As a method of supplementing your income or replacing a full-time one, affiliate marketing is one of the best, if not the ultimate way of gaining financial freedom and being able to live a flexible lifestyle.
Property Investment WAS another way.
The combination of low-interest rates and comparatively small deposits mean that it is easy for a prospective landlord to buy a property and “wash its face” by renting it out while waiting for the property value to increase over time. House prices consistently rise because of the reduced land available and the increasing population.
Having spent ten years helping to build one of the most successful property investment companies in the UK I can say without hesitation that buy to let has helped many, many people achieve financial prosperity. But the golden days of being able to leverage a small deposit and make buy to let work are over for new investors.
The recent tax rules introduced by this government have just put a huge hole in any revenue forecasts that a new buy to let investor might have and that avenue is looking less and less attractive as a way to supplement income
In my opinion, many buy to let landlords should never have been allowed to own property and rent it out. Raising a deposit and refurbishing (or not refurbishing) a property leaves many first time landlords financially stretched and unable to maintain the property adequately. It's a mystery to me why the government has allowed industry to thrive in such an unregulated market.
Properties that aren't maintained properly, deposits that aren't kept in bonds; arbitrary rent increases, it is an industry where an unscrupulous minority can prey on the vulnerable.
But now that so many Landlords own properties where the cash flow generated just about covers the rental income generated, the new tax proposals mean that many of these cash-boxes will now become unviable. It's the death of buy to let. Who needs regulation when you can tax the industry out of existence?
Unless you are wealthy enough to be able to afford to purchase your property outright and mortgage free, in which case you are untouched by the new legislation. It is only those that aspire to generate wealth that are being hammered by these changes, not those that already have it.
Affiliate marketing gives you the opportunity to build a business that requires no stock investment with a minimal capital outlay. In most cases, there is no customer support needed, and it can be started small and scaled up as it grows.
Most of the software you need is free or available for minimal cost, and the only assets you need to bring to the party are hard work, determination and a lot of patience. But that's true of building any business, isn't it?
If you’ve been considering giving up the rat race to pursue a career in Affiliate Marketing, then this post is just for you.
How Hard Can It Be?
You have to be prepared to put in a ton of effort up front, with little or no reward for six months or so. Sometimes you can hit a home run first time out, but for most people, you should figure on seeing revenue begin to accrue at around the six-month mark. Achieving a salary that matches your day job income of around £20,000 a year is a year or even two in the making.
So it goes without saying that the more you currently earn the harder it is going to be to produce an equivalent income, but Affiliate Marketing is not just about the money it is also a lifestyle choice.
Working from home, choosing your work hours and being able to do the school run are options that you often don’t have in your regular job, and to many people, it’s worth the cut in pay to have them.
You have to be prepared for long hours, to begin with. A Twelve hour day is a good benchmark. Your biggest job will be producing new and fresh content on a regular basis and as you get better at it you can shorten your workday.
It’s entirely possible to begin part time and work your way into a full-time position with the caveat being that the less frequently you add content, the longer it takes to gain traction with Google. Any new website takes a while to climb the rankings, and generally, Affiliate Websites have to have a lot of good content to be successful.
The way to circumvent the time scale and start making money immediately is to buy advertising space on Google (AdWords) and direct the traffic to an offer page, but if you are not skilled in this area, you can lose a lot of money trying to perfect the system.
If you don’t get the Adverts right then, you will get a low click through rate, and the advert becomes more expensive. If the landing page is not good enough to convert, then you are losing a potential customer with every click. You will need a lot of cash to perfect this way of working.
The plus side of Affiliate Marketing is that every article you add to your project compounds the traffic. The more pages you add, the bigger your website becomes, and the more people recommend it. That is when you receive real value for the amount of work you put into the content in the first place.
The best websites to start are those that contain “Evergreen content”, and the worst are sites that have to be updated daily. For example, sports betting websites.
In the first case your content grows and fleshes out the website for as long as you keep adding content to it, but in the second the content keeps becoming redundant because it has a sell by date. The rewards may be higher in sports betting but then so is the amount of content you have to produce and the amount of competition.
One of the best places to start your affiliate marketing journey is at Moreniche. They have plenty of different products to choose from, and you will find lots of help and support there in the forums. I also highly recommend fizzle.co for anyone wanting to start a new online business.
The first three months are the hardest, and it’s usually around the three-month mark when most people give up. Continually writing new content and seeing little or no traffic available to read it is a lonely process but if you persist - when you come out the other side the rewards are so worth it. Never give up.
One final word of advice – always choose to promote products or services that can offer you a share of the repeat business because this is the beauty of working this way. Once you have been working for a couple of years, you will then be getting your first customers who are repeat buying and new customers contributing to the total income.
This is when the magic begins to happen, and the work that went into creating all that content in the first place pales into significance when set against the amount of revenue that you are earning.
Building A Meh Site.
There are hundreds and hundreds of these sites filling up the depths of search engine rankings, and they just keep coming at a furious pace. Everyone and his uncle can build a gambling site these days and call it “done”.
That’s not to knock WordPress which I think is a fantastic platform for building any affiliate site; it’s the attitude of “me too” and the unrealistic level of expectancy that goes with it.
What no one tells you when you start out on your affiliate marketing journey is that making money takes a lot of effort. Just making something that has already been done a thousand times or more is not going to cut it.
If you were thinking of building another Meh site and adding your creation to the Google backwaters then fine go right ahead, but it will never see a penny in commission.
No, you need something much better than that.
Building A Niche Site
Now you are talking. Build a site that focuses on slots games for the Android device. Or even progressive slots. Make something that people will find useful. There is a huge opportunity to build sites targeted at the mobile user and making sure your site looks the best on mobile or tablet is the way to go.
If you look at some of the sites who are currently holding top ranking for some of the biggest free bet and no deposit keywords you’ll see that quite a few haven’t managed to migrate their old technology to a mobile responsive format and there is still some low lying fruit in those market sectors. If you choose wisely, you could be making money in as little as six months.
Making An Authority Site.
What does Authority mean?
In general internet marketing terms, it means being the ”go to” site. If you need a problem solving or you need to find out some information, then the website that pops straight into the top of your head is probably an authority site if it is not a niche site.
Authority sites tend to be big sprawling sites that cover multiple niche topics with an overall smattering of general news. It’s entirely possible to start out by building a niche site and then grow that into an authority site. It’s not necessarily that difficult but finding the time to commit to a massive project is why most people don’t start out building an authority site.
A good example of an authority site would be something like odds checker – if you wanted to see where you could get the best betting odds then this site is where you would probably start your search.
Before you start out building any affiliate site face up to the fact that you cannot escape the 80/20 rule of business.
80% of the affiliate money is made by 20% of the affiliates.
What Can You Achieve In One Month?
There will always be websites that are entrenched in their niche. I'm mainly thinking of oddschecker.com which is one of the best examples of technology used to brilliant effect to create an affiliate site.
Just because there will always be a better website out there doesn't mean you shouldn't get started.
By the same token, there will always be someone who is better than you, more knowledgeable, more skilled. The way to move forward is to accept it and stop comparing yourself to other people. The only person you should measure yourself against is you.
It's tempting to look at industry leaders with huge Facebook and Twitter followings and wonder if there is any point in trying to compete with them. Getting to that level is going to take so much work.
But That's Not The Way To Look At It
Trying to compete with sites that are already well established and have a staff count is not the way forward.
Instead, focus on bringing your authentic voice to the party and building up a small following of ardent fans of your site. Find a niche that you can service and grow from there.
How do you measure progress?
Trying to do too much is where most affiliates fail. Building too many sites, spreading themselves too thinly and not being able to create enough content to make their sites worthy. Getting started can seem overwhelming at first with so much to learn and do.
A good rule of thumb by which to measure your progress is to increase your measuring points by 10% month on month. If you can do that, then you will be well on the way to building a successful affiliate business.
It may not sound like a lot, but if you work consistently over a period of time, the results will astound you.
If you have 100 mailing list subscribers, then work towards adding another ten in the month ahead. If you earnt £100 last month, then work towards making it £110 this month. If you had 200 unique visitors last month, then aim for 220 this month. Increase your Facebook followers by 10%, Twitter followers by 10%.
These small increases are realistically achievable and stop you from being overwhelmed with the negative thoughts that stop so many affiliates dead in their tracks.
When asked what the greatest invention in history was Albert Einstein replied “compound interest”. In the same way, as compound interest works increasing your output by 10% month on month will lead to some astonishing production gains. You will achieve far more than you ever thought possible.
If you are currently earning £100 per month from your affiliate business then increasing your monthly earnings 10% month on month would see you approaching £300 per month within 12 months and close to £1,000 in 2 years time.
Small improvements made consistently are the way to achieve success.
Focus On Making One Affiliate Project At A Time
When it comes to having ideas for affiliate marketing projects, then I like to think that I have some good ones. But working on too many projects at once is not one of them!
How many websites can an affiliate manage before the amount of work that needs to be done has to be outsourced? When that happens, do you have the time for quality control? Because once you start outsourcing, you will run into that problem.
I think one or possibly two is the answer. Three if the content is evergreen but for those of us in the affiliate gambling niche the pressure of trying to keep up with publisher promotions and offers means that we are always adding new content every day.
The amount of work that goes into making just one website successful is phenomenal. Not only does the site have to look good but to draw in traffic that converts means being present on social media and other channels like YouTube and that can be a full-time occupation in itself.
Working on one site means putting all of your eggs in one basket though, doesn't it? I mean what happens if the niche is a poorly converting one or Google dings your site?
Niches that don't convert do not exist. Unless you are promoting something that is entirely new and untested, then you won't have a problem.
The issue with conversion exists with the affiliate site (is it strong enough to generate interest and excitement) the offer (does it have so many negative wagering requirements to make it worthless) and how strong the merchant site is at converting.
As For Google Dishing You Out A Penalty:
The most common reason for being penalised is for not providing enough content. A thin content penalty is a manual site punishment handed out by human review. If the reviewer thinks that the content does not add to the search experience, then the site can be handicapped and only appear in the lower search engine rankings. Easily fixed by adding more content.
Other than that following the webmaster guidelines will keep you out of trouble. Don't scrape content, don't duplicate it, etc., etc. There is absolutely no reason to worry that just by having a single site you expose yourself to more risk.
Here are some good reasons why you should work on one site until it becomes a money maker:
1. keeping up with software upgrades can become a big consumer of your time. It's so important to keep your site up to date both for the security and functionality aspects. Wordpress is relatively straightforward, but those who use Joomla have their work cut out to keep up.
2. Having one heavy content website is far more preferable to spreading content thinly across several sites.
3. As well as building your affiliate site don't overlook the amount of time that must go into developing social media channels for each project.
4. Link building is difficult. Don't underestimate the amount of time that it takes to gain links to your site.
The reason that so many affiliates diversify too early in their careers is that it is easy to do. Once you have built one site, it's easy to build another.
Once you have several sites your time spent on each is watered down, and so it takes longer to make them successful.
Resist the temptation to increase your site count until you are making enough money to be able to outsource and manage your resources.
Use A Single Template For Multiple Joomla Or Wordpress Projects
I Can Hear The Groans Now – But My Websites Will All Look The Same!
No, they won't, not if you layout your modules differently on each site. And in any case, does it matter? – Until your sites start gaining traffic, no one will notice anyway!
If you are building several affiliate websites from scratch, then the temptation is to choose different website templates for each different project. This is a big mistake because the overhead in configuring all of your CSS files is doubled.
I use Rockettheme for all my templates, and the latest mobile responsive offerings are fantastic. If you use the Rocket launcher to replicate the demo site, you'll be up and running in no time at all, and as long as you don't plan on integrating any other components, you'll have no problem building sites with different templates.
But part of the allure of using Joomla is that it IS so powerful and adding paid for components will get you started with a website for a few hundred pounds that would cost £10,000 and more if you built it in any other development language.
If you've got a Rockettheme membership subscription why not use a different template on each new site you build? After all, you've paid for them?
Configuring CSS Is A Laborious And Time Consuming Process.
Rockettheme provides an override feature whereby all of your CSS changes are kept in a custom CSS file. When the template is updated to a later version, the upgrade process won't overwrite all of your hard gained work making those CSS amendments.
For example, if you use Joomla, a Rockettheme template, Jreviews and a contact component or form, then you have three main areas that need to be made uniform in font style. First of all, you need to style up all of the headings .H1, .H2, etc. and then you need to style up the Jreviews headings to match. On top of that, you now need to style up every new component that you introduce to match the recurring theme. And that's just the headings!
Hint: The more individual components or modules you introduce to your site the more styling you have to do. Many third party components are unable to take advantage of the CSS override feature, and so you will constantly be firefighting to keep them up to date.
Clearly, this is a lot of work, and if you intend making more than one site and introducing a different template, then you are giving yourself a mountain to climb.
However, by using the same template for your second site, you can directly transfer the custom CSS file, and you have instant CSS modifications!
Keeping website development uniform across several sites has so much going for it in time-saving that building in different templates or even different platforms do not. For example building one site in Wordpress and another in Joomla is asking for a world of hurt. You will constantly be on a learning curve that is completely unnecessary.