Almost the first thing anyone learns about Affiliate Marketing is that you need a toolbox full of the right tools to get the job done.
You’re going to need a good domain name registrar, and a place to host your websites. You will need a solid tool that you can use for keyword research, outside of Google’s keyword planner that is, and you will also need an email autoresponder. Another component which is crucial to Affiliate Marketing is actually sourcing the affiliate programs, without these you have nothing to sell.
Images are a big part of Affiliate Marketing, and optimizing them is even more important. There are a number of programs available for this, and even some browser-based services.
Lastly, you might want to know where you can find workers to get mundane tasks finished for cheap, things like content creation and graphics can be outsourced to dramatically increase your production.
Registrar and Hosting
The first thing anyone needs when it comes to Affiliate Marketing is a good registrar.
Personally, I use Namecheap because they have consistently low prices and offer a very good selection of both premium and regular domain names. I also use them as a host for all of my websites.
One thing I would suggest is sticking with registrars that also offer hosting, it makes it a lot easier and faster to setup your sites, and you don’t have to wait 60 days to transfer the domain or worry about messing with DNS settings.
GoDaddy is another great registrar offering up a tonne of domains, plus some of the best hosting available. They run special promo offers from time-to-time in which you can get certain domain names for just $1.
Top 3 Registrars / Hosts:
Keyword Research Tool
Targeting the right keywords will either make, or break your website and online endeavors – unless you have money for PPC right away. To do this, you need to use the right tool, or you’ll be scratching for traction.
The best tool that I can recommend to get the job done is called Jaaxy. It’s a browser based keyword research tool that, based on your search query, produces a list of related keywords along with their search metrics. You’re able to then save specific keywords (or the whole return) into organized lists for future reference.
When you get your results back, you’re shown 5 different metrics: Avg, Traffic, QSR, KQI, and SEO. These metrics are pretty easy to understand, and can help you immensely in the pursuit of potent first-page rankings. I’m not going to go in-depth here, but if you hop over to this post, I explain Jaaxy in more detail.
This is what a typical Jaaxy search would look like if you searched for “keyword research”, click the image to make it larger. Take note of the “related” section along the right as it offers up numerous other potentially amazing keywords.
I’ve tried numerous other services similar to Jaaxy, but I haven’t actually found anything that compares to it. A lot of services similar to them automatically flood your site with horrible backlinks, which can ruin your ranking potential, Jaaxy on the other-hand, does not.
Some people use them, some people don’t. The latter are usually less successful than the ones who use a good email autoresponder.
Like anything else, there are a plethora of autoresponders available online, and some of them are complete garbage.
What I recommend is to start building your list with a free platform like Mailchimp, and then once your list has people to market towards, transfer it to a better platform like Aweber.
There are 2 reasons for this; the first reason is to conserve your funds, and the second reason is that MailChimp’s delivery record stinks. When I first started out Affiliate Marketing, I used MailChimp for everything, which was a big mistake. I had a list of about 1000 people, and the delivery rate was like 10%… This was bad. After switching to Aweber, that rate jumped drastically, and it was well worth the small monthly fee.
Actually sourcing your affiliate programs can be as easy, or as hard as you make it.
I personally source the vast-majority of my affiliate programs from networks such as Commission Junction, Shareasale and Rakuten Linkshare. The reason for using 3 is for the sole purpose of having access to all of the programs I may need, one might be on CJ, but it might not be on Shareasale or Linkshare, or some combination of that.
Another reason to use affiliate networks is that your programs are all tracked in 1 spot (or 3 in my case), this makes things significantly easier when it comes to payouts, etc. 1 big cheque instead of 10 small ones is not only easier to keep track of, but quicker at the bank.
Top 3 Affiliate Networks:
You could also check out Clickbank, but only if you like gambling with scams etc.
Another route is to just go into Google and type something like “<company/product/niche name> Affiliate Programs” and see what comes back. This is when things can become difficult because it’s a nuisance to track multiple affiliate programs unless they’re housed on a network.
Images and Software
Images are a big part of Affiliate Marketing, so making sure you’re able to optimize them into their smallest and best-looking form is equally important. Not only will optimized images increase your conversion rate, but they also stand as another avenue of traffic.
You could get a program like Photoshop for an insane amount of money, or you could go the free route and grab a copy of Gimp, which is essentially a free-version of Photoshop.
There are also plugins available for WordPress and other content management systems which will automatically optimize your images for you, although it’s still pertinent to do it yourself.
Actually finding the images to use is another trick in itself. You can’t just go to Google Images and pluck what you need, you could be setting yourself up for copyright infringement.
The best thing to do is stick with reputable stock photo sites.
Hiring a freelancer to get some graphics done or bang out some content could be a good idea, if you have the funds to pay for the work that is.
Depending on where you’re hiring from, and what level of work you’re looking to have done, you can probably hire someone from fiverr for around $5. Although, you usually get what you pay for here, and sometimes the quality might be lacking.
There are other freelancers online though, if you’re willing to spend a little more. You could check out sites like oDesk, Elance or Freelancer for a higher-quality product, for a higher price. Again, you get what you pay for, and there a lot of extremely talented freelancers out there.