Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Affiliate marketing for beginners…what is it and why would you want to do it?

  • Are you interested in earning passive (set-it-and-forget-it) income, but are unsure of how to get started?
  • Do you wonder if you can turn it into a full-time income?
  • Does earning money online seem too good to be true?
  • Is there affiliate marketing for beginners that is free?

Today we are going to discuss getting started with this type of passive income. You can set it up and then leave it to earn you income…if you do it right.

This post was originally published October 30th, 2018 and has been updated to be current with new information. This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Full disclosure is here.

Welcome to Fearless Affiliate.

My name is Irma and I help new bloggers to learn the ropes. There is a lot to take in that first year of blogging, from choosing a niche to changing your mindset from worker bee mentality to that of successful entrepreneur.

I like to focus on practical information and positive thinking, so if that sounds good to you please sign up for my weekly newsletter of tips and free stuff for bloggers.

Subscribers will get exclusive content, including my latest guide  The 5-Minute Guide to Affiliate Marketing. Grab your copy by clicking the sign up box below:


Affiliate Marketing for Passive Income…What Is It?

When I first looked into ways to earn money online, I was overwhelmed with all the blog posts on the subject.

I did not know who to trust, and I was sure not going to give some stranger money for a course that may or may not answer my questions.

I ended up in an affiliate marketing membership that cost more money than I ever received in commissions. #sigh

Affiliate marketing is one type of passive income.

At its heart, you create content and encourage people to click through to products that can help them in that area.

The products can be affiliate products, like eBooks or eCourses, which would pay you money for promoting them, i.e. commissions.

There are other ways to make money online, and it is helpful to understand how affiliate marketing fits in.

It is rare to find an affiliate product that will pay all the bills, but it does happen.

Some bloggers got started promoting website hosting before blogging got so huge, and now they make full-time income from that.

However, that hosting company may go downhill, dragging your commissions with it. So it is never a good idea to rely on only one type of income.

Why Is It Called ‘Affiliate’?

Affiliate products are items that pay out a commission to the people who promote it. If you are promoting these products, that makes you “affiliated” with the company.

You are not in that company, you are more like a sub-contractor. Affiliate marketing takes time to learn, but it is worth the trouble because you can use that education in multiple ways.

This is a win-win situation, because you earn from your sales and the product company does not have pay a ton for marketing.

Affiliate marketing is part of a sales funnel.

The idea of a sales funnel is to bring people in at the top, which is the widest part of an actual funnel. As the funnel narrows, you lose people.

The reasons people leave the funnel are:

  • They do not know you well enough to give you their money (know)
  • The way you teach does not resonate with them (like)
  • Or there are trust issues (trust)

If you can get people to stay until the bottom of the funnel, they will be more likely to buy from you or trust your links.

However, if you are creating content that resonates with people right away, they may reach the bottom of the funnel faster.

That usually happens because you have a level of knowledge on that topic that many people are interested in.

You see this with newer diets like Keto or Vegan, or with other health topics, like mental health. Or people who are up on the current trending topics.

Most affiliate products have multiple people promoting them

This is not a bad thing!

Some readers may not resonate with anyone but you. Your specific knowledge and teaching style will attract them, and they will become ‘your people’.

Affiliate marketing has been around for a long time on the internet.

  • Most of the blogs that you go to have affiliate programs of some kind or they are working on creating products that you can be an affiliate of.
  • There are products for pretty much any blog niche that you can think of.
  • You do not need a blog to do affiliate marketing but it is much easier to do the marketing that way.

Check the footer of the websites that you like to frequent and you will see something like “become an affiliate“. When you see this, you know that you can sign up and promote that website/company/product.

Related Post: Can I do affiliate marketing without a website?

Commissions range from smaller 4%-8% on Amazon (more about that later), to 35% to 50% commissions for private affiliate products on products for almost every niche.

Many people create blogs specifically to become affiliates, as this is an excellent way to earn passive income. A blog post written two years ago can generate affiliate income today!

What do I have to do to get started?

As I mentioned earlier, the easiest way is to start a blog.

If your goal is to make money online, do not use a free website like Wix. They promote their own products and do not want the competition.

Instead, go for the website that comes free when you pay for website hosting. is the original free open-source software for blogging

WordPress also has a free website (like Wix) for hobby bloggers. You do not want that one.

You want the WordPress that comes free with website hosting.

If you checkout a website hosting company like Siteground, you can see the options available for different types of businesses. One of those options is called ‘Reliable Website Hosting’.

This is a website (the most popular content management system to use), that has thousands of plugins and tons of free themes.

But most importantly, you can monetize these websites with affiliate links!

Incidentally, website hosting is not expensive when compared to starting other businesses.

You can get a full year of hosting for less than $100 at most sites. This is cheaper than most product kits you might buy to sell at home parties.

Picking A Blogging Niche

A niche is the topic or subject of your blog.

If you sign up for my free weekly newsletter, my Resource Library contains a report called “5 Secrets To Finding Your Niche“, which may help you decide.

If your goal is to earn an income from your blog and affiliate programs, then it is best to choose a niche where it is easy to earn money.

If one of your hobbies, or your area of expertise, falls into any of these categories, it will be easier to earn from it.

The easiest niches to earn money with are:

  • Money (earning, saving, investing, earning money online)
  • Relationships (Dating, love, family, babies, toddlers, teens)
  • Health & Fitness (fixing or improving it)
  • Food (Vegan, Keto, Sugar Free, Whole 30,)
  • Personal development (law of attraction, positive thinking, Goal Setting, Planners).
  • Fashion & Beauty (clothing, makeup, skincare products)
  • Pets (toys, training, accessories, clothing)
  • Travel (cruises, in an RV, camping & equipment)

There are lots of other niches, and most of them have affiliate products to promote.

Regardless of which niche you choose, your goal should be solving the problems of your readers first. People can smell it when someone is trying to sell them something.

If you focus on helping people first, they are more likely to consider you later when they need more or different help.

So it is a good idea to start a website about something that you already know a lot about or that you are willing to research a lot of blog posts about.


Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
PIN IT!! Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Why would I do affiliate marketing?

Passive income baby. That sweet, sweet cash. Moolah. Coin. Cheddar. Okay, enough.

Passive income is a kind of set-it-and-forget-it income.

You write a post, it earns money for as long as it is searchable on the internet.

Write a post today and have it earning money for your forever. As long as the post is well written and helpful to others and the affiliate links are sprinkled throughout and not on every line of the post.

Writing consistently and using affiliate links can turn from passive income into a full time gig over time.

Many people ended up with successful blogs without even trying. They just wanted to share what they knew about something, and their willingness to help strangers made them a go-to person.

When website visitors feel that you are trying to help, they are more likely to become your fans.

Once you are able to successfully sell to your readers, it is just a matter of scaling your business. Because now you know how.

Just keep scaling what you do and soon you will have several posts earning you money every month.

Use Google Analytics to keep track of which of your posts are the most popular every month, three months or six months, and keep writing posts like that.

Related Post: Google Analytics Tutorial

Where To Find Affiliate Products To Promote

Affiliate networks are free to join. If someone asks you to pay to promote their product, run the other way!

You should never have to pay to be an affiliate of anything.

The biggest affiliate program is Amazon Associates.

If you can write a post and link to a product, then Amazon takes care of the fulfillment part. You can easily become an Amazon Associate from your personal account, or you can create a business account.

If you are outside the USA, then create one locally (your country) as well as the .com version.

Amazon has the lowest commissions, but they make up for that with having a bazillion products for you to promote. And if someone clicks your link but purchases a different product with 24 hours, you get the commission for that sale!

Other affiliate networks include: ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, and Clickbank.

Apply and look through their catalogue of products. These are three that I know and use, but there are many others.

This is also a great way to see if the niche that you are thinking of has any good products.

For example, in the blogging about blogging niche (mine), ShareAsale offers Tailwind, a hugely popular pin scheduling tool for Pinterest marketers who share blog posts on Pinterest.

Click my link to Tailwind and try it for free and get a free month on the yearly plan!

How do you know which product is right for you and your blog?

A lot of affiliate marketing is trial and error.

You just have to sign up for a product, review it on your blog and strategically place your links. And then move on to another product, rinse and repeat.

Try to keep your products related to your niche to make it easier. In other words, promote dog toys on your dog training blog and not kids clothing.

If you choose a niche that you are not familiar with but are curious about, then you can also purchase ebooks and courses and then review them for your readers.

And feel free to tell your readers that you are new to this topic and that they are free to learn along with you!

Writing product reviews is the easiest for you and most helpful for your readers who are interested in products but do not want to do all the research.

When and how will I get paid?

When you make a sale, you will not get paid for at least 30 days after the sale and likely a bit longer.

This is because of people who impulse buy and then change their minds, or if their payment is not successful. All the affiliate programs that I deal with have a hold-back period.

This is why you need more than one product to promote.

Ideally it is nice to have some sales every month, giving you some extra cash to live your life on your terms.

Many affiliate programs require you to have some kind of online payment system in place, like PayPal or Stripe.

Who will purchase these affiliate products?

People who need the solution that you are promoting.

If they search out their problem and end up at your website, and you have a compelling blog post with links to the solution, then…TA DA, you have a potential sale.

So obviously you need some traffic to bring these people to your blog.

A fast way to bring free traffic is Pinterest. Write a post, create a pin that points to that post and has a clear call-to-action on the pin to encourage click-throughs. Rinse. Repeat.

Related Post: How To Get Blog Traffic from Pinterest

Consider This Affordable Affiliate Marketing Course

Affiliate marketing is a long game, and anyone who wants to earn extra money can do this; seniors, students, stay at home moms, and anyone with some spare time in their week to set up a website, write some posts, and add their links.

If you need a more detailed course, I can recommend Carly Campbell’s Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers.

Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers has tons of tips and strategies for promoting affiliate links, as well as all of the best practices.

Carly has the successful blog Mommy on Purpose, and I learned several new tricks from her course. ($79) This is the course that I chose when I needed to learn more, and it is super helpful for any blogger at any stage of affiliate marketing.

I will caution you that this course is for the intermediate blogger. It is recommended that you have at least 25 blog posts on your site, so that you can gather useful data.


Affiliate marketing is just one form of passive income, but it is popular because you can get started for almost nothing – just website hosting. Affiliate programs are free to join.

And it pairs well with other marketing. You can easily put affiliate links in your newsletters and in Pinterest pins to bring more people to your website or products.

As well, if you ever create your own products, you can have your own affiliates! It is something to think about.

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it with anyone that you think can benefit from it. Sharing is caring!

And do not forget to sign up for my free guide, The 5-Minute Guide to Affiliate Marketing.  Just fill in the opt-in form and your guide will make its way to your inbox in about 5 minutes or less.


Happy Blogging, and follow me on Pinterest! And sign up for my free weekly newsletter of tips, deals, and freebies for bloggers.

-Irma 🙂

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

38 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing for Beginners”

  1. Hi Irma
    Thanks for a great article – one of the best I have read on affiliate marketing!

    I am going to try to sign up with Clickbank, as a result, and used the link in your site.

    A couple of questions – I always am interested in the underlying business model/fundamentals, as well as what are realistic expectations, of any program. I’d welcome your thoughts on these two areas.


    • Hi David and thank you for visiting us today,

      If you are talking about the expectations for Clickbank and other affiliate programs, I would say that it has a lot to do with your niche and your level of drive. I used to think that you just had to attach some links and the money would roll in.

      Now I find that it has more to do with your level of passion for helping people and promoting good quality products.

      The passion is available at any time, and depends on the topic of a your blog posts. Finding products that you can really get behind helps a lot with this. Conversely, if you really hate a product, this can make a passionate post directing readers to other products that you do believe in.

      I hope this helps,
      -Irma 🙂

  2. Hi Irma,
    I read some of your articles here and found them really helpful and well put. I am doing some research on affiliate marketing before i integrate with it and coming across your website was one of the best thing that happened today.
    I hope you are willing to help if i ask for little of it.
    Actually i need some guidance with choosing an program for my blog. I am confused searching and looking at so many options. My blog so far has no affiliation with any program than google ads and i want to change that as i have gained a lot of following and traffic recently.
    Here in UK we have many companies offering such services like providing multiple niche data too but they seem complex to work with but attractive offerings though. Like this UK based revglue company that i came across sells data of stores and offers free CMS tools and 100% commission on sales made, quite attractive . But i have no insight so i went looking for some, if you can help me out with it that would be helpful and appreciated. Any suggestion on this one or recommendation if possible are welcomed.

    • Hi Max and thank you for visiting us today!

      What is your niche? Or have you chosen one? Amazon is always a winner and available in the UK. Please pm me at so we can talk about this further. I have some questions for you.

      -Irma 🙂

  3. Thanks for all the good information, I just started with affiliate marketing and am still learning new things about it everyday. I found some great information here that i can definitely use in the future

    Thanks Irma

    • That is awesome Osama and thank you for visiting us!

      -Irma 🙂

  4. Hello Irma,
    The article was very informative. I started blogging two months ago, so, this is really helpful.
    Your website is like a treasure for me!

    Thank you for sharing

    • Hello Tahani and thank you for visiting us today,

      Thank you! What a nice thing to say 🙂 I am glad that I can help!

      -Irma 🙂

  5. What a comprehensive article, Irma. You described all with so much details, easy to understand.
    Which affiliate program do you recommend to start, as a completely new beginner?
    Thank you again for an informative article.

    • Hello Dany and thank you for visiting us today,

      Great question! If I could start over again, and this is based on my niche and how I learn, I would not bother with Amazon. My niche has a more limited selection of products available. If your niche is babies/toddlers/children or pets or fashion or outdoors (camping/outdoor living/gardening) you should totally jump in with Amazon and add a link or two to every post.

      I also wish that I had known more about different ad networks. I have had AdSense since the beginning, but did not understand how to place the ads or the various options. I get much better revenue now that I am trying different placement options. So go ahead and apply to and have one or two ads from each in your blog.

      And my favorite of the affiliate programs is ShareAsale, which has more products for my niche than the other programs that I mentioned. You really need to apply and then look through the different products available and go with the program that has the best options for your niche.

      -Irma 🙂

  6. Lot of good information here, How to get started and so on. I like your warning about Affiliate networks that asks money to promote their products, I tried such Affiliate network and it just felt totally plain wrong. Also good recommendations about niches, I like your suggestion about the niches that people are searching about. I’m beginner at affiliate marketing and I have chosen relation niche because that is a interest of mine (and many people). I think affiliate marketing is a long term game as you say and it is fun, because you learn so much.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Hello Johnny and thank you for visiting us today,

      Agreed, affiliate marketing is fun! I wish you the best of luck with your marketing. I know you will learn much!

      -Irma 🙂

  7. Hi Irma.
    A great post, I have spent so much time trying to research affiliate marketing – I wish I found you site sooner!
    You explain everything so clearly and make some great suggestions. I will definitely investigate Pinterest and follow you.
    Thank you

    • Awesome Justin and thank you for visiting us today,

      Affiliate marketing is great and even though there is a bit of a learning curve, I love every minute of learning and I hope that you do as well!

      -Irma 🙂

  8. I could not agree with you more that affiliate marketing is a lot of trial and error. At the beginning, you just have no idea what you are doing, but you start to get it steadily over time. I have been blogging for about a year now and I am still learning! It never stops. That is what I enjoy about this work. There is always a new trick to learn.

    I do have a question though. I have heard about Wealthy Affiliate as a good option to learn affiliate marketing. Is it decent? The reviews I have seen make it sound good, but you can never be too careful.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    • Hello Alex and thank you for visiting us today,

      Yes, affiliate marketing is an adventure!

      I recommend Wealthy Affiliate for anyone who wants to learn how to create passive income with affiliate marketing. The membership includes hosting and SSL security, but more important is step-by-step marketing education that you get with the program.

      You only have to pay as long as you are getting value from the site, so devour every lesson and put that knowledge to work earning you some cash. And getting the first full month for less than $20 is a bonus!

      -Irma 🙂

  9. Hi Irma,

    I am very interested in affiliate marketing. I have some questions, if you don’t mind.
    How much time can I give to working from home? You see, I recently let my job go because they weren’t giving me the hours that I needed. While I do want to make money, I don’t want to work 40 hours.

    Do I need to be computer savvy? I’m mean, I do know that this is on-line but do I need to be a savvy student?

    If I start something, I’d wanna finish it. I’d like to know if a beginner, beginner can do this?

    • Great questions Lane and thank you for visiting today!

      1. If you want your blog to be successful then you will need to put in the time to do that. That may mean 40 hours a week in the beginning, and most of that is going to be creating content, so that visitors have something to do when they visit. Start off with 20 hours a week (use Google Calendar and time block the 20 hours), and monitor it. And only work on tasks that will bring you closer to your goals. It is amazing how much time is wasted online these days.

      2. I do not think you need to be too savvy. I think if you can set goals for yourself for creating content, such as sitting down to write and not editing yourself until you are done, that would help. As well, you have to have a plan for your business, so that you know which steps you need to take to get the most from the time that you can spend, like focusing on traffic.

      3. The majority of bloggers that I know were all beginners. They heard it was a way to make money and not have to work outside the home. I would say that if you want to spend the least amount of time while still getting the rewards, consider taking a blogging course that lays out all of the steps to success, such as how to get traffic, SEO, using Pinterest for free traffic, setting up email marketing and other strategies that you can implement in the beginning.

      I recommend Wealthy Affiliate if you are interested in the most popular form of passive income, which is affiliate marketing. If you want to be a professional blogger, I would look at a more in-depth curriculum like the one offered by Billionaire Blog Club/Dare To Conquer (if the door is currently open)

      -Irma 🙂

  10. Hello Irma
    I really enjoyed your article great stuff, especially for beginners. I’m more interested about your blog about Pinterest and how to draw traffic to your website. Looking forward to read it I’m also using Canva.
    Thanks and good luck

    • Hello David and thank you for visiting us,

      You will not regret learning how to get traffic from Pinterest. It is a goldmine! Email me if you need help 🙂

      -Irma 🙂

  11. Hi Irma,

    What a great article! I remember when I was at my beginning I was in the same spot as you have described at the top of your post. If I had your article to read it back, then it would save me a lot of time and trouble. However, it is going to help many beginners out there to find the right direction. Keep up the great work. As Emerson once said, “Every professional was a beginner at some stage.” So all of you guys reading this post, listen to the advice you find here and start making some action. The affiliate world is full of opportunity for everyone!

    • Hello Ivan and thank you for visiting again,

      You give excellent advice as well, as it is super easy to get set up with affiliate marketing!

      -Irma 🙂

  12. Hi Irma,

    this is really useful.. i have just stated my on blog 3 months ago and am struggling to get visitors even though I have found a niche and used jaaxy for the checking out the level of competition.

    Can you advise how I can increase my traffic organically?


    • Hello Tarun and thank you for visiting,

      My number one way to increase traffic is using Pinterest for business. I have several posts on how to set up Pinterest and you can use free Canva to make pins to direct traffic from Pinterest to your website. Easy peasy!

      -Irma 🙂

  13. Hi Irma. Thanks for a really easy to follow information packed article. You make it so easy to decide that affiliate marketing is a good business to get involved in. The links you have provided seem to be all great resources for helping us succeed and also learn more. Thanks for taking the time to explain how affiliate marketing is of benefit to people like me. Cheers

    • Anytime Andrew and thank you for visiting us again,

      -Irma 🙂

  14. Awesome! Even as a fellow affiliate I’ve learned a lot, I am impressed with how on point this information is and love the humor! great direction and very comprehensive guide! This kind of content explains exactly why this is our profession!

    • Amen to that Anthony! And thank you for visiting us today!

      -Irma 🙂

  15. Thank you Irma for you very informative article on becoming a new affiliate for free. You do such a great job of explaining it all.
    I will be sharing it with a friend a little later. Great article.

    • Hello Scarlett and thank you for visiting us,

      I love affiliate marketing, and I try to learn as much as I can to pass on to my readers!

      -Irma 🙂

  16. This is a great article!
    I will surly use this when I will try to explain to my wife how she is going to go about this too!

    • Way to go and thank you for visiting us! I wish you both the best of luck with online marketing 🙂

      -Irma 🙂

  17. This was very interesting information! I found the links to the different affiliate trainings very helpful and love having that resource available. I added Google Analytics today and I love it! It is extremely informative very good for my analytical brain to be able to see. Thank you for all your advise here!

    • You are welcome ElizabethCa1 and thank you for visiting us today!

      -Irma 🙂

  18. Great Beginner’s guide on Affiliate marketing

    I am a starting affiliate marketer and this will surely help me in my journey.

    I am still working on my website and currently studying about SEO, definitely this guide helped me find the sites where I can find products to promote.

    Can you do an article on how we could maximize our SEO for organic traffic?


    • Hello Jason and thank you for visiting today,

      I am actually planning a 30 day email course about on-page and off-page SEO, which I plan to have done soon. Please sign up for my newsletter to get updated on it.

      -Irma 🙂

  19. Such a great post. I personally think affiliate marketing is such a great way to make income, even if it’s not your full time job. Appreciate you recommending some quality programs as well, great post!

    • Hi William and welcome back!

      I am so glad that I felt encouraged to look into affiliate marketing because it I have learned so much about it as well as passive income. I think, like most people, we just want to feel like we have financial control over our lives and affiliate marketing does that nicely.

      -Irma 🙂


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