In a recent article I explained why I think affiliate marketing is definitely worth doing to create a passive income for retirement.
In this article, I’m going to lay out the process I followed to produce the income which has allowed me to retire early and live comfortably, only working when I feel like it!
No, I’m not a millionaire, and it’s not an overnight solution. I started making affiliate marketing retirement income with websites ten years ago, and gave up my full-time job two years later, initially because of ill health.
I did a bit of freelance work over the years while my affiliate income gradually built up, but now I rely on my website income to support me and I only have to work a few hours a week.
I can ignore my websites for months on end if I like and the income keeps coming in.
You never know when life is going to deal you blows and you need a passive income to see you through the tough times. It’s also fantastic to be able to retire when you want and have the freedom to travel and live the life you always dreamed about.
Working from home with chronic illness has been tough at times, but my passive income kept me going. Now it’s allowed me to follow my dream and retire to the tropics in Far North Queensland. You can do it too if you follow the step by step process I used.
Here are the nine steps for creating an affiliate marketing retirement income with a website. Always start with…
Step 1: Choose A Niche for Making Affiliate Marketing Retirement Income
Trust me. Don’t start with the products. You can find products to promote related to pretty much anything.
First, think about your passions, hobbies and interests. What do you love to do? What do you know a lot about? Are there things you can teach others? Once you’ve worked that out, don’t make it too broad.
Instead of ‘scuba diving’ as your niche, choose a more specific topic like ‘scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef’. It’s much less competitive and easier to win traffic. Obvious products to promote would be scuba diving equipment, but you could also partner with travel affiliate companies for trips to the reef.
Make it informational. What do I mean by that? Here’s an example. I have a website helping people to cope with grief and to express sympathy. You’d think that mightn’t be a suitable website for affiliate marketing wouldn’t you? But you’d be mistaken.
Let’s look at a couple of keywords. I wouldn’t win the traffic for ‘sympathy cards’ for example. I’d be competing with all the big greetings card companies like Hallmark. However, I discovered, through keyword research, that the people sending sympathy cards are struggling with what to write inside them. Consequently, I get a lot of traffic for keywords such as ‘sympathy card messages’ and ‘writing a sympathy note’.
People arrive at my site to get ideas of what to write and then they go on to buy the cards I recommend. In this case, I have designed a range myself (really easy to do on Zazzle).
Sometimes, once they go into my Zazzle store, they buy other people’s designs. I still get a referral commission whatever they buy. If they buy my designs I also get a royalty payment.
Think of it this way. It’s too competitive to win for the ‘transactional’ keywords as you’re competing with the big stores and brands. But you can win the ‘information seeking’ traffic.
By the way, this is one of the many things you learn as a Solo Build It! member: what a keyword search intent is and why it’s so important to check it before you write your page. The short video below explains it well.
Some people attract the information seekers by writing product reviews, but personally I can’t think of anything more boring. Providing really good quality content that helps people is far more satisfying. You can do that with articles, images, videos, podcasts or instructional courses.
I’ve been learning watercolor painting online recently. Such a joy that now that I’m semi-retired I finally have time to do it! It’s also a great example of a niche to use for affiliate marketing in retirement, as you can recommend all the painting equipment needed for your courses. That works well for any type of creative craft or hobby.
Step 2: Research Your Niche
Next you need to work out whether your idea has wings. The best way to do that is to do some in-depth keyword brainstorming.
My website host and business building platform, Solo Build It!, has one of the best keyword research tools included in my subscription. That way you find out if there are enough good keywords without too much competition to make your business viable.
Don’t panic if you don’t find the perfect online business idea the first try. It might work if you change your angle slightly or narrow down the niche.
Step 3: Plan Website Structure
The structure of your website is more important than you might think. It’s got to be clear to Google how it all fits together, but more importantly it has to be clear to navigate for your readers.
Think about the different sub-topics you might include – these are the different tiers of your website. Then you can group all the pages together that fit into each tier. That way you can have a clear and simple menu that leads logically to all your pages. You’ll learn how to create a website blueprint within Solo Build It!.
Step 4: Research Affiliate Marketing Retirement Income Options
In my view, the most important thing to remember is relevance! Make sure you closely match the products you recommend to the content on your page. There are so many products to pick from, but here are a few examples:
- Books, eBooks, online courses
- Jewelry, fashion, accessories
- Homewares and gardening equipment and accessories
- Technology, computers, cameras, etc.
- Music or meditation downloads
- Beauty products
- Services such as mentoring, counseling, consulting
- Travel products such as trips, excursions or booking platforms
- Hobby or craft related products or courses
I’m sure there are lots more. Have a browse around some of the big affiliate marketing networks and see what you can find.
Don’t forget, if you have your own content based website, you don’t have to stick to affiliate marketing alone. There are plenty of other monetisation options you can add into the mix too.
Step 5: Choose Domain Name
These days, you don’t have to stick slavishly to adding a keyword into your domain name. You can get creative and produce a catchy and memorable brand name for your domain.
If it can contain even part of a word describing what your business is about, even better.
I’m quite proud of the domain name for my Art Deco site – Decolish.com.
Step 6: Create Your Content
Once you’ve done all the groundwork, now is the time to start creating your high-quality content. Check out your competition for each keyword you use. Make sure that your page is better than the other sites on page one of Google. Used properly, an AI writing assistant like ChatGPT can help you create outstanding content faster than ever before.
Overdeliver what your readers want, and you’ll knock the rest off the top spots.
Add some great images, preferably photos taken yourself, or images you have produced and even some video and you’re on your way to success.
Step 7: Grow Your Traffic
As well as learning how to use keywords, there are some other things that you’ll need to do to help get the word out about your website and grow your traffic. Social media is really useful for this.
Don’t try and do it all, but choose one or two platforms where your readers are likely to hang out. It might be Facebook, Pinterest, Linked In or Instagram. Choose whatever works best for your niche.
Step 8: Build Relationships with Your Customers
Building relationships with your readers is essential to keep them coming back again and again to your site. Capturing email addresses from a sign up form and sending out regular mail outs is one of the best ways. You can also reach out through your social media networks and even form private groups or forums.
Step 9: The Final Step in Creating Affiliate Marketing Retirement Income: Promote Your Affiliate Products
Only once you have started to build some traffic is it time to begin implementing your monetization links on your website.
There are lots of different ways of adding affiliate marketing links to your pages.
Sometimes a simple link embedded into the text works well if it flows naturally.
You might want to put a photo of a specific product with a link in the middle of a page to break up the content.
Many companies produce their own affiliate banners which you can simply add to a page, or introduce with your own text.
Other large companies such as Amazon or Zazzle have their own widgets with a range of custom products based around a search term, or you can pick your own products to display.
Most of the time, I simply incorporate my affiliate links into my informational content pages. Once you have a good amount of traffic built up, it’s worth creating specific monetization pages on keywords with more ‘transactional’ search intent.
You can direct your own traffic to these pages to make sales and you’ll eventually start to get some Google search traffic to those pages too. Click here to see an example of one of those ‘transactional’ type pages.
Use a combination of different approaches and see what works best for your niche.
You can learn lots more about the process of creating your own affiliate marketing retirement income with a website in our Retirement Business Mini Course. Sign up below. It’s free!