WordPress Affiliate Sites

Teli Adlam —  December 7, 2006

Update: A lot of people asked when I would come out with a guide to build affiliate websites using WordPress and it’s finally arrived. I now introduce you to the WP Affiliate Guide.

As the popularity of WordPress continues to grow, people are starting to embrace its full potential, especially as a lightweight Content Management System (CMS).

Recently, Lynn Terry discussed converting one of her existing affiliate websites over to WordPress, which would allow her to more easily update the site, manage it from a central location, as well as the other little goodies that WordPress provides.

It’s still fairly common for many, however, to think of WordPress only as blogging software based on the majority of themes freely available. But, WordPress’ flexible theming system allows for complete customization. That means there’s no need for the website to look like a standard blog at all. Building an affiliate site powered by WordPress is a matter of creating the right theme for your needs.

Before that can happen, you’ll need to determine what the right theme for your site should be. Consider that you will have different sections of the site, like the homepage, the product listings, and the category listings, and each one will need to be taken into account.

You’ll also need to consider the type of products you’ll be adding to the site and whether they’ll have short or long descriptions, large or small images, and any other product variables that come to mind.

When you have that information laid out, then you can start mapping out the technical aspects, such as the design, required plugins, necessary template files, and how to put it all together.

[tags]wordpress cms, affiliate marketing, affiliate site building, affiliate blogging, content management system, wordpress affiliate sites[/tags]

Teli Adlam


37 responses to WordPress Affiliate Sites

  1. Hi Teli,

    Yes, a lot more people are beginning to realize that WP can be used to build conventional-looking affiliate sites.

    I’m not a coder, but I can make changes here and there with a WP-theme to suit my needs. However, with every new theme that I’d like to customize, I have to repeat this long process.

    Some plugins make life easier, but there are a lot of customizations such as: removing date and time, name of poster, adding or manipulating the top menu, etc.

    Although I can do all this for free, I still picked up RNW. Now, I’m able to generate WP-themes easily and just the way I like ’em. I wrote a little about RNW on my blog.

    For WP experts, you probably won’t find much use for it. However, for those who need help like me, you may find it useful.

  2. I hope more people come to see WordPress as more than just for blogging.

    I just had an incident where I submitted one of my blogs to a directory and it was placed in the general category of ‘blogging’ instead of the product niche. No matter what I tried to tell the directory owner, she insisted it go in the ‘blogging’ category.

    At work, the higher ups are preparing to spend big money for a CMS. I suggested why not use WordPress as it’s free and was told it’s for blogging. This is from IT people.

  3. Hi fahren,

    I’m sure it will catch on.

    As for the directory owner placing your blog in the general blogging category as opposed to the niche, it may have a lot to do with how the website looked. If it looks like a typical blog, then it’s bound to happen.

    Only way around that is to modify the theme so it looks like a standard website moreso than a blog.

    ~ Teli

  4. Hi Teli,

    It is good that WP is begining to be seen as more than just a blog platform, and I am absolutely certain it will catch on big style as a realtibvely straighforward CMS for one simple reason.

    Its just so darned easy to use, as well as being totally flexible. As Michael suggests above, this simplicity does have some down sides, but, in general terms, WP is definitely being seen more and more as a “proper” website creation and management program, rather than solely as a blog.

    Thats what I think anyway!

  5. Outstanding article! Building affiliate sites with WordPress is really opening up the door. It’s not just for blogging anymore.

  6. Hi Teli,

    Thank you for the great info, I really did not think of doing that until I read this blog. I will have to look into that great concept.

  7. Teli-

    Why don’t you develop a plugin that rotates the content . . .sorta like a big ferris wheel? Optiniche theme 2.0? Just a thought . . . 🙂

  8. Hi Clara,
    I’m not sure about rotating posts, but there’s already a random post plugin. It will display a number of posts randomly wherever the tag is added in the template.

    ~ Teli

  9. Great Article on your sharing of resouces on WordPress.. I was wondering does any one know how we can shorten the process to install new wordpress blogs?

    To install just all my plug-ins and customizing the templates it can take me hours =(

    Alvin Phang

  10. Hi Alvin,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    There are a number of ways to install WordPress quickly – the main one being the one-click install offered by many webhosts. Though, that does remove some of your control over the installation process.

    If you’re looking for a way to manage a large number of blogs, then I’d recommend the WordPress Manager DX software, or you can set up an installation of WordPress MU.

    Hope that helps,
    ~ Teli

  11. I think something to bear in mind is that WordPress uses a database… that will need occasional maintenance or sometimes disaster recovery. There is a lot of technical expertise required here, it’s not always just a case of restoring a backed-up copy. Not all affiliates will want to, or be able to, maintain a hosted database themselves.

  12. Teli,
    Can you recommend a good guide, ebook, report, etc that gives good instruction on planning and execution for building a WordPress website?
    For newbies like me it would be a lifesaver. Thanks ahead of time!

  13. This wordpress thing is driving me nuts! I better get started soon. You mentioned something about random post plugin. How does it work?

  14. Hi Allen,
    It truly depends on the type of WordPress site you plan to build, but it all will come down to being able to actually create a WordPress theme. Themes are the foundation of the blog’s look, and the best place to start would be the WordPress Codex – Using Themes and Theme Development would be two great bets.

    Now, before you delve into the world of creating WordPress themes, there are a couple very important things you should know first: (X)HTML and CSS. (I also wrote a beginner’s ebook on web page design a while back — it’s free.) If you don’t actually know how to create a web page, then you’ll be hard-pressed to create a WP theme.

    Another option would be to outsource or to use a CMS type theme such as the Semiologic theme. However, I’ve heard that it can be difficult for novices to wrap their head around, and customization without knowledge of XHTML/CSS/PHP can be a bear.

    ~ Teli

  15. Teli,
    Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I feel comfortable enough with what you have said to at least give it a try.
    Thanks again!

  16. PowerTeam Marketing Network May 3, 2007 at 3:12 am

    I’ve been switching alot of my sites over to the WordPress format. I’m finding it to be a great content management tool, and the huge variety of themes and plugins gives it a versatility that my old sites could never match. I’ve tried installing WordPress MU so I can manage them all from one dashboard, but so far can’t get it working well… Any Tips???

  17. I have found WordPresss as extremely user-friendly and also an effective method of increasing website traffic.

    You have some great ideas as customizing to look and function as traditional web pages.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  18. What you’re saying about using WordPress to build more conventional-looking sites is absolutely right.

    I started a series of posts recently called From Website to Blog that talks about just that, although I’m focusing more on AdSense sites as opposed to affiliate sites. But it works equally well for affiliate sites. Especially with WordPress 2.1, which makes it trivial to replace the home page of the blog with a static page — perfect for putting up a squeeze page.

    You can then post regular news items to the blog to keep the search engines interested and use static pages to deliver lessons via your autoresponder, etc. (Just make sure you keep those pages out of the search engines, so don’t put them in the sitemap and make sure they’re blocked from robots.txt.)

  19. This is great info. I’m going to try it asap. Thanks

  20. Shopautodotca Seocontest June 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    With its SEO-friendly features, i think WordPress will be a standard platform of many money making and informational sites. Good observation in your article.

  21. Well, WordPress’ main destination is a blogging system.. but it can be used to build all type of sites. You can make affiliate sites, presentation sites, or company sites. DRUPAL CMS, is a great example; it runs on the engine of WordPress. What I don’t know, is what if Google recognizes a WordPress engine, and puts it up in the SERPS only for a small period after which, if never posted again, it takes it off from the SERPS? That wouldn’t make WordPress such a great affiliate site builder since affiliate sites are static, they never change.

  22. Hi Daniel,
    The Drupal CMS doesn’t use WP as its engine; it’s a custom built CMS and while it has many similarities to WP, it has far more differences.

    Next, Google cannot recognize the engine of any software used to build a website unless that software leaves obvious footprints. It’s true that a majority of WP themes leave those footprints intact, however, they don’t need to be there.

    The main reason that any static site (not just WP built sites) fall in ranking is due in part to three things: lack of new/fresh content, lack of incoming links, and lack of relevance.


  23. One other thing that I just realized. When you said that Drupal uses the WP engine, did you mean that both are built with PHP?

    I thought you meant that the Drupal creators took the WP code and forked it. If that’s not what you meant, my apologies.

    ~ Teli

  24. I know I read somewhere that drupal uses the wp engine, probably some of it’s codes, just can’t find where. I know both are in php 🙂
    anyway the point is, why isn’t a company`s static website falling in SERPS and a wordpress is? pretty clear that google expects new fresh content from a blog (wordpress).

  25. Hi Daniel,
    Drupal is its own CMS, not a fork from WP, so they don’t use the same engine.

    As for a company’s static website not falling in the SERPs as opposed to a WP blog, that’s not accurate.

    Of course, if your company is Versace (which is actually done completely in Flash, one of the least search engine friendly mediums) you’re not going anywhere — in Google or otherwise. The brand has already been identified and it’s what most people will be looking for when they type “versace” into a search engine.

    For small to medium sized static company sites, they must continually work to maintain their rankings in the SERPs. That means constantly monitoring and acquiring backlinks, not only to the front page, but internal pages.

    The same is true of blogs. If you stop updating your blog, your traffic is going to drop off, but not necessarily due to dropping in the SERPs if you maintain a strong link building campaign. Most of the traffic drop off is due to reader unsubscriptions (readers aren’t going to stick around if there’s no new content to read).

    The main reason why a blog falls in rankings after it’s been “abandoned” is because it’s no longer maintained. If you want to mothball your blog while maintaining your ranking in the search engine, then you need to be proactive about it: maintain a good link building campaign to internal pages. Only when your blog meets the threshold of authority can you stop and still have high rankings.

    The best example that I can give is TechCrunch. If Mike Arrington decided to mothball it tomorrow, it would still remain a power player in the SERPs because of the sheer number of backlinks it has to its internal pages. There would be a huge tapering off of traffic because of the subscribers dropping off, but no loss in search engine rankings — at least, not for a while.

    As I mentioned before, Google (i.e. googlebot) has no way of knowing that a blog is a blog unless the site follows a specific format, therefore googlebot can’t expect anything.

    The only thing a constantly updated blog does is set the tone for how often it’s spidered. Updated more often means spidered more often. The same would be true if the website was manually updated (i.e. every page coded by hand and uploaded). When the content updates slow down, so does the spidering.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with what is used to power the website.

    ~ Teli

  26. Hey, thanks for the tips, I’m just breaking into affiliate marketing and still reading about how to promote via adsense. I wasn’t sure if I should use wordpress for affiliate marketing, but after reading your post and how Lynn uses it, I’m sure I can too


  27. Website Builder October 4, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Teli,

    I am using your data feed import script with some WP blogs I set up. It will be interesting to see how they do over time. Already I seeing spider activity and a few pages are getting indexed 🙂

    I have however, stopped building content sites in WP (I used to use RNW-great product). I now use AdcentsPro which despite the name really has a lot of neat features built in but it’s a little pricey at $795.

    I think part of the CMS is based on some WP internals but am not sure as the code is locked.

    Anyway, WPI is a very nice little tool.


  28. Learn Affiliate Marketing October 27, 2007 at 4:04 am

    This is what I call the power of afiliate niche blogging. Silent marketers are using it to generate thousands monthly.

  29. WordPress should be given more credit than it has been given in the past. I don’t think people fully understand how great WP is and how it can be used for just about any type of site out there. I mean look at the plugin database alone! Tons and tons of useful plugins and the price is right for sure – you can’t beat free.

  30. Yes Teli,

    WordPress Affiliate Sites are great and are getting more popular every day. As a matter of fact, (almost) all my ‘virtual real estate’ is built with SEO optimized WordPress blogs and I wouldn’t want it any other way 😉

    Thanks for sharing.

  31. Glamour And Company January 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I find wordpress to be very flexible and once you play around in it it’s fairly easy to navigate as well.

  32. WordPress shall be one of the main tool to be used by all participants of the international contest. WP Affiliate Guide is a great resource, a must to read for all webmasters and SEO experts.

  33. WordPress has plenty of custom features and numerous add-on modules for a wide variety of features. I would say that if you plan to post every day and build up a large amount of content, go with WordPress. If not just use Blogger and keep it simple.

  34. Adventure Art Travel September 9, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I have used wordpress and hostgator to set up an Adventure Art and Travel website, and inspite of only having “cut and paste” coding ability I have been pretty pleased with the results and the traffic that has been arriving there. I’m just about to launch another two sites, one on weathering the coming storms, another on setting up websites using wordpress, affiliates and hostgator.

  35. Volker Hartzsch April 11, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Hi Teli,

    I totally agree with what you are saying. More and more people are trying to monetize their blog.

    Since there are so many different themes, tools and plug-ins out there, it is more than helpful to have some guidance.

    I am full time with PPC, for myself and coaching, but getting questions from my clients about How to use WP. I will have to set-up one blog for this myself and forward them to you, if you like.

    Take care,


  36. David Crocombe July 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Great post. I have been considering using wordpress for my affilaite site for awhile, but did not know how to do it. The information you have provided is very useful.

  37. Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I feel comfortable enough with what you have said to at least give it a try.
    Thanks again!