Can I make money with affiliate marketing without a website?
Since I first shared my guide to the best affiliate networks and programs, this is the one question that I’ve been asked more than any other, and, to be honest, I’m not surprised.
Let’s be honest:
Creating a website with enough high-quality content to generate significant affiliate marketing income is a lot of hard work, and though I personally find it incredibly rewarding, I get that only some feel the same.
Then, of course, some are okay putting the work in but want to avoid dealing with the hassle and technical processes required to install WordPress, apply a theme, and deal with the never-ending list of site maintenance tasks.
If you’re one of those people, the good news is that you don’t have to, as it’s possible to make money as an affiliate marketer without owning your website.
In this guide, I’ll show you exactly how to do it.
Before You Begin: 3 Key Things You’ll Need for Successful Affiliate Marketing
Take a look at those 3 important keys for affiliate marketing.
1. A Niche
Before you can indeed start making money with affiliate marketing, it’s important to decide which niche you’re going to target.
It’s usually a smart idea to pick something that you’re already passionate about or at least familiar with.
That way, you’re not only going to come across as a knowledgeable, informed source of information when you start putting content out to attract clicks on your affiliate links, but you’re also much more likely to have a genuine interest and enthusiasm for the products you promote.
Trust me, that can make a big difference when building trust with your audience and when your audience trusts you, there’s a greater chance that they’ll be willing to buy products you recommend.
If you still need to decide what niche to go for, I originally wrote this guide on choosing a niche for bloggers. Still, the same general principles apply no matter what method you use to promote affiliate products.
2. Relevant Products
Now that you’ve decided which niche you’re going to focus on, it’s time to find products that are relevant to that subject.
That amazing business software you found may pay a massive commission for every referral. Still, if you’ve chosen cooking and baking as your niche, you’ll likely find that your audience isn’t interested.
Unless, of course, you can find a way to target individuals starting their own baking business.
There’s nothing to say you only have to stick with one product. Many affiliate marketers, myself included, will work with multiple merchants to increase their profits, but if you’re starting, I recommend sticking with just one or two.
By doing so, you’ll be able to experiment with what works and what doesn’t so that you can apply what you’ve learned to generate better results with other products you promote in the future.
3. An Audience
Finally, if you make money from your affiliate links, you will need people to click on them.
That only sometimes requires you to build your audience. Suppose you’re running a paid advertising campaign on Google or Facebook, for example. In that case, you can drive traffic to your affiliate merchants by taking advantage of those platforms’ extensive user base.
If, on the other hand, you’re opting for any content marketing approach to affiliate marketing, such as the ones I’ll share with you below, then you’re first going to have to work hard to attract subscribers, readers, or viewers who are interested in what you have to say and the products you want to advertise.
Top 6 Ways to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing Without a Website
Here are the top 6 ways to make money with affiliate marketing without a website!
1. Create a Custom Landing Page
Yes, I know what you’re thinking; a landing page is just a fancy name for a one-page website.
Technically, creating a dedicated platform to promote your big-ticket affiliate products is much easier.
Several top landing page builders provide beginner-friendly tools to design attractive, conversion-optimized landing pages in a matter of minutes and even host the whole thing for you, saving you a lot of time and hard work.
More importantly, creating a landing page works.
More importantly, a good quality landing page can make a massive difference to your success as an affiliate.
One report found that the average landing page conversion rate across all industries is 9.7%. Considering that most experts suggest a “good” conversion rate is anywhere from 2.5% – 10%, it’s no wonder that many affiliate marketers drive traffic to quality landing pages as their primary income source.
What Should an Affiliate Landing Page Include?
Creating a landing page may be far less taxing and time-consuming than creating a website, but turning that page into a serious money-maker is worth ensuring all key elements are in place.
These elements include:
1. Compelling, Visitor-Focused Copy
The best approach to writing copy for your landing page is to talk more about what problem your product solves for your visitor or how it adds value to their lives rather than focusing on the features and technical specifications.
That’s not to say that you can’t mention the features, simply that it’s better to frame them so that a visitor can envision them making a genuine, positive difference in their life.
A good way to do this is to put yourself in the mind of your target audience and ask, “what’s in it for me?”
Yes, that high-value affiliate product you’re advertising may feature next-generation, all-singing, all-dancing military-grade technology, but what’s in it for me? How can that technology help me solve a problem I’m facing or make my life better in some way?
To repeat an oft-used example, when Steve Jobs first introduced the world to the iPod, he sold it not based on its features but with the simple slogan “1,000 songs in your pocket.”
Though that’s hardly groundbreaking in the 2020s, those who are old enough to remember carrying huge, clunky portable Discmans that skipped all the time will also not forget how hugely exciting it was to carry our entire music collection in our pocket.
That’s the thing that will help you increase conversions with your landing page copy.
2. Address Fears and Concerns
On the subject of copy, inbound marketing specialist Marcus Sheridan recommends that you take the time to address any fears or concerns buyers may have about payments, privacy, and data collection.
In one experiment, Sheridan found that doing so boosted his conversions by 80%.
3. Quality Images
This probably goes without saying, but customers are unlikely to buy a product if they can’t see it.
Where possible, taking your high-quality photos will produce better results than using the same generic product images found on the supplier’s website, especially when standing out among other affiliate marketers’ efforts to promote the same product.
4. A Compelling CTA
Most importantly, remember that the ultimate goal of your landing page is to get visitors to buy a product, so your page must include a compelling Call to Action encouraging them to buy it.
Some landing page tools even offer AI features that allow you to create personalized CTAs, which can help your page perform 202% better than a generic CTA.
2. Use Email Marketing
Most major affiliate programs and networks happily accept referrals from email newsletters and marketing campaigns. Combining that email consistently proves to be one of the highest-converting forms of marketing, and it’s a great way to make affiliate income without owning a website.
Platforms like MailChimp, Aweber, and ConvertKit can be used to attract new subscribers and build a substantial email list.
I even put together this guide to the best email marketing tools to help you determine which one to use.
Once you’ve chosen a platform, you’ll also need to think about how you will convince people to sign-up for your newsletter. Offering an incentive like a free eBook, course, or other perks is the most effective way to do this.
When you have enough subscribers, I recommend compiling newsletters that combine your affiliate links with real, valuable information.
Again, you want to be asking the “what’s in it for me?” question and give your subscribers a compelling reason to open your email rather than simply spamming out one ad after another.
If you’re eager to use this approach but need help knowing where to begin, here’s my step-by-step guide to making money with affiliate marketing.
3. Invest in PPC Advertising
Utilizing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising on platforms like Google and Facebook is an effective way to boost traffic and sales whether you have a website or not.
Although it may not be the most cost-effective way to do things if you’re trying to grow your affiliate business on a shoestring budget, PPC advertising can produce a substantial return on your investment.
Using Google and Facebook’s in-house advertising systems, you can quickly create ads targeted to your audience, set a budget, and only pay out when somebody clicks on one of those ads.
4. Launch a Podcast or Video Series
So, you’ve decided that creating a website isn’t for you, but you can still use the tried-and-tested method of creating great content to generate affiliate referrals.
You could always start a podcast if you prefer to talk rather than write.
It’s possible to invest in a solid, podcast-friendly microphone for under $50, while most of the top podcast hosting services offer starter plans ranging from $12 – $20 per month.
One of my favorites, RSS.com, even offers a plan that costs the equivalent of just $8.25 per month if you pay for a year’s service and a $4.99 per month plan for students and educators.
Like PPC advertising, there are better ways to start an affiliate marketing business than a podcast. Still, once you start growing your audience, you’ll be able to generate those referrals by including affiliate links in your show notes and mentioning discount codes or URLs during your show.
If you give out affiliate links during the podcast, I recommend using a URL shortener or finding some way to make that URL easy for you to read and listeners to jot down.
In my experience, affiliate URLs can either get quite long or contain a seemingly random collection of letters and numbers as part of the referral code. Sometimes both can be true, and I’m sure you can imagine how inconvenient it will be for everyone if you tell your audience to go to a page with a URL like a random website. com/?=0MCAJ87B.
If you like presenting something but podcasting is just a little beyond your budget right now, there’s always good, old YouTube.
Google’s Consumer Insights reports that 68% of YouTube users watched videos on the platform to help them make a purchasing decision, so if you can provide valuable content that allows them to make that decision while at the same time promoting your affiliate links, your videos could quickly become a win-win for both you and your viewers.
The best part is that starting a YouTube channel can be done while spending little or perhaps nothing.
Given the incredible image quality of most smartphones these days, you’ve already got all the equipment you need to film.
YouTube even offers its in-platform video editor that you can use for free. However, if you want to create the best videos possible, you should take a look at my recommendations for the best YouTube video editing software.
Another advantage to using YouTube is that if your content is compelling enough (and you’re not just making ads for your affiliate products), then you’ll start to grow an audience and will eventually be eligible to join the YouTube Partner Program, which pays you a small percentage of the revenue generated by the ads displayed on your videos.
That has little to do with what we’re talking about today, but if you’re looking for more ways to make money as a content creator, it’s certainly something to look into.
5. Use Existing Platforms
Perhaps you don’t mind writing and creating content, but having your website seems too complicated, costly, or time-consuming.
If that’s the case, nothing will stop you from using other apps and websites to publish your articles.
Platforms like Medium.com do allow affiliate marketing links in your content. However, if you opt-in to the Medium Partner Program, you’ll find that articles with affiliate links don’t get picked up for broader distribution and will only be seen by those who already follow you.
This means that, as with every form of content marketing, you’ll need to work hard to grow an audience to see a decent return on your investment.
6. Use Social Media
Last but not least, never underestimate social media’s power in generating affiliate referrals.
Even if you don’t use the PPC advertising options offered by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, they can still become an invaluable tool if you share regular content relevant to your chosen niche and intersperse that content with posts about your affiliate products.
In particular, Facebook is among the highest-converting marketing channels available, with an average conversion rate of 4.7%.
To put that into perspective, the only marketing channels with higher conversion rates are major search giants Google and Bing, with rates of 8.2% and 7.6%, respectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the easiest way to earn from affiliate marketing without a website?
If you don’t have a website, using social media and dedicated landing pages is the easiest way to start with affiliate marketing.
How can I start affiliate marketing with no money?
Starting an affiliate marketing business doesn’t have to cost money. You can generate referrals from social media and YouTube for free.
Can You Really Make Money With Affiliate Marketing Without a Website? A Final Word of Advice
Though it’s possible to make good money from affiliate marketing without a website, not all affiliate networks and programs will accept you if you don’t have a dedicated online platform.
The incredibly popular Amazon Associates program will usually approve your application as long as you have any online presence or mobile app (including social media). At the same time, one of my favorites, Clickbank, will allow you to use other methods, such as PPC advertising and email marketing.
However, if you want to make money with the Etsy affiliate program, you will only be approved if you have a website.
With that in mind, if there’s one last piece of advice I could give you as you start your affiliate journey, it’s this:
To boost your chances of approval, always check the eligibility requirements for your preferred programs and networks first and ensure that they’re likely to approve your application if you use any of the six methods I’ve shared with you today.