There are many ways to make money with affiliate marketing online.
However, if you want to make long-term, passive income from it, your choices are a bit more limited.
In my experience, the best way to make the longest-lasting, most passive income with affiliate marketing is by building money sites.
In this post, I’ll give you a quick rundown on how to do just that.
STEP 1: Select a profitable niche
This is absolutely essential.
If you get this part wrong, you can get everything else right and still fail miserably.
You need to know that there’s good money to earn from whatever niche you’re basing your website on.
Look for high-paying affiliate programs or products BEFORE you start building your site, not after.
It’s such a simple rule, yet most people fail to do this.
The reality for many site builders is that, if they knew how to pick the right niche, they’d earn at least OK money from their websites.
This point alone makes the difference between earning $100 a month and $100 a day, so take your time here.
STEP 2: Reserve Your Place on the Web
Go to namecheap.com and grab a dot com domain for your new website.
If you’re struggling to come up with a name, use the leandomainsearch tool to get some ideas.
Then, get managed WordPress hosting from Siteground; the GrowBig plan will be more than enough in the beginning.
Don’t choose the cheapest plan unless you’re really low on money.
Also, don’t use Wix, Squarespace or any of the other stuff that’s out there; use WordPress (more options, fewer headaches). Siteground will supply you with a clean, automatic WordPress install when you go through their setup.
Step 3: Gather Your Tools
Keep your website as simple and lightweight as possible.
Only add stuff gradually as your site continues growing.
You don’t want to slow down your website with too much needless code.
If your pages are slow to load, it will impact their place in Google search, which again will impact your affiliate commissions.
Also, keeping things simpler will help you keep a neat overview as you go along.
So, once again, keep it as simple and lightweight as possible.
On top of the WordPress foundation, you just need the following in place:
A. A WordPress theme.
A WordPress theme allows you to change the layout and design of your site.
For this, I recommend Generate Press Premium.
It’s one of the fastest-loading themes out there, while still giving you the vital base you need to build a successful site.
Don’t use a free theme if you can avoid it.
B. A page builder.
This is a type of plugin that will let you further customize elements of your website’s pages.
This is especially useful for your page layouts, menus, and sidebars.
It’s really important that your page builder doesn’t dump any unnecessary code onto your website; only what’s actually used should be loaded in.
I always work with Elementor Pro for this (it also teams up perfectly with Generatepress).
C. Some essential plugins
Again, keep it lightweight.
Don’t go overboard with plugins, like so many people tend to do.
Get Wordfence, Yoast, and then a few others depending on your wants and needs (you can install these for free from your WordPress dashboard).
STEP 4: Lay the Foundation
Design the basics of your website.
It doesn’t have to be perfect at this stage; you’re basically creating the skeleton at this point.
The meat, which is the content, along with the finishing touches will be added along the way.
But at the start, make sure to finish your page templates (like the front page, categories etc.) as well as the layout of your menus, content, and widgets.
There’s way too much info to cover all of this in detail here, but check out my course if you want complete, step-by-step tutorials on this.
Generally speaking, though, keep it user-friendly, neat, and consistent throughout your site.
STEP 5: Strategic Content Production
Make a content plan based on 3-4 different categories in your chosen niche.
Make mostly information posts and then sprinkle in some reviews and other money-making posts where you write about affiliate products.
It’s important to keep a good ratio of into posts to money posts, or else your site will look spammy to both your readers and Google’s bots.
Base every single one of your articles on solid keyword research.
Not every post of yours will rank at the top even if you target good keywords.
However, it’s still way better than going with the “spray and pray” approach that so many people use.
Target mostly longer, low-volume keywords when your site is new. You can begin targeting higher-volume keywords as your site grows and your content ranks easier in Google.
Unless you’re in an academic niche, write all of your content in a conversational tone. In other words, write kind of like you talk.
Also, avoid making walls of text; remember to use plenty of spacing and paragraphs.
It really helps with keeping people around, especially in this age of smartphones.
STEP 6: Monetize in a Smart Way
Don’t focus on cheap Amazon products or other low-hanging affiliate strategies.
Pick a handful of products with moderate-to-high commissions and write great content based around them (more info about that in this article).
If you want to take it to the next level, create an email list and send people through an automated sales sequence as well.
Create an opt-in page with a lead magnet as an incentive to get people onto your list (like I have done here).
This email list can also be used to drive traffic back to your site by alerting your subscribers to your freshly published content.
STEP 7: Expand
Momentum is key when it comes to earning money online.
Keep pushing out content, keep growing your site, and don’t drop the ball.
As time goes by, your content will have an easier time reaching the top of Google and you’ll see that nice snowball effect.
Your monthly traffic will steadily increase from thereon out, along with your affiliate earnings.
And the best part?
Your posts will continue making you passive income as you go.
Depending on what keyword they’re ranked for, they could keep making you money for years after they’ve been published.
As you keep stacking your content over time, this will lead to a compounding effect on your income, which is extremely satisfying.
And that’s how you make passive income with affiliate marketing!
If you want a complete blueprint on how to build successful affiliate marketing sites, check out my video course, the Golden Site Game Plan.
Over 60 video lessons on website building divided into 7 easy-to-follow stages, plus a lot of downloadable templates and resources to help you along.