Part 01: Create A Website – A Beginner’s Guide
Join successful Amazon Associate blogger and self-confessed coffee addict Enda McLarnon of theperfectgrind.co.uk for a step-by-step guide to creating, publishing and running a blog.
- About Affiliate marketing
- About Amazon Associates
- About monetisation of your site
Almost every business in the UK now has a website, often referred to as their ‘online presence’. Online shopping, banking, booking holidays… the web is now simply part of everyday life. This behaviour has created new opportunities for many businesses to add new revenue streams and amazing opportunities for individuals to create websites and turn those into a source of income.
So for people who want to earn some additional income, or even replace their job, the opportunity is there online. There are many ways of doing this – here’s a shortlist:
- Ecommerce websites – where you can sell physical or digital products
- Information websites – where you can sell information such as eBooks, CDs, DVDs, software, training etc
- Advertising websites – where you place adverts on your website
- Business websites – where businesses can showcase their products and services
- Affiliate marketing – where you sell other people’s products and get paid a commission
- Auction websites – where you can buy and sell items – the most popular being eBay
Since I started running my own online business, I’ve tried some of the above, but have had the most success as an Affiliate marketer in association with the Amazon Associates programme. I enjoy doing it, and it has also benefited me financially. I have gone on to build several websites as an Amazon Associate based in the UK.
In this case study, I’ll be building an Amazon Affiliate website entitled The Perfect Grind from scratch.
This type of website sits under the general heading of Affiliate marketing. So this basically means you build a website around a particular subject or topic. Many companies then have what is called an Affiliate or Partner programme. You sign up to that programme and become an Affiliate. From there, you create links to the products that they sell.
You then place links on your own website that contain your Affiliate Link. When people read your blog, they may click on one of those links and buy a product. If they do that, then the company will pay you a commission. Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular methods of making money online for individuals.
Here are the main reasons why:
- You do not need to own a product
- You do not have to hold any stock
- You do not have to deliver anything
- You do not have to worry about dealing with complaints
- You do not have a direct relationship with customers
Compare this, for example, to eBay. On there, you need to have something to sell. You need to list the products, sell them, package them, weigh them, work out postage, print off dispatch and invoice details, ship them via the Post Office or a courier, and follow up with customers if anything goes wrong.
Then you also have to make sure your customer feedback is strong to keep your account operating. I found it involved a lot of hard work and long work days just to keep the site going and make an average amount of money. With affiliate marketing, you let the company worry about all of that. You simply focus on building a good-quality website and let others do the admin work.
There are many options for affiliate or partner programmes. These are free to join, though there will almost always be an approval process. Different companies pay different levels of commission and all have their own specific details – visit their affiliate pages to find out the specifics.
Why Do I Use Amazon?
Personally, I like Amazon for four important reasons:
- Buyers trust the Amazon brand
- Amazon has a wide range of great products
- Amazon is very experienced in getting people to purchase products
- It pays good commissions quickly and easily
I have an Amazon account, like many other people in the UK. Purchasing on there is simple and easy, and thousands of transactions are carried out every day. As an Amazon Associate, you can receive a share of those benefits and make them work for you. Amazon also pays a good commission rate and includes a volume bonus as well.
So it pays a standard rate of commission per product, and this commission increases the more products you sell. Commissions vary depending on product type and number of units sold – it can all add up to make a good overall amount. Amazon also has a very good support programme in place for its affiliates.
It offers helpful advice and makes your role easier. That can help a lot, especially if you’re new to all of this. In this case study, this is what I’m going to be talking about going forwards.
What’s Involved In Becoming An Amazon Associate?
Naturally, there are a number of steps involved in building a website that could earn you money online:
- Finding out what the topic for your website will be
- Testing and validating the topic using market research, keyword research and checking the competition
- Setting up technical parts of the website such as a domain name, web hosting and a CMS (Content Management System)
- Researching good content, writing it and publishing it
- Understanding SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- Promoting your website
- Growing your website
In this case study, I’ll explain in detail, step by step, what it is you need to consider, in order to make an informed decision – and to find out if this is right for you.
Is Building An Amazon Affiliate Website For Everyone?
Building a website is hard work, requires self-discipline and determination. It’s not unusual for a good-quality website to take around one year of work before it starts to earn you money, and even then, there are no guarantees. This method of making money online is certainly not a ‘Get Rich Quick Scheme’.
But if you’re prepared to put the hours in, then it has a good possibility of creating financial rewards – however, no-one can tell you how much you’ll earn from a website like this. There are just too many variables – some Associates make a full-time living from their site(s), some a part-time income, others a small amount. In this case study, I show you how to go about the entire process.
My end goal is to have a high-quality Amazon Associates website that will earn me good commissions in about a year from launch. If that is of interest to you, then please follow along – it will help you understand the steps I go through to make this happen.
My Website Topic
When you start out, one of the first questions to ask is “What should my website be about?” There’s a vast array of topics available and with many of them, it’s quite possible to build a great Amazon Associates website. The one I’ll build in this case study is about my love of coffee.
I would strongly suggest to anyone starting out that they should build their website around a topic they enjoy and are knowledgeable about. In my case, that happens to be coffee. About 20 years ago, I went on holidays with my wife to Casalattico, a small village in the Province of Frosinone in the region of Lazio in Italy.
There, I tasted my first ‘espresso’ and discovered the delights of freshly ground coffee. That was where I began my journey into the whole world of coffee beans, roasting methods, grinding methods and the different brewing methods. This was something that I wanted to share with the world.
I could have started a website on woodworking, football or any number of my other interests. However, I have a lot of knowledge about the coffee-making process, a deep passion for it, and I now know the secret to the perfect coffee is in the grind.
Combining Different Monetisation Methods
I’ve built other websites and monetised those with Google AdSense, an advertising programme where you place adverts on your website and, if visitors click on those ads, I receive a payment from Google as a reward. It’s a good method of monetising a website. When I was doing this, I found websites that used different Affiliate programmes as their main method of monetisation.
Like any entrepreneur, that intrigued me, so I investigated the options in some detail, and that led on to the Amazon Associates programme. So, it’s possible to combine various methods of monetisation on your website such as the AdSense programme from Google, an affiliate programme with a large retailer, and if you wanted, you could also write a book about your topic and promote and sell it there, too.
The most important advice is always to write about something you have good knowledge of and a true desire to write helpful and entertaining articles about on your website. If you follow my tutorial, I’ll share this potentially lucrative opportunity of making a website with you, and show you how to use the Amazon Associates Programme and other methods to monetise your new website.