1. Domain and Hosting
Unfortunately many people skip this step, they feel that they can “cheap out” and make it by from using free services. At the end of the day, this is a HUGE mistake. This is one of the places that you shouldn’t be cheap, being cheap here can cost you lots of money down the road. Having a domain and hosting will dramatically increase your chances of success, it is very difficult to be successful without having both of these.
Domain – a domain will typically cost approx. $10 per year, you can buy them from almost anywhere, Namecheap is a domain provider than many affiliates use.
Hosting – a domain is useless without hosting, if you are just starting out, you can probably start by looking at shared hosting, the approx. cost of this is $10 per month, a decent webhost is Hostgator. If you are planning on running a high traffic site or sending lots of traffic to an offer, you should consider a VPS, this will ensure that do you not lose traffic. VPS’ do cost more, BeyondHosting charges approx. $60 a month, but they are well worth it. With a shared host, you can often lose traffic with timeouts or just general slowness. Again, do not cheap out here, if you find a VPS for $20 a month, it is likely not much better than the shared. In my opinion if you are going to spend money anywhere, make sure you have a good host!
2. Affiliate Network
Before you can start affiliate marketing, you need to be able to promote affiliate offers, to get access to these, you just need to join an affiliate network. When people are just starting out, there are normally 2 network which I recommend they work with. I do this for several reasons, mostly due to that they are very easy to work with, they accept all levels of affiliates (some networks will only accept experienced affiliates), they always pay (and pay on-time) and they have very good Payment terms.
Maxbounty – Maxbounty is a great network that has been around for a long time, they are known for being very professional, paying on-time all the time and for throwing cool contests.
3. Traffic Source
Now that we have our affiliate network, we need a traffic source, we need a way to drive traffic to these offers. There are several places to get traffic, if you are just starting out or even if you are an experienced affiliate, I recommend the following traffic sources:
50onRed (PPV) – 50onRed is a great network to start with, they have several different types of delivering traffic including PPV, inText Ads and Banner Ads.
LeadImpact (PPV) – LeadImpact is another good PPV network.
BingAds (PPC) – Bing is a great place to start if you are interesting in PPC traffic, they are much more lenient than Google and they are much cheaper.
7Search (PPC) – 7Search is a cheap PPC network, they typically aren’t the best of quality, but they do allow you to get some cheap traffic.
One of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing (and is often skipped) is proper tracking. Often people think that the build in tracking of a traffic source and affiliate network is enough, but it just isn’t. Tracking has come a long way over the years and let’s face it, all of our competitors are doing it, if we want to succeed, we need to do it too. Tracking will not only tell us which of our targets and offers are converting, it will also help tell us when they are converting and various other little bits of information that can help us optimize and at the end of the day – make us (more) money.
Below are 5 top notch tracking software companies, no matter which one you pick, you cannot go wrong!
5. Training (Optional)
I have I haven’t lost you yet! This step is completely optional, but highly recommended. Affiliate Marketing can be a challenging industry and hard to keep up with at times. If you require a little bit of extra help, I recommend you look at Aff Playbook. They have been open for 5+ years and helped hundreds (if not thousands) of people starting out with minimal knowledge and taken them to full time successful affiliates. The owner (David Ford) is a very humble man, he won’t admit it often but he is one of the largest super affiliates. He also has a large dedicate team called The Faculty which help members of the site. Most people that join pay off their membership fee within the first few months.