Virtual Bookkeeper: Make Up to $50 Per Hour Managing Books

A virtual bookkeeper is a bookkeeper who conducts his/her work online. These professionals provide the same responsibilities of traditional bookkeepers except that they are hired by a company or client to do the work remotely.

Modern businesses are opening up their shops for telecommuting or work-from-home positions, thanks to the existing technologies, web-based tools, cloud services and the internet.

And this has paved the way for old-fashioned jobs like bookkeeping to survive globalization.

What is a virtual bookkeeper?

In the traditional economy, a bookkeeper is someone with advanced accounting skills and knowledge of preparing financial statements.

Unlike a certified public accountant (CPA) who holds a finance-related 4-year degree, a master’s degree and license to practice, bookkeepers don’t have strict educational requirements.

In fact, bookkeepers perform various accounting tasks without any problems, but they often have to submit sensitive documents to licensed accountants for approval.

This type of delegation is how huge accounting firms are able to cater to multiple clients at any given time.

The job of virtual bookkeepers is the same as their office-based counterparts. They are responsible for:

  • Maintaining annual budgets
  • Updating chart of accounts
  • Analyzing financial statements
  • Collecting receivables on time
  • Recording cash receipts
  • Issuing customer invoices
  • Monitoring debt level or financial standing
  • Maintaining petty cash fund
  • Conducting monthly or annual account reconciliation
  • Processing payroll
  • Maintaining annual budget
  • Complying with local, state and federal government laws about financial reporting or taxes
  • Performing various admin support tasks

How much do virtual bookkeepers make?

A virtual bookkeeper can make between $18 to $50 per hour. They can work as a contractor of an online bookkeeping firm, or work freelance handling his/her own clients.  

As such, the salary of virtual bookkeepers depends largely on the type of employment obtained, number of clients being handled, and other factors like work experience and specialty.

Freelance bookkeepers who have multiple clients usually charge by the hour.

They make around $50 an hour.

Bookkeepers employed with a company earn somewhere between $35,000 and $55,000.

Of course, like most online jobs, virtual bookkeepers can work on the side and earn much more.

Do note that some bookkeeping firms would require you to sign a no-compete contract, which means you can’t put up the same business or offer your services as a freelancer as long as you’re employed with that firm.

12 Places to Find Virtual Bookkeeping Jobs

If you’re interested in a new field and would love to try your luck with bookkeeping, do note that aside from basic accounting and finance-related knowledge, you have to be able to work your way through programs like QuickBooks Online, Xero, and Kashoo.

When it comes to bookkeeping, practice makes perfect, so before you change your career, obtain proper education, train wherever you can, and master the science of bookkeeping through practice. 

Those with bookkeeping experience can jump right in and join any of these bookkeeping firms:

1. AccountingDepartment.com

Launched in 2007 as ‘Balance Your Books,’ the site has work-from-home positions available for bookkeepers with a CPA.

The tasks required from bookkeepers range from payroll processing to preparing general ledgers.

AccountingDepartment.com lets its “employees” work from 8 to 5.

Bookkeepers here earn by the hour, plus paid holidays, generous vacation package, 401 (k) plan, and group medical, dental, life, vision, accident insurance.

2. Bateman & Co.

Don’t be turned off by Bateman & Co.’s outdated-looking website; they’re certified public accountants (and not webmasters) after all.

The bookkeeping jobs available here can be either part-time or full-time, but all are work-from-home positions.

Unfortunately, only those with CPA or three-year bookkeeping experience would be considered.

If you’re a Texas resident, you’re in luck since Bateman & Co. prefers those living locally. If hired, bookkeepers will prepare corporate, partnership and individual tax returns and accounting records.

3. Belay Solutions

Launched in 2010, this Virtual Assistance company includes virtual bookkeepers as part of their talent pool.

Belay is always on the lookout for people with at least 5 years of accounting or bookkeeping experience and advanced skills in QuickBooks.

Of course, since this is an at-home bookkeeping position, you’re expected to have a home office set up, computer with webcam, fast internet and the current version of QuickBooks.

You’ll also have to OK with a background and reference check during application.

As a Belay bookkeeper, you’ll be reconciling bank statements and credit/debit cards, processing payroll, preparing 1099, maintaining chart of accounts, managing cash flow, and producing weekly, monthly and annual balance sheets, income statements and other financial documents.

4. BIDaWIZ

Established in 2008, BIDaWIZ is a trusted company run by accounting professionals.

It was launched to help fellow tax and finance professionals in the field with skilled help when needed.

There are always work-at-home accountant and virtual bookkeeper positions available, but they’re a bit stricter when it comes to credentials.

Applicants will only be considered if they have at least 2 years of professional accounting background or Enrolled Agent Licensure. Note that they hire a third-party company to verify applicant information, license, and so on, so it would be wise to provide legit info.

5. Bookminders

This Pennsylvania-based company has been providing bookkeeping services around Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, South Jersey and Baltimore in the last 25 years.

It is home to many part-time and full-time licensed accountants, bookkeepers and other finance professionals.

Most Bookminders clients are in non-profit, so experience in this field would up your chances.

Bookminders are a bit lax with requirements.

Candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience. Of course, those with an AA degree always have an edge.

If hired, bookkeepers can enjoy a flexible schedule, a ton of training/career development programs, and incentive-based income with potential of an increase based on performance.

6. Click Accounts

Click Accounts is a BPO (Business Process Outsourcer) company, aimed at providing accounting and bookkeeping services.

They help other businesses by processing bill payments, calculating accounts receivables and reconciling bank accounts.

Not much is posted about the virtual bookkeeper job, but the company is accepting resumes all year round.

7. TAD Accounting

This small accounting firm rarely opens up its employment page, but if you’re lucky enough and find a slot, make sure to send in your resume.

TAD Accounting offers work-from-home accountant jobs for those with 2+ years of experience.

You may check out TAD Accounting’s LinkedIn, or send your resume at resumes@tadaccounting.com.

8. Click N Work

Click N Work is different than most of the sites here, since it also caters to other professionals like writers, paralegals, analysts,  dancer, and a whole lot more.

What Click N Work does is that it matches your profile to clients looking to fill booking services. Common tasks involve creating economic papers, writing market reviews, and building company profiles.

Pay varies widely between experience and specialty, but you can earn anywhere from $40 and $150 between $40 and $150 an hour.

Tasks can be paid with a commission-share term or a fixed fee.

9. Intuit

Intuit regularly hires remote workers to fill all kinds of positions, including online bookkeeping jobs.

To find what’s currently available, click on Job Search, then pick ‘USA Remote’ from the dropdown list.

Intuit work at home jobs

There are several other countries available with remote jobs if you are located outside the US as well.

10. FlexJobs

A home to many freelancers, FlexJobs has an entire category dedicated to home-based bookkeeping jobs.

It’s a place for seasoned virtual bookkeepers who can take the challenge of juggling multiple clients, since FlexJobs list down hand-screened job leads from numerous companies.

If you’re serious about bookkeeping as a freelancer, you’d find the $15/month membership fee worthy of spending.

If you’re on the fence, don’t worry, since FlexJobs offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the leads you see.

11. Two Roads

Two Roads is regularly seeking workers to fill virtual bookkeeping jobs.

You will work fully remote and expected to be available Monday to Friday from 9AM to 5PM.

They are seeking self-starters who do not need to be micromanaged. This is one of the more flexible jobs posted in this list where your passion as a virtual bookkeeper can really shine.

12. Fusion CPA

Fusion CPA is always looking for people to fill virtual CPA positions in just about every type of bookkeeping position imaginable.

Take a look through their career page as there is no doubt a flexible job available for you.

Pros and Cons of Home-Based Bookkeeper Jobs

PRO:

One of the best things about being a bookkeeper is that you don’t need to have a CPA to be one.

There have been office assistants who have earned their way into a full-blown bookkeeping career because they’ve developed real-world accounting skills.

CON:

Unfortunately, you can’t become a virtual bookkeeper on a whim.

This is the type of online job that requires a very specific set of skills, which includes advanced knowledge of the finance world and business transactions, computer skills, excellent communication, and the ability to connect with clients.

PRO:

Unlike the office-based bookkeeping job, a virtual bookkeeper has the freedom to work whenever and wherever he/she prefers.

You’ll be in control about the type of clients you manage, and work-related logistics such as work hours.

CON:

Of course, having this much flexibility means that you’re going to work harder than traditional bookkeepers, especially if you decide to go the freelance route and seek clients on your own.

It’s not going to be easy to land an account if you’re new to this field, but once you’re in, you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time.

PRO:

The best things about a virtual bookkeeping job are the income potential and positive job outlook.

Even if you work freelance, business owners will value the work you do because handling finances and accounting are highly sensitive and they would pay premium rates for your skills and loyalty.

Bookkeepers are always in demand (even after tax season), so you won’t have to worry about downtimes.

How to start your own Bookkeeping company

If you’re not interested in working for a bookkeeping firm, you can always start your own bookkeeping business from the comforts of your own home.

You’ll need a bit of capital here, but about $2,000 is still low when compared to traditional business startup costs.

This amount will mostly cover licenses to online bookkeeping tools like QuickBooks Online and Xero, as well as training (if you’re transitioning from office-based bookkeeping to a remote position).

Note that the $2k capital I stated only includes you as the main bookkeeper who would offer services to clients, so you’re practically investing on your own skills.

However, once you decide to build a bookkeeping firm and hire other accounting professionals, you’d need to allot salary and benefits, licenses to bookkeeping tools, and training packages.

Whether you’re offering bookkeeping services on your own, or managing a team of bookkeepers, the biggest chunk of expense you’d be facing is ongoing training.

Just like any professional service, learning in the finance industry should be continuous to keep up with technology, new laws, and other fluctuating elements that affect your bookkeeping business.

To succeed in this line of work, you’d need to study how to compete in the ever-changing, globalized economy.

This means you would have to maintain deadlines, follow strict guidelines, and deliver work as smoothly as possible.

It’s important that you establish clear terms with your clients, which would help them manage their expectations.

The Bottom Line

As I said earlier, the outlook for online bookkeeping jobs will continue to be optimistic as long as the need is there.

Ecommerce sites, modern businesses, and traditional companies that are embracing online technologies would benefit financially from hiring freelance bookkeepers than employing one. Your virtual bookkeeping job will be in-demand for years to come.

Whichever route you take in online bookkeeping, you have to agree that it’s an amazing time for CPAs, any virtual bookkeeper and other finance professionals.

Home-based jobs like virtual bookkeeping, and work from home accounting jobs, provide you with more time to balance life with work.

Your client base will also expand quite massively since conducting business online means your bookkeeping service can be sought by any entrepreneur or company no matter which part of the world they come from.

3 Challenges of Making Money Online in 2020 and How to Beat Them

Making money online in 2019 is attainable. However, even if the processes are well laid-out by people who have had success before you, you may still experience issues along the way. As someone who has transitioned from an 8-to-5 job to an online gig that turned out into a scam, I’ve had my fair share of issues from making money online.

I didn’t write this piece to scare you. Instead, facing the problems of making money online head on and learning how to beat them increases your chances of actually earning a livable income from stuff you do off the web.

How Can You Make Money Online In 2019?

Before we discuss the 3 work-from-home problems that continue to hinder many people from finding success online, you have to be aware of all the ways you can make money on the internet. The major ones are as follows:

  1. Ecommerce (buying/selling products or services) – Whether you create a Facebook store or build a website from scratch, as long as you plan to sell products online, your chosen online business route is through ecommerce. You can run an ecommerce business with your own products, or go with a dropshipping route.
  2. Affiliate marketing Similar to ecommerce in that your goal is to sell products, except you won’t need to manufacture items to sell, or even handle traditional store operations (such as inventory or shipping). Instead, you need to join an affiliate program, promote products, and earn commissions whenever you refer a customer to buy.
  3. Blogging – Blogging about anything under the sun can lead to a six-figure income, depending on what monetization options you use for the blog. Since blogging is newbie-friendly and requires very little capital, this is the most popular way of making money online. If you’re not good with words, you can always try vlogging (video blogging) or photoblogging (photography blogging).
  4. Influencer Marketing – There are two ways you can do this – start popular and become an online ambassador to various brands; or start from the bottom and aim to become popular in the future. Either way, once you become an influencer, you’d earn from promoting products, services, information, and so on. And since you “influence” thousands or millions of people, advertisers are likely to pay you for access to this audience.
  5. Service provider – If you’d rather earn by working from home and providing services like programming, app development, copywriting, virtual assistance (or a whole lot more), there’s a vast space for service providers regardless of specialty.

All these five methods are tried-and-tested, but your success or failure won’t just depend on whichever online money-making path you decide to take. Instead, it will rely on various factors and how well you solve the 3 common problems faced by those who earn their incomes online.

3 Challenges of Making Money Online

The best thing about the internet is that it gives you the flexibility to become your own boss without investing your entire life savings. However, to be able to increase your chances of success, you have to overcome these 3 problems of making money online:

1. Information Overload

In the past, people were experimenting on how to earn money from their blogs, or sell products online more effectively. They didn’t have much help, either from other people who could guide them or even resources. Today, you’ll find numerous experts helping you to do these things with a step-by-step tutorial. The problem with this though is that the more information available, the more confusion it brings.

For example, if you decide to focus on affiliate marketing, many experts would recommend that you build your own website. But plenty of people have had success with just a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and thus recommend focusing all affiliate marketing efforts on them instead of running a website as well. Both of these tips are valid and effective, but if you’re new to affiliate marketing, these contradicting recommendations can be the reason why you can’t move past step 1.

It’s easy to tell someone to do their research, but in this age wherein new information is published on a daily basis, how will a beginner decide which information has more weight?

Here’s how to solve information overload:

  • Determine the type of information you need – You can’t stop information from being released into the world, so in order to beat information overload, you have to identify the kind of info you’re looking for. Become super specific during research. You’ll be amazed at how precise the information you gather by choosing to use the term “highest paying web hosting affiliate program” instead of just “highest paying affiliate.”
  • Compile trusted sources – If you’re planning to earn money online for years to come, there’s a possibility you’ll need to perform research again in the future. Every time you do this and discover awesome resources, take note of them and compile into a list. Writers running a tech news blog would save time checking out answers from top blogs like TechCrunch, Engadget, Mashable and so on, instead of just Googling your questions away.
  • Create your own information gathering system – Having a research system would save you a lot of time and since time equals money when earning income from the web. This system would also increase your productivity and eventually, your income. A questionnaire, step-by-step tutorial, or if-when-then system are few examples of an info gathering system that could work for your business.
  • Delegate (if possible) – Once your ecommerce or affiliate marketing business picks up, or you rise in your career as a blogger, influencer or service provider, delegate research tasks to someone else. There’s a reason why most professionals like lawyers, accountants, and so on have junior colleagues who take over data gathering and disseminating for you. This also holds true even if your main income or business is online.
  • Don’t contribute to the noise – Now that you know all about information overload, make sure you don’t overload information as well. If you’re a blogger, influencer, affiliate marketer, or online store, don’t send staggering amounts of information out to the world if not totally necessary.

The make-money-online world has a remarkably quick turnover of hot products or services, industry trends, competition data, or even market changes. Knowing how to streamline and deal with a boatload of information gives you a clearer path towards your online income goal.

2. Scams

Make money online in 2018 by avoiding scams

Scams are the most popular and common problem of making money online, even still in 2019. Scammers will never run out of ideas. Their main source of income relies on fooling other people into handing over their money or valuable information.

While there’s plenty of trusted information that can lead you into actually making money online legally, effectively and (sometimes) quickly, the downside to the make-money-online (MMO) industry is that it is filled with scams left and right.

The only way to keep scams from screwing up with your online business is to become experts in spotting and avoiding scams. Here are several red flags you must always keep in mind:

  • Promises of quick returns – Be careful with any program, eBook, course, marketing tools, or any other product or services that promise quick return. Terms like “get your money back within minutes,” “double your money quickly,” and other get-rich quick scams still exist even in 2019 so don’t let them blind you.
  • Disclosing “secrets” only after paying – It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to succeed in blogging, affiliate marketing or freelancing online. Once you try to find out how to do something, you’ll be faced with experts trying to sell you “secrets” to doing just what you came for. If details are missing from a sales page and promises to disclose information only after you paid, this is a red flag that you’re not going to find any special info afterwards.
  • Money Back Guarantees with a catch – Many programs, courses, or products and services offer trials for only $1 and with money back guarantees. In some cases, the scammer only wants you to enter your credit card details. And if the scammer didn’t use your info for fraudulent purposes, he/she just used this process to pinpoint you as a buyer (instead of just a website visitor).
  • Hidden Auto-Renewal Policy – The problem with many subscription-based services or products, such as membership forums, is that they often come with an auto-renewal policy. While the actual product or service isn’t a scam, hiding automatic renewal policies seems pretty shady especially since many people just cancel the subscription and consider their lost money as a “learning experience” instead of asking for a refund.
  • Missing Contact Details – One of the most obvious red flags of scams is the lack of contact details. Whether you’re buying a product, subscribing to a service, or gathering information from someone, it’s important you maintain a means of communication and a contact person should you require further assistance or flat-out ask for a refund.

These examples have yet to scratch the surface of make-money-online scams. Many scams that exist today have been around for years. Unfortunately, there are no internet police available to man the web 24/7, which is why it is up to you to guard yourself and your business against scrupulous people aiming to steal from you.

3. Procrastination

Stop procrastinating

Making money online as an online store owner, affiliate marketer, blogger, influencer, or even a freelancer offering services means you’re the boss of your online venture. You’ll decide on many of the business specifics, such as working time, breaks, tasks to do, and so on. Of course, this sounds like the ultimate dream for most people.

But if you’ve given yourself too much freedom and have practiced “voluntarily delaying an important task despite being aware that unable to finish that particular task will cause us to suffer,” experts say you’re procrastinating.

Procrastination is a bad habit that affects your productivity, performance and even emotional well-being. How can you make money online with your app development venture if you’re spending half of your day playing video games instead? How can you improve your marketing efforts on your ecommerce store or affiliate marketing system if you’re busy on Facebook instead?

To avoid getting trapped into a cycle of procrastination, follow these few tricks:

  • Change the way you look at the tasks on hand – In most cases, people procrastinate because they are overwhelmed at the task on hand. If you change your perception towards the task (get excited instead of getting scared), it would motivate you to work on the tasks…
  • Divide a huge task into smaller ones – If you’re building an ecommerce site and you aim to launch at a given date, creating a to-do checklist with smaller tasks can help you avoid procrastinating because you get to achieve more tasks than try to fulfill a significant task all by yourself.
  • Practice the Five Second Rule – If you can’t succeed with making money online due to procrastination, you should check out Mel Robbins’ book “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” In it, you’ll learn how to “hijack” your brain and prevent it from hesitating with whatever task you need to do by taking immediate action within the 5 seconds right after you start a task.

The Bottom Line

If you begin your online money-making journey without getting overloaded with information, faced with scam programs or services, and suffer from the cycle of procrastination, you’re lucky. Your chances of running a successful ecommerce site, affiliate marketing plan, blog, brand, or service are optimistic because they won’t be affected by these 3 common challenges of making money online.

If you feel overwhelmed by the massive overload of information, confused by the number of scammy programs to follow, or plainly lack the drive to reach your online income goals, then I hope the tips listed here could help you become a success story in the make-money-online industry.

How to Start an Affiliate Marketing Business and Actually See Success

Okay, by now, we’ve all seen affiliate marketing images like this online:

Affiliate marketing earnings

They’re usually attached to an article claiming affiliate marketing is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

And now, you’re interested in how to start an affiliate marketing business and start pulling in some of that sweet, six-figure income.

If done right, this business model can lead to passive income (who doesn’t want to make money while asleep?), freedom to do what you want when you want, and more control over your life.

I’ve been extremely blessed to have affiliate marketing be my sole source of income since 2009. I know the blessings that it can bring. I also know the challenges, struggles, and hardships as well.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective businesses you can start online.

The general idea is you build a website, help connect people with the information they are searching for online, then hand them off to the retailer. The retailer then pays you a percentage of the sale as a commission.

Your website works for you 24/7 without a human manning your site and can pull earnings in around the clock. You have a never-ending list of products and services to promote. And, my personal favorite, you don’t even have to worry about inventory, storage, customer service, handling, shipping and other day-to-day operational issues faced by ecommerce stores.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

In this business model, you (as an affiliate) earn with just a couple of steps:

  • You promote another person’s or company’s product or service on your blog, social media accounts, YouTube, online ad, or other online platforms of your choice.
  • If one of your followers clicks on the affiliate link and then buys the affiliate product or subscribe to an affiliate service that you’ve promoted, this transaction is credited to you.
  • The affiliate program then computes all conversions and sends commissions your way.

The concept is actually pretty simple and has been used in businesses long before the internet even existed.

In the past, referral commissions are given to people who bring new customers to a company. The main difference in today’s affiliate marketing is that you use a traceable link when promoting a product/service and the affiliate program uses a browser cookie to track the shopper’s purchases before the cookie expires.

How much capital do you need to start an Affiliate Marketing business?

If you’re just on the planning stages of your online business and can’t dive into affiliate marketing just yet in fear of a high startup capital, you’d be amazed that this make-money-online model allows you to operate at virtually no cost.

Of course, as you earn commissions and expand your business, it’s inevitable that expenses will creep up as well.

To jump right into the world of affiliate marketing, you’ll need:

  • Domain name – A domain name is the name of your website. It is the address internet users type in to access your site, instead of entering the numerical IP address. If you don’t have a hosting provider yet, you can get a free domain name with any of the shared hosting packages on BlueHost. If you already have hosting, you can purchase a domain a la cart for as low as $9 per year.
  • Hosting – This is where your new website will be hosted. You can start with just the most-basic plans of popular hosting companies. For example, Bluehost’s Basic shared plan already has a free domain included, plus everything you need to begin your affiliate marketing journey. It’s priced normally around $8, but is often on sale at $4/month. Like all hosting providers, the longer subscription you pay upfront, the bigger your savings.

Bluehost Pricing Comparison

  • Keyword Research Tool – Any serious affiliate marketer should invest in a keyword research tool (we use Jaaxy for ours). This will be your secret weapon for successful campaigns with your pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and SEO (search engine optimization) efforts. It helps you come up with ideas for content, keywords, and niches.
  • Marketing techniques – You might incur additional monthly expenses based on the marketing technique you choose to use.
    • E-mail marketing – One of the best ways to nurture leads is to run an e-mail campaign. There’s no other e-mail tool better than AWeber, which starts at about $19/month and goes up to $200 or more (depending on the number of subscriptions).
    • Pay-per-click – Another effective way of attracting customers to your affiliate site is to advertise or pay for PPC. You don’t have to go far to look for this one, since Google’s own paid advertising can already do wonders on its own. Fees are only in cents per-click, but this adds up pretty quickly, so expect to shell out $50 or more for a low-budget campaign.
  • Content and media – If you have a knack for writing, or is good with photography or Photoshop, then you can save some money and do these yourself. But if for any reason (lack of skill or time) you can’t create content or media like photos and videos, there are people willing to do them for you. You can hire freelancers either by the hour or on a flat fee.
    • Copyright Photos – You can also buy ready-made images straight off sites like Dreamstime and other stock photography sites for as low as $2/photo. Another option, you can use CC0 licensed images for free through a service like Pexels.

You don’t need to buy every affiliate marketing course you could get your hands on. Stick with just one highly-recommended training and go from there.

This is important not only to keep you from getting overloaded with information, but also to spend more time actually working on your affiliate site rather than being stuck at the planning stage forever.

If you play your cards right, you’d be able to build a fully functional affiliate website with just under $100.

How much can you earn from Affiliate Marketing?

There aren’t any set limits here. Some affiliates see $10 per month, others see $100,000. You can fall anywhere in between.

The beauty of this business is if you have a website that gets highly ranked in Google, you can earn money for months, or even years, long after you created the content.

You can put in a few hours of work today, and continue to profit off of that for years to come.

The amount you make depends largely on these five factors:

1) Your Keyword Research and SEO Game – Keyword research should begin the second you decide to build an affiliate marketing business from scratch. This business model may seem like it could adapt to a “come as you go” method. In reality, the better researched your niche is, the higher chances your affiliate site would succeed.

Search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play once your website is live. Both on-page SEO (steps you can do from the site to make it search engine-friendly) and off-page SEO (things you can do on third-party sites to make your website more attractive to search engines) are important.

Both your keyword research and SEO game should be on point, and continuously conducted throughout the life of your affiliate sites.

2) Pay-per-click Ads – PPC is a powerful type of advertising that can drastically improve sales on ecommerce websites. When it comes to affiliate marketing, using PPC ads is completely optional, but if you want your business to expand quickly and bring in more targeted traffic, pay-per-click ads are the best route to take.

Of course, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with AdWords, Facebook Ads, and other popular PPC ads, master effective copywriting techniques, and find the perfect balance with low cost per click and high conversion number.

3) Number of Affiliate Links and Product Features Posted – Every time you post a product feature with its respective affiliate link, you get a chance for a commission. The more posts you publish with different products (and affiliate links), the likelihood of someone buying from your links increase over time. Now imagine you’ve religiously added a unique product post daily for an entire year – you have 365 links that are readily available for your readers to click.

Of course, when you expand your affiliate marketing business from one website to two (or more), your earning potential multiplies as well.

4) The Site’s Niche – Check out Commission Junction and Clickbank… and you’ll see that there is virtually an endless list of products you can promote. However, the “Best-Selling” or “Top Products” from affiliate networks shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking your site’s niche. Choosing a niche for your affiliate site should involve more research and analysis than that. After all, the success of your site relies mostly on your topic’s level of demand and how well you take advantage of your readers’ needs.

5) Marketing Effort Done – Marketing your website everywhere helps in increasing traffic to the site. And when traffic shoots up, more people are able to read your content and decide if the product or service you’re promoting is worth checking out. As a result of the amount of marketing effort you commit, your chances of earning commissions increase with every person that visits your site.

As you can see, your earning potential from affiliate sites has no limit, as long as you put in the work for research, traffic generation and marketing. Of course, you’d have to invest in the right niche to maximize your site’s growth.

How do you become an affiliate marketer?

There is no master plan to build and run an affiliate marketing business that fits everyone’s budget and goals. You’ll be deciding on multiple issues, from the number of websites to create, to the method of traffic generation, advertising and other major decisions that can affect your business.

The steps below follow only the basics. You can definitely change some of the steps, if you have a higher budget to use, or decide to expand into two or more affiliate sites.

1. Brainstorm and gather ideas.

Planning should always be the first step when drawing up any kind of business. Even if affiliate marketing operates completely online, it should still be considered as a full-blown business and given ample time for research.

If you’re lost which idea you should be checking out, stick with what you know, what you’re passionate about, and products you can’t live without. Whether you’re planning to expand a generic product (such as “fitness toys for dogs”) or focus on a specific brand (such as FitPAWS), it’s essential that you know what the competition is like if you decide to go through with such a topic.

You should also be checking out if these branded products offer affiliate programs. If not, move on to another idea. If so, do a bit of research and determine if this niche can provide years-long of topics or unlimited number of products to feature.

  • Use tools. One awesome (yet completely free) tool you should use when brainstorming niche ideas is the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. While predominantly used for AdWords and PPC, you’ll love the detailed information provided, which includes average CPC, competition level, and more.
  • Test your ideas. The cool thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to build a website first to find out if your idea is viable. Instead, you can join affiliate networks, browse products that fall under your chosen niche, and conduct research to see if these products would “sell.” Find what is trending online to see what ideas would bring more money to the table.
  • Decide on a niche. You can only go so far when it comes to your initial research. But once you find a niche that you are passionate about and have potential for growth, go for it.

2. Build your website.

There are a couple of decisions you’d have to make when creating a website for your affiliate marketing business. For example, the platform you choose could slow down page loads, which in turn, affect your site’s ranking. This will reduce its ability to become a click-worthy affiliate site.

Other considerations when building a website include:

  • Domain name and hosting: As we’ve mentioned earlier, the domain name and hosting make up the basic requirement to set up a website. You’ll spend a lot of time coming up with a user-friendly domain name and comparing hosting packages. Don’t take these decisions lightly.
  • The platform: You have several options for your site’s platform, including your hosting provider’s built-in website builder that features drag-and-drop style site creator perfect for beginners, or coding the website from scratch (which provides the most flexible option when it comes to customization but require advanced HTML and programming skills). The most popular platform used across the board is WordPress. It’s the industry standard and used by a third of every website online.
  • The website layout: You can make affiliate marketing work no matter what website layout you choose. For example, if you’d like your site to look more like an online store similar to the popular Odditymall, nothing is stopping you to do so. There’s no rule preventing site owners from showcasing affiliate products this way. Many affiliate marketers choose a blog layout instead, often writing product information or reviews along with links going to the store.

3. Choose the right affiliate network.

Affiliate marketing has been around since the late 1990s, which is why you shouldn’t be surprised that there are dozens of affiliate networks beyond the ever-so-popular Amazon and ClickBank.

There is no right or wrong affiliate network, but your choice would depend on these three things:

1. The products you wish to promote

ClickBank is known for handling the affiliate programs of digital products like ebooks, software and even membership sites. So if you wish to promote toys, clothing, or other products on your website, ClickBank wouldn’t be the most appropriate network to join.Amazon Associates continue to be the choice of people new to affiliate marketing, since Amazon has thousands of products readily available at any given time.

If your website isn’t a made-for-affiliate marketing site, you’d have to be careful in promoting products that reflect your niche and values. For instance, a beauty blog couldn’t just recommend a kitchen item or online marketing ebook out of the blue. This blog, however, would do much better with affiliate links that come from a shop like Sephora.

2. Commission per sale

All the work you do promoting third-party products shouldn’t be in vain. You have to understand that commissions in affiliate marketing aren’t guaranteed – you’d have to make sure your blog has traffic first, and that you’re able to encourage people to click the affiliate link. From there, you’d have to cross your fingers that these people buy something from the affiliate network so you can earn a cut from the sale.

Every affiliate program offers different commission rates (along with rules that you should know). For example, some programs give out 20% commission, but only on the exact product you posted on your site. In other affiliate programs, you’d receive commissions from any product sale the referred person bought from the store, as long as he/she completed a full checkout within a specific period of time. For example as an Amazon Associate, you are given a 24 hour cookie window.

3. Cookie period given to affiliates

Cookie period is the time wherein affiliates can still be credited for commissions. It is set by the affiliate network. The browser cookie links a sale to you whenever your site visitor clicks on a particular affiliate link and makes a purchase. The cookie period refers to the time they reach the destination website to the actual time they purchased something from the store.

So if you read 90-day cookie period, it means you’ll get a commission if your site visitor makes a purchase in 90 days or less after clicking your affiliate link. The longer cookie period an affiliate program/network offers, the higher your chances for revenue.

4. Develop your content strategy.

Content Strategy

Now that you’ve decided on a niche and affiliate network, you probably have a good idea of the products you’re going to feature on your affiliate site. Before you go on a publishing spree, make sure you create a workable strategy and put it on writing. This doesn’t have to be perfect, since you can adjust it as you go along, but it makes a whole lot of difference if you follow some sort of guide.

Content refers to everything from product reviews, features, images, videos, infographics and other types of media. This strategy may include topics for future publishing, products to prioritize, search engine optimization tasks, categorization, and more. You can list them down on a spreadsheet, on paper, or even on a to-do list app.

Developing a content strategy is particularly useful for team collaborations. If you’re planning to outsource writing, SEO, or website management, this guide will help keep things organized.

5. Write content.

Including this as a step is kind of unfair.

Once you get and idea picked out and your website setup, creating content is going to be your sole focus for the remainder of your affiliate marketing business.

If you’re planning to create content on your own, you’ll have to commit to it wholeheartedly because the life of your affiliate marketing business relies on regularly-published content. If you’re planning to hire someone to craft the content for you, that’s totally OK too. Either way, here are awesome tips you could follow when it comes to creating content for your affiliate marketing site:

  • Strive to become an authority. It doesn’t matter if your niche is the silliest topic in the world, as long as you’re “THE” site to check out when it comes to everything about fidget spinning (or whatever niche you decided to focus on), then your website is a success. To become an authority within your niche, you have to be consistent with publishing content, provide value to your readers, and make it a goal to earn your readers’ trust.
  • If you can test the product first, do it. There’s a reason why many affiliate marketers stick to digital products – they’re cheaper to buy, test and review. But if you can find a way to get a hold of the product first before promoting it to your readers, your post about that particular product would hold much more value since you’ve tested it firsthand. You don’t even have to buy it – some manufacturers would gladly ship out a product free if you’re already an authority in your industry.
  • Tackle content beyond your website, too! Aside from your website, you’ll also need to think about content for email campaigns, social media, and other marketing techniques you’re going to use (more on this on the next step).

Don’t get stuck on your niche forever. Once you feel that your level of authority has risen a few notches, try to discover sub-niches that’s related to your topic. For example, if your niche is weight loss exercises, you can tackle supplements or diet food as well.

If you’re having writer’s block, here are 20 article ideas to get you out of it.

6. Expand your traffic-generating techniques.

Unfortunately, people won’t magically find your website out of the millions of websites around. It’s either you pay to get traffic directed to your site, or you spend time marketing your website all over the web. And your website definitely needs visits from real people. Tons of them, if you’re hoping to earn from affiliate marketing.

Here are some tried-and-tested ways of generating traffic to an affiliate marketing site:

  • E-mail marketing – When done properly, an email marketing campaign can be a powerful tool of increasing visitors to your blog. You can even hire email marketing specialists if you want a campaign done right for you.
  • Social media campaign – Consider each website as a company and open up social media accounts for each of your site. Keep these accounts updated regularly.
  • Two-way guest blogging – You can invite other people to write on your blog and you can start guest-blogging on other people’s websites. It’s a win-win situation, especially if you have valuable information to share. With this technique, your goal is to encourage visitors from other blogs to visit yours, and build a rapport among other bloggers.
  • Conduct on-page and off-page SEO – Performing SEO tasks improve a website’s chances of getting into the first page of search engine results. Not sure where to start? Check out these 20 elements that could help make your site SEO-friendly.
  • Expand your network – Get to know other affiliate marketers within your niche. Make friends with other bloggers. Follow other authority figures on their respective social media accounts. These small tasks add up in time and before you know it, your network of connections can become pretty impressive.
  • Build a small community – Take care of your readers. They’re the ones who will turn into buyers and allow you to get a cut from their purchase. Reply back on reader’s comments. Answer their e-mails. Make them feel welcome on any page of your site.
  • Check out competition – Don’t be scared of your competition. Research them. Learn about their marketing techniques and copy what works (then scratch what doesn’t). Try to find out what lacks on your competitor’s site and offer it on your site.

7. Understand your audience

If you’re serious about your affiliate marketing business, you’ll need to learn everything you can about the numbers and data. There are two non-negotiable analytics that you should master:

  • On-site Analytics (preferably Google Analytics) – It’s free and can be easily integrated with WordPress and other website platforms. Google Analytics lets you see bounce rates, sources of traffic, keywords used to land your site, and a whole lot more. You can use this information in developing your topics that your readers like best and improve traffic of your site.
  • Analytics of Affiliate Program/Network – Almost all the major affiliate networks have their own analytics tool to help you check conversions, commissions and everything related to your account. Pay attention to the small details. It would help you figure out which products to feature next.

There are other paid analytics tools available, usually included as part of internet marketing programs, but these two would work pretty well.

Aside from data, you need to understand that these are real people coming to visit your site.

You are never going to succeed if you just push out poorly written content, filled with affiliate links.

The Bottom Line

Here are the steps you need to take to build a successful affiliate marketing business:

  1. Brainstorm and gather ideas.
  2. Build your website.
  3. Choose the right affiliate network.
  4. Develop your content strategy.
  5. Write content.
  6. Expand your traffic-generating techniques.
  7. Understand your audience.

Like any kind of business, affiliate marketing requires hard, consistent work.

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that you can become rich overnight with an affiliate marketing site. However, there are several advantages of this business model over traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.

For one, you don’t need a lot of capital. If you’ve got a knack for writing, you can do everything yourself and learn the rest from editing photos to setting up a WordPress site through research. After all, the internet has given us everything we need to build a successful affiliate marketing site.

According to Internet Advertising Bureau, affiliate marketing represented 6% of the United Kingdom’s online economy in 2012 (that’s about £9 billion in sales).

The future of affiliate marketing doesn’t seem to wane, even in 2018.  But as Google and other search engines continue to put value towards sites with high-quality content, your goal is to up your game to compete with older websites and relentlessly provide value to your readers no matter what products you’re planning to promote.

Have any questions before you get started?

Affiliate marketing has been my sole source of income since 2009.

If you have any questions about what it takes to get started, just leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.