Now, more than ever, affiliate marketing is a long term strategy. Most of the affiliate marketing “guru’s” out there like to tell you how fast and easy it is, but of course there is a reason behind that. They are marketers who want to sell you stuff! Maybe they want to sell an e-book, a “secret system” they have or even software that will do all the work for you. The truth is, affiliate marketing is not quick, it is not easy, and unless you are willing to tackle affiliate marketing as a long term strategy, you will almost certainly fail.
How “Long Term” Are We Talking Here?
When I say that affiliate marketing is a long-term strategy, that really leaves a lot to the imagination. How long is “long term” exactly?
Well, the short answer is YEARS. If you start a website that you plan to earn money from through affiliate marketing, you have to approach it as if the site will be around 10 years from now (or longer). There is a lot of hype about micro niche sites and other websites that can be built quickly and easily, but the number of micro niche sites that are making money is dropping quickly. Also, if you find a “micro niche” that is earning you some good profits, you should absolutely keep growing the site! A profitable site should never be abandoned – it should always be growing and becoming even better than it already is.
That doesn’t mean it will necessarily take years for you to see any profit (although that’s possible). With proper keyword research and planning, it is very possible for your site to be making money within just a few months. From there, you should see a slow increase over time. The sites I build myself tend to become profitable after about 6 to 12 months. Of course, it starts off very slowly but tends to pick up quite a bit around the 1 year mark.
What Are The Steps Needed To Earn A Profit Through Affiliate Marketing?
Explaining the steps to earn money through affiliate marketing is actually rather straightforward. You don’t need to purchase an e-book or learn somebody’s “secret system” here. The “system” for making money through affiliate marketing is well known and isn’t complicated at all. So here it is…
First, you need to learn how to use WordPress or some other website building platform (I strongly recommend WordPress). Here is a great series of videos showing you how to develop a website all by yourself with no web building experience. Next, you need to create a website blueprint. Basically, with a website blueprint, you will plan out your site by listing all of the articles you will write based on proper “keyword research”. If this all sounds foreign to you, check out this video for help. And finally, the vast majority of your time and effort will be spent writing and developing fantastic content that brings in lots of free visitors from search engines, social media, etc. Not sure how to write content that attracts lots of highly targeted visitors? You got it, we’ve got a whole series of videos to help you with that.
Oh, and just one more thing. You have to MONETIZE the site as well! Here are 5 ways to do that.
The initial setup of your site will only take from 1 day to a few weeks depending on how quickly you’re able to learn, but after that, almost all of your time and effort will be spent on content creation. Forget about all the sales guys out there trying to sell you secret systems. Content is king.
Affiliate Marketing Is Not Really Passive Income
So many people are attracted to affiliate marketing because they are under the impression it is “passive income” (a term that is way overused these days). Now, technically affiliate marketing IS passive income… but not at first.
For starters, we affiliate marketers are in a really crazy position. We work for hours and hours and hours for months and months and months on our businesses just in the HOPES that we will make money in the future. There are no guarantees and before we ever make our first penny, we’ve already put in 100+ hours worth of work for free. Even when a site does begin to earn an income, the site must be maintained and fresh content needs to be added all the time, so it’s not as if you’re able to retire and let the money flow in forever.
With that said, when you have a site that is making money already, when you work on the site, you are just increasing what you’ve already developed. In other words, when you write a page, it’s there forever. As that page is making money, you can build another page that makes money, then another, and then another. Growth becomes exponential, and let me tell you, that is a phenomenal feeling to see your income going up exponentially.
In order to truly have a passive income source, you need to eventually get to the point where the sites run themselves. I used my site DogFoodInsider.com as an example quite a bit to prove this point. I haven’t written an article on that site in at least 18 months or so. Instead, I have re-invested the profits from that site into contracting out a freelance writer from Upwork.com. Each week, I receive a new batch of articles and I simply have to copy and paste them, which takes a matter of minutes. That is much closer to a true passive income source.
The definition of a passive income is: An income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.
I think copying and pasting for a few minutes on a website that earns exponential returns over time would be considered “minimal effort.” So yes, earning a passive income through affiliate marketing is indeed possible, but you have to earn it first by putting in a lot of time, effort, and possibly some tears all by yourself.
Some Final Thoughts
Sometimes I feel like I give a bad impression of affiliate marketing on this site. Rest assured, I absolutely love what I do and if you enjoy creating content, you will probably love it as well. It has earned me a great living for years now and I hope this continues for years to come. I just feel the need to combat some of the misinformation that is spewed out there by so-called affiliate marketing experts who really just want to rip you off by selling you some crappy “system” or “secret”.
Don’t succumb to these unethical marketers. Affiliate marketing is a long term strategy and if you don’t treat it as such, any success you might have will be limited. Provide value for your fellow man by creating a high quality website that truly helps people. If you do that, you will have yourself a long-term and sustainable business, possibly even becoming a true passive income source for many, many years.