it in order to bolster rank and profitability for your affiliate website. Wait for it!