Most affiliate marketers are often using the bootstrapping method. You know, spending minimum money and getting the biggest results.
I did the same years back, and I realized one thing. All my affiliate marketing projects were disastrous! I realized that I was only successful once I put in both money and effort into the projects.
And it didn’t take long for me to see the results. The first month was a couple of dollars followed by hundreds before touching thousands after six months or so, per project.
I thought it was just luck, economy and the way I targeted my keywords. I went into bootstrapping method again, and I ended up the rabbit hole. Sales dropped and my revenue sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
What the hell just went wrong?
This was the exact words I asked myself. I did research (oh hell I did), and I wanted to know what went wrong.
Seriously, this is not a coincidence. Every time I went into bootstrapping, I see massive failures even though I did everything similar to others.
Note to self: These are the 4 things I will do if I’m going to start affiliate marketing all over.
Here’s a list what I found out.
1. Going for shared hosting instead of premium web hosting
This debate had gone on for ages. People talked about how good is A and how bad is B. You know the drill.
Here’s the problem. Most people don’t see the main issue, and I experienced that first hand.
The main reason why shared hosting isn’t working well for me in affiliate marketing was because of the freaking loading speed.
I mean, “C’mon, would you wait for 5 seconds before the website loads?”
Probably not and that’s the whole issue. I see a lot of bloggers writing great stuff, but their bounce rate is off the roof! One of them was as high as 95% for crying out loud. Jesus!
Shared hosting is good because it saves you money. $4 a month is like a cup of Starbucks alright? Shared hosting is cheap, and each server could host thousands of domains at one time. You are not getting premium speed no matter what, as long as you are in the shared hosting environment.
So, what’s the solution? Premium web hosting like WP Engine and FlyWheel are top of the game. Often, you are expected to pay around $29 per month. I highly recommend these services ONLY if you are making enough from your blog to cover the expenses.
The solution to this challenge is simple. Get a better web host. Here are some great alternatives.
- CloudWays (Virtual Private Server) - $7 per month
- BlueHost (WordPress hosting) - $19.99 per month
- BlueHost (Virtual Private Server) - $19.99 per month
- HostWithLove (Semi-Dedicated hosting) - $19.90 per month
Take a moment to think about this. It doesn’t seem too expensive after all to have a good web host right?
Note: All of the above alternative web hosting provides 24/7 support as well as at least 30 days money back guarantee.
2. Cheap vs Premium WordPress themes
Bloggers are money conscious, and because of that, they often use cheap or free WordPress themes for their affiliate sites.
The results are devastating to say the very least. Their websites look bad, ugly and more importantly, exposing themselves to unnecessary risks of hacking and security breach.
Now, what do you think of the image above? Does it appeal to you in anyway that the writer is an influencer in the industry? Would you trust what you had read on the blog?
Seriously, I even doubt if the theme is mobile friendly!
Here’s a life fact: No matter how your attitude is in real life, you’ll still give a great first impression through your dressing. Make sense?
I often hear bloggers telling me this.
“Reg, I know that Thrive Themes is the best in the market but I don’t have that much money to buy it. Furthermore, the monthly payment is going to ‘kill’ me.”
First of all, I’m a huge advocate to Thrive Themes, and it is one of the best WordPress themes for many affiliate marketers. Of course, unless you can afford $19 a month, there are many other options that you can choose from.
What you are doing is blaming your potential affiliate marketing failure because of not being able to afford for a premium theme. What?!
Let me tell you this. Thrive Themes is great and Thrive Themes is hot. But when it comes to WordPress themes, I still go for other alternatives because of the flexibility.
Alternatives that I use:
- StudioPress - $39.90 per theme (lifetime)
- Divi (Elegant Themes) - $89 per year (unlimited usage)
- OptimizePress - $97 per year (for three sites)
Here’s what you need to know. You might not have enough money to buy the best theme for now. So be it!
Use a premium theme that you can afford because that is going to differentiate you from the rest! Once you start making money from your blog, consider the option of upgrading.
BONUS: Discover how website design will impact your affiliate sales in my new 7-days affiliate marketing course. Sign up for free here.
3. Lead generation is dope, but expensive
We all know how important to build an email list. If you are not doing that yet, please … do it right now. Start today.
“It can be used thoughtfully to build loyalty and trust in your brand. Email marketing is important for building relationships with prospects, leads, current customers, and even past customers because it gives you a chance to speak directly to them, in their inbox, at a time that is convenient for them.” InboundRocket.
Tim Ferriss, Pat Flynn, and Matthew Woodwards all make money through their email lists. If you want to become a successful affiliate marketer, then you need to start building an email list.
But, here’s the challenge. You heard that email marketing is expensive.
My answer: WTF?!
Email marketing can be costly, but do you know that you can start for FREE?
Option 1: You can use MailChimp for FREE if you have less than 2,000 email subscribers and send out less than 12,000 email a month. And it comes with email automation for all accounts!
Option 2: If you are a serious blogger and trying to manage your subscribers, there’s ConvertKit that allows you to create cool automation with segmentation for $29 a month if you have under 1,000 email subscribers.
Option 3: Thinking of selling courses, having advanced segmentation and dope email automation? Consider Drip (I’m personally using it), and it gives you everything you need to monetize your list including landing pages. The best part is you can use Drip for FREE if you have less than 100 email subscribers and $41 per month for 2,500 email subscribers.
Confused? Read my latest blog post here: MailChimp vs ConvertKit vs Drip – Comparing The Best Email Marketing Automation Software 2017
It is NOT important to have a paying email subscription service if you are just starting out. It is also important to note that you can quickly start email marketing for free and I find no reason NOT for you to start at all.
4. Should I be using premium plugins?
I am going to bust another myth. There are many premium plugins out there, but I’m just using one that I always hear people whining about.
“I heard that Thrive Leads is powerful and because I don’t have that, I am not going to collect my email list.”
Yup, you got it. That’s BS!
I get it. Thrive Leads could cost a bomb. At $67 per year and for a single website, it hurts a lot. For affiliate marketers who are bootstrapping, you know what I mean!
Back in those days, there weren’t any fancy WordPress plugins to grow my email list. As a matter of fact, most of us were stuck with Hybrid Connect and that was it. Soon after, Hybrid Connect ended its product and Thrive Leads was born.
Now, not being able to afford the godly Thrive Leads is not a problem. The problem is you. You are not thinking out of the box!
Here are several ways you can solve this.
Option 2: There are many alternatives such as Ninja Popups on CodeCanyon that costs on $25.
Option 3: You don’t need Thrive Leads if you use email services such as Drip because they come inbuilt with email list building features.
Important disclaimer: I am not saying that Thrive Leads is not useful (I use it on this blog). All I’m saying is that there are many other alternatives to Thrive Leads if the price is an issue for you. Do not limit your options because of something you cannot afford. That is just giving excuses to yourself to fail as an affiliate marketer.
Takeaway – Things I’ll Do Differently When Starting Affiliate Marketing All Over
Going cheap or bootstrapping is an excellent way to save money. As a plugin and theme junkie, I save thousands of dollars yearly just by going the more affordable options. However, when I start spending money on my blog for affiliate marketing, I tend to make more money online (thousands of dollars) on a monthly basis!
I’m not saying that you should (at any time) increase your spending because it is going to help you close more affiliate sales. All I’m saying is that using premium tools could easily help you achieve your goals in affiliate marketing faster.
What do you think? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss further!