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How to Start with Affiliate Marketing + The Key to Succeed

So, you’ve started blogging and you’re gradually gaining traction with some website visitors.

It’s great that you’ve been sharing your tips for free with your readers, but every blogger knows that there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that goes into each and every blog post.

Wouldn’t it be great if every blog you wrote also generated income for you in the long run?

You share your free tips and knowledge with your readers and in turn, you can build a nice passive income. I say; it’s a win-win for everyone!

And here’s the good news: it’s really possible! As an affiliate partner of a company, you can work on a consistent income source that runs automatically and passively at some point, as long as you keep making new, valuable content.

In this blog, I will explain to you how this works and which reputable affiliate programs usually accept relatively new bloggers.

Let’s get started!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee-drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra. So it’s a win for everyone! Please note that I won’t link any products I don’t believe in or don’t resonate with my blog site. Thank you!

Before I start explaining what affiliate marketing is and how you can make money from it, it’s important to mention that this post is about earning an income from affiliate marketing combined with a blog.

If you haven’t started a blog yet but are interested in making money this way, begin at the beginning with this beginner’s guide to starting a new blog.

If you already own a blog website, you can continue here.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing entails promoting products from other companies in your blog posts. You do this by signing up for an affiliate program and embedding personalized links in your content. If a reader clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase, you earn a commission on the sale.

The commission rate varies greatly between programs, but on average it is somewhere between 4% and 30% of the purchase amount. If you promote more expensive products with a higher margin, you will of course earn much more from it.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income from your blog if you don’t sell your own products. Joining one of the affiliate networks mentioned later in this post is easy to do and requires no financial risk on your part! You simply earn money from the content you create on your blog.

No sales = no commission, but also no loss!

It may initially sound like a simple task. However, to successfully turn your readers into customers, you must produce high-quality, engaging content that is beneficial to your readers by answering their questions and resolving their issues. Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it seems. 😊

If you want to convert readers into affiliate sales, you need to publish high-quality content that is optimally tuned to Google SEO, but even more so to the end reader. To earn a real income from affiliate marketing, you need a lot of traffic to your blog and, in addition, your content must be well put together so that the reader makes the actual purchase on the basis of your information.

As you can see, affiliate marketing really does demand more of bloggers than many people realize at first glance and it is certainly not a job for lazy people. However, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can definitely make a lot of money from it in the long term.

How to start with affiliate marketing?

Before you start with affiliate marketing, it is important to first undertake the following steps should you not have done so already.

  1. Choose a niche
  2. Start a blog
  3. Build website traffic
  4. Research affiliate programs within your niche
  5. Apply to join affiliate programs
  6. Research the products you can start promoting
  7. Add your affiliate links to your content
  8. Start promoting
  9. Earn!

Affiliate networks vs. Affiliate programs

An affiliate network is a platform that connects merchants with affiliate programs. An affiliate program is a program run by a merchant that allows affiliates to promote their products and receive a commission for any sales they generate.

So, to recap, an affiliate network is a platform that connects merchants and affiliates, while an affiliate program is a program run by a merchant that allows affiliates to promote their products.

Is it really possible to make money with affiliate marketing?

Yes, you can really make money with affiliate marketing, but just remember that it’s not as easy as it seems. To really make good money, you need a blog with tons of traffic, and for that, you need to really educate yourself in SEO.

I followed the Stupid Simple SEO course myself to get a good grasp of SEO and to ensure that more traffic would be directed to my website. In this training, SEO is explained in bite-size chunks, and trust me, this will save you oceans of time.

Keeping up with the fast-paced world of content creation can be difficult, and it’s important to stay ahead of the curve to be successful. Investing time in research and development is crucial to maintain a competitive edge and avoid falling behind.

I read that for every 100 clicks on an affiliate link, you can expect around 1 sale. And these are just the clicks on the links in the post, don’t confuse this with the number of visitors to that particular blog post! And not everyone clicks on your affiliate links, actually, most people don’t.

So, write down how much you’d like to earn with affiliate marketing, and calculate how much monthly traffic you need to earn the desired amount you have in mind.

I don’t mean to discourage you, quite the opposite; I want to motivate you. There are so many blog posts out there that promise you riches through affiliate marketing, but that’s not the reality. By painting a realistic picture, you can understand what to expect and what you need to focus on to achieve your goals.

The best affiliate networks for beginners

Now that we have covered the basics, let us discuss the best-known and most prominent affiliate networks that you can apply to as a beginner. I have partnered with these networks myself and I really enjoy working with them.

Which networks would work best for you is a question I can’t answer, because it depends on your niche and the products you wish to promote. For this reason, for every affiliate network for beginners listed in this post, I will provide a small selection of the most popular brands they collaborate with.

Hopefully, this makes it easier for you to decide which these best affiliate networks for beginners fit you best. Still not sure? Give them a try and see which ones work best for you.

Things to consider when choosing an affiliate network

The commission rate:

If you choose to promote products with a low commission rate and a low price, you will need to generate a massive amount of traffic to make the post viable. It is therefore better to choose programs with a higher commission and/or products with a higher price.

The Payment Threshold:

The payment threshold is the minimum amount that you must earn in commissions within that program or network before the amount is paid out to you.

The type of commission:

Do they pay per lead, per click, or per sale?

Is it a one-time or recurring commission fee?

There are many affiliate programs that offer services where you can promote products that are subscription-based. Sometimes you will receive a one-time payout, but there are also programs where you earn a commission as long as the subscription continues. This means monthly income for you if you are able to promote this type of product effectively.

The cookie length?

How many days after a reader clicks on one of your links do you receive a commission, should they make a purchase? For example, if someone clicks on one of your links today but doesn’t make a purchase today, and the cookie length is 30 days, you would be eligible to earn a commission if that visitor buys the product within the next 29 days!

Amazon affiliate marketing program

Amazon is not an affiliate network; however, they sell an array of items. You can find products on Amazon for nearly every niche. The advantage of Amazon is that you earn a commission on every product your referral purchases, whether it is your promoted product or not.

Another great advantage of this program is the possibility to subscribe to the Amazon affiliate marketing program in different countries and connect them to each other. This way, for example, people from Canada will be automatically sent to the same product page on Amazon Canada. This way you won’t lose commission when your lead buys from another Amazon location than the one you’re referring to in your affiliate link. However, there are a few locations you can’t sign up for when you’re not a resident there, for example India and China. But then again, you still have access to half the world!

Commission:

4% – 8%

Cookie length:

24 hours. But when a customer placed an item in their shopping cart but then decides not to purchase it today, you still receive a commission if that item is purchased within the next 89 days. This is a comforting thought when you’re promoting pricier products that often may require some time for consideration.

Payment threshold:

$ 10

Click here to sign up for the Amazon Associates program

Amazon Affiliate Marketing Course

If you’re interested in learning how to generate income through the Amazon Affiliate program, I’d recommend reading this blog about Amazon Affiliate marketing by Dale from Blogging Her Way and following her course. She provides clear instructions on how to generate a good income through your Amazon affiliate links.

Share A Sale

This network is my personal favorite. Many big brands can be found here, like Grammarly, Namecheap, Reebok, Spanx, WP Engine, Etsy, and Shein. Share-a-sale also has a user-friendly interface. It’s the perfect platform for beginners in affiliate marketing!

Commission:

Differs per program.

Cookie length:

Differs per program.

Payment threshold:

$ 50

Click here to sign up for Share A Sale

Awin

Awin also collaborates with many big brands, like Fiver, Etsy, Emirates, Fabfitfun, AliExpress, Tidal, Ted Baker, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Swarovski, Udemy, Myheritage, and Asos.

One thing to note: you have to pay a $5 deposit to become a member, which is refunded after your first sale. This is to ensure that bloggers who are serious about their business are the only ones collaborating.

Commission:

Differs per program.

Cookie length:

Differs per program.

Payment threshold:

$ 20

Click here to sign up for Awin

Skimlinks

At Skimlinks you can partner with brands like Sephora, TripAdvisor, Target, Microsoft, Lululemon, Adobe, Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, H&M, Topshop, Dell, Nike, Airbnb, Forever21, Victoria’s Secret & Samsung, and – in contrary to most other affiliate networks – you don’t have to sign up for each program separately.

Commission:

Differs per program.

Cookieduur:

Usually 30 days, but this may vary for certain advertisers.

Payment threshold:

$ 65

Click here to sign up for SkimLinks

Don’t forget the FTC Guidelines!

The Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines require you to let your readers know when you are promoting a product through affiliate links, and that you will earn a commission if they purchase the product. To do this, you must include an Affiliate Disclosure at the beginning or end of every web page that has affiliate links.

I hope this free guide to the best affiliate networks for beginners was helpful to you today. Are you ready to start making money while you sleep? I hope so! If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to share it!

Author

  • Angie

    Angie is a blogger and creative entrepreneur from the Netherlands who is currently residing as a digital nomad in Serbia together with her husband and 2-year old daughter Ana Milena. She is the creator of She Can Blog and works as a Pinterest manager for several Dutch companies.

20 thoughts on “How to Start with Affiliate Marketing + The Key to Succeed”

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips.

    I’ve not really started properly adding affiliate links on my blog, and to be honest it’s still quite early days for me. I’m focussing on growing traffic right now.

    I have signed up Awin, Share A Sale and Amazon but not Skimlinks. Can I ask you, out of all of these networks, which have you had the most success with?

    Thanks.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment on my blog! Up until now Share A Sale & Amazon work best for me. But it depends on your niche, so I can’t really say which networks will work best for you. Success with your blog! :))

      Best,
      Angie

  2. These are some great ideas you have talked about to help anyone get started in the affiliate marketing business. Just by following a simple action plan consistently and putting in the effort, who knows? It will most likely lead to getting a new subscriber to your list, and other great opportunities down the road.

  3. I’m still somewhat new to blogging and have been trying to figure out affiliate marketing, and this was immensely helpful! Thanks so much!

    1. 🙁 That’s strange, especially if they already clicked. Maybe a problem with the product itself? Something they only discover after the click? Idk, wish I could help you here.

  4. Thanks for all of the great tips and information about affiliate marketing! As a newbie it’s hard to know where to start and what to look out for.

  5. This was great. Thanks for the recommendation for the course. I will definitely keep that in mind.

    1. You’re welcome! There are many great courses out there, this is one of them that is the most affordable. But I really discovered courses like this help a lot! They’re big time-savers. X

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