If you want to make money online, or if you have a website already and want to monetize it, affiliate marketing can be a great way to do this.
But how does affiliate marketing work, what is the potential of it, and how do you get started?
I have worked with affiliate marketing for several years and I am making a full-time income this way and in this beginners guide to affiliate marketing, I will explain you the answers for all the questions above in a simple and clear way.
After reading this article, you will know if affiliate marketing is for you and how to get started.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means at no cost to you, I may receive an affiliate commission if you purchase something through one of these links.
What is affiliate marketing and how do you make money on it?
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money online and it is a 100% legit way to make money online.
Simply explained, it is a way where you as a website owner can promote product or service from different companies. They will then pay you a commission for this – sometimes you will get paid if people follow your link and purchase something and other times if they just take an action.
So if you have a website, you can recommend a certain product to your visitors. If you have an agreement with the company behind the product and become a part of their affiliate program, you will get what is called an affiliate link.
This is a tracking link you can put on your website, newsletter, and more. When somebody on your website then clicks this link to buy the product or take a certain action, the company will be able to see the sale/conversion is coming from your website, and you will then get paid a commission.
This means that you can promote products online and get a commission for recommending or promoting them, but without having to have a webshop or a big storage with products. You will not be responsible for actually selling or shipping any products. You will just be the middleman.
The person that buys through your link will not pay anything extra. In some cases, you can even offer your website visitors a discount or bonus, if they click your link and end up buying the product or service you are recommending.
Example of an affiliate program you might know
I hope the above has given you a good idea about what affiliate marketing is. But if you are new and a complete beginner when it comes to affiliate marketing, it might be useful with an example from our everyday life so you can see that affiliate marketing is already all around us – most of are just not aware of it and most people do not make the most out of it.
Let’s take a website like Airbnb which is a platform where you can rent rooms, houses, or homes as an alternative to hotels. You can also rent out your own home. This is a very famous brand – but did you know they have what they call a refer-a-friend program?
If you invite people you know to join Airbnb, you can earn coupons for the platform. And you probably know many other platforms where this is possible. Uber, for example, also offers it and maybe your local gym or some other local businesses you know offer incentives like this to tell people you know about their services.
I am, of course, not saying that it means you have to go out an invite a lot of people to Airbnb and Uber to earn free nights at hotels and free rides:-) But it illustrates very well how affiliate marketing works and it shows it is all around us.
You can basically get paid to recommend product or services you like – and affiliate programs pay in cash so you can earn real money this way.
What kind of products/services can you promote?
So in addition to the couple of examples mentioned above, what kind of products, services, and companies offer affiliate programs?
The short answer is – you can promote almost any kind of product or service through an affiliate program.
Affiliate marketing has become very popular for both companies and website owners, so almost no matter what kind of products, services, or niche you are interested in, you will be able to find many affiliate programs, you can become a part of.
Of course, not all companies have an affiliate program, but there will almost for sure be some companies within any kind of niche that will have one.
Some companies have their own affiliate program you can apply to become a part of on their website. Others are a member of what is called an affiliate network, which is a platform that will give you access to hundreds of different affiliate programs in one place.
Also, there is a program like Amazon Associates, which is one of the most popular affiliate programs. It is Amazon’s own program, and once you are a member of this, you can promote any product that is sold on Amazon, which means you can get access to promote basically anything.
So there are plenty of opportunities no matter what you would like to promote, and the opportunities keep growing.
How much money can you make on affiliate marketing?
The potential for making money on affiliate marketing is huge. It all depends on you getting to know how to do it the right way (we will get to that below). But then there are basically no limits.
I keep getting surprised about the opportunities that come up once everything gets rolling.
There are many people that are not just making a living from affiliate marketing but making a VERY good living from it.
However, one thing you need to know – affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick thing.
You can definitely make a lot of money, but it takes a lot of work. But if you put in the work, you can end up doing very well, and it is something you can learn no matter your background.
In general, there is no real quick way of getting rich online. It of course happens, but it is very rare, and most programs that promise you that you can become rich within a month without any effort are just out to get your money.
So be assured that it is definitely possible to eventually make a good living online no matter what your previous experience is, but you have to make an effort for it.
Is affiliate marketing legit?
After reading the above, you might wonder if affiliate marketing is a legit and ethical way to make money. I know I was wondering this in the beginning.
It is definitely a legit way to make money, and most of the biggest companies in the world have affiliate programs. So it is definitely legit.
I just strongly encourage you to also make sure you do it in an ethical way. Since you get a commission for promoting products/services, there are of course people that get carried away and just say whatever it takes to make somebody click their affiliate links.
This is not a good approach. Do not focus on just selling, and do not recommend products that you are not truly recommending just to make a sale.
If you do, people will quickly lose trust in you, and you will not be able to build a long term business. And it also does not feel great to make money if you know others have wasted theirs because of it.
The most successful affiliate marketers are people that first of all provide valuable information. They make an effort to help people and give them legit information.
When that is the case, people will happily click your affiliate links and buy, because you have spent a lot of time researching and writing and made it easy for them. Then it is a win-win situation – your website visitors get easy access to a lot of valuable information, and you get a commission for all your hard work.
So it is of course up to you, but I strongly encourage you to only promote products, you are truly recommending, and also focus on how your info can help people. Then the commissions will come and keep growing, and you can at the same time feel good about what you are doing.
Affiliate marketing step-by-step
Before I explain to you how you can easily get started with affiliate marketing for free, you need to understand the basic principles of how to build and run an affiliate marketing business.
There are different approaches but in my experience, the best way to get started as a beginner can be explained in these 4 steps:
Below, I will just shortly expand a little more about each of these steps, and then I will show you how to get started with them.
Step 1 – Choose a topic:
An amazing thing about affiliate marketing is that you can make money on your passion. No matter the topic you are interested in, you will for sure be able to have an audience for it.
There are around 4 billion people online. So even if you think there might not be an audience for the topic you are interested in, you can be sure there will be.
So no matter if you are interested in winter boots, basketball, playing an instrument, flowers, video games, organic clothing or anything else, you will be able to build a business based on this.
So you will be able to learn and build a business while having fun and engaging in a topic you love – that is one of the beauties of affiliate marketing:-).
Step 2 – Build a website:
Once you have chosen your topic/niche, you have to build a website. This is not as scary as it might sound, and you can start doing this, even if you have no experience at all and are a complete newbie.
Below, I will show you have you can get started to learn this step-by-step for free. With today’s tools, you do not have to have any special technical skills or be able to code or anything like that to build a website. So do not worry about this aspect.
Your website will be your main presentation of your topic and business. Any revenue will come as a result of your website and it is, therefore, an important part of your affiliate marketing business.
Step 3 – Attract visitors:
After building a website, you need to attract visitors to it.
Without visitors, there will be no one to click your links and no business. That is the same as any offline business. The more visitors you get to your website, the more opportunities you will have to earn money.
There are a number of ways you can attract visitors, and below I will also tell you more about how you can get started with this.
Step 4 – Monetize the traffic:
Once you have traffic on your website, the possibilities are endless. You can keep growing your traffic, and then you have many opportunities to earn money on it.
One of the opportunities is, of course, affiliate marketing, as I have explained above, which is an excellent way to monetize your website.
But once you have your site and traffic for it, there are a ton of opportunities. By following these 4 steps you will build the best possible foundation for future success – it is this process I have used myself and I am now making a full-time income with affiliate marketing.
How to get started for free!
The above steps explain the best way to build a foundation for a successful affiliate marketing business, in my experience. But you might need a little help to get all the steps and the details right.
When I first started with affiliate marketing, I thought I could figure out everything on my own. I ended up failing after having wasted about 6 months. So I strongly advise you to get some guidance about the details as this can really save you a lot of time in the long run.
One thing that is great about affiliate marketing is that it does not have to cost anything to get started and test if it is for you. And if you find out you want to build an online business like this, you can with very little investment really make your business grow.
I have worked with online marketing for a long time, but for many years I did not know anything about affiliate marketing.
After hearing about it, I at first tried on my own as mentioned above but after failing I started looking for more details but found that it was difficult to find any good information about how to get started with it and learn the exact steps.
That was when I found the learning platform Wealthy Affiliate. This is an amazing platform that I highly recommend.
It will teach you the whole process described above step-by-step no matter your previous experience. You will learn all the details and even learn step-by-step how to build your first website.
I am myself a member of the platform and enjoy learning more there every day and it is the platform that is the reason I got on the right track and now make a full-time income online and can work when and where I want to.
You can join and even get started for free, and get 10 lessons completely for free so if you want to start making money on affiliate marketing, you should definitely check out Wealthy Affiliate and start your training and building of your future business right away.
If you have any questions or need any help, just leave a comment below. I will be more than happy to help.