The Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing and How To Get Started

Learn more about how Affiliate Marketing works to earn yourself a commission by recommending the product to others. It allows affiliates to earn money on product sales without creating products of their own.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

A female affiliate show an ad on he site for a watch store and if a customer clicks and purchases, she will get a commission.

Affiliate Marketing is a great way to make money on the internet without any initial costs. This can be done by promoting the products and services of others. All you need is an affiliate marketing program or niche website that will track your sales, and pay you a percentage of the profits made from the visitors, readers, or buyers coming in from your site.

Affiliate marketing is defined as a marketing relationship in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor, customer, or lead generated. An article posted on claimed that about 80% of brands have affiliate programs, and almost 65% of affiliate marketers achieve traffic by blogging.

What's more, 57% of affiliate marketers use affiliate networks to find relevant offers, and 20 million bloggers earn more than $100 per month, according to another article posted by

This means that affiliate marketing is a lucrative opportunity for you to have your own business and be your boss.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

A male asking how does affiliate marketing work as he wants to start doing.

Affiliate marketing works in such a way that you get a commission from the products or services that you promote on your website. While Google Adsense and other popular ad networks pay you for each click, affiliate marketing pays you per sale, sign-ups, or lead generation depending on what type of affiliate marketer you are.

This is why affiliate marketing is so lucrative: your websites don’t have to generate any traffic whatsoever. One of the articles posted on makeawebsitehub claimed that about 94% of publishers utilize several affiliate networks at a given time.

There’s always a need for more affiliates, so affiliate marketing allows you to own your business and earn profits from it regardless of how many visitors your website gets each day. And if you think about this, most websites out there are based on affiliate marketing. Amazon, eBay, TripAdvisor, Expedia… are all making money by selling things.

So the question is: can you make a living with affiliate marketing? Yes, but it’s not easy. It takes time and effort and it doesn’t happen overnight. But with the right amount of patience and perseverance, you can earn thousands of dollars a month and change your life forever.

Understanding Affiliate Marketing

To have a better understanding of affiliate marketing, you need to first have a good grasp of affiliate marketing. And so, what is affiliate marketing? For some people, this term is new and they are still trying to figure out exactly what it means. A lot of people in the industry have varying definitions of affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is an online partnership that allows you to make a commission by promoting and selling other people’s products and services. It doesn’t matter whether you are at home or in the office, affiliate marketing can be done from anywhere as long as your computer is connected to the internet.

A lot of people opt for affiliate marketing because it does not require them to invest capital and run their own business. They are also attracted to the fact that it can be done from anywhere as long as there is an access point to the internet. This means that you do not need a store or office, nor clients. You can work from home, in a park or even on an airplane.

You must understand the affiliate marketing concept before you start promoting and selling the products of others. Once you know what it is all about, then it would be easier for you to market other peoples’ products.

Benefits of the affiliate marketing model

The Affiliate marketing model is viewed by many as a new and better way for people to earn income from their products. The affiliate refers to the person or firm who acts as an intermediary between the producer of goods or provider of services and the customers.

The affiliate marketing program is structured in such a way that it benefits all parties involved, including the customers, merchants, and affiliates. Moreover, if you want to improve conversion rates, as well as find other ways to boost online purchases of your products, affiliate marketing can help, as GetCake recently found out that about 5.79% of marketers turn to affiliate marketing to connect with existing clients. The same survey also claimed that at least 83% of marketers also utilize affiliate marketing to increase awareness for their brands.

Another benefit of the affiliate marketing model is that it is a lot simpler to start than most people think. For one, you only need a website with content that you can promote as well as sell goods or services – affiliate links are also an important tool in this regard. Moreover, the fact that affiliate marketing is more of an online business model means that not much capital investment is required and you only need to pay for affiliate marketing courses.

Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels

An affiliate network is a common type of channel as some are free and use to generate traffic.

If you're new to affiliate marketing, you may not be familiar with the available affiliate channels. There are several affiliate marketing channels that you can earn commission from. Here are the most common ones available:

1. Clickbank – this is a very popular affiliate network. It has a multitude of products on offer for affiliates to sell and promote online. If you have business knowledge, or if you're good at writing, there's a high chance that your audience will be interested in the products that Clickbank has to offer and you can earn commission from them.

2. Amazon – this is another popular affiliate network where you can promote their products in exchange for a  percentage of every sale made. There are many opportunities here, depending on what niche you're in, but it's worth looking into.

3. PLR – this stands for private label rights and you can license someone else's content, product, or any other information that they have made available to the public. It's a very flexible way of doing affiliate marketing and allows you to sell an enhanced copy of something in exchange for a commission every time it is sold.

4. Affiliate Networks – there are many affiliate networks that you can join for free and use to generate traffic, such as ClickBank, CJ Affiliates, or Commission Junction. To find these niche-specific opportunities you need to conduct a keyword search on each of the affiliate networks listed and then make some offers to see what your competitors are doing. You could even go to Fiverr and hire a writer for $5 to write you an article about affiliate marketing. Each article that they write will have your money-making affiliate link in it. Just make sure that the content is unique and not too spammy so the networks don't blacklist you from earning a commission.

Types of Affiliate Marketing

There are many types of Affiliate Marketing. Below are some of the more common affiliate categories:

Unattached Affiliate Marketing

This type of Affiliate Marketing is when a product or service is specially made to be an affiliate program. The affiliate will pay you for any traffic you send them via your content, social media, and other promotional methods. Unattached Affiliate Marketing is when the producer gives you access to a ready-made affiliate marketing campaign.

So how does it work?

You create content for the affiliate program and start sending traffic to their product or service page(s). The affiliate company will pay you if people buy from your links.

If this is an ongoing partnership, then they will also give you commissions for any future sales and you will keep gaining a residual income from this.

If it is not an ongoing partnership, then you can just get the baseline commission when someone buys something from your links.

Related Affiliate Marketing

Conversely, Related Affiliate Marketing is when you get an affiliate link for your content. Once someone uses that link to purchase a product or service, then you earn a commission. This is most commonly used on blogs because they can track how many people click through to the merchant's site. It is also beneficial in reviews of products and services since you aren't directing traffic away from your site, but rather directing them to an online store.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

And finally, Involved Affiliate Marketing is when you work directly with a merchant. This is the most complicated form of affiliate marketing, but it can also be the most profitable if you have business savvy and are knowledgeable of Internet marketing techniques. Working directly with a merchant means that they will send you traffic in exchange for a commission on sales or leads generated from your site.

Furthermore, to ensure you are getting the best traffic possible, a merchant will provide you with tools that will help you track your conversions and sales. For example, if they offer leads, they may give you a form to be placed on your site to collect visitors' information. Or, if they sell products online, they might provide banners or graphics for your site that will help your visitors find the products they're interested in and generate sales.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing gives you the ability to work from home as it a home-based online business just like this male.

Just like everything in the digital world, affiliate marketing has both its advantages and disadvantages. You must understand the pros and cons of affiliate marketing so you can balance them out yourself to get yourself the best affiliate marketing strategies possible.

If you have an online business, then there is a good chance that you have considered using affiliate marketing at some point in your career. Let's face it, affiliate marketing is a great way to generate additional income for your business and it doesn't cost you anything but a little bit of time. Let's look at some reasons why you should strongly consider using affiliate marketing as part of your overall internet marketing strategy today.

There are several advantages to affiliate marketing:

1) Affiliate marketing doesn't cost you anything

Let's face it, affiliate marketing has the potential to earn you quite a bit of money without costing you anything upfront. Of course, there is still the monthly cost of running your business via web hosting and other expenses but these costs are certainly not going to break the bank as they would with many other online marketing strategies.

2) Affiliate marketing is considered low risk

Affiliate marketing doesn't require a huge investment in equipment or companies to get started, which means you have less chance of losing money if things don't work out. It's very common for affiliates to lose money on the first attempt at affiliate marketing but with more experience and knowledge this will happen less and less. If you do hit financial problems, affiliate marketing is something that can be done from your own home so it's much easier to get back on track quickly than with many other online business models.

3) Affiliate marketing gives you the ability to work from home

A lot of people like the idea of working from home and affiliate marketing is a really good example of a home-based online business for many different reasons. Firstly, affiliate marketing can be done from any location as long as you have an internet connection; although it's best to try and work from home whenever possible. No matter where you are or what equipment you have, even if it's outdated or low spec, you can still be successful with affiliate marketing and there's no reason to have a high spec PC.

On the other hand, below are some of the disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing, this includes:

  1. Marketing online can be a long and difficult process.
  2. You don't get paid until you make a sale.
  3. There is no job security or guaranteed payment as an affiliate.
  4. The work itself isn't necessarily easy and it requires the same amount of commitment as any other job.

But with some careful planning, good affiliate marketing strategies can offer you an opportunity to make a decent income online.

How to get started with affiliate marketing

An affiliate marketer doing live streaming as part of content making to gain targeted audience and give value.

If you want to earn money with affiliate marketing, the first thing you need to do is find a niche product that you can promote as an affiliate. Below is a guide on how you can start with affiliate marketing:

1. Decide on a platform

The first step in getting started with affiliate marketing is to choose a platform you will use to promote your products. Platforms such as ClickBank and Commission Junction are dedicated specifically towards affiliate marketing. Learn how these platforms work by checking out their tutorial videos or FAQ sections. Once you've chosen a platform, sign up for an account and download the information about the products it offers. 

2. Analyze the competition

Getting to know your competition is a key factor in affiliate marketing. You want to have an idea about what the top affiliates are doing and how they are promoting their products. Find out what offers they're running, which keywords lead to more sales, and why those specific products work better than others.

Learn as much as possible about your competitors and what they do right. This will get you started with developing your affiliate marketing strategy and help you create a plan for the future. A great way to get a jump start in affiliate marketing is by taking a look around in forums. They're mostly filled with beginner students who are eager to learn from you as long as you offer valuable advice.

3. Choose your niche

The next step that you can do is to choose your niche. There are so many affiliate marketing niches out there to choose from that you will have a difficult time choosing one. If you need some ideas, go on google and type in "top affiliate programs," but make sure they're selling products you want to promote as an affiliate.

Choosing your niche is just picking the right program to promote. Think about what you're already good at and capitalize on them. If you're good at writing, pick a niche where you know some information about the affiliate product and write an article about it.

Pick Your Affiliate Marketing Methods

You can target individuals in your local area using classifieds such as Craigslist, ask for email addresses and send them to your affiliate offer page.

Not only is this a practical option, but you'll learn how to market locally. Internet marketing is about targeting specific groups of people with messages that will trigger them to take action. The old-school way of marketing involved sending a letter in the mail or calling someone on the phone, and it worked wonders!

Getting people from offline into your internet marketing funnel is an art form. It's not the kind of thing you can read about in one'll need to be active and persistent if you want to achieve this.

Create great content

Through the creation of great content, you will develop a highly targeted audience of visitors and email subscribers. These are the two elements that we're going to use as our foundation to build affiliate marketing on top of the website empire.

To accomplish this, your content needs to be extremely valuable and must solve a real problem that is facing your readers. What's going to make your website shine is that the content will not only be well written and valuable, but it's going to bring a new perspective to the table.

You need to convey unique insights that you would like readers to get from your site. However, this shouldn't be difficult since most affiliate marketers are blogging about information that has already been covered, which if you dig into the original content, there is always something to which you can add value.

Drive traffic to your affiliate site

Driving traffic to your affiliate site is one of the most important parts of making money online.

For example, if you are promoting a fitness program for female weight lifters and they click on the affiliate link from your website; then they will be redirected to the fitness site to learn more about it. They will see that there's a cool video about how to do some crazy exercise or something. Then they will probably have a question about that exercise, so they will go to the comment section and leave a comment there. If you made some comments before, there's a higher chance that your affiliate link will be seen again and clicked by other people who are reading that article or video. It is very important to make a good impression at the beginning. It will make a huge difference for your affiliate marketing business later on.

Now when people came to your website from that fitness site, it's time to optimize your website for more targeted traffic and better conversions. So you can use the affiliate link of other similar products which are cheaper but still good quality as well.

Get clicks on your affiliate links

Getting clicks on your affiliate links is relatively easy. Just produce good-looking and interesting content that people will like to read or watch, and make sure you put your affiliate links in it so they can click on them. You can place your affiliate link for example at the end of your article and tell the readers that if they find the article useful, then please click on the affiliate link to get the stuff they need.

Affiliate marketing is risk-free and you get paid when people click on your links. So if an article of yours gets good traffic and people like it, then you can get a lot of affiliate sales through it as well!

Convert clicks to sales

Converting your affiliate links to sales is the most important part of your affiliate marketing business. It's good to have a lot of traffic on your site; but if you don't convert this into profits, then it's all useless.

The main goal when using any kind of advertising is to get targeted visitors and turn them into paying customers.

The goal of your affiliate marketing is to do this through two main ways: advertising and content.

1. Advertising - This section is about different methods to advertise your affiliate marketing program. Many of you will already be familiar with Adsense, which is one of the most popular ad networks in the world. However, there are several other options, as well as affiliate marketing networks.

2.  Content  - This section is about creating content for your site, and helping people become successful affiliates by recommending them the right products to promote. The most important thing here is building trust with your readers (and prospective affiliates).

Advertising and Content are the two main pillars that will help you get started with Affiliate Marketing. The more content you have, the more traffic you'll get, and the more affiliate sales you will make.

Examples of Affiliate Marketing

To have a better understanding of what Affiliate Marketing is, check the following examples:

For instance, a "blogger" will usually make money from affiliate marketing by placing ads on his/her blog. You also have an online shop that sells clothing, and you want to know how to guide the people who are coming to your site and helping them find other related products they might be interested in as well. In this case, you can become an affiliate marketer and blog about the same clothing, therefore you can help others find other related products to those they are interested in.

Another common example is where you have been online shopping for a certain product for instance speakers; now instead of just buying one pair of speakers, you might want to see if there are any deals on other related items such as the subwoofer, or perhaps other types of speakers; instead, you can just use affiliate marketing and have a blog where you help others make their choices on related to these items.

How to Do Affiliate Marketing for Free

This female marketer posting her affiliate products and placing links on Youtube videos.

There are a lot of ways of how you can make affiliate marketing work for you. and some of them are:

Posting in Facebook groups

Facebook groups are great places to post about affiliate products. The groups allow you to make simple posts that will help drive traffic and potential customers to the website where you can get your commission. You do not have to spend time creating content or a whole lot of marketing for it because all you are doing is a post in Facebook groups and let the people know about the affiliate product.

It is a win-win situation for you and the creator of the product because you get free traffic to your website where you will make money in affiliate commissions, and they also gain potential customers. This is one of the best ways to do affiliate marketing for free that you can use with just a few minutes every day.

Including affiliate links in email

The inclusion of affiliate links in email is a good way of marketing affiliate programs as it is also free. You do not have to spend any money like you would, say on Adwords or Facebook ads.

It is however more effort-intensive and requires you to plan and send out email newsletters to your list with relevant links that the readers may benefit from. It will help in getting more subscribers on your list as they get to know about the affiliate products you recommend.

When you send out newsletters with a lot of email addresses, this means that lots of people will be seeing and clicking your links, helping in getting some traffic to your site. This can all help in boosting your affiliate sales without spending money. Even if it is not enough to make sales, the traffic you will get from your newsletter or autoresponder can direct people into your niche affiliate program.

Including affiliate links in YouTube videos

Affiliate Links in Youtube videos are a great way to get your affiliate link out there and in front of people. It is also a good way to make some money if you are a YouTube partner. A lot of vloggers will earn an income by partnering up with different companies on YouTube and then placing affiliate links into their videos; so that when they send traffic through the affiliate link, they will be able to earn a commission.

Old school affiliate marketing challenges

A male experiencing a challenge as he is running away from a ball rolling. With affiliate marketing, this old-school challenges will still be present, its up to the marketer's effort.

Challenges that have been around for years in affiliate marketing are how to make money online with no products, how to get traffic fast, among others. 

Moreover, old-school affiliate marketing challenges are still present today, but the challenge is how well an affiliate marketer can learn and develop his or her business with affiliate marketing.

As such, for affiliate marketing to be effective, affiliate marketers need to understand how they can make a business out of their efforts.


When it comes to affiliate marketing, the possibilities are endless and no one topic is better than another. You can write anything from your own experience with affiliate marketing to tips on how you think people should be able to get started in the right direction. When it comes down to it, affiliate marketing is all about helping other people, so the ideas on what you should and shouldn’t write about will vary depending on your views of affiliate marketing.

All in all, affiliate marketing is a great way for you to make money without really having to work all that hard. You just have to be willing to help other people and then give them advice on how they can do the same.

There are so many different affiliate programs out there that you can join and it doesn’t matter what niche you are in as long as you offer good advice to other people.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Affiliate marketing is a fairly new concept, for better understanding, below are some Frequently Asked Questions regarding affiliate marketing.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is defined as the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s products. It is also known as “performing affiliate marketing” whereby you invite your viewers to click through your affiliate link and purchase another person’s product or service. When they do, you’re entitled to commission.

What is affiliate marketing and how can you get started?

As mentioned above, affiliate marketing is for affiliate marketers and as a beginner, you will need to have your affiliate marketing program. You need to create an affiliate marketing website of your own so that you may have an online presence or just some kind of Homebase. There are numerous free templates available where you can find them on the web.

One thing you need to remember is that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There are no limits on the number of sales that may come through your affiliate link or any limits on your earning potential. You will find out later that the efforts you make now to promote affiliate products will pay off in a very big way.

What is Affiliate marketing and how it is beneficial?

Affiliate marketing is an arrangement whereby for a commission fee that you pay to the affiliate, the affiliate will promote and sell a product or service on your behalf.

If you think of it in terms of salary then affiliate marketing can be compared to working at home and being paid residual income, provided your efforts are made regularly. The advantage of affiliate marketing is that it can be done from anywhere in the world.

Concurrently, affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy that does not limit itself to selling products only. It can also promote other types of services like online education, e-books, and even banner ads. The greatest advantage is that once an affiliate has sold a product or service they usually receive 75% of their sales revenue and you get the other 25%.

In affiliate marketing, you don’t have to come up with your product, invent the wheel again and develop a website of your very own. All these tasks are already accomplished by companies that offer affiliate programs. All you need to do is sign up as an affiliate and take advantage of their existing pool of products or services, and sell them for a profit.

Affiliate Marketing. What is it and why is it good for internet marketing newbies?

Affiliate Marketing is the practice of marketing products or services through another person's website. As an affiliate, you receive a commission every time someone clicks on your link and completes a purchase ( it can be 0.75% to 5% depending on the merchant.)

The good thing about affiliate marketing is that people are already interested in purchasing the products and promoting them through and this increases the chance of making a sale.

Furthermore, affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online because it is a quick way to earn. The whole process only takes few minutes and all that you need is an affiliate network host, products or services, and a landing page.

Because of its simplicity, affiliate marketing can also be done by newbie internet marketers with no prior knowledge of web designing or coding.

How much money can you make as an affiliate marketer?

Affiliate marketing can make you thousands of dollars from a single affiliate program and there are no limits to how much money you can make. 

The only thing that can limit your income is how hard you work at promoting affiliate products to gain new subscribers and customers for your own affiliate business. Affiliate marketing takes some effort especially in the beginning but once your website is up and running, it becomes much easier to generate traffic and make affiliate sales.

What are some of the most popular affiliate networks?

Some of the most popular affiliate marketing networks are Clickbank, Adsense, and Amazon.

Most people that join affiliate programs usually use Clickbank to sell their product because of their history in the industry and the trust they get from potential affiliates.

This does not necessarily mean that you should choose Clickbank over others, but it is a good place to start if you are looking for a reputable network with the potential of giving good commissions.

Other affiliate networks are also good, and are some of the more popular ones that you might want to consider are Webgains, Commission Junction, and TradeDoubler.

Is affiliate marketing a pyramid scheme?

Affiliate marketing is not a pyramid scheme, because, in a pyramid scheme, affiliates are given money for recruiting others into the program. In affiliate marketing, you get money for selling products to others.

There is some controversy as to whether or not affiliate marketing should be legal. The law governing this appears to have changed constantly over the years and there are conflicting opinions among different authorities on the matter.

In the US, it is legal, provided that individuals affiliate themselves with known brands only, or if they disclose their affiliation and are not found to be making false or misleading statements.

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Affiliate marketing is truly worth it. It can yield a lot of money, especially for people who start early in their affiliate marketing careers.

If you want to know how to get started with affiliate marketing, however, there is only one way and that’s the hard way. You will have to struggle to make your first sale and even harder to make your first hundred dollars.

The best way to get started with affiliate marketing is by first laying the foundation for your business, that is, setting up a website and writing articles geared towards what you are going to be selling. Then create an affiliate marketing program that has everything you need like training courses, email autoresponder series, lead capture pages, and an affiliate software program.

Do make sure that you go the extra mile to market your affiliate marketing business otherwise no one will be able to find you on the internet at all.

Can you make money as an affiliate marketer?

As an affiliate marketer, you can make money if you put in the effort to promote your affiliate marketing website. It is very possible to charge $100 per sale because of the structure of affiliate marketing programs.

Initially, when someone joins an affiliate network they will be given a link that they can use on their websites or emails, and any time someone clicks through their link and buys a product or service, the affiliate marketing network will pay them a commission of about 50% – 100%.

This means that if someone clicks through your link and spends $100 on an affiliate product then you get paid between $50 to $100.

You can either choose to promote products from one specific company or a range of companies that offer different products and services.

It is also possible to promote affiliate products through your websites or blogs, or you can promote them on different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.

There are lots of people who visit your sites regularly then this will help you get more referrals which can mean that the commissions grow even larger.

What is the highest-paying affiliate program?

The highest paying affiliate program would of course be the one that pays you the most per sale.

The affiliate marketing program, which currently has the highest commission rate on offer is Wealthy Affiliate. This company offers a 50% lifetime commission. It is not just one or two affiliate products, but a whole range of different digital products which can be promoted on your website.

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