So, you want to know how to create Amazon affiliate niche sites from scratch? You’re in the right place. Keep reading and learn how to fill your affiliate site toolbox.
One of the biggest obstacles to website success, in my opinion, is the HUGE amount of information, resources, tools, plug-ins, training materials, and so on. Once you decide you’re going to create a site (congrats, btw), you’re likely to, what else, hit the Web and see what you need to do first.
Your Google searches probably look like some of these, right?
- How to make money online
- How to create a website
- Can I make money with an Amazon affiliate site?
And you’ll likely come back with a zillion results. I know from experience that you can easily spend hours and hours getting further and further down the rabbit hole once you start. That ends up being super counterproductive because 1) it can be overwhelming and turn you off of the whole project and 2) it ends up taking so much time that you never get truly “started”.
I’ve absolutely been there.
I was so excited about the whole process that I foolishly spent a lot of money and time on things that I honestly didn’t need or even understand. In fact, I made a crap-ton of mistakes when I started.
My hope is that this site will save you some of that frustration.
One area that I can save you some time is by providing a list of tools and resources that I use. You’ll see that the list is divided into categories for your reference. You’ll also see that they go in order (roughly) of the steps you will be taking when you set up your own amazing website.
There are so many other tools out there that are not on my list. Does that mean that they are not valuable? Of course not. These are only my recommendations and you may or may not agree with them. That’s cool. My purpose in providing this list is to give you a shortcut of curated tools and services that I personally know work well because I actually use them.
No BS here. I don’t pack this list with numerous options under each category to maximize affiliate clicks. Why? Because I have generally selected a top provider in each category and that’s what I use. Period. I wouldn’t be providing value if I didn’t narrow my lists down so that you don’t have to!
Disclaimer: I have included affiliate links in this article. This means that if you buy one of them I will receive a commission for the sale, at no cost to you. Rest assured, I only promote products that I have actually used and would recommend!
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
NameCheap is easy to use, cheap (as their perfect domain name so states), and doesn’t have tacky commercials like the ones I’ve seen for GoDaddy.
Your killer website needs a home and that is where hosting comes in. If you’ve spent more than fifteen minutes perusing blogs about starting your own blog, I bet you’ve come across BlueHost as a hosting company. They must have a terrific affiliate program because I see it everywhere.
Ironically, many of the most successful bloggers do not use BlueHost. What do they use? BigScoots. I heart BigScoots. Their servers are powerful and reliable, their prices are fair and reasonable, and their customer support is unparalleled. Really, I love these guys.
Keyword Research Tools
You probably already have figured out that using the right keywords is absolutely essential to your website success. I call SEMrush my “everything tool.” I started out with the free 14-day trial, figuring I would use the heck out of it, generate everything I needed and then cancel. Smooth, right?
I now know why they offer the free trial, once you use it, you will be hooked!
A few examples of how I use SEMrush are below.
- Keyword research
- Competitor research
- Site health (this is huge-the site audit feature is worth the cost alone)
Not ready to invest in SEMrush? No prob. Try one of these free tools for now. (But I bet you’ll be back for SEMrush!).
Free Keyword Research Tools
You’re going to be using WordPress for your blog. That’s a given. Yes, there are “easier” platforms out there (Wix, for example) but there is absolutely nothing that compares to WordPress. That is why more than 60 million websites (about 30% of all websites!) use WP.
Once you install WordPress, you’re going to select the theme for your site. This is a big decision because it establishes the look of your site. Branding, logos and your theme all need to be consistent for a polished, professional look.
There are lots of great, free themes. If you’re on a budget, you will definitely find something you like. My pick for free themes is Astra. It is super fast, super customizable, and free!
I personally use a premium theme package from Blossom Themes. I really love the look of their themes and no, it is not just because they advertise themselves as having “Beautiful, Feminine WordPress themes”.
In fact, I sort of hate that advertising tack! Even so, their themes are super sharp-looking, very easy to customize and convert well.
The Crucial WordPress Plugins for Affiliate Sites
Ah, plug-ins. There are approximately 50,000 plugins available on the official WordPress site. When I was in my scattered beginning blogger days, I tried about 49,000 of them. Not really. But still, I used way too many and my sites suffered.
My personal go-to list for plugins is below. It is designed to keep my sites light (fast) and smooth.
What Does it Do? Inserts Amazon product images directly into your website with two easy steps.
In my opinion, this is the industry standard for Amazon Affiliate images. It creates beautiful, compliant Amazon images for your links.
Remember, you have to get at least three qualified sales before you can use something other than SiteStripe for your affiliate links. But oh is it worth it. For example, take a look at the two options side by side.
Which one would you buy from?
The one on the right, of course! No question.
AmaLinks Pro does a terrific job of allowing you to make your website affiliate links look professional and classy. Their support is super fast and excellent, so bonus points there.
What Does it Do? It compresses the images on your site to allow for faster loading and a better user experience.
I’ve actually used a few plug-ins for the very important task of making my website images smaller and faster but this one ended up being my fave.
What Does it Do? Speeds up your site. Nuff said.
It can be daunting when you read the list of what you need to do to get your site blazing. For example, just a few things that you need to implement:
- Page caching
- Browser caching
- Sitemap preloading
- Cache preloading
- Gzip compression
- Database optimization
If you’re like me, your reaction to that list might be “huh?”
The best thing about WP Rocket is that you don’t need to know what all of that means or how to set it up. All you need to do is install the WP Rocket plug-in, do the easy set-up of the plug-in within your site and then sit back and watch your site fly.
It’s a must, in my book.
All hail Yoast!
What Does it Do? Um, everything. It’s an SEO optimization tool and is the bomb.
Yoast is the #1 SEO plug-in for a reason.
It guides you through keyword optimization, takes care of a TON of technical optimization tasks, provides page previews, analyzes the readibility of your content and loads more.
The basic Yoast plug-in is free (which is amazing). They have a premium version but I don’t think it adds enough value for the cost ($89 annually, per site).
What Does it Do? Integrates with your Google Analytics for quick access to your numbers. We heart analytics!
Here’s another plug-in that is light and super useful. MonsterInsights is a Google Analytics plug-in that lets you access those invaluable Google numbers right from your WP dashboard. It provides a boatload of info that you can leverage to increase your traffic.
With more than 2 million downloads and bragging rights as the #1 Google Analytics WordPress plug-in, you are going to want this one.
What Does it Do? Exactly what it says.
I like this free plug-in and have had no problems with it. It’s light and effective. Askimet is another good option and for what it’s worth, is the most commonly downloaded plug-in out there.
Email Opt-In Provider
You know those sweet-looking pop-ups that um, pop up, on many sites? The ones asking you to sign up to be on an email list? Opt-In Monster is the best way to gather emails out there. It is easy to use, looks fantastic, and has great customer support.
I use it on all of my sites and love it. I use it with MailChimp and they integrate seamlessly.
Backing up your site is an ABSOLUTE MUST. I mean, you gotta do it.
You do not want to ever, ever, ever be in a situation where you have your baby, your carefully tended and built site, crap out, only to realize….”oops, I wonder if I have any backups.” Shudder.
UpDraft is awesome.
Check out these features:
- Runs everywhere WordPress runs
- Allows for automatically scheduled backups (hint: do this)
- Great support
- Choose where to remotely store your backups (I send mine to Google Drive)
Content Refined is somewhat new to the content provider market but I’m in love.
First, one of its co-founders is a woman and she is all in when it comes to her business. I received personal emails from her right away to talk about my content order and she followed up often. Top notch!
I can also honestly say that although I have tried numerous content providers, Content Refined is the one that did the very best job capturing the tone I wanted for my site. I want my outsourced content to sound like me, and Content Refined was able to provide that.
Check out their month to month article package with keyword research, or of you prefer to do it on your own, their month to month article package without keyword research.
You have likely already heard about Upwork. It provides access to all sorts of freelancers: content writers, social media gurus, logo designers, website developers, virtual assistants, you name it.
The thing I like best about this site is its intense filter function. You can narrow down your candidates by experience, price, time zone, etc.
If you want to up your freelanceer game, give Freeeup a try. And yes, that is Freeeup with 3 e’s…
Freeeup really vets its freelancers and only accepts the top 1% of those who apply. This can save you, the client, a lot of frustration. I have used them for a number of projects and have been duly impressed with the quality of freelancers.
There are definitely some horror stories out there about Fiverr but you really can get some great deals on the help you need to run your empire.
My advice: 1) use the Fiverr Pro (these are the top 1% of Fiverr freelancers) and 2) start with a smaller project and get a feel for the freelancer before committing to a large project.
iWorker is a new source for me and I am really impressed with what I’ve seen so far. Their freelancers are from Venezuela and the platform is socially conscious, which is awesome. Their focus is on virtual assistants. Give them a look!
Truly, the industry standard for watching your website traffic. It’s a must, like breathing. Make sure you set up your site with GA and get the most out of its analytic power. And did I mention that GA is absolutely free?
But, be careful not to get too sucked in to watching those stats!
Another must have. Google Search Console helps you keep an eye on your site’s health and performance. It actually used to be called Google Webmaster Tools but was rebranded. A good call, I think, because Google Search Console sounds a lot less daunting.
Pre built Affiliate Websites
Think you want to skip all of the start-up work and get moving with a pre-built site? I can’t recommend Human Proof Designs highly enough. It’s not cheap, but if you can swing it, it’s a great option to get moving quickly. I’ve tried competitor pre-built site companies and had AWFUL experiences.
HPD is my go-to for fully automated affiliate turnkey websites.
Note: As great as HPD is, it really can be helpful to start from scratch on your first site. It allows you to see how all of the parts work together, giving a better understanding of the process as a whole. Because we know you’re going to be building your own empire, right? Right!
I am not a techie. At all. I have definitely run into problems with my sites that were beyond my capacity. Thankfully, I came across Kris at The Blog Fixer.
If you are looking for supersonic response time and easy-to-deal with folks, head on over to WP Fixit. From a $39 flat fee for a one-off repair issue to the very reasonably priced optimization services ($47 for a WP tune-up and $99 for their signature site speed-up service just as examples), you can’t miss.
And I am not kidding about them being supersonic. I was blown away.
The Logistics of Running a Web Empire
Before running my online empire, I was an attorney. And before that, I was a missile combat crew commander in the Air Force. In other words, I am a type-A planner. I use Google Sheets every single day. They are an integral part of my business and I love that they are not only easy to use but FREE!
I have set up custom Google Sheets to create three key trackers:
- Post tracker
- Income and expense log
- Affiliate tracker
Subscribers to my email list get instant access to these tools. If you haven’t opted in yet, shoot me an email at [email protected] and I’ll set you up.
If you are not using Google Drive, stop everything and head over there to get it set up. There is simply no better way to organize your business and ensure safe access to your documents and materials no matter where you log in.
You likely have heard of this awesome add-on that keeps you honest when it comes to grammar. Even if you know you’re a good writer, love to write and write every day, Grammarly will make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
The free Grammarly option is terrific. You may want to consider upgrading at some point to Grammarly Premium. The paid version adds some powerful add-ons such as citation suggestions, plagiarism detection (great if you outsource content) and vocabulary enhancement ideas.
Deep Breaths, Sisters…
I know this is a TON of information. What I do not want to happen is for this list to cause you any stress or worry if you are not using every type of tool from day one. Because, guess what, you won’t! You can’t! You shouldn’t!
Take it step by step. Experiment with my suggestions and if they don’t work for you, by all means, move on to another product. The key is to find what works for you. We want you creating awesome content and getting it out there for the universe as you build your own empire.
Don’t forget, we will be doing an over-the-shoulder build soon. This will be a perfect way to get started with support of Web Equity Women and our community of rock star women!