Starting Your Own Affiliate Network: Technical Basics

starting an affiliate network technical basics
affiliate marketing software for networks
Start your own affiliate software today

If you’re determined to start your own affiliate network, you might be overwhelmed by this business’s technical side. While most people who get into the affiliate marketing business are already tech-savvy, here we will cover a few fundamental aspects for beginner affiliate network launchers.

So, let’s dive in!

You might be surprised, but you don’t need that much technology. In order to launch your own affiliate network, all you need is:

  • Domain name.
  • Hosting account for your website.
  • SSL certificate.
  • Affiliate marketing software such as Scaleo to track offers and manage affiliates.
https://i0.wp.com/www.scaleo.io/themes/scaleo/assets/images/affiliate@3x.png?resize=164%2C164&ssl=1

Starting an affiliate network – don’t miss the entire full guide:

Part 1: Where to Find Affiliates?
Part 2: Where to Find Good Offers
Part 3: Affiliate Network Technical Basics
Part 4: How To Pay Affiliates?
Part 5: Where to Promote Your Affiliate Marketing Program?
Part 6: Where to Get Quality Traffic?
Part 7: Performance Marketing Software – What You Need To Know
Part 8: Why You Need a White Label Affiliate Marketing Software

Domain name

I guess it’s needless to get into a discussion about whether or not you need your own domain name. If you are serious about your business and want to build your brand, be recognizable and establish authority – your name is the facade of your business. 

Starting An Affiliate Network: Technical Basics
 - domain name

You cannot establish your facade on someone else’s wall, right?

Your domain name will stick with you even if you are switching through different affiliate platforms, networks, or hosting companies. You will also have an email account tied to a domain name.

No one will take you seriously in the business field if you use a free email account.

When you email someone from you@domain.com, you are automatically taken as a business owner (or at least an employee). You can create as many emails as you wish, for different purposes, for instance, support@domain.com or order@domain.com.

In other words, the need for your own domain is undeniable. 

Registering your domain takes about 10 minutes and costs anywhere between $X to $XX, depending on the extension you decide to use. You can register with Namecheap or Godaddy.

Hosting Account / Website

In order to run your own affiliate network, you need to have a website. While most of the action will take place inside your affiliate marketing software, you still need to have some sort of website where you will have:

  • your landing page, 
  • a few technical pages (Terms, FAQs, etc.)
  • Contact Page
  • Blog (optional)

While a blog is not technically necessary to have, you probably already know the importance of SEO and how it can help you drive “free” traffic to your affiliate network through the content you publish.  

For both SEO purposes and the ease of managing and maintaining your website, I recommend not using sub-domains but rather storing your content in folders on your server. For example, it’s better to have “yourdomain.com/blog” rather than “blog.yourdomain.com.”

Your website will allow you to upload and store media files and offer promotional (“bait”) material such as free books or webinars, which will serve as lead generation. 

In order to have perfect landing pages, you need to have full control over your website and the pages you create. 

It’s also crucial to have traffic tracking scripts such as Google Analytics installed, which you can only add if you have full access to the files on your websites.

In other words, you cannot run an affiliate network without your domain name or a website, which you need to purchase a hosting package for (server space).

Starting An Affiliate Network: Technical Basics
- hosting server

Hosting packages range from $X to $XXX depending on your desired speed, disk space, required features, number of email addresses allowed, and dozens of other parameters. Do your homework before signing up with a particular hosting company to ensure they offer all the features you need at a friendly price. Also, check if the hosting company allows you to scale vertically once you become more popular and possibly outgrow your current hosting plan. 

There are literally thousands of hosting providers; among the most reputable are MediaTempleSiteGroundKinsta, and Dreamhost (much lower priced).

SSL Certificate

In recent years, Google announced that an SSL certificate is no longer an option but a “must” if you want your website to rank well in Search Engines and be accessible.

SSL certificate encrypts the connection between the servers.

Starting An Affiliate Network: Technical Basics
ssl certificate

“SSL” is a short abbreviation for Secure Sockets Layer. In simpler words, it’s how site owners interact with customers that they can browse, buy products, and share information safely online.

Without getting overly professional, adding an SSL builds a safe connection for all kinds of activities, especially business transactions.

You can get an SSL certificate either with your domain registrar or your hosting company. Some offer an SSL certificate free with a domain or hosting package purchase, other charges from $X to $XX per year. Obviously, SSL certificates that you purchase (and do not receive for free) generally have a higher layer of encryption and better-suited commercial/business websites. 

Affiliate Marketing Software

If you want to launch an affiliate network, your business’s core will be affiliate software.

affiliate marketing software - scaleo

This will be the “heart” and the “command center” of your business, so it’s worth noting that you should take your time while picking an affiliate software that suits your business best. 

Here are a few key points to consider when choosing an affiliate marketing software for your network.

Affiliate software that supports networks

As obvious as it may sound, not all SaaS platforms that offer affiliate software allow you to create your own network. Some software only allows you to add an affiliate wing to your current business (such as Shopify or WooCommerce store). 

Therefore, you have to make sure the SaaS provider you choose has extensive network management functionality, such as Scaleo.

White Label solution. 

If you are going to run your own affiliate network, it’s good to have a white label affiliate software that will allow you to customize the colors to match your brand name and add your logo or other elements. Although this may not sound like an essential feature when you are just getting started, it will be a major concern once your network grows. 

You will not want another company’s logo inside your own platform. You may have to pay a great deal for platform customization if the SaaS provider does not offer it by default.

The number of conversions/clicks. 

Most affiliate software providers will try to upsell you by limiting the number of clicks or conversions they allow on any subscription plan. Suppose you are just starting with your affiliate network and have no idea how many clicks or conversions you are going to have. In that case, it’s better to choose an affiliate software that will offer you a generous and flexible plan. 

SCALEO affiliate software

For example, we at Scaleo offer an unlimited number of clicks across all plans. This means you will not be paying anything extra regardless of your traffic volume. Since our plans are based on the number of conversions, it’s only fair to scale one’s plan once the client reaches a certain number of completed conversions.

The bottom line is that you have enough room to grow and experiment before your affiliate software provider starts pushing you to upgrade your plan. 

Security.

We have already covered the topic of security a few times on this blog. You can see our post about it here:

Starting An Affiliate Network: Technical Basics
 - security

However, it’s crucial to mention that the software you will decide to trust with your business has to have a good reputation and be secure. How will you know if it’s a secure solution? Well, there is no definitive answer for it, but you can rely on specific key points here, such as:

  • Affiliate software’s rating on major databases, such as G2, Capterra, and TrustPilot.
  • Reviews you come across on the web.
  • The number of years the service has been around.
  • Does the software offer an additional security layer (such as Scaleo’s Anti-Fraud Logic)?

Also, the affiliate marketing software provider should allow you to add your own domain and either provide or enable you to use an SSL certificate.

It’s a good bonus if there is a painless option to backup and restore settings (affiliates, offers, conversions, and stats) inside the affiliate network. 

Reputable and reliable affiliate software providers will back up their data automatically daily. They will be able to provide you with an immediate backup in case anything goes wrong. 

Features

There are endless features you may want to see in your affiliate solution, from readily available support to the option to offer multi-currencies. Everything depends on your particular needs. 

Featured of Starting An Affiliate Network: Technical Basics

We do list all of the above elements because when you start an affiliate network and wonder what technical aspects to look for and consider, you must take everything into account.

Conclusion

If you decide to start your own affiliate business and launch an affiliate network, you need to get a few technical aspects out of the way. You need to register a domain name, get a hosting package that suits your needs, and build a basic website based on plain HTML or WordPress. Once you have the basic pages of your website ready, you can sign up with an affiliate marketing software provider and add your affiliate network to your domain name. 

Need a white label affiliate solution?

Scaleo - affiliate software white label solution

Scaleo is a widgetized white-label affiliate marketing solution that offers full UI customization to fit your brand – from logo to color scheme. Scaleo‘s lightning-fast backend interface will save you a great deal of time, as all statistics are generated and updated in real-time, including incoming clicks and transactions. It also offers an additional layer of security thanks to the Anti-Fraud Logic AI-powered algorithm.

Scaleo offers instant access to a 14-day trial; no credit card is required. Start your free trial right away and get into the affiliate marketing business with a professional solution that will cover all your needs. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly support team.

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Elizabeth Sramek
Elizabeth is a Senior Content Manager at Scaleo. Currently enjoying the life in Prague and sharing professional affiliate marketing tips. She's been in the online marketing business since 2006 and gladly shares all her insights and ideas on this blog.
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