As an affiliate marketer it is important to know how to create an affiliate website and how to set it up. For starters our platform of choice is WordPress we will be showing you an affiliate website setup using WordPress…
What You Need to Start a Website
- 1 What You Need to Start a Website
- 1.1 Domain Name
- 1.2 Hosting
- 1.3 Platform Or CMS
- 1.4 Installing WordPress on Your Domain
- 1.5 First Steps with WordPress: What to Do Next
- 1.6 Give Your WordPress Website a Makeover
- 1.7 How To Short Cut Website Setup
Jenny had been creating digital papers and elements for her scrapbooking hobby. She shared her work with her best friend, Rhonda, who encouraged her to start selling her cute designs.
Jenny loved the idea of sharing her creations with more people and getting paid for it. But she was worried that starting a website would be too technical or too time-consuming. So, she reached out to a business coach she knew online. She wanted to know if there were any other options.
Jenny’s coach shared that starting a website can be fun, easy, and quick. She shared three things that she recommended every newbie use to create their first website… The way we will describe how Jenney setup her website is the same process you will follow when building your affiliate marketing websites!
A domain name is the URL you type into your browser to visit a website. Some domain names you may regularly visit might include: Google.com or Facebook.com. Domain names make it easy for your visitors to find your website.
When it comes to domain names, there are thousands of possibilities. Always try to buy a .com. Many people automatically add the .com extension to an URL.
You can start your domain name search by going to GoDaddy. Type in your domain name and the site will tell you if it’s available or if someone else has registered it.
Keep in mind that when you purchase a domain name, your information is available publicly. That means, your address, phone number, and other personal information can be accessed by anyone.
You can pay for something called “privacy protection”. This way, when someone looks up your website, they won’t find your personal information. Instead, they’ll see your domain register’s address, phone number, and information.
Hosting is similar to renting an apartment. You pay a monthly fee and you get to live there. You can store whatever you choose in your apartment. In the case of your website, you’ll probably have your host store things like your contact form, your blog posts, and your pages.
For hosting, you can expect to pay $10-25 per month. Some hosting companies will allow you to buy your hosting a year in advance and give you a big discount for doing this.
But if you’re not sure about a hosting company, most hosts allow you to sign up for a monthly option. You will pay more but this means if you don’t like the service for some reason, you’re not tied to the company. Several popular web hosts are MomWebs, HostGator, and BlueHost.
Once you find a hosting company you like, you can sign up to register your domain name and buy your hosting at the same time. The advantage of doing this is that the company can easily create your account so you don’t have to deal with the technical side of set up.
Platform Or CMS
Once you have a domain name and hosting, you’ll need software to create your website. The good news is that you can use WordPress. WordPress is a content management system (CMS), which means you can easily add content (like pages and blog posts) without needing to understand a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo.
Another advantage of WordPress software is that it’s free and open-source. It’s used by companies like the Chicago Sun Times, Vogue Magazine, and The Herald Sun. You can see even more websites powered by WordPress when you visit their showcase. Further there is plenty of online to show you how to build an affiliate website using WordPress.
It’s easy to start a website to sell your products or services, or promote affiliate products. All you really need is a domain name, hosting, and some software. From there, you can grow your website into a booming business.
Installing WordPress on Your Domain
WordPress is powerful software you can use to manage your website. Although it may seem scary at first, it’s actually simple to install and only takes a few clicks. Here’s how to get started…
Login to Your Hosting Account
Many hosting companies use cPanel to allow you to access your website and control other settings like your email account and stats. The good news is that cPanel has a tool that will let you install WordPress easily.
Note: If you’re not sure if you have cPanel, ask your hosting company. They should be able to answer this for you.
To use it, look for a box marked “Softaculous App Installer”. Some hosts may call it “Script Installer” instead. Usually this box is found at the bottom of your control panel. Click on the WordPress icon. This is a blue circle with the letter “W” in the center.
Then, another page will load with a picture of what a standard WordPress website will look like. The look of your site can be changed and customized later so don’t worry about that. For now, click on the button that reads “Install Now”.
Choose Your Settings
A new page will refresh and you’ll see a form on the page. You’ll get asked about your protocol, namely where the site should be set to HTTP:// or HTTPS://.
Set the protocol to HTTP://. You can change it to secure HTTPS if you already have an SSL certificate installed and working on your domain. If you don’t have a security certificate, don’t worry. You can always set one up later.
Next, you’ll choose the domain name you want to install WordPress. You’ll also see an option to install WordPress in a directory. Leave this section blank.
Now, it’s time to add your site title. You want this to be the same as your domain name. So if your domain name is healingaffirmationscoaching.com then your website name would be “Healing Affirmations Coaching”.
Your “Site Description” is your tagline. But this field is optional so if you don’t have a tagline right now, it’s not a big deal. You can add one later if you want to.
You’ll also see a checkbox for “Enable Multisite”. Make sure this box is UNMARKED.
Pick Your Username
Next, you need an ‘Admin Username’. This admin username is permanent and cannot be changed, so pick one you like. Keep in mind that sometimes a username is displayed on a WordPress website, so a username like ‘pinkbunnyslippers’ may not be the best idea.
After your admin username, come up with a password. Make sure you take note of both your username and your password. You’ll use them any time you login to your WordPress website.
You’ll also need to enter an admin email address. This is the email address where you’ll get occasional messages from WordPress.
These messages are never commercial in nature and they serve as notifications. For example, if your WordPress website updates, you’ll get an email letting you know if the update was successfully installed.
Now, you can select your language.
You may see an option to install plugins. Leave those boxes UNMARKED. You can install and manage plugins later.
You may also spot an “Advanced Options” menu. Don’t mess with these settings unless you’re familiar with WordPress or it may not install correctly.
At the end of the form, you’ll see an option to have Email Instructions sent to you. If you’d like a copy of your current settings, then go ahead and enter your preferred email address.
Then click the ‘Install’ button. A new page will load with a progress bar. There are lots of files that WordPress uses so it may take a few minutes to finish installing.
Once it’s done, you can login to your WordPress website by visiting: http://example.com/wp-admin/. You should replace “example.com” with your own URL. When you login, you’ll use the username and password you set up earlier.
Congrats! You’ve successfully installed WordPress on your website. Now, you have an official website that you can begin using.
First Steps with WordPress: What to Do Next
Once you’ve successfully installed WordPress, it’s time to take the next steps. There are several simple and easy set-up tasks you’ll want to do. Each task should only take you a few minutes so you can work on your website even if you don’t have a lot of spare time on your hands…
Set the Time and Date
Begin by signing into your WordPress account. You’ll sign in at: http://example.com/wp-admin/. Replace ‘example.com’ with your website domain. Enter the username and password you picked while installing WordPress.
When you first login, you’ll see a page with a lot of boxes. This page is called your ‘Dashboard’ and it allows you to monitor your site at a glance.
For now, look on the left side and click the word ‘Settings’. You’ll be taken to your ‘General Settings’ page. You’ll see your site title, tagline, email address, and other information.
Keep scrolling until you see the option for ‘Time Zone’. Choose the time zone you’re living in. This is important because if you schedule posts in the future, you’ll want them to be published at the right time.
You can also choose the way the time is displayed. Pick the options that you normally use. When you’re done, click the ‘Save Changes’ button.
After you save the date and time, look to the left. Underneath the word ‘Settings’, you should see other options like ‘Writing’ or ‘Reading’. Click on the word ‘Permalinks’.
Permalinks are how links to your content are displayed. So if you write a blog post, WordPress may give you the link: http://example.com/?p=2314. The problem is that search engines and readers don’t know what type of content they’ll get if they click on that link.
You want your links to be more user-friendly. When you’re on the ‘Permalinks’ page, pick the option to use ‘Post Name’ the click on the ‘Save Changes’ button.
Now, your new posts will have a link like this: http://example.com/chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe/. This lets users and search engines know what to expect when they visit a website (a delicious recipe!).
Add Your Content
Now that your site is set up, it’s time to start adding content. To do this, you’ll want to look on the left again. Look for the word ‘Pages’ and click on that.
The next page that loads will say ‘Pages’ and have a link that reads ‘Add New’ at the top. Click on this link to make your first page.
Try to start with an ‘about’ page. Explain a bit about yourself and why you created your website. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. You can come back and edit this content at any time you choose.
When you’re done with your first page, click on a button on the right that says ‘Publish’, this will make your new page appear on your website.
You’ll need an ‘about’ page and a ‘contact’ page to start. If you’ll be selling products or services on your website, you’ll want a page for those too.
Don’t worry if WordPress seems a bit daunting at first. Once you’ve used it a few times, you’ll become familiar with the software and find it easier to use. Pretty soon, you’ll be a pro at managing your own website!
You may also want to look at some affiliate website examples to see how the layout of the pages is and see if you might want to copy the style.
Give Your WordPress Website a Makeover
After you’ve gotten a few pages published, it’s time to choose the look of your website. Don’t worry…you don’t have to learn HTML or any other coding language to customize the look of your website.
Using WordPress Themes
WordPress makes it simple to control the layout of your website by using ‘themes’. Each theme can display your website differently. There are a variety of free and premium themes that you can use.
The advantage of using a free theme is that you don’t have to buy it. But it also means it might be tougher to get support if you encounter a problem. Free themes are often designed by WordPress coders who work full-time to support their hobby. This means it could be a while in-between theme updates, meaning you may not get to use the latest features immediately.
Premium themes can give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to your site’s layout. They’re often simpler to customize and use. Since this is a business for the theme developer, it’s usually easier to get support if you do encounter technical problems.
But the downside of a premium theme is that you have to buy it. Some themes you can buy and keep forever. Some require you to pay a yearly fee to keep the theme updated with the latest features. It depends on the designer you buy from and what their policies are.
Start with Free
If you’d like, you can start with a free WordPress theme and upgrade to a premium one later on when you’re ready. You can test out new themes by signing into your website. Then click on the left side where it says ‘Appearance’.
You’ll be taken to the themes page. At the top of the page, you should see a link to ‘Add New’. Click on this and WordPress will load a selection of themes for you to see.
You’re browsing what’s known as the WordPress theme directory (also found here). All of the themes inside of it are free and you can use them on your website for as long as you’d like. Some themes may offer a premium version with extra features if you choose to upgrade but you don’t have to.
You can search the WordPress theme directory. There’s a search box in the right corner. You can search for themes by color (such as pink, green, blue, etc) or by features (flexible header, mobile responsive, etc).
When you find a theme you like, click ‘Install’.
Once the theme is installed, click on ‘Activate’.
If you decide you don’t like the theme, you don’t have to keep it. WordPress will allow you to have as many free themes on your website as you want.
Upgrade to Premium
Some people already know the theme they want to use on their WordPress site or they see a gorgeous one that they fall in love with. After you purchase your theme, the theme designer will allow you to download a ZIP folder. This folder contains your WordPress theme.
To install it, sign into your website. Click on ‘Appearance’ on the left.
When the theme page loads, click ‘Add New’.
At the top of the next page, you’ll see an option to ‘Upload Theme’. Click on this then add the theme to your website.
Find the theme on your computer or device then click ‘Install Now’. Once the theme has installed, you can click ‘Activate’.
If you don’t know how to set up your theme, contact your theme designer. Many designers create tutorials and videos that show you how to get your website to display like the demo theme.
Some premium theme providers that you may want to consider using include: Pretty Darn Cute, Genesis Framework, Blu Chic, Thrive Themes, Restored 316 Designs, Elegant Themes, and Hello You Designs.
Explore the different themes and have fun. Remember, you can always change your theme later as your website and business grow!
Do More with WordPress: Plugins
WordPress is open-source software. This means, anyone that’s good with programming can write a code to extend the function of WordPress. For example, one company created a WordPress plugin that adds a store to your website. That means you still get to use WordPress to power your website but you can use a plugin to sell digital or physical goods.
So, what are some WordPress plugins that can help business owners? Here are a few plugins and what they can do for your site…
The Shareaholic plugin offers cute sharing icons beneath each of your posts or pages. This makes it easy for someone to read your content and post it on their favorite social media network, making your content more likely to go viral.
If you plan to use affiliate marketing to earn some extra cash, you’ll love Pretty Links. You can paste your ugly affiliate links into the plugin and create pretty ones that read like this: carrieloves.com/Affiliate-Product.
aMember Pro is shopping cart software. It has a WordPress plugin so you can still create content in WordPress while having a store front. This software works best with digital products and memberships.
WooCommerce is shopping cart software just like aMember Pro. You can sell products or services with this plugin and have a beautiful store front. WooCommerce can be used for physical products that you plan to ship to your customers or digital products you’ll send via email.
Hackers often scan websites looking for vulnerabilities, like easy passwords or software that hasn’t been updated. If they find an opening, they can destroy your website within minutes. It can take hours of time and hundreds of dollars to restore your website.
That’s why you need to use a backup plugin on your website. Updraft Plus can back up your website for you. Then if your website is hacked or it crashes, you can easily restore it with Updraft Plus.
Genesis Design Palette Pro
If you love using the Genesis Framework on your website, you might like the Genesis Design Palette Pro. It makes it easy to customize the themes you bought from StudioPress without having to learn how to use cascading style sheets (CSS).
How to Install Free Plugins
Sign into your WordPress website and look to the left menu. Click the link for ‘Plugins’.
A list of your current plugins will be displayed. WordPress automatically adds two plugins to your site when you first install the software.
At the top of your page, you’ll see a button that reads ‘Add New’. Click on it and you’ll be taken to a page with featured plugins.
If the plugin you’ll be using is free, enter the name of it in the search bar.
When it appears, click the ‘Install Now’ button.
After the installation has finished, you can click ‘Activate’.
How to Install Premium Plugins
If you purchased a premium plugin, navigate to the ‘Plugins’ section of your WordPress website.
When the plugins display, click ‘Add New’. On the plugins page, you want to click ‘Upload Plugin’. Select ‘Choose File’ and find the ZIP folder on your device. Then click ‘Install Now’. After WordPress has uploaded it, click on the ‘Activate’ button.
Some WordPress plugins may require additional action on your part. For example, you may have to sign up for an account with the plugin publisher or you may need to configure your settings.
If you’re not sure what to do, visit the website of the plugin creator. Most of them include screenshots and tutorials that will explain the next step.
WordPress plugins are a wonderful way to enhance your website. They’re fast and easy to install and once they’re correctly set up, you’re good to go!
How To Short Cut Website Setup
As an affiliate marketer you are more likely to create or setup a lot of websites in different niches. When you use WordPress as your platform of choice you can create a template that you can adopt to any new niche you go into. A WordPress website template will save time of setting up as described above.
Some affiliate programs like Amazon Associates are so popular that you can find an Amazon Affiliate Website Builder that can save you time. Though we do not recommend such software unless you are well versed in SEO, assuming you will be relying on organic traffic for commissions, it can be worth a try!