If you’ve found yourself reading this blog post, you’re likely thinking about entering the world of affiliate marketing. Or perhaps you’ve hit a roadblock and are wondering if you should continue to push on with your affiliate site. As with many hobbies or professions, getting started can be challenging when building a business in affiliate marketing, especially without guidance. Luckily, our friend Dom Wells of OnFolio joined us for an interview and shared his experience as a self-starter in the affiliate space.
Dom was able to leverage his affiliate business into a full-time career running OnFolio, a site that helps people grow their passive income online. To learn more about Dom’s journey into the world of affiliate marketing, and how he eventually built a successful affiliate career, read on!
How Dom got started
Dom first became interested in affiliate marketing when reading The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. One of the overarching ideas of this book is that you can generate income by outsourcing and automating much of the work that it takes to run an online business. By doing this, you can earn a steady source of income while working from anywhere. However, in Dom’s opinion, this book was a bit dismissive of affiliate marketing. The message he received was that affiliate marketing was useful for adding extra revenue, but wasn’t a good business model in and of itself.
However, Dom didn’t quite agree and decided to do extensive personal research on the matter. Through this research, he began to realize just how lucrative affiliate marketing could potentially be and decided to join an affiliate marketing training course to get a running start. At the time, this was only a hopeful side project to earn some extra money while teaching English in Taiwan.
When Dom first chose to take action, he took the conventional route. He created a site to showcase and promote products and built a website to help people stop smoking. However, he found this market to be too competitive for a beginner and wasn’t able to turn a profit, so he ended up cutting his losses. But, this initial failure didn’t stop him.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
He kept building new sites and learning from his failures and successes. Finally, after four unsuccessful attempts, Dom began to hit his stride and was able to turn his first profit with his fifth site centered around Kettlebells. With this success under his belt, he took his knowledge to new markets. Built with his newfound trade secrets, his seventh site, focused on shaving, generated a stable profit, and was quickly acquired. Finally, he created and sold Human Proof Designs, a website that capitalized on the fact that affiliate marketers, like himself previously, want to get a running start.
Many people view affiliate marketing as a “get rich quick” scheme. They believe that they can flip a switch and instantly start making large amounts of passive income on the side. As illustrated by Dom’s journey, this is not the case. There are many different paths to success in affiliate marketing, but just about all of them involve some level of trial and error. Dom’s story is representative of many affiliate marketers’ journeys. To find a functional system, you have to make mistakes to understand why your initial ideas were wrong. In this way, you’ll begin to discover strategies that work, and you will improve. Eventually, you will develop effective tactics and start to succeed.
The work doesn’t stop here, though! According to Dom, figuring out how to make money is only the first step. Once you’ve built a profitable site, you have to optimize it.
How to maintain and grow your site
Once you have gained traction, you may be wondering what level of management and time commitment is necessary to keep this new source of passive income flowing. According to Dom, the activity level required for maintaining a site can vary greatly. In our interview, Dom mentioned that his daily work consists of researching ideas for new content, building backlinks, performing SEO, and looking at CRO options.
CRO (conversion rate optimization)
Specific content can start receiving increased traffic as a result of increased search engine ranking, going viral on social media, or various other reasons. It’s smart to take advantage of these opportunities when they come along with CRO. Let’s say you have a site centered around caffeine, and you notice that your top energy drink comparison blog is getting high traffic. You should review and update this article to ensure you’re affiliating everything you can and engaging readers with the rest of your site. Doing this will maximize your conversions and, ultimately, your earnings. For example: “If you liked this article, check out my article comparing the best caffeinated snacks!” Taking advantage of opportunities that come your way is an excellent way to keep your site growing and relevant.
SEO (search engine optimization)
In Dom’s opinion, Amazon’s affiliate commissions are not high enough to justify paid traffic. One of the best ways to get exposure for your website is SEO. SEO is essential for generating and maintaining traffic to your site. How will people ever click your links if they can’t find them? If you can get your article to the first page of Google’s search results, your traffic will skyrocket.
Finding your niche
Now, of course, this isn’t easy. You’ll likely have to get specific or niche with your site’s topic to stand out. The key, as Dom learned, is to find a market or group of people that aren’t having their wants or needs addressed. For example, there are a ton of sites to help people stop smoking. The phrases “stop smoking” or “quit smoking” are very competitive. However, there are many hobbies with substantial potential audiences that are not receiving the care they deserve.
When searching for a topic for your site, it’s best to choose something that you’re passionate about. Within affiliate marketing and business in general, personal connection to your work will result in higher quality deliverables and decreased odds of abandoning a project. To illustrate this, I’ll give you an example of a site I could create.
When I first started riding my Honda Super Cub, I needed info for licensing and registration, what gear to use, and how to maintain my bike. It was a huge hassle to get all of this information together. It took multiple trips to the DMV and extensive online research to finally get out on the road. But now, I have this knowledge. I can use my experience to create a site that shows people what’s needed to safely and legally operate a motorcycle. Over 4.33 billion people use the internet, out of those billions, there are likely tons of people interested in your hobby. So if you want to start an online business, why not put your passion and knowledge to good use?
Once Dom had created a few successful sites, he was able to notice an opportunity in the market. He saw that there was a space where people needed help in boosting their passive income. This lead to his creation of OnFolio. In our world of seemingly endless products and websites, sometimes it can seem that there aren’t any good ideas left. However, we feel this way because we lack the knowledge to recognize gaps in the market.
We see innovations and new products every day. New technologies, both online and offline, create tons of space for new potential businesses. There’s a world of opportunity out there, so keep trying and learn from your failures. If Dom can do it, so can you.