I remember December 3, 2009, like yesterday. It was a decisive moment in my life, but I wasn’t aware of it at that time.
I talked to one of my customers on the phone. Again, they frankly blamed me for the problem with their blog that it wasn’t my fault. I was angry and fed up with her dissatisfaction.
You see, at the time I was running a web development and hosting company and blogging for other companies.
Some of them have been very successful. I helped my client grow their blog from the beginning. They grew from zero to over 500,000 visitors a month. they also made a lot of money on this blog.
But I have enough blogs for others.
My client got rich from what I did. Everyone got rich … except me!
That inspired me to create my own blog.
That day, December 3rd, I registered the domain name InvestorJunkie.com. The investment niche was a clear choice for monetization through affiliate marketing.
I had experience in affiliate marketing in the web hosting business. In my annual income report, I found that one-third of my income comes from affiliate marketing. But I really didn’t have to do anything. I had no other product or stock. And best of all, there was no customer service. I just resold the services of others. All fees were 100% profit for me.
I felt like a child’s play.
So I turned this particular blog into a real business. In just two a period of years, my blog revenue exceeded my existing business revenue or income.
In a nutshell, I’m doing affiliate marketing very well. Nine years after building the blog, I sold Investor Junkie for $ 6 million.
My blog didn’t sell the course or had a paid member area. There were no banner ads which are sometimes annoying. All income from the
blog comes from affiliate marketing.
I’m here to tell you that affiliate marketing is a real and a lucrative business. The journey is not easy, and you certainly won’t succeed overnight. But I can say that it is possible to be very successful in affiliate marketing.
This beginner’s guide will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing. I wish I had something like this to help me through the process. Let’s get started!
Before jumping into the steps, let’s start with the basics of affiliate marketing and define exactly what it is.
Table of Contents
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing is a contract to earn commissions to promote the products and services of other companies.
Affiliate marketing is sometimes referred to as performance marketing or CPA marketing. The definition of affiliate marketing sets it apart from other forms of digital marketing.
This is a form of online advertising, but affiliate marketing is very different from hosting banner ads. Unlike
banner ads, affiliate marketing is typically not paid unless the visitor “converts”.
Conversions are typically defined as purchases by prospects (visitors to your website). However, some retailers have changed the definition of “conversion.” Due to its entanglement, customers may not only purchase the product, but also perform certain post-purchase actions.
Otherwise, it can be as simple as an email lead.
The Affiliate Marketing Glossary of Terms
Like other topics, affiliate marketing has its own language. The definition of affiliate marketing itself is a mess of words and has a lot to digest. Now let’s break down the terms you may see.
Dealer-The company that sells the product.
Products-Items sold by merchants and promoted by partners.
Affiliates-Third parties promoting merchant products. Also known as a publisher, contributor, or partner.
Super Affiliate-The best performing affiliate. Usually less than 20% of affiliates are super affiliates, but they generate 80% of all conversions.
Affiliate Links-Also known as Tracking Links. This is a unique URL that tracks partner clicks and conversions.
Conversions-Merchant-defined events that are considered to pay affiliates. This can be anything defined by the merchant, but is usually a lead or purchase of the merchant’s product.
Prospect-A person who converts with a merchant. Also known as a lead, client, or customer.
Affiliate Network-An optional intermediary between merchants and affiliates, facilitating transactions.
Affiliate Manager-A person who works as an intermediary with a merchant who has an affiliate. Your goal is to maximize the performance of your affiliate program.
Affiliate Program-A contract in which a merchant pays a commission to an affiliate.
Offer-a specific advertisement for a product.
Click Through Rate (CTR)-Click Through Rate for affiliate links per impression on your website.
Conversion Rate (CR)-The percentage of clicks that lead to conversions.
Cost per Action (CPA)-A commission model where merchants pay affiliates only for conversions. Pay-per-click (CPC)-A commission model that merchant affiliates pay only for clicks. This is typically used in banner ads, not affiliate marketing. Postback URL-The URL used for server-side conversion tracking. Also known as server-to-server tracking.
SubID-A text string that is embedded as part of the affiliate link defined by the affiliate and used to track affiliate conversions.
Creative-Advertising banner images or text used by partners to promote retailers’ products.
Copy-Text that helps promote the seller’s product.
Brand Alliance-When a partner’s logo, copy, or brand appears on the seller’s landing page.
Landing Page-A merchant’s website where affiliates direct traffic through affiliate links.
Ad Blocker-A web browser technology that can prevent affiliate clicks and conversions from being tracked. In addition, you can prevent the advertising banner from appearing.
Attribution-The process of correctly identifying the affiliate that is generating the conversion.
Charge back-An invalid conversion that results in the confiscation of affiliate commissions.
Commissions-The income that affiliates earn to generate conversions. Also known as finder fees, finder fees, or incentives.
Link Cloaking-Hide affiliate links with URLs that look better than the URLs provided by merchants. Link cloaking allows you to better manage your links and track clicks and conversions. See my article on link cloaking for more information.
How Much Money Can I Make As an Affiliate Marketer?
Like any other business, the benefits are unlimited. As I wrote at the beginning of this article, I started the blog Investor Junkie from scratch in December 2009 and sold it for $ 6 million in 2018.
And I’m not that unique snowflake. Another article describes an affiliate marketing website that sold 7 digits. These are all documented from public information … so they are legal. This is not a blogger’s monthly income report that you can create.
I personally know other bloggers who blog more than 6 digits a month-all from affiliate marketing. However, many bloggers earn thousands of people each year. This is a good side job.
Ultimately, affiliate marketing is what you make about how well you do it and how much effort you put into your blog. It’s definitely not a drink program, and it won’t succeed overnight.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
Roughly speaking, this is how affiliate marketing works.
- Visitors to your blog read articles on your website.
- The visitor then clicks on the affiliate link that redirects the visitor to the merchant’s website. Then,
- on the retailer side, the visitor performs the desired event.
- The event will be credited to the affiliate.
The Tech Behind Affiliate Marketing
Behind the scenes, it’s way more complicated.
Affiliate marketing details can be quite technical and I can’t stand it. If you’re not interested in understanding the gist of how the process actually works, skip this section for now and read how to get started with affiliate marketing.
The HTTP protocol that controls all websites is stateless. With HTTP, the website has no memory of previous visits.
By default, when a visitor moves between pages on a website, the web server does not know his or her ID. Web browser cookies are one way to get around this limitation.
When a visitor clicks on a unique affiliate link URL to go to the merchant page, it will be marked with a cookie.
Like the cookies you can see and eat, cookies in your web browser don’t last forever.
Cookies have a “time to live” (TTL) that can range from minutes to years. in affiliate marketing, the normal TTL is 30 days. Generally, the longer the TTL, the better.
One of the drawbacks of affiliate marketing is that it relies on cookies for proper affiliate credits.
Attribution is a hot topic in affiliate marketing.
Tracking is not always 100% accurate.
When users access the site using multiple devices (phones, laptops, etc.), tracking becomes difficult. It also doesn’t work if the visitor is using an ad blocker.
Affiliate marketing technology is constantly improving, but conversions can be overlooked. Affiliate networks, for example, tend to track conversions better than in-house affiliate programs managed by merchants.
How to Get Affiliate Links
Affiliate links don’t just fall out of the air.
You need to sign up for and get the dealer’s affiliate program. This program can exist directly on the merchant or, in most cases, through the affiliate network.
resellers can provide links in two ways, either through an internal affiliate program or network. Most affiliates work with merchants through the affiliate network program.
The Network Affiliate Program works with third parties to manage relationships with dealers. Affiliate networks generally manage communications, affiliate links, tracking, reporting, and payments. The
affiliate network usually has thousands of merchants to choose from. Join the affiliate network before signing up for an individual merchant program. Some will automatically approve the applicant, while others will manually identify and approve the new partner.
Once approved, you will have access to a special affiliate link that is unique to you. These unique links can be placed wherever you want to promote this retailer’s products. You can post it on your blog, email, YouTube channel, etc.
Note: It is always important to read the terms of the affiliate agreement before you start advertising the dealer. Make sure you know where to put your affiliate link. For example, most sellers forbid bidding on brand names or impersonating brands in Google Ads. Be sure to check your limits before advertising. Otherwise, it may be blocked by the dealer.
Affiliate networks have many advantages over in-house affiliate programs.
- They act as an intermediary between you and the merchant.
- They ensure that commissions are paid on time.
- Work with thousands of traders from one dashboard.
- They act as a trader’s conversion checker to make sure things are rising.
- You can guarantee more accurate tracking of affiliate clicks and conversions.
- They give you a better report than your in-house affiliate program.
In-house Affiliate Programs
In-house affiliate programs typically work more closely with sellers to build closer relationships.
As with the affiliate network, get affiliate links from the merchant’s affiliate program. The merchant is in charge of conversion tracking. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell if a merchant is forging a conversion, and they rely on them to pay on time.
Internal Relationship Benefits:
- Closer Relationships with Dealers
- Usually higher payments than available through public network affiliate programs
- More flexible options to increase conversion rates
How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?
As an affiliate, you will receive credit when a given event occurs. Events are usually sales or conversions. This is also known as the cost per action or CPA. In affiliate marketing, CPA is the most common way to get paid. But that’s not the only option.
You can get paid for other types of events. Other options are:
- By lead (cost per lead or CPL)-email address, phone number, address, etc.
- Per click (cost per click or CPC)-This is the same as placing a banner ad.
- Impressions (Cost-per-1000, or CPM)-Some ads are also created using this method.
The type of payment is determined by the seller, but can also be negotiated.
How often and how you pay will depend on your affiliate program. The most common method is monthly payment.
Affiliate networks are usually better with payments and a neat schedule. Almost all networks require payments on a schedule (mostly monthly). Otherwise, their program will be suspended until their repayments are up to date.
This is an important difference from our in-house affiliate program. Payments and ratios are usually good, but sometimes they aren’t. It is not uncommon for large companies’ accounts receivable departments to make payments on a net 90-day schedule. This means you have to wait 90 days to get paid for conversions that occurred 3 months ago. Consider this potential issue if your
merchant is late to pay or if you need to collect old invoices.
Most affiliate networks offer electronic payment methods. Usually direct transfer or PayPal. On the other hand, direct relationships can only support direct deposits. To make matters worse, I’ve worked with several companies (as well as tech companies) that are still reducing physical control.
How Do You Track Affiliate Links?
With hundreds or thousands of affiliate links on social media, blogs, and emails, it can be difficult to keep track of all affiliate links.
Many novice affiliate marketers get URL links directly from merchants and post them on their blogs. Don’t make this mistake! I regret it later when I needed to exchange links (this is common). Instead of
, we recommend that you use link management software to camouflage affiliate links. Not only is it easy to manage, but you can also perform click analysis.
A popular plugin used by many novice affiliates is PrettyLinks Pro.
How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing (in 6 Easy Steps)
Now that you’ve lost some basic questions and terminology, let’s take a look at the steps to get started as an affiliate marketer.
1. Pick/Select Your Niche
The first-and most important-step of affiliate marketing is to choose your niche.
It’s best to think about the topic you’re interested in first. More importantly, your niche should help. As an entrepreneur, you want to be a problem solver. If you have a problem, others will do so too!
You are not starting a business to help yourself. You are starting a business to help others.
This is a common mistake made by business owners. They think, “I’m going to start a business to get rich.” Yes, you can get rich, but it’s just a side benefit of helping others. The more people you help, the greater your reward.
Blog When I started Investor Junkie, even I fell into this trap. His niche was investing. Yes, I was interested in investing and knew that many were struggling with this topic and needed help. But my first blog post didn’t help. I wrote about a topic that interests me. result? No one cares about it.
My blog didn’t actually take off until I started writing articles to help others.
Another common mistake is to choose an incomparable niche. I thought so too. I thought that to be successful in business, I needed to come up with the most complex business ideas that no one had ever thought of.
There are no unique ideas on the internet. If you think about it, someone else has already done it.
The deciding factor is not how unique an idea is, but how well it is implemented.
Choose a niche that is popular but you think you have the opportunity to grow. That’s exactly what I was an Investor Junkie.
If everything is said about this niche and you don’t think the subject matter or new features you add to your blog have a unique angle, then the market may be saturated. Maybe that’s not a good idea for a niche.
But I sometimes found that the simplest idea was the best.
Another common mistake is to make the niche too wide. This is especially true at the start.
Let’s say you make your kitchen utensils beautiful. The subject is too broad. Yes, there is search volume, but it’s too big for article ranking.
Instead, it covers a wide range of topics, but it’s a good idea to register a domain name that fits one or even two specific niches to get started. You can always extend it later.
If your topics are throughout the map, they won’t help you in your audience or google. Continuing with the previous kitchenware example of
, I narrow down my niche to two themes: knife and chopping board. Not only are they very narrow, they complement each other.
2. Start a Blog
Having decided on a niche, the next step is to create a blog. It’s possible to make money from affiliate marketing without a blog, but I don’t recommend it. You want your blog and organic search traffic to be a core affiliate marketing strategy.
Yes, you can make money on YouTube or Pinterest, but you don’t own these channels.
You own and manage a blog. Only other channels can be rented. B. Social media. You can be the hottest Instagram star since the Kardashian family turmoil, but if Facebook decides you don’t like you anymore, your business can disappear overnight.
I’ve seen this happen too often with other affiliate marketers. Do not build a business foundation on quicksand. Think of a
blog as a bicycle hub. The hub is like your blog. Spokes are channels such as email, paid traffic, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and push notifications. These channels are a way to attract visitors to your blog.
Not all steps to create your blog are covered here. Instead, I already got the details in another article with the proper name “How to Start a Blog and Make Money“.
3. Create Content
Since the core of your business is a blog, I would like to create content for it. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the recommended way to attract visitors to your blog. You may want to create other ways to build your audience, but organic search is still the primary method. According to a
Growth Badger survey, most of the traffic to your website comes from organic searches. Google is by far the number one search engine, so you need to be able to find it on Google. Yes, you can focus on social media, podcasts, and paid traffic, but if you don’t center your attention on SEO as a blogger, you’ll miss a huge number of viewers.
At this step, we recommend that you create at least 25 articles before proceeding to the next step. These should be long, detailed articles related to the niche, not short 200-word posts. If you find yourself in a weight loss niche, don’t write an article about your cat. Stay in your track and write about the niche you want to create.
You cannot jump or skip this step. You need to prepare a website before you think about signing up for an affiliate program. If your blog has no content, not only will it have no viewers, it’s unlikely that it will be approved by your affiliate manager. So, before you start writing, plan the 25 articles you want to write. Create Keystone Articles that you can easily rank. If you can buy a keyword research tool like Ahrefs, I highly recommend it. Keyword research tools are invaluable.
And there are some free options or choice.
Google Ads, Google Trends, and Google’s own search engine results are great free tools for finding articles writing topics. The My SEO for Writers course will show you how to use these services for free, the types of content you create, and how to create content so that Google can find you.
4. Build Your Audience
The next step is to building your audience.
The most common method is organic search. This is also known as search engine optimization or SEO. However, today there are more options than ever before.
- Paid traffic
The list will grow steadily.
Ideally, you want to get more repeat followers on your blog. Statistics show that a visitor needs multiple touchpoints to reach a conversion. The data show that a visitor needs 8-12 visits to fully trust you.
SEO should be part of your audience building strategy, as 5080% of all traffic to your blog comes from organic search.
5. Sign Up for Affiliate Programs
You only need to proceed to this step after completing the first four steps. Applying for an affiliate program before you start blogging is like building a house before a concrete foundation is established. Signing up for the
Affiliate Program effectively makes you become an “affiliate” in the merchant’s sales funnel. However, not all affiliate programs are created in the same way.
To avoid choosing the wrong one, I cover the best affiliate marketing programs that every beginner needs to sign up for.
The affiliate program I recommend allows you to sell any product or service through your blog.
Depending on your niche, you may also consider signing up for a dealer that I do not recommend.
How do I know if a retailer has an affiliate program? “[brandname] Affiliate Program” or Google’s “[brandname] Affiliate” .
Many merchants do not promote their affiliate programs. Instead of getting an influx of new partners, they prefer to keep it quiet. You will need to contact these distributors directly to ask if you have an affiliate program.
I also had great success in contacting merchants who do not have an affiliate program and asked if they would like to start an affiliate program. However, we do not recommend this option until you become an established player with an influence in the niche market.
6. Boom Profit!
I’m half a joke in this next step. Your journey has just begun. These are the basic steps to get started with affiliate marketing. Yes, there are many details not yet included, but this is a solid foundation for building more advanced affiliate marketing topics.