7 Essential Steps to Create an Affiliate Program (in 2023)

If you’re looking to create an affiliate program for your business or brand this year, then this guide has your back.

Creating your own affiliate program has become easier than ever. In fact, with the right tools, you could have an affiliate program set up in a matter of hours.

We believe in the power of affiliate marketing for business growth, so in this guide, we’ll walk you through the 7 steps to set up your affiliate program today.

create an affiliate program with SliceWP

The best part? This guide is perfect for beginners. So if you have a small business or a large one, you’ll be able to create an affiliate program that suits you.

Get started with SliceWP

Start your affiliate program today and take your business to new heights.

Get SliceWP

Step 1: Set your affiliate program goals and commission structure

Before creating an affiliate program, we first need to decide on the important stuff. Goals, your commission structure, business objectives, and more are all important factors to determine before we get into actually creating the program.

What are your affiliate program goals or objectives?

This step is crucial for business owners looking to create an affiliate program for their online business.

Your affiliate program needs to align with your overall business objectives and can include any of the following:

  • Increased sales.
  • Brand awareness.
  • An improved volume of referral traffic.
  • Increased reach and greater quantity of new customers.
  • Improved conversion rates.
  • Passive income.

Once decided, your goals and objectives will determine the choices you make down the line. They’ll also help you keep track of the metrics that matter to you and will allow you to adjust your affiliate program’s strategy should you need to.

commission structure slicewp

Create a commission structure

Next, you’ll need to decide your commission structure, program terms, and how you’ll pay your affiliate network.

For all of these, you’ll need to think about things like:

  • If you’re doing fixed (a set amount per sale) or performance-based (a higher rate for affiliates with better performance levels) commissions.
  • What your cookie duration will be (the window of time in which an affiliate can earn a commission after a customer clicks their referral link).
  • If you’ll offer incentives or bonuses to encourage affiliate partners to push your products more.
  • What your minimum payout threshold will be.
  • Your payment frequency (how often you’ll pay affiliates).
  • The payment method/s you’ll be using.

We recommend making a loose decision on all these at this stage. By making these decisions upfront, you’ll be able to find a platform that suits you, and once you find it, you’ll be able to set it up quicker.

The next step is to pick the affiliate platform for your affiliate site.

Step 2: Pick the right affiliate platform and plugin

We recommend WordPress as the platform your affiliate website sits on. WordPress is incredibly accessible and easy to use, and with a wide range of plugins and add-ons, you’ll be able to create an affiliate program that’s scalable and suits you.

Then comes the important bit, selecting your affiliate program plugin.

slice wp affiliate program

In this case, SliceWP is an excellent choice. It’s easy to set up and will give you all the tools you need to manage your affiliates and grow your revenue, all from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard.

One of the best things about SliceWP is that it creates a dedicated area for your affiliates, making it simple for them to access their referral links, manage their account details, and check their performance. Plus, the plugin offers affiliate coupon tracking, so you can easily tie affiliates to specific coupon codes and track referrals without needing referral links.

affiliate account page

SliceWP also provides real-time reports, giving you valuable insights into your affiliate program’s performance. You’ll be able to track referred visits, commissions, revenue, and affiliate registrations, all in real time. And when it’s time to pay your affiliates, the one-click PayPal payout feature lets you do it quickly and easily.

Get started with SliceWP

Start your affiliate program today and take your business to new heights.

Get SliceWP

Step 3: Customize your affiliate program

So let’s say you’ve set up your WordPress website and have installed SliceWP. Now it’s time to set it up.

SliceWP gives you full control over your affiliate program, allowing you to customize everything from registration settings to commission rates, payouts, affiliate URLs, and more.

How to customize your SliceWP affiliate program

You can find these settings by going to SliceWP > Settings from your WordPress dashboard.

Or, you can set up your entire affiliate program with SliceWP in just a few minutes with the setup wizard. 

slicewp setup wizard

This setup wizard will walk you through each of the steps in this article once you’ve installed SliceWP. But if you’d like a more detailed overview, keep reading.

set your affiliate commission rate

Because you did the work upfront (in step 1), customizing all of SliceWP’s settings will take no time at all.

When recruiting affiliates, you’ll want to send them onboarding emails to welcome them into your program. With SliceWP, you can customize all of these.

While on the same page, click the Email Notifications tab at the top of the page and click Customize to edit each of your emails.

affiliate email notifications

With all of your basic settings done, it’s time to create your affiliate registration page.

Step 4: Create your affiliate dashboard/account page and affiliate registration page

With SliceWP, you can set your affiliate account, registration landing page, and terms pages, including all the fields you want them to fill out before they join.

Again, if you’ve walked through the setup wizard, you’d already have this setup. If not, here are the steps in detail.

affiliate registration page slicewp

Allow new affiliates to register

The first thing you’ll need to do is turn on affiliate registration.

To do this, take the following steps:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to SliceWP > Settings and scroll down until you get to General Settings.
  2. Make sure the Allow Affiliate Registration toggle button is set to green.
  3. There are a few other settings you can customize here, including if you want to set new affiliates as active or auto-registered. You can also set the cookie duration here.
allow affiliate registration

Create your registration page

Next, we’ll need to create your registration page.

To do this, take the following steps:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to Pages > Add New and give your page a name (usually Affiliate Registration).
  2. In the content area, paste the shortcode [slicewp_affiliate_registration]. This will insert the registration form into the page for you.
  3. Once done, Publish the page.
create affiliate registration page

Note: If you want in-depth instructions, check out our affiliate registration page guide.

Repeat the above instructions for both the affiliate login and affiliate account pages using the following shortcodes:

  • [slicewp_affiliate_login] – add this to the affiliate login page.
  • [slicewp_affiliate_account] – add this to the affiliate account page.

Connect your new pages to SliceWP

Once done, you’ll need to go back into SliceWP’s settings to assign and get these new pages working properly.

To do this, take the following steps:

  1. From your WordPress dashboard, go to SliceWP > Settings and scroll down the page until you get to the Pages Settings section.
  2. Next to each page, click the dropdown and assign your newly created page to the correct pages.
  3. Once done, click the blue Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.
affiliate page settings

Once SliceWP has been customized to your liking, we’ll need to add some affiliate creatives.

Step 5: Include creatives

Creatives are design assets that affiliates have access to when marketing your business. These creatives can include anything from:

  • Brand logos, fonts, and colors.
  • Banners, blog images, and images of different sizes.
  • Suggested social media posts.
  • Specific creatives for different types of affiliate, including content creators, bloggers, influencers, and more.
  • Suggested messaging and step-by-step instructions for written marketing.

Creating these can take a little time, but usually, affiliate programs start with the basics and gradually build their asset library as they go.

How to add creatives to SliceWP

Adding creatives to SliceWP is simple. Go to SliceWP > Creatives and click Add New Creative at the top of the page.

add new creative affiliate program

On this page, you can add as much information as you like to give affiliates a little more information. Within SliceWP, you can add images, short text, and long text.

Step 6: Start promoting your affiliate marketing program and recruit new affiliates

Now your affiliate program is set up. It’s time to get recruiting new affiliates. This stage is crucial but ongoing, so here are some tips we have to make this process smooth:

  • Make your affiliate registration page appealing by showcasing your rates, payment methods, and step-by-step instructions.
    • To make this even easier, use the Custom Affiliate Fields add-on for SliceWP, which helps you customize the registration forms with various custom fields.
Default affiliate fields in SliceWP settings admin page.
  • Reach out to customers, email list subscribers, and social media followers first to promote your affiliate program.
  • Offer a higher rate for your first set of affiliates.
  • Create partnerships with key influencers and leverage influencer marketing right from the start.
  • Work on your business’s marketing channels and create quality content on your own website. This will not only attract new potential affiliates, but do wonders for your search engine optimization (SEO) too.
  • Create a marketing campaign and long-term marketing strategy to promote your referral program over time.

Promoting and growing your affiliate program is an ongoing process, especially depending on the size of your existing platform. So take this into consideration when starting out. The effort you put into these early stages will pay off in the long run.

Step 7: Track and manage your affiliates

Once you’ve set up your affiliate program and started seeing some affiliate sales coming in, it’s time to check out how you’re doing.

Affiliate management is easy with SliceWP. You’ll be able to track everything from affiliate commissions, to revenue, visits, and more, all from your WordPress dashboard.

affiliate program reports

Either that, or you’ll be able to look through all affiliates and their commissions, manage payouts, download reports, and set custom commission rates should you need to.

Create an affiliate program for your business today

With these 7 steps in hand, creating an affiliate program for your business has never been easier. You don’t need complicated systems or programs. All you need is a WordPress website and SliceWP.

With these two tools in hand, you’ll be able to create, manage, and grow an affiliate program that’s designed to achieve your business goals.

Get started with SliceWP

Start your affiliate program today and take your business to new heights.

Get SliceWP