Affiliate marketing is a performance based marketing that allows an affiliate to earn a commission whenever they refer a paying customer to an advertisers website.
While affiliate marketing is sometimes promoted to be a easy way to make money it couldn’t be far from the truth. My education, experience and passion for learning has led me to become a successful affiliate marketer and it’s nothing that can be taught in 1 day as some might think.
If you’re already a blogger, web developer or internet marketer you may already have most of the tools necessary to help you thrive in this almost taboo form of marketing which is often times confused with MLM (multi-level marketing).
“Affiliate marketing has made businesses millions and ordinary people millionaires” – Bo Bennett
There are plenty of YouTube pre-roll ads of typically men standing in front of lavish home or flaunting their sports car to get others to join their “success” program.
I don’t doubt that these people have made a fortune online, however I what someone might not know from watching these enticing videos is the amount of technical expertise is sometimes involved and the possible time investment with the possibility of not seeing a high return.
I’m also not saying that you can’t be successful at affiliate marketing, but the challenge of launching a successful affiliate website is exponentially harder from 6-8 years earlier when Google launched algorithmic updates that were like an atomic bomb on the affiliate community.
Google sees affiliate sites as mere bridge websites between the buyer and the seller. A successful site must provide value to the end user such as engaging content. This is why bloggers can easily thrive in this form of marketing.
8 years ago I could launch a catalog website with average content, spammy backlinks and a domain that had a keyword that I was targeting and that was sufficient enough to earn money as long as the product I decided to market was popular enough.
Today, the goal should be to developer a “quality” website and this also extends to any website really. An aesthetically pleasing design, engaging content, on-page SEO setup with good quality backlinks among other factors and your site should perform well search and how users respond to your website.
Affiliate marketers don’t always need a website however it’s something I recommend. There are loads of 6-figure earners making their money through their social media following or YouTube presence and using affiliate links where necessary.
My History and How I Became an Affiliate Marketer
I graduated in computer programming although I was never really good at it. When I graduated I knew it was going to be tough finding a job so I started a web development company with a friend. We started building websites using templates from templatemonster.com for small businesses and eventually started building more complex sites using content management systems (before WordPress) and e-commerce websites.
I was eventually hired at a large media company where I really improved my skills as a web developer and online marketer as I took courses in graphic design, internet marketing and web development.
It was at that job I also learned about affiliate marketing which I introduced and implemented at the company I worked at. After seeing short-term success I decided to start my own affiliate website posting random products in health and beauty.
Within 2 months I was making a few hundred dollars a day and after about a year I decided to go full-time. I had a successful 5 year stretch where I was in my pajamas all day long, no boss, no schedule, no deadlines – it was amazing!
Unfortunatley the Google Gods improved their algorithm which left most affiliates like myself looking for work again. Today I’m still earning a passive income however am self-employed as my main source of income.
My Advice to Junior Web Developers & Bloggers
Getting into affiliate marketing can be a huge benefit to your portfolio, education and not to mention earn you an income at the same time.
As an affiliate marketer you typically get to wear different hats and build on a diverse set of skills as I have from graphic design, programming, content marketing, SEO, social media, WordPress and much more.
When you finally go for a job you can showcase our affiliate website as part of your portfolio and show your demonstrable skills used to build and market your website.
At the very least you’ll learn technical and entrepreneurial skills however I wish anyone only success who gets into this field that you can enjoy working from home as I have.