I recently had a discussion via email with one of my readers on what are the costs associated with starting an affiliate marketing website.
It turned out to be a rather lengthy discussion simply because I didn't have a good enough blog post that explained it all. So there I was writing and writing when it would have been a lot easier to share a blog post on the topic - which I didn't have. So today, that's what we are going to talk about.
So just how much does this stuff cost?
First I want to be clear on one thing. With an affiliate marketing business you technically don't even need a website. But this blog post is for those that want to build a blog, make it into an authority website and start raking in the cash overnight with those sweet ass commissions through passive income.
There's nothing better than waking up in the morning to see how much money you made in your sleep.
Just to make things clear, this blog post is NOT going to teach you how to create a website or try to convince you to start one but rather go through the detailed expenses involved to get started without any BS.
So bookmark this page because you're going to need it for future use!
#1: Domain Name (approx $10)
Even though this is listed as #1, it's not your first step. Your domain name is something you'll determine after your research. For research you're going to need tools, so more on that later.
Your domain name is your presence on the web and it must be closely related to the topic of your website. You don't want to confuse your readers.
You'll need to register your domain name through a registrar like either Godaddy or Namecheap - my two recommendations.
Godaddy is probably the biggest of all domain name registrars. They have great support, offer web security, SSL certificates, email, domain auctions and more. They don't include private domain registration for free though which is the only negative I find.
Namecheap isn't as big as Godaddy but also offers SSL certificates, email, and have a great resource section. What I especially like about Namecheap is that they offer free "whoisguard" so you don't need to pay to keep your personal information private.
The Cost - On average, you're looking to spend about $10 on a domain name when averaging out Godaddy or Namecheap. Namecheap will be cheaper especially if you want private registration (which I suggest) so just go with Namecheap.
#2: Hosting ($35.40 / 1st Year)
Your site needs to "live" somewhere online so your hosting provider will be responsible for "hosting" your website. They will also take care of any technical issues and in the case of a disaster, have automatic backups of your site so your site can be restored.
There's a plethora of hosting companies out there to choose from but you want to make sure you choose a reputable company.
If you choose the wrong one, your uptime could be compromized which could result in lost sales. Also, down the road if they decide to cease operations, you're pretty much screwed because good luck getting your files / website back. Choose wisely.
If you want a great host, I have arranged a special discount with Bluehost for all my readers. Normally it is $3.95 a month for the first year but from my link you'll get it for $2.95 a month. That's only $35.40 for the first year!
Important! One thing to note is that you'll also get a free domain name when you set up your bluehost account. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, I advise you to keep your domain name separate with a registrar like GoDaddy or Namecheap.
The reason for this is if you ever decide to change hosts for whatever reason, it will be much easier and less risky if you have your domain with a registrar and not the host. I've heard some horror stories of people losing their domain when they register it with a hosting provider.
This would probably never happen with Bluehost, but regardless of the host I ALWAYS register it with a 3rd party registrar.
Sure, it will cost you a bit more up front, (like 10 bucks) but you'll have more peace of mind and you also get free whoisguard with Namecheap - Bluehost charges exra for this so, go with Namecheap.
Register your domain first, then head over to Bluehost and choose the option as indicated below:
Remember, do not jump the gun on a domain name until you have done your research first! When you are ready, I have a guide on how to set up your hosting account here.
#3 WordPress Premium Theme - $35
Free WordPress themes are ok and it's perfectly fine to start building your site out on a free theme. However premium themes not only look better, but they tend to be coded better, load faster, have more options and support is normally included.
I paid $35 for the theme I am using for my site and it's called Schema from MyThemeShop. Of course you can find themes that are cheaper or more expensive, but this is an average price. I highly recommend it.
You are free to buy any theme you wish and some will be catered to your niche, but I found MyThemeShop to be pretty awesome because they have beautiful themes and excellent support.
If you ever need any help or customizations with the theme, just send a support ticket and they will promptly reply.
Just take a look at some of the testimonials their customers have left in the MyThemeShop support forum:
#4 Thrive Architect $67 & Thrive Leads $67
Now that you have your site up and running and you are ready to create your first post, if you want to make your pages look better and more appealing to your audience (and also easier to do) then You'll want to invest in Thrive Architect by ThriveThemes.
It's one of the best WordPress editors I have ever used. In fact this very page was created using Thrive Architect.
Although you could get away with not using it at first - you could always grab it later once you start getting frustrated with the standard wordpress editor and want to do more.
Thrive Leads helps you build a more profitable email list. I am also using Thrive Leads and its ease of use, templates, reporting and constant updates is pretty awesome. At just $67 for one license it's a good investment.
You don't need to invest in Thrive Leads right away, you could use the standard opt-ins that come with GetResponse if you wish to generate leads from your blog. Keep in mind your conversions will likely not be as good though.
Just so you know, you can get all of ThriveThemes tools including Architect and Thrive Leads for $19 a month. There are 10 tools in total. I do like their Quiz Builder tool and that's something I may consider in the future, but for now I just bought the multi-licences for both Thrive Architect and Thrive Leads to use on my sites.
#5 Email Marketing ($15/Month)
When you create your website you'll want to collect leads so you can market to these leads later on. GetResponse is what I use and trust because they allow affiliate links in their emails.
Don't even think about using Mailchimp like I tried - you'll get your account banned. They don't allow affiliate links like a lot of them... period.
What's great about GetResponse is that they have a great featured called workflows. This blows away the traditional way of marketing via an autoresponder and is completely customizable.
You'll be able to segment your list based on your audience's behaviours which makes it super powerful. It also connects and integrates instantly with Thrive Leads so there's no coding involved.
Start your free 30-day trial with GetResponse - no credit card required.
Let's Total This Stuff up
The Total cost for the above is $214.40
This gives you a fully functioning website with a premium theme, a professional editor & lead gen tool.
Where else can you start a business for so little? Imagine what it would cost to set up a traditional brick and mortar store. This amount wouldn't even cover the cost of paint!
Of course, I left out a few things...
I didn't include GetResponse (email marketing tool) because it's free for the first month and then $15 a month thereafter. So it's not in the start up cost here and hey, it's only $15 bucks.
You're going to need a research tool. This is an absolute must. The best tool for this is ahrefs. It's not cheap, and will cost you $99 a month. However, you could technically get all your research done in the first month and that's all it will cost you and if you're real speedy there's a one week trial for 7 bucks.
Ahrefs is my go-to tool for all my research online and it's essential for any online marketer.
Another option is Keysearch. I also use this in conjunction with ahrefs but can also be a subsitute - although not nearly as powerful. It's very affordable though at only $17/month for the starter version which is all you need. If you use coupon code KSDISC you'll get an additional 20% off.
Probably the Most Important Expense of all is...
And that is - Training! Go into this business blind and you will screw yourself over. You'll end up spending money where you shouldn't, target something you probably have no chance in hell ranking for among many other nasty things...
The good news for you is that training doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, in my opinion Savage Affiliates is probably the best training available right now for beginner affiliate marketers and comes in at a very low, affordable price with NO pesky monthlies.
You'll learn from a double 2 comma club winner ($1 Million in sales for each) and proven marketer in the affiliate marketing arena. If you guessed Franklin Hatchett, you are correct! You can read my Savage Affiliates review to see what's inside. It's way underpriced at just $197 or $297 for the "Super" version.
If you strictly want to focus on building an authority site, then you'll want to check out this free webinar from the guys at Authority Hacker.
You are going to learn how to do research and how to set up a blog which can turn into an authority site - something Google recognizes and rewards.
That means a lot of money for you! To learn more, you can check out my Authority Site System review here.
You can also just Google "The Authority Site System review" as I rank #1 for that.
So if you are serious about getting trained (and you should be) read over both my reviews of these courses and it should help you decide. If you're still not sure, contact me with any questions you have, i'll be glad to help out. Yes, I do reply to emails and comments below.
Wrapping This Up!
I hope this article has given you an idea on the costs associated in starting an affiliate website. Better said, these are the costs associated with starting an affiliate marketing business - that sounds even better!
All of the tools and services and training I mentioned I use myself. I've been in this business for years and have seen all sorts of crap. So if I suggest it on my blog, you better believe it's good because I don't promote garbage.
I have a reputation to uphold and the last thing I want is someone complaining to me they bought something from my suggestion and it sucked!
So if you follow what I set out for you on this page - you're going to have a VERY good start in your affiliate marketing business.
Remember that success doesn't come with a great looking theme or having an arsenal of cool awesome tools - success comes from your perseverence and your willingness to succeed and never give up. Remember that.
Questions, comments? Reply below or contact me directly.