Many people who start a business in affiliate marketing are just like me. I had absolutely no experience in internet marketing prior to starting my first blog. In fact, when I started my very first blog, it was on someone else’s website. I had zero intention of making any money from it and I had no clue how to build a website, so I just used an existing site. I simply wanted to blog about my lifestyle as a truck driver since I love to write and I thought it would help out other new truckers. The idea of making money only entered my mind after I started growing a following. I learned that I was essentially making the website owner some money and figured, hey, why can’t I make my own blog so I can actually make myself money instead of making money for someone else? The rest is history. You can read my full story and how I got into affiliate marketing here if you’re interested.
Unless you have worked directly in a marketing role or have run a website before, you probably do not know the basics of internet marketing. Sure, you can probably do a pretty good Google search, you might know your way around social media, and you can hold your own when it comes to online research, but actually building a site and marketing it to make money? That probably seems like a tall order, and I’m not going to lie… It will not be a fast and easy process to learn everything you need to learn. The good news is, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can and you will learn how to build amazing affiliate marketing websites that earn you a passive income.
You don’t have to become a programming expert, but to be truly successful at running an affiliate marketing company, you need to understand some fundamental basics. Fortunately, if you start with a good foundation that includes a basic understanding of the concepts and the terminology used in this industry, you will be able to learn as you build your business. A favorite quote of mind comes to mind here…
Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.”
– Napoleon Hill
So, here are some of the basics you need to know in order to get started on your internet marketing business today.
Start With A Well-Designed & Intuitive Website
The most important thing in affiliate marketing is your website. Not only do you need to have a website to sell your affiliate products but it needs to be an attractive, well-designed, easy-to-navigate site. Think about how many times you have gone to a website and it was cluttered with advertisements, or you couldn’t find the menu bar, or it took forever to load, and you just immediately got frustrated and looked for the information elsewhere. Often times when we think about the basics of internet marketing, we overlook the most basic important part of our brand.
So, I recommend before mastering all the other basics of internet marketing you really take time to look at what makes a great website. Think about websites that you use frequently… What makes them easy to use? How do they layout their menu options? What design style do you like? What makes it easy to read? Once you have figured this out and built a great website, it will be much easier to master the other basics of internet marketing.
The great news about building a website, though, is that you can build a wonderfully functioning and looking site with zero web building experience, today. Not just today, but in just a few hours. You don’t even need to spend a ton of money, either. YouTube is flooded with step-by-step videos on how to build a website or blog from scratch. You simply follow what they do on their screen and you do the same on yours. It’s best to search YouTube on your own for these videos by finding a site you think looks nice, but here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
The Importance Of Search Engine Optimization
Now that you have an impressive and easy to use website, you need to make sure that people can find you. Even if you have the most beautiful site in the World with the best content possible, none of that really matters if nobody ever sees your website. There are many ways to promote your blog or website, but the absolute best way to do it is to gain lots of FREE visitors from search engines. For example, this site is all about affiliate marketing. If you go to Google and type in “Affiliate Marketer Training” this site is likely in the top few positions. You likely found my site by doing some sort of search of your own, right? Well, that’s exactly what you want to happen with your website.
This brings us to the next important basic of internet marketing which is Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO. What is SEO? Well, SEO is basically the way people will find your website when they search for your topic on sites like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO is an algorithm that is based on keywords.
Check out the video below for a great easy-to-understand explanation of what SEO is and how it works:
Let me make myself very clear – SEO is how I have built and sustained my business. Yes, it is important to diversify your website traffic by using other sources such as social media, video content, and even paid advertising (when the time is right), but absolutely no traffic is cheaper and more targeted than search engine traffic. It is the holy grail of traffic and you should do everything you can to rank as many pages in as many search results as possible.
Now most people think that if they just load their website with keywords then they’ll be easier to find. However, search engine algorithms are smarter than that. They are looking for sites that provide valuable content that is relevant to the user, not just the right keywords. On this article, for example, the main keyword I’m attempting to rank for is “the basics of internet marketing”, but I’m not just trying to rank this page. I’m trying to make it helpful for you, my website visitor!
Search engines are very good at picking up on the quality and helpfulness of your content, so creating content just to rank some keywords is not enough. The good news is, once you have a great article written with phenomenal content, it’s going to rank for much more than just one search term. Good content will naturally get ranked for search phrases you never even thought of, plus good content tends to get shared by others, which in turn not only helps to diversify your traffic, but also gives search engines more signals that your content is shareable and therefore of high quality.
So it is important that you understand what the current SEO standards and how to ensure you are integrating them organically into your content. SEO is incredibly hard to master when you are just starting out, so I really recommend working with a company like Wealthy Affiliate who understands SEO and can help guide you through the process.
The most important aspect of SEO you should focus on right now is “on-page SEO” and the video below explains it very well…
Mastering Content Management
Another important basic of internet marketing is content management. Content is all the things you will put on your website. This includes everything from blog posts to pictures to videos. You want to make sure that all of your website content provides value to the user and will attract return visits. This is especially important as an affiliate marketer because in order to gain the trust of an audience to buy your recommended products is to become a reliable subject matter expert. This means curating smart informative content in a variety of formats to engage readers. You’ll also want to make sure you’re not infringing on copyright. There are plenty of places to get free use images including Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay.
Once you get an understanding of how to use proper SEO, create a list of at least 100 article ideas you can write about on your site. This will keep you from getting writers block and will really help you organize your site as you build it since you know all the articles you’re going to write.
About Social Media Marketing
A popular phrase with internet marketers is the term “content is king”. Nothing happens without great content. Poorly created content will not rank in search engines, it won’t be shared on social media sites, nobody else will link to it from their blog, and trying to promote crappy content is a useless endeavor. However, assuming you do have great content on your site, social media is a great way to diversify your traffic sources.
I couldn’t talk about the basics of internet marketing without talking about social media marketing. Social media is still one of the best ways to connect with people, expand your brand, and engage new readers. Social media marketing comes in a variety of forms. There are the standards like providing interesting content through social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but other forms of social media marketing like community building sites, forums, and message boards like Pinterest or StumbleUpon are also quite valuable. Creating shareable content for a variety of social media sites is the key to successful social media marketing.
Also, don’t forget about video! While you could probably guess that the #1 search engine in the World is Google, did you know the #2 search engine in the World is YouTube, which is owned by Google? Creating great video content in addition to your written content is a way to appeal to more people as well as gain some fantastic additional exposure.
Don’t Overlook Email Marketing
Email marketing is still an extremely important aspect of internet marketing and it shouldn’t be overlooked. Building an email list of your followers through opt-ins ensures a direct line to your readers. The contacts on your email list are people who want to hear from you and you also know exactly what they are interested in. So make sure that from the start you collect email addresses to build an email list so you can start building loyal readership. Make sure to regularly update everyone on your list with interesting newsletters, information about your content updates, and any other unique or engaging business developments.
Measure Your Success With Analytics
Once you have understand the basics of internet marketing, you also need to make sure you understand how to measure your results. That is where analytics comes into play. You can get analytics from a variety of free software tools and website plugins to tell you everything from how many people are visiting your site everyday, what people are reading on your website, and what efforts are driving new visitors to your website. These analytics are crucial to understanding what works and what doesn’t in any of your internet marketing campaigns, so you can focus your efforts on the things that are bringing you success. The best analytics program to use is Google Analytics. It’s free and easy to set up on your site, as you can see in the video below.
Focusing On Conversion
Conversion is taking the visitors to your website and turning them into buying customers. Conversion isn’t always easy and will be done through a smart coordination of all the internet marketing efforts you make, but there are a ton of different ways you can improve your conversion rates and as you build your business you will learn what is right for you. The first and most important way I personally obtain high conversion rates is by using what I call the C–>T–>P–>M Process. If you check out that link and understand what the CTPM process is, you’ll be a world ahead of most new internet marketers who simply focus on trying to sell, sell, sell.
These are the core basics of internet marketing and while this isn’t even close to being everything you need to know, these are the important basics to start off with. With this knowledge, you can begin really building your affiliate marketing business from the ground up. Mastering all these different basics of internet marketing will also give you an advantage over your competitors who are going after the get-rich-quick strategies, which of course don’t work. So start with the basics and make sure that you get a little support with the more complicated processes like SEO, and you’ll be surprised how big your business will be in just a year or two from now. Yes, I realize a year or two seems like a long time, but where will you be if you DON’T start now? Probably in the same place you are today! Instead, get started now and your future self will thank you.