The main obstacle to succeed is just how to get traffic for affiliate marketing so you can actually earn.
More traffic = more money. But it is an area where many people struggle.
There are a lot of suggestions out there about how to solve the traffic challenge but there is also A LOT of bad advice or even outright scams.
In this article I will therefore show you 4 REALISTIC ways to drive traffic to your affiliate links.
This is based on my own experiences as someone going from zero to a full-time income as an affiliate marketer.
The NECESSARY foundation to get affiliate traffic
I know you are properly eager to get straight to the recommended traffic sources and how to use them effectively.
But before getting to that, there are some foundational things that are very important to understand to be able to succeed long-term and create a sustainable affiliate income.
I have built a full-time affiliate income myself from scratch and have helped a lot of other people start their business as well and based on this I have seen some places where people often go wrong.
So below I will go over the foundation you NEED to get in place to have a chance of creating a long-term online income with affiliate marketing.
#1 – Forget magical traffic overnight
First of all, you need to forget everything about quick fixes and about just clicking a few buttons to magically get a ton of traffic and income overnight.
There are a lot of “gurus” out there trying to sell you the idea that this is possible if you just buy their new tool.
The reality is just that the ones promising these magical solutions are full of BS.
You cannot just click a button and then start getting traffic and start making money – that is not how affiliate marketing works.
I know many of the sales pages for these types of products are very convincing but I have learned the hard way that they just do not work.
They are just distractions that will end up wasting your time and money.
So forget all about these magical solutions and focus on building a proper foundation – it takes some time but the freedom that can come with it is totally worth it, in my opinion.
#2 – Focus on quality and on helping
I am lucky enough to be a member of several affiliate communities with hundreds of other successful affiliate marketers.
One thing all the long-term success stories have in common is that they focus on quality and on helping people with valuable content.
No matter what niche you are in, you need to focus on how you can actually give valuable information.
Once you provide value and help people, you will start building a good reputation and even get many people that will buy through your affiliate links many times.
This is how you build a long-term business. Quality leads to trust and trust leads to income when it comes to affiliate marketing.
And it is a great way to make a living because you know you are actually helping people so you can feel good about yourself at the same time.
This way affiliate marketing becomes a win-win situation as it should be.
#3 – Treat it like a business
This is closely connected to the points above where I give examples of quick fixes to stay away from when you drive traffic to your affiliate links.
Instead, you need to treat it like a business.
This means you go into it knowing it will take some time to build up because you take the time to focus on quality.
But once it gets rolling, the potential is huge.
Going into affiliate marketing with this approach is very important to succeed. Take it seriously and put in the time it takes to build the foundation – then you will succeed.
#4 – Build a website
There are different opinions about whether you need to build a website for affiliate marketing or not.
It is possible to make money without, but no doubt the long-term potential is a lot bigger if you have your own website no matter which of the traffic sources I will show you later you choose to use.
It builds credibility if you have a website with quality content, you can use it to get subscribers, you have a place to send people, you can retarget people after they have visited your site, you can use it as a bridge as many places will not allow you to post affiliate links directly, and much more.
Overall, it has so many advantages to have a website if you are serious about wanting to make money with affiliate marketing. Again, there is a reason all the most successful affiliate marketers have websites for their chosen niches, right?
And luckily it is not difficult to build a WordPress website so it is something you can learn no matter your technical skills.
So I clearly recommend you build at least a basic website no matter which of the real traffic sources you choose to use.
NO-go traffic sources affiliate marketing
Before getting to the best realistic traffic sources for affiliate marketing, I just want to go over a few sources to stay away from.
You will likely see these promoted different places as great ways to get fast traffic – but it, in reality, they do not really work and is not a way to build a long-term business.
So let’s go over these so you know to be careful about them
You will likely see people saying it is not at all necessary to have a website and you can just use their “secret” methods to get traffic to your affiliate links without a website.
There are ways it can be done without a website but do not fall for these suggestions about just spreading your affiliate links on other blogs, relevant YouTube channels, Facebook groups, etc.
Above you can see an example of someone doing this on my website. I get A LOT of comments like this every day on several of my websites and YouTube channels.
Personally, I block people right away if they do this. But on some sites, your link might be allowed to be posted because they do not monitor it.
But it will NOT be a way to get continuous traffic. You might get a click once in a while but the amount of time you would have to spend spamming these links will really not be worth.
And you will never be able to build up a real business and income like this where you can earn passive income even when not working.
In addition to this, you will piss off a lot of people because of all the spam you spread.
Poor traffic source #2 – Cheap clicks and traffic exchange
Later we will go into how you can actually build up traffic to your affiliate links once you have the foundation in place.
But you will likely encounter many places where they claim you can very easily buy cheap traffic so you can get thousands of visitors very quickly.
Some of them will also offer traffic exchange where you get visits every time you visit other websites. A site like this is, for example, EasyHits4U.
The advantage of these types of sites is that they can send thousands of visitors to your site very quickly – and very cheaply.
As you can see from the pricing example in the image above, on some sites you can get thousands of visitors for a very small budget.
And I know I said earlier that more traffic = more income. But that is not always the case.
The quality of the traffic also matters, of course.
And you can be sure that if you buy cheap traffic like this, it will NOT be quality traffic. Most of the traffic you can get from sites like this is where people get paid to visit your site for a few seconds.
Or in some cases, the visits are even bots which is more likely if they promise they can send you 10,000 visits in a day for around $10.
So even though it is a fast way to get traffic to use sites like this, you have to think about the motivation of the people coming to your affiliate website or affiliate links like this.
They will in most cases not be there because they are actually interested in what you are offering so it will be VERY hard to get any conversions with traffic like this.
There is a reason you will never see any real successful affiliate marketers suggesting to use traffic exchange or cheap traffic like this.
It is simply because it does not work and you will end up wasting time and money going for a quick fix instead of focusing on long-term success through quality.
Now we have gone over the foundation that needs to be in place before starting to drive traffic to your affiliate website and links and what traffic sources to be careful about.
So let’s now go over 4 realistic ways to get traffic that can actually help you create a full-time income through affiliate marketing and how you can get started with them the best possible way.
Traffic source #1 – Traffic through the search engines
Biggest pro: It can be done for free
Biggest con: It takes quite a lot of time and patience
Who is this traffic method for: If you have a limited budget but are willing to work hard, this is probably the best traffic method
Getting traffic through search engines is an extremely effective traffic source for affiliate marketing.
People that come to your website like this are actually looking for topics and potentially products in your niche so the quality of this traffic is usually very good.
This means that if you as an affiliate marketer learn to rank in the search engines, you will be able to get A LOT of conversions and build a great income like this.
Over time traffic can really build up and once an article has been written and takes off, it can bring traffic and income for years.
So it is a very powerful traffic method for affiliate marketing and the one I started with myself and build a full-time income on.
The disadvantage is that it takes some time and hard work to build up traffic like this and especially the first few months you will likely not see any results at all.
But with the right approach and hard work, it can be a really great traffic source and if you have a limited budget and start from scratch it is probably the best long-term strategy for getting traffic to your affiliate website and links, in my opinion.
Traffic source #2 – Paid traffic
Biggest pro: You can get traffic fast
Biggest con: It can take quite a big budget to learn
Who is this traffic method for: If you have money to invest in testing and are willing to learn the technical aspects, it can be a great way to get fast results
When it comes to paid traffic it is no doubt the fastest way to get traffic to your affiliate website or to your affiliate links.
But you need to be aware that the focus should still be on quality as platforms like Facebook, Google, etc. where you can run paid ads are getting stricter and stricter – so you still need to take the time to build a proper foundation.
However, if you take the time to learn the ins and outs of running paid traffic to affiliate offers it is properly the traffic method that can give you the fastest results and where you can scale it the most.
You just need to be aware that it will take a budget to learn and test as you will not just be able to set up one single ad and start earning right away. It is a skill that needs to be learned as everything else when it comes to affiliate marketing.
But if you have the budget and are interested in learning the technical aspects of optimizing ads, paid traffic is definitely worth looking into and can be a way to create a really great income.
Traffic source #3 – Get traffic through video
Biggest pro: It can be done for free and it builds trust
Biggest con: It takes quite a lot of time and patience
Who is this traffic method for: If you like video, why not use it to generate traffic for your affiliate links – it can be very effective
Using video for affiliate marketing can be done in many ways. One of the most used ways if, of course, YouTube.
Having a YouTube channel for your affiliate business can have huge advantages. It is the second biggest search engine in the world (right after Google) so it has the potential to send you a ton of traffic.
Also, if you create videos where you show your face, it is a great way to create trust as people can see who you are and it is easier to connect. This leads to trust and if people trust you, they are more likely to follow your recommendations and buy through your affiliate links.
But if you do not want to show your face, you can still use video for affiliate marketing.
As with getting traffic through the search engines, it will take some time to build up traffic. But the great thing about YouTube is that you can combine getting traffic through both search and paid traffic on the same platform.
Done right, video has a huge potential as more and more people prefer watching video content so it is definitely great to include this in your affiliate business and can give great results and income.
Biggest pro: Great way to brand yourself
Biggest con: You do not own the channel
Who is this traffic method for: Can be used by anyone – but you need to weigh the pros vs the cons before investing too much time
More or less anyone today is using some kind of social media. That is why it can be a great place to be if you are an affiliate marketer.
Some people are making very good full-time incomes just by having a social media channel – but it is not easy to get to that point. As an affiliate marketer, social media should mainly be used in combination with other traffic sources as well, in my opinion.
One reason for this is that you do not own the channel yourself as you do with a website. Sometimes Facebook pages, for example, just suddenly get shut down without any warning (I have tried this myself) and then you are left with nothing if you build your entire business on this.
But in combination with other methods, it can be great to use as an affiliate. A way to also use social media to get traffic is also to simply make it possible for people to easily share content from your website if they like it (I, for example, have buttons for this below my articles).
So there are many ways to use social media – but if you go this way, I would suggest to focus on one social media channel first and learn to master this instead of trying to have accounts on all the different networks right away.
What about email marketing?
You have maybe noticed that I have not included email marketing on the list above even though it is a very popular traffic source so I just wanted to shortly mention it here.
The reason I have not put it on the list is not because it does not work – in fact, it is a very effective way to get sales as an affiliate.
But it is not as such a way to start getting traffic as you first need to have traffic before you can start building a list. So that is why I have not included it here and instead focused on the best ways to start getting traffic or to scale traffic.
My suggestion is to start with the other methods and once you have a successful traffic source, it is great to start including email marketing as well.
How to choose the right traffic source for you?
After seeing the traffic methods above, you might wonder how to choose the right one for you to start with.
There is no exact right answer for this as it depends on several things. You, for example, need to consider your budget and your interests.
If you love video and consume a lot of video on YouTube yourself, it makes sense you go for this. If you have a big budget and want fast results, then paid traffic might be the right option for you, etc.
So look at the pros and cons for each traffic method above and then you can choose to read more about your chosen method through the button below each section.
It will show you my top recommended way to learn each traffic method in details.
Also, using different traffic sources in combination with each other is a great long-term strategy and can really scale your affiliate income. But I would suggest you learn to master one traffic source at the time and then expand to others.
If you start with too many at the same time, it is difficult to put in the time to really learn to master it and then you might end up not seeing the results you could have if you had focused.
So now it is up to you to choose where you want to focus first and get started so you can start getting more traffic and more sales.
If you have any comments, questions, or have experiences with any of the traffic sources mentioned above (or other traffic sources), I would love to hear from you in a comment below.