Affiliate Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be an extremely lucrative revenue stream. Here's the beginner's guide to affiliate marketing to get you on the right path.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

There are many tasks associated with being a successful affiliate marketer. From reviewing products to researching solutions for your audience and knowing how to get eyes on your recommendations, it’s an ongoing process that takes both time and dedication to your niche audience.

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What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. Put more simply, an affiliate partner, which is you, is rewarded a commission for providing a specific result to a merchant or advertiser, be it sales, leads, downloads, etc.

The affiliate simply searches for a product they enjoy, then promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.

Crafting an Affiliate Marketing Strategy

 Many online entrepreneurs try to rush the process, slapping up several reviews for days and then quitting because they didn’t see results. If you want to truly cultivate a lucrative career as an affiliate marketer, you’ll want to follow this blueprint that has you immersing yourself in focused tasks for 30 days so that you build a profitable foundation for your business.

Day 1: Pick a Niche Poised for Growth

It’s a given that when you choose a niche, you’re going to want to have a real interest in it. To be chained to a business where you’re creating content day in, day out about a topic without having a passion for it would be grueling.

But for profitability purposes, you need to know that others share the same interest as you, which means the niche is growing over time in terms of market sales. You want the expansion to be a steady upswing, and you can easily search for industry stats to make sure that’s what’s happening.

If the niche is steady, or even falling, rather than growing, it could be cause for concern. When a niche is blowing up, it needs to be a long-term event and not just a short period of time when something is trending in the news about it.

Day 2: See What the Buzz Is

Market stats can only tell you so much. You need to know why a niche is experiencing growth so that you can capitalize on its strengths and momentum. To do this, you can keep tabs on the news that’s coming out about your niche.

There are trade and consumer magazines you can subscribe to, industry newsletters for some niches, and of course, news sites and search engine news tabs that can tell you more about what’s being said.

Keep track of the slants and discussions you see unfolding because you’ll be able to use this to your advantage when creating content that helps you rise in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

Day 3: Ensure Adequate Profit Potential

Some niches are primarily tangible in nature, while others are digital – and many have a nice mix of the two, giving you even more opportunities to earn from promotions you release to your audience.

Take some time to check out affiliate programs to see what you can earn from. Visit sites like Warrior Plus and JVZoo for online marketing topics, ClickBank for a mix of many niches, Amazon, CJ and Share-a-Sale for a myriad of companies who have tangible products to ship to customers where you can earn a commission.

You want to evaluate many different things, such as how many products you feel are viable, what the price point is, and whether or not the commission is enough for you. Some companies only offer a paltry 5 or 10% but many will offer up to 70%, so as long as the product is good for your customers, you might pick and choose carefully.

Day 4: Grab a Good Dot Com Domain

Don’t even bother getting another extension when it comes time to pick a domain. Most people automatically type in .com, not .net or .info, so if someone has the .com extension of a domain you brainstormed, keep thinking until you find something that is available.

Ideally, your domain will be something that tells people what it’s about before they even click through on it. You can achieve this by using keywords, like or, for example.

This not only helps people, but it gives search engine bots something to go by when scanning your site, so they can categorize it for proper relevancy and present it to their users whenever the opportunity arises.

You can use keyword tools (free or paid) to brainstorm some of these keyword phrases and then try to secure a domain for it. This is one small element that can help you begin rising in the search engine results pages.

Day 5: Buy and Set Up Your Hosting

Hosting accounts range from tiny basic ones to major reseller accounts or dedicated servers. All you need is the very smallest account for now. There’s no need to spend more money than you have to right up front.

As an affiliate marketer, you’ll be installing WordPress and posting content, building a list and not much else. As time goes on, if you notice any extra needs for bandwidth or other features, you can upgrade at that time – but stick with what’s a good match for now.

Day 6: Install Your Blog

WordPress has a very simple installation process that’s based out of your cPanel. Once you log in, you just make a few clicks and entries on the WordPress QuickInstall option, and it will present you with a basic blog, ready to customize for your affiliate needs.

Day 7: Customize Your Blog

The customization of your blog is an easy process. Just go through the sidebar options one at a time and select your preferences. From colors and fonts to graphics like your header image, you’ll be able to pick and choose what represents your niche the best.

Make sure you set up an affiliate statement page, such as the one Amazon requires. Other platforms or sellers may require certain statements declaring you have the ability to earn from your recommendations.

You can also create a contact page (in case your readers need to communicate with you or a vendor wants to ship you a free sample). Some affiliates also create an About page, which tells readers a bit about you.

Sometimes, this page has some sway, such as if you have a parenting blog and you disclose that you’re the parent of 5 children or you mention that you have 4 rescue dogs, and you’re running a dog site.

Day 8: Enter Your Tags and Categories

There’s an option for you to help people (and search engines) navigate your site better, and that’s through the use of proper tags and categories. You may want to set up the categories ahead of time so that you can simply choose one every time you get ready to publish a new product review.

For example, if you’re in the pet niche, you might have categories for pet toys, pet health, pet food, etc. Or, if you’re in a niche like weight loss, and you’re covering different diets, your categories might be keto, low calorie, Mediterranean, and so on

You can also set up a list of tags ahead of time, or simply tag each product review as you go. Tags are like keywords that help people and search engines find the content they need.

Day 9: Put Your Finger on the Pulse of Your Audience

Your site is built, and you’re getting ready to build a list. In order to do that, and to even create the best product reviews that will convert, you need to know what problems your audience is facing that they feel are insurmountable or they need help with.

Do some research today in forums, comment sections, and on social media to see what problems people are discussing, asking for help with, and expressing frustration over. Make a list you can refer to over time whenever you want to create your list-building lead magnet or a new product review.

You can also check out bestselling books to see what consumers are buying. If you’re in the diet niche, focused on individual diets, and you see a bestselling book addressing diet mindset, that might be a clue to help your readers work out their mental issues regarding weight loss instead of the technical nutrition aspects.

Day 10: Develop a Lead Magnet Worthy of Signing Up For

Once you know their pain points, you’ll be able to create a lead magnet (opt-in offer) that’s a no-brainer for them. Especially when it’s free, the exchange of contact information for a topic they really want to know can be irresistible.

You can create a text-based report, a full eBook or guide, a video series, a private podcast episode, or whatever media format you feel works best for you and your level of skills.

Day 11: Start Accepting Sign Ups

You can’t finalize the list-building process until you have the technical ability to accept sign-ups. Choose an email autoresponder like Aweber and set up your list there. Spend a day getting familiar with how to use their system.

Most autoresponders, like Aweber or GetResponse, have a database of questions and answers or helpful video tutorials walking you through how to use their system, so you can hit the ground running.

Day 12: Set Up Your Follow Up Email

When someone signs up to your list, they will be sent their welcome email, which is in your follow-up system. This is something every new subscriber gets, and you want to include the link to your free gift in this email.

But from this point on, you can either drip out more follow-up emails that every new subscriber gets (perfect for an evergreen niche) or, you can just email out broadcast emails (which only those on your list at that time get) on an on-going basis.

It all depends on how you want the communication to unfold – if you want a hands-off approach or if you want to be actively involved and on top of the latest trends and fads in your niche.

Day 13: Get Your Forms Installed

You might have more than one form you want to use – one for your lead magnet page, one for your blog sidebar, and one for the space directly below your blog posts. Go through the form creation process and get everything installed where it needs to be before testing each one out to ensure it works.

Day 14: Brainstorm Obstacles for Your Niche

Some people in a niche struggle with something, but aren’t really sure where they’re going wrong. They may know they aren’t losing weight, but they may not know it’s because they’re calculating their macros improperly, for example.

Previously, you dug into their emotional state and looked for things they expressed an emotion about. Now, look at areas where you know there may be a problem. For example, not having the right tools or time or money, or seeing people be misguided by other niche leaders.

Day 15: Create 30 Problem-Solution Ideas

You have lists of emotional and technical problems your readers might come up against. What you need to do is figure out how you’re going to guide people to a solution that will work best for them.

It’s good to come up with a month’s worth of ideas in one sitting. You can list a problem, such as not having time to fix healthy meals, and then match it with solutions you can present as product reviews, such as meal prep containers, courses on quick and easy cooking, and so on.

Day 16: Start Putting Up Niche Content for Affiliate Approval

Before you apply to affiliate programs, you want to begin putting up content that shows you are an experienced contributor to your niche. This content will be informative and educational, inspiring and motivating.

The goal is to let vendors and companies see your worth and value when they’re deciding whether or not to give their approval. Many companies will decline applicants who have little to no content, or content that’s low quality.

You have a few ways to publish content. You can write it yourself, hire a ghostwriter to do it for you, or purchase private label rights, which is pre-written content that multiple buyers can use as their own.

Day 17: Start Applying for Links

Once your site is filled with good content, begin the application process so that you can get approved as an affiliate and post product reviews with your links. The approval process can vary from instant approval to up to 30-45 days.

Once you get approved, make sure you abide by all of the vendor or company’s rules for promoting their products. For example, some digital vendors have rules in place about not using negative language to get clicks on your links, etc.

Day 18: Study Different Ways to Create Reviews

Writing your product reviews can get boring after a while unless you know how to approach it in different ways. You don’t always have to write a post about just one product.

There are many ways to slant it, such as a top 10 list, pros, and cons, unboxing videos, case studies, and even just putting two products up against each other and comparing the two.

Go to other product review sites just to get a feel for the different ways they can unfold for your audience. You never want to outright copy someone else’s style, but educate yourself about the process of sharing information.

Day 19: Make a Product Review Template

You don’t have to create a template, but this is something that will not only help you quickly create your product reviews, but it also helps your loyal readers know what to expect each time they read a new review from you.

You might do something where you present the problem first, then give a product summary, followed by intricate product details and features, then a list of usage tips, and ending with any drawbacks and fixes for them.

Day 20: Create a Product Review

Pick a method or slant that you want to use and choose a product (or products) to review. You want to do your best at this so that you set the bar for what you expect from yourself from that point on.

Be thorough, interesting, and transparent – the same way you’d want someone else to be if you were using their review as a purchasing guide for yourself. If you need to, you can outsource the review to a ghostwriter, but be specific about how you want the review to unfold.

Day 21: Create Graphics to Accompany Your Reviews

There are tools you can use, such as Photoshop or Canva, where you can create images that help accompany your review or represent it on social media. For example, on Canva, you can create Pinterest Pins, images for Instagram Stories and Posts, Facebook images, and more.

Day 22: Publish Your Review with SEO and Skimming in Mind

Not everyone will want to read a lengthy, full review. They may just want to see the gist of what you have to say. Regardless, you need to make sure your post allows for ease of absorption, such as skimming the bold subheadings or perusing the bullet points.

Use images to break up large swaths of text, and make sure you’re using SEO-appropriate measures such as categorizing and tagging it, and using tags for images, too.

Day 23: Share Your Reviews on the Right Socials

When your review is published and live, you want to create a short blurb that gets people to click through to it and grab the link to share with it on social media sites and apps.

You want to know where your audience hangs out. It may or may not be on Facebook – you may need to share it on Instagram, Tik Tok, or Twitter instead. Make sure you look to see if there’s a substantial audience base there before you take time to generate traffic to your reviews from a site.

Day 24: Use Audio to Generate Traffic to Your Review

Many affiliates fail to grasp the power that audio has in driving traffic to their blog. You can use show notes on podcast episodes to link out to your product reviews or lead magnet page.

There are many platforms where you can create a free podcast, and no special equipment is needed. You can then share links to your podcast on various social media sites, too.

Day 25: Use YouTube and Tik Tok Videos for Review Traffic

Whether you embed it into your product review blog or just leave it where it is, using video is a smart move as an affiliate. Some affiliates take the text version of their product review and use it as a script for a video presentation.

If you use Tik Tok, you can have a link in your bio to your lead magnet page and build a list of interested buyers based on video snippets of anywhere from 15 seconds to 3 minutes.

Day 26: Email Your List

You need to get in the habit of notifying your subscribers whenever a new product review is ready on your blog. Don’t expect them to find it on their own. You don’t want to just say, “Hey! I have a new product review,” though.

Instead, you want to email them a value-based communication discussing a problem they may be experiencing, personalize it with your own story, and then let them know you created a post showing them how to fix it (before linking to it).

Day 27: Create a Bonus for an Upcoming Review

Bonuses work especially well for digital product sales, but you can even use them for tangible ones, such as a gamer guide you gift the people who purchase video games through your link or an anti-aging guide for those who buy anti-aging products through your link.

First, look at something you can review with plenty of time between now and its launch to create the bonus. It can be a short bonus, such as a 5-page report, or it can be larger if you want it to be.

Just make sure that when you create a bonus, it complements the original product nicely. For example, if you’re reviewing a keto diet program, you might give a bonus of keto diet hacks or a recipe book of desserts that are keto-friendly.

Day 28: Start Setting Yourself Up for Affiliate Perks

 When reviewing digital products, many vendors will offer perks to top-performing affiliates. Some don’t even ask for stats – they simply set you up for perks if you ask. One might be an advanced review copy.

This allows you to go more in-depth with your review. Other perks might be a bump in commission or a spot on their download page where you can post a banner ad that leads to your lead magnet page.

Day 29: Commit to a Consistent Affiliate Routine

Becoming a successful affiliate means being consistent with your publishing and sharing. One thing that may help is for you to create a routine whenever you sit down to knock out a review.

Start with research, then write it, create your graphics, publish it and share it on social media, then in an email. If you want to take it one step further, create a publishing schedule (you can find plugins for WordPress that help with this) to keep you on track so your site doesn’t grow stale.

Day 30: Start a Spreadsheet of Reviews

Not only do you want to have a list of upcoming reviews, but you want to be able to quickly (at a glance) look back to see what reviews you’ve already done so that nothing gets repeated.

A spreadsheet will allow you to organize reviews according to brand or vendor, price point, features, and more. Then you can sort them. It can even help you take existing products you’ve reviewed and create new slants, such as a top 5 list.

Finding Profitable Affiliate Programs 

 If you’re new to affiliate marketing and you don’t know where to find products to promote on your blog, I’m about to open your eyes to the best of the best affiliate programs. Joining the right affiliate programs is a HUGE key to your success. You need to make sure you’re using a good reliable program that will actually pay you and provide a good product or service to the person that you have referred.

You also need to understand all the ways you can get paid as an affiliate. Here are a few examples:

Pay per sale – This is where you get a percentage (commission) of the sale that you make.

Pay per click – This is where you get paid when someone clicks on your affiliate link. Usually a very small amount.

Pay per lead – This is where you get paid a certain amount of money for every “qualified” lead that you send to a company.

There are many more ways you can make money as an affiliate, but those are the main options.

One last thing before I give you some great resources for affiliate programs you can join. Some affiliate programs are very picky. If you don’t already have a good blog that is full of content and some kind of traffic coming in, they won’t approve you for their network, so my advice is to start with filling your blog with good content and getting traffic before you apply to some of these.

Don’t worry though. If you want to start promoting products you can be an affiliate for there are affiliate programs that accept just about anyone. At least have your blog setup and a few pieces of content on it. They will ask you for the ULR (domain name) for your website.

Now that we’ve covered all of that, here are my biggest recommendations for affiliate programs to check out for new affiliate bloggers.

Disclaimer: These resources are current at the time of this resource being created. Do your research to make sure they are still available and what their requirements are to apply and be approved for their program.

Popular Affiliate Programs 

Amazon Associate Program

This is my top recommendation for affiliate bloggers and especially for those of you who are new to affiliate marketing. Amazon has a great reputation, awesome tracking, and a ton of products all in one place for you to choose from. You also don’t have to have a big site with a lot of traffic to start using their program. While commissions aren’t the best it’s your best option if you’re just getting started because of the aforementioned.


ShareASale has been around for a long time and is a trusted network to work with. They run affiliate programs for some of the biggest brands around so you will have a lot of options for products to promote with them.

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)

This is another affiliate network that has been around for a very long time and can be trusted. Like ShareASale they run affiliate programs for big brands and have a lot of different products you can promote.


Like ShareASale and CJ Affiliate, Impact is also an affiliate network that runs the affiliate program for many big brands. It’s also been around for a long time, and they are very reliable with their tracking.

Side Note: As you can see these are the big networks. Each network runs an affiliate program for different brands, so these networks are full of things you can promote as an affiliate. Each one has different brands and companies within it.


If you’re looking for pay-per-lead or pay-per-action programs this is a great network to start with. MaxBounty is a CPA (cost per action) network where you can get paid as an affiliate for actions that your referrers take. Like signing up for an email list, filling out a form, etc. Just make sure you read all the documentation for any program and follow the rules very carefully.

Perform (formerly ClickBooth)

This is another network similar to MaxBounty. It’s harder to get approved with them, but they have more companies and offers than MaxBounty.

Side Note: Be very careful with CPA networks. You need to stick with trusted networks like the ones I’ve just mentioned. There are more bad networks out there than there are good ones, so make sure and do your research before going all in with one of these.


This is one of the biggest affiliate marketplaces for downloadable digital products such as ebooks, courses, software, and the like. I really like ClickBank because they process the payments for the vendors, and they are the ones that pay your affiliate commissions. Plus, since they are all digital products you’re going to make a bigger percentage of each sale.

With several niches supporting digital products, you should check it out and see if they have digital products that would be perfect for your niche.


This is a niche-specific affiliate marketing place for digital products in the Internet marketing and make money online niches. Even though it’s very niche specific I wanted to mention it here because more and more people are entering these two niches year after year. Plus, you can get super high commissions here with some paying 100% commissions and paying you instantly to your PayPal account.


This is a good option for those of you who have a new blog and you’re new to all of this affiliate marketing stuff. You can simply copy a code to certain places on your website and you’ll be paid (usually pennies) a click.


This network is a lot like Adsense but much better paying. The only caveat is that you need to have a blog filled with content and already be getting some traffic. I do recommend it over Adsense if you already have an established blog.

I just gave you a ton of options with a ton of resources. The most important thing I can advise you on is to make sure you’ve got your blog already to go, you’ve got some content on it, and you’re getting some traffic before applying for any program of any type.

As your blog grows and your traffic grows you can get involved with more networks with better options but remember we all have to start somewhere. I encourage you to research each of these resources yourself, find out the requirements, and decide what will be the best for your readers and for you to make the most money!

Setting Goals for Your Affiliate Marketing Business

When it comes to starting an online business, you need to set goals for yourself, and that’s no different for people who want to be affiliate bloggers. Setting goals for your business can mean the difference between being successful and being a complete failure, so don’t skip setting goals! They are absolutely vital to your success!

The best way to get started with setting goals for yourself and your blog is to keep it simple but to also challenge yourself. Your goals will change as time goes on, but at the beginning of your journey make sure you keep things simple. You want to make sure that you’re setting goals that you can actually achieve so you get some “wins” in the beginning to fuel you to push harder. If you fail over and over again your motivation will take a serious hit, and you will end up quitting before you even have a chance to succeed.

To get you started, let’s first talk about the “categories” your goals will fit into as an affiliate blogger.

Tip: Make sure you have some form of blog analytics from day one. If you can’t measure your results, you won’t know if you meet some of your specific goals or not.

Affiliate Marketing Goals

Income goals – When you first get started your income is going to be very small. It takes a while to get to the big money, but once you reach one income goal, then set another one and repeat that process to infinity.

Traffic goals – Traffic is something you’re going to need to work on every day for your blog. If you’re not getting traffic, you won’t be making any money, so you want to have goals related to getting traffic.

Content goals – There are all kinds of goals you can set for content. From creating it to how well it converts your readers into buyers, and everything in between.

Metric goals – Your metrics will be shown to you through whatever analytics you’re using on your blog. You should always work to raise your metrics. Things like conversions, clicks, bounce rates, time on your site, etc.

Productivity goals – Focus and actually getting things done are two of the biggest problems that affiliate bloggers face. You should have goals that help you to be productive and get all of the different parts of your work completed.

Now having all of these goals is great, but you need to get them down on paper. You can either go “old school” and write them down with pen and paper or you can go digital and put them in a Word document or some kind of spreadsheet, but you must have them somewhere that you’re constantly reminded of them. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is true and if you’re not constantly reminded of your goals you will forget about them.

Sample Affiliate Marketing Goals

Here are some example goals to set when you’re getting started with your affiliate blog.

  1. A timeline for when you will have your blog set up and ready for you to start creating content. (Productivity goal)
  2. The creation of X number of posts per week. (Content goal)
  3. Make $100 in a 30-day period. (Income goal)
  4. Getting X number of visitors to your blog in a 30-day period. (Traffic goal)
  5. Working on your business for X hours a day. (Productivity goal)

Those are just examples, and you can set any goals that you want, but you need some goals to get started to keep you focused and moving forward. Once you’ve gotten into the groove of things and you’ve gotten through the beginning stages of getting your blog going, then your goals will change. They will get bigger and be more specific.

Tip: As you start making money from your blog creating a monthly income report post can really help you keep track of your goals. This is simply a post you make talking about how much money you made, marketing strategies you tried, traffic sources, and how much traffic you got, etc. Do a Google search for “blog income report” and you’ll see that a lot of bloggers do this (depending on their niche). You could even keep this private just for you, but it’s a great way to help you achieve and set bigger goals.

Here are some examples of other goals you might set for your blog as you start achieving success with the blog.

  1. Consistently make $xx, xxx a month with your blog (Income goal)
  2. Consistently get X number of visits to your blog a month (Traffic goal)
  3. Decrease the bounce rate overall on your blog. (Metric goal)
  4. Increase the time visitors spend on your site by X amount of time. (Metric goal)
  5. Update old content that is on your blog. (Content goal)

And of course, there are so many more goals that you will have, and you’ll figure those out as you go. Your goals will show themselves!

The most important thing as I said is that you are constantly setting goals, constantly working to achieve those goals, and setting new goals when you do achieve them. Don’t ever stop learning, getting better, or earning more money.

Final Thoughts

I recommend that you join some Facebook groups or forums on the topic of affiliate marketing and talk with others about goals that they set and how they’re achieving them. When you work with and learn from others, you’ll get more ideas for goals you can set and even achieve them quicker by seeing what other people are doing. Affiliate marketers are a great group of people and are always willing to “flex their knowledge” to help a fellow affiliate marketer succeed. Not only will you meet your goals, but you’ll be learning more too!

Here’s the most important thing though. Don’t be afraid to fail. Every failure is a learning experience and when you fail to meet your goals, step back and analyze why, and then set a new goal that you can achieve. After every failure, you will be that much closer to success. Just don’t stop going after those goals!

About The Author

About The Author

Ricardo is a successful Real Estate Investor, Entrepreneur and Blogger, with over 25 years of customer service experience. The bold & visionary founder of Funntripps and, he teaches busy entrepreneurs and bloggers how to successfully build and grow their business whilst having fun and living the maximized life. He enjoys spending time with his family, multi-family real estate investing and surprise get-a-way trips with his wife.

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