The great thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t need any pre-existing experience or (technical) know-how to get started.
In fact, anyone with enough dedication, time, and a willingness to learn can eventually make a living from affiliate marketing.
Do you need any experience to get started with affiliate marketing?
Many successful affiliate marketers got started without any marketing experience or experience with building websites. People that I know who became affiliate marketers have backgrounds ranging from civil engineers to police officers.
Some affiliate marketers never actually finished any education beyond high school.
Looking at myself, the experience I had before starting affiliate marketing only marginally overlapped with the skills required. Sure, I had a bit of an understanding about what SEO was and knew one or two things about putting together a good user experience for apps and websites.
But I had never pursued the idea of ranking content on Google, writing affiliate product reviews and other content like that.
Much more important than your pre-existing experience, is a willingness to put your head down and learn and to work hard and consistently.
It isn’t too late to start with affiliate marketing, nor does it involve a big upfront investment. But many people are getting into it for the wrong reasons (to make a quick buck) and as a result flunk out within 6 months.
With that said, check out my action plan below to get started with affiliate marketing with no experience.
How to start affiliate marketing with no experience
1. Study (free) resources on affiliate marketing
These days you have a ton of great, complete resources on pretty much any topic under the sun. Affiliate marketing is no exception.
For instance, I’ve written this super comprehensive affiliate marketing guide for beginners which is a great starting point for your affiliate marketing journey.
However, there’s a ton of BS information on affiliate marketing out there. People that promise the moon on a stick, making affiliate marketing out to be a get-rich-quick-scheme. They sell you their (often very affordable) courses promising to share their secret sauce.
But here’s the dirty little secret: these people often run no affiliate sites themselves or haven’t done so in years. Instead, they’re making all their money through their courses. As a result, these people don’t practice what they preach and their courses are useless.
When starting out it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, so I recommend you check out my article on the best affiliate marketing YouTube channels. All these guys walk the talk.
2. Pick a niche
It’s no good to just write about any product you can think of. Search engines prefer reasonably focused sites, dealing with topics that are at least somewhat related to each to each other.
Examples of popular affiliate niches are:
- VPN’s and cyber security
I suggest you pick a niche that lies on the intersection of your personal interests (or passion), profit potential and competition which you can beat.
Pick a niche which you don’t care one iota about and at some point, it’s going to be a major drag to work on your site, write content etc.
Pick a niche you like but where affiliate pay-outs are tiny, and you’ll quickly run into an income ceiling.
Pick a niche where the competition is out of your league (e.g., massive websites like Forbes dominating the search results), and it’s going to be hard or impossible to make your site take off.
Choosing the right niche for your site can take a fair amount of time. But don’t half-ass it. Ultimately niche selection is one of the most critical factors for the eventual success of your affiliate website.
3. Launch your website
After you’ve got a solid grasp about the key principles behind affiliate marketing and you’ve picked a niche, it’s time to launch your site.
In order to give your affiliate site’s design a massive head start, check out my affiliate starter themes which are built on the Kadence theme.
4. Start writing
Start cranking out articles. As many as you can without sacrificing quality. AI tools have made this process considerably faster.
Affiliate marketing tips for beginners
1. Go after low-competition keywords at first
There’s no point on going after super competitive keywords with a brand-new site. Go after the low-hanging fruit first: keywords where the search results show smaller blogs and forums. You won’t be beating sites like Forbes and Wirecutter (part of New York Times) straight away.
You can use a tool like Ubersuggest (free) or Ahrefs (paid) to do keyword research and find good, low-competition keywords with decent search volume.
2. Master the art of creating great content
“Great content” is a bit of vague which many websites don’t really explain in too much detail. You might already know that you need it to rank in Google, but how do you define it?
Simply put, you can understand it as in-depth content that’s better than whoever is ranking on page 1 of Google. Better here can mean better written, more engaging (e.g., through embedded video’s, images, and tables), better researched, or a combination of these three.
Believe you me: it can take a pretty long time to be able to consistently product great content. I sometimes look back at the things I published years ago and am shocked with what I then thought passed for really good content.
Producing great content comes down to a lot of practice and a bit of study. Here’s a good starting point: my copywriting handbook for beginners.
After reaching this some of other resources I recommend in that handbook, it’s just a matter of writing a ton. You’ll slowly but steadily get better.
3. Be prepared for “the valley of despair”
As with starting any type of business, most affiliate markers sooner or later will find themselves in the “valley of despair.” This is a common low point in many people’s journey where they’re progressing super slowly (or not at all), lose motivation and interest, and are thinking about throwing in the towel.
But for those who persevere, great rewards often await at the other side. Obviously, some websites and business ideas are actually doomed, but in many cases, people simply quit too early.
I believe this especially holds true with affiliate marketing where progress can slow down to a crawl. Months can pass without any meaningful growth in your traffic and profits. But then, boom! You site – as long as you’re doing all the right things – will take off.
4. If you were thinking about working with Amazon, beware
Amazon is a company universally loathed by affiliate marketers. Sure, they have one of the most popular affiliate programs in the world. But people despise them as they cut commissions all the time and often kick publishers off their platform for unclear reasons.
Don’t get me wrong, Amazon can be a great way to get started in affiliate marketing. They sell so many different products. Plus, they’re an extremely well-known brand so they’ll convert well.
But I definitely wouldn’t build an entire site around Amazon. They’re too unpredictable.
Check out some great Amazon alternatives here.
5. Add an affiliate disclaimer
In the US and some other countries, you have to clearly disclose on every page of your website that you’re earning money through affiliate marketing.
To wrap things up, you don’t need any experience to get started with affiliate marketing.
In other to get started, just follow these steps:
- Tap into the many free resources on affiliate marketing available
- Pick a niche
- Launch your website
- And just start writing