How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress

Do you want to create a referral program in WordPress? Referral programs are a great way to get more people to promote your products to a larger audience. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a referral program in WordPress and… Read More »

The post How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

Do you want to create a referral program in WordPress? Referral programs are a great way to get more people to promote your products to a larger audience. In this article, we will show you how to easily create a referral program in WordPress and get more customers.

Creating referral program in WordPress

Why Create a Referral Program in WordPress?

Referral program or affiliate program allows you to get more people to help you sell your products and services. In return, you pay them a small commission on each sale they make. For more details, see our ultimate affiliate marketing guide to see how it works.

In simple terms, it is like building your own sales army without paying them a salary.

These affiliate marketers use tools and plugins to create marketing content. They make money online by referring their users to right products and services.

To manage a referral or affiliate program, you will need a tool that can manage your affiliate program. It will allow affiliate marketers to join your referral program. It will also help you track sales and traffic sent by each affiliate partner.

Why Use AffiliateWP to a Create Referral Program in WordPress?

For this tutorial, we will be using AffiliateWP plugin to create a referral program in WordPress. It is one of the best affiliate management plugins for WordPress.

Like everything else in life, AffiliateWP has it’s own pros and cons that you should consider.

Pros of Using AffiliateWP

Following are some of the benefits of using AffiliateWP to manage your referral program in WordPress.

  • Very easy to use and blends in your WordPress site like a native app.
  • Very cost effective with plans starting from $99/year to $499 for a lifetime license.
  • Integrates with WooCommerce stores, Easy Digital Downloads, PayPal, Stripe, and more
  • Large number of addons including free, paid, and third-party add-ons to extend AffiliateWP
  • Real-time affiliate tracking with detailed reports for you and your affiliate partners

Cons of Using AffiliateWP

Here are some of the disadvantages of using AffiliateWP to manage your referral program.

  • It has limited reach compared to affiliate networks which already have thousands of affiliate marketers actively looking for products to promote
  • It does not come with advanced fraud detection features that are offered by popular affiliate networks.
  • There is no automatic payout system, and you will have to manually send payments each month
  • Does not calculate taxes and 1099 forms for payouts. As a business owner, you will have to manage it on your own.
  • It is less convenient for affiliate partners. They will have to create an account and login to view their reports, compared to affiliate networks where they can see all their earnings at one place.

A good alternative to AffiliateWP would be ShareASale, which is a large affiliate network with thousands of skilled affiliate marketers actively looking for new products to recommend.

For a more detailed comparison, you may want to see this article on setting up your own affiliate program by Syed Balkhi (Founder and CEO of WPBeginner).

With that being said, let’s take a look at how to create a referral program in WordPress using AffiliateWP.

Creating a Referral Program in WordPress

First thing you need to do is install and activate the AffiliateWP plugin. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, you need to visit Affiliates » Settings page to enter your license key. You can find this information under your account on AffiliateWP website.

Enter your license key

After activating your license key, you need to select a page to be used for Affiliate Area. AffiliateWP automatically creates one for you, but if you want to use a different page, then you can select it here.

Next, you need to choose the terms of service page. You can check out affiliate program terms pages on other websites to create one for your own site. After creating the page you can select it here.

After that, you need to review other settings on the page and set them up based on your own referral program policies.

Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save Changes’ button to store your settings.

Next, you need to switch to the integrations tab on the Settings page. From here you need to select the integrations you want to enable. AffiliateWP supports most popular eCommerce, membership, contact form, and LMS plugins.

AffiliateWP integrations

Click on the save changes button and then switch to ‘Emails’ tab on the Settings page.

AffiliateWP allows you to edit emails sent out to your affiliates. You can also upload your business logo, create your own email templates, and choose the email address you want to use to send out affiliate emails.

Email notifications

Note: If you are unable to receive email notifications, then follow our guide on how to fix WordPess not sending email issue.

Lastly, switch to the Misc tab on the settings page to set up advanced settings for your affiliate program. The first option on the page is to allow affiliates to register themselves. You can check this if you want affiliates to be able to sign up for your referral program.

Misc settings

Next, you would also want to enable reCAPTCHA to prevent bots from registering as affiliates.

You will need to carefully review each setting and change them as needed. Don’t forget to click on the save changes button to store your settings.

Adding Links to Your Referral Program

Now that you have set up your referral program, the next step is to add links to it. For example, if you have enabled affiliate registration, then you may want to add a link to affiliate area so that interested marketers can register themselves.

Simply go to Appearance » Menus page and add your affiliate area page to a navigation menu. For detailed instructions, see our beginner’s guide to adding navigation menus in WordPress.

Add link to affiliate area

Clicking on the link will take users to the affiliate area where they can register to join as a new affiliate, or login to their account to see their reports.

Affiliate area

Managing Your Referral Program in AffiliateWP

AffiliateWP comes with powerful tools to manage your affiliates, view reports, and effectively run your affiliate program without leaving WordPress.

To view affiliates that have joined your referral program, simply go to Affiliates » Affiliates page.

Affiliates

On this page, you can see a list of all your affiliate partners, their earnings, unpaid earnings, referral visits, and more. You can edit any affiliate account individually.

To view each sale made through a referral partner, you need to visit Affiliates » Referrals page. Here you will see all referral sales, affiliate partner, amount, and more. You can also click on ‘Reject’ link if you suspect a referral to be fraudulent.

Referrals

Viewing Your Referral Program Reports in AffiliateWP

Reporting is crucial to run a successful referral program, and AffiliateWP comes with powerful reporting features. Head over to Affiliates » Affiliates page for a full overview.

Reports overview

You can filter the reporting period by time and specific affiliate partner name. You can also view reports for affiliates, referral visits, and campaigns.

Sending Payments to Your Affiliates

Unfortunately, AffiliateWP doesn’t come with automatic payouts, which means you will have to manually send payments. AffiliateWP makes it easy to manage your payouts.

Depending on when and how often you want to pay your referral partners, you can head over to the Affiliates » Referrals page and click on the ‘Generate Payout File’ button.

Generate payout file

This will generate a payout file which is compatible with PayPal’s mass payment system. The file also works with Skrill and other payment services that support mass payment feature. It contains the amount and payment email addresses for all your unpaid referrals.

We hope this article helped you learn how to create a referral program in WordPress. You may also want to see our ultimate step by step WordPress SEO guide for beginners.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

The post How to Create a Referral Program in WordPress appeared first on WPBeginner.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a WordPress Website?

One of the questions we often get asked is: how much does it cost to build a WordPress website? While the core WordPress software is free, the cost of a WordPress site depends entirely on your budget and goals. In this article, we will break… Read More »

The post How Much Does It Cost to Build a WordPress Website? appeared first on WPBeginner.

One of the questions we often get asked is: how much does it cost to build a WordPress website? While the core WordPress software is free, the cost of a WordPress site depends entirely on your budget and goals. In this article, we will break it all down to answer the ultimate question: How much does it really cost to build a WordPress website? We’ll also show you how to avoid overspending and minimize cost when building a website.

How much does it cost to build a WordPress site?

What Do You Need to Build a WordPress Website?

WordPress is free for anyone to download and use. It is an open source software which gives you freedom to install it on any kind of website.

So if WordPress is free, then where is the cost coming from?

The cost of a WordPress site can be broken down into following categories:

  • WordPress hosting
  • Domain Name
  • Design
  • Plugins and Extensions (Apps)

To create a self hosted WordPress site, you need web hosting to store your files. Every website on the internet needs hosting. This is your website’s home on the internet.

Next, you will need a domain name. This will be your website’s address on the internet, and this is what your users will type in the browser to reach your website (example, wpbeginner.com or google.com).

With WordPress, there are tons of free website templates available that you can use. However if you want something more advanced / custom, then you can purchase a premium template or have one custom made which will raise the cost.

There are 40,000+ free plugins for WordPress. These are apps and extensions for your websites. Think features like contact form, gallery, etc.

So while you can build a website with just the hosting and domain cost, based on your situation, you may end up paying for additional tools and services. That’s why it’s often confusing for people to find out the real cost of a WordPress website.

Let us walk you through the real cost of building a WordPress site.

Estimating The Real Cost of Building a WordPress Site

Calculating cost of building a WordPress site

Depending on your needs, your cost to start a WordPress website can range from $100 to $500 to $3000, to even as high as $30,000 or more.

It’s important to know what type of website you are building, and what you’ll need for it because that will directly affect your cost.

But don’t worry, we’ll show you how to avoid a financial disaster and make the best decisions.

For the sake of this article, let’s break down websites into different budget categories:

  • Building a WordPress website (low budget)
  • Building a WordPress website (with more features)
  • Building a WordPress eCommerce website
  • Building a custom WordPress website

Now let’s see how much each of these projects cost and how you can avoid spending any more than necessary.

What’s the Cost of a WordPress Website (Low Budget)?

Building a low budget WordPress site

You can build a fully functional WordPress website for yourself and keep your costs under $100. Here is the cost break down of a WordPress website on low budget.

First, you will need a domain name and web hosting.

A domain name typically costs $14.99 / year, and web hosting normally costs $7.99 / month.

Thankfully, Bluehost, an official WordPress recommended hosting provider, has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% off on web hosting.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

For more hosting recommendations check out our guide on how to choose the best WordPress hosting.

Next, you will need to install WordPress on your hosting account. See our step by step guide on how to start a WordPress blog for complete instructions.

Once you have installed WordPress, you can choose a design for your website using a free template.

There are thousands of free and professionally designed templates available for WordPress that you can install. See our expert-pick of 43 beautiful free WordPress blog themes for some examples.

Once you have chosen a WordPress template, follow the instructions in our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Next, you may want to add certain features to your website like adding a contact form, a photo gallery, a slider, etc. Don’t worry there are more than 40,000 WordPress plugins available that will help you do that.

Plugins are like apps or extensions for your WordPress site. See our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Below is our selection of the essentials WordPress plugins that you should install on your website. All of them are available for free.

Features

Website Optimization

Website Security

There are many more free WordPress plugins to add different features and extend your WordPress site. See our best WordPress plugins category where we have reviewed hundreds of WordPress plugins.

Total Cost of website: $46 – $100 per year

What’s the Cost of a WordPress Site (with More Features)?

Cost of WordPress site with more features

We always recommend our users to start small and then add more features as their website grow. This way you will not be paying for anything that you don’t really need.

As you add more features to your website, your website cost will start to increase.

You can continue to use Bluehost for WordPress hosting to keep the cost low and get a free domain name.

However since you will be adding more features to your website, it may make sense to get a more powerful hosting configuration like SiteGround’s GoGeek plan. This will cost you a little more, but it comes with premium features like staging, faster performance, and can handle up to 100,000 visitors per month.

You can use our SiteGround coupon to get 60% off for the first year of your hosting.

You can also go for a premium WordPress template for your site. Unlike free WordPress templates, these templates come with extra features and priority support. See our expert selection of 40 best responsive WordPress themes for some great premium templates that you can use.

For more website features you need to use a combination of free + paid plugin addons.

Here are some essential premium WordPress plugins and extensions that you’ll need as your site grows:

Features

Marketing

Security

There are many more WordPress plugins and services that you can add. Each paid service or addon that you add will increase the cost of your WordPress site.

Total cost of website: Depending on the premium WordPress plugins and services that you add, it can be anywhere between $500 and $1000 per year.

What’s the Cost of a WordPress Ecommerce Website?

Cost of building a WordPress eCommerce website

WordPress powers millions of eCommerce websites around the world.

The cost of building a WordPress eCommerce website can be significantly higher, but we will show you how to build a WordPress eCommerce website while avoiding potential losses and overspending.

In addition to hosting and domain, your eCommerce site will also need an SSL certificate which costs around $69.99/year. SSL is required to securely transfer customer data such as credit card information, usernames, passwords, etc.

We recommend using Bluehost Ecommerce plan. It gives you a free domain and SSL certificate, plus discount on hosting.

After that, you need to select a WordPress eCommerce plugin.

There are several eCommerce plugins for WordPress, but none comes even close to WooCommerce. It is the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugin that allows you to build robust online stores to sell your products/services.

Next, you will need to install WordPress and WooCommerce on your website. We have a step by step guide on how to start an online store.

While WooCommerce is free, you will need to use paid addons for additional features. The cost of your website will go up depending on how many addons you need to add on your website.

Once you are up and running, you will need to choose a WooCommerce ready WordPress template for your site. There are several paid and free WordPress templates with full WooCommerce support. Choosing a premium or paid template gives you access to support and extra features.

We have a list of the best free WooCommerce addons, but depending on your needs, you may have to use some paid extensions as well.

Here are some other paid services that you’ll need on your eCommerce website.

Features

  • WPForms – To add customer inquiries and feedback forms
  • Beaver Builder – To create stunning landing pages using a drag and drop page builder
  • Soliloquy – Create beautiful product sliders with their WooCommerce addon

Marketing

  • OptinMonster – Convert visitors into customers with this powerful lead generation tool
  • Constant Contact – powerful email marketing service
  • MonsterInsights – Ecommerce tracking with real time stats using Google Analytics

Security

  • BackupBuddy – Automatic WordPress backups
  • Sucuri – Website firewall and malware scanner

Remember the best way to keep your costs down is by starting small and adding extensions and services as your business grows.

Total cost of building a WordPress eCommerce website: $1000 – $3000. It could be higher depending on how many paid addons and services you add to your site.

What’s the Cost of a Custom WordPress Site?

Cost of a custom WordPress website

A custom WordPress site is when you hire a WordPress developer to create a unique design and build specific features for it.

Usually well established, large to medium sized businesses choose this route.

To support a custom WordPress site, you may also want to go for a managed WordPress hosting provider. This is WordPress centric hosting environment, with managed updates, premium support, strict security, and developer friendly tools.

In addition to your hosting and domain name, you will also be paying the developer that’s building your website.

The cost of a custom website depends on your requirements, budget, and the rates of the developer or agency you hire.

A standard custom WordPress theme alone can cost you upto $5000. More robust WordPress sites with specific custom features can cost up to $15000 or even higher.

How to Avoid Overpaying and Cut Down Spending?

We always recommend our users to start small and then scale their WordPress site as it grows. In many cases you don’t need all the premium features that you see on many well established websites in your industry.

Keep in mind that those websites had a head start, and it likely took them time to figure out how to manage costs and grow their business.

You can start with a budget website using free plugins and template. Once you start getting visitors, you can consider adding premium features like a premium template, email marketing, paid backup plugin, website firewall and so on.

Same goes for your eCommerce website. Start with bare minimum and then as you start selling, you will find out exactly the tools that will help you and your customers.

Look for best WordPress deals and coupons to get additional discounts whenever you can.

Even for robust WordPress sites you don’t always need to hire a developer. We have step by step tutorials on how to create different types of WordPress websintes such as:

We hope this article answered your questions about how much does it cost to build a WordPress website. You may also want to see our list of 25 legit ways to make money online blogging with WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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