Who are you and what are you currently working on?
I’m Joe Clements and I run a small portfolio of content websites. My main project that takes up 90% of my time is SmokedBBQSource.com. Over the last four years, I’ve been building Smoked BBQ Source to be an ultimate resource for anyone that wants to get better at smoking and grilling meat.
My team of writers and I spend most of our time creating new barbecue recipes and guides and reviewing the latest grills and accessories. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
How did you get started in affiliate marketing? What keeps you excited about it?
I was actually helping my girlfriend at the time (now wife) to set up a WordPress site for her food blog and found myself enjoying the process of playing around in WordPress.
I decided I needed my own website, and since I had just started getting into low and slow style barbecue, I thought I would start a website on that so I could chronicle my experiences.
After registering the domain I worked on it for a few months and then forgot about it. One day I decided to check Google Analytics and realized I was getting almost 1000 visitors per month.
I thought I should probably try and make some pocket money out of this project and after a furious Googling session, I stumbled across affiliate marketing and the Amazon Associates program.
For the first few years, the excitement of seeing my traffic and income numbers grow every month kept me hooked. I was always working on my weekends and after work.
Now that I’ve been able to make enough money to quit my corporate job, I actually get more excited by hiring interesting people and building a team. Don’t get me wrong, the growth is still nice though!
What is one piece of advice you’d give to a newbie affiliate marketer? And what is one piece of advice they should ignore?
It’s a little bit cliche of an answer, but the quality of your content is so important.
While it’s possible to get started with a fairly generic affiliate review website if you want to actually have a successful, long-lasting business you need to invest the time and money into quality content.
For me that meant in the beginning actually getting my hands dirty and learning the niche inside and out, building relationships with companies and taking my own photos.
Its a lot of skills to learn at once, but it pays off in the long run. Now that I’m more established I can afford to hire talented people and scale my content while keeping quality high.
The advice they should ignore is the opposite of this. Outsourcing everything from day 1 and paying cheap writers to churn out mediocre content might have worked once, but it won’t get you results in 2020.
What has been your favorite mistake? A mistake that in retrospect led to a great lesson and progress in your affiliate marketing?
It might sound funny but hiring the wrong people has actually led to a lot of success. It forced me to rethink my whole process and come up with a new system for hiring the right type of people who share my vision and values.
Affiliate marketing has a little bit of a stigma as a solo pursuit, but I think the key to my success has been assembling the right team around me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that allows you to be more effective as an affiliate marketer?
The one piece of software I absolutely couldn’t live without is AHREF. I use it every single day. From brainstorming new topics to go after tracking keyword rankings. It’s also very good for keeping an eye on the competition.
The other service I rely on is Asana. I use this to run my entire editorial team, as well as keep track of everything that is going on in my business from marketing to quarterly objectives.
How do you continue to educate yourself as an affiliate marketer? What are some of your favorite resources for learning?
I get a lot of value from keeping up with what the biggest affiliate websites in the world are doing. Companies like thewirecutter and nerdwallet are very innovative with how they approach affiliate marketing so I like to study them.
The AHREF blog is a great place for learning more about SEO and internet marketing. I’m also a member of a few paid communities including Authority Hacker and The Affiliate Lab.
If people wanted to connect with you, where should we point them to?
If you want tips on smoking succulent pulled pork or brisket you can reach out to me at email@example.com. For everything else, you can contact me through LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/joeclements12/