Below you’ll find a list of useful courses, tools, and resources to start your own affiliate projects. And just in case you have no idea what affiliate marketing is, or how it works, I’ve got you covered as well.
Table of Contents
Affiliate Marketing 101
Affiliate marketing is the process of earning commissions by promoting another person’s or company’s products. In this process, the person earning the commissions is called the affiliate.
The affiliate can promote those products/services through social media, organic traffic through Google (aka SEO <- this is what I do), paid traffic (Google ads, FB ads, etc), or other means.
Once the consumer/visitor clicks on one of the links that the affiliate provides, the consumers’ buying cycle is tracked right through to the sale, and when/if that sale is successful, the affiliate gets paid $$$ for referring the consumer/customer/client.
The commission that companies pay can be a set price per sale, or a % of the sale, or a combination. Some subscription services even pay affiliates a % of the monthly cost for the lifetime of the sign-up/client, month after month… it’s pretty cool.
Is it easy? Hell no!
Is it worth it when it works? Most definitely!
What is SEO and how does it drive visitors to your website
SEO stands for search engine optimization, it’s the art of building a site that Google reallllllly likes, so that when people search for specific search terms in Google, your site appears at the top, and you get all those visitors (side-note: In digital marketing, visitors is called “traffic”).
Once you get to the top, that traffic just keeps on coming, and you can promote the products you want (while providing value to your visitors of course).
Why affiliate marketing is awesome!
1. Passive income
If you go the SEO way (meaning you rank a website in Google and promote the products/services on that site), the income is mostly passive.
As long as you remain at the top of Google for your targeted search terms, traffic will keep coming, people will keep buying (depending on your design/copy skils <- aka CRO or Conversion Rate Optimization), and money will keep coming in.
And if you target multiple countries, or rank globally for specific search terms (aka keywords), you’re literally earning money while you sleep.
2. No customer support
Because you’re just promoting the product/service, you don’t have to worry about stocking the product or providing customer support. You’re just bridging the gap between consumer and seller by providing information about the product/service.
You can do this from anywhere, as long as you have a laptop and an internet connection.
At the moment, I know of 2 courses I can comfortably recommend (I bought and use (have used) both of these myself).
Aka The Authority Site System 2.0, this one is the best course for absolute beginners imho. With over 70 videos, public case studies, a private FB group, checklists, content templates, and much more, it’s very comprehensive and has everything you need to get your first affiliate site live.
Every step is covered, from finding your market, keyword research, building the actual site, to content creation and how to track and analyse the entire system… I bought this course for my wife as it truly is the perfect one start off with.
This one is for people that already know the game a bit, they know what affiliate marketing is, maybe even have already dabbled in it, they know WordPress a bit, they know the basics of SEO.
If you’re one of those people, this is the course that will take you to the moon… both white and gray hat strategies are covered.
Time and focus/attention by choice are the 2 elements in my life I want to maximise as much as possible (which is not an easy task when you have 2 kids – focus/attention by choice: the ability to focus on what I really want to focus on, minus the random thoughts that constantly pop up – the term “mindfulness” is probably appropriate here, though this version is enabled by technology rather than meditation).
Time never stops in a world that’s stuck on play, & keeping your focus consistent… well, that’s hard even w/o kids (work, first world problems, constant advertising everywhere, daily repetitive tasks, imaginary shower conversations, etc.).
So I try to outsource as much as humanly possible to tools and other people, giving me more time to do the things I actually want to focus on, and more brain space to work on the problems I want to solve. My way is only one way, there are a lot people doing it a lot better than I am. I’m still learning, but here are the tools I use at the moment.
General Life & Productivity Tools
Store stuff in the cloud with awesome cross-platform syncing, share that stuff with others, work on stuff together, thumbs up!
No explanation necessary.
Let the web work for you by arranging the content you rely on into easy-to-read collections. Feedly offers a clean, minimalist reading experience optimised for productivity. Massive time-saver!
Audio books, fill the time it takes you to walk/train/drive from A to B with good content. Personally, I only listen to non-fiction (stuff that I find useful and further improves specific aspects of my daily life), leaving fiction for tv series in the evening.
Cloud accounting perfected! I love it, and so does my accountant. From invoicing, to reporting and spot on bank account syncing to reconciling transactions… it does it all very very well.
Todoist is my external memory, my outsourced brain (it goes way beyond just putting meetings in something like Google Calendar, or using the notes app to list your groceries)! Most of my life’s responsibilities/ideas/tasks are in there, so I can keep my mind as clear as possible to think about the bigger picture (for which I use Trello). The downside, if something is not in the app, I’ll forget it, it might as well not exist.
It has everything a to-do app should have: fast cross-platform syncing, projects + sub-projects (and tasks + sub-tasks), project sharing, comments, file uploads, smart text recognition for adding dates and times, multiple ways of reminding you via email, text, notifications, etc, and even location-based reminders (eg. it can send you a text to grab some milk as you walk past the supermarket).
And it does it all with a great intuitive interface. The majority of what I do/want to do/have done, on a business & personal level, is in there, it’s awesome!
Most people know about Trello, a LOT of businesses use this one as it’s very flexible, and it’s free. Google it to learn more, worth checking out. I use it for the bigger picture stuff, which I then break down into tasks which go in Todoist.
Again, everyone knows slack, check their site 🙂
Store all of the things, collaborate on docs/sheets/etc.
There are a lot of options when it comes to password managers, I researched the most popular ones quite in-depth a while back, settled on Dashlane, and never looked back. It comes with browser plugins and of course cross-platform syncing, and aside from the master password, you never have to remember another password again, it auto-fills everything on whatever device you’re working on – saving both time & brain space. It also generates unique new passwords for new accounts, and even gives you safety scores on existing passwords, which you can then switch out to new stronger passwords with a single click.
This replaces new tabs with a personal dashboard featuring a to-do, weather, and inspirational quotes, on gorgeous backgrounds.
Blocks ads, ’nuff said.
Already explained above.
Open a list of urls in separate tabs… good time saver.
Stop Googling how to spell stuff :), this does it for you, and way better than Word can. It’s also great at detecting grammar issues.
Snaps screenshots of webpages (or parts of it through manual selection), you can edit, save it, etc. super handy.
Records short videos of your screen with audio, uploads it to youtube, copies the url. Awesome for creating quick walkthrough videos to show people how to do specific actions (clients, virtual assistants, friends that needs some tech support, etc.).
Quick on-page SEO checker. I use it mainly to check if I have empty headings (WP sometimes does that w images), check the heading structure is correct, meta-info, image alt-tags are present. It can also check for broken links, href lang implementation, do serp previews, etc.
I’ve found sooooo many uses for this, from scraping PAA sections for queries, to bulk extracting specific link types from web pages, it’s an incredible tool.
Want to check backlinks? Ahrefs has got you covered. Want to pull ranking keywords from competitors? Ahrefs can do it. Want to know what topics your competitors are covering that you’re not? Ahrefs does the analysis for you. I used to use a whole variety of tools to achieve all of the above (and much more), now with Ahrefs in play… you only need one tool!
Don’t have the budget but want to do some quality keyword research for a small number of seed keywords? KWfinder gives you a few runs for free, they also analyse and rate the difficulty of the keywords it finds, displays search volume, etc.
Don’t have the budget but want grab a ton of keywords from a seed keyword? The free version of this tool generates up to 750+ long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term (and it can do this for Google, Bing, Youtube, Amazon, and the App Store).
Track the top 100 competitors for a given set of keywords, very handy to identify competitor movements and how Google algorithm updates impact your niche (it does a lot more but that’s what I use it for).
The cheapest tracking solution I’ve found so far. This tracker works differently than your usual rank trackers. Instead of limiting the number of kws you can add, they limit the amount of checks you can do/day. You buy checks by buying their SERP bots, one bot does 300 checks per day and costs $4.99/mo. This means that if you have 1 bot with 300 checks, and you add 1200 kws, you’ll get a ranking update for all 1200 every 4 days.
The second keyword tracking platform I use… has a TON of features, too many to go through, just check their site :). I personally love their Share of Voice metric that gives you a more accurate organic visibility metric that combines other metrics like position and keyword volume.
From their site: “Meta Forensics is a website architecture, optimisation, content checking, internal link analysis and SEO tool that helps identify unseen website problems that may be affecting your visitors, search engine crawlers and ultimately, hampering your site.” Super handy.
Want to know how old a specific domain is, how often it’s been dropped, switched nameservers, etc? This tool has the answers.
Google pushes out a LOT of updates every year, these tools track the turbulence in the algorithm. Very handy to check if your ranking drops/boosts are the results of SEO activity or a Google update.
more to come…