Affiliate Marketing in 2020: FREE Guide for Beginners

If you’d like to make passive income with affiliate marketing, this post is going to become your go-to guide.

Not only am I going to teach you the basics of how to become an affiliate marketer, but we’ll also dive into some real examples from professional affiliate marketers who are making thousands or even millions of dollars per year without spending money on PPC or any of that nonsense.

We’ll cover promoting products on Amazon, creating SEO-optimized content that ranks well on Google, email list promotion strategies, how to choose the best affiliate program for you, and give you a step-by-step guide to the whole process, so you’ll be earning affiliate commissions in no time.

Let’s dive in.

We’ll start with a (somewhat long-winded) definition:

Basically, it’s a modern interpretation of a very old idea — getting a commission on a sale.

If you’ve been listening to us for long, you’ve learned that bloggers make money by building an audience that trusts them, and then offering products or services that will genuinely help that audience.

Affiliate marketing is really just a quick way to offer products and services without having to create your own products and services.

For bloggers, that means you find a product or service that you like, promote it to your readers, and earn part of the profit on each sale that you make.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing can get pretty technical, even for those well-versed in digital marketing. Fortunately, you don’t need to know all the details to get started.

The actual mechanics run in the background, thanks to the merchant’s affiliate program software.

But here’s a quick look behind the scenes:

  1. When an affiliate joins the merchant’s program, he or she is given a unique ID and a specific URL to use when promoting the company’s product.
  2. The affiliate includes the link in their blog content and/or via their email marketing efforts and invites readers to click it to find out more.
  3. When a potential buyer clicks on the link to visit the affiliate partners’ site, a cookie identifying the affiliate is placed on their computer. The cookie ensures that the publisher is credited with the referral sale even if it occurs days or even weeks later.
  4. Whenever a buyer completes the sale process, the merchant checks the sales record for a cookie identifying the source of the referral.
  5. If the merchant finds a cookie with an affiliate ID, the affiliate is credited with the sale.
  6. The merchant makes reports available so that the affiliate can see their referrals (clicks) and sales.
  7. The merchant pays the affiliate commission at the end of each payment period (i.e. revenue sharing).

Here’s a graphical overview to help you visualize the process:

affiliate links

The flow is pretty straightforward once you understand it, and it works the same no matter what kind of product you’re promoting or how established you are as an affiliate marketer.

So let’s look at the typical progression for a blogger who’s serious about making affiliate marketing a major source of income.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 4 Steps

Here’s the key point you need to understand if you want to become an affiliate marketer:

You’re earning a commission in exchange for giving readers valuable insights on products or services they were already thinking about purchasing.

In other words, your readers are already buying things. They are already going to make a purchase whether or not you give them any advice.

The question is, could you help them make a smarter decision than they could alone?

Because that’s where you add value. You earn a commission in exchange for helping people make smarter decisions, and you use your blog and the Internet to systemize that process, providing valuable advice to thousands of people.

Here’s a step-by-step process for doing exactly that:

Step 1: Choose a Product to Promote as an Affiliate

As an ethical blogger, you’ll always be constrained in the products you choose to represent in one of two ways:

  • Either you’re limited by your experience to products that you’ve used and liked, that have affiliate programs and that are a good fit for your audience, or
  • You’re constrained by the products you can get access to in order to evaluate them, either by buying them outright or getting a free sample or trial.

No matter which approach you take, expect to have to invest time and money into researching the best products for your audience.

Here are your two main options (with your best option listed first).

OPTION #1: PROMOTE PRODUCTS YOU ALREADY KNOW AND LOVE

This is the most common way to get started with affiliate offers.

You become an affiliate for something that you’ve used yourself, had a good experience with, thoroughly tested and feel good recommending. You should be fairly confident that others will get the same results you did (or better), as long as they do the work.

If you’ve found great success from a course, mastermind, or ebook that your readers could also benefit from, it only makes sense for you to spread the word and share your results.

Do an inventory of the products, services, and courses you already have experience with. You might have a list of a dozen or more.

Which of these would you be thrilled to promote? Cross out any that don’t fit the bill.

Now simply check to see if the merchant has an affiliate program (some won’t but you’ll probably be surprised at how many do).

Using a search engine like Google, search for “affiliate program” + [product name], or simply email the merchant and ask.

Google for Merchant Affiliate

Then run your remaining options through this Good Affiliate Product checklist:

  • You’ve previewed the product so you know its quality (given, in this case).
  • They have a solid refund policy that you trust they’ll honor.
  • They provide good customer support (and you’ve tested it).
  • You have a good story to share about your experience with the product.
  • The offer fits your audience’s needs and won’t abuse the trust you’ve built with them.

The products that tick all the checkboxes are your best opportunities for affiliate income. As time goes on, add as many of these products to your mix as you like.

You’ve found your first product! Apply using the merchant’s process and start promoting.

If you’re just dipping your toe in the affiliate marketing channels, this first option may be enough to get you started.

However, most bloggers will want to try the next one, too.

(And you’ll have to explore the second option if you don’t have an existing product you love that is also a great match for your audience and offers an affiliate program.)

Option #2: Find Products Via an Affiliate Network

If you don’t have any direct experience with or knowledge of products in your niche that could help your readers, you can often find good affiliate products on affiliate networks (← our detailed guide).

But be careful — this approach requires that you invest time into research and money into purchasing products to try out, more so than the first option.

That’s because there’s less trust and prior knowledge involved from the outset. You have to do your due diligence to protect your reputation and the credibility you’ve built with your readers.

When you work through a network, you typically won’t know the merchant ahead of time and usually won’t build a relationship with them (your business relationship is with the network).

The list of popular and reliable affiliate networks include ClickBankCJ Affiliate, the eBay Partner Network, ShareaSale, CJ Affiliate (aka Commission Junction), and the Amazon Associates program. Some networks will even assign you an affiliate manager to lend a hand and show you the ropes.

Amazon products, in particular, are an easy way to get started. Many newbies begin by becoming an Amazon affiliate and then scaling to other types of more profitable affiliate offers.

Step 2: Get Yourself Set Up as an Affiliate

Whether you work directly with a merchant or through a network, you’ll have to apply, be approved and provide certain information so that you can be paid.

At a minimum you’ll need to provide:

  • Your personal/business contact information for tax and reporting purposes.
  • Your bank account where commissions will be sent.

In turn, the merchant must provide you with:

  • An affiliate link. Whenever you post about the product, you’ll use this trackable link. It will have a long tag at the end of each link that includes your affiliate ID.

Here’s what some typical affiliate text links look like:

EXAMPLE LINK THAT DIRECTS TO THE MERCHANT’S HOME PAGE
https://merchantsite.com/dap/a/?a=1199
EXAMPLE LINK TO ANOTHER PAGE ON THE MERCHANT’S SITE
https://merchantsite.com/dap/a/?a=1199&p=merchantsite.com/page.html

You’ll also usually get some tips and useful assets for marketing the product (often found in a welcome guide or on the affiliate website).

These could include:

  • An affiliate guide as well as instructions on how to use the platform and summary of policies such as payouts.
  • Online marketing tools like banners and sidebar graphics.
  • Sample email/webpage swipe copy.
  • Ongoing communications from the merchant about promotions, new products, etc.

If you use a network like Amazon, you’ll get your own link for each of the specific products you promote.

Be sure to check your specific network’s help or support pages for more information.

Tip: If your audience is global (which many bloggers’ are), you might want to check out geniuslink for tracking overseas sales through Amazon, iTunes, and Microsoft Store.

Step 3: Start Promoting Your Chosen Affiliate Offers

Ultimately, all your hard work finding and evaluating products only pays off if somebody takes your advice and make the purchase, right?

For that to happen, you need to put your recommendation in front of your audience. Even more importantly, you need to make your recommendation trustworthy.

This is where a lot of affiliate marketers slip up. They think slapping some banners up on their blog that link to affiliate products is all they need to do.

But take a look at this:

Create trustworthy affiliate links.

Does that look trustworthy to you? Nowhere close, right?

Well, here’s a little secret:

The most successful affiliate offers look nothing like that. No PPC or veiled recommendations on social media.

Here’s what to do instead (and what marketing channels to use):

Option #1: Create a Resource Page on Your Blog

Our own resource page is a good example:

Smartblogger Resource Page

It promotes lots of different products, but it also organizes them according to different types of readers and what they might need at the time. It also explains why those products would be helpful to them.

In other words, it’s not just a sales pitch. It’s educational. Because it contains a lot of quality content, plus it’s well optimized for SEO, it also ranks well in Google search results and gets organic traffic. It gets good conversion rates too.

Chances are, you can put together a landing page like this within a few hours. Your readers will also appreciate you putting all of your recommendations in one place for easy reference.

Option #2: Create and Promote Custom Content

This content marketing strategy will be the backbone of your affiliate promotional efforts.

Use as many of the following different techniques as make sense for your blog and audience.

Note: All of these strategies assume that you are already sending traffic to the latest content you’re creating by emailing your list on a regular basis (at least two to four times per month) to let them know what’s new.
A) Write Reviews

You can write detailed reviews of products, courses, books or software products you promote as an affiliate. For example, here’s our review of Siteground:

Why I Use Siteground - Smartblogger Review

Your reviews can focus on a single product or compare competing products side-by-side.

The second approach arguably builds more trust, but it also distracts people by giving them a lot of different recommendations.

If you would like to review multiple products, one option is to create a review site where all the content is simply reviews and affiliate offers. It becomes a “one-stop shop” for your niche.

B) Write Definitive Content on a Related Topic

You can write a definitive, comprehensive post on your site to educate your readers and “soft sell” your products and then work to get it ranking in the search engines.

For instance, you could write an ultimate guide to setting up a WordPress blog and include your affiliate links to your favorite hosting providers.

One example here at Smart Blogger is our post on freelance writing jobs. It’s a detailed, definitive guide for freelancers looking to find writing gigs, but it also allows us to feature one of our courses for writers.

Whatever the topic, make sure that it’s evergreen content — information that’s likely to be useful and valuable for years to come.

You can create blog posts, videos, infographics or anything similar — but whatever you do, it should not be a sales page. Focus on building trust and authority.

Finally, you should pay a lot of attention to SEO — make sure to optimize for the right keywords, keep WordPress running fast, and build links to your content to get a constant flow of traffic from Google.

C) Create Valuable Bonus Content

Assuming it’s allowed by your affiliate agreement (sometimes it’s not), you can create bonus content, exclusive to your readers, that helps people get even more value from the affiliate product.

People love bonuses! You can create many types of bonuses fairly quickly and easily while still giving your readers excellent value.

By the way, this is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from other bloggers representing the same products.

Here are some example bonuses you could offer:

  • Step-by-step checklists
  • Quick-start guides
  • Video overviews or demos
  • Complementary or discounted services (e.g., coaching calls)

Step 4: Comply with Legal Requirements (and Best Practices)

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you let people know you’ll earn a commission.

But even if it isn’t required by law where you’re located, we recommend it. It’s just good business.

Don’t be afraid to be transparent. People will appreciate your honesty and want to support you to repay you for making their lives better.

So wherever you share an affiliate link, whether it’s in blog posts, web pages, or emails, let your readers know that you stand to earn a small commission if they buy through you — and if they choose not to use your link, no worries.

Assure them that you wouldn’t recommend any products if you hadn’t used them yourself or were confident they could help them.

It’s also a good idea to create an Affiliate Disclaimer page on your website.

Here’s an example of our own disclaimer page at Smart Blogger:

affiliate disclaimer

We’re also clear on how those affiliate links might look within blog posts:

affiliate link

Affiliate Marketing Examples: 4 Types of Affiliate Products to Promote

So, we’ve walked through the process of becoming a successful affiliate marketer. Now let’s step through some real-world affiliate marketing program examples, walking through four different types of products you can promote and make a tidy profit.

Usually, most of your affiliate income will come from one or two “ringers” — core products that just about everyone in your audience needs and which also pay a good commission.

As you progress, you can add complementary products to round out your offerings and help your audience in new ways, but identifying your core earners is an essential first step.

Option #1: Digital Downloads

Digital downloads are online resources that your readers can access instantly, without having to wait for a package to come in the mail (as is true for physical products).

They could be audio or video files, PDFs, ebooks or even links to webpages where the content lives online.

Examples:

  • Books or ebooks — Books that are either self-hosted on your merchant’s website or downloaded from AmazoniBooks, or other online sellers.
Backlinko hosted ebook
iTunes affiliate program
  • Music, movies, TV shows, and more — Media offered through Amazon as well as the iTunes Affiliate Program and others.

Advantages

  • Digital downloads are an easy way to get started and help your audience with pressing problems.
  • There are no overhead costs of production, shipping or storage.
  • Your buyer can access and begin benefiting from their digital product immediately.

Disadvantages

  • Many ebook, software, or other download products are relatively inexpensive. You’d have to sell a lot of them to make any significant money.
Our Recommendation?
Do it! But expect higher earnings from other options on this list.

Option #2: Online, Hosted, and Professional Services

When it comes to selling services as an affiliate, it’s important to concentrate on those which will be accessible to your entire audience no matter where they’re located (as opposed to service providers who serve local customers only).

In other words, don’t limit your earning potential by geography.

Your best bet is to represent online, hosted, or professional service providers/influencers you’ve worked with in the past and have full confidence in.

Examples of professional services:

Designer Services Screenshots
Hootsuite Affiliate
Motif Affiliate Program

Examples of online/hosted services:

Email Service Providers - affiliates
Ruzuku - Affiliate

Advantages

  • It’s easy to become a service affiliate, and it helps your audience manage important tasks that require specific expertise.
  • There’s likely a higher earning potential than from digital downloads because services are usually offered at a higher price point.
  • Many hosted services will offer a recurring commission – meaning you’ll get paid for as long as the customers you refer continue to use the service.

Disadvantages

  • Some of your favorite professional service providers (ones you have experience with) might not have affiliate programs in place.
Our Recommendation?
Do it! Especially if you can find an excellent service provider who can potentially help nearly everyone in your audience at one time or another and who can be a strong, steady income generator.

Option #3: Online Courses

Online courses are an important subset of digital products, especially for bloggers, and the market is huge. They’re so popular that they deserve their own category on this list.

Online courses exist on just about any topic you can think of. They range in price from free to thousands of dollars, with higher-priced programs promising big results for students.

Examples:

Aha! Parenting affiliate

Advantages

  • Courses are one of the best ways to help your audience achieve a goal that’s important to them or move past a roadblock that’s been keeping them stuck. You can deliver incredible value with little effort on your part.
  • Courses are often offered at a higher price point than other digital products, so your earning potential from each affiliate sale is higher.
  • Courses are popular. It should be easy to find other influencers in your niche whose courses can help your readers.

Disadvantages

  • You’ll have to spend time working through and reviewing courses to make sure that they deliver on their promises (to protect your reputation).
Our Recommendation?
Do it! Help your readers in a big way, and earn big at the same time.

Option #4: Ecommerce Stores

If you decide to promote physical products on your blog, your best bet is to choose high-quality, distinctive products that that will appeal strongly to your specific audience.

Avoid commodity products that your readers can buy anywhere — the commissions are so small you won’t make worthwhile money unless you can drive tremendous traffic to your site.

Commissions on ecommerce products are usually fairly low because of the overhead of production costs, storage costs, shipping, etc. So unless you are planning to build a large review or shopping site, physical products will probably be a very small portion of your blogging affiliate income.

However, if you have a favorite tool of your trade, a must-have gadget that will make your readers’ lives easier, or a high-quality recommendation that you’re sure people will be thrilled with, go ahead and offer it.

You’ll build goodwill even if you don’t make a lot of money.

Examples:

Engadget

Advantages

  • Once you have an established blog, companies may approach you and offer you free product in exchange for a review. (You should always disclose this, as it could be seen as a conflict of interest.)
  • If you can afford to purchase products on your own in order to test them, you’ll be seen as a truly objective reviewer.

Disadvantages

  • Commissions from ecommerce stores are usually a lot lower because of the overhead, so you’ll have to sell a whole lot more product to make a decent income.
  • Buying products so you can review them before promoting them can be expensive.
Our Recommendation?
Offer physical products only under certain circumstances:

  • They’re directly related to your blog topic and something your audience absolutely needs.
  • They’re not commodities. Specialized and distinctive products from ecommerce stores reflect better on you, boosting your reputation and credibility.

You should now have plenty of ideas for types of products you can represent.

The Bottom Line on Affiliate Marketing

That dream you’ve had of making passive income isn’t just a silly fantasy.

It’s a completely achievable reality.

Sure, it’s not as easy as pushing a magic button or throwing Google Adsense all over your site, but with a little knowledge and persistence you can definitely do it and even turn it into an online business.

Once you’ve gained a respectable following, affiliate marketing is one of the best business models for making money (and from the comfort of your own home too).

And the best news is that it’s so easy to get started. All the steps for starting an affiliate marketing business are spelled out in this post.

Simply identify the one big thing everyone in your audience needs to reach their goals and start there.

Choose a great digital product from an online business you believe in. Share it. Tell the story of your successes.

Provide lots of valuable content that helps and educates your readers, and take care not to be too salesy.

Be upfront, honest, and transparent. Nurture the trust that readers place in you.

And finally, be patient.

All your efforts will pay you back with that sweet “cha-ching” of affiliate commissions being deposited into your bank account.

144 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing in 2020: FREE Guide for Beginners”

  1. Abdul Jawula

    This is so good it could be published as a book. Easily the best post on affiliate marketing I have ever seen. I will need to take some time off one weekend and go through this and implement properly.

      1. He is right actually. Dear Leanne, this is an amazing piece of information. Is it possible that you somehow put some pdf link for this post with you watermark of course.
        PS : An ebook is what awaits.
        Thanks & Regards,
        Shekhar

      2. As someone who comes somewhere in Africa, can these revolutionary ideas work? Thank you.

    1. Truly I found this to be the most comprehensive information on affiliate marketing on the web. Great resource for someone like me who is just beginning to experiment with affiliate marketing on the web. Deserve to be published as a book.

  2. Leanne, this is absolute gold. I had rarely ever seen such a detailed guide (coincidentally, this very article could be sold as an affiliate product) :p

    Although i haven’t toyed with affiliates in a while, I DO have one or two still spread out here and there. The results never cease to amaze me.

    There’s a link for “Grammarly” that i have on my blog, for example, which (quite frankly) I had forgotten about. That is, until I suddenly received over $150 earlier this year seemingly out of the blue. This followed again with another $100 a few months later.

    While these amounts are not in the thousands, it still goes to show how a product (shown to the right audience) can have powerful results. So just imagine, what if i were a lot more active as opposed to passive?

    Thanks for the superb read. I will actually have to come back to re-read it to ensure every ounce of detail sticks with me 🙂

    Nice to meet you, and have a wonderful day!
    Elvis

    1. >>So just imagine, what if i were a lot more active as opposed to passive?

      That’s exactly it, Elvis. I’ve also been guilty of taking a haphazard approach to promoting affiliate offers. Hopefully this post will help you come up with a solid strategy and steady earnings.

      Thanks and nice to meet you too! 🙂

  3. Your blog post is 100% affiliate-oriented. Could you please publish a Part 2, but this time being merchant-oriented? I’m a merchant and I’m interested in creating an affiliate program, but I don’t know how, and unfortunately your post didn’t help me either.

    1. You’re right, Javier – the Smart Blogger audience is mostly beginning and intermediate bloggers and online businesses. The merchant side is more of an advanced topic. But good suggestion. Maybe they’ll address the merchant side in the future.

  4. Hi Leanne,

    Your Golden Rule rings true. What an inspired post.

    You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.

    If you get THAT clear and believe in some product, go ahead. Your audience trusts your word. But most folks need to use or experience before they can get clear, because they have a fear: the fear of using trust. I am slowly losing that fear but still use what I promote, before I promote it. I also just sell my stuff mainly. Since I have quite a few products and eBooks and services to sell.

    Thanks Leanne, fantastic post.

    Ryan

    1. Yes, Ryan, you’re right. I’m sure we can find examples. But it’s probably best for us mere mortals to be a bit more careful during our first 20-25 years or so. 😉

      You’re welcome – glad you found it valuable!

  5. Leanne,

    Thank you so much for this early Christmas gift.
    As I am up to my eyes in jingle bells and other such festive nonsense, I intend to read your post later when I can give it the time it deserves.
    In the meantime, I thank you and take the opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year. May your cash till jingle with well-deserved joy!

  6. I am mesmerized by the content and value of this ‘post’. I don’t want to call this a post because I have seen so many books, not even have half of the value of this. I will surely spend a couple of days to absorb all this information. Thank you so much for this wonderful guide, Leanne.

  7. Hi Leanne,

    When Jon sent out his survey months ago, this is something I requested. Wow! This is wonderful and I’m going to go brew of cup of tea, get a biscuit or two, my favorite pen and a pad, and go through it again!

    Do you know how hard it is to drink a cup of tea while you’re smiling?

    Many thanks, this is just terrific and I am so looking forward to making money in this way!

  8. Leanne

    Great guide! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m at this stage in my blogging that I’ve started (carefully) dabbling in Affiliate marketing.

    It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.

    So thank you again for a great guide and… looking forward to part 2!

    1. You’re welcome, Joanna –

      You know, you’ll probably learn a lot about the merchant side of things if you just pay attention to what the merchants you represent are doing. What kinds of support they give you, how they follow up, what software they use, etc.

      Find the best and model them. I don’t think you can go wrong.

  9. Whoooaaa…You outdid yourself this time, Leanne!

    Finally, a post with info I can actually apply to my business today, and with confidence to boot.

    My first couple online businesses were affiliate-based. The second one generated $10k-$25k in sales, which meant a steady $1k-$2.5k in monthly profit.

    And, you’re right…

    …the research and setup are the most important and time consuming pieces of that “engine”. I’m glad you address it ‘cos I strongly recommend spending at least half of your time (or more) on making sure you are ethically delivering a solid and useful product/service to your audience.

    Anything less (i.e., shortcuts) is an exercise in futility.

    Thank you for all your hard work. You nailed it — a truly fantastic post!

    1. Hi Blaine,

      Thanks so much! I really hoped this would be one post people could use right away. Also, it’s great to get confirmation from people like you who have been there, done that.

      I started out only selling stuff that i had used myself. So that was directly from experience. But you’re right, in order to branch out and be ethical (and smart) about it you have to invest the time. (I’ve been burned as well.)

      Appreciate the insight!

  10. Hi, Leanne!

    I’m thrilled. I loved it. I was actually looking to find something like that. Affiliate marketing isn’t easy. I’m learning that you have to invest a lot of energy, effort, and testing into this before anything works for you. It’s quite a process. And your guest post is surely a lightning rod.

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Hassaan,

      Yes, it can be a bit of work but it’s also well worth it. Keep trying different things. Glad this post could be a jump start to your own efforts.

  11. Hi Leanne,
    Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.

    1. Hi Peter,

      I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve had similar experiences and I’ve also learned the hard way. There are a whole lot of people who can do marketing and sales. There are much fewer truly excellent teachers. 😉

      I think our best bet is to be a student, complete the course, see the results, and then promote as an affiliate if the offer fits our audience.

      There are bound to be bumps along the way, despite our best efforts. Find the gold and leave the rest.

  12. Hi Leanne
    I think it could rightly be called a Bible on affiliate marketing. While reading it I minutely monitored every topic to find anything you missed but found nothing which you missed.
    The three stages blogging and your suggested course of action as an affiliate is a guiding beacon for those who do start it but without knowing where they are and where they should be pick any of the three strategies.
    Many thanks for sharing such a comprehensive post on the topic that surely is going to become a history.

      1. Yeah; I found myself at stage 2 and seriously thinking to revive my email marketing to help my subscribers suggesting best products they really need. This I would do in addition to my blog consultancy business that’s already going well.

  13. Amazing guide Leanne – had to share it straight away! It’s not the length it’s the quality. So many useful tips – I’ve already added some to my affiliate file. Thanks!

  14. Holy Cow! what a great resource. I wish I had this when i first started affiliate marketing. I am looking for best SEO tools for my affiliate websites. Thanks so much!

  15. Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.

    1. Definitely, George. It’s a journey. Take one step at a time, you’ll get there – probably faster than you would have done if you had experimented on your own without this info. Good luck!

      1. Thanks and yes, one step at a time (and probably a few back now that I’ve read your article 🙂 ). I hope that you have a great week!

  16. Hi Leanne,

    This is the most comprehensive post on affiliate marketing that I have read.

    I had a question, which blog niche is best suited for selling high ticket items over 200-500 dollars?

  17. Hi Regalla,

    It’s an amazing post regarding affiliate marketing & truly this is one of the most complete guides on the subject.

    It was fascinating to get this great post this week. Your post just made me happy. Knowledge sharing is always awesome & you’ve done that extraordinarily this time.

    Regards,
    SM

  18. Hi Leanne,

    Thanks for all the hard word you have put into this post. It can’t be easy to cover such a broad topic with the clarity and flow you have achieved here.
    I particularly resonate with your point that ‘passive’ affiliate income is usually anything but, and takes time and ongoing attention to get results.

    This is one post I shall read and re-read to uncover all the hidden gems.

    Thanks.

  19. Matt (Business Analyst)

    Great thorough post on affiliate marketing. been wondering whether to monetise my blog for a while and maintain trust. now i feel like i have a clear trusting action list. 🙂

  20. Hey Leanne,

    A wow should come from the heart of every blogger after reading this post. We will expect more masterpieces from you in the future also. It is amazing and very very useful post. This post includes the basic information of affiliate marketing.

    One should have the basic knowledge for the improvement of his business and this post provides all the content. It is valuable for the new born social media marketers. The ideas and information are basic and simple but this simple is awesome here. Many people including me, are hungry for the right information and this post is the absolutely the right diet for us.

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable post and keep posting.

    With regards,

    Suraj Kumar

  21. Hey Leanne,

    You nailed it in the best possible way.

    People are jumping in the affiliate marketing pool. But there are a few who know the real way to accomplish their affiliate goals.

    I agree with your points. Especially, to use the product without start selling it.

    Before you start selling anything, you should build the trust among your audience so that people can buy it from you.

    Everyone likes money but there are few people who are having the proper strategy for the affiliate marketing.

    Thanks for this wonderful guide.
    Have a great day.

    ~Ravi

  22. Great post Leanne, it’s always great to see affiliate marketing in a concise and to the point fashion. When using analytics to track conversions, what factors do you feel are the most important to focus on for affiliate marketers? Where do you see a lot of affiliate campaigns fall flat in terms of optimizing their campaigns?

  23. Good Job Leanne.
    For someone who is struggling with affiliate marketing terms and techniques, this article is a perfect guide. This is really a knowledge booster article.

  24. WOW!!! thank you SO MUCH – I was just starting to look into this and here appears a epic article (aka BOOK!). This is an article that I am keeping – as next year I am re-vamping my website, changing and growing and using this info and insight-laden post.

  25. Hi Leanne,

    Much appreciated!

    I can’t describe in words how much your post was helpful to me. In simple words, I got all my questions solution from this blog post.

    Affiliate marketing is sometimes headache. But your guide clears all my confusion and gives many tips.

    Thanks for sharing an informative post indeed.

  26. Thanks for such an insightful post 🙂 I’ve just created my first blog, and am planning to add some affiliate offers to it! Great guide, I will be sharing this with my fellow Internet markets!

  27. Hi Leanne,

    I agree that this is the most complete guide ever. Awesome post and a lot of value.

    I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.

    Honestly, affiliate marketing is a never ending journet and education for me so I am really grateful of finding this post! Awesome value.

    Reagrds,
    Jon

  28. Great post, Leanne. Thank you for sharing what you know about affiliate marketing. These tips are very important and we’ll never know this if it wasn’t for you.

  29. Hi Leanne,

    Truly I found this to be the most comprehensive information on affiliate marketing on the web. Worthy point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. I have been burn before not taking this extra step and I eventually tested the product and turn out to be trash. Thanks for sharing!

    Wish everybody A Merry Christmas and New Year.

  30. Hey Leanne,

    Thanks Leanne for sharing this great affiliate marketing guide. It cover ups all the content which is Included in Affiliate Marketing. Once again thanks for sharing this great article.

    -Akshit Wadhwa

  31. I am so very glad I found this website and read this post. I am so inexperienced in all this, but I do see that you take a totally different approach to the many others I have read. It is so refreshing. I will go back reread, study and apply.

    Thank you.

  32. I simply loved the step wise approach. Most other bloggers include only certain points and for newbies it’s difficult to connect the dots. But this one’s really great post

  33. HeyLeanne Regalla!

    This is the ultimate guide. I believe making money from affiliate not use for beginners. but your post changed that belief.
    Thanks for sharing.

  34. God!!

    It got to a point, this started to feel a little overwhelming!

    Awesome stuff Regella. 🙂

    I need to find a way to stop depending on display advertising income and get serious with more direct means.

    Time for PRO-active blogging.

    Thanks again.

  35. Hey Leanne,

    This is a great post to help bring in the New Year!

    You put a lot of detail about affiliate marketing. I do it and I’ve learned a couple of things here.

    When you said this is the most complete guide ever in your title, you wasn’t joking! LOL

    Thanks for sharing! Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

  36. Affiliate Marketing is just fabulous way to make money online. I love to sell web hosting and it is best for affiliate marketing.

  37. Hey Leanne,
    Thanks for sharing your experience in the great world of affiliate marketing and yes, your right, affiliate marketing is good for us and our readers.

    Regards,
    ~ Vijay

  38. I was lost on how to make effective affiliate marketing. I joined an affiliate marketing before but no luck. What you have said enlightened me of what are the right things that I should have done before in order to make it effective. Thanks very much.

  39. Another comment said this post is gold, and they are right! Thanks so much for sharing this. As a new blogger this definitely helps me out! I am sure I’ll be referring back to this post many times.

  40. Thanks for this wonderful post Regalla. I really appreciate it.
    Please i want to ask you something or anybody that read my comment.
    Presently, am promoting clickbank affiliate and you know that you can’t really make money if you don’t give your targeted buyer something like giving them free report in exchange to their email.

    But i need another affiliate that is not like clickbank and not like amazon who pay very well. Like an email submit that i can place the banner on my site. Please i will appreciate if you can recommend one or two for me.
    Thanks

  41. This is an epic content, thank you, Leanne! Recruiting affiliates for your own product is also a great way for growing your revenue but all affiliates are not created equal. So, it’s important you know what you doing.

  42. Thank you for detailed post. I am eagerly looking to start an affiliate website for Amazon products. Google search brought me on this page and I am happy to learn what the heck affiliate is all about. Looks like it is something I can do best now.

  43. Hi Leanne

    This is a fantastic guide will definitely be using some these tips.

    I think its really important to start an email list as soon as possible. When you have subscribers that trust you making affiliate sales becomes easy!

    Thanks Again
    Joe

  44. I’m planning to start affiliate marketing, so I believe this guide will definitely help me out while carrying out my strategies to promote the products.

    Thanks for sharing this guide! 😀

  45. I’ve already written a comment about the greatness of this post and now here’s an updated comment.

    Yes, I’ve got tons of benefits with the post and now I wanna give you a big thank you.

    I hope that this post will be continuously helping me as well as other affiliate marketers.

    Wish you all the best,
    SM

  46. Superb Article, I highly recommend becoming a service affiliate, over 6 years I earned over $100,000 from one recommendation in an email from a service.

    I recently wrote up some research I’ve recently completed where I took the income and traffic from over 100 sites and worked out the RPM for each site. The Median RPM (I removed the top and bottom 20% of sites) for Affiliate marketing was $155.14 which compared well against Adsense at $9.97.

    I also generated figures for Amazon associates, Amazon FBA and e-commerce

  47. Leanne, you are awesome. Thanks for the guide.
    Once upon a time I tried to be an affiliate marketer back in 2010. But I had no guidance where to start and go ahead properly. Eventually, I gave up. But after reading this article, I am thinking to start over once again.

  48. Great post. Currently, I am trying out Amazon affiliate and some CPA offers. Trying some paid ads – Google and Bing ads. I will try to get success this year with affiliate marketing.

  49. Great article about affiliate marketing. Personally, I have been in darkness about this but now am going to implement this. Hopefully, I will update you on my progress. You clearly outlined the steps, and I believe I can share this with my friends too who wish to work online. Am grateful mate.

  50. This is a good article. Thanks for the tips. What is a hot product that you know of now that is working great to make money online you would say

  51. This is a really great post, Leanne. I just recently found this site and I’m really impressed by the quality of content on here. Thanks for writing such an in-depth guide to affiliate marketing.

  52. I always wanted to try Affiliate Marketing but had no clue on how to go about it. This article is awesome for someone like me. Looking forward to more of your posts. Thanks.

  53. Very nice article! Affiliate marketing is perfect for bloggers as long as they offer quality content and are upfront about it. If people are willing to donate money to YouTubers via Patreon, why wouldn’t they buy something that they want or need through the site or blog of someone that offers them great content and support his or her efforts? It’s a win – win kind of deal.

  54. I am running affiliate marketing on my blog. 70% of my income come from affiliates. I strongly recommend affiliate instead of adsense or other ads networks.

  55. Very good article! As it comes to affiliate marketing, I’m sure that this is one of the best ways of generating passive income for your lifetime.
    By the way, this is the main method of making money on my blogs 🙂

  56. Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!

    Mike

    1. Sure thing, Mike and thanks for the kind words. Totally agree that we want to keep what we do above board and not ethically questionable. 😉

  57. Thank you so much, Leanne for the comprehensive guide on affiliate marketing. Even though this is a very long post, but I find that I wish to read more and more. Truly insightful.

  58. I’m always shocked by the amount of content in each blog post on this site… No matter how many times I search the web, I find this site in my top searches with QUANTIFIABLE content. It’s valuable. Great stuff you provide. And SO MUCH. It’s one of my favorite sites to review and read, seriously. I often link back, just so I can remember where I found the information. Wonderful information to share! Thanks for being prolific.

  59. Great Article! You have in your post clearly defined what exactly is affiliate marketing and the effective ways to get started off with affiliate marketing, i.e. do affiliate marketing with clickbank, use aweber as an email auto responder. But, here is my question, do you feel affiliate marketing is better than CPA marketing?

  60. rest and wonderful blog post.

    Affiliate marketing is what I have been using to make some bucks for a while now and it really cool.

    It might be a little bit difficult to find the right products to promote, but once found you make a lot from it

  61. Hi Leanne,

    To become a super affiliate need passion, hard work and action. I learned a lot and still learning. I am so happy to get some extra knowledge from your post.

    Thank you so much for sharing your hard work and make us easy understanding.

  62. Hi,

    My main source of income through blog is Affiliate Marketing.

    Affiliate Marketing doesn’t need huge audience just targeted audience is enough and you can earn a lot from it.

    This post will be very helpful to the begginers in blogging.

    Thanks.

  63. Hi Leanne.this is an amazing article about affiliate marketing I was just checking the website to get information about marketing not knowing that I was to check for an affiliate marketing,then I found your post.
    .I’m a pregnant stay home mum looking for how to earn extra money.I have tried to start a blog but it seems not to pay as I expected. So I met this guy that wants me to market his packaging,archive box and printing company and to pay me per comission.So needed to educate myself and find this post.its amazing how you are able to put all this I one post.very educative.
    I hope to get it all right with all this information

  64. I couldn’t agree more the relationship with your audience, and the trust that you build with them, is the single most important asset you could ever have. Trust is the basis of all good marketing, If viewers do not trust you and see you as the expert, that they need to turn to, then the chances that you will succeed with Affiliate marketing in the long-term, are very slim. Such a great content and a perfect key strategy for every business industry to prosper. These were awesome, looking forward for more valuable content of yours!

  65. Thank you for a very straightforward introduction to the world of Affiliate Marketing. I’m looking forward to the journey and just starting out. For me, I’m just as enthusiastic about the challenge of gaining success for its own sake, as the financial rewards it may hopefully bestow on me. There are so many variables involved and putting the whole thing together feels like attempting a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a hangover.

  66. Thanks for the info it was very helpful. I have been doing affiliate marketing for over a year and still struggling. I’m still patient and not giving up. Thanks for your help.

  67. TONY VAN MAANENBERG

    Wow, what a read.
    I’ll need to re-read this a few times as there is so much to take in.
    There’s mega information here and laid out in a logical easy to follow format.
    Must have been written for me because I could follow it and the bonus, IT MAKES COMPLETE SENSE.

  68. Hi Leanne,

    Always loved this ultimate guide of yours. And now that it’s been updated, it’s even better!

    Whenever a reader asks me for beginner-level tips on affiliate marketing, I always point them to this post. And every time I’ve thought about writing a post like this of my own, I stop. Why bother? Leanne has already covered it all. 🙂

    Off to tweet…

    Kevin

  69. Hi Leanne,
    Tons of seriously good stuff. It’s like doing an online course for free! Huge heart & huge effort in sharing so much valuable information.

    I have just started blogging and this comes as a huge help to me.

    Cheers
    Tino Gonsalves

  70. Wonderful guide!
    One of the benefits of affiliate marketing is that it can be
    extremely cost effective. If you’re only paying commissions when the desired conversion occurs, you’re not throwing away ad dollars on placements that have no proven value. Thanks for sharing this guide!

  71. Hey, what a great post! I was searching for affiliate marketing programs and discovered your cool website , actually im new into affiliate marketing (only a week into it) and i really need to know what is the best affiliate program for beginners like me, i have found some program “Impact” at millionairesuccesstips they say that you can earn money from sharing pictures. but they say its not suitable for everyone and also need an investment. Could you help me with your professional opinion about this one and tell me if i should invest for it or maybe suggest me another a good program that easy for beginners like me please?
    Thanks!

  72. Thank you for this very informative post. I was a confused blogger as far as affiliate marketing is concerned. I have learned a lot from your post.

  73. I have just started out on affiliate marketing and I find this in-depth post very helpful to me.
    Most bloggers will just write something that instead of educating others, they focus on promoting their affiliate products.
    Thank you for sharing

  74. Thanks for sharing the informative post about affiliate marketing for beginners. Yes, we know that affiliate marketing is not easy but with your amazing post, it is easier.

  75. Hi Regalla, I have recently started an Affiliate Marketing Business and for this purpose, I have started a blog on this. But somewhere I found difficulty in searching for new contents for my blog and also I am confused about what products to promote on the blog which I have started.
    Finally, I found your article which was so useful and an eye-opener for me. I have learned a lot from this post. And it’s really helpful for the people who are trying to make some revenue by doing affiliate marketing business.
    Regards,
    Harish.

  76. Leanne,

    wow, what a comprehensive article. You covered topics most people don’t even bother discussing. Every new blogger must read this article.

    Ken

  77. Bloggers doing affiliate marketing needs first to build a great mindset and dedication
    unfortunately all the courses describe the steps as a follow them and you will reach your destination

    Few gurus dedicate part of their courses to the importance of being patient and focus, also building audience and not a non related blog posts
    All courses provide the steps and you follow and don’t get any result so you quit

  78. I really like step number 3 especially when you write:

    “you can create bonus content, exclusive to your readers, that helps people get even more value from the affiliate product. People love bonuses! You can create many types of bonuses fairly quickly and easily while still giving your readers excellent value. By the way, this is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from other bloggers representing the same products.”

    It’s the sacred truth!

    Fantastic article, simple and well done.

  79. I’m confuse whether or not affiliate marketing a pyramid scheme. Anyways what is important is you get paid every time you drive a sale.

  80. I have always relied mostly on sponsored posts but a friend was telling me recently that I should get more into affiliates and the thing that convinced me most was she said it is really passive income that can keep making you money long after that initial post. Makes good sense!

  81. Thanks for this awesome post about affiliate marketing! There are many ways you can monetize your affiliate website, as you described.

    I would focus more on affiliate programs with recurring payments and digital products that are in the high ticket area.

    However, I would also recommend some cheap or free products, such as Grammarly. If someone creates a free account, I only get a few cents, but if they upgrade, I get a commission for that.

  82. Awesome article Leanne! I’ll be sure to implement these strategies on my blog.
    All courses provide the steps and you follow and don’t get any result so you quit.

  83. Hi Leanne,

    Thank you for sharing this awesome affiliate marketing article. I’m planning to take the Affiliate Marketing a Full-time job this 2020, I’m planning to implement the strategies you explained on the article on my current niche blog, let’s see if I can get a good result and passive income in 2020.

    Like the famous quote, – “Patience is a virtue, and I’m learning patience. It’s a tough lesson. Elon Musk ” I’m still struggling to be more patient, I know it’s tough on affiliate marketing.
    I won’t give up until I made my achievement.

  84. Wow! Thanks for an awesome post Leanne! I bet you spent a lot of research on this. I have been looking to find something like this for a while. Affiliate marketing is certainly not an easy task.

    Keep up your great work.

  85. For me, the following sentence is key – “Simply identify the one big thing everyone in your audience needs to reach their goals and start there.”

    AS long as you are solving problems for your readers and following the info in this post then you will be golden!!

  86. Selling a physical product via affiliate commission seems like an easy sell. Whereas i think digital downloads need a hard work to make it a good sell.

    Unless you are very famous and you have a very good fan base.. People might not be willing to spend X amount of dollars for the products one recommend in the form of tools or softwares.

    I will try my best to dive deep in digital downloading products and see if that works for me.

  87. Those who are not in the development field, their content can also be used to make money by product promotion. Thanks for the helpful information on affiliate programs (hosting). I really appreciate you for encouraging thousands of blogger with the proper information, and also the motivation.

    These are best affiliate marketing tips for the guys in the WordPress niche. This is very important & informative to learn at the beginning. I was always bothered how the affiliate program works & how I market the products but after learning from this article, I understood that its simple to start this market by just making hard work on it. I believe these are the great affiliate programs, to begin with. They provide almost everything for newbies like me to start with. Well, I’m going to try this immediately & I hope it goes smooth.

    Quick questions are; my blog is new (9 months old) and able to drive only a few hundreds of readers per day. Is there any minimum threshold of traffic before making money from affiliate sites or should I apply it now; also I want to ask that how much traffic and page views are expected to apply for the affiliates programs require your reply about it. Can you please show which are the best affiliate programs for technology & travel niche? Thanks in advance……

  88. I think the best bit of advice someone gave me when I was starting out in affiliate marketing is to go for niches with lots of products, passionate and reachable people and start with achievable keywords.

  89. Hi Leanne,

    This is a guide, a monster guide on affiliate marketing for beginners.

    You’ve put all the important info together in one piece. If followed, this is enough to build a thriving affiliate marketing business.

    Even as an affiliate marketer myself, I really learned a lot from reading this post.

    Thanks for sharing, Leanne.

  90. Hi!

    Wow, what a good writeup you did here. I also own an affiliate website, it is in Dutch. I thought I had a lot of ideas myself but after reading these, I definitely feel a brainstorm session coming.

    Thank you for all these gems.

    Ramses

  91. Thank you so much!

    Such a wonderful write up; straightforward, easy to understand with deep insight!

    This article really helped me to understand the core of affiliate marketing.

    Keep it up!

  92. Thank you Leanne for this wonderful article. I am glad I found your blog, this has given a great insight into what I am able to work on my own affiliate blog. I would appreciate it if you can add on how to go by on guest postings and the creation of quality backlinks.

  93. Thanks for the great article. I wanted to add my 2c though. you didn’t mention anything about affiliate marketing software. While it’s mainly used by networks, it can also help individuals, especially if they run dozens of campaigns. It saves so much time optimizing traffic sources and picking the most profitable time of the day.

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