Affiliate marketing is one of those things you can describe with the phrase, “easy to learn, hard to master.” Starting out is simple enough that anyone can sign up with an affiliate marketing company, pick a topic, set up a basic website, and head off to the races, but you won’t exactly become an overnight success just because you joined up.
To actually make a living from affiliate marketing demands a lot of practice, hard work, and skill building.
You shouldn’t expect to make a serious amount of money through affiliate marketing for the first year or more, and that’s assuming you find out you enjoy the work and keep at it week after week. That also assumes that you practice the skills you need to succeed and you come to understand what it means to learn affiliate marketing. The important thing to remember when you first begin to learn affiliate marketing is that the learning process never really stops in this evolving industry.
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1. Writing Content
Whoever says that people don’t read the way they used to probably thinks that only books count as reading. Websites are absolutely packed with words, and while they’re often divided into easily digestible chunks (which is also something you should learn to do), that doesn’t change the fact that the authors of those words need to know how to write clearly, appeal to their audience, and keep smashing their heads against their keyboards long after they’ve started to hate the written word.
Two of the big factors which search engines look for when determining how your website ranks on their results list are consistent updates and unique content, which means you can’t get away with copying articles and blogs from elsewhere on the internet. Even if you get permission from the author and properly cite your sources so that it doesn’t count as plagiarism, it still won’t count as the unique content search engines are looking for.
Thus, if you wan to learn affiliate marketing, you have to learn the skill of blog writing and you have to have the enthusiasm it takes to discuss your chosen topic at length and from every different angle, and you have to have the determination to soldier through the rough times when your enthusiasm inevitably flags and you start to wonder whether all your effort is really worth it. To be perfectly frank, it might not be worth it in your case, but you need to tough it out regardless because any payout you get will take well over a year to arrive.
2. Search Engine Optimization
Search engines operate on a few simple rules when it comes to choosing the ranks for each possible search term, although these “simple” rules are slowly growing more complex with each passing year and every search engine runs a different algorithm than the others. Still, search engine companies tend to be straightforward about what they look for in a high-ranking website, and while good, unique content is a great start, there are some less obvious tricks you’ll need to pick up if you want your website to rank well with the right search terms. In this day and age, if you want to learn affiliate marketing you must know how to properly market on social media platforms.
For instance, it’s very important that you learn how keywords work and how search engines look for them when deciding which websites and which pages are relevant to someone’s search query. For the most part, this can and should happen naturally (like how the words “affiliate marketing” are basically guaranteed to show up several times on every page of this website), but it’s also important that you research the search terms people most often type out when they’re looking for a site like yours.
When you know the keywords people use to try and find you, you can reach back by making sure that some of your articles use the exact same phrase several times throughout the text. You shouldn’t crowbar them in too hard, however, because you also need to remember that humans are still your primary audience. After all, your goal isn’t just to bring people to your website, it’s to keep them around long enough to become interested in your affiliate ads and links and to buy something at the other end, since that’s how you make money through affiliate marketing.
3. Online Marketing
Search engine optimization is basically a passive form of marketing, and it’s a fairly effective form at that, but it can also be very slow, especially since site traffic and the number of outside links which lead to your site are also major factors in your rank. As such, if you want to improve your online presence, you need to begin to actively market, too.
It may feel a little recursive to advertise a site which itself serves to advertise other products, but you have to remember that your website’s selling point isn’t the ads that keep the site alive, it’s you, and it’s all the content that fills the site. Affiliate marketing means that you’re the star attraction, even if you do have to take a break occasionally to offer a word from your sponsors.
Fortunately, there are a dozen different ways you can advertise yourself online. You can take the direct approach and buy some ad time with an online service. You can pay to have your site included on the first or second page of a search engine’s results. You can swap links with a related site for some mutual benefit. You can also build a social media profile in order to reach a wider audience and engage with them directly.
Affiliate marketing isn’t its own skill so much as it’s the combination of several different skills, each of which you need to learn and practice in order to make a profit. Thus, if you want to learn affiliate marketing, you’ll need to learn how to write, how to optimize for search engines, and how to market yourself online.