Who are you and what are you currently working on?
I’m Ben Taylor, and I’ve been blogging and affiliate marketing since 2009.
My current main project is www.homeworkingclub.com – a site for aspiring freelancers and remote workers. But like many affiliate marketers I have my fingers in a few other pies as well!
I set up HomeWorkingClub in 2017 and was happy to achieve over a million page views last year.
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited you about it?
I started almost by mistake. Back in 2009 I moved from the UK to Portugal and decided to start a blog, primarily to keep a personal record of the experience.
I never really expected anybody to read it beyond friends and family, although I did have a vague idea of one day being able to make some money from adverts or something like that.
I never did any keyword research and didn’t really follow much advice. I did my own thing, so the small success of my first site was more luck than judgement.
Meanwhile I was also taking on writing work, a lot of which ended up being for affiliate sites. Over the years I’ve worked on everything from tiny starter blogs to sites that have gone on to make serious money.
The main thing that keeps me excited about this space is that there’s always something new to do – new techniques to try, new things to promote. Things change all the time, so it’s certainly not easy and progress isn’t always linear – but it’s never dull!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
Don’t assume affiliate marketing is an easy way to make money. It may have been once but competition is fierce. You can’t be sure something you learn one year will still apply the next, so you have to keep learning constantly.
The advice I’d suggest ignoring is to avoid niches that are already competitive. Yes, it’s harder to make an impact, but competitive niches are usually competitive because there’s money to be made. If you can think of a way to do something differently or better, and you’re willing to put the work in, don’t assume you have no hope.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?
Definitely failing to proactively build email lists for my first few sites. Everybody says “the money’s in the list” and it’s completely true. If you have a big list of people you can email, you remove some of your dependency on getting traffic from search and social media.
Every time I look back and think how easy it would have been to collect email addresses on sites I used to run, I get annoyed with myself. A sign-up form is one of the first things I put on any new site!
What is one piece of software or a web service that allows you to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?
I tend to recommend Trello to anybody willing to listen. It’s just such an easy way to organize projects, thoughts, plans and ideas. My article planning “pipeline” is particularly useful, and I think a lot of inspiration would be wasted if I didn’t religiously add new ideas to it. There are a bunch of other apps I use all the time here:
How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
I’ve got really into podcasts in the last year or so. I listen to them when travelling, walking and falling asleep! I regularly listen to Authority Hacker and also Neil Patel’s Marketing School. These podcasts have inspired me to start my own. The first is now being edited and will launch soon.
I also hungrily consume blog articles from all over the place.
One other way I educate myself is with product-related blog posts, how-to videos and documentation. If I buy a new tool nowadays, I make sure I learn it inside out. It took me a long time to realise it IS worth reading the manual!
If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?
Via the contact form on Homeworkingclub.com. I also have another site where I mentor aspiring bloggers at writeblogearn.com.