Bit of a tightrope, this one, but hear me out when it comes to affiliate marketing without a website.
If you’ve been keeping up with this blog at all, you’ve probably heard me emphasize on multiple occasions that you absolutely must have a website to succeed in affiliate marketing.
While I still maintain this belief, it’s not to say that affiliate marketing without a website is a complete waste of time. It just has a much lower ceiling when it comes to brand loyalty, the freedom to structure your offers how you want, and oh yeah, profits.
That being said, it’s still a useful exercise to consider the ways in which you could approach affiliate marketing without a website because you will learn new ways to get your content in front of people, site or no site.
Got the point? The website is good. No website bad. Now let’s take a look at just how one would go about this.
If Not Here, Then Where For Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
Alright, so you don’t have a site of your own, but you’ve got a juicy offer you want to share with the world. Where the heck do you go? If I had one choice out of the dozens out there, I would pick YouTube every time.
As I’ve mentioned, YouTube is an absolutely massive marketplace of eager info consumers looking to find out exactly what your product is about.
Well, let me rephrase that: If you properly position and market your product, you’ll reach the right people. How do you do this? By structuring your offer to serve your content area.
What I mean by that is, if your offer is for a weight loss program, then make sure your videos support that theme. Don’t slap that link in the description of some random life hacks video.
No, it’s not as good as owning your own site, logo, and so forth, but it’s actually kinda close. You can still insert an animated logo in your videos. You can brand your channel and own your audience.
The downside? You still don’t own the space, so you have to abide by YouTube’s rules, not your own. If you mess up, your account may be in trouble. Your videos might get demonetized for reasons that surprise you. Lots of stuff can happen when you don’t own the space!
I’m throwing social media on this list for two reasons. First, like YouTube, is the huge user base. Secondly, the ad targeting capabilities are so expansive, it’s almost funny.
You: I’d like to publish an ad for a weight loss program on Facebook.
Facebook: Would you like to target 32-year-old Filipina women with disposable income who have liked green smoothies AND disliked Paula Dean’s page?
Now to roll out the drawbacks, I’m afraid. First and foremost, like YouTube again, it’s not your space. If Facebook doesn’t like it, it’s not going up. They have an entire department of moderators taking down content that doesn’t meet their standards.
Secondly, people are not on social media to be sold; it’s not a conversion machine unless you’re really good or really lucky. Now, it absolutely does have branding and traffic-building power, but that requires you to have a site.
On its own? Bleh. In conjunction with your blog and other properties? Social media is pretty solid.
In terms of SEO, Quora is pretty amazing for a number of reasons. First of all, search terms (i.e., questions) are often long-tail because they come from real people, making it a gold mine for the little guy.
For example, instead of just “splinter removal,” you may find, “how to remove a splinter from a thumbnail” popping up. The search engines don’t comb through and refine this – Quora just “is what it is.”
There are two major problems, however (you just knew I was getting to them, didn’t you). If you don’t have a site, why the heck does SEO matter? Secondly, you can’t directly insert affiliate links without being flagged as spam or banned.
See where this is going? The only way to use Quora if you’re doing affiliate marketing without a website is as a traffic source for the other property that you don’t own.
So, basically, you have to find a source like YouTube that allows you to insert links, and that’s where your offer will live. Then, you drive traffic to YouTube using Quora. It’s not a terrible method, but still, it doubles your layer of risk.
Make sure that your content is helpful above all else. Quora will sniff out spam from a mile away. Neil Patel penned an excellent article on this topic exactly.
As I have written about Quora before, it is definitely an awesome resource in itself, and you do get the advantage of steady traffic, but it’s best used in conjunction with your own site or blog.
Broken record – sorry!
Forums are cool because you can really showcase your authority on a subject in a way that doesn’t feel self-promoting or preachy. You can interface directly with people in your market and subtly position your product as a relevant resource.
If you join a forum and actively participate in a non-spammy, helpful way, you can drive traffic to your YouTube channel or wherever else your offer is housed, but it requires a decent bit of grunt work up front.
Ever hop into one of these things while looking for an answer? Take a look at some of the top answerers. They could have hundreds or even thousands of questions answered! You won’t be able to make a dent with just a few.
What’s more, you’ll have to continue to post if you don’t want that influx of traffic to tail off. Now, you know what’s coming next…
You don’t own the space, my friend!
If those forum moderators catch even a whiff of an affiliate link, trust me – you’re gonzo. There may be one or two forums left on the planet that will allow them, but the chance is very slim.
In fact, you may not even get a do-follow link to send people back to your YouTube, so that would completely defeat the purpose. If you want to leverage forums, then, here’s your process:
- Find an active one that allows do-follow links.
- Provide a high volume of regular responses.
- Don’t link in every response.
Now this one is actually really nice for that passive “trickle” effect. Unlike forums, where regular participation is required if you don’t want crap results, content aggregators and databases can be set on a drip.
Again, you’ll have to find one that allows for affiliate links, because you would hate to go through the content creation process for nothing, right?
Here’s your process:
- Find an article database that allows user contribution AND affiliate links (or at least do-follows to your YouTube).
- Create a helpful and informative article and insert your link(s).
- Sit back and wait.
This is basically borrowing someone else’s space in the purest form. You don’t have to worry so much about being banned or losing out on a huge resource if something changes with the aggregator.
That being said, you’ll have to submit at least a dozen or two articles, and it may take several months to be a penny. If you’re lucky and you submit a lot of content, you just may see a couple of hundred bucks a month. Or, you may see zero.
Not sure where to start? Here is a whopping list of more than 100 article submission sites, courtesy of Digital Vidya.
A Final Reminder
As you can tell, I’m not so hot on affiliate marketing without a website, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a penny.
Affiliate marketing really isn’t for people who want to just dibble dabble in hopes of a little side income. However if you have fun doing it and you’re really, really not into having a site, then who am I to stop you?
Whichever method you choose, just remember to always check that site’s guidelines so that your affiliate and/or do-follow links are allowed.
Or you could just, you know, get your own affiliate marketing website.
That was the last time, I promise.