Getting started with your first affiliate website
This post has basic information for new webmasters who want to start their own affiliate website. This guide will give tips on using a search engine, computer security, learning html and using a CMS.
This article was featured in the iGaming Business Affiliate magazine with the second half as an introduction to the online gambling industry.
As an affiliate coach I find many people that either want to start their own website or specifically become an online gambling affiliate.
Each prospect is different in their skill sets and I have to find out what level this person is at to find a good path for them to take.
Overall I typically run into the same challenges regardless of the person and usually have to start from scratch.
This article will represent a guide to help new webmasters or new gambling affiliates get off the ground and make the first steps.
Tips on how to start your own websiteIdentifying Skill Sets
Not everyone is computer savvy and this makes for a big challenge for someone who wants to start their own website.
The bottom line is no matter how bad one could be at computers, anything is possible and everything can be learned.
For new webmasters this is a good first step in weeding out time wasters or aspiring webmasters that have no work ethic.
If they can't spend the time to understand computers, the internet and basic html then they certainly will not become a successful affiliate.
How to best use a search engine
I get asked all sorts of questions that sometimes make my eyes roll but these questions usually repeat themselves and the answers usually involve google search engine.
I usually get my answers to these questions by doing a search and finding articles or youtube videos of someone else who has already solved that problem.
You would be surprised at how many people don't understand how to use a search engine to it's best.
For example if you are searching for information but you keep finding websites that want to sell you something else you can add “-buy” or “-free” to remove keywords that will improve your results.
Another example is finding exact phrases like “free wordpress templates” will usually get more accurate results than without using quotes inside the search query.
I tell all my clients that before they ask me a question I ask them if they looked for their answer in a search engine first!
This saves me a lot of time, helps the webmaster find better information in the future and prevents them from asking me 10 questions a day when they should find the answers themselves.
Computer Security and MaintenanceQuestion: Do you use the same password for everything such as online banking, emails, facebook and everything else?
If the answer is yes or sometimes then I try to teach them to keep their computer clean of viruses, spyware and malware.
This first step should be done before anything else gets started.
You really don't need your FTP, emails or CMS login details to be compromised that could ruin all the future hard work.
Next is using secure passwords.
Some people hate the inconveniences of needing a program to acquire their passwords when they are switching computers or devices but trust me, this is worth the hassle then realizing one day that your paypal, moneybookers (skrill), neteller, bank account, pokerstars and your poker accounts have all been drained in a single day.
If you don't catch this in time you could say good bye to a lot of money.
On top of this imagine having all your affiliate accounts updated with new payment information and your password changed, or even worse, your domain has been transferred to someone else!
My solution to this problem is either KeepassX for Mac, Linux and Windows users or Roboform for Windows users.
You can read more about this program in our previous post on useful programs for webmasters.
Many people use the internet for entertainment and communication but rarely move beyond that.
I am referring to creating their own website and working with HTML code.
At first this could seem very intimidating but in 2011 there has never been more resources and help for starting your own website.
If you have no programming skills whatsoever then you just need to learn basic HTML and get comfortable working with Wordpress.
The truth is, if you can write a document, write an email and add pictures to it, then you can make your own website. It truly is that easy.
Learning HTML Code
There are many websites and videos dedicated to teaching people how to work with HTML and best of all this stuff is free.
Every rookie webmaster just needs to spend some time with an html sandbox or a free hosted website to mess around and experiment with their pages.
Youtube of course has great resources for this.
Using Wordpress CMS as a sandbox for training
Wordpress is probably the most user friendly Content Management System (CMS) around.
It is probably the most popular CMS as well and the selection of plugins and free templates make it a recommended choice for starting a new website especially on a low budget.
First Assignment: Create a new account at Wordpress.com and get your own subdomain.
Create a few pages, some blog posts, test run a few free wordpress templates at wordpress.org and install some free wordpress plugins.
This assignment can also be done with Drupal, Joomla or another CMS.
Identifying topics of Interest – Choosing a topic or niche
Too many people want to make a website strictly for the money and have this fantasy that they will be instant millionaires and won't have to work.
The truth is money is only a part of the equation but if you cannot find a topic of interest that you enjoy writing about or working on, then you are following the path of failure.
Most successful webmasters whether they work on poker, sportsbetting, bingo, selling watches or any other website, most of them enjoy their line of work.
When you play poker and like or love poker, doing 12 hours in a day working on your poker affiliate site just doesn't seem like work at all.
First find your topics of interest and the next thing to do is to discuss your topic with other people.
Always do research on your topic and use this to brainstorm the things your website will focus on.
Remember one last important point about your website's focus: ensure the website offers a value to the visitor.
If you copy the same content from someone else or don't do anything new then you will find your conversions and rankings will suffer.
Get free one on one help
If you haven't seen our affiliate coaching section this is where you can work with a senior affiliate who can help you speed up the process of starting a website without having to reinvent the wheel.