Starting A WordPress Blog For Affiliate Marketers Step By Step Tutorial
Making money online is far easier than the vast majority of people realize. There is a wealth of opportunity here for you and all you have to do is to reach out and grab it.
That might sound a little too Disney for you, but it’s true. That’s the reality. The ‘fantasy’ in this case is that affiliate marketing, selling services or running a successful blog is out of reach, or that it is in any way difficult.
You don’t need to be technically minded any more. Affiliate marketing is a way to make money from someone else’s product with zero overhead, zero risk and no need to craft an ebook or anything else yourself. If you’re reading this then you likely already know that.
But what you might not know is just how easily you can create a blog to go with your affiliate marketing strategy.
In fact, this is something that anyone can benefit from.
What blows my mind is that companies are willing to pay thousands of dollars for web design agencies and developers to build them a website. Those web developers will likely just use WordPress and in that case, it will probably take a day or a few days max.
I’m telling you, that in just a few hours, you can create a website that is just as professional as the very top brands in your niche. Or more so. And in this post, you’re going to discover how.
WordPress is the tool that makes all this possible. WordPress is an incredible equalizer, in that it allows the smaller business or entrepreneur to go toe-to-toe with the biggest behemoth companies out there.
It does this by acting as a CMS – Content Management System. It is a tool or a framework that makes it very easy for you to write and upload new posts and to edit those that are already there.
But more than just letting you manage blog posts, it also provides an easy way to add new functionality to your site (by installing plugins) or to completely transform the look and feel by installing new themes.
WordPress is completely free and it can be installed in minutes. If you use a hosting provider like Bluehost, then it can be installed with just a single click.
At this point you might be thinking ‘that sounds like a site-builder!’, or ‘surely that is limited in scope and potential!’
The short answer? Nope.
In fact, WordPress is the platform that powers 25% of the web. 25%! And that includes the vast majority of the biggest brands that you know and love. The BBC, Forbes, Mashable, Wired, The Four Hour Blog, Smart Passive Income, Sony, TechCrunch, Bloomberg, Variety, MTV… all of them use WordPress. The very same FREE WordPress that you can install in just one click.
And if it’s good enough for them? Well then, I imagine it’s good enough for you.
Or a more polite and accurate way of putting that is this: WordPress is a proven quantity. It doesn’t involve putting your faith in a platform that may or may not rank on Google, or that may or may not result in a professional end-product.
This removes ‘confounding variables’. If you create a site and it’s not gaining the traction and the sales it should be, you can often find yourself wondering what’s wrong. Is it the content? Is it your marketing campaign? Is it the code of the website that Google doesn’t like for some reason?
With WordPress, that question is out: you know that WordPress sites can be highly successful.
Then there’s the huge community, the massive number of plugins and themes… in short there is no good reason not to use WordPress in the vast majority of situations.
I’ve dealt with businesses that stubbornly insist on building their own sites from scratch. The result is they never get updated, they quickly look old fashioned and they have all kinds of compatibility issues when they want to add a mailing list, a pop-up or a new menu.
All the tools you will use as an affiliate marketer are made for WordPress. They can be installed with one click too. And there are thousands of people out there who will help you for free if you run into technical difficulties.
So just use it… okay?
Choosing a Hosting Account
So how do you go about creating a WordPress site that you can use to promote your affiliate products?
The first step is to find a hosting provider. Many of you will know what that means already but for those that don’t, a hosting provider is a company that offers ‘web space’. It provides servers, which are big computers constantly connected to the web and which will dish up your files when someone searches for your domain.
This is where you will be uploading your files to. This is here your website ‘goes’ in a physical sense.
There are plenty of hosting providers just like there are plenty of tools for building websites. Once again though, the best strategy is to go with an option that is tried and tested and that will make the process as easy as possible for you.
Which brings us to Bluehost. This is the most widely recommended hosting service for affiliate marketers and others for good reason: it is affordable and reliable and it provides all of the key features you could want.
Why You Shouldn’t Go With the Free Options
Bluehost is good value but you might be tempted to choose a free option instead. There are a number of places where you can create and upload a site for free, such as Blogger or even WordPress.com itself.
Why don’t you want to do that, then?
Simple: free hosting solutions almost always come with restrictions and limitations and they can completely undermine your business.
Basic hosting on BlueHost costs just $7.99 per month and you can often get much cheaper deals if you strike at the right time and know how.
That’s a very small amount of money to come out of your wallet each month. And seeing as you should easily be earning more than that as an affiliate marketer (that’s less than one sale per month), you should see ROI in the first month.
Free hosting options are even cheaper of course (they’re free!) but they still need to get paid somehow. Maintaining a server is expensive work and these companies aren’t charities.
So, what normally happens is that they will place adverts on the site. These pay out per click but you don’t see any of that money in most cases – it goes to the hosting company. In some cases you might get a revenue share, but you’re likely to get a very small amount.
The worst thing about this is that it is going to seriously hamper your potential when it comes to affiliate marketing. Remember, affiliate marketing is all about promoting products that you want to sell and getting money for clicks. You have a link that promotes a product and you want said link to get clicked as often as possible!
But what happens when your page is covered in adverts for other things? Adverts designed to grab attention with movement, bright colors and flashing lights? Simple: your visitors click that instead of clicking your affiliate links.
And you don’t make as much money.
This is the price you pay and on top of that, there are other limitations.
For instance, you likely won’t get your own domain (www address) but will instead be hosted on an existing domain.
So instead of being: www.fitnessworld.com your site is going to be www.freehosting.com/fitnessworld. That doesn’t look nearly as professional, it doesn’t inspire the same confidence in your visitors and it will reduce the amount of commission and profit you make.
At the same time it’s much harder to remember, making it harder to market. And on top of all that, you will get a number of other restrictions too, such as:
- Limited bandwidth (meaning your site will go ‘down’ if too many people try to access it once)
- Limited space (meaning that you will stop being able to save files after a certain point and will need to think about deleting images etc. to make room)
- More downtime (during site maintenance etc.)
- No control – imagine if the site one day goes out of business and decides to take all the blogs with it!
- Limited flexibility – most of these sites have a set CMS that you must use. With the exception of WordPress.com, that probably means you can’t use WordPress, which means you can’t access all of the tools and functions that you would be able to do with a self hosted WordPress blog hosted by Bluhost for example.
So, pick paid hosting. And if you want our recommendation choose Bluehost. If you do go with another one, then make sure that it doesn’t show ads, that you get your own domain name and that it comes with cPanel, which will ensure you get that one-click WordPress installation.
How to Set it Up
To get started then, head on over to Bluehost and sign up for an account. Most affiliate marketers will do just fine with a basic shared account to begin with (meaning that you will share a server with other creators, but you’ll get your own domain and space etc.). You can always upgrade this to a private server or cloud hosting account in future if you decide you need extra storage and bandwidth (in which case you will be doing very well!).
The first thing you’ll do then, is to choose a domain. This of course is going to be the address that people type into the URL bar in their browser in order to navigate to your site. You want this address to be as memorable, as easy and as brand-specific as possible. So, pick something that will be catchy and memorable. It is almost always better to go for a .com domain when available over something like .org or .net. If your exact brand name isn’t available, then you’ll see a number of different suggestions. The good news is that you can always add more domain names relatively cheaply in future and then have them redirect to your site – so don’t stress too much about it now.
From there, you’ll be logged in and you can access your cPanel. cPanel is a piece of software that is installed on your server and that will give you lots of options for managing your domain and hosting. That means you’ll get a file manager for uploading and downloading files, an email client for receiving and sending emails, webstats and much more.
What we’re interested in though, is the category of tools under the heading ‘website’. Here, you should find a button that says ‘Install WordPress’.
That’s about as simple as it sounds!
Just click on that button and then ‘Install’. On the next page, you can pick which domain you want to install WordPress on. If you only have one domain thus far, then this should be a pretty easy choice!
You can also pick a subdirectory if you want to as well.
Before you click next though, I HIGHLY recommend you click ‘Show Advanced Options’. This will let you choose the name and title of your website, as well as your admin name and your password. This bit is super important because if you don’t know those, you won’t be able to log in and it can be a right headache tracking them down! Why this is under ‘Advanced Options’ I’m not really sure!
Pick a password that’s memorable but strong enough to keep out those brute force attacks. Next, click ‘Install Now’ and then wait for a while as WordPress gets installed.
This could take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes but it won’t be long.
And if that goes well, you’ll see a message saying ‘Installation Complete’. Yep, it really is that simple!
Not every hosting account has this option though, and so if you don’t have the one-click installation tool, you’ll need to do this the old fashioned way. That’s another reason we recommend using BlueHost.
But luckily, it’s not all that complicated even if you do need to take the longer route What you’ll need to do here is to head over to WordPress.com and then from there, download the necessary zip files. These are your installation files and what you need to do next is to unzip them, and then upload them to your web space on the server. You can do this either by using the file manager that came with your hosting account (most should) or by using an FTP program like FileZilla which lets you drop files onto the web.
From there, you’ll then need to navigate to the location of the installation file using your browser. All of the detailed instructions are on WordPress.com and as they change occasionally, it’s worth checking them out for the detailed step-by-step. From there though, you just answer a couple of questions and hit install.
But if you’re following this process, you should be able to use the method outlined above through Bluehost and cPanel.
Welcome to WordPress
Now open up your browser and head over to the URL that you chose. If your site is www.fitnessite.com, then type that in and open it up.
Behold! There should already be a fully working website here, which is really rather miraculous.
It is a little bland though. The layout will be the default look and feel and there will be one welcome post which you’ll probably want to delete.
It’s still a working, mobile-responsive website though! And it was that easy. You could in theory start making posts and earn some money right away!
But instead, you’ll probably want to add a little of your own branding and design first.
To do this, you should log into the admin panel. You do this by typing in:
Here, you’ll be greeted with a login form where you’ll need to add the details that you added earlier.
To change the name of your site and some of the initial layout options, go to Settings > Genearl and Appearance > Customize. To change the different options in your menu (for navigation) go to Appearance > Menus.
This is the first thing you should do but after that, you want to head into Apperance > Themes. Here is where you have much more flexibility to create the professional look and feel that your affiliate marketing site deserves.
As the heading kind of suggests, this is where you will install and manage themes. A theme is a layout and a look for your site that is predefined and when you install one, it transforms the entire look with a single click!
The great thing about this, is that it allows you to install professional themes from other developers and make your site look instantly much more dramatic, dynamic and professional.
You’ll find in this section that you can browse through a theme store. This is where you’ll find a ton of ready-made themes to install, many of which are actually completely free! This is a good starting point then and many webmasters will be happy with the offerings here.
But in order to get the very best look for your site, you might want to look elsewhere. The reason is that this is where everyone will look for their themes. Therefore, even the paid options are going to be seen a lot around the web and they will tend to look a little less professional as a result.
If you want your site to come across as highly professional, then you are better off checking out a site like Theme Forest. Here, you can find a huge selection of different themes, each of which can be downloaded as a zip and then installed through that part of your admin panel.
Installing a professionally made theme like this can instantly turn your site into something that people will view as professional and it will drastically increase your chances of making lots of sales.
Another place to take a look is the plugins section. Here, you can browse a large selection of different plugins and install them with a click. A plugin is a free piece of software that can add functionality to your site. This could be something like a tool to help with your SEO (such as Yoast SEO) or it could be a widget that shows your social media feed in a ticker over on the right hand side of your site. Widgets in general are great for adding more dynamic content and interactivity to your site and you can manage where these go in Appearance > Widgets.
In all honesty, managing the layout of your WordPress site and adding tools and themes like this is incredibly simple. What’s very important is that you design your own logo and choose a custom background to match but other than that, you can get most of the layout and functionality your site needs just by clicking and installing existing themes and plugins. Therein lies the true power of WordPress.
Then, once you’re ready to start promoting your products and to start making posts, just go to Posts > Add New and then enter the text in the simple editor. Press ‘Publish’ to set the post live, or visit Posts > All Posts in order to edit and delete existing posts.
You can do the same for your static pages under Pages and then add them to your menus.
It really is that simple and in less than a day, you’ll have a beautiful and fully functional site from which to start promoting affiliate products. You just did what some design companies charge thousands of dollars for!
Of course, the rest is up to you. You’re going to need to choose your affiliate products wisely, promote them well in your text and do your marketing. But at least the site is sorted!
I hope you enjoyed reading my tutorial on how to set up a self hosted WordPress blog affiliate marketers.
Now get out there and get errrrr dunnnnn as Larry the cable guy would say:)
Thanks for reading.
P.S. The quick video version where I break down this blog post and quickly talk about what you will learn.
How To Create Your First Affiliate Marketing Blog Video Breakdown