Affiliate marketing is a fairly easy way to add a revenue stream to your existing blog or online business. But I think you’ll find it even easier when you start using the tools below. (I know I did!)
To be totally transparent: I use way more tools than those listed below, but the complete list might feel overwhelming! So for now I’m simply sharing the tools I could not live without.
And yes, this page contains affiliate links, but even when I’m using those, you can be sure that I’m only recommending tools and resources I use and feel benefit my business. Please click here to see my full affiliate disclosure.
Before Step One: Buy the Book on Affiliate Marketing
If you’re new (or even new-ish) to affiliate marketing, the first “tool” I recommend is, well, the book I wrote about it!
I was tired of seeing “bros” in fancy sports cars, living in McMansions (or at least renting for them for the day) trying to sell you and I on courses that are $1000, $2000 or more, and then just teach you to promote that same bro.
To me, they’re giving affiliate marking a bad name.
I want to teach you how to do affiliate marketing with honesty, authenticity, and success. On your terms! Blogging (or podcasting or YouTubing, etc.) about things you genuinely love and want to recommend.
If that sounds like how you want to do business, grab my book: Affiliate Marketing the Right Way: How to Make Money Online Authentically & Successfully (paperback or Kindle versions available now, audio book coming soon!)
Step One: Get a Domain Name
Whether you have one business idea, or — more like me — 127 new business ideas every month, NameCheap is the perfect place to buy your domains!
Why? Well, like the name implies, they are cheap! But you know what else? They are also high-quality and super helpful if you ever find yourself in need of tech support.
But more than anything, I love the fact that you get free WhoisGuard (which gives you 100% privacy in the registration of your domain names!)
NameCheap also offers hosting (which I’ve tried and liked), but in most cases, for hosting I recommend…
Step Two: Get your domain/website hosted
SiteGround has been a reliable and easy website host for almost all of my websites for 5+ years now. If I ever have a problem, they are quick to help me solve it, and always friendly and professional.
I use them to host my WordPress self-hosted sites, and they are always fast to load and basically 100% up time. I never worry about my sites going down.
Step three: Choose a Theme for your site
Once you have your domain and self-hosted WordPress website set up, you’ll need a website theme. For this I use and recommend GeneratePress.
I love GeneratePress because it’s super easy to use and customize, and it loads sooo quickly. Site speed is important for the best user experience… but it’s also good for ranking on Google.
Step four: Make designing your site SUPER easy
Now, I realize I just talked about how easy GeneratePress is, but if you want a fully customizable, drag and drop website editor, I recommend using Elementor.
Even if you’re on the tech savvy side (I’ve been creating websites for 10+ years) I think you’ll love Elementor.
They have a free version that works just great, but for the low price, I upgraded to Pro and have never been happier. The pop-up creator alone has been worth the Pro price, because after I started using it, my subscriptions went up by 30%+!
Step Five: Start building your email list
Speaking of subscriptions, besides having a working website, having an email list is of the highest priority. I use and recommend ConvertKit.
Social Media comes and goes, not to mention changes the game (for better or worse) over and over again.
But when you have an email list, that is customers you can reach out to at any time. It’s truly the lifeblood of your business.
Trust me, I spent hundreds of hours authentically building a huge Instagram following (over 100k), and overnight Instagram decided to change the algorithm and suddenly less than .5% of my hard won followers were actually seeing my posts.
But with ConvertKit I have open rates as high as 78%! Email is amazing. Start building your list today with this free trial.
Step Seven: Grow Followers on Autopilot
Step Six: Set Up Sales Funnels
If you could only use ONE tool on this page, ClickFunnels would be the one I recommend most (eeee…maybe tied with the next tool!?)
The point is, ClickFunnels does SO MUCH, it eliminates the need for tons of other, high-priced, confusing tools on the market.
ClickFunnels can be used to make: email opt-in forms, landing pages, sales pages (that sell for you 24/7 without a complaint!), upsell/downsell funnels, courses, web pages, webinar event pages, checkout pages, opt-in delivery pages, and even more!
If you upgrade, you get even more. ClickFunnels then gives you the ability to have your own affiliate product (and have affiliates helping sell your products, courses, etc.), email autoresponders, Facebook message bots, and more!
If nothing else I recommend signing up for their (high-paying, recurring) affiliate program!
Step Eight: Automate promoting your blog and affiliate programs on Pinterest
Around 50% of my traffic comes from Pinterest, so you can be sure I focus my attention there.
A Pinterest scheduling tool I could not live without is Tailwind!
Tailwind can also be used to schedule your Instagram posts, but for that I use a tool called Later.
Step Nine: Optimize your SEO for Pinterest
Speaking of Pinterest, I also use a tool called TastyPins to fully optimize all of my images for Pinterest and SEO!
Pinterest is essentially a visual search engine. In order to make the most out of those searches, I use and recommend Tasty Pins, which goes far beyond the WordPress image SEO capabilities.
Step Ten: Track Your Income and Expenses
I know there are a lot of new kids on the block when it comes to cloud accounting, but there is a reason QuickBooks Self-Employed has been around so long:
First and foremost, you can easily (and automatically!) track your business income and expenses (and easily separate any personal expenses, as well.) I hardly ever log in, but when I do, 90% of my transactions are already labeled and completed properly.
It’s like having an accountant without having an accountant. (But if you do have an accountant, you can easily share all of your info at tax time!)
You won’t have any tax bill surprises (a huge relief to me, as I’ve had that happen before!)
I know keeping track of all this stuff isn’t always sexy, but damn! Quickbooks sure makes it easy!
Additional Affiliate Marketing Tools
Some other tools I use worth mentioning:
- Adobe Stock for photos and graphics (for Blog/Pinterest images, social media, etc.)
- Shopify – makes it easy to sell your own digital products and you can even have affiliates help you sell it with an add on
- CreativeMarket – not a tool, exactly, but a place for bloggers to get all kinds of themes, graphics, fonts, images, and more
- Content Development Pros – when you need to outsource your blog post writing, CDP is the place to go!