How To Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

By Ray Alexander

Affiliate Marketing is an income-sharing strategy where you can make money on the internet, easy to start building with no money to spend, providing you have your own website. Affiliate Marketing allows you to promote products or services and receive commissions on sales, or on delivering an advertisement to web users.

How To Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

On your website, you place an advertisement (or banner) of another company's product. Your visitor shows their interest by clicking the advert, then they'll be directed to the product's page, and you will potentially earn a small commission.

There are broadly three types of bannder ads; Pay Per Action (PPA), Pay Per Click (PPC) or Pay Per Thousands (PPM - "M" stands for Roman numeric for 1,000).

  • Pay Per Action (PPA) - you will receive a commission on sales. Your visitor clicks the advert on your site and subsequently buys the product (=action), then you will get paid, usually % of the price.
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) - as soon as your visitor clicks the advert, you'll receive a small amount, can be as low as 3 - 30 cents.
  • Pay Per Thousands (PPM) is when an advert has been displayed a thousand times, you'll receive a commission. Your visitors don't have to click or even view the advert itself. However, advertisers who offer PPM commissions are very rare nowadays.

On this page, I will mainly explain how to start a Pay Per Action affiliate marketing campaign from scratch.

But before I go on, I must add that banner advertisements are not the only way to promote your affiliate products. You can place a text link or Call-To-Action button anywhere on your page.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing

I will summarize the "how to" affiliate marketing for beginners steps first;

  1. Decide what kind of products/services ("niche") you'd like to promote
  2. You need your own website up & running if you don't have one
  3. Register with the affiliate program
  4. Copy & paste the affiliate link/banner onto your site
  5. Affiliate Marketing Niche

"Niche" is a category of the particular products/services, it is a category you want to promote. The niche can be anything in the world - books, clothing, solar lamps, nanny & childcare services...drain pipes...absolutely anything that people pay money for. You will then find affiliate programs with several companies (I will explain in later, No. 3), and promote the products/services on their behalf.

The commissions you receive is almost always a percentage of the sale price. Therefore you'd like to promote something that generates decent income for you. Also, it should ideally be something that interests you or something you feel passionate about because you are promoting the product or service, you'll need to have good knowledge of the niche so you can write about it again and again. Don't pretend that you know it all, because people want honesty. You don't want to embarrass yourself later on by accidentally revealing your content was fake.

For example, golf equipment is generally expensive, so you could potentially earn good commissions. But if you've never played golf in your life and have no knowledge, you'll struggle to write about it - your visitors will know your content has been written out of your instant "Wiki-knowledge". You may find your passion in the future and start playing golf yourself, but chances are that you're not particularly interested in golf then you'll likely get bored of continuing your site business.

Solar lights

It is generally said that the narrower the niche is, the better. I've mentioned "solar lamps" above, if your entire website was related to solar lamps, the web user would see your site as a specialist. Imagine your site had a list and photo of garden lamps to mini pen-lights, "all solar lamps", available from electrical store A, electrical store B, department store C... Your visitors would be able to compare qualities & prices all on one page.

Whereas if your niche was too broad, it would be difficult for you to maintain. Say, men's clothing. You couldn't possibly affiliate the whole "men's closing range"...because there would be too many sub-categories. Jackets, coats, T-shirts, sweatshirts, suits, formal shirts, casual...long sleeve & short sleeve, socks & underwear...

Also, your website itself has to have credibility. For example, you are into fitness & healthy diet. You'd like to promote "how to lose fat" programs, how to eat healthily. But you also love solar lamps. Have you ever seen any websites that promote diet AND solar lamps? That would be weird, your visitors would be confused, even if you had a valid reason for the combination. So if you have two totally different "niches", it's recommended that you should create two different websites.

How To Create Your Own Affiliate Marketing Website

Your Own Affiliate Marketing Website

In order to own your website, you need to (a) buy your domain name, (b) find a web-hosting company and (c) use a website building tool.

(a) Buy your domain name means for example say, www.solarlampworld.com. It costs around $10 per year to own the name. Namecheap.com and Godaddy.com are popular for reliability, ease of use, and for reasonable prices. You can also check whether the domain name (e.g. "solarlampworld.com") is available or not on these two domain name services.

(b) Web-hosting company is where your website sits. All your website information is stored in their server, and publish your web (blog) posts for you. Web-hosting cost is around $80 - $150 per year, depending on the size of contents, speed, and quality of support. There are cheaper web hosts that charge less than $50 per year, but they're all generally unreliable (the server shuts down for fault for 24 hours, etc) therefore I wouldn't recommend cheap hosting companies.

Also read: Best Web Hosting For WordPress: WP Engine Review

(c) Website building tool - WordPress has been the most popular platform among bloggers, ecommerce owners and marketers for many years now. You can download the tool from wordpress.org for free, and upload the contents to the web-hosting site ("b" above). Also many web-hosting companies offer WordPress pre-installed hosting services. Not to be confused with wordpress.com, where you can register for free, you don't have to pay for web-hosting separately, but you cannot use it for affiliate purposes freely.

Easier Way To Get It All Started

Now once again instead of going through (b) and (c) above, I would recommend Wealthy Affiliate - it costs you $49 per month with 7 days free trial, allowing you to create up to 10 websites. Whereas as I mentioned above, cheap and reasonable web-hosting will only cost you $50 - $100 per whole year. But if you want to create two websites, you'll simply pay double the price. Wealthy Affiliate allows up to 10 websites, which means you can run multiple test sites, delete them and start all over again whenever you feel like it, and so on, it's fo flexible. Plus there is an incredible amount of support and affiliate training by the experts, weekly webinars and live chats available. They will teach you how to start from scratch, step by step. So I think it's well worth joining Wealthy Affiliate.

Sign Up With an Affiliate Program

This is very straight-forward. The easiest way is to Google it to find affiliating companies. Let's go back to the example of solar lamps again. Usually electrical home stores would sell solar products, so just try typing in a big superstore that you know "XYZ electric shop affiliate program", or simply type in "solar lamp affiliate program". Let's actually try it now.

Affiliate program search

I can see the result now - it has come up with quite a few;

Google search

I live in the UK, so I can see some UK sites, but it should come up with your local companies, or you can search some more for the targeted country, by typing e.g. "solar lamps affiliate program New Zealand" etc.

Best Buy .com

BestBuy.com deals with electronics and sells a lot of solar lights, so you can google "bestbuy.com affiliate program". 

Another way is to register with Amazon Associates. Amazon sells almost anything, and you could promote their products on your website. https://affiliate-program.amazon.com is for the US Amazon, or you could again google "amazon associates" "amazon affiliate" and register your detail.

"Registering Detail" Meaning...

  • Your full name, postal address, contact email address, telephone number (they may need to send you a verification code to your cell phone)
  • Your company name - often it is a mandatory field. You just have to type in your full name again, unless you are promoting their products via a company you own.
  • Your website address(es) - a lot of affiliate marketing programs such as Amazon allow you to register multiple websites.
  • What kind of site you are running - Are you a personal blogger? Retailer? What kind of industry are you in? If you are reading this now, assuming you will be a personal blogger.
  • Often they will ask you to "appeal" in a message boxes. "How do you want to promote our products?" - the answer to which would be "advertise on my website"! But you'd like to express your wish in a bit longer sentence to convince them. You have just launched a new site to promote solar lamps, and you like the range of lamps they are selling, etc.
  • Your website traffic - how many site visitors you currently have. Often this is a dropdown box and, if you have just created a new site, it would be minimal, such as "Less than 1,000"

Once you register with them, they will review your registration, either approve or disapprove and let you know in the next few days. Some companies automatically and instantly approve your registration, but mostly the process is manual (they do review and check what your website currently looks like).

Disapproval of Your Registration

Affiliate disapproval

Your registration may be rejected at times, but don't let it get you down, try another affiliate marketing program. Or re-appeal (re-register) in a few months, when your website has more content and hopefully more visitors. If you have just launched a site to promote a clothing range and try registering with big brands such as Gucci, Chanel, etc, they may reject you because understandably, they can't trust you just yet. How would they know that you'd never lie about their products?

With all that said, a lot of brands are supportive of beginner affiliates who have yet to make a dime, and the affiliate representatives/managers often send you a personal email wishing good luck to your new web business.

When You've Joined an Affiliate Program Successfully

PayPal

When your registration has been approved, you are now able to log in. First, you need to check your account detail once again. More importantly the payment method. Options are often (a) via bank wire transfer (b) by check or (c) via Paypal.

Paypal is handy because all you have to do right now is to put your registered Paypal email address. A wire transfer can be tricky if you reside in a foreign country, for example, if a company is in the US but you live in the UK, they may deduct the wire transfer fee of $10-20 or so. A bank check option is again, if you live outside the country, the check will be in a foreign currency, so when you deposit the check, a hefty bank charge may be deducted.

Another thing is your income tax declaration. You are often required to fill in an online tax form, most likely with US affiliate advertisers - if you are a US citizen, you must fill in your tax registration details and if you are a non-US, check the appropriate box to declare so, click to submit. This process will not take a few minutes.

Start Linking To Your Site

The last part of "how to affiliate marketing for beginners" is how to place a banner link on your page. Now you have all the platform ready and you can start writing about the products/services you want to promote, linking your page to the company's page is the first step to monetize your site.

In your affiliate account login, there should be a tab or menu called "Links/Banners", where you find a "HTML code" to copy and paste onto your site.

Banner Link Example

For example let's take a look at Wealthy Affiliate again - this is to promote Wealthy Affiliate Marketing Program itself. You like about Wealthy Affiliate and you want to promote them - you want your visitors to join them.

Banner link

You see the code in the grey box above - you copy this code and paste it onto your website. In most of the web-writing tool, there should be two separate windows; a window you normally type in ("WYSIWYG") and a window that shows HTML code.

WordPress text mode

In WordPress, it's shown as "Visual" tab and "Text" tab respectively on the top-right corner. You click "Text" and you'll see all the coding structure. You will find where to paste the code by trying & testing. Now the banner will be on your site, as below. And if a visitor clicks this banner - it will take the visitor to the Wealthy Affiliate site.

Wealthy Affiliate Banner

How To Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

I hope the above post has explained all you need to do to get your affiliate work started. Lastly, I can give you two pieces of advice that may sound contradictory to each other;

  1. A difficult part is always the beginning - what niches you want to promote and how you want to name your website. Because even as an affiliate marketer, your site is going to be your brand. So you want to plan well in the beginning. Without planning properly, you may get bored easily along the way...and you may decide to quit easily. So good planning is definitely the key to the longevity of your affiliate business.
  2. However, don't be too pedantic. It's important to start now and do something - you can only progress through trials and errors. Don't let the planning stage stop you from moving forward!

If you really can't decide, say, what niche to promote, I can help you - don't hesitate to leave a comment below. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Good luck!

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Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. Thank you for this blog.
    It’s difficult to learn how to affiliate marketing for beginners like me. I can use a lot of tricks from this blog.

  2. Awesome information with packed full of tips. I’m planning to start affiliate marketing and this post will help me kickstart for sure. thanks 🙏 keep going 😊

  3. This is a piece of very good information I can make use of it right away. congratulations affiliate marketing is the best remedy for anyone who wants to start marketing from nothing. your
    article is full of essential tips
    I will share this post on social media so all my followers can learn from it.

  4. A very informative article for those starting out. It’s so unfortunate to see people give up affiliate marketing after trying for a couple of months. Some articles portray affiliate marketing as just a cakewalk affair. And it’s not; it requires hard work and dedication.

    Since you’ve explained affiliate marketing in detail, I think you could help me out. I’ve a new site, probably a month year old. I’ve published 48 pages and a post. And all of them got indexed and ranked in first page. As per Google Analytics, my site gets a daily traffic of 10. I’ve a .Com domain and had already set up privacy policy, contact, about me, etc. In your opinion, what else do I need to do before applying for Amazon affiliate program? Or should I just apply for it?

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment 🙂 

      You can join Amazon Associates program right now. What they do is to accept (pre-approve) your application straight away, but only after you’ve made your first sale, they’ll fully review your application, and pay your commission only on approval at that point. (From your 2nd sale onwards Amazon will pay you automatically.) It says so in its operation agreement, so you might want to check that out. I think it says your website should be ‘fully developed’. Surely your site is qualified already with 48 pages published.

      It’s a slow process to solely rely on organic traffic, so you might want to advertise your site on social media on a daily basis if you’ve not done so already. And this depends on the niche you’re promoting but considering a paid traffic service is another option.

      So the answer to your question is yes, just apply for it! And check the operation agreement. Any more questions please don’t hesitate to get back to me. Thanks for visiting!

  5. Your article really explains affiliate marketing extremely well, I am incredibly suprised with how much i took away from this.
    I have been affiliate marketing for a while now and you have highlighted points i had never known before.
    keep up the good work and i love how you promoting wealthy affiliate, it is one of the best websites out there for becoming financially free.
    Well done!

    1. Hi Matthew, thanks for your comment & compliments! We all learn something – a lot of things – from other marketers and, I’m sure there’s so much that you have that I don’t know about. I love spreading the words so that we have the most effective ways to be financially flexible, thanks again & the best of luck with your success to you too!

  6. This gives a great overview of affiliate marketing and would be good for those who are new to the world of affiliate marketing.

    I especially like the part of disapproval of registrations for affiliate programs. This has happened to me a few times in the last few months, but now I know that this is because I didn’t have enough content & traffic on my site.

    1. Hi Ian, thanks for your comments. Yes it can be quite frustrating when your application for affiliate program is disapproved. There’s a very famous department store that I applied for an affiliate months ago, and it’s still in “pending” status. I guess they just ignored it, or they’re still periodically reviewing my site!

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      Ray

  7. Awesome post, you explain it so well and lay out step by step how to affiliate market. I know it says for beginners but your post is great for all. I have been online a long time and this is one of the first posts I read that covers this topic completely. Thanks for your in depth review. I will be back and follow your steps. Keep it up, appreciate what you have done.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comments, I’m sure there are lot more areas in affiliate marketing that we need to teach ourselves, especially about SEO. In the near future I’d like to write some more. Thanks again!

      Ray

  8. Hi

    Am a member of wealthy affiliate for exactly three weeks. And you described every aspect that I have been going through. For example when you start out, some affiliate programmes do reject you, especially when you new as you do not have enough traffic. I like the way you give step-by-step points. I found the payment method very beneficial – I need to check my one is correct.

    Great Post
    Regards,
    Uwais

    1. Hi Uwais,

      Thanks for your comments, yes I must admit when I started I tried to register with many – too many -affiliate programs, fearing 1/2 of them would reject me. We all keep learning by trying & testing, don’t we. Thanks for your compliment, and best of luck to you with your business.

      Ray

  9. I have seen a billion sites that explain how to make money online but this has to be one of the best since it has a thorough step-by-step process explanation and provides all the same resources that i would suggest when it comes to affiliate marketing. It would be nice if there was a video that went along with it though! Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your comment & compliments! Also thank you for the suggestion of video – that’s a very good idea, I will do that in the near future. I’m using my YouTube account for all sorts of different purposes (hope videos showing my dog running around etc lol) but not for my site purposes. Thanks again for the great suggestion!

      Ray

  10. Hi Raymundo,
    You have a nice tutorial for beginner about affiliate marketing.
    I’ve always feel confused about PPA, PPC, and PPM, and your article explain them very clearly.
    And then, again, you also explain how to add affiliate links in the website. Things that not all people can easily understand how to do that.
    Once again, great job!

    1. Hi Rina, thanks for you comments & compliments! I actually decided to write this article because a friend of mine was paying someone else – affiliate service – to affiliate (!) so I wanted to express, although it cost you a little to own your website but anyone can start affiliating without paying any money.

      Some jargons can be a little difficult to understand, but once you know them, getting started is easy.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      Ray

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