There are many ways to build a website, and many reasons to make one. I'm how to show you one specific way to build a simple website, and two easy ways to make money with it.
Starting an affiliate website is simple and fast, especially compared to other ways to start a business. You don't need investors. You don't need inventory. You don't need any staff.
Actually, you don't even need a good idea.
My first affiliate website ideas were total garbage. I had one about equestrian products (I don't own a horse), and I had one about ankle rehab. Bleh. Those are long gone.
Failure is just part of the process. Luckily, it's cheap to fail in affiliate marketing. Starting a crappy website costs you just $15 per year for the domain name. It's not like a failed restaurant which could leave you $200,000 in debt or a bankruptcy filing.
So just get used to the idea that your first website probably won't be a home run (it might be though – that does happen a lot!).
I've built 100's of affiliate websites in the past decade, and I've got a process I can show you to help you get it right sooner rather than later. If you stick with it, I truly believe you can quit your job and do this full time within a year or two.
This specific page you're on is about the technical aspect of getting your affiliate website built, but there's links throughout to direct you to resources like how to choose a topic, how to get your articles ranked, and how to monetize your website.
Let's get started.
Start Your Affiliate Website (Step By Step)
Three Parts To Your Website
There are three basic things you need to get your website working properly.
- CMS (Content Management System, AKA Website Builder)
They all work together to make the millions of websites available on the internet. Just those three things!
- The domain is like the website address, that's pretty obvious.
- The hosting is like the place where you store your files: images, text, and code.
- The CMS is the engine that runs everything and displays it nicely so people can read it on their computer or smartphone.
There are many choices for website builders, but we are going to use WordPress. It's free, and is very versatile. That means you can do a lot of different awesome things with it, AND it means you have a lot of choices of hosts (we'll discuss that later).
I will make some suggestions for services for each of these components on this page.
- Domain Cost: $15/year
- Hosting Cost: $10-$60/month
- CMS Cost: Free
If you plan on building a website on your own and doing your own research to learn how to make money from your website, here is my recommendations:
Namecheap is cool because they have flat-rate pricing and do not try to sell you a bunch of gimmicks like more popular registrars.
Kinsta is the host I use. They are more expensive than other hosts, but super fast, and they are a truly “managed” hosting service. That means you'll be able contact them with questions or problems and they'll walk you through the solutions. Most cheap hosts do not have this kind of service. You're pretty much on your own with those guys!
My advice is to avoid Godaddy for your registrar and avoid Hostgator for hosting. This is based on many years of personal experience with these companies (6+). They are two of the most popular brands in their category, but are not worth your money. That's why I mention it.
The Package Deal (Extra Help)
The problem with most hosts and registrars is that they simply give you the tools to set up your website. If you want to make money, you've got to figure that out on your own!
This is why I recommend Wealthy Affiliate to newbies who want to build an online business with their website (not just a hobby). This company provides hosting AND is a domain registrar. More importantly however, they are first and foremost an affiliate training center.
That means they'll teach you how to build a website with step by step training, then immediately start teaching you how to make money as an affiliate (the same stuff I do).
Here's the cost breakdown for their service:
- Wealthy Affiliate Training Membership (Includes Hosting): $49/month, up to 25 websites
- Wealthy Affiliate Domains ($14 Year)
The hosting is not as fast as Kinsta, but it's miles better than any other basic host out there. Plus, you get free email, free SSL, and they are a managed host as well, which means they'll help you fix or at least troubleshoot problems that happen with your website.
Plus, the $49/month fee gets you access to a community of other affiliate entrepreneurs, including myself, and you can chat and exchange ideas as you move through the training. This community aspect is why they are producing so many success stories.
How To Build A WordPress Website (The Hard Way)
No doubt most of you are on a budget, so you wont' sign up for my recommended host (Kinsta), and you wont' sign up for my recommended affiliate training (Wealthy Affiliate). That's fine. Here's the overview of how to build your website using “cPanel”, which is what's offered by most hosts.
- Purchase Domain From Registrar
- Point DNS to your Nameservers (may take 24-48 hours)
- Log Into cPanel
- Go to Addon domain and Create Domain*
- Go to Site Software
- Choose Blogs => WordPress
- Create Username, Password, Email, Install URL, etc. info
- Install WordPress at the root domain (leave installation URL blank)
- Select Create New Database (Do not change Table Prefix)
- Log into WordPress and proceed
*If this is your first domain, you will not need to “add” a domain. It will already be created so proceed to Step 5
** The process is similar for most hosts. The main idea is to get a domain, then log into cPanel and install WordPress on your domain
1. Buy a domain from your registrar
2. Change the DNS to point to your host (can take 24-72 hours)
3. Log into cPanel
This is cPanel navigation. You may or may not need to create the domain using “Addon Domains”.
4. Create your domain here
5. Go to Site Software to install WordPress (the CMS website builder)
6. Choose a WordPress blog for your website builder
7, 8, 9. Fill in necessary information. Make sure “installation URL” is blank and don't change anything about the database. Don't forget to save your password and login details.
10. Go to mywebiste.com/wp-login.php for the login page to get started!
Video: Install WordPress using cPanel (Bluehost)
Next Steps In Building Your Website
Once you're done building the site, what next? There are three main areas you want to learn in the beginning.
You can experiment with #1 and #2 to learn how they work. #3 is also very easy to learn, but publishing content is much more complicated than just writing about what you ate for breakfast or typing a few lines about which brand of tablet you should buy.
Publishing content is going to be the core of your business because it's what drives traffic to your website. Traffic (people) is how you make sales.
In the end, your website will basically look similar to mine. Here's the breakdown of what you're looking at on my website. Depending on the “theme” you choose, your menu/logo/sidebar locations/look/size will vary.
How To Make Money From Your Website
There are many ways to make money online. However, I've chosen to focus on affiliate marketing for my own business, and it's what encourage most people to do. Ecommerce and drop shipping sound sexy, but they involve a lot of complicated details like sourcing products, shipping stuff, and managing profit margins. Bleh.
I like the simplicity of affiliate marketing. As an affiliate marketer, the vast majority of your work as a webmaster is going to be writing articles for your website. That's my #1 daily workload. Even if I don't write articles myself, I still need to do things like find out topics to write about, then do research, assign topics to writers, then edit the content to my liking.
If you hate writing, you can definitely outsource all the work. However, I highly recommend you learn the basics of writing and search engine optimization so that you know if your writers are producing content that can actually rank. Don't assume they know what they're doing! In fact, some my be operating on bad advice from previous clients they worked with, so it's very important you give them proper direction for their articles.
Affiliate Blog $$$ Method #1: Affiliate Links
If a company has an affiliate program, you can sign up (for free), and they'll give you a special link with a unique code. For each sale you get, you can earn a commission. Percentages range from 1% up to 100%, and earnings per sale range from $.10 to $1,000+.
It's all over the map because there is such a huge range of products you can promote. You could link to ebooks, energy drinks, or electric motors, and everything in between.
The key is to write helpful content so that people want to read it, and will buy stuff based on your recommendations. There's so much opportunity to make money with this method because people buy just about everything online these days, and are always searching for product reviews, comparisons, and tutorials.
Affiliate Blog $$$ Method #2: Display Ads
The trouble is that they pay just a few pennies per view, so you really need a lot of traffic to earn good money. High traffic numbers are not that hard to achieve, but it does take time to gain momentum.
This type of ad revenue is super passive though, and is ideal if you want to sell your website down the road.
Continuing Your Training
Once your website is built, you've got a couple of options of how you can continue your training to learn how to make money from it. What I do to make money is the two methods I listed above: affiliate links and display ads.
I've broken down the entire process of what I do in my beginners affiliate marketing course. It's free. It's on this website. It's what I do to generate six-figures a year (no secrets!).
For a more drip-fed method of learning affiliate marketing, you can join my email course about making money online. This is more of a step-by-step beginners course. It includes super basic info like different types of online business models, how affiliate marketing works, how I got started, and links to many of the tutorials here on my website.
Lastly, you can join Wealthy Affiliate for free and see what the hype is all about. They've been helping people make money online for over 15 years, including myself, Yup. Their step-by-step training is where I got my start back in 2010.
You can take the same courses I took, and follow my footsteps…including personal help from me! I'm still an active member, and help out all my referrals to the community (I make 50% commission if you go Premium). I don't provide support here on my website, I log in daily to the community over there and answer any questions that people send my way.
Other Benefits Included In Membership
- Anti-Spam Protection
- Anti-Hack Protection
- Unlimited Email Addresses
- 4 Weekly Webinars (52 per year)
- Ad-Free, Spam-Free Zone Inside The Community
- Keyword Research Tool
So how far are you along in with everything so far? Just doing research? Trying to install WordPress? Figuring out how to get your content to rank? Let me know in the comments!