For those who don’t know what Affiliate Marketing is. It’s essentially promoting products online and making a small percentage or dollar amount on the sale or conversion when you send customers to an ecommerce website. For example if I promote a book on my site and someone clicks on a buy now button to order the book they are redirected to the actual site that sells the book and ships it to them. This is all tracked using software and commissions can be viewed up to the second. So you can start a website and load it with popular products and not have to worry about processing credit cards, security, shipping etc.
I’ve been an affiliate marketer for over 4 years now. If anyone tells you it’s an way to make money then they’re lying. It makes me cringe when I see a video on youtube where some guy is talking about how he knows the secret to successful affiliate marketing as he talks in front of a mansion or swimming pool. I don’t doubt that people have become millionaires from affiliate marketing or at the very least made some additional income but it surely is not easy.
How I become an affiliate marketer
When I first decided to put together my first site I had no idea who it was going to perform. My only experience was putting a banner for EuroSport Soccer Apparel on my soccer forum and making a few bucks. My background in programming, web tools, graphic design, search engine optimization and search engine marketing all came together after I made my first site. Not only have I gone through a lot of education over the years but one point that hours need to be invested in order to achieve any success. The competion has become fierce over the years and I believe Google has become more strict on affiliate based websites.
I’ve tried outsourcing a few times and never had a good experience. I always find that if you want the job done right you have to sometimes roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. It amazes me how many SEO websites exist that make bold claims to get you to the top of google and provide SEO/SEM services which can potentially do more damage to your site than help it. This is a mistake I’ve learned early on when thinking that I can save myself time and fool Google which eventually resulted in paying a price of a drop in ranking or even worse getting de-indexed. There are no shortcuts in SEO! Usually what you get from these companies such as Fiver or WLmarketing is poor quality backlinks. Just take a look at a report and you’ll notice that not only are the links on websites that all look exactly the same but they’ll even try repeating some of the links in the same document.
MLM vs Affiliate Marketing
I’ve never tried Multi Level Marketing or MLM in the past but have been tricked into going meetings for a few including Verve, ACN, Life Training & Ossauna. I’m not shitting on these programs but the very people who brought me didn’t seem to make any substantial profit and eventually gave it up. I always found that these meetings were usually led by someone I would classify as annoying and overly enthusiastic giving the same spheel like how amazing it is to work for yourself, how their program is so profitable (yet I wonder why they still have a full time jobs) and how you can reach out/harass people you know into buying a product they probably don’t want/need. I’m not saying that you can’t make money with these opportunities but I would wager it’s a tougher challenge to make money than the affiliate marketing route.
What I like about affiliate marketing is that you can choose the products and select a niche you’re interested in. You can optimize and reach your target market through social media to drive visits to yoru site without having to know them personally. I have nothing to gain by promoting affiliate marketing and I’m not trying sell any e-books or promote any services, I’m simply giving my honest opinion. If you’re thinking that you need to be a web developer to be an affiliate marketer you’re WRONG since you can easily use self hosted blogs such as wordpress.com, blogger.com or even squidoo.com to easily get your content up. No investment needed!
So far I’ve made two websites in English and French for two of my cousins one of which is making a decent monthly income on top of his full-time salary and unfortunatley the other wasn’t so motivated and eventually gave up. I’m now going to launch a new site with two of my other cousins next month. I’ve made it quite clear that there are no guarantees and that it will require a lot of work/learning on their behalf.