How to create an affiliate program on your WordPress website

  1. Reason #1: What an affiliate program is? 01:48
  2. Reason #2: Strong affiliate terms and conditions. 03:30
  3. Reason #3: Make sure it’s a real sale. 05:35
  4. Reason #4: Tools we use. 05:58

Read the full episode transcript below:

00:28 David Blackmon: Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of WP The Podcast, brought to you by WP Gears. I’m David Blackmon.

00:35 Tim Strifler: And I’m Tim Strifler.

00:37 David Blackmon: Today, we’re going to talk about how to create an affiliate program on your WordPress website, and when you may want to use an affiliate program on your WordPress website. There are several ways you can go about doing it. There’s some software and tools that you can use that make affiliate programs really, really easy. We’re going to kind of talk about that. Tim and I both have affiliate programs for our product businesses. It just makes sense to have other people promote your products and drive traffic to your site and then compensate them.

01:12 David Blackmon: First, the one that comes to my mind is Elegant Themes. Elegant Themes built a large part of their business because they put out a 50% affiliate commission when they started. “Hey, if you drive traffic to our site and they purchase something, we’re going to give you 50% of what we make.” That’s huge incentive for people to drive traffic to that website. People want to make money, affiliate marketers and stuff. So why don’t we start off with … Maybe Tim can define what an affiliate program is.

01:48 Tim Strifler: Yeah. So I guess I’ll start with what affiliate software is. David kind of touched on an affiliate program is with Elegant Themes and essentially giving commission to people that recommend their products. And so affiliate software handles that, it facilitates that from a technical perspective. And so when you have affiliate software set up on your website, you can have your affiliate sign up for the program, and then they get a unique affiliate ID. And so when they link to your product or services, whatever it may be, rather than just linking directly to that page, they add their affiliate ID to the end of it, and then the affiliate software will then track that link and install a pixel into the user’s browser, basically a browser cookie.

02:41 Tim Strifler: And so if that user goes and buys after clicking that link within the specified amount of time, well then that affiliate is going to get an affiliate commission. And so you can set up the affiliate tracking cookie when it’s your program for however long you want. You can have it track for one day. You can have it track for 30 days. You can have it track for 180 days, whatever. And so if someone purchases in that window after clicking on the affiliates link, well, then they’ll get awarded a commission for referring that sale over to you. And so as you can imagine, it’d be a really powerful way to grow your revenue, because you have people that are recommending your products and they’re getting incentivized to do so, and they get a cut of the commission for doing it.

03:27 David Blackmon: Yeah, and I’ve got one thing that I do want to say, that you’re going to want to do, is you’re going to want to make sure that you have all of your Is dotted and your Ts crossed, and make sure that you have strong affiliate terms and conditions. One example that I want to use that … When we first got into the affiliate, allowing people to sign up or affiliates, we didn’t really know that we may not want coupon sites being affiliates for our products, because they’re basically just hijacking your own traffic and getting paid for it.

04:00 David Blackmon: So if you have any kind of sales or promotions that go on regularly like we do … Elegant Themes, for example, has a 10% off always. They have a coupon page and stuff. And these couponers are experts at driving traffic to their coupon website, and they’re basically taking an existing coupon that you have for all of your visitors, and they’re hijacking that coupon and driving traffic through your website with that. So that’s one thing you’re going to want to look at, whether or not you’re going to want coupon sites as affiliates. I know for us, for example, we don’t allow coupon sites to be affiliates.

04:43 Tim Strifler: Yeah. And you mentioned they’ll take an existing coupon codes. A lot of times, too, I’ve noticed, it won’t even be a real a coupon. It’ll be something that just made up. And so someone gets to your checkout page and they see, “Oh, there’s a promo code field, a coupon code field.” So they’ll Google Aspen Grove Studios, Divi Life coupon code, whatever it may be. Nd then they’ll go to that coupon site’s page, where they’re claiming that they have a discount for the user, and then they come to that page and they click the coupon link. Oh. You know what? Coupon’s expired, but it redirects them back over to your site with their affiliate ID.

05:22 Tim Strifler: And so they’re getting credit for nothing. They didn’t give the user a discount in most cases, and they didn’t actually send you that traffic. They sent that traffic back to you, but it was traffic you generated yourself. And so it’s super spammy and scammy and whatever else you want to call it. And so another thing that I wanted to mention is looking at every single referral. So every time there’s supposedly a referral commission that you owe someone, make sure that it’s real. Make sure it’s a real sale, it wasn’t a refund or anything like that, it wasn’t a coupon site. Make sure you know where that traffic is coming from.

05:58 Tim Strifler: A lot of times two people will sign up for your affiliate program, and then they’ll go try to buy the product using their own affiliate ID. And the software that we recommend using, AffiliateWP, which is the most popular affiliate software for WP, It’s very powerful, very easy to use, Very reliable, it will automatically filter that out. If someone signs up for your affiliate program with a certain email address, and then they go and buy your product using their affiliate link with that same email address, then it’s automatically going to filter it out and not award them commission.

06:37 Tim Strifler: However, some people know that, and so they’ll use a different email for the affiliate program than they do to buy the product. And so you have to go and make sure that people aren’t doing that, because they’re referring themselves. They shouldn’t get commission for that. And so those are just a couple of things that David and I have learned from running our own affiliate programs to look out for. Because it is very powerful, and it is something that we recommend doing, but you have to kind of look out of the people that are trying to game the system, essentially.

07:06 David Blackmon: Absolutely. We hope this episode was helpful for you, why you may want to consider creating affiliate program if you have productized. It’s kind of hard with service-based businesses to have affiliate programs, so this is more for productizing things, where you have courses or plugins or themes, or different types of things like that for WordPress.

07:32 David Blackmon: Well, tomorrow we’ve got another great topic. Does my business need a mobile app? It’s 2019, mobile have been the rage for a while, and we’re going to answer those questions. Tim? Until tomorrow. We’ll see you then.

07:48 Tim Strifler: Take care. Bye-bye.

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