Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: Your Startup Guide (2024)

Affiliate marketing is a billion dollar industry.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent option if you are looking for a passive income source. We make over $15,000 per month from affiliate marketing.

Here’s one of our earnings reports;

semrush earnings

So, we know what works well and what’s not. If you’re new to affiliate marketing and looking for an ultimate free guide, this post is a treat for you where you’ll learn;

  • What is affiliate marketing and its benefits
  • How do most affiliates make money
  • Best ways to find affiliate products, along with insider tips to boost your sales
  • How to become a successful affiliate marketer and much more

Are you ready? Let’s get started.

What is Affiliate Marketing? How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based business model where you help companies sell their products by promoting them to your audience.

When a customer clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you earn a commission. Depending on the product, commissions can range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars.

To become an affiliate marketer, you need to sign up for an affiliate program and promote the products you are interested in. You can promote affiliate products on your website, blog, social media or even email.

How Do Affiliate Marketers Get Paid?

Typically, affiliate marketers create websites or YouTube channels to promote different products by creating relevant content in various ways, such as;

  • Blog posts
  • Product reviews
  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Ads
  • Deal posts and more

When someone clicks on your affiliate referral link and buys something, you will earn a commission. The company you are promoting will pay you a commission.

Here is a real example of how the affiliate program works (let’s take the example of SEMrush):

  • You sign up for the Semrush affiliate program and get a unique affiliate link
  • You promote the Semrush affiliate link on your website, YouTube channel or social media
  • A visitor to your website or YouTube channel clicks on your affiliate link and visits the Semrush website
  • The visitor signs up for a Semrush subscription
  • You earn a commission

You can read our free guide on affiliate marketing for beginners to learn the BEST strategies.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Here are some of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing in 2024.


  • Very minimal startup costs (be it for launching a website or YouTube channel to promote products)
  • There are thousands of products and services to promote
  • Free to sign up (almost all affiliate products are free to join)
  • Performance-based commission (the more you sell, the more you earn)
  • The sky’s the limit to your earnings, as most affiliate programs don’t put a cap on your earnings
  • You don’t need any special skills or experience to get started with affiliate marketing
  • It’s an amazing passive income source; you can earn commissions even when you’re not actively working
  • You can work from anywhere in the world


  • There’s a huge competition, as many other people are trying to promote the same products that you are.
  • Building a successful affiliate marketing business takes a lot of time and effort.
  • You must constantly generate traffic (visitors) to your affiliate products to make money.
  • Affiliate programs can change their terms and conditions at any time. The best example is SiteGround, which stopped its affiliate program in Asian countries.

Want more details? Read our guide on the benefits of affiliate marketing to learn more.

3 Different Types of Affiliate Marketing Programs

The THREE different types of affiliate marketing programs are;

  1. Pay-per-click (PPC): You earn a commission whenever a visitor clicks on your affiliate link (regardless of whether they buy something). It’s a great option if you have a website with a lot of traffic.
  2. Pay-per-lead (PPL): You earn a commission when a visitor completes a desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or free trial. This is a good option if you have an email list of targeted people.
  3. Pay-per-sale (PPS) programs: You earn a commission when someone makes a purchase through your affiliate link. This is the most common type of affiliate program.

10 Quick Ways To Find Best Affiliate Products To Promote

The success of your affiliate marketing journey hinges on choosing the right products to promote. While this can be a daunting task for beginners, fear not! Here are 10 quick and easy tips to guide you in your product selection process:

1. Look at your own life: Begin your research by identifying products you personally use and adore. Are there items you consider essential, like your smartphone or Alexa device? Or perhaps tools that have simplified your life, like a laptop stand? These could be promising options for your audience.

2. Explore online marketplaces: Browse through platforms like Amazon and eBay to discover best-selling products in various categories. Shortlist products relevant to your target audience and with potential appeal.

3. Leverage affiliate networks: Utilize platforms like Clickbank, Commission Junction, ShareASale, and Impact to access a vast array of products suitable for promotion.

4. Employ keyword research tools: Tools like Semrush can unveil popular products that people are actively searching for, guiding your selection towards in-demand items.

5. Prioritize high conversion rates: Seek products with a proven track record of converting leads into paying customers. This ensures your efforts generate tangible results.

6. Monitor social media trends: Identify products people are actively sharing and discussing on social media platforms. Utilize tools like Google Trends to further discover trending products gaining traction.

7. Trust product review platforms: Consult platforms like G2, TrustPilot, and Capterra to discover highly-rated products that boast positive feedback from users.

8. Embrace free trials: Consider promoting products that offer free trials, such as SEO tools like Semrush or Moz. This allows potential customers to experience the product firsthand before committing.

9. Highlight deals and discounts: Look for products that frequently offer appealing discounts to attract new customers. Websites like Hostinger are prime examples of this strategy.

10. Learn from successful bloggers and affiliate marketers: Analyze earning reports shared by established bloggers and affiliate marketers. This can provide valuable insights into the best-performing products in their niche.

Remember: Regardless of the products you choose, prioritize programs with a strong reputation and positive feedback. This helps ensure you offer reliable products that build trust with your audience and contribute to your long-term success.

How to Start Affiliate Marketing Business Today in 5 Steps 

So, you want to start your affiliate marketing journey.

Congrats! But there are certain things you need to remember if you want to be successful. Here are FIVE easy steps to start your affiliate marketing business RIGHT.

Identify a niche

Your affiliate marketing niche (topic) plays a key role. Pick a niche that’s profitable and less competitive.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on a niche;

  • Identify your interests and passions
  • Identify problems you can solve
  • Research your competition
  • Determine the profitability of your niche (using metrics like CPC, commission rates of the products in that niche, etc)

You can use free tools like Google Trends or Ubersuggest to check the popularity of your niche (or its keywords).

Here’s an example;

keyword research

As you can see, for the example keyword above, it has a huge search volume and an amazing CPC of over $4. This means that this place is extremely good in terms of profitability.

But remember that such topics are competitive, so you need to target a specific group of topics with less competition to rank higher in Google.

Check out this amazing list of 13 profitable areas in blogging that you can consider to make money in the long run.

Start a blog

Once you’re done with niche selection, it’s time to create a blog or website to promote affiliate products.

Why do you need a blog for affiliate marketing? There are many benefits, such as;

  • Educate and build trust (people only buy when they trust you)
  • Helps you with more traffic and conversions
  • Boosts your overall sales

We recommend an affordable yet reliable web host like Hostinger if you’re getting started.

You can refer to our guide on creating a blog, where you’ll find more details.

Hostinger offers the following 3 pricing plans;

  • The premium plan costs $2.99 monthly, with 100 GB of storage and free weekly backups, and you can install 100 sites.
  • The business plan costs $3.99 monthly, with 200 GB of storage and free daily backups, and you can install 100 sites.
  • Cloud Startup plan costs $8.99 monthly, with 200 GB of storage and free daily backups, and you can install 300 sites. You’ll also get a free dedicated IP with CDN.

Pick an affiliate program to promote

After launching a blog, you must start your affiliate marketing journey by picking the right programs to promote.

There are many affiliate networks where you can find hundreds of products to promote, which include;

  • Commission Junction
  • Clickbank
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • ShareASale
  • Impact 

No matter what your region is, you can use the above platforms to find the best-selling products. Commission will vary from place to place.

If you’re looking for more, here’s a huge list of 100+ best affiliate programs that you can promote as a blogger.

Try promoting recurring affiliate programs, as they pay you not just once, but over and over again. Regular products usually pay you only once, while recurring programs keep paying you for the customer’s lifetime (as long as the customer uses the product).

Create content

Affiliate marketing is all about trust. The best way to build trust is to educate your audience about the products you promote.

This is where content marketing comes into play. Content is the reason our blog makes over $15K per month. We know the value of content marketing; That’s why we’ve put a lot of effort into creating lots of free guides and tutorials.

By providing informative content for free, you can establish yourself as an authority in your field. Here are some ways to use content marketing to increase your sales in affiliate marketing:

  • Create in-depth product reviews and comparisons. These two types of content work really well in affiliate marketing. Make sure to be unbiased while reviewing any product.
  • Write blog posts that answer common questions about the products you promote. Most people who want to buy a product are often looking for answers. By answering their questions, you’ll clear all your audience’s doubts about the products.
  • Create video tutorials to teach your audience how to use the products you promote. Talk about the benefits of the products and show them how they can be useful.
  • Write case studies. It’s a smart idea to use a product before you recommend it. Once you use a product regularly, you’ll know the ins and outs of it. If you’re getting better results with that product, create case studies, as it can help to build social proof and help you easily sell the products you promote.

Drive traffic

Last but not least, you need a lot of traffic.

traffic = money

It doesn’t matter how good your content is or how many products you promote, you won’t get any sales if you don’t have traffic.

The difference between successful marketers and the rest is the amount of traffic they get.

So, how do you get more traffic? Our top tip is to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here are some quick SEO tips to increase traffic to your affiliate website.

  • Find relevant long-tail keywords for every post or review you create. Make sure there’s NOT too much competition for the keywords. Don’t go for broad keywords (like “fitness apps”). Go for long-tail keywords like “fitness apps for college students”, as they’re easier to rank for.
  • Use a keyword tool. We use the Semrush keyword magic tool as it has a huge database of 25+ billion keywords. You can also try free tools like Ubersuggest,, etc.
  • Optimize your posts for your target keywords. Include your keywords in the title, meta description, images, subheadings, etc.

Looking for more information? We’ve published a free guide on creating a niche site that makes money, so check it out.

5 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success

Whether you’re a beginner or struggling to generate affiliate sales, here are FIVE secret tips that work like a charm.

1. Attract quality visitors, not quantity

When it comes to affiliate marketing, quality is more important than quantity. 

Even if you generate 100 high-quality visitors to your site, they’re more likely to convert into sales than 1000 low-quality visitors.

It’s because quality visitors are more likely to be interested in the products you’re promoting, and they’re more likely to click on your affiliate links and make purchases.

The best way to attract high-quality visitors to your site is to use search engine optimization (SEO) to get your content ranked in search results.  

You can read our free guide on affiliate marketing website SEO to learn how to generate more traffic from Google.

2. Be realistic

Affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. You are not going to make $10,000 dollars in a month the moment you start your journey. You need to set realistic expectations.

Yes, affiliate marketing is a great way to make passive income, but It takes time, effort, and dedication.

Most affiliate marketers don’t start making even $100/mo until they’ve been at it for at least 6-12 months. Initially, you may only make a few dollars or cents per sale. 

But as you build your traffic and audience, you can start making more money.

Here are some realistic earnings goals for new affiliate marketers:

  • First year: $100 to $500/mo
  • Second year: $500 to $1500/mo
  • Third year: $1500 to $5000+/m

The above goals are mentioned just for reference. The money you make from affiliate marketing depends on many things, such as your niche, the products you sell, the CPC value of your keywords, etc.

3. Start small

Don’t try to promote too many products and services at once. 

Focus on a niche that you’re passionate about and build your expertise in that area.

For example, we’re really good at SEO. We know how to generate more traffic from Google and help other website owners build successful blogs. That’s why we often promote SEO tools such as Semrush and earn a decent monthly commission.

Similarly, find what you’re good at. Promote high-quality products in that niche.

Here are some of the best affiliate marketing tools that can help you save time.

4. Create a sense of urgency

The best way to boost your sales is to offer limited-time discounts and promotions.

Why? By creating urgency, you encourage visitors to buy now.

The best time to do that is during special days, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. During these days, most companies offer up to 90% discounts. 

So, you can create lots of posts promoting such limited-time deals. If you want success in affiliate marketing, always be prepared for such flash sales.

Read our free guide on Black Friday affiliate marketing to learn how to boost your sales during special days.

5. Build relationships with affiliate product managers

Almost every single product has a dedicated affiliate marketing team. Their job is to help affiliate marketers generate more sales.

But, most beginners never contact their partner managers. Tell the Affiliate Product Manager who you are, what you do, and why you’re interested in working with them.

We often get paid a higher percentage of affiliate commissions simply because we build relationships with affiliate managers. Do the same and thank us later.

Looking for more tips? Check out these incredible ways to increase affiliate sales for beginners.

How to Create Affiliate Marketing Content?

Did you know that 89% of customers worldwide look at online reviews before purchasing a product?

People want to know what they are buying online.

People are more likely to buy from you if they feel like you’re trying to help them.

One big thing to remember when creating content for affiliate marketing sites is this: to help rather than to sell.

It’s easy to find and promote affiliate products through your website. The best way to create useful content is to focus on providing value to your target audience. This means teaching them something or solving some of their problems.

People are bombarded with sales all the time. They’re tired of being told what to buy. They want to be informed and educated.

So, keep this one thing in mind: educate and build trust with your content. Here are some quick tips for creating helpful affiliate marketing content;

  • Write about topics that your audience is interested in. Find out what they’re searching for online and what kinds of problems they’re trying to solve. Some examples include suffering from back pain, trying to lose belly fat, struggling with website traffic, etc.
  • Be honest. Use an affiliate disclosure. Let your audience know that you’re recommending products because you believe they’re valuable, not just because you’re earning a commission.
  • Show value. Don’t just talk about how great the products you’re promoting are. Show your readers how to use those products to improve their lives or solve problems.
  • Write product comparisons where you can compare two similar options against each other. That way, your readers will decide what product suits their needs. Mention the pros, cons, pricing, features, etc. Be unbiased while writing such product comparisons.

5 Best Ways to Promote Affiliate Links

People don’t buy from you just because you’re recommending a product. You need to promote your affiliate link as much as possible.

The more people see your affiliate offers, the greater your chances of generating sales.

So, what’s best to promote your links? There is no single best way to promote affiliate links. However, here are some evergreen ways you can use to draw more attention to your products.

1. Share promo codes and free trials

People who are interested in buying something are always looking for deals and discounts.

If you want to promote your affiliate links in a smart way, offer special deals and free trials to your visitors. This is a great way to encourage people to visit your website and click on your affiliate link.

2. Use Quora

Quora presents a unique platform for promoting your affiliate products by allowing you to engage with your target audience directly. By answering their questions and providing valuable insights, you can build trust and credibility, ultimately leading to conversions.

However, directly posting affiliate links on Quora can violate their rules. Instead, focus on providing helpful and informative answers that address the users’ queries. Within your answers, you can strategically place links to other resources, such as:

  • Informative blog posts related to the product.
  • Detailed product reviews or comparisons.
  • Videos showcasing the product’s features and benefits.

By redirecting users to dedicated pages where your affiliate links are embedded, you comply with Quora’s guidelines while still promoting your offerings indirectly.

3. Offer a free email course

Email marketing boasts an exceptional return on investment (ROI), offering an impressive $40 return for every $1 invested. This makes it a powerful tool for promoting affiliate products and generating significant revenue.

One of the most effective strategies for leveraging email marketing involves offering a free email course to your website readers. This not only helps you collect valuable leads but also allows you to build a loyal following around your blog.

Within your email course, you can strategically promote your affiliate products by:

  • Mentioning them organically within relevant lessons.
  • Including strategically placed links to the product pages.

Remember to maintain a balance and avoid being overly promotional or pushy. Focus on providing valuable and informative content that genuinely helps your audience. The goal is to establish trust and build lasting relationships, not just make a quick sale.

Here’s an example:

Imagine you promote a weight-loss product. You could create a free email course offering valuable information on this topic. Potential topics could include:

  • Setting realistic weight-loss goals.
  • Developing a healthy diet plan.
  • Incorporating daily exercise routines.
  • Strategies for targeting belly fat reduction.

Throughout the course, you can seamlessly integrate your product by explaining how it can help individuals achieve their weight-loss goals. This approach provides value to your audience while subtly promoting your affiliate product, fostering trust and potentially leading to conversions.

4. Share on social media

You cannot ignore social media, as billions of people are on social networks, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Create informative social media posts every day. Use a tool like Canva or a scheduling tool like Buffer.

Include a call to action on every social media post you create. Tell your followers what you want from them, whether it’s visiting your website, signing up for your email course, or buying your product.

5. Run PPC ads

Paid advertising, including PPC (pay-per-click) ads, can be an effective tool for generating rapid traffic to your affiliate offers. However, remember that not all affiliate programs allow their affiliates to directly promote their products using paid ads. Always check the affiliate program’s guidelines before implementing any paid advertising strategies.

But here’s the good news: You can indirectly promote any affiliate program you wish by creating valuable content such as:

  • Product reviews and comparisons: Provide insightful analysis and highlight product strengths and weaknesses to educate potential buyers.
  • Product video tutorials: Demonstrate the product’s features and benefits in an engaging format that resonates with viewers.
  • Informative blog posts and articles: Share your knowledge and expertise about the product and its niche, attracting interested readers.

These valuable content pieces can then be promoted using paid advertising platforms, allowing you to reach a wider audience and drive traffic even if direct promotion of the affiliate links is not permitted.

FAQs on Affiliate Marketing:

1. What are the best affiliate programs for beginners without a website?

Several affiliate networks offer programs suitable for beginners, even without a website. Here are a few popular options:

  • ClickBank: Provides a vast selection of digital products across various niches.
  • ShareASale: Features a wide range of physical and digital products from established brands.
  • CJ Affiliate: Offers a diverse portfolio of products from various industries.

2. What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing strategy where you earn a commission for promoting and selling other people’s products or services. You earn a commission when someone clicks on your unique affiliate link and makes a purchase.

3. Who are affiliates?

Anyone can become an affiliate, including individuals and organizations. Some common examples include:

  • Bloggers and website owners: Promote products relevant to their audience through blog posts, reviews, and ads.
  • Social media influencers: Leverage their following to promote products through social media posts and stories.
  • YouTubers: Create content showcasing products and promoting them to their viewers.
  • Small business owners: Recommend complementary products to their existing customer base.

4. What are the benefits of affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing offers several advantages for both businesses and affiliates:

For Businesses:

  • Cost-effective marketing: Reach new audiences without significant upfront costs.
  • Performance-based: Only pay commissions for actual sales generated.
  • Scalable reach: Leverage the network of affiliates to expand reach.

For Affiliates:

  • Passive income potential: Earn commissions even when not actively working.
  • Low barrier to entry: No significant investment required.
  • Work from anywhere: Location-independent income potential.
  • Promote products you believe in: Choose products that resonate with your audience.

5. What are the best resources for learning affiliate marketing?

Many valuable resources can help you learn affiliate marketing and develop the skills necessary for success. Here are a few recommendations:

  • The Affiliate Marketing Hub: Offers a comprehensive guide to affiliate marketing with tutorials, articles, and case studies.
  • Smart Passive Income: Provides practical strategies and insights from Pat Flynn, a successful affiliate marketer.
  • Authority Hacker: Focuses on building online businesses and includes valuable content on affiliate marketing.
  • Niche Pursuits: Offers strategies for choosing profitable niches and building successful affiliate websites.
  • Income School: Provides in-depth courses and training programs on various aspects of affiliate marketing.

Remember, the best resources will depend on your individual learning style and preferences. Explore and experiment to find what works best for you.

Final Thoughts on Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing offers a legitimate and potentially lucrative pathway to passive income. With dedication and the right strategies, you can build a successful affiliate marketing business.

Our experience of over 10 years promoting affiliate products demonstrates its potential for beginners seeking online income. However, success requires consistent effort, strategic implementation, and continuous learning.

While having a website or blog can be advantageous for building an audience and promoting affiliate offers, it’s not a strict requirement. Social media platforms, video content creation, and email marketing can also be effective tools for affiliate marketers.

We encourage you to explore affiliate marketing further and discover its full potential. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to share them in the comments below. We’re happy to help you on your journey!

My name is Megha, A computer science student with a passion for digital marketing and SEO, enjoys helping beginners build impressive WordPress websites.

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