Building an affiliate marketing site with WordPress has a number of advantages. Being as popular as it is, there are countless tools to customize a WordPress site to do anything you would like. Although it may not be as quick and easy as some dedicated affiliate site building software, the result over time is likely to be a much better site. With themes, SEO tools and many plugins to include the affiliate plugins covered below, there are simply more opportunities with the free WordPress platform.
Virtually everyone who builds websites with WordPress uses some WordPress plugins, but WordPress themes are where it all starts. Choose a theme carefully and keep in mind the right theme may have features that might eliminate the need for plugins for some functions. However, since WordPress is not affiliate marketing software at its core, using at least some affiliate marketing plugins is advisable to aid in creating a good, productive site in an efficient manner.
The following are some plugins that affiliate marketers are likely to find useful. Note that great plugins for high search engine rankings can be found at SEO plugins, and WordPress ecommerce plugins covers the best plugins for people selling their own goods as well as affiliate products.
The third version of the Product Style Amazon WordPress plugin offers a wide variety of powerful features that allow Amazon affiliates to generate advertisements for their site to earn commissions. Unlike many other Amazon plugins, Product Style 3 is designed to put site owners in control of their advertising by allowing them to customize the design, layout, and content of each ad. Ads can be used on their own in any post or page, or they can be combined into product comparison charts. Any ad generated with the plugin can link directly to the Amazon product page with an affiliate link or use an on-site shopping cart store that directs customers to Amazon upon checkout. A free trial edition of the plugin is available for download to allow interested customers to experience this plugin first hand before making a commitment to buy it.
Amazon is popular with affiliate marketers, and ReviewAZON offers a good way to incorporate Amazon products into any website. It costs $79, but it includes lifetime upgrades and can be returned within 30 days if not satisfied. It allows for Amazon product listings to easily be added and includes such features as Amazon shopping cart, embedded customer reviews and YouTube review integration. For those outside the US, it supports Amazon programs in a number of other countries.
This plugin is a great help with on-page SEO. It automates some tasks, to include labeling outgoing links nofollow and placing H1 tags on page titles. However, its primary value lies in analyzing page content and offering advice on how to better optimize it. For example, it looks at keyword density, internal links, word count, images and so on. Most valuable is its LSI feature, which tells you which semantically related keywords you already have on the page being looked at and offers suggestions on more words you can include to make your articles better for both SEO and visitors.
ClickBank Hop Ad
ClickBank products offer some of the best commissions that can be found anywhere. This is a plugin from them that allows relevant text ads for ClickBank products to be displayed as a configurable WordPress widget. It is fairly simple to use but allows the appearance of the links to be customized and for simple testing of the designs.
LinkShare represents a large number of merchants with affiliate programs much like Commission Junction. This plugin will automatically create streams with offers from these merchants on a blog. Commissions will be earned for every referral.
Max Banner Ads
Be it Google Adsense or other programs, many affiliate websites are monetized with banner ads on pages and posts. With Max Banner Ads, there is a very easy way to display these kinds of ads. The code for the banners only needs to be inputted once. After that, the ads, which can be set to rotate, will automatically be displayed in areas of your choice on the post to include on top, within, below and in the sidebar. These ads will be displayed independently of what theme is being used and can be turned off easily if necessary. There is a free version that contains a link to the plugin’s website and a paid version that does not.
123LinkIt has an interesting service and plugin that automatically analyse content and creates affiliate links for the most relevant products. These links will be clocked and look like any other hyperlink.
Basically, 123Link handles the complete website monetization process, eliminating the need to sight up with various affiliate networks. The program is free to join and use, but they take 10% of earnings with 85% going to the site owner and 5% going to promoting the website for the owner. It offers perhaps the simplest monetization process for any WordPress blog.
Skimlinks and its WordPress plugin offers perhaps the easiest way possible to monetize content. The SkimLinks network offers over 18,000 affiliate programs. Once you join SkimLinks and set up the plugin, words on your site text will automatically be converted into affiliate links. It is all very easy an unobtrusive.
Often, it is a good idea to hide (cloak) affiliate links. This can help create better looking links, make people more likely to buy and prevent commission theft (when people replace affiliate information with their own before making a purchase). Pretty Link has a number of features to include the ability to create custom links, link tracking to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and the ability to organize links into groups. The best thing about it is that the Lite version is free.
This is a paid plugin that can do everything Pretty Link does and then some, to include custom tracking. A neat feature is that it will automatically link selected keywords to affiliate products. To avoid giving the site a spammy feel, the number of links on any page and product URLs are customizable. There is also an easy interface that allows the links to be organized in groups and for all settings to be backed up or restored in a couple of clicks.
SEO Smart Links
Does not have all the bells and whistles of Ninja Affiliate, but it does convert selected keywords into affiliate links in the same way. Users can also choose how many links per page, if the link will be nofollow and decide if it will pop up in a new window or not.
GoCodes is also free and does a good job of giving people a way to shorten or mask links.
For those making a number of affiliate sites, this is a real time saver as it allows you to duplicate a site or make a make a template of all your usual WordPress settings. It also can be used as a backup tool or for site migration.
Keep in mind that WordPress widgets, especially text ones, are also very useful in inserting ads and other affiliate content onto a site. However, right the affiliate marketing plugins will add functionality while making the entire process easier.