Before you build your affiliate website, you'll have to pick your content management system (CMS). This system will allow you to easily create and manage your content. Many CMS's are flexible enough to be used as blogging platforms.
There are a wide variety of options for affiliate marketing blogs. The most popular CMS is Wordpress. I've been using it for well over 10 years and I absolutely love the simplicity and the ability to expand it with powerful plugins.
Based on Robert Mening's research, WordPress has a CMS market share of over 59% (26 million+ active websites).
Those stats rock...except for 1 thing. WordPress is the #1 hacked platform on the planet!
Securi, a highly reputable website security service, provides an annual report called "Hacked Website Report" that ranks the most hacked platforms.
As you can see on the left side, WordPress is the #1 hacked platform. In fact, infections rose from 74% in Q3 2016 to 83% in 2017. On the right side, you'll see the platform that I use - Drupal. The number of infections was less in 2017 compared to Q3 2016.
Out of these top 4 CMS platforms (WordPress, Joomla!, Magento, and Drupal), Drupal was shown to be the most secure content management system.
This is the #1 reason why I switched from WordPress to Drupal. After managing hundreds of WordPress blogs over the years, I wanted to save myself from the frustration. So many of my peers have lost their web content and have seen their website defaced because of a security hole.
I'm not saying that Drupal will never be hacked, but the chances are less. It's kind of like comparing my Mac OS or Linux OS to the most hacked OS - Windows.
The great thing about Drupal is that it's extremely powerful and flexible. While WordPress has a lot of 3rd-party plugins to extend its functionality, Drupal has a lot of "native" features that are built-in and you can also extend it with modules.
Using Drupal as an Affiliate Marketing CMS
Because of this awesome amount of power and flexibility that Drupal has, it also is one of the most time-consuming CMS's to set up. You can always use a 1-click installer like Fantastico or the turnkey app installer Scriptalicious to easily install Drupal.
Here's how it looks (and it's ugly IMHO):
While you can use it out of the box and blog away, there's a lot to be desired both functionality and appearance-wise. Wouldn't you agree?
There's also a lot of modules that you need to install to enable:
- search-engine friendly URL's
- the auto-generation of those URL's
- search engine XML sitemaps
- SEO optimization tips and configuration
- website login security
- GDPR compliance
- and more
That's just the module end.
You still need to:
- setup permissions
- and more
If you're an experienced Drupal themer, you could probably set up a site in a few hours from scratch (without any previous files or configuration).
When I switched from WordPress to Drupal, I probably spent a few weeks learning from old articles and books online. Then when Drupal came out with the latest version, I realized that a lot of the information (even 6-12 months old) was already outdated.
To make a long story short, the setup time has a huge learning curve.
It's like learning how to ride a bike. It could take a long time, even with training wheels. Once you get it, then riding a bike is easy! After I learned how to ride a bike, then I started learning tricks and doing wheelies.
The same thing applies to Drupal. After you get over the setup hump, you can do the normal stuff like creating content and it's easy.
After you get the hang of creating content, maybe you might explore how to make your site look more pretty or learn some techie things like automatically showing affiliate ads based on conditions (without using any special plugins or modules).
I've already shown you what a standard Drupal site looks like. This website, Solid Income, is currently using Drupal.
Optimizing Your Drupal Blog
When I set up a Drupal blog, here are some of the things that I configure:
- A premium theme that is mobile-ready and responsive.
- SEO friendly URL's that will allow many search engines to easily read your blog posts. I also create a simple page hierarchy that will form a solid structure.
- An extension for providing SEO tips while creating content. This will guide you along the way so that you can easily create traffic-generating content.
- Ads, opt-in form, and/or banner installed in the right sidebar, header, and/or footer to monetize the site.
- Google XML sitemap generator to automatically alert Google and other search engines when you post new content.
- GDPR compliance notification to avoid legal issues.
- and of course, content.