If you’re genuinely interested in earning money online, affiliate marketing is just about the easiest way to get started. The simplicity lies in the fact that you don’t do any of the heavy lifting so to speak, such as creating a product and dealing with selling/shipping. Everything is already taken care of by the seller and you simply earn commission by recommending others’ products.
The negative connotation of affiliate marketing stems from the persistent gurus, scammers and bad practices within the field. But when done properly, it’s a proven system that works.
How is this for real?
Nearly every major company today has an affiliate program. Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, Target, Apple, Microsoft… the list goes on and on. Why would huge multi-billion dollar corporations offer affiliate programs if it didn’t work? Because it does!
Basically it’s a form of advertising for them. These companies want people to help promote their products, and are willing to pay a commission. The company gets a sale, the affiliate gets a commission, and the buyer is happy because they find what they’re looking for. Win-win-win!
Sound simple enough?
I can tell you first-hand it is a real thing that people make money with. I can also tell you there are both GOOD and BAD ways to do it.
Affiliate Marketing in a Nutshell
An important thing to mention about affiliate marketing is it’s a purely commission based advertising model. The merchant (say, Amazon.com) ONLY pays the affiliate (owner of third party website) if there’s a sale from the customer (YOU!).
There are 3 parts to the affiliate marketing model…
Merchant: A company like Amazon.com
Affiliate/Advertiser: the owner of third party site, mycoolsite.com (purely an example)
Customer: whoever clicks the link and buys the product or service, someone like you!
Here’s a flow chart to help you better understand how the process works
As an affiliate marketer, you’re not holding onto inventory and shipping it when sales are made or anything like that! You literally are not involved in the actual sale at all, and that is what makes this method so beginner friendly.
The merchant takes care of all the selling for you, you are just leading them to the product.
A large chunk of company sales come through affiliate sales, so many companies rely on their affiliates to help keep the company afloat. Even Amazon.com gets a lot of business from affiliate sales.
However, affiliate marketing is just a monetization method, there’s all sorts of ways you could do this. Some methods work, others don’t. And that’s why this is PERFORMANCE-BASED. You get paid if you get results (and most people who try don’t).
Would you like a hand getting started learning the ropes of affiliate marketing? Test out this training for $0 and no credit card (and even build your first website for free!)
The good side of affiliate marketing
Think about what you do when you want to buy something or find out information. You more than likely type your thoughts into a search engine like Google, Bing, or even Yahoo!
With a wealth of information available at our fingertips, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of it? Especially if you’re searching for a solution to a problem or considering buying a product or service.
What if you could help people solve their problems on their quest for information online, provide them valuable content they wanted to read, and earned their trust?
You encounter this online whether you realize it or not… Let’s look at some real examples of affiliate marketing
Example #1 – Beagle Training
Let’s say you just bought a Beagle puppy. You’ve never owned a dog before and you need some advice. It’s logical to assume you may turn to the internet for answers. You may search for things like…
How to train a beagle?
How to take care of a beagle?
Best food for beagles?
Let’s take a closer look at the Google search “how to train a beagle “above. Notice how the first result is a rich snippet for a site called “petlifetoday.com“.
If you were to visit the site and take a close look, you’d realize they are using affiliate marketing.
You’d also realize it’s a very in-depth site with tons of helpful content! The marketing is secondary and the content is primary.
However one thing that’s important to realize here is that this particular website is a HUGE authority blog about pets.
As a beginner, it’d be pretty hard to start a blog about pets in general and really break into the niche.
If you were serious about starting out in affiliate marketing, you would probably want to be specific and focus on caring for one particular type of pet, like dogs.
But even that is a HUGE niche!
You could focus on just ONE breed of dog. German Sheperds, Brittany Spaniels, Jack Russell Terriers, etc. After all, all dogs are different.
The narrower your focus with affiliate marketing, the more engaged your audience and the easier time you’ll have becoming an authority within your niche.
Not to mention, the more specific your blog topic, the easier it is for Google to understand your website and rank you.
Example #2 – Clothing for tall women
Ok, so this is actually the first affiliate marketing site I ever made! But it helps show the point that you can use affiliate marketing with any niche you want.
Say you’re looking for a particular kind of clothing, you may look in Google.
You’ll notice a site called “thetallgirlsguidetofashion.com”, this site shows up and provides some quality sources for where you can find these
Or let’s look at another query:
This might seem like a super specific search query, and it is. However, it gets searched quite often.
If you could provide lots and lost of content on your website about very specific questions or addressing problems related to your niche, you will be seen as helpful and people finding your site will be interested in your content and what you have to say.
Through this process, they could go on to buy products through your links, or maybe sign up for an email list, or follow you on social media.
But this website isn’t just a list of places to shop, in entirety, it’s actually a comprehensive resource for shopping when you’re a tall gal.
Like I said, this particular website is my own. Being a tall girl myself I knew the problems we all had trying to find clothing. And I took advantage of my knowledge to help girls in the same boat.
And I think it demonstrates that you can use affiliate marketing in ANY niche you want.
This is how affiliate marketing works. If you can capture people in a buyer friendly phase where they’re looking for reviews or information about something, or looking for a solution to a problem, you have a good chance of grabbing their attention and converting them as long as you are helpful and provide solid recommendations.
Growing your following, building a brand and business
Aside from just focusing on Google searches, you can also leverage the traffic you get from search engines and turn them into returning subscribers (and customers) through an email list, or your social media platforms.
This helps diversify your traffic sources and earn you more money in the long run.
Why the “bad” reputation of affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing gets a bad rep for many reasons. First off, there’s a ton of spammy affiliate marketing sites. These are sites which are what search engines refer to as bridge pages – pages set up with the sole intention of getting the visitor to the merchant’s site and providing no added value. These are deceptive sites that are set up very similar to large sale sites like Amazon, but if you actually try to buy something from within the site you’ll just be redirected to another site.
Look at this website, chickensouprecipes.org:
This is a deceptive bridge page… it has no purpose other than to trick people into clicking the ads. At first glance it looks like there are real listed recipes, but there is NO content on the site, it is entirely ad space. When you use the search feature you are only brought up with more advertisements. It used to be really easy to get pages like this to rank…but Google has come a LONG way in blocking spam like this.
Search engines don’t like this. If you try to build a website like this, you will not rank. If you try to build a business around deceptive tactics you will not be successful.
Scams and “gurus”
Here’s the thing about affiliate marketing – the idea behind it is seemingly simple. You literally sign up, grab affiliate links, and earn commissions when people purchase through your links.
There are many programs that take advantage of this and claim you can copy and paste your way to earning millions online. I can’t tell you how many ads I’ve seen for products like this.
Or how many times have you been reading the comments section somewhere online, and come across the spam posters who tell you to “click here” for their system to earn them $1,000/day from home.
Most of these programs will just take your money and set you up for failure. You’ll find a large number of people promoting such programs because the commissions are generally very high – at 50% – 75%.
With all the junk floating around, it’s hard for people who are honestly searching for a way to make it online find the right program or information.
Remember that for affiliate marketing to work, you need to provide value and think of “helping” rather than “selling”
The reality is that affiliate marketing is not as simple as just copying and pasting a few links. Have you ever saw a spammy link somewhere online, and signed up for whatever they were promoting? Probably not, because that method doesn’t really work.
Effective online marketing comes with a complete understanding of one’s audience. When you can effectively capture the attention of your audience, give them a unique perspective, and really speak to their inner needs and desires, then you will be able to gain trust and make sales. When you focus on helping your audience rather than just trying to make a sale, that is when you will be successful.
Unfortunately there will always be those willing to exploit legitimate systems, but you just have to fight for the side of good!
Get started out learning how to actually make money with affiliate marketing here. It’s 100% free to test it out. No credit card. No experience required.
Yep, But affiliate marketing is now depending on better quality articles. Lot’s of people cannot use the qualified writer to write their articles. This is one of the biggest reasons for bad quality promotion and bad product reviews. You could add those things to your article.
Overall nice article on Affiliate Marketing.
Yeah, affiliate marketing does depend on high quality relevant and unique information. This is not only what will get ranked in search, but also what actually converts the traffic. This may have been “less” important back in the day, but today it’s absolutely critical.
I have read your blog and there is one question i would like to ask.
You did mention WA give 24/7 support and what is the different if we subscribe under your link ?
It’s essentially the same, but you would just be getting one on one support directly from me, and I would get a % of the sale. And yes they have a very good support system within the community!
I will probably be a Premium Member after the 7 days.
Well make the most of those 7 days to really get a feel for it all. That is one of the best things about WA is that you can try it out before you buy it!
I have posted a question and emailed to your id. Kindly reply back please…
I did get back to you Vamsi!
How do Welath affiliate will help us in finding the affiliate program ? How to tie up with bigger companies once we are done with the course ? Is there any fee need to be paid to tie up with companies?
Wealthy affiliate walks you through simple strategies for finding affiliate programs in your niche. You can do a simple google search for “your niche + affiliate program” and find some easily that way. It usually requires signing up with a larger affiliate network first, and then applying to the specific company you need. There is no fee to sign up as an affiliate
Hello, I have been unemployed for several months and I am having difficulty finding work. Your site is the second one I have seen promoting the WA website and I am wanting to know if it is legitimate and can you make good money? Also, I am curious to what you meant by finding the niche in a previous comment. Do you have to post ads and things like that on there? I seen you have to create a website and they say it will not take long but I wanted to get someone else’s perspective. Anything else that you can provide, I would appreciate it very much!
Well yes it is legit, I wouldn’t recommend it if it wasn’t. 🙂 However, Wealthy Affiliate is more of a training/educational platform than a “make money online” program. It teaches you the foundation and skills you need to start a business online, not some secret way to make 1,000 by tomorrow. What they teach really does work, and works long-term. But it is entirely up to the individual to apply the training and do the work to create a successful business.
You can have a website up and running pretty fast, but the building out the foundation and getting traffic is the hard part. I think the best thing I can tell you is to sign up for WA and see, because it really will give you a MUCH clearer picture. It is entirely free, no credit card, so you can at least learn much more about how the process works, get a site up and running and be on your way to understanding it better. If after that you decide it isn’t for you, well you didn’t have to invest any money!
Wendy, when I sign up for the monthly membership, who does the money go to? Does it go to Kyle and Carson? When I see the pictures of $4-5000 deposits, where does that money come from? Does it come from advertisers on your site or from some other source? This does seem like a legitimate business, I am just curious where the actual money is coming from (and going to.)
Thank you, Niko
When you sign up for the monthly membership, the money will go to WA (so yeah, ultimately Kyle and Carson). If you sign up using a referral link (for example, a link from my website) that referral will get 50% and WA will get the rest.
As for the 5,000 deposits, it would come from whatever affiliate program the person is using. For example, if they were promoting fitness trackers or equipment from Amazon, it would be a payment from Amazon. If they were promoting a program like WA, it would come from there. There are a lot of different affiliate programs out there so it just depends on what the affiliate is promoting. Does that make sense?
Indeed that does make sense Wendy. I thought it was something like that. One last question, Does WA help you find affiliates for your website (using “your” in a generic sense)?
Yeah, they walk you through the process of how to find an affiliate program for whatever niche you end up choosing. 🙂
Hi Wendy. You totally convinced me to sign up for Wealthy Affiliate today. This is after MONTHS of going back and forth debating whether it will be worth it for me. My name on there is RoyalHermit. Thanks for everything 🙂
So glad to hear that! Hope you enjoy WA.. I will look you up!
I am a 50 year old with no idea where to start. I have been looking for something I can do to supplement my income and hopefully pay of some bills and maybe one day retire from my present job and still have some income coming in. I have a full time job ( making less than $25k a year) and my husband is disabled so you can see why I am interested in supplementing income. I am one of those people who is sceptical ( I am from the “show me state” Missouri) so I just get bogged down with all the info and just do nothing but a lot of thinking about it. So far your site has been the most informative down to earth one I have found. So far I have not found any bad reviews on WA but again I am hesitant to sign up because the 7 day thing worries me. Am I ready to jump in ? Frankly I can’t afford the fee right now to upgrade. Can you still PM other members after the 7 days if you don’t upgrade your membership ? Thank you for all the great info and help !!!
Well thank you for taking the time to comment here, and I’m glad you find my site helpful. Unfortunately you do only have the first 7 days to communicate with other members, but you still have access to all the training and your webites past those 7 days. I wouldn’t be hesitate to jump in and start at least on the free membership, because you can still upgrade at any point down the line past those first days (your account isn’t deleted). Still though, I understand it is tough. Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form here or email whenever if you need a hand.
I definitely thank you for your precious advises. I am from Egypt, so you can imagine how hard it is for me to understand, better yet, get started in an online business. Due to my lack of experience in this field, i have been tricked and ripped off so many times that i lost trust in any online schemes. However, i got by me mere chance to see a glimpse of wealthy affiliates, and the problem i have is that, because i am not a US resident, i am not allowed to try the service for free like what you were saying in a previous blog.. I must pay the membership (either monthly or annually) beforehand in order to get access to the material inside and the personal coaching.
I believe after what i read in your blogs, i will give it another try. Thank you for your honesty!
Yeah I know they have some countries excluded from their free membership for whatever reason (I’m not sure why). But I can tell you that it’s absolutely worth the investment if you are at all interested. Have you decided to give this a try yet?
I was a member a number of years ago and I can’t go in free now and I don’t particularly want to, but I don’t see how I can pay and get in under you.
I replied to your email. 🙂
How would your income with your websites work with reporting your income to IRS and how would you go about doing that? Also how many kind of websites can you create with wealthy affiliates? Thank you…
Honestly it depends where you live. My official answer is that I would discuss it with a certified tax professional once you get to the point where you start making any type of income to worry about taxing.
Generally speaking though, after you make a certain amount from each company in a given calender year they’ll send you 1099 forms, which is what you use for your taxes. It varies by company, some send them out once you reach $600, others, like PayPal, I beleive is $20,000/year. Even if you don’t recieve 1099 forms you can still report your income to the IRS. You’ll need to keep monthly records of income and all business expenses so you have the information for your taxes. You can do it all as a sole proprietor, using your SS number. You don’t have to create a seperate business ID if you dont want to, or at least not until you start making enough for it to make sense for tax purposes.
You can create any type of website you want, really. The training can work with whatever your interests are and what you want to create a website about, it is up to you to apply that training to put your idea to action. If you have any particular questions about websites or any ideas you want to discuss, let me know! 🙂
Thanks for your ideas. Will follow your course.
Thanks for the info. I’m just starting in Affiliate Marketing. I have a web design and SEO background and was actually a bit offended by one of the Affiliate Marketing programs I found where they were trying to trick the system. As a web developer, that’s just making the internet trashy when people create scammy websites.
Yeah, I know it’s terrible but the reality is that is how most programs within the field are designed these days! Fortunately Google has done a lot to rid most of the complete trashy stuff out of search, but it still exists for sure…it’s hard to police it 100%!
Very good info about affiliate marketing. There are so many people out there asking questions and looking for answers that they can trust in so many different fields. I’m sure this will help a lot of people gain new insight about affiliate marketing and all the possibilities that are out there.
Keep up the good work!
Thanks Sherry. Yeah, billions of people looking for answers every single day. Endless possibilities! All you need is to capture the interest of a narrow segment of those people and you’ll have enough business to sustain for a lifetime.