Affiliate marketing is one of the most profitable and convenient ways to make money as a blogger. And there are plenty of valuable resources that you can use to pimp out your website, as well as training, tools, apps, and programs to help you! So I’ve put together some of my favorites for you… basically, it’s a list of the BEST tools and resources for new affiliate marketers.
SETTING UP YOUR WEBSITE
DOMAIN NAME AND WEBSITE HOSTING:
Who is the “host(ess) with the mostest” when it comes to WordPress hosting? Siteground! Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about these guys! Their support is extremely knowledgeable, their wait times are short, and they really changed my experience with hosting providers for the better. I highly recommend them if you are looking for an affordable and reliable host with great support.
CHOOSE A BEAUTIFUL, PROFESSIONAL THEME
There are plenty of places you can find WordPress themes, but my three absolute fave places to shop for gorgeous themes are:
(Just a little note here: make sure you go with a theme that is mobile responsive! The majority of users are browsing on a smartphone or tablet, so make it easy for them!)
Are you a complete newbie to WordPress? The WordPress 101 course by Blog Clarity will walk you through all the WordPress basics you need so you can build the perfect blog! You’ll learn:
- the foundational aspects of WordPress – from how to install WordPress to how to create posts and pages;
- how to make your site user-friendly – from how to manage categories and tags to creating menu navigation;
- and how to personalize the “back end” of your site.
LISTS, APPS & PLUGINS
Not sure about which programs to join? This is the list you need – all the hard work has been done for you, to the point where every program listed links directly to the company’s affiliate page. Every niche is covered, from food, to travel, to parenting, to fashion, to tech gadgets, and even blogging!
Let me just say… if you’re not using Pinterest to promote your blog, you should be! And once you’re on Pinterest, then using a scheduler is the best and most efficient way to get your content seen, and get traffic back to your blog.
TAILWIND: is an API-approved partner with Pinterest. (Which means, it’s “Pinterest Official”). It has a great graphic interface, and is perfect for visual learners. Your first 100 pins are free, then pricing starts from $9.99 per month (billed annually, or $15 paid monthly).
BOARDBOOSTER: comes in better if you’re on a budget. It’s paid monthly and the price depends on the number of pins in your plan. Basically you pay $5 for every 500 pins per month.
SMARTERQUEUE: Seriously, THE smartest way to do social media. This tool has allowed to streamline my social media posting in a HUGE way. I spend about an hour a week scheduling my Instagram (and Facebook) posts in advance. It’s got everything you need, in one place: content calendar, scheduling, content curation, visual reports, and performance analytics. They have a 14-day free trial, but you can use this link to get a 30-day FREE trial!
MILOTREE: Convert your website visitors into followers, subscribers & customers! The smart MiloTree pop-up is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to grow your social media followers and email list. You would have seen it pop up at the bottom right when you landed on this page.
YOAST SEO: Use this to optimize your blog posts for search engines. It provides a handy checklist for each post, and tells you exactly what needs to be changed for Google to like your post more.
AKISMET: Checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. This one’s a must-have!
SUMO: Sumo is a suite of useful tools designed to help you grow your website’s traffic. The tools are easy to install, and there are two versions, free and paid. You can create scroll up boxes, hello bars, pop-ups, welcome mats and social sharing buttons (see those pink squares? At the bottom of your screen if you’re on your smartphone, or on the left of the screen if you’re using a laptop/desktop. They make it super easy for your readers to quickly share your content!) Check it out here!
PRETTY LINKS: This is the one plugin you MUST have to improve your affiliate conversions! When you add affiliate links to your posts, the url tends to be some crazy long mix of characters and numbers that make no sense at all. In a time when identity theft and online fraud are so common, many will question the validity of a url that looks like that, and may not want to make a purchase through it. This plugin allows you to turn any affiliate link into a url that resembles your blog or website url.
NB: Please be sure to read the TOS for each affiliate program that you join – some do not allow “cloaking” of their affiliate links (Amazon is one of them!)
PLANNING & ADMIN
2018 ULTIMATE BLOG PLANNER: This gorgeous, free (yep, absolutely FREE!) 12-page blog planner is designed specifically for bloggers that are determined to increase their blog income and traffic. The pages included will help you brainstorm post ideas, plan your weekly posts, make to-do lists, keep track of usernames and passwords… I love it. And I know you’ll love it. Using The Ultimate Blog Planner is key to blog organization and blogging success!
GLOSSARY OF AFFILIATE MARKETING TERMS: Confused about all those strange affiliate marketing terms and crazy acronyms? (Like, what the heck is a “cookie”, and can I eat it?!) This guide explains them all in plain English.
GDPR COMPLIANCY: Is your blog GDPR compliant? Lucrezia of Tiny Love Bug is a lawyer in Melbourne with a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in International and EU Law. She has put together an amazingly comprehensive e-course that goes into detail for each provision of the General Data Protection Regulation and provides examples, templates and checklists for each action you will need to undertake to ensure full compliance. The course covers all aspects of your compliance, all principles and legal requirements, and all ongoing obligations and responsibilities under the GDPR. Get it here!
LEARN AFFILIATE MARKETING (THE BEST TRAINING FOR BEGINNERS)
MAKE YOUR FIRST AFFILIATE SALE: This is a FREE email course to help you craft a successful affiliate marketing strategy from the beginning, and learn how to make a passive income with your blog. Because it all starts with that first affiliate sale!
BLOGGING AND AFFILIATE MARKETING COURSE FOR BEGINNERS: Learn how to make money blogging with affiliate marketing.
AFFILIATE ACCELERATION: How to make passive income with a small audience.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR FIRST AFFILIATE SALE IN 24 HOURS USING PINTEREST: The no-BS, no-fluff, step-by-step guide to making affiliate sales on Pinterest (ebook).
HIGHER AFFILIATE COMMISSION ACADEMY: For those who want to know how to convert with higher paying affiliate programs.
MAKING SENSE OF AFFILIATE MARKETING: How to build a six figure blog without millions of visitors or selling your soul.
You can find out more information about all these programs in this post.
EMAILS & YOUR MAILING LIST
G SUITE BY GOOGLE: Not only can you get a professional email address like email@example.com (instead of firstname.lastname@example.org) for a mere $5 a month, you get all the Google apps for business, Google Calendar, Google Drive for storage, spreadsheets, slide templates, forms, and document creators!
MAILCHIMP: If you have less than 2,000 email subscribers, you can use MailChimp’s most basic plan for free. Perfect for newbies!
CONVERTKIT: ConvertKit makes sending emails to your subscribers easy and fun! You can segment people into different groups and send them emails specific to them and their needs. You can also create epic landing pages and opt-in forms that integrate perfectly with your website.
MAILERLITE: My preferred choice, and what I’m currently using. Mailerlite is super easy to use (drag-and-drop template editor), free for up to 1,000 subscribers, allows automation, auto-resends, segmenting, and you can even create a landing page with it!
CANVA: Oh Canva, how I love thee! Seriously one of the best FREE resources around – one that makes stunning design possible for us mere mortals. I use this for SO many things! Such as… my pinnable images for my blog posts, Facebook page header image, Facebook group header image, FB ads, images for my website, email header, etc.
The reason I’ve included it here (under “emails”) is that it is PERFECT for creating your email list opt-ins: think ebooks, infographics, workbooks, checklists, and more.
BEST SITES FOR FREE STOCK PHOTOS:
BEST SITES FOR PAID STOCK PHOTOS:
RECOMMENDED SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING
INSTAGRAM AUTHORITY: Alex’s courses are by far the best Instagram training I’ve done to date. (And yes, I’m qualified to say that, because I’ve done a LOT of Instagram courses, and used Alex’s methods to grow my previous account to over 15k followers!). This FREE e-course will teach you how to attract followers, increase your engagement and make more sales – this one’s a must!
FACEBOOK ADS BASECAMP (currently being revamped, link updated soon): Do you find Facebook advertising daunting? Or just plain frustrating? I struggled with creating a Facebook ad that actually converted for soooooo long (aka, wasted a lot of money on other courses, paying other people to do it for me, and just ad spend that resulted in big fat nothing) – and then I signed up to this course. Rebecca knows her stuff, and I can’t recommend her highly enough!
PINNING PERFECT: This is an 8-module online course created for bloggers and small biz owners, and it is extremely comprehensive – and what I love most is that you get lifetime access, and it’s always being updated with the latest information regarding Pinterest.
PINTEREST SEO TRAFFIC SECRETS: Start driving tons of traffic to your blog from Pinterest with this smart pinning technique.
MY FAVE READS FOR #GIRLBOSSES
Books every #girlboss and aspiring female entrepreneur should read! Because the best way to build your #girlboss empire is by learning from other badass girl bosses, right? Here are a few of the best inspirational books for female entrepreneurs I’ve read…
PODCASTS FOR BLOGGING BABES
Podcasts are a great way to learn new tips and skills to use on your blog and in marketing, and are THE perfect way to fuel your mind and stay inspired. Here are the podcasts that have changed my life… and they’re all free, of course!
Phew, quite a list, right? You might even be beginning to wonder which of them you could try first! The truth is that these resources are for you as a new affiliate, and you can take advantage of any of them, BUT to avoid getting overwhelmed, start small. If there is a particular tool or resource in the list above that has grabbed your attention, then start out with that.
This list is not the “be-all and end-all”, though, and I will be adding to it over time as I implement new tools here at Affiliate Mom Squad.
In the meantime, what tools, resources or apps do you love? Let me know in the comments below!