If you’ve ever asked, “Do you need a website to do affiliate marketing?”, the chances are:
- You don’t like the idea of creating a website
- Building a website looks too cumbersome, time-consuming, or complicated to you
- You want an easier or quicker way
- You’ve heard people say they’ve been able to make money with affiliate marketing without a website, and you’re curious how
- You started a website before, and it didn’t work like you wanted
- Or, you just want to look into alternatives to building a website to make money in affiliate marketing
The good thing is, I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve started a website that didn’t get the results I wanted. I looked into website alternatives and “quicker ways” to get traffic without building lots of content, and I’ve found alternatives that work. To answer your question, “Do you need a website to do affiliate marketing?”, I’d say, “No”, however, in this article, I’ll explain why most people recommend that, the pros and cons, the risks with and without a website, and alternatives for you to explore.
If this sounds good to you, let’s get started…
Why Most Training Tells You To Have a Website
If you’ve been studying affiliate marketing, then you know most successful affiliate marketers recommend you start by building a website, but you’re probably wondering, “Why is this?”. I mean, why would you take the time and effort to build a website if there’s a shorter route or if you could avoid the tasks that go along with managing a website (creating content, getting rankings, tracking rankings, respond to comments, etc.)? The answer is because having a website has lots of short and long term benefits that running an affiliate marketing business without a website loses.
The Benefits of Having a Website
- It adds onto the asset column of your balance sheet
- It can rank for organic keywords and build social clout, which lowers traffic costs
- It builds trust and authority in your niche
- It can become a resource center for your ideal customer
- You can build a community of people with common interests who seek your website for advice like a robot that spits out answers
- Websites gain intellectual property value comparably with real estate
The Risks if You Don’t Have a Website
- The overhead costs in the business can start out much higher because alternatives tend to cost more (tools, equipment, and advertising)
- It’s less likely to rank organically so traffic costs start out higher because you won’t get free traffic
- Some website alternatives aren’t made for content marketing so there aren’t as many on-site resources to build trust, loyalty, and help with users
- Alternatives can’t be customized as much as a website
- Some alternatives don’t gain recognizable intellectual property value like if the same content was on your own website
- Some alternatives are like building on someone else’s property, so you’re customers are owned by someone else and you can easily be banned without a legit reason
Is there a “Quick Route”? – Website vs. No Website
Setting up a website can be done in as little as 30 seconds when you use a website builder like the one I’ve attached below…
Then, once the website is setup, you’d simply design it and add content. Working with alternatives works very comparably. Some may have drag and drop builders, or other features, but it’s really all about what tools you use. There are some website building tools and processes that are less efficient, but the website builder above combined with my #1 recommended landing page plugin offers you templates, quality design, and makes building a website very easy (sometimes even easier than website alternatives).
Is there a More Sustainable Route? – Website vs. No Website
Since building a website builds your company assets and net worth, it’s always seen as the more sustainable route. Websites can drive traffic to old content for years at a time, and in comparison, other alternatives often get saturated quicker, or have more competition.
The Digital Marketing Trifecta – What Most Successful Internet Marketers Recommend
Top Affiliate marketers recommend you create your own online assets, then move onto earned media and paid media–this philosophy is called “the digital marketing trifecta”. I first heard of the digital marketing trifecta from Search Engine Journal. They said:
Instead of categorizing your marketing efforts by how you acquire the traffic, think instead about who owns that property.
Categorizing your efforts into owned, earned, and paid is about identifying how your content achieves a seat at the audience table.
There are three types of digital properties:
- Owned: Any property that you own and control (i.e., your website)
- Paid: Any placements on property in which you pay to be in front of an audience (i.e., PPC or paid social)
- Earned: Another’s property that offers you free placement in front of a new audience (i.e., someone else says something about you for “free”)
Source: Search Engine Journal
The Alternatives to Having a Website
With all that said, there are reasons why you wouldn’t want a website. Maybe you don’t want to pay for hosting. Maybe developing the skills is becoming an obstacle for you. There are lots of reasons you’d be considering going without a website, so here are alternatives you can consider…
1. A Youtube Channel (#1 Recommended)
400 hours of video are uploaded every minute, but over one billion hours of content is watched everyday! There’s a huge deficit on Youtube between how much content is created and how much is consumed. This deficit is expected to increase, so Youtube rewards their creators well with ad pay options, and companies do advertising deals with Youtubers also. There’s lots of opportunities to make money by creating a Youtube channel.
Some people who own both Youtube channels and websites (like me) find instances where a video will get more traction quicker than an article, which makes Youtube a great option. The downside with Youtube is ‘you’re building on rented land”, so Youtube can ban you for violations even without giving a real reason for doing so. The risk is much higher considering you have less control over your intellectual property.
It’s still a great alternative or addon strategy for those marketing online.
2. A Podcast
Podcasts are another alternative. You can record audio episodes and distribute them on places like Itunes and Stitcher. If you make your affiliate links short and easy to say during your episodes, then listeners can take action. Podcasts are considered owned media when you create your MP3 files and host them on sites like Libsyn where you pay a small premium monthly for audio hosting.
The cons of podcasts is the discovery is completely different. People discover podcasts similar to radio stations where they’re on the go ad scrolling thru a network like Itunes. Podcasts don’t usually take positions in search rankings, so they have their own traffic, but you might miss out on a huge one if you skip over the search engine audience.
If running a website is really off the list for you right now, podcasting could be a great alternative way to own your own asset while eliminating some of what it would take to run a website.
3. Landing Pages
For some people, content marketing is overwhelming! They think “I have to write that much?!!!”, or “I have to make that many videos?!!!”, and they’re overwhelmed before they get started. For the people who are overwhelmed by content marketing, often times the idea of driving traffic to landing pages is more inviting.
Landing pages can create a one-page or low content lead generation website, then you can funnel the traffic to pages that build trust and demonstrate the value of the product or service to the customer. Some top affiliate marketers like Franklin Hatchett, John Crestani and Robby Blanchard specialize in this method of driving traffic to landing pages, but oftentimes, this method comes with a significant startup cost and risk.
To run ads, the lowest starting budget is $5/day, and it takes quite a bit of testing before you create ads that work. If you use “done-for-you” ads and funnels, then it’s common that many other people will use the same ones, and it becomes harder to get results with them.
If you’re open to creating landing pages, then testing and tweaking the traffic to them, then check out my list of 4 best landing page software for affiliate marketing to see some options I recommend. Check out the best landing page software here.
4. Funnel Software
Similar to landing pages, some people use funnel software as an alternative to a website. Funnel software like what’s been made by Clickfunnels was created to escort the potential customer from the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey to the buying action, and it’s been proven to work! Some people have even made multiple millions of dollars using funnels as an alternative to a website.
Both landing pages and funnel software typically come at a cost higher than starting a website and they both require advertising to drive traffic. As a result, the startup costs are typically higher than $500/mo until returns start to come back.
If your okay with the added costs and risk, using funnel software could be a good alternative to starting a website to run an affiliate business. Try a 14-day free trial with Clickfunnels and see how it works out for you.
5. Medium.com and Free Blogging Sites
At one point, free blog sites like Tumbler, WordPress.com (the option that’s not self-hosted), and Blogger were very prominent. Now, it seems like Medium.com has taken the spotlight among free blog websites.
Affiliates are using Medium.com like they would self-hosted websites: to write content, create reviews, and build authority. Medium sites can be started for free, so it’s no real barrier to entry, which makes it ideal for people with financial constraints.
As a con, it’s not owned media. It’s earned media in context with the digital marketing trifecta, so similar to renting things, you have to operate “by the laws of the land”.
6. Social Media
Last but not least is….social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others have created platforms for users to meet new people based on common interests. It’s possible to build large social circles and influence using these platforms. There are paid and free options for attracting new potential customers.
Most people who use social media use it to drive traffic to a website, Youtube channel, landing page, or funnel. It’s less common to convert a potential customer: from awareness phase into a buyer on social media without any additional tool or software.
The Bottom Line
While having a website has it’s major reasons for being the #1 recommendation for doing affiliate marketing, it’s possible to do affiliate marketing without one. These are some alternatives to having a website that you can consider.
If you have questions or concerns, I’d love to hear them.
My Questions for You…
- Do you have a website? Why or why not?
- Have you used any of these website alternatives? If so, how did you like them?
- Do you have any additional advice for someone considering a website alternative over creating a website?
Leave your comments below.