How do I diversify my marketing content

Affiliate Marketing Practice Book

Why Affiliate Marketing? Affiliate marketing allows everyone to build a long-term source of income - with little or a lot of financial outlay, for a topic that the entrepreneur is passionate about.

Gongfu affiliate

What if, as an affiliate, you move from an entrepreneurial vision to the digital Spielfled Internet instead of the popular idea of ​​making money quickly? You make long-term decisions in an entrepreneurial and playful sense in order to create something robust and valuable.

This free online book for beginners will help you develop an entrepreneurial vision that art of sustainable and efficient content Learn affiliate marketing step-by-step and apply. You learn to earn money on the Internet by recommending products and services with a topic you are passionate about. If you have successfully worked through this book and the practical exercises, you will have created your first affiliate website. These are your advantages:

Experience & Support

You benefit from the more than ten years of experience of the authorin the areas of affiliate, SEO, usability, conversion optimization and online marketing in general. I will help with questions or ambiguities.

Financed through affiliate marketing

The book or the content in thisBook are completely free. The book is realized as an affiliate project and is financed with your help. As you read this book, in addition to the content, you have a functioning affiliate project from which you can learn things.

Direct entry into practice

Wait for it many practical tasks with which you can create your first affiliate website according to instructions and already earn real money. The costs for the implementation of your website amount to a few euros and consist of server costs, graphics and your own time expenditure. You also need a laptop or computer to install the necessary programs and to write or edit texts.

Trustworthy

Affiliate marketing is prone to the "get-rich-quick" mentality. The contents of this book are honest. You will no trivializing of the necessary effort for successful affiliate websites and you won't have to buy any more products.

Sustainable and future-oriented

The affiliate marketing style conveyed is this geared towards sustainabilityso that you can generate income for as many years as possible. In addition, Gongfu affiliate marketing projects are suitable as Stepping stone to bigger projects like your own online shop.

Chapter overview

The following graphic shows the chapter overview. While you will find the basic knowledge on the start page, you will delve deeper into affiliate marketing in the sub-chapters. All practical exercises are marked as such.

What is special about this book?

The termGongfu affiliate is a very central idea in this book and the many styles of martial arts Kung fu borrowed.

Now you think: "What does kung fu have to do with affiliate marketing?"The term symbolizes the attitude or mindset to the underlying in this book Content affiliate marketing strategy. The goal is medium to long-term successful affiliate websites. It's not about short-term successes or unstable constructs based on Greyhat methods, for example.

Greyhat methods are risky methods in the marketing gray area and are great fun in an experimental context. However, risky approaches only become interesting if you are already standing on several pillars.

  • In this book, success means the realization of your entrepreneurial vision on the basis of regular income that you generate as an affiliate.
  • Content in content affiliate marketing means that you provide content in the sense of your entrepreneurial vision in the form of text, images, videos and other formats suitable for you and your need group, as well as make it accessible with search engine optimization so that your need group benefits from this content.

The term Gongfu comes from the Chinese and is used in China to describe something that can be achieved with hard and patient work. In the western world, the term "Kung Fu" is limited to the more than 1,500 year old Chinese martial art, which can only be learned through hard and patient work with many "trials and errors" in lifelong training.

But the core message is also in the western world:There are no shortcuts. Kung Fu is more than a self defense. Kung Fu is everything, as it is rightly called in Karate Kid 2010.

Gongfu Affiliate is assigned to digital content in this book, which, due to its preparation, presentation and relevance, represents outstanding benefits for a corresponding group of needs.

Partial termimportance
GongfuHard work represents the effort and passion it takes to create a long-term successful affiliate website. The focus is on meeting the needs of your needs group in terms of your entrepreneurial vision. In case of doubt, the satisfaction of the user group with regard to content creation is given preference over the goal of monetization in order to ensure the long-term relevance of the content and thus to build up a long-term rather than short-term source of income.
AffiliateAffiliate is a common term that is used for the performance-oriented and primarily self-serving recommendation of products on the Internet for commissions.

Gongfu Affiliate is the opposite of quick and half-hearted affiliate websites, which have become very popular in the fast-paced and often unsustainable present, driven by the hope for quick wealth.

Gongfu Affiliate Websites are not driven by the hope of quick fortune, but by the passion of the affiliate. They are therefore sustainable, long-term oriented and robust.

You are in the best possible position, on the one hand, because the competition never sleeps.

The main reason, however, is that search engines, which will be responsible for the largest proportion of your visitors, are also continuously being developed with sustainability in mind and want to present really helpful content to your users. Search engines like Google clearly have the upper hand in this matter and are constantly improving the quality of the search results.

In our guidelines for webmasters, we recommend developing websites with original content that add value for users. This is especially true for websites that participate in affiliate programs.

Google Webmaster Guidelines

In addition, inferior or average content only brings disadvantages in the medium and long term for the affiliate program operator (e.g. dodgy environment of your own brand), for you the affiliate (e.g. short lifespan of your projects) and the customer (e.g. poor advice).

From a scientific point of view, the "get-rich-quick" principle in affiliate marketing hides the tragedy of the common good, with the affiliate marketing channel representing the common good.

This book will be simplified to you Gongfu Affiliate, in the followingAffiliate or Affiliate marketing labeled, easy to understand, conveyed precisely and with examples and graphics.

Depending on how much previous knowledge you have, it will take you some time to find your way around this broad topic with the disciplines of affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, websites and usability of the same as well as the conversion of website visitors to customers at your affiliate partner. Are you up for? It was already known more than 2,000 years ago:

Even the longest way begins with a first step.

Confucius, * 551 BC Chr. † 479 BC Chr, Chinese philosopher

Last but not least, this book is also about the charm of affiliate marketing:

  • Very high initial effort but little maintenance over the long term, depending on the strategy.
  • Relatively little capital is required to create and maintain a successful affiliate website.
  • High return on equity possible.
  • Complete independence of subject, time and location. You decide when and where you want to work.

FAQ - Answers to questions that are asked frequently

Some urgent questions can be answered briefly in advance. A possible detailed answer is linked in each case.

  • Why is this book free? The idea of ​​Gongfu Affiliate is that everyone can benefit from affiliate marketing, according to their budget, with little or a lot of financial outlay. A paid book would contradict this idea.
  • How much time do I have to invest to create a permanently functioning affiliate website? That depends heavily on your speed of work, your previous knowledge of the topic you want to earn money with, the difficulty of the topic itself and the scope you are aiming for. A good guideline is around 6 months for a time-limited project in which you work 80 hours per month. Once your website is finished, around 10 hours per year are required, which are necessary for maintenance.
  • What does affiliate marketing cost? How much money do I initially and continuously need to create a profitable affiliate website? You need around 5 euros per month for the hosting and domain of your affiliate website. In addition, there are around 60 euros for graphics and your own working time in the first 6 months. In addition, you can simplify your work with additional paid software; However, this is absolutely not necessary.
  • How Much Money Can I Earn With Affiliate? You can achieve a return on equity of around 180 percent before taxes with a low investment amount.
  • Are there any risks my affiliate earnings are subject to? In a nutshell: there are. You can read what exactly these are in the corresponding section.
  • If I go through the practical guide, will I make money from my website? That is the goal I am pursuing with this book. I can't promise, however. There are many variables that determine success or failure. But one thing is certain: you will make mistakes. I will describe the procedure and all the important adjusting screws as precisely and understandably as possible so that you can keep the number low. However, you cannot avoid building up your own wealth of experience.
  • Are Gongfu Affiliate Projects Niche Sites? You can fill a niche or go beyond that with Gongfu Affiliate. A clear definition of the term Niche side there is not any. However, niche sites tend to focus on making money. Gongfu Affiliate, on the other hand, focuses on your topic in the context of the playing field capitalism.

How should I read this book?

You can use this book in two different ways with different goals.

  1. How do I become an affiliate? Read the book from beginning to end, jump to the respective chapters and work on the practical exercises. In this way you learn step by step how affiliate marketing works and as a by-product you create your own affiliate website.
  2. Affiliate Marketing Reference Book: Even as a more or less experienced affiliate, you don't stop learning. Use the start page or the search to get to the partial content that interests you.

tip: To mark and manage important content on gongfu-affiliate.de like with a highlighter, use the free Chrome extension Weava Highlierter.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate comes from the English and means translated affiliate, connect or connect. Affiliate is used as a nounBusiness partner translated. Affiliate marketing describes a model in which external partners of a company draw attention to and advertise its products, services or campaigns such as competitions on the Internet. If there are sales or registrations depending on the remuneration model, the partner will be rewarded with a commission.

The partner will tooAffiliate or Publisher called. The company that offers the products or services will Merchant, Vendor or Advertisercalled. When it comes to sales, one speaks of Sales; for registrations, e.g. by storing the e-mail address or telephone number from Leads.

Companies such as Urlaubguru and Check24 are among the largest publishers in affiliate marketing who maintain partnerships with advertisers such as airlines, hotel booking portals and internet providers. In 2006, affiliate marketing sales in Germany totaled around 7.6 billion euros:

The partnership between both parties usually comes about when the affiliate contacts the publisher with a so-called Affiliate program applies. You can find partner programs in two ways:

Let's say a publisher wants to advertise a company's sweepstakes. It has been agreed between the publisher and the merchant that the publisher will receive one euro for each lead, i.e. for each participant who enters their email address on the competition website. This gives rise to two technical questions:

  1. What technical means can the affiliate partner use to draw attention to the competition on the Internet?
  2. How are leads or sales clearly assigned to the affiliate so that they are fairly remunerated?

Both are done with so-calledAffiliate links, which in this example leads to the competition landing page, the so-called Landing page, to lead.

A Landing page is a Landing page, on which the visitor should perform a certain action from the company's point of view. This can, for example, be the registration for a competition or the purchase of a product via the shopping cart in an online shop. A user arrives at a landing page by clicking, for example, on a link in a newsletter, an advertising banner or on a paid or unpaid search result from a search engine.

The assignment is usually made by adding a parameter or appendage to the link at the end of the link url. The parameter is an ID which is clearly assigned to the partner. The following figure shows a simplified representation of how it works.

example: Affiliate link with partner ID 202, which points to a competition landing page on which an action is to be carried out:

How does the affiliate arrive now qualified internet users, who also want to buy a product or use a service? This is the primary difficulty the affiliate faces and is also the subject of this book.

Can I Get Rich With Affiliate Marketing?

You can - but usually not with an investment including your working hours of up to a few thousand euros. To make a lot of money, you also need a lot of money. This applies regardless of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate is prone to dubious promises. Since the principle behind affiliate marketing is apparently so simple, self-appointed coaches easily make it plausible that you can get rich quickly with affiliate marketing. However, they conceal the fact that you have to assert yourself against the competition and how many other disciplines are affected and absorbed by affiliate marketing:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Web development / HTML5
  • Content marketing
  • Texts
  • Design rules
  • Usability and user experience
  • Conversion optimization
  • Law

You have to master all of these areas partially or largely in order to be successful with affiliate websites.

Affiliate websites are attractive precisely because there is no need for high start-up capital or investment and a high return on equity can still be achieved. The money generated from this can be viewed as a good additional income or can be used in other business models or forms of investment such as real estate funds, ETFs, commodities and bonds in order to diversify your investments and spread the risk of losses.

It is also possible to invest with little equity in ETFs, commodities, real estate funds and bonds.

How Much Money Can I Make Affiliate Marketing?

Let us assume the following financial expenditure that I have already used many times for my websites. Your own hourly wage is taken into account at 15.6 euros gross, as an invoice without an hourly wage is relatively boring.

Make a copy of the Google Spread Sheets and fill in your own values. You can decide for yourself whether you include your hourly wage in your personal invoice. Most affiliates don't. This is also not the case with private real estate investments, stock trading and other private capital investments. Depending on how much time you bring in yourself or even delegate it to a copywriter or graphic artist, this amount can make up the largest part by far.

mediumCost in euros
Domain and hosting costs6
Graphics per month60
Own hourly wage15,6

Let's continue to assume that you Work 80 hours a month on the project and a time limited project completed after 6 months that you only have to do maintenance a few hours a year.

Affiliates like to speak of here passive incomebecause after the completion of time-limited projects, there is no longer a lot of work to be invested. However, you can decide for yourself when and whether to complete a project. If you recognize the potential in your project, you can develop it into something bigger and your main source of income. For example, gongfu-affiliate.de is not a project that is designed for 6 months.

Specifically, the course of commissions for a year from January to December can look like this, for example. The commissions are 15 percent per sale in a mediocre competitive market with mediocre demand. The project has existed since 2011.

Commissions can be higher or lower depending on the topic. The following example shows the commissions for an affiliate website with low competition and low demand. To be honest, with a search volume of 210 for the main keyword, the demand is so low that I was surprised that such high revenues are possible at all. The remuneration is 13 percent per sale. The average value of the goods is 162 euros. The project has existed since 2011.

The following project existed from 2015 to 2018. I gave up the project; despite the high merits and passion that I invested. After my studies, I didn't have time for this anymore. The project required constant maintenance (see Gongfu Affiliate Marketing Principles) and was monetized via the Amazon PartnerNet. The competition was low to mediocre at this point, as was the demand. The average shopping cart was around 100 euros. The commissions per sale were 3 to 7 percent.

Look forward to an example affiliate marketing project on an exciting topic!

That is documented complete project including expenses, income, tactics and strategies - but the publication takes place with a few months delay. Sign up for the newsletter and be notified when it is published.

Mathematical approximation: The maximum average amount of commissions that you can generate with a finished affilite project is in this example just under 400 euros and is distributed according to the following formula, which in my experience is a suitable approximation for a time-limited affiliate project.

In the first six to nine months, the visibility of your website in the Google search results will level off very slowly, as the search engine needs some time to classify and understand your website. John Müller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, describes his gut feeling as follows and even extends the period on June 12, 2020 to one year:

The first six to nine month of a website, thinks are going to be fluctuating [...].

John Müller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Webmaster Hangout, March 20, 2020

After 6 months the amount is yours Investment in7896.00 euros including the cost of your labor. After 5 years you have according to this formula Commissions of 16586.76 euros generated. The following diagram shows that the Break even point at 3 years and 3 months lies. The Return on equity after 5 years is 210.07 percent before tax.

YearsRunning sum of commissions / equity brought in (calculation method)Return before tax
58256,00 € / 16586,76 €210,07 %
78400,00 € / 25915,32 €328,21 %
108616,00 € / 31601,67 €509,34 %

These are nice values ​​compared to the returns that can be achieved with stocks, indirect real estate investments and other private investments.

Can I start an affiliate without starting capital?

Theoretically yes. There are two cost items that I take into account in the example cost calculation: Hosting costs for web space and domains as Graphics costs. You can host an affiliate website with a free provider like Wix and save 5 euros per month. However, like other website builders, the free version of Wix has some serious drawbacks:

  • No own domain: Without your own domain, you have a harder time building a real brand that stands for certain values, such as trustworthiness. In my experience, a website on a subdomain of a website builder leaves the impression of unprofessionalism.
  • No google analytics: You have no way of measuring your visitor numbers with the free analysis software from Google.
  • Advertising from Wix: Wix places its own advertising on your website to compensate for the free offer. This means you are competing with another affiliate on your own website.

You get more of it if you invest 5 euros a month in your own domain and web space.

On the other hand, you can create graphics yourself without any problems. If you do this professionally, it even has the advantage that you can underpin your content with unique, helpful graphics that no one else offers. This gives you a unique selling point and advantages in the Google image search to generate additional traffic.

What are the risks of affiliate projects?

When talking about high returns, the risk must also be discussed. Assume that the planning of an affiliate project has been carried out with the greatest care and that competition and other factors have been correctly assessed. In such a case, the project is subject to other risks that are difficult or impossible to calculate.

riskExplanation
Development of the search engine Google at the expense of your projectOften more than 80 percent of the visitors to affiliate websites come from the search engine Google. On the other hand, there is only a much lower or even no dependency on Google for your affiliate website (see Affiliate Marketing Principle Diversification). Google is constantly trying to develop the search engine in such a way that users get the greatest possible benefit from it. As a result, it can happen that overnight Google classifies your affiliate website as being less relevant to a search term, either authorized or unauthorized. Perhaps Google can serve the needs of the user directly in the Google search results, for example with a featured snipped, much better and faster. You will probably miss a large part of the traffic and with it the commissions, which can no longer be generated.
Financially strong competitor enters the marketIf a competitor has more budget and time available than you and knows what he is doing, there is hardly anything you can do to assert yourself against him in the long term. The only thing you can do to prevent this scenario is to offer content so helpful, trustworthy, engaging, consumable, unique, and informative that your competitors will shy away from the cost of attacking you.
User behavior is changingValues, rules, conventions and habits change in ways that are difficult to predict, like the 2020 corona pandemic, or simply from generation to generation. Then there is the rapid technological progress of our time. Depending on the topic, this can have serious effects on the number of visitors to your website if you can slowly but surely no longer serve the needs of the users with your old content.
Hacker attackWebsites can be hacked and, as a result, be held back by Google in the search results in order to protect users. The least you should be doing is backing up your content. In an emergency, you can quickly relaunch the website and, in the best case, get your Google rankings back.

I consider the risk of affiliate websites to be acceptable, despite the high return, if the principles for sustainable affiliate projects presented below are adhered to.

How should I start and how do I become a successful affiliate?

Affiliate marketing is based on certain principles, which are listed in the following table. Compliance with these maximizes the likelihood that your project will be successful in the long term and minimizes the likelihood that your project will fail at any critical point. So it's about Risk minimization.

Like lighthouses, principles serve to navigate the ocean of possibilities.

Gongfu affiliate

It is not always possible to adhere to all principles, but one should try to implement as many as possible. The more principles you implement, the more fun the project will be in the long term.

principleExplanation
qualityBe an expert in the topic you want to monetize and do not put your profit above the problem solving of the need group. The effectiveness of your content with regard to solving problems for your needs group in the sense of your entrepreneurial vision is the foundation on which you build everything else. Only if your content successfully meets the demand can it be successfully monetized in the long term. Otherwise, your content will easily disappear into insignificance, for example due to increased competition. If you are not an expert, read yourself so far that you can hire an expert to write the texts. You need to be able to check that the content is correct. If possible, avoid YMYL (Section 2.3 of the Search Quality Rating Guidelines) topics unless you are actually an expert.
flexibilityPay attention to the interchangeability of your partners and create the content such as images, links and texts in such a way that an exchange is associated with little effort. If your merchant discontinues the affiliate program and there are no alternative affiliate programs on your topic, you will no longer generate any commissions overnight. Changes to the framework conditions of the partner program, such as a reduction in the amount of commission (see, for example, adjustments to the Amazon PartnerNet commissions from 2014 to 2019), can make a change of partner useful.
stabilityServe an ongoing need. Imagine you had bet on Fidget Spinner in 2017. There was huge interest at the time. In 2018, however, your income would have collapsed due to the flattening of the trend. Also choose topics whose demand is not subject to strong seasonal fluctuations, so that you can generate commissions all year round.
thriftRely on evergreen content, i.e. content that will remain valid for several years without updates. This saves you resources. The topic of smartphones has an ongoing need, but your content must be constantly adapted to technical developments, which involves a constant high level of effort.
competitivenessMake your topic more helpful, more comprehensive, more trustworthy, more unique, more informative, more understandable, more appealing and more consumable than your competitors could, in order to be able to assert yourself against competitors in the future. But don't digress from the topic and orient yourself to the needs of your readers.
ConsumabilityMake sure your content is as easy to consume as possible. This includes content structure, design rules and the use of suitable media as well as the way in which you formulate your texts. Be precise and concise in your wording. You can highlight the content of your texts like in a picture book to make the consumption of long texts a little more pleasant.
DiversificationDiversify by partners, topics and websites. If you are setting up projects for a living, in addition to the Google search, ensure that you also find suitable sources of traffic, for example by setting up a newsletter and maintaining social media channels. Bonus: Invest from affiliate earnings in other projects such as ETFs, commodities, bonds and real estate.

tip: Download Gongfu Affiliate Marketing Principles as an infographic to memorize, share and print out.

Find the right topic for an affiliate project

Practice exercise 01: Gathering ideas for a suitable topic.

If you want to start an affiliate website, you need a topic that meets the Gongfu principles for sustainable affiliate marketing. In addition, other factors play a role that make a good topic. More on that shortly. Do not worry about it at first, just think about it:

  • What are you good at, what are you an expert in and what do you enjoy in your life? Do you possibly do a sport or an outdoor activity about which you can give important tips, insights and tutorials? Do you have an interesting job that you are passionate about and where others can benefit from your experience?
  • Is there anything that you always wanted to do? Is there a topic that you would like to familiarize yourself with with a high level of intrinsic motivation?
    • For example, what do you think of the topic Body language, an extensive and everyday language that many people are not yet aware of.
    • How about the fascinating but very complex topic Gemstones? Diamonds are forever!
    • How about the topic tea or coffee with different varieties, growing areas, manufacturing processes and traditions in different cultures?
  • Browse the affiliate networks for topics that seem interesting to you.

Tip: Affiliate marketing does not work concurrently with your topic. It is only effective if you focus on buying inspiration and buying advice in your content.

Take a small notepad and pen and carry it around with you on a day-to-day basis. Pay attention to your routines and be aware of what you do every day. Perceive your environment and observe what your fellow human beings are doing. Write down everything that you may find appropriate.

Make one Quick test with the decision tree for good affiliate project topics:

Whenever a topic passes a quick test with the decision tree, sit down in a free minute and check it for suitability:

  1. Find your most important main keywords (continue to practical exercise 2)
  2. Evaluate your competition with a competition analysis (go to practical exercise 3)
  3. Check whether there are suitable partner programs (go to practical exercise 4).
  4. Check out the Gongfu Principles for Sustainable Affiliate Marketing.

tip: Make it clear to yourself Whyyou are enthusiastic about your topic and what overriding goal, i.e. what vision You want to pursue your affiliate marketing project.

It's not about "making a lot of money", "becoming independent", "generating passive income", "doing your own thing". Your needs group does not appear directly in the WHY either. Rather, it is about your personal entrepreneurial vision, which you align yourself with.The WHY is the goal that you pursue, no matter which ups and downs you experience during the project planning.

  • Do you want to create maximum transparency for consumers, like Check24?
  • Do you want to make a complex but extremely important topic such as body language accessible to everyone, for example to improve lives?
  • Do you want to create awareness for something in order to change something, like Greta Thunberg?
  • Are you enthusiastic about innovations and are you always questioning the status quo, like Apple does?

If you know why you want to project your topic, then think about it how You do that. Is it through the use of emotional and captivating photos or, for example, by reducing the complexity of your topic?

Only when you have found the WHY and HOW, is this about WHAT. Specifically, this is your affiliate marketing website (and as you can possibly imagine, affiliate marketing is not the only perspective for realizing your entrepreneurial vision, but possibly your entry point.)

This is the WHY, HOW and WHAT for Gongfu Affiliate:

  • WHY: Every entrepreneurial spirit should realize his visions with passion and fun, regardless of the available budget.
  • HOW: With affiliate marketing as a starting point and stepping stone.
  • WHAT: In-depth but easily understandable training content for direct implementation, infrastructure, tools, proven and tested insights and HowTo's from practice.

If the idea of ​​WHY inspires you, I recommend the 224-page standard work by bestselling author and management consultant Simon Sinek.

Register business for affiliate marketing

Website monetization with affiliate marketing is a very common commercial activity, no matter how much you earn with it and how intensively you do it.

This is not legal advice and I am not a tax advisor. For reliable information on specific questions regarding trade and taxes, please contact a tax advisor.

Even if the tax investigation is not at the door for relatively small amounts and some tax offices and city administrations are more relaxed about this, others do not. Affiliate marketing without a business doesn't work. The first thing to do is to register a business, which is usually done at the residents' registration office. You will then automatically receive a tax number from the tax office.

Revenue from affiliate programs is revenue like everyone else - and therefore has to be taxed, no matter how little the result - but don't worry, it sounds more time-consuming and complicated than it ultimately is.

Which legal form for affiliate marketing?

If you are not one of the big earners among the affiliates and do this as a sideline, you will normally not earn more than 17,500 euros per year from advertising income.This means that you fall under the small business rule and are exempt from trade tax and VAT as well as the mandatory IHK contribution - which makes life a lot easier.

Nevertheless, as an affiliate, you have to keep proper bookkeeping, even if this is greatly simplified and takes place according to the so-called income-surplus invoice (EÜR, in Austria it is called income-expenditure invoice, I / O invoice).

In this EÜR, income from business with affiliate programs and expenses incurred in this context are listed in certain categories. Income minus expenses result in the company's profit, which is essential because taxes are only paid for this profit, not for the entire income.

Calculation example: In 2020 you will earn 3,000 euros. However, in order to be able to operate an affiliate website at all, you need a domain and web space as well as a laptop.

You also need an internet connection. Since you do not use this primarily for affiliate marketing, but rather privately, the costs for this cannot be fully offset. There are no binding guidelines for what percentage is deducted. In the example, you list 20 percent of this as business expenses.

  • The internet connection costs 300 euros a year, so you can deduct 60 euros.
  • The laptop cost 600 euros. 20 percent of this is 120 euros.
  • The domain including web space can be credited 100 percent and costs 5 euros a month, i.e. 60 euros a year.

The expenses of 150 euros are deducted from the 3,000 euros in income, leaving a profit of 2,850 euros. And this is exactly what you have to pay tax on.

Practice exercise 05: Register a business with the activity "Creation and operation of websites" with your residents' registration office.

When does affiliate income have to be taxed?

In Germany, an income of around 9,000 euros per year is tax-free; this so-called basic allowance changes every year; in 2020 it is 9,408 euros. So if you only have the above example income as an affiliate, you don't have to pay any taxes.

However, if you are employed, regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed, the profit counts towards your annual income and is taxed accordingly.

Tax return is mandatory

Regardless of whether your own annual income exceeds the basic tax allowance or not, you must submit a tax return for commercial activities in addition to your income tax return: For this purpose, attachments S, EÜR and G as well as the sales tax and trade tax return must be completed Electronic transmission using the Elster form has been mandatory since 2011.

Even those who have not yet submitted a tax return are obliged to do so as a self-employed person. That sounds like a lot of and complicated work - but once you have done this, it shouldn't be too difficult for you in the following years and can be mastered within half an hour. This particularly applies to the VAT return. Because if you earn less than 17,500 euros a year, you only have to tick and sign the corresponding point on the small business rule on the first page.

Help with tax returns

There are a lot of very practice-oriented and helpful books, especially those from accounting and tax software manufacturers, for example WISO or Lexware.

You can also go directly to the tax office for the first tax return. The tax offices are not allowed to act in an advisory capacity, but can help with filling out the form. And you should definitely notice this. If you personally don't like the topic of tax at all, like me, use the services of a tax advisor. They will be happy to help you with any questions and take care of the tax return for you.

Summary

  • Register a business with the activity "Creation and operation of websites" with your residents' registration office.
  • Operate simple accounting with EÜR (Austria: I / O invoice)
  • Tax return is compulsory: cover sheet income tax return plus Annex S, EÜR, G plus sales tax return plus trade tax return
  • Your website monetization profits are taxable.

tip: If you regularly record affiliate income and expenses, it makes sense to think about a (free) business account. The advantage of a separate business account is the simpler bookkeeping.

Creating the affiliate website

After you have found a topic for your affiliate project and registered your affiliate marketing business, you can finally start realizing your project. In the following, you will start building your first affiliate website in order to receive your first visitors soon.

In principle, you can also do affiliate marketing without a website. There are many affiliate programs that allow you to share affiliate links on social networks. However, this is not the central focus of the Gongfu Affiliate Strategy.

If you compare the channels Search Engine Advertising (SEA for short, e.g. Google Ads), Social Media and SEO, the traffic will behave roughly according to the following diagram.

With SEA, therefore, quick successes can be achieved. The social media channel generates traffic in the medium term. SEA and social media require permanent investment to keep traffic alive. With content and SEO, a source of traffic can be built up in the long term, which remains even if no further investments are made.

Finding a branded domain

Until 2012 received so-called exact-match domains, short EMD, a ranking advantage in the SERPS compared to other domains. Exact-match domains are domains that correspond to the main keyword, i.e. the focus keyword of the domain-wide topic.

Google simply had to derive the main topic of a domain with the name www.mein-main-thema.tld in order to determine the relevance of the website for Google searches with the help of many other ranking factors. Today, Google is no longer dependent on this signal; in addition, free EMDs have become rare.

In September 2012, Matt Cutts, the former Search Quality employee and webspam manager, announced in two tweets that a change in the Google algorithm would reduce this bonus.

Minor weather report: small upcoming Google algo change will reduce low-quality "exact-match" domains in search results.

Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012

New exact-match domain (EMD) algo affects 0.6% of English-US queries to a noticeable degree. Unrelated to Panda / Penguin.

Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) September 28, 2012

From today's perspective, it hardly makes sense to rely on EMDs. First and foremost, one tries to establish a lasting, positive bond with the need group. This is not achieved with EMDs, but with brand domains that embody values ​​such as the quality-oriented Gongfu Affiliate Marketing principles.

Practice exercise 06: Find a free branded domain for your affiliate website, rent a web server and register your domain.

Assigned and protected brand names such as exampleGoogle, Amazon or Apple are not allowed in the domain name of your affiliate marketing project, as you are violating the trademark rights of the trademark owner.

Domain name tips

  • Domain ending: If you also want to offer your content in languages ​​other than German, choose a domain if possible, otherwise a - or a domain. -Domains are language-independent, -Domains are specific for German content. There are many other language-independent top-level domains such as, and, on the one hand, they are more expensive than a -domain and, on the other hand, they are generally a little less trustworthy than a -or -domain.
  • Domain length: The shorter the domain name, the easier it is to remember and type it into a browser bar.
  • Hyphen domains: Don't use more than a hyphen in the domain name. See if the legibility is better with or without a hyphen. While hyphens are considered normal in Germany, they are perceived as very ugly in the USA.
  • Likelihood of confusion: Is there a risk of confusion with a competitor? Choose a domain name or brand name that is unique. In this way you avoid legal problems in trademark law.
  • intonation: What is the word sound of the brand or domain name? Do you like to pronounce this? The better the word sound, the more positive you are towards the brand.

example: If your topic is gemstones, then your brand domain could be, for example rubyred.de ring. If your topic is coworking, then your brand domain could coworking-society.de be. A bit of creativity is required here. A good starting point for a brainstorming session is your motivations for your project. Why is the topic important to you and what do you want to achieve?

When you have found a potential domain for your affiliate project, check DomainFactory, or DF for short, whether your desired domain is free. However, do not register them yet. The search field looks like this:

tip: When you have found a domain that you want to register, you can later secure similar domains to protect them from competition. In addition to gongfu-affiliate.de, this would be for examplekungfu-affiliate.degongfu-affiliate.com askungfu-affiliate.de. An additional domain costs 11.88 euros per year, an additional domain costs 17.88 euros per year.

Rent a web server and register a domain

Tip: For years I have had very good experience with the support, the user interface and the prices of DomainFactory. All but one of my affiliate projects are now running here.

The ManagedHosting Basic tariff at DF is completely sufficient for an affiliate marketing project:

  1. Choose the ManagedHosting Basic tariff.
  2. First select your domain and go to the shopping cart.
  3. Check the shopping cart. It should contain the domain, which is billed annually, and the basic hosting package, which is billed monthly by default. A switch to 3, 6 or 12 months is possible and is worthwhile with a large domain portfolio to make it easier to list your expenses for the tax return. Go to checkout and follow the instructions until registration is complete.

Best CMS for your content affiliate website

In practical exercise 6 you registered a brand domain and rented web space. In this section you will become a Content management system, CMS for short, install.

A CMS is used to create, maintain, manage and publish web documents, which together make up your affiliate website. Editing of the web documents takes place comfortably via a user interface with which articles can be edited in an editor, media such as images can be managed and used, and technology and SEO settings can be made.

What is important in a CMS for affiliate marketing?

A good CMS for a content affiliate project should meet the following points:

  • AMP: The CMS should support Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP for short, and generate them automatically for your web documents.
  • SEO optimized: The specification of the title of a web document, the meta description, as well as the settings of the meta robots information and canonical url belong to the basics. In addition, the CMS should automatically create an XML sitemap and compress documents and images for fast loading times.
  • HTML5: The CMS should support HTML5 or installable website layouts and designs, so-called Themes, based on HTML5. HTML5 is the current version of the markup language HTMLthat puts a special focus on semantics. Elements of a web document can be marked with HTML5 elements such as,,,,, in order to simplify the recording of the content by machines such as search engines.
  • Fast loading times: The CMS should Generate lean, compressed web and style sheet documents