If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know the story of how I created a passive business to travel the world.
Many people who read that post decide to follow my steps and create their own niche page, and there is no week in which I do not get several emails with questions on the topic: Where do I start? Which affiliate program do you recommend? Do I need to be registered as a freelancer?
As I have written very little about affiliate marketing, I have decided to start a series of posts in which I will share with you everything I know about this world. I will tell you what my vision of SEO is today.
In this first article I will tell you some things about affiliation and niche pages that very few people talk about but consider it important that you know before you go to the pool.
Remember: How Affiliate Marketing Works and What is a Niche Page
Before you begin, I’d like to briefly remind you how affiliate marketing works and what I call a niche page.
Affiliate marketing is simply about promoting a third party’s products or services in exchange for a commission for each customer making a purchase. It works in the following way:
- You register as an affiliate on the website of that company or in one of the different affiliation networks
- Once the company accepts you as an affiliate, you can generate personalized links to your products
- Write on your website an article about the product you want to promote and place a personalized link to it
- Your readers click on the custom link and are redirected to the product page as if it were a normal link. However, the page records that you were the one who sent that user
- If the user makes a purchase in a certain period of time, you take a fixed commission or a percentage of the total amount of the sale
When I speak of a niche page I am referring to a page on a very specific subject whose only objective is to promote third party products through affiliate links.
The strategy to generate passive income has three parts:
- Create the website
- Write several articles about the products you want to promote and include affiliate links
- Use SEO techniques to position the page in Google’s top positions for the terms people are interested in buying the products you promote
Once the system is up and running, it’s like a machine producing money. Every day several people come to your website through Google (free), read your articles, click on your affiliate links, some end up buying the product and you get a commission while you enjoy a very cool caipirinha on the beaches of Brazil .
And now that everything is clear, we can get into matter
1. Affiliate marketing not only works on niche pages
In general, most people who want to make money with affiliate start a niche page.
As I said before, a niche page is a web with several posts on a very specific topic. The only purpose of these articles is to intercept users who are thinking of buying a product online and get them to the website that sells it through our affiliate link to take a commission. For this reason, the articles usually have titles such as “Analysis of the new Nespresso coffee machine”, “Best selling ebooks of 2014” or “The 5 best washing machines with drying function”.
This strategy has its advantages, such as that focusing exclusively on the purchase process maximizes conversions and minimizes the number of articles you have to write, but also has some drawbacks:
- Your readers are “use and throw”. If you create a page to help choose which reader ebooks to buy, as I did, people will read you only when they need to buy an ebook reader. Once they know which model they want, they will forget you forever.
- Your income is very unstable. By relying solely on Google to get traffic, you are very vulnerable to algorithmic changes and the arrival of new competitors (more on this in point 3).
- You get bored writing. When you start a niche page you do it solely to earn money. So, when it comes to choosing thematic, the one that is profitable is usually more important than the one you like. If you do not have someone to write the articles for you, sitting down to write analyzes of washing machines, baby carts or other products that you do not care about can be a damn sovereign.
- You do not bring much value to the reader. Helping someone choose a sewing machine is fine, but it will not have a profound impact on your life nor will it make you feel fulfilled. Also, as the goal of niche pages is to just make money, most of the articles that are usually written leave a lot to be desired.
There is another way to earn money with affiliate commissions that is less passive, but does not suffer from these problems and is also much more rewarding: create a blog.
If you have a blog about WordPress in which you are posting useful posts every week, little by little you will create a relationship with your readers and positioning you as an authority on the subject. When you later recommend a payment product, they will be happy to buy it through your affiliate link so you can take a commission.
This is a slower but also more stable strategy, since you do not rely on Google and your readers are recurring. In addition, it can be combined with other forms of monetization as the creation of own products and has a vastly greater economic potential.
2. There is life beyond the Amazon affiliate program
I’m surprised to see that most people who start a niche page do so with the aim of promoting Amazon products. In fact, if you knew the e-mail I get asking me how to become an affiliate of Amazon and build a niche with this system would surprise you.
Note that Amazon is one of my favorite companies in the world, but I must admit that its affiliate program in Spain leaves much to be desired.
To begin with, the fees paid by Amazon and its affiliates are very low:
- 5.0% in consumer electronics, home, kitchen, music, computer, software, sports
- 10.0% on books, Kindle, MP3 and AmazonBuyVIP products
- 8.0% in other products
These figures are very poor, but if we take into account that Amazon’s most successful products belong to the first category and that the fees are limited to a maximum of 10 euros per product (for a mobile of 600 euros do not You carry 30 euros, but 10), turn it off and let’s go.
There are those who decide to promote books, which sell a lot and also have a 10% commission. The problem with books is that they only cost between 10 and 20 euros; If you deduct that 21% of the VAT and divide it by 10, what you have left to you barely reaches 1 euro. You’re going to have to sell a lot of books if you want to earn a living that way!
Without doubt the best option if you go to work with Amazon is to promote the Kindle. It’s your best selling product and a Kindle Paperwhite leaves you 10 euros commission per unit. The downside is that it is a saturated niche and a lot of competition, so I wish you good luck if you end up taking that road.
Another negative point of the Amazon affiliate program is that your cookie only lasts 24 hours. This means that after clicking on one of your links, the user has to finalize the purchase within the next 24 hours or your commission will not be recorded.
Affiliation on Amazon is not the only way for affiliate marketing and now you can start exploring other ways.
When you see something that you want to promote, simply search Google’s “affiliates <name of the web>” to see if they have an affiliate program. You can also find product ideas on pages like Clickbank or E-Junkie.
3. Google is your master and lord.
In a niche page, your income is proportional to the number of people who visit your website. For example, if your conversion rate is 1% and each commission is 10 euros, 1000 visits will generate 100 euros. Multiply your visits by 10 and multiply your income by 10.
The problem is that as your traffic volume depends on Google, your income also depends on Google. A change of algorithm or the arrival of new competitors can make that from day to day your income is reduced to zero.
I do not know about you, but I would not sleep peacefully knowing that in the Google offices someone has a button that can make my salary happen to be 0 overnight …
The way to reduce your risk levels is the same as when investing in the stock market: diversify. You can have many niche pages (rare they would all sink at once), or have other sources of income in addition to your niche page, but never never ever play it to a single letter. You’re warned.
4. SEO is the most important skill
There are two fundamental tasks that you must perform yes or yes in a niche page: create content and position that content in Google.
Content creation is very important as it will determine your conversion rate and will also influence your search engine rankings. However, it’s no use having the best articles in the world if no one reads them. That is why the truly important skill that you must master if you want to make your page successful is SEO.
In a niche page search engine optimization is the real key, since Google is your main source of traffic (and therefore revenue). You should invest 90% of your resources in learning, experimenting and doing SEO.
Two important recommendations regarding SEO:
- Never hire someone to do it for you. If any of those “SEO experts” knew how to position a page from scratch, it would position their pages and become rich instead of selling their services to others. So I personally would not trust, since a bad SEO can sink you a page altogether. What you can do is buy concrete links, but NEVER leave your SEO strategy in the hands of others.
- Always have control of all the artificial links that you create towards your page. This way, if there is an algorithm change or you are penalized, you can solve the problem immediately.
This absolute reliance on SEO is what makes a niche page never be completely passive. You will always have to be aware of the latest news and fighting tirelessly against the team of Google engineers, who charge a paste to prevent people like you from artificially positioning pages
Personally, I confess that SEO is quite frustrating because you never know exactly what really works. While in a blog the better your articles are the more repercussions they have, in the world of SEO your actions can have random effects. A good SEO should be very methodical and be experiencing continuously.
5. The entrance barrier is extremely low
The other day I went to Facebook and found the message of a friend:
“Dude, look what I started! A niche page on shavers! ”
When I read it, the first thing I thought was, “Really? But you too??!”
Niche pages have become fashionable in Spain. Today even the neighbor’s son has a niche page on whatever it is (usually using Amazon’s affiliate program). And is that creating a website has become so extremely simple and cheap that anyone with a little patience can do it.
The lower the entry barrier the higher the competition, and the greater competition is especially problematic when you depend on Google randomness. You can do the best article in the world, one of 3,000 words that brings a lot of value to your readers, and even so appear before you in the results a trash of 400 word post copied simply because the god almighty Google likes plus. And you can not do anything to change it … I tell it because it has happened to me and it is VERY FRUSTRATING.
In the bag is usually said that when everyone buys it is time to sell, and that when everyone sells it is time to buy, and this also applies to the Internet. If creating niche pages becomes too easy and trendy, maybe it’s time to start another passive business with a slightly higher entry barrier, such as dropshipping.
I do not want to discourage you or tell you not to start a niche page. I think that the market is still open and that it has tremendous economic potential, but also that I want to warn you that the competition is fierce and that Google only shows 10 results on the first page for each search, so you will not have to Do better than everyone else.
6. You’re going to have to invest money
There are those who think that the only expenses required to create a niche page are to hire a hosting plan and a domain. Or even worse: there are those who think they can do for free, with a blog Blogger or WordPress.com.
If you are one of those people, I’m sorry to break your illusions but things do not work that way anymore. In order for your niche page to succeed you will have to invest money in it as in any other business. More specifically, you will have to spend money on buying powerful links. Or did you think you were going to be able to compete with age-old domains based on links in article directories? And in addition to links, surely you also have to invest in software and training.
I can not tell you exactly what budget you need to succeed, as it depends on how competitive your niche is and how quickly you want to see results, but I can assure you that you’re going to have to spend money on SEO, especially now that the Entrance is so low. The investment of several hundred euros in your page will allow you to exceed 95% of your competitors who pretend to work for free.
My recommendation is that you start with a reasonable budget, for example 500-1000 euros, and that what you earn the first few months reinvest completely in SEO to put you in first position for some profitable keywords.
Another major difficulty here is knowing what to spend the money on. The most common is that you spend a few hundred euros until you learn a little how the wonderful world works (notice the irony) of buying / selling links and domains.
7. The one who really earns money is the owner of the affiliate program, not you
It is important that you understand that in any business the owner is always the one who takes the best part.
You can make a lot of money by setting up a McDonalds franchise, but the one who actually earns MUCH money is the owner of McDonalds.
You can earn enough money by selling on Ebay, but the one that actually earns MUCH money is Ebay.
And of course, you can earn enough money as an Amazon affiliate, but the one that actually makes MUCH money is Amazon.
Maybe at first glance that Amazon pays you 10 euros to sell a Kindle Paperwhite seems like a bargain, but I assure you that they are very profitable. For the modest price of 10 euros you are advertising them from your web permanently and you are getting them a client. That customer is already yours for life, and of all the ebooks you buy from there you will not see a hard one, just like you will not see a hard one from the Kindle that you buy months later for your woman or the tablet Which I buy on Amazon next Christmas.
I realized this long ago and started to create my own products. I am very clear that my long-term goal is to be the one with the affiliate program.
8. The owner of the affiliate program has the control
The owner of the affiliate program is not only the one who really earns pasta, but also the one in control. You can, without prior notice, change your conditions and reduce the amount of commissions you pay in half, or simply cancel the affiliation agreement because you feel like it.
I very much doubt that Amazon will close its affiliate program, but it is something that smaller companies have already done and that can happen. I just want you to know that and be prepared so that if you do not get your ass in the air.
9. Combining affiliation and programming can create very interesting things
If you know web programming and want to start in the world of affiliation, do not build a niche page like everyone else. Instead, use your skills to create something more powerful and dominate your non-technological competence.
10. It is not easy
Finally, I would like to remind you that creating a niche page is neither easy nor the miracle solution that will solve all your economic problems in a month. It is a business like any other and if you want to be successful you will have to train and give you time and desire. These last two years I have met quite a few people who have tried it, but very few have managed to exceed 100 euros per month. Also do you know How to Make Money Online Without a Website?
Now it’s your turn! What is your experience with affiliate marketing and niche pages? Share it in the comments.