how to start affiliate marketing

How to Start With Affiliate Marketing? (28 Ultimate Questions)

Affiliate marketing acts like a sparkling star, helping bloggers achieve multiple streams of income from their online presence. The process might prove to be overwhelming for newcomers.

In this article, we set out to take out the mystery of affiliate marketing, so that you as a novice can tap into the numerous options of making a good living doing affiliate marketing.

So, check us out as we go into the complex issues of this industry and you may learn how to use it more easily and strike up your financial goals and beyond.


How To Become An Affiliate Marketer?

There are many different roads you can take to becoming an affiliate marketer. Before you start your affiliate marketing business, it is important to have a sense of where you are going.

A sense of what kind of affiliate marketing you’re aspiring to be. Thinking about this before you start with affiliate marketing can greatly increase the chances of you arriving where you want to be. 

That’s why in this first section, we’ll look at what an affiliate marketer is in the broad sense. You’ll read about what an affiliate marketer does and how they make money (we won’t tell you how much, but more about that later).

If after reading all that you still feel like affiliate marketing might be something for you, you’ll find out how you can go about starting your own affiliate marketing business in the second part of the article.

We’ll discuss the many different paths you might take, including ways to start affiliate marketing without having your website.  

What Is An Affiliate Marketer?

You might be wondering by now, what’s an affiliate marketer doing to make a living? Let’s start there. 

An affiliate marketer is someone who earns a commission for promoting another’s products or services. The amount of money earned is directly correlated to the number of sales or leads that the affiliate has delivered.

The precise nature of the collaboration between an affiliate marketer and the advertiser (the company or person whose products they promote) differs.

In one case, the affiliate marketer might earn a commission for every sale that he accomplishes, while in other instances commission might be tied to the number of clicks on a banner or downloads of an e-book.

Whatever the chosen model might be, it’s important to note that an affiliate marketer is compensated based on the performance of his promotions. The advertiser only has to pay once a sale has been made, or another agreed-upon criterion has been met.

This makes the next question a little challenging to answer, but we’ll try to give you a ballpark answer anyway.

How Much Do Affiliate Marketers Make?

If you’re asking how much an affiliate marketer makes, it’s kind of like asking about how much “an” NBA star or professional football player makes.

LeBron James and Lionel Messi are going to be on a whole other level than most of their colleagues. 

In much the same way, the amount of money an affiliate marketer can make depends on how good they are at what they’re doing.

To give you an idea of how much you can make as an affiliate marketer, here are some statistics:

  • The affiliate market in the USA alone was worth over 7 billion dollars in 2021 (source
  • 48% of affiliate marketers worldwide earn $20k a year
  • The best-earning 3% of affiliate marketers earn over $150k a year

According to this research by Glassdoor, an affiliate marketer makes $65,800 a year on average, with the range going from $42k at the low end to $83k at the top. 

Dropshipping Vs Affiliate Marketing

Before we go any further, let’s talk about dropshipping vs affiliate marketing.

Since you are interested in affiliate marketing, chances are you’ve also heard about dropshipping.

Maybe you’re still a little hesitant about whether starting with affiliate marketing is the right path for you, or if you should instead opt for a dropshipping business.

Let’s look at what distinguishes those two different ways of earning an income online.

We’ve established what affiliate marketing is. It is the promotion of another’s (the advertiser) products or services by an affiliate marketer, – also often called a “publisher” because they usually publish content (blogs, videos, etc.) to promote their affiliate offer.

You can read more about the publishing part of becoming an affiliate marketer further down in this article.

With dropshipping, you sell those products on your platform. You then forward that order to the supplier of the product, who ships the product to the customer.

This allows you to sell products in your webshop, without having to worry about inventory or shipment. Still, it takes more effort than affiliate marketing, because you are managing a larger part of the sales process. 

Roughly speaking, once you have built your affiliate business, you can make money without putting any more effort into it. You will keep earning a commission when people click on your links.

With drop shipping, however, you will always have to manage your incoming orders and forward them to your suppliers.

You are also responsible for customer support and returns because you are the one where people buy the product. In return, you’ll usually receive a higher reward for any sale made than with affiliate marketing.

How To Start An Affiliate Marketing Business?

Did that peak your interest and now wondering how to become an affiliate yourself? Let’s get to it.

There are many different ways to start an affiliate marketing business. This makes sense when you remember that affiliate marketing is all about promoting another person’s or company’s products or services.

You can start as small as you want. You can start without investing anything but your time. An affiliate marketing business can start on simply the love for a certain (type of) product, and grow from there.

To give you a little bit more guidance, however, we’ll now look at some concrete ideas to build your affiliate marketing business. 

How to start a website for affiliate marketing?

The most common and well-known way to begin affiliate marketing without being an influencer is to start an affiliate marketing website

  1. Choose a Niche: Select a specific topic or niche that you’re passionate about or have knowledge in. This could be anything from fitness and wellness to technology or fashion.

  2. Research Affiliate Programs: Look for affiliate programs that align with your chosen niche. Research different affiliate networks like Amazon Associates, ShareASale, or ClickBank to find suitable products or services to promote.

  3. Purchase a Domain Name: Choose a domain name that reflects your niche and is easy to remember. Use domain registration services like GoDaddy, Namecheap, or Google Domains to purchase your domain.

  4. Select a Web Hosting Provider: Sign up with a reliable web hosting provider such as Bluehost, SiteGround, or HostGator. Consider factors like uptime, speed, customer support, and pricing when making your decision.

  5. Install a Content Management System (CMS): Install a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal on your web hosting account. WordPress is popular for its user-friendly interface and extensive plugin support, making it ideal for affiliate marketing websites.

  6. Choose a Theme: Select a professional and responsive theme for your website. There are many free and premium themes available that cater to various niches. Customize the theme to align with your branding and niche.

  7. Create Compelling Content: Start creating high-quality content related to your niche. This could include blog posts, product reviews, tutorials, comparison guides, and more. Ensure your content provides value to your audience and incorporates relevant keywords for SEO.

  8. Sign Up for Affiliate Programs: Apply to affiliate programs relevant to your niche and website content. Once approved, you’ll receive unique affiliate links to promote products or services on your website.

  9. Incorporate Affiliate Links: Integrate affiliate links naturally within your content. Avoid over-promotion and ensure transparency by disclosing your affiliate partnerships to your audience.

  10. Optimize for SEO: Optimize your website for search engines to attract organic traffic. Focus on keyword research, on-page SEO, meta tags, image optimization, and link building to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results.

  11. Promote Your Website: Utilize various channels to promote your affiliate website, including social media, email marketing, guest blogging, forums, and online communities. Engage with your audience and encourage sharing of your content.

  12. Monitor Performance and Analytics: Track the performance of your affiliate marketing efforts using analytics tools like Google Analytics. Monitor metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, and revenue generated from affiliate sales.

  13. Optimize and Iterate: Continuously optimize your website and affiliate marketing strategies based on performance data. Experiment with different content formats, promotional tactics, and affiliate products to maximize your earnings.

  14. Stay Compliant: Familiarize yourself with the regulations and guidelines governing affiliate marketing, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines in the United States. Ensure compliance with disclosure requirements and ethical practices.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

It’s even possible to start affiliate marketing with no money to invest. This makes it the ideal setup for anyone who is looking to build something for themselves besides their nine-to-five or wish to invest their savings. 

If you are willing to invest a little bit, you can start an affiliate marketing website for next to nothing. All you need is to register a domain name and pay for hosting. This could be done for just a few dollars a month.

However, that’s next to nothing. 

If you’re looking for ways how to start affiliate marketing for free, you’ll want to look into starting as an affiliate marketer without building a website. 

Chances are that if you have no money, then you will probably have time that you can invest in your project.

There are other ways to monetize that time than by building a website. Ways that you could start utilizing today, without having to spend anything.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing Without A Website?

The best way to start with affiliate marketing with no website and no money is to share the most valuable information on a topic that interests you on social media.

Grow your account to at least ten thousand followers and slowly start to promote the most interesting affiliate programs.

For a good example, take a look at this guy. He has built his affiliate marketing empire on YouTube, simply by making content that fits the needs of many people: finding the best deal.

This is another way of looking at the niches that we talked about earlier. Instead of focussing on a specific product or market, The Deal Guy has focussed on the “best deal” niche. And it worked, seeing how he is nearing 2 million subscribers on YouTube.

So, how are channels like The Deal Guy making money from YouTube?

How To Do Affiliate Marketing On YouTube?

YouTube presents a big opportunity for every affiliate marketer looking to expand – or start – their business.

Doing affiliate marketing on YouTubeis not that difficult, as the example from The Deal Guy made clear. 

Of course, you can make your setup and equipment as expensive as you want. However, you could get started with just the camera on your smartphone. 

The process of getting started is much the same as we described for starting an affiliate website. You will be promoting affiliate offers. And to promote those offers, you are going to need an audience.

This means that you’ll need to decide what niche market you are going to target. Once you get that figured out, you’ll need to create relevant content that offers what your target audience is looking for.

That means getting out that camera and shooting some videos. Different types of videos work well from an affiliate marketing standpoint, like:

  • Product comparisons
  • Reviews
  • Unboxings
  • How-to and tutorial

Keep in mind the example of The Deal Guy. The strength of an account like that is actually in its simplicity.

Just a guy talking to the camera and discussing great deals. It can be as easy as that to do affiliate marketing on YouTube

You create content – in this case, videos – to attract an audience. Once those visitors start coming in, it’s time to monetize them and start earning some affiliate income.

The way to do that is via affiliate links. Remember? They were the type of links that if your visitors follow them and make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission.

When you’re building an affiliate website, you would simply add those links to appropriate places in the articles, pages, and blogs you are writing. There are two main ways to add affiliate links to YouTube content:

  1. You can add affiliate links to the description of your YouTube videos. This description will appear beneath your videos and you can add as many as you like. It’s good practice to refer to those links in the video itself, just by mentioning that people can find a link there to the product you’re discussing.
  2. YouTube offers the end card feature, allowing you to display clickable cards at the end of each video, tempting your viewers to take additional action. This could be watching another video, or subscribing to your channel, for example. If you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program, you can also show links to external websites in these cards, using them to promote your most relevant affiliate links.

How To Become A Twitch Affiliate?

Becoming a Twitch affiliate is another way to earn an affiliate income via video content. Twitch is focused on the live streaming of videos.

The roots of Twitch are in streaming gaming videos, but people are also creating content on sports, music, entertainment, and much more.

Everyone can start a Twitch account and broadcast about the topic of their choice to attract an audience.

The main difference between Twitch and YouTube is that the former is focused on direct broadcasting.

YouTube on the other hand is – although it offers a direct broadcasting option – in its basis more of a search engine that is meant for lasting content that people can find via the search bar. 

What Is A Twitch Affiliate?

A Twitch affiliate is simply a member of the Twitch Affiliate program, that allows qualified streamers to monetize their channel and the audience they’ve built by putting out their content. 

This means that being a Twitch affiliate asks for a different approach than affiliate marketing on YouTube

Becoming a successful Twitch affiliate means that you will have to build a following of fans. Your Twitch audience will consist of people who are following you and consistently tuning in to your content. 

Ideally, you would also build your following on YouTube of course.

However, thanks to the search engine application of YouTube, you have an opportunity there that you don’t have with Twitch: reaching an audience by making videos that answer a specific question or problem.

How To Apply For Affiliate On Twitch?

You can’t actively apply to become an affiliate on Twitch. The only way to get to that coveted status is by reaching the criteria that are needed so you will get invited to join.  

At the moment of writing this article, the following criteria apply to anyone who’s looking to apply for affiliate status on Twitch:

  • You have broadcasted at least 500 minutes in the last 30 days
  • Those 500 minutes were distributed over at least 7 unique broadcasting days
  • On average, there were at least  3 concurrent viewers of your broadcasts 
  • You have at least 50 followers

Once your channel fulfills this criteria, you should receive an invitation to join the affiliate program within a few weeks via email and a notification on the platform.

Via this invitation, you can start the setup process that will allow you to start monetizing your content.

How To Use Pinterest For Affiliate Marketing?

Using Pinterest for affiliate marketing is probably a great addition to your affiliate business when you’ve chosen a niche that has a strong visual component, like crafts, interior design, or gardening. 

Millions of people are using Pinterest every day to browse for ideas and inspiration. This opens up a great opportunity for any affiliate marketer looking to reach those people. 

You can use Pinterest for affiliate marketing in two ways:

  1. You can add affiliate links to your “pins” (the visuals that you post to Pinterest) directly, much like you would add affiliate links to your video content on YouTube. 
  2. Or you could use Pinterest to promote the articles on your affiliate website, by posting pins to attract people’s attention and then linking them to the entire article.

How To Start Affiliate Marketing On Pinterest?

To get started with affiliate marketing on Pinterest, these are the first steps you should take:

  • Launch a Pinterest business account. A business account allows you more freedom in promoting your affiliate links directly. Furthermore, it allows cool features like Analytics, Ads, and Audience Insights, arming you with valuable data and information.
  • Discover the trends. Just as with any other affiliate marketing channel, you need to know what your audience wants to lock them in and make money from them. Follow boards with similar offerings to yours. Surround yourself with the content that your audience sees when they are browsing Pinterest. Make sure that you see what they see, every time you log onto the platform.
  • Produce great visuals. To make it as an affiliate marketer on Pinterest, you are going to need great visuals. Otherwise, it’s going to be impossible for you to stand out from competitors. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to be better than the other boards in your niche (you didn’t follow them for nothing, right?)
  • Create valuable content to promote your affiliate links. Don’t just go around throwing pins to boards with your affiliate links stapled through them. Your success will be based on the quality of the content you’re putting out. Try and find ways to give more value to your audience. For example by offering additional articles or videos with more in-depth information and tips, in which you can promote your links. Ideally, your links should be an addition to valuable content, not the other way around.
  • Interact with other users to get a broader presence on Pinterest and boost your visibility.
  • Analyze, adjust, and adapt. The best way to achieve success as a starting affiliate marketer is by constantly analyzing what you have been doing, reviewing what has worked well and what hasn’t, and adjusting your strategy accordingly. This means you are constantly working on better adapting to your audience and their needs.

Making money on Pinterest with affiliate links works in the same way as with your website, or the other affiliate options we’ve talked about.

As we’ve already discussed, you can either add your links to pins directly or choose to use pins to promote articles on your affiliate website in which the links are incorporated.

We recommend choosing the latter approach, so as also to improve your visibility in search engines like Google. In that way, you’ll be building different channels at the same time instead of putting all your affiliate eggs in one basket. 

How To Use Twitter For Affiliate Marketing?

Twitter is still one of the most popular social media channels. Recent research by Omnicore found that there are 199 million monetizable daily Twitter users. This makes using Twitter for affiliate marketing a very lucrative chance. 

You might not be able to get the same results as Elon Musk, who can influence the exchange rate of an entire cryptocurrency asset with one tweet. Still, using Twitter for affiliate marketing can be very profitable. 

Here are some tips on how to use Twitter for affiliate marketing:

  • Use your bio. This is an excellent place to inform people about what they can expect if they follow you, promote your affiliate website, or put in your most important affiliate offer.
  • Engage with other users. Twitter lends itself to replying to other peoples’ tweets that use the same hashtags as you. This will allow you to enter the conversation about topics you are focussing on.
  • Be active. Chances of your success with Twitter affiliate marketing will increase rapidly from tweeting regularly, since this is the best way of getting your voice out there, being heard, and building up your number of followers.
  • Hashtags are your friend. The beauty of Twitter is that you can enter a conversation on a certain topic by using the appropriate hashtags, which allows you to get your content out there even if you’re new to the game and don’t have many followers yet.
  • Promote additional content. It might not be the best approach to simply start tweeting your affiliate links and offers. Instead, make sure that you write insightful content or shoot amazing videos on the topic you’re tweeting about. Use Twitter to promote that content, get people to read or watch it, and then hit them with your best affiliate offers. 

Comparable to what we discussed for Pinterest, there are different ways to promote your affiliate links on Twitter. The first and most obvious place to start is your bio.

You might want to put your most amazing affiliate offer there, that one product that changed your life and might change the lives of your followers just the same.

It’s also a good idea to use your bio to link to your website, where your followers can then find the awesome articles you put out and have filled with your affiliate links and offers.

You could choose to promote your affiliate links on Twitter by simply throwing them around in your tweets. A better strategy, however, is the one we painted above.

Create good and valuable content on a different medium, like blog articles on an affiliate website, videos on YouTube, or a stream on Twitch. We’ve discussed how to monetize these earlier in this article.

Then, use Twitter to join the conversation around your topic and promote that content. Reply to relevant hashtags. Tweet small nuggets of wisdom from your other content and direct people to your website or YouTube channel to read or see more. 

Medium is an open publication platform, where readers can find original pieces of writing and thinking. Some of these are free, and some of them are available only to members who pay a small monthly fee.

That is the first way to earn money from writing on Medium, which anyone can do.

As a writer, you have the choice to make your writing available for free, or for paying members only, in which case Medium will pay you a commission based on the number of people reading your stuff. 

In this article, however, we are interested in how you can make money from Medium with affiliate marketing. So let’s shift our attention there. 

Medium doesn’t ban content with affiliate links, so you can simply publish articles that link directly to your affiliate offers like you would on your affiliate website.

How To Do Affiliate Marketing On Medium?

The key to affiliate marketing on Medium, is resisting the temptation of putting too many affiliate links in your content. 

You want to focus on quality. Comparable to Google’s algorithm, Medium’s systems are designed to favor quality content that brings readers what they’re looking for.

This means that stuffing your writing full of affiliate links will end up in your content not being found and read.

Write for your audience, not simply to promote your affiliate offers.

It’s better to add just one really good affiliate offer in your article that will help your readers with the problems they’re facing than to cram as many affiliate links in there as possible hoping that the sheer volume is going to ensure people will click on them.

New to affiliate marketing? Begin by educating yourself on the industry, understanding your target audience, and creating compelling content that adds value. As you grow, optimize your website for conversions, explore different traffic sources and continuously analyze and refine your strategies for success.

Jorge Barbosa

Business Development @ wecantrack

Source: wecantrack

How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Now that you know what it takes to become an affiliate marketer and start your affiliate business, it’s time to talk about how you are going to make some money with affiliate marketing.

We’ve been talking about affiliate offers and affiliate links a lot already. And for good reason, because they are how you are going to make money from affiliate marketing.

Without the right products or services to promote, you won’t be able to make a commission. And no commission means no money. It’s as simple as that.

So let’s take a look at how you can get started on making those commissions flow in and start building your passive monthly income. 

How To Create Affiliate Links?

The most common way to create affiliate links is by using affiliate networks. An affiliate network is a large collection of affiliate programs from many different companies.

Signing up to the network allows you to tap into these programs, which will allow you to generate a unique affiliate link that you can promote.

Popular affiliate networks that cover a wide range of branches are:

We’ll talk more about the best affiliate programs to find links to products and services you can promote later in this article. 

For now, it’s important to know that to create affiliate links, it’s important to find the right affiliate network or program.

Affiliate Marketing Tips

To make money with affiliate marketing, there are some important things you’ll have to keep in mind.

Most of these were covered in the article already. Since we’re talking about making money here, this is a good place to refresh our memories.

Some of the most important affiliate marketing tips are:

  • Choose the right niche. We talked about this in the section about starting an affiliate website, but it applies to whatever channel you might have chosen. Determining the niche that you are going to target, the topic you’ll be creating content about, and choosing your affiliate offers is the very basis of your affiliate business. Go for something that you are knowledgeable about already, or otherwise eager to learn more. The most important thing: the niche must give you enough energy to keep pushing to build your affiliate empire.
  • The right mix of channels. You’ll have to think about the best ways for you to promote your affiliate offers. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but don’t choose too many channels either. It’s better to focus on a few things and do them right than to try and leverage every channel. A good way to start is, for example, building an affiliate website with articles to put your affiliate links in, and using Twitter and/or Pinterest to promote those articles.
  • Be patient. The most important affiliate marketing tip that anyone can give you, is probably to simply be patient. You are working to build up a passive way of making money in the long run. Don’t expect to become rich overnight, making it easy to get disappointed with your results and throw in the towel. With affiliate marketing, good things come to those who wait and keep grinding and working while waiting.
  • Data, data, data. Last but not least: make sure that you can measure the results of your efforts. This will allow you to see what works and what doesn’t, so you can focus on the right stuff and eliminate waste. Our affiliate dashboard will give you everything you might ever need in that regard.

Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers

Many affiliate marketers rely on their blog or affiliate website to attract an audience. If that’s you, it makes sense that you are looking for the best affiliate programs for bloggers.

The best program for you depends mainly on the topic you are blogging or writing about. 

Bloggers who are in the right niche might find a lot of interesting programs to promote there.

If you have an audience of entrepreneurs, for example, promoting Ecommerce programs or SEO affiliate programs to help them build their online presence might be a great way to boost your commission.

Especially when the products you promote are subscription-based, allowing you to earn a monthly income from anyone who signs up.

Things also depend on your location. A US-based lifestyle blogger, for example, might be very well off with the Amazon Associates program, while their Dutch counterpart would probably be better served with the affiliate programs since the latter is better known in the Netherlands. 

Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners

If you’re just starting as an affiliate marketer, you’re probably looking for an affiliate program that’s easy to use and has a wide range of interesting products to promote. 

One of the best affiliate programs for beginners is probably Amazon Associates.

It’s for a reason that so many affiliate marketers began their journey on this platform. Amazon has an amazingly broad product catalog, so almost anyone will find some interesting stuff to promote here. 

Another benefit is that most people are familiar with Amazon. This will promote their level of thrust after following one of your Amazon affiliate links, making them more likely to buy and earning you a commission.

Do keep in mind however that the commission rates that Amazon pays are fairly low. So be sure to be on the lookout for affiliate programs that might offer you a bigger return on your efforts for comparable products. Good networks to look into, are:

Finally, when you’re looking for ways to earn money every time a reader clicks one of your links, without them even having to buy anything, you might want to look into pay-per-click – or PPC – affiliate programs.

If that sounds like something for you, check out this list of the best pay per click affiliate programs.

Pay-per-click could be interesting for beginning affiliate marketers, but you have to realize that the commissions are way lower than with other programs.

While it could create some interesting first revue, it might not be the way to build your business in the long run.

Final Thoughts

And there you have it: everything you need to know about how to start affiliate marketing. 

We wish you all the luck on the path ahead of you, which can be rewarding but sometimes also daunting and difficult to navigate.

Please keep in mind that tracking your progress is your friend and that the right affiliate dashboard can make all the difference in the world, being the compass that you need to get to that sweet oasis of a passive, affiliate income. 

All your affiliate data in one dashboard and your marketing tools?  🚀 🔍

Grow your affiliate income?

Start tracking your affiliate conversions in your marketing tools like Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads to fully optimise your content and campaigns.

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