Running affiliate campaigns without your own website is the Internet equivalent of crashing on someone’s couch. Can you make it work for a short while? Maybe. Is it desirable? Certainly not.
Without a website, you can kiss your trust and authority – two hugely valuable success factors in the affiliate world – goodbye. People won’t buy from a complete stranger; you need to have a home base established so that you can cultivate a loyal audience and show the world your expertise. Even with a website, consumers are more and more weary nowadays – they won’t just click a random link.
If you’ve never set up a website before, don’t be intimidated by the terminology. Website development is actually a very simple process nowadays.
Let me break it down for you in simple English:
Hosting: Also known as “web” or “domain” hosting, this refers to the allocation of server space for website content. If your content is the paint, hosting is the canvas – you can’t have a website without it. Bluehost is a strong example of a hosting service that I highly recommend. They offer a large range of special features, they’re affordable and easy to use, and their customer support is available 24/7.
Domain: Once you’ve set up hosting, you need to establish a domain name for your website. The term “domain” simply refers to a web address. Google’s domain name is google.com. You will want your domain name to be short and memorable. Scott48816.io would be a terrible domain name, for example. When searching, you’ll want to establish a .com (as opposed to less common .net and .org endings) if possible.
WordPress: Once you have a domain registered under your hosting service, you need to build the site, of course. Installing WordPress to your Bluehost dashboard will allow you to use this free (since you have hosting), highly intuitive site-builder. Think of WordPress as a foundation. With WordPress and nothing else, you can setup simple web pages, insert pictures and videos, and create navigation links. With plug-ins (of which there are thousands, many of them free), you can do much, much more.
SSL: It sounds like something that your auto mechanic would charge you $800 to fix, but the “secure socket layer” actually refers to a very important web security feature. Most browsers will indicate that a website you’re on has an SSL by showing a little lock symbol and/or a color-coded URL and/or the word “secured.”
Conversely, if you’re on an unsecured website, the browser bar may say “unsecured,” or you may even get a pop-up warning you of the danger. Thankfully, Bluehost will set up an SSL for you, which is an amazing deal, considering how technical and annoying this process can be without help. Once your site has an SSL, it shares a secret, encrypted connection with the server. You won’t get hacked, and your visitors won’t feel queasy.
Responsiveness: When setting up your site, make sure that it is formatted properly for desktop AND mobile AND tablet. Even my 92-year-old grandmother uses her phone to access the Internet, so if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you are hurting your business. That’s what “responsiveness” refers to: the ability of your site to work on all three devices without weird formatting issues (jumbled up text, crazy margins, etc.).
Site Analytics/Tracking: You’ve set up your site and you’re super psyched to measure your progress. But how? It’s not like a physical store, where you can just watch people walk in and out. You will need to setup site analytics – CloudFare or Google Analytics are more than enough for most site owners. These programs will give you tons and tons of metrics beyond page views, but interpreting the importance of these (bounce rate, average time spent, etc.) is a post for another day.
Okay? Setting up a site is not that tricky, really. Get a host, set up your domain, build the site, make it work for all devices, and track your progress. Boom.
I’m not harping so much on content today, but I can’t help but at least make one comment. When you’re going through this process, it’s very easy to get stuck in a “numbers mentality.”
New affiliates especially will want to hammer the ads and links pretty hard so that they can feel that they are off to a good start. You will have to be disciplined, though, because content is absolutely the foundation. Remember, people don’t buy from strangers – they buy from friends and trusted authorities. You have to become that through your content. Add value, be personal, and help your audience solve problems.
So, get off that “couch,” i.e., the random social media pages and other sites you’ve been forcing your content onto, and establish a site. You’ll feel much more confident and free when you can make the rules, build your own brand, and lay down that foundation for successful entrepreneurship.
To help verify my use of the technical terms in this article, I took down the following books from the book shelf . The references are “Affiliate Marketing Ultimate Guide 2019” by Ronald Roberts and “Affiliate Marketing Secrets” by Chandler Wright.
Disclaimer: The links in this article are affiliate links to Bluehost and Amazon affiliate links. If you select any of the links and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission. This will help fund MedlinPro and I really appreciate your support.