How To Setup A Killer Amazon Affiliate Website (Step by Step Walkthrough + WordPress Template Download)

I probably don’t need to tell you that building a successful Amazon affiliate website is not for the faint-hearted.

It takes ridiculous planning, an obscene amount of patience and an uncanny ability to break through barrier after barrier of constant self-doubt.

But if there’s one thing that’ll slow you down faster than an asthmatic snail in a relay race, it’s getting that “perfect” amazon affiliate website setup before you can start working on actually growing your business.

Whether it’s spending hours deciding on a theme…

Countless days tweaking the design until it’s just right…

Or weeks figuring out the nuances of all the “must-have” tech….

…it’s often a process that sucks the life out of you before you even get off the starting line. Not to mention the financial cost of delayed growth.

The solution is simple.

Leverage the site setup of someone who’s already fought and agonized over every microscopic detail of building that specific type of website.

I’m talkin’ about a complete framework that allows you to focus on the core drivers of your business from day 1, and bypass the time-suck that so many budding authority site and niche site builders get caught up in.

While there are a number of business models you could base this kind of site build around, today, we’re going to take a deep dive into the Amazon affiliate site model.

And, as the title of this post suggests, I’m not only going to show you how to assemble this framework yourself…

…I’m also gonna straight up GIVE it to you.

Just to be clear, this post is only going to be covering the technical aspect of site building and not include things like keyword research, niche selection, content creation, link building and other aspects that are necessary to make a site successful.

If you are looking for the complete blueprint, check out The Authority Site System where Perrin & Gael cover it all.

But if you are looking for a quick site building fix, let’s get rocking!

What Makes The “Perfect” Amazon Affiliate Website?

Before we get to all that, I quickly want to go over the fundamentals of the build, and what my thinking is behind it.

As we progress through this, realize that every decision made has been done so with the specific objectives of a profit-driving affiliate site in mind.

(That’s everything from hosting, design, and even the individual functions. It’s all accounted for.)

In order to understand the build — and it’s recommend that you do — you’ll first need to understand the key principles of a highly-optimized, successful Amazon affiliate website.

So, let’s break it down. This site should

1 . Hosting

Be built on a stable and secure server that can allows for at least 3,000 visits per month with possibility of a seamless upgrade in the future. (go to implementation)

2. Content management

Offer a secure and versatile environment to house the site, as well the ability to easily create and manage large amounts of content. (go to implementation)

3. Theme

Provide a secure framework that’s compatible with the rest of the site build, including all functionality and design aspects. Support is also a strong factor. (go to implementation)

4. Analytics

Have access to advanced data and tracking regarding website traffic and page/post performance across the entire site. (go to implementation)

5. Security

Be able to detect and block attacks as well as identify any potential vulnerabilities. Site recovery is also an additional but important thing to consider here. (go to implementation)

6. SEO

Be fully search engine optimized in order to rank both informational and commercial content, establishing a steady flow of organic traffic. (go to implementation)

7. Page Builder

Be quick and easy to customize the layout and design of your core pages and blog content. (go to implementation)

8. Link management

Be capable of organizing all your affiliate links under one, easy to use roof, as well being able to effectively swap out old affiliate links from one location. (go to implementation)

9. Product display

Be able to display linkable product boxes and comparison tables throughout your content, that also comply with Amazon’s ToS. (go to implementation)

10. Link localization

Redirect visitors to the correct affiliate offers based on geographic location in order to capitalize on the majority of your traffic. (go to implementation)

11. Auto linking (optional)

Automatically add affiliate links within your content, based on predefined keywords, phrases and rules… (go to implementation)

Previewing The Build

amz site preview

This build meets all the requirements I’ve outlined above, and is what I would consider the leanest, most optimized and efficient setup for a successful Amazon affiliate website you could possibly start with.

The process can be broken up into 3 distinct phases, which are:

And here’s how that looks on a larger scale…

Affiliate Site Framework Graph

So that’s the big picture view of what we’ll be covering, now it’s time to get down in the trenches and start building this thing.

Ready?

Let’s do it…

PHASE #1: The Foundation

Affiliate Site Framework 1 The Foundation

This phase is all about laying the foundation for the rest of the site, and it incorporates only the fundamental elements of the build.

While these decisions have been made with the affiliate or niche site model in mind, the principles outlined here are almost always true, regardless of what type of site you’re building.

Hosting (And Domain)

Hosting is the first step of any site build, and since it’s also a single point of failure for your entire business, it’s easily one of the most important decisions you can make at this early stage.

What makes a good hosting company for Amazon affiliate websites?

1. Servers

If the server your website lives on experiences frequent and extended periods of downtime, or if server performance is subpar, that will directly impact both user experience and SEO, resulting in lower traffic and conversions.

2. Backups

Any good hosting provider will keep regular backups of your site, usually between 7-30 days, and sometimes monthly backups that are kept for much longer periods of time.

3. Interface

With your hosting account being the hub of your website, domain, emails, backups and all your site files, it’s important to have a backend interface that allows you control over those aspects of your business.

4. Support

When things go wrong — and things do go wrong — the time it takes to rectify those issues will depend almost entirely on the quality of your hosting provider’s support. Trust me, this is a BIG deal.

We Chose: SiteGround

SiteGround Web Hosting

SiteGround is undoubtedly one of the most respected hosting companies out there at the moment, and it’s almost always our go-to provider for any new sites we build these days.

We went with SiteGround because:

  • 99.99% server uptime and very reasonable speeds on even the lowest priced plan
  • Backups are automatically created and stored every day for the last 30 days (for shared and cloud hosting)
  • Live chat support with little to no waiting time to speak to an experienced chat agent
  • 1-click CMS installation via Control Panel (this will be important for the next part)

As you register your hosting account with SiteGround, I recommend registering your domain through them as well ($14.95/year). It just makes the setup process a lot smoother and they’re only marginally more expensive than other registrars.

How To Set It Up

  • ​Suitable for: A single site, up to 10GB space and 10,000 monthly visits
  • Cost: $62.35 per year (inc VAT)
  • Link: SiteGround

A Quick Note On CDN’s

Cloudflare

A CDN, or content delivery network, allows you to store a cached version of your sites content in multiple geographical server locations, meaning your content can be served to your website visitors from the most optimal location.

Not only that, but it allows you exceed the bandwidth limitations of your hosting provider, since the data isn’t necessarily being served from their servers.

I won’t get into the technical side of it here since it’s outside the scope of this article, but this is an awesome guide if you’re interested in learning about that.

Why am I telling you about CDN’s?

Well, you can enable a well-known CDN called Cloudflare from the SiteGround dashboard, and the free version is plenty good enough to get you started.

This is another reason we love and recommend SiteGround. :)

SiteGroung cPanel

WPX Hosting and WP Engine are also good choices, but they just didn’t tick as many boxes as SiteGround for this particular build.

Content Management System (CMS)

The CMS is essentially the “skeleton” of your site, allowing you to organize and manage virtually everything from users, pages, posts and even media. It also offers a myriad of ways to extend your sites functionality with both free and premium plugins.

What makes a good CMS for an Amazon affiliate website?

1. User Experience

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the backend of your site, it’s important to be able to use it comfortably and effectively

2. Code

A well-coded CMS will result in better overall performance, speed and, most importantly, security.

3. Updates

Regular and timely updates help fight against new and emerging threats, and also often improve your sites functionality.

4. Extendability

The potential to install addons to change or extend the functionality of certain areas of a site, including the size and quality of the addon library.

5. Longevity

Building your niche site on a soon-to-be abandoned and outdated CMS is a recipe for disaster, particularly for the reasons mentioned above.

We Chose: WordPress

WordPress Dashboard

WordPress is a free and open-source content management system that is estimated to power roughly 26% of all websites on the internet. It’s no surprise considering it’s by far the most supported and versatile CMS.

We went with WordPress because:

  • Very user friendly and intuitive interface
  • ​While there is debate on whether it’s “well coded”, it undoubtedly performs well in terms of speed and security
  • Constantly being updated to maintain a high-level of security
  • Allows for additional layers of security (more on that later)
  • Has the largest, most comprehensive plugin library of any CMS

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Any type of affiliate sites (and pretty much any type of site, for that matter)
  • Cost: Free
  • Link: WordPress

I really couldn’t recommend anything else other than WordPress, and there’s no reason to. This CMS already has everything you’ll ever need to build a highly-profitable Amazon affiliate website. No need to complicate things.

Theme

In 99.9% of cases, you can’t build a WordPress site without first activating a theme. Your theme essentially sits on top of your CMS (in this case, WordPress) and is responsible for the overall look and functionality of your site.

What makes a good WordPress theme for an Amazon affiliate website?

(Hint: this follows the same basic principles as your CMS, just with a lot more emphasis on the compatibility and design aspects.)

1. Code

A well-coded theme will result in better overall performance, speed and, most importantly, security.

2. Updates

Regular and timely updates help fight against new and emerging threats, and also often improves site functionality.

3. Compatibility

Plugins are a crucial component of any WordPress build in order to extend and fine-tune it’s functionality, so it’s important that the theme plays nice with these third-party addons.

4. Design

The freedom to make changes to the layout and design without having to dive into the core code and risk breaking components of the theme itself.

5. Support

Your theme is easily one of the core ingredients of a site build, and it’s also where most “issues” tend to arise. For that reason, having a reliable support channel is essential.

6. Longevity

Building your niche site on a soon-to-be abandoned and outdated theme could lead to eventual vulnerabilities, and will likely leave you open to an attack further down the line.

We Chose: GeneratePress

Generatepress: one of the best wordpress themes for affiliate marketing

GeneratePress is one of the newer themes on the market but it has already made quite a name for itself for being, as it says on the tin, simple, lightweight and free — though we will be paying $40 for Premium to get more customization options.

We went with GeneratePress because:

  • The code is super lean and highly-optimized for speed and performance
  • Well maintained to account for potential security fixes as well as being regularly updated with new and useful features
  • Minimal conflicts with plugins and other addons
  • Allows for plenty of design and layout customization through the theme settings
  • Support offered via GeneratePress premium member forum is outstanding (and publically searchable
  • The developer has openly stated that he’s in it for the long haul (read here)

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Any type of Amazon affiliate website (and pretty much any type of niche site, for that matter)
  • Cost: It’s a free theme, but for this build you’ll need the ‘GP Premium’ add-on to get access to extended customizability
  • Link: GeneratePress Premium

​OceanWP, Astra and the Genesis Framework are other alternatives you may want to consider. They are frequently recommended by others though I haven’t personally tested either of these myself.

You could also opt for something more niche-specific on a marketplace like ThemeForest, but you do often risk buying a bloated, poorly supported theme that way.

PHASE #2: The Bolt-Ons

Affiliate Site Framework 2 The Bolt-Ons

At this stage, we’ve set up a hosting account, installed a content management system, and even settled on a theme.

For most people, this is where a website build typically ends.

Of course, what we’re building here isn’t just an ordinary setup. We’re creating something that incorporates the core design and functionality principles of this website archetype.

In other words, something that can be defined as the necessary framework for a successful amazon affiliate website.

So, on that basis, even though this is often enough to get going, we’re now going to take this beyond the basic setup and start bolting on some extra functionality.

This will include:

  • Some general additions that I recommend adding to any new site build
  • And, of course, some additions that are very specific to affiliate site builds in particular

As you’ve no doubt guessed, the way to achieve all this is through the use of WordPress plugins and third-party services, so let’s hop to it.

Web Analytics

Website analytics are the only way to truly measure and track the growth of your affiliate marketing business, and doing so is crucial if you want to identify what’s really moving the needle in your business.

What makes a good web analytics service for affiliate sites?

1. Traffic

Analyze and dissect your website traffic based on various different filters

2. Pages

Get a detailed breakdown of the performance of all the posts and pages on your site

3. Real-time

View and analyze website traffic data and page performance data in real-time

4. Tracking

Ability to set and track goals based on any number of variables

We Chose: Google Analytics

Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics is the Don of the web analytics world, and the free software does just about anything you could come to expect from an analytics service.

We went with Google Analytics because:

  • ​It offers detailed traffic reporting based on anything from the user’s location, demographic, and even behaviour
  • ​It allows you to view your best (and worst) performing content based on metrics like pageviews, time on page, and page value
  • It provides real-time reporting that includes data on traffic source, search keyword, user location, and more…
  • You can set up goal tracking around metrics like URL destination, visit duration, and even custom ‘events’

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Any type of site, especially if you intend it to making money
  • Cost: Free
  • Link: Google Analytics

As I said in the video, if you want to get down and dirty with Google Analytics, check out MeasureSchool on Youtube. Tons of free, very detailed videos that many people would gladly pay for.

If for some reason you’re not a fan of Google Analytics, Clicky is a popular (freemium) alternative. Based on this comparison, it appears to hold it’s own against GA.​

Additional Security

Even with a solid CMS (like WordPress) and a well-coded theme (like GeneratePress), savvy hackers can still penetrate your site. You can significantly reduce the chances of this happening by adding an extra layer of security.

What makes a good security plugin for affiliate sites?

1. 2FA

Or ‘Two Factor Authentication’ just means that a second form of verification is required in order to log in. That way, even if someone figures out your password, they still won’t be able to log in.

2. Firewall

This is used to automatically block potentially malicious traffic/activity from being able to access your site, usually via IP ban. Requires a thorough and constantly updated “threat database”.

3. Live scanner

The ability to run (and schedule a recurring) live scan of your entire site and all of it’s files is essential if you think your site has been compromised.

We Chose: WordFence

Wordfence

Wordfence is up there with the best in terms of website security. It plugs straight into your WordPress installation and gets to work right away protecting your site using it’s comprehensive threat defense feed.

We went with WordFence because:

  • It allows you to set up 2FA using something you know (i.e. your password) and something you have (i.e. your phone).
  • It offers strong and regularly updated firewall protection to significantly lower the likelihood of being hacked
  • Allows for live site scanning of core files, themes and plugins for malware, code injections and backdoors
  • ​Compares your site files with original, WordPress repository versions to identify and repair compromised areas of your site

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Any type of affiliate sites (and pretty much any type of site, for that matter)
  • Cost: The freemium version offers a generous feature-set, though upgrading (from $99/year) will always provide the best protection
  • Link:WordFence

Another popular alternative is Sucuri, though the free version doesn’t stand up to the free version of WordFence. If you plan to upgrade, however, Sucuri is definitely worth looking into.

Search Engine Optimization

Every site should be taking advantage of organic search traffic from search engines like Google, and affiliate sites are no exception. Tools that aid in on-page optimization offer quick wins in that department, and often lead to significant increase in visitors to your site.

What makes a good on-page SEO plugin?

1​​​​. Page analysis

Automatic scanning of your posts and pages to ensure on-page SEO standards have been met

2. Snippet preview

The ability to preview search snippets to see how they appear on the front-end and ensure they fit within the pixel limitations.

3​​​​. Technical SEO

Extended control over technical SEO aspects. For example, the ability to easily prevent crawling from search engines on a page-by-page basis

4​​​​. Guidance

With potentially dozens of on-page factors to consider, having a tool look at your site as a whole and suggest on-page improvements is always handy

We Chose: Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO

Though WordPress is generally well-optimized for SEO purposes, Yoast SEO gives you some extra settings that would otherwise require custom coding or dedicated plugins. (It’s also by the far most popular on-page plugin in the WordPress repository.)

We went with Yoast SEO because:

  • ​It offers real time post and page analysis, including support for page builder’s (important for the next section)
  • ​You get live snippet previews your meta title and description, which are also fully editable
  • ​It handles all the background technical stuff (robots.txt, .htaccess, sitemaps, etc.)
    ​It provides general site-level guidance, like for example, reminding you to enable pretty permalinks
  • It also offers a built-in readability checks of your content — though I don’t find it very accurate, personally

How To Install & Set It Up

Suitable for: ​Any site that is looking to improve their on-page SEO optimization
Cost: I think the freemium version is good enough on it’s own, but you can upgrade to Premium for $69 per year.
Link: Yoast SEO

There is a popular alternative to Yoast, and it’s called All In One SEO Pack. They both perform very similar functions and I believe it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

Page Design

Normally, your WordPress theme takes care of customization in terms of design, but, as customizable as GeneratePress is, there are certain tools available that make the design process even easier for different areas of your website.

Page builder’s work well because they override the standard WordPress editor, which is notoriously bad for anything outside of basic content production.

What makes a good page builder for affiliate sites?

1. Ease of use

The UI/UX is probably on the biggest aspects of any page builder because it directly influences productivity output

2. Elements

(or modules) are the building blocks that are used to design your page. Generally, the more building block variations you have, the more you can achieve in terms of design.

3. Flexibility

Not only being able to customize elements to your liking, but also control certain aspects of the page, including things like responsiveness, for example.

4. Templates

The ability to import pre-made templates and save your own for reuse later is a huge time saver. (And something that will be particularly useful for stealing this build’s design ;))

5. Support

This is a factor with most things you purchase these days, but page builders have so many moving parts that you likely will run into issues at some point.

We Chose: Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect Website

Thrive Architect is a marketing-oriented, visual page builder for WordPress and easily one of the better options available for affiliate marketing professionals. It’s particularly good for creating things like tables star ratings, as well support for inline editing.

We went with Thrive Architect because:

  • It’s easy to use, especially in comparison to most other page builders on the market
  • It has a strong selection of elements, and particularly elements that are more marketing-oriented
  • The inline editing makes creating long-form content a breeze
  • It has a comprehensive template library, and allows you to save and reuse individual sections of your content
  • Support is manageable (admittedly, there is room for improvement here)

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Marketing oriented websites, including affiliate sites
  • Cost: ​​$67 one-off
  • Link: Thrive Architect

​Why didn’t we chose Elementor?

Both are great page builders, but I feel Thrive has the edge here because it’s more marketer-oriented. For example, unlike Elementor, it supports tables (natively) which will be important for the type of product review content you’ll be creating.

Link Management

Link management plugins allow you to build up a library of commonly used affiliate links, so you can insert them multiple times throughout your site while only having to update the link from one central location.

What makes a good link management plugin?

1. Custom URL structure

Having control over the URL structure, and being able to use a custom structure is always welcome (not relevant to Amazon affiliate sites, however.)

2. Quick add links

Being able to add new affiliate links on the fly is a massive time saver

3. Nofollow option

The ability to nofollow affiliate links is crucial in order to meet Google’s quality guidelines

4. Link click reporting

Seeing what links are generating the most clicks will allow you to identify what offers and positions are working on the page

We Chose: Thirsty Affiliates (Free)

Thirsty Affiliate Dashboard

Thirsty Affiliates is a WordPress plugin offering a suite of tools to help affiliate marketers monetize their blog quickly and efficiently. At its most basic level, it’s also a pretty damn good link management plugin for affiliates.

We went with Thirsty Affiliates because:

  • ​You can easily add new links from the dashboard (or in the post/page editor)
  • You can nofollow affiliate links with the click of a button
  • It has basic link click reporting to see how many people are clicking on your affiliate links
  • ​It’s now Amazon compliant (see below)

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Affiliate sites
  • Cost: ​​​The base plugin is free, but you can upgrade to the Pro version for $59/year
  • Link: Thirsty Affiliates

Thirsty Affiliates recently released a major update to their plugin that allowed the uncloaking of Amazon affiliate links. (Yeah, Amazon doesn’t like cloaked links.)

Product Boxes & Tables

Using product boxes and tables to present your product recommendations has been a long-standing tradition for Amazon affiliate sites. The good news is, there are plugins available that make it super easy to implement them with zero coding required.

What makes a good product tables plugin?

1. Design

Pre-set styles for both product boxes and tables, as well as customization options to align them with your branding

2. Ease of use

No complicated setup or coding required. Needs a clean, intuitive user interface for creating these elements

3. Nofollow option

The ability to nofollow affiliate links is crucial in order to meet Google’s quality guidelines

4. Compliancy

Must meet Amazon’s strict terms regarding images, pricing, ratings and buttons.

We Chose: Amazon Associates for WordPress (AAWP)

Amazon Associates for WordPress

Amazon Affiliate for WordPress (AAWP) is a perfect addition to this build because it allows you to quickly and easily pull in product information in the form of tables and product boxes. Best of all, it does it all through Amazon’s API so it’s 100% compliant with Amazon’s ToS.

We went with AAWP because:

  • ​It’s Amazon-compliant (you won’t get banned)
  • ​Easily create product boxes and embed shortcodes throughout your content
  • ​Easily create product tables with comparisons and labels to give readers a quick overview
  • ​Automatically applies your Amazon affiliate link to every product box and table
  • Comes with a number of templates and pre-designed layouts

How To Install & Set It Up

Suitable for: Amazon affiliate sites
Cost: ​​​​€39
Link:Amazon Associates for WordPress

​If you’ve been following us, you may have heard the recent Amazon Podcast we recorded, highlighting why it’s so crucial to stay on the right side of the (Amazon) law. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I suggest you do so now.

Link Localization

Unless you plan to have a region-specific affiliate site, not all your affiliate offers will be relevant to every person who visits your niche site. That’s why link localization, which redirects users to their respective country’s Amazon store, is a godsend for capturing lost revenue.

What makes a good link localization service?

1. Easy setup

With the scale of affiliate links you’re likely to be implementing on your site, it should take minimal time and effort to insert localized links

2. Compatibility

Should work with Amazon stores of all major countries/stores.

3. Speed

Minimal link redirect delay to maintain user experience (and avoid conversion drop)

4. Compliancy

Again, this should be compliant with Amazon’s terms, which includes non-cloaking of links

We Chose: Amazon OneLink

Amazon OneLink

OneLink is still fairly new, and it currently only supports a handful of countries. Regardless, this is a very welcome replacement for something like GeniusLinks, which is a popular third-party alternative that does carry some risk in terms of Amazon compliancy.

We went with Amazon OneLink because:

  • ​Very easy setup. (Set it and forget it.)
  • ​Works with Amazon stores in US, Canada, UK, Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Japan
  • ​Link redirection is fast, and barely even noticeable on the front end
  • OneLink is from Amazon, so it’s inherently compliant with their ToS
  • ​Unlike riskier alternatives, this is also free to use

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Amazon affiliate sites
  • Cost: ​​​​​Free
  • Link: Amazon OneLink

Auto Linking (Optional)

Auto linking allows you to define words or phrases to be automatically hyperlinked based on predefined settings. It’s great for affiliate sites since it not only saves time, but also prevents you from missing link opportunities within your content.

This one was sort of thrown in for good measure, and it’s by no means an essential plugin, but it’s still something I wanted to mention as I know some people will appreciate the convenience.

What makes a good auto linking plugin?

1. Keywords

The ability to define multiple keywords and phrases for a single link

2. Cap

The ability to set an auto link cap per page/post in order to prevent excessive linking

3. Flexibility

Should easily be able to control which pages auto linking applies

4. Compatibility

Must work with modern page builders (and particularly those used in this build)

We Chose: ThirstyAffiliates Pro

ThirstyAffiliates Pro

The ‘Autolinker’ tool in Thirsty Affiliates Pro is the most comprehensive, easy-to-use auto linker I’ve seen yet, and since we’ve already included this plugin in our build, it fits in seamlessly with the link management side of things.

We went with Thirsty Affiliates Pro (Autolinker) because:

  • ​Easily set multiple keywords for each affiliate link you add
  • ​Set rules for the links, specifying which pages to include
  • ​Control over link frequency to limit how many times a given keyword is triggered on a page
  • ​It works with Thrive Architect — our chosen page builder for this particular build

How To Install & Set It Up

Aside from the autolinker, there are a number of other benefits to using Thirsty Affiliates Pro, and although I wouldn’t classify them as necessary for this build, they are nice to have if you want the auto linker anyway.

Linkify Text is a very rudimentary free alternative. The UI isn’t going to win any awards, and it currently doesn’t work with Thrive Architect, so you’ll be forced to the use the default WordPress editor (or Elementor) if you decide to go with this option.

Contact Form (Optional)

No contact page is complete without a contact form, and while it’s not entirely necessary to have a contact page on your niche site, it does help to enforce your site a credible source of information.

What makes a good contact form plugin??

1. Easy setup

Minimal setup time required, especially for basic forms. (This is often helped by having templates available)

2. Configuration

Being able to change the core settings of your contact form is essential, including things like ‘to’, ‘from’ and ‘subject’ fields

3. Styling

Some level of styling should be available, just to maintain branding/design consistency

4. Cost

For the basic level of contact form we’re looking to implement, a free alternative should be more than enough

We Chose: Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 Dashboard

Contact Form 7 has established itself as one of the go-to contact form plugins in the WordPress repository, and while it’s not the most advanced form builder around, it is very “plug and play” which makes it ideal for this build.

We went with Contact Form 7 because:

  • Very easy setup. In fact, the form was already pre-populated with all the usual fields.
  • ​Configuration was straightforward, and can be done from within the same form builder interface
  • While styling is unfortunately pretty limited, it’s not too bad because it doesn’t override your theme styling (unlike many other form plugins)
  • ​It’s freeeee baby!

How To Install & Set It Up

  • Suitable for: Any website
  • Cost: Free (fuelled by donations)
  • Link: Contact Form 7

PHASE #3: The Design

Affiliate Site Framework 3 The Design

Let me start off by saying that I’m faaaar from a professional designer, so this site design isn’t going to revolutionize the industry by any means.

What I am offering, though, is something that doesn’t look like the typical affiliate sites you see tend to see everywhere nowadays… *cough* Focus Blog.

Even though there’s no “correct” way to design an affiliate site, there are some fundamental rules that should be followed. (Both in a general sense, and for affiliate sites specifically.)

Now, I won’t go into the fundamentals of good website design here, simply because that could be an entire post by itself. (Besides, it’s covered here, here and here.)

In a nutshell, I took the core lessons from those articles, sprinkled in a little inspiration from various other affiliate sites, and eventually came up with something that I believe ticks all the right boxes.

Is it perfect? No.

Is it enough to build a highly-profitable affiliate business? Abso-friggin-lutely.

The Site Layout & Design

Before I walk you through the steps to implement this design yourself, I should probably give you a preview of what it actually looks like, if you haven’t seen it already.

Here’s the link to the site.

And here’s a video explaining some of my design choices:

How To Steal This Build

Monkey Stealing GIF

At first, I thought about turning this into a follow-me-as-I-build-it tutorial.

But the thing is, if you want to build your affiliate site from scratch, you can find those types of video tutorials inside The Authority Site System.

So, instead of (poorly) cannibalizing some of our premium training, I’m just going to GIVE you what I’ve built, and show you how to modify it from there.

So here’s the deal…

I’ve put together a download for this entire build which allows you to import the setup exactly the way I’ve outlined in this post.

This includes every free/freemium plugin I recommended in the last section, as well as the site design shown in the preview video above.

(So, yeah, there will be some stuff you have to do manually, but there’s just no way around that without breaking the law.)

Follow the steps below.

How To Import This Build

Video summary:

  • Step 1: Before you can import this build, you will need to have purchased hosting and installed a fresh copy of WordPress. (No need to install a theme.)
  • Step 2: Search for, install and activate the free plugin, ‘All-in-one WordPress Migration’, which will allow you to quickly and easily import my build.
  • Step 3: Download the import file using the link above, and upload to migrator plugin to begin the import process.
  • Step 4: Once import is complete, click to update the permalink structure (you’ll need to log in again before you can do that)
  • Step 5: Login this time with the username: lewis, and password: password
  • Step 6: Go to ‘Users > Add New’ and create a new username and password for yourself with an ‘administrator’ role. Log into your new user and delete the user ‘lewis’ (very important)
  • Step 7: Purchase and install the premium plugins following the setup videos in phase #1 and #2. (These will be GeneratePress Premium, Thrive Architect, Thirsty Affiliates Pro, and AAWP.)
  • Step 8: Head over to the plugins tab and update any plugins that are currently outdated

How To Make Core Changes

Here’s a quick video showing you how to make core changes to your site:

Video summary:

  • Step 1: Change your site logo under Customizer > Site Identity. You can adjust site width under ‘Additional CSS’, as shown in the video above.
  • Step 2: Change the global styling of your paragraph and heading text under Customizer > Typography
  • Step 3: Change the global styling of your site colors under Customizer > Colors
  • Step 4: Change the copyright text to include your website, under Customizer > Copyright
  • Step 5: Change the disclaimer text in the footer, under Appearance > Widgets > Footer Widget 1
  • ​​Step 6: ​Change your menu links under Appearance > Menus
  • Step 7: Add/remove categories under Posts > Categories

How To Edit Your Home Page

Here’s a quick video showing you how to edit your home page:

Video summary:

  • Step 1: Go to pages, and click to edit the ‘Home’ page using Thrive Architect. This will fire up the page builder.
  • Step 2: Click the banner image, and in the sidebar, navigate to the image background layer. Remove this layer and add a new image layer with your chosen image.
  • Step 3: Click to edit the “Why we created this site” preview text with your own mission statement. The ‘Read More’ link should lead to your about page with more information.
  • Step 4: Click to edit the ‘About Author’ box with your (or your personas) image and text.
  • Step 5: The latest post widget auto updates, so there is no need to change anything there.

How To Edit Your Blog Posts

Here’s a quick video showing you how to edit your blog posts:

Video summary:

  • Step 1: Go to Posts, and either add a new post, or click to open an existing post with Thrive Architect.
  • Step 2: Use the inline editor to format text into headings, and apply other formatting styles such as bold and italic.
  • Step 3: Insert shortcodes into paragraph elements, such as the table and product box shortcodes generated by AAWP (shown in the video above).
  • Step 4: Create styled elements to compliment your articles, such as pros/cons boxes for your product review posts. Remember to save in Architect.
  • Step 5: Check the post URL (permalink) to make sure it’s user and SEO-friendly.
  • Step 6: Check the Yoast SEO meta box to ensure you’re on-page SEO is up to scratch.
  • Step 7: Click Publish/Update

How To Edit Your About Page

Here’s a quick video showing you how to edit your about page:

Video summary:

  • Step 1: Go to Pages, and click to edit the ‘About’ page using Thrive Architect.
  • Step 2: Copy your mission statement text from the home page, and expand on from there.
  • Step 3: Add media, such as video or images where necessary.
  • Step 4: Click save in Thrive Architect.

Did I Miss Anything?

I’ve tried my best to cover every scenario I can think of when it comes to modifying the site design to your needs, but there’s bound to be some minor things that I’ve missed.

If that’s the case, and you need help making other changes to this build, just leave a comment below and I’ll do what I can to assist you.

Keyboard GIF

Conclusion

So there you have it, a complete niche website build that incorporates the fundamental principles and functions of a successful affiliate site.

A framework that allows you to skip the usual BS and get straight to what really moves the needle.

Producing content and building links.

One more thing….

This is somewhat of an experimental post, and depending on the reception it gets we may decide to release more website builds like this based on different site models.

Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’re interested in, and if there’s anything I can do to improve this format.

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