As a company that offers support for affiliate marketers through coaching calls, our team here at BrandBuilders can say that we have our “ear to the ground” when it comes to the challenges people face when they start making money online.
We can say with confidence that one of the most common questions we see is whether it is a good idea to start multiple affiliate websites.
This could be because affiliate marketers are a resourceful, feisty bunch who are always looking for a new way to make a buck.
It could be due to the proliferation of content being shared online about how different affiliate marketing pros are boosting their income. This leads to a pretty strong sense of FOMO.
We also admit that we hear a lot of great ideas that our customers have for niche sites once they are midway through building out their original idea.
So, what is the right answer to the question: “How many sites should I have for affiliate marketing?”
Let’s go in-depth about this to find the best answer for you. Trust us – the right decision here can save you a LOT of time and money!
There are many great arguments out there for why people should build multiple affiliate marketing websites. We find that these generally fit into three key categories: the revenue argument, diversification, and outsourcing.
These are much better reasons for pursuing this strategy than simply starting something new because you had an epiphany about a missed niche opportunity, or because you read about someone else’s success in a different industry online. Do your best to resist “shiny object syndrome.”
With all that said, we recommend avoiding thinking seriously about this decision until you are further down the road in your affiliate marketing journey.
If you have started your first affiliate site within the past six months, this question probably doesn’t apply to you yet – but it’s still worth thinking about for later on.
If you have an affiliate site with steady monthly traffic of 10,000 page views and growing, you still might want to focus on diversifying your on-site income.
But if you are an authority site veteran with strong search engine rankings, multiple income streams on your site, and confidence in your processes, then multiple sites could be an option for you.
But before we go into how this can work, it’s time to talk about why your goal should be building a single high-performing authority site!
For the average affiliate marketer, we recommend building a niche site to authority site status.
You may be wondering, how do I know if my affiliate site counts as an authority website? We recently published an article on building an authority site, where we explained that an authority site is a highly reputable website in terms of search ranking and user trust, with a large amount of content and multiple revenue streams.
It’s tough to know exactly when a niche site can be considered an authority site, but for the purpose of this article, we can refer to it as a site that has 20+ top 5 Google rankings and at least 10,000 monthly pageviews.
So, why should you try to work towards an authority site instead of multiple niche sites?
There is a search engine optimization argument behind this, but one of the most important aspects for us is how we typically see people fail at affiliate marketing. As a business based on educating and supporting all levels of affiliate marketing enthusiasts, we see this firsthand!
The number one reason that affiliate marketers fail isn’t because they aren’t skilled, devoted, or resourceful enough. It is because they take on too much all at once themselves, and run out of time to be able to do all the things that they set in motion for themselves to reach their affiliate site goals.
So, we consider it our responsibility to keep people on track and avoid going down rabbit holes that monopolize their time and budgets.
And if that isn’t enough of a reason, Google makes it pretty difficult too.
One of the greatest reasons to stick with a single site comes from how Google’s algorithm is currently set up, and the way that many online marketers and search engine optimization experts believe things will be trending in the future.
This all has to do with a relatively new SEO concept called “E-A-T” that has come into vogue in SEO and marketing circles since Google’s second most recent algorithm update, the August 2018 “Medic Update” (which received its nickname because it initially affected a lot of sites offering health and medical services).
The Medic Update affected these sites because the algorithm change was meant to ensure that sites that were being recommended on SERP’s were trustworthy. In a niche such as health and fitness, this was important because a random website doling out questionable medical advice could end up causing more damage than whatever you might find on WebMD.
The new algorithm gives an advantage to websites that display a higher level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This is where we get our mysterious E-A-T acronym from, and this has a profound impact when you are building a niche affiliate marketing website from the ground up.
Since Google Medic, sites have tried to crack the code on what it really means to have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Since Google doesn’t say exactly what changes they have made, this is mostly speculative.
However, after plenty of marketing and SEO pros have conducted their own research and testing, we can be pretty confident that this is how things work.
Trustworthiness and authority are the easy ones to explain: authority comes from a strong backlink profile and domain authority, and shares on social media. Trustworthiness can mean good ratings on review centers like Google My Business, including a physical address on your website, and having an SSL certificate for your website.
Expertise is a bit of a tougher nut to crack, but generally, the SEO world says that including rich media (audio, video, infographics) in your content helps, as does having content pieces be tightly related to each other and connected with internal linking.
The implications of Google’s EAT policy can be boiled down to one simple statement:
No. More. Shortcuts.
This change made it very difficult for affiliate marketing websites to rocket up the Google search rankings by using strategies like aggressive link building. Google tried to make marketing your business more about human relationships, and less about how savvy your SEO team is.
All of these things take time, effort, and in a lot of instances, money (unless you are interested in creating an entire website’s worth of content all on your own).
This is all about building trust from actual humans, and search engines. Trust takes time to build, and it means investing in real-world engagement with your site visitors, not just hiring a virtual assistant to plug your website in the comments of a Quora question.
So if you have three great niche ideas that you are hoping to build from scratch, you probably want to take some time to think about how you will be able to effectively manage growth for different verticals all at the same time, knowing that it could take at least 6-8 months before you start seeing your first signs of revenue.
Above all else, if you need a reality check for how taxing it can be to build a niche site to a top 10 ranking on Google, here is something to keep in mind.
In Brady from BrandBuilder’s tutorial video on introductory keyword research using Ahrefs, he shows viewers how to find niches with keywords that have at least two websites on Google’s top 10 that have domain authority rankings under 25.
This implies that if you can boost your site to a domain rating of at least 25, and shove aside these other niche sites to find a spot in the top 10, you can start making organic one of your top traffic sources.
To get a Domain Authority of 25, we can conservatively say that you will need at least 5-6 months of content creation, link building, social profile engagement, and anything else that you think will build trust and authority in your niche.
If you want to do one of these things (let’s say content creation) the right way, you are probably looking at a $1,000+ monthly content outsourcing budget with a site like Upwork, plus the time it takes to properly filter good writing talent and maintain strong editorial standards for a single website. Doing this for two, three, or more at the same time could get a little hairy.
If you have that much money saved up to spend on bootstrapping, you might as well buy a pre-made site with a content creation package from BrandBuilders and save yourself some trouble. Seriously.
But, we aren’t here to try to convince you that buying our product is the only alternative (even if we do think it is pretty sweet). Because why would you buy anything from us unless you trust us?
That’s what this SEO game really boils down to: Trust.
You will have more success in affiliate marketing if you are able to put more time and energy into building the trust that is bundled into your website.
Unfortunately, there is no easy metric to determine how much trust your visitors have in your affiliate marketing website (okay, maybe SEM Rush has a “Trust Score”, but not everyone has this platform).
Trust is built by creating a base of returning site visitors who engage with your content on comments or social media, and eventually buy products through your affiliate links.
This is the same trust that can earn your website the title of being an Authority Website instead of just a niche site.
So, as you are building your affiliate marketing website, try to set meaningful goals that can measure trust.
This could mean something like keeping an eye on your returning users metric in Google Analytics and trying to make sure that it is always a certain percentage of total users.
Or, you can check whether your affiliate partner program measures how many purchases are made by repeat customers. Try to continually grow this number as you add more affiliate products to your site.
Now that we have spent time trying to convince you not to go down the road of building multiple niche sites, we can’t avoid addressing the fact that not all people do this!
When you research affiliate marketing, you will start to notice that it seems like very few of the bloggers giving out advice have a single affiliate marketing business venture.
Many affiliate marketing pros will refer to their “portfolio” of authority sites which bring in money through a variety of different income streams.
They usually talk about the benefits of diversification. Heck, we even use this example frequently in our educational blog posts. “You should diversify your authority websites, just like you should diversify a stock portfolio” is a common adage that makes sense to anyone trying to get paid.
However, there is a reason that these marketers do this. And it’s not because they possess some god-given talent, or work harder than everyone else.
We recently released a great interview video on the BrandBuilders YouTube channel, where Brady interviews online affiliate/income maestro Jon Gillham.
In this video, Brady asks Jon a question:
“Most of the time when people are getting started, they focus their efforts into one business. Would you say that you have different advice? Because it seems like you have had a different experience.”
For those unfamiliar with Jon’s work, he is heavily involved with many online business ventures, including building authority and Amazon FBA websites, managing affiliate marketing campaigns, and much more. He blogs about his projects and learnings on his website Authority Website Income, which we strongly suggest you check out.
Jon’s response is somewhat self-deprecating and very useful for any aspiring affiliate marketer to hear.
“I do it wrong, I know I do it wrong…but I have come to grips with it in terms of building a team of entrepreneurs with the organizational capacity to launch projects.”
This response comes from an experienced affiliate marketing business pro, who has spent a long time optimizing his processes and finding good people to help him accomplish his goals.
But what does he say about our multi-project (or affiliate website) debate?
“You should focus on one, 95% of people will achieve more success focusing on one. I’m not saying I’m one of the five, I would probably also achieve more success focusing on one. But it’s also fun to launch stuff.”
So what if you find yourself inching towards one of the 5%?
What if you hear about a brand new online income stream or untouched niche that seems too good to pass up?
What if you have extra money in the bank, and a strong team of freelancers who you know can write killer copy for your new content site idea?
If you see yourself ticking off at least one of these boxes, you could make an argument for killing it with more than one niche site. Here’s how this can be possible.
First things first. It goes without saying that you should validate that an existing niche site or blog is profitable before you get too carried away with another idea. What does this look like exactly?
You should aim for at least six months of breaking even with your existing website before you start to plan to start from scratch again. This means that your combined income streams need to exceed the amount of money it takes to keep your site growing, and your income should be growing monthly too.
The purpose of being patient is to make sure that you are accounting for possible seasonality in your niche.
It is also important to experience the typical roadblocks that affiliate marketers face, like losing a highly coveted Google ranking or dealing with poorly-optimized display ads that affect your site’s loading speed.
If you have taken your time and are confident about the passive income abilities of your existing site, then you can proceed with caution in building a second or third site.
The only case where we would recommend starting another niche site is if you have a well thought out plan for how you will make less work for yourself the second time around.
There are many effective ways that you can do this.
You can buy a turnkey affiliate marketing website from BrandBuilders for as low as $1,395 per site. This completely removes the need for you to worry about web hosting, choosing a WordPress theme, logo design, on-page search engine optimization, or coming up with all-new content from scratch.
But even if you are experienced with building websites, this still means making a lot of low-level decisions that can monopolize your time.
You should also be checking that your keyword research and content creation are fully outsourced to a virtual assistant and a trusted team of freelance writers. This means that you will still have control over the content that is produced for the site by writing effective content briefs and setting editorial guidelines for your team, but you will only need to make bigger decisions.
You should also consider outsourcing link building, guest posting, and outreach for your site.
Link building is pretty straightforward to outsource. All it takes is giving a list of a targeted list of websites to a virtual assistant, and setting them loose to try to get your backlink on their pages.
If you have a particularly strong virtual assistant, you can get them to do outreach and guest posting too, which means reaching out to other sites in the same (or similar) niche to try to work together to build each other’s domain authority.
The sites that you work with do not have to be affiliate marketing sites.
However, this can also be an activity that you reserve for yourself (if you have the time). As we mentioned earlier, trust is such an important part of effective affiliate marketing and other website owners will likely react better if they are being reached out to by the owner of another website.
If this article has completely turned you off from the idea of growing multiple niche sites, we want you to know that there are still many other ways to achieve diversification with your online income streams.
Most affiliate marketers use these strategies to some extent, and we recommend that you do too. Even if these strategies take time to get good at, or even earn money from, they are still much easier to put into action than starting another affiliate website from scratch. Trust us.
This is one of the first things that you should be doing to ensure that you are protected from large shocks to your passive income. Make sure that you are utilizing several different affiliate networks/programs.
A question that gets asked a lot is: “How many affiliates can you have on one website?” The best answer to this is as many as you want, but two will probably get the job done.
The important thing is to avoid depending entirely on a single affiliate link program.
In April of 2020, Amazon announced widespread cuts to its affiliate programs across many of its product categories. For Amazon affiliate marketers, this led to a collapse in their monthly revenues, and a mad scramble to find alternatives that they could use to replace the income from their Amazon affiliate links.
All of these online marketing folks were completely reliant on an income stream that they had no ownership or control over, which could be pulled out from under them at any time.
Don’t put yourself in this position.
First, familiarize yourself with all the relevant affiliate link programs and networks for your niche. Our recent blog post on the 5 Best Affiliate Programs for Beginners is a great place to start.
When you are ready to take action with your diversification strategy, check out another recent guest post we published where Angelo Sorbello increased his affiliate revenues by 4X after stopping his Amazon affiliate program entirely.
To do this, he focused on strategies like:
Read his article for more actionable steps and remember. There are too many affiliate program options out there to not at least try to diversify your offerings. This should be an easy target for most affiliate sites to establish some security for the long term.
Diversification through introducing new income streams is an oft-repeated concept when giving advice to people about their marketing websites. In my opinion, it can also be one of the least helpful.
This isn’t because it is a bad idea, but because this advice is often given without context or actionable steps that online marketing pros can take to get paid. It often ends up being a throw it all at the wall and we will see what sticks kind of situation.
So, we have put together some actionable first steps that you can take to diversify your marketing website that doesn’t involve starting an eBook from scratch.
(tk insert diversification photo)
We recently wrote an article comparing some of the top display advertising networks out there. It is a passive income dream for a site with steady traffic.
If you have over 1,000 monthly page views, sign up for Google AdSense and start familiarizing yourself with the system. If you have over 10,000 monthly page views, sign up for Monumetric or Ezoic and lean on their helpful support teams to take a look under the hood and configure their ads to make your site more money.
YouTube can be an incredibly effective income stream. It is difficult to grow to the point where it is your primary way to make money, but it is still a good idea to produce content on a semi-consistent basis and evaluate whether there is an audience in your niche. Here’s how you can get started.
Again, this isn’t the easiest way to make money, but it can be the right choice for certain niches. This is especially true if you are already doing content related to product reviews or how-to’s, which can benefit from the visual marketing medium.
Of course, we have to talk about selling your own products. They can be the most effective revenue sources for affiliate marketers in terms of profit margin and are one of the rare cases where you have total ownership over your income source.
Some first steps to making money from your marketing website with your own products can include:
In conclusion, the multiple niche site dream is probably only realistic for a small percentage of affiliate marketers.
The people who are able to pull this off successfully are able to make the best use of their most valuable resource – their time – and farm out the most laborious tasks using a strong bench of freelancers, trusted VA’s, and proven processes.
However, we want to make it clear that the main limitation here isn’t how smart you are, or whether you have a reputation as an affiliate marketing guru. No, it all has to do with search engines.
Google’s most recent updates have only bolstered the importance of the E-A-T model, and all signs are pointing towards things continuing in this direction.
As an affiliate marketer, you need to understand that there is only so much power you have in your ability to earn money online. Sometimes, you just have to give in to the Googles and Amazons of the world and play by their rules.
“Micro” sites are becoming harder and harder to make money with. Think of authority as your overall goal, and always look for ways to diversify.
We hope we have helped answer the question “how many sites should I have for affiliate marketing?”
If you want help making your authority site (or sites) a reality, feel free to hop on a coaching call with one of our experts. It’s totally free and can point you in the right direction!
How to Make 10000 a Month Online in 2020
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog in 2020?
Doug Cunnington: Getting Started, Helping Others, & Entrepreneurial Freedom | Entrepreneur’s Mentor Show
How to Start a Sports Blog: A Detailed 7-Step Guide