Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money online.
But deciding whether to do affiliate marketing with a website or without a website, can be quite difficult when you’re just getting started. And it’s a VERY important decision to make.
Why? Because there are distinct advantages and disadvantages between these two approaches. Differences that can have a BIG impact on how successful you become as an affiliate. Here’s what you need to know to make an informed decision…
Affiliate Marketing With a Website
One of the main benefits to building a website is that it allows you to bring in high quality traffic to your affiliate offers on a daily basis. Without costing you a dime! It’s no secret that one of the biggest struggles faced by beginner marketers is not being able to get enough targeted traffic in front of their promotions. I mean, getting traffic is easy if you pay for it, but making that traffic profitable is the key.
This shouldn’t be understated either. Learning how to successfully drive traffic online is one of THE most important tasks you could come to master as an affiliate. Hands down.
It’s also a great way to build relationships with your audience and leverage one asset to build another. For example, the traffic you get from your website (asset) could be used to build your email list (asset) or your social media following (asset) and visa versa.
How It Works
The idea of creating a website as an affiliate marketer is to give people useful and relevant content and get that content ranking in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Once you get rankings you will get traffic (website visitors) and once you have traffic, you have an opportunity to earn commissions.
Choose a Niche Build a Website Get Rankings Traffic Earn Commissions
Despite what some marketers within the ‘make money online’ space will tell you, it’s not difficult or risky to create a good income this way. Not at all. The absolute KEY to building a successful website and getting tons of free traffic to promote your offers is this: focus on creating useful and relevant content.
There are other important skills to develop such as keyword research and you do need to know how to build a website, yes. But in this day and age these are not difficult tasks. Not at all. If you keep your focus on providing useful and relevant content, you will absolutely win.
How you get paid is simple. Promote relevant products your audience will love on your website and earn commissions when they buy through your affiliate link. By focussing on giving people value above all, the promotion part comes naturally as your audience will happily listen to your recommendations.
But why would they listen to YOU and buy through your affiliate links?
Because you are recommending a great product your audience is already interested in. So they are more inclined to listen to you because you have built trust by giving them valuable content. Simple. And you can learn how to do affiliate marketing here.
Do You Need To Be Some Kind of ‘SEO Guru’ To Get Results?
You may have been told that it’s “hard” to get content ranking and that Google could change it’s algorithms at a moments notice which could wipe out your site…
It does take work to get results and Google does continually update it’s algorithms. Yes.
But saying it’s “too hard” is complete and utter bullshit. Period.
Whenever I hear this it’s almost always from a marketer with a sob story about losing rankings back in the day. Yes, this has happened over the years, but they don’t tell you WHY it happened.
Allow me… it’s (mostly) because they focussed on “SEO tricks” to boost their rankings as oppose to publishing high value content. Eventually, Google caught on and took action to clean up their search results. The majority of these guys were all focussed on the wrong things… buying backlinks, unnatural keyword stuffing and above all, publishing ‘thin’ content with the sole objective of promoting stuff!
Google’s main objective is to provide it’s users with the best results for their search queries and the best experience possible on the site they click through to. Hands down. Every update they roll out will continue to put their users at the centre. So, just give people what they want and you will do well.
By no means am I some kind of ‘SEO guru’, but I don’t need to be either. I simply publish useful content targeting keywords people are searching for and it works very well for me. It can for you too.
Summary of Using a Website
The website approach is not the only way to create an income online and it’s probably not the quickest way either. But it is a very powerful way to build a longterm business online and there are many advantages, the main one being quality free traffic. You could publish just one article on your site that ranks and receive high quality traffic for years to come based on one single effort.
If you’re on a tight budget, this approach can significantly reduce the risk factor involved in Internet marketing since you aren’t stuck paying for traffic. You can learn first, then move onto paid traffic. That said, it’s not the only way to get free traffic either, but it is a very good way.
Your website is an asset and you can use this asset to earn affiliate commissions and to build other assets such as your email list and social followings. This is very worthwhile. If you’re willing to learn and take action, this approach can pay off in spades over time and is well worth the effort involved.
Affiliate marketing Without a Website
The main benefit with this approach really depends on the exact strategy you use. As you can probably imagine, “not using a website” encompasses a broad range of potential strategies when it comes to making money online. Some worthwhile, some not so much.
Generally speaking, this approach focusses more on email marketing and sales funnels without the need to write as much (if any) content. I do refer more to using paid traffic with this approach simply because the ‘core’ idea behind having a website is leveraging free organic traffic. But you can get free traffic without having a website too, like by starting a YouTube channel for example.
In other words, the answer to “website vs no website” may not be as simple as you had hoped! Don’t worry though, I’ll outline the key differences to help you figure out what’s best for you.
How It Works
The idea is to choose a medium to buy or build traffic, send people to a lead capture page and follow up with emails. This is one of the most common forms of affiliate marketing without a website I’ve seen, but there are many other methods.
In terms of traffic, you could buy it from any number of sources, create a YouTube channel to get free organic traffic or even grow your social media following. Each of these sources can work well and whatever the case, your primary objective is to send this traffic to your capture page.
A capture page (another name for a squeeze page) is just a one page website where you can collect email addresses in exchange for an offer of value. Such as an ebook, a report or a mini course. This is commonly referred to as an ‘ethical bribe’ and it’s a proven way to build your email list.
Once you get the persons email address the focus becomes on following up with useful and relevant content within emails. Same concept of value applies, but this time it’s not to do with ranking, it’s about giving people content they love to build a relationship.
It’s not about blasting your subscribers with promos. That is a sure way to have people unsubscribe. But you shouldn’t be afraid to promote either, it’s a matter of making sure the products you promote are worthwhile and that your promotions are tactful. People like to buy but they hate being ‘sold’.
Some Insight Into Using Paid Traffic
Paid traffic can be awesome, but it can also end your enthusiasm and even your business very quickly!
The cool thing is it’s practically instant and it’s very scalable. Meaning once you get the traffic converting and profitable by using a well planned follow up email series, it can pay off very nicely and you can duplicate your results quite quickly. But while this is all good and well, it takes time to learn these skills and if you just dive right in without planning properly, you will end up losing money.
If all you are doing is sending paid traffic to a sales page without collecting an email address first, you are setting yourself up for disaster. I promise you this. Unfortunately, this is where many budding affiliate marketers come unstuck. They don’t look at the numbers.
Note: Generally speaking, the average sales page conversion rate with cold traffic is less than 3% and rarely gets above a single digit. This depends on a number of factors, but it does give you a general idea. Cold traffic is people you haven’t built a relationship with and haven’t pre-sold, they don’t know you and have no reason to trust you. This is vastly different from sending people who know, like and trust you to a sales page. The take home is that sending paid traffic to a sales page will rarely cover the cost of your advertising, the real profits are made with the follow up.
Getting a handle on email marketing is extremely important when it comes to this approach.
You also need to understand what, how and when to promote and create a plan for your business. You should know the journey the subscriber is going to take well in advance to maximise the value of each subscriber. In the most mutually beneficial way of course. If you promote crap, they’ll unsubscribe.
While these concepts are worthwhile learning no matter which route you take, they become much more important without a website and absolutely critical if you are relying on paid traffic.
Summary of NOT Using a Website
If you don’t like writing content, this is probably more for you. That said, if you opted for creating a YouTube channel, you’re really just swapping out one type of content for another and no matter what approach you take, it will take work on your part.
If you go the paid traffic route, the advantage is that it’s quicker and (as long as you have a good funnel in place) you can scale your results quicker than with organic website traffic. The drawback is really the risk involved with paid traffic for a beginner marketer, jumping in head first without a well planned strategy is a recipe for disaster with this approach.
Which option is better I think really comes down to your individual goals, preference and budget.
If you want an awesome way to generate tons of high quality and free traffic, build a website. If you can’t stand the idea of writing, build a YouTube channel and/ or focus on social media. If you want to leverage paid traffic, you don’t need a fully fledged website, a simple capture page will do the job.
Personally, I’m a fan of using a combination of these approaches but starting with ONE and building from there.
For example, build a website to grow your organic traffic and create a landing page to grow your email list as well. On it’s own this will get you results. Then, you could start using a paid traffic source like Facebook (which works brilliantly with a website) and start growing your social media profiles, one at a time. You could even create relevant YouTube videos and bring in a whole new traffic source to send to you capture page on your website.
Each of these methods alone are enough to create you a reliable income. But together, you are going to be building a very profitable and sustainable online business for many years to come.
The most important thing to do (whichever idea appeals to you) is to just pick one! The worst thing you can do is procrastinate and overthink things. Believe me I know because I do this myself at times. Just choose one approach, master it and build from there and you will get results!