Affiliate Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide

Affiliate marketing (affiliate or affiliate marketing) is a relatively new and very effective promotion channel. Those who have their own audience and want to promote their favorite brands and receive passive income from this should pay attention to this niche.

In this article, we will look at:

  • How affiliate marketing works
  • Most Popular Affiliate Marketing Niches
  • Advantages and disadvantages of this promotion channel
  • Potential income from affiliate marketing

Let’s get started!

What is affiliate marketing?

An affiliate is a person who promotes the goods or services of a particular company to their audience. As a rule, he receives a certain remuneration for such cooperation.

In affiliate marketing, rewards are given for clicking on an affiliate link. That is, when a blog visitor follows a unique link and makes a purchase, the partner receives a percentage of this sale.

Let’s look at an example.

Imagine that you have decided to get into affiliate marketing and want to monetize your baking blog.

Your favorite home appliance brand, Kenwood, has released the ElectroMix 4000 mixer. The company asks you to post a link to this product on your blog, social networks, or in the description under the YouTube video.

If your subscribers follow the affiliate link and buy a new ElectroMix 4000, you will receive a percentage of the sale.

This payment scheme is the most popular, but there are others. For example:

  • Payment per lead: payment for each potential client who came to the promoted company.
  • Engagement pay: pay for clicks, views, or other interactions with content.
  • Fixed or Recurring Payments: In affiliate marketing, there are also one-time, recurring monthly, or even predetermined weekly payments.

6 Popular Niches for Affiliate Marketing Development

80% of brands around the world have their own affiliate programs. You can find good affiliate programs in every niche, but they are most common in the following areas :

  • Health
  • Beauty and cosmetics
  • Finance
  • Games
  • Education
  • Online dating

Top 5 Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing spending worldwide is increasing by 27% every year. Compared to most other promotion channels, where 10% is considered a good growth rate, this is quite an impressive figure. Judging by the statistics, this method of promotion is gaining momentum. But before you start working with it, it is important to understand all its advantages and disadvantages.

First, let’s look at the pros.

  1. No need to develop your own product or service. Creating something from scratch is a complex and costly task. And affiliate marketing allows you to immediately start promoting an existing product.
  1. Low entry threshold. To participate in the affiliate program, you do not need to buy any equipment, and often do not require a membership fee. You can start earning on affiliate marketing at minimal, or even zero, costs.

Becoming a partner is quite easy. Registration usually requires you to provide your name and email address, as well as bank card details to receive rewards – and that’s it!

  1. Small risks. Given that the initial investment in affiliate marketing is minimal, you have nothing to lose – unlike launching your own product.
  1. Great source of passive income. Although affiliate marketers sometimes have to work hard (we’ll talk about this later), income in this area can be incredibly simple and at the same time very high.
  1. You promote what you like. There is an affiliate program for every taste. If you promote what you really love, you can turn your earnings into an interesting hobby, not a boring job.

6 Potential Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

Every industry has its downsides, even a fast-growing one like affiliate marketing. Let’s analyze the main ones:

  1. If your site gets little traffic, you may not be accepted into the affiliate program. Many affiliate programs have clear requirements, and if your resource does not meet them, they are unlikely to cooperate with you.
  1. It’s hard to reach a good level of income right away. If you do not have a large audience, then earnings from affiliate marketing will be negligible. To achieve a good level of income in this area, you need to work on increasing traffic to the site.
  1. Companies can reduce pay at any time. Your earnings depend entirely on the brands you partner with. Therefore, it is possible that at some point they will reduce your percentage of sales.
  1. There are nuances in launching advertising. You can’t use company branded keywords in paid ads. To set up effective advertising, you need to be creative.
  1. If you use affiliate links, you must add a disclaimer to your site. By law, if you promote products from a third-party company on your site, you must clearly state your connection with this brand.

If you hide this information, you will not only break the law, but you may not receive your reward. You also risk losing the trust of your audience.

  1. Growing competition. Affiliate marketing is rapidly developing and many professionals want to try their hand in this area.

Although the competition is high, this does not mean that you cannot succeed. You just have to understand what you are going to face – this is the best way to set yourself up for a good result.

It takes a lot of effort to achieve success in affiliate marketing, but in the end, you can get great rewards. The right strategy is very important here.

How much can an affiliate marketer earn?

Affiliate marketing income depends on many factors, so it is impossible to determine the exact figure.

Income is primarily affected by:

  • The niche you work in
  • Your experience
  • Your website traffic
  • Number of social media followers

Typically, affiliate marketing newbies make between $100 and $1,000 in their first year. Gradually, this number increases as the experience of the specialist and traffic to the site grows.

If you already have stable traffic, you can count on large sums.

How much should you invest in affiliate marketing?

We have already said that one of the advantages of affiliate marketing is the minimum investment because you do not need to invest in the purchase or creation of products that need to be sold.

On the other hand, you need to invest in the development of your website or blog. To create a resource, most likely, you will need the help of web developers, and this is a big expense. Of course, if you have such experience, you can save money and try to create a website yourself.

But this is not all the costs: consider the cost of buying a domain, choosing a hosting, and website design.

Many affiliate marketers use their blogs. To keep visitors there, you need to regularly create quality content. If you want to outsource this task, be prepared for another big expense.

You have two ways:

  1. You can learn and develop your site on your own, saving money and acquiring new knowledge and skills.
  2. Or you can create your website with the help of experienced professionals and develop the project on outsourcing. This option will get you to your destination faster.

Both of these approaches are effective. Evaluate your experience, goals, and budget to determine the best option.

What platforms should be used for sales?

If you’re new and don’t have a large audience, check out the list of platforms you should use for sales in the first place.


A website is the best platform for affiliate marketing for one simple reason: you are the owner of the resource and have complete control over everything on it.

Your own website will not be taken away from you just like that, unlike posts on social networks, which may be considered unacceptable and simply deleted at any time without giving specific reasons.

By creating relevant and high-quality content, as well as using effective methods of search engine optimization, you can bring your site to the top of Google search results. And in this way, you will attract a lot of traffic to the site – visitors who will interact with your content and follow affiliate links.


Video is a great sales tool. Therefore, consider YouTube as the most promising option after your own website.

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, owned by the world’s largest search engine, Google.

YouTube can be used both as a standalone platform and as an additional promotion tool for your website. For example, you can place affiliate links in the description of your YouTube videos, or use the platform to redirect traffic to your site.

Social networks

Finally, there are social networks. Instagram and TikTok are also good platforms for affiliate marketing. With the help of social networks, you can develop a personal brand, increase your authority and show your experience.

Important: use social networks only as an additional tool. Most platforms have limited features that prevent you from inserting clickable links into posts or descriptions.

Also, unlike your website, social media and YouTube cannot be 100% controlled.

3 types of websites for developing affiliate marketing

There are different types of affiliate marketing websites. Among them:

  1. Product Review Sites
  2. Microsites
  3. Blogs

Product review site

Such a site covers a broad category of goods or services.

For example, if you love yoga, you can browse the site for yoga mats, clothes, accessories, and other products in this category. You have the opportunity to promote any of the many themed products.


A microsite is a resource that focuses on a specific topic and focuses on a narrow target audience.

For example, let’s take the same category “yoga “. You can only write about one particular type of product on your microsite, say yoga mats.

Your own blog

Finally, you can write about what you really enjoy and create content that resonates with your audience.

Analyzing topics, keywords, and competitors will help you determine the right direction for your blog. And relevant affiliate links can be added to all blog posts.

How to Launch an Affiliate Website: 10 Steps (with Pictures)

Now you know a little more about affiliate marketing. Let’s figure out how to develop a selling website.

Affiliate Marketing Step 1. Choose your niche

The first step in developing an affiliate marketing strategy is choosing a niche.

To define a niche:

  • First, find an industry that you like;
  • Second, choose a brand that matches your preferences or values;
  • Thirdly, learn all the subtleties of the affiliate program of this brand.

Does the company you like have an affiliate program with a lucrative reward? If yes, then you are already on the right track.

How much search traffic is your niche getting? If there are few requests on this topic, then it will not work to attract a sufficient number of visitors to the site. As a result, they simply will not want to cooperate with you.

Take advantage of special services that will help you find a profitable niche. For example, in SE Ranking, you can estimate the number of searches for relevant keywords using the ” Keyword Analysis ” tool.

For example, let’s analyze the keyword “mixer” to understand whether it is worth starting a baking blog with affiliate offers.

Affiliate Marketing analyze the keyword

On the results page, we can see that the “mixer” key has over 22,000 search queries per month. But it’s pretty hard to rank.

Affiliate Marketing search queries per month

To see more keyword options on a topic, check out the detailed report in the Matched Keywords block:

Affiliate Marketing Matched Keywords block

Here you can select similar keywords, albeit with lower search volume, but with a lower level of competition.

lower level of competition

Key takeaway: We now know that this product is popular on Google.

After identifying a promising niche, the next step is to collect relevant keywords. These phrases will help you decide on the type and subject matter of your content.

Affiliate Marketing Step 2: Analyze your competitors

Competitor analysis will help determine in which direction to move and what to consider in developing a successful strategy. You can get all the necessary information in the SE Ranking tool ” Competitor Site Analysis “.

Analyze your competitors

Enter the URL of a competitor site and click Analyze. The tool will provide information on all important parameters. Among the main ones:

  • The volume of organic traffic and the list of keywords for which the site ranks
  • The volume of paid traffic and advertising examples
  • Referring to domains and backlinks

You can also view historical data to see how your niche has evolved and how your competitors have performed over time. All you have to do is select a period on the calendar.

view historical data

You will be able to view information on paid and organic traffic for the selected month, as well as keyword history since February 2020.

Go to the Keyword Research tool and then to the Organic History section – this will help you get a holistic view of your potential niche. It displays sites that rank in the top 100 for a particular keyword over a selected time period.

You will be able to see who’s positions sank and who improved. In addition, there is an opportunity to follow the appearance of newcomers and find those who have been in the top 10 for a long time.

idea about the competition

This information will give you a clear idea about the competition in the niche and the dynamics of changes in it. After analyzing all these points, you will know how to improve your position in the SERP.

Affiliate Marketing Step 3: Choose an affiliate network

Affiliate networks help marketers get started with brands or retailers.

Such platforms are beneficial for both parties. The brand gets fame, and the marketer gets the money. Among the popular platforms in the Russian-speaking segment are CPAGETTI, Shakes Pro, and Guruleads. One of the most famous international networks is ShareASale. It helps content creators, site owners, and influencers build partnerships with brands that align with their values. Also among the popular Western platforms are Impact and Rakuten.

These networks take on most of the hard work of finding affiliate marketing partners.

You can also explore an aggregator like OfferVault. It helps affiliate marketers find great deals, connect to networks, and check the reputation of companies.

At this stage, you can explore the various affiliate programs and decide which brand you would like to partner with. But in most cases, you won’t be able to qualify for an affiliate program until your site has a steady flow of traffic.

Affiliate Marketing Step 4: Create the site structure

Before you start building a website (or paying someone to do it), write down for yourself:

  1. What will your site consist of and how will it be designed
  2. How will the resource function?

Will the site be dominated by images or videos? Or will it have a lot of text content? Should you use a CMS or CRM?

Next, think about what structure your site will have – linear, network, or hierarchical. Proper structure helps improve visibility and optimization in search.

Already at the stage of working out the structure of the site, it is worth scheduling work on individual pages of the resource. This is important for SEO processes, which need to be planned at the earliest stages.

SEO principles for a new site are very important – analyze how to get started with search engines correctly.

Even in the first stage, you began to collect the keywords that you need to optimize your pages. When developing a structure, it is important to cluster the keys – that is, to divide them into groups based on subject matter and intent.

Keyword clustering makes it easier for your users to find relevant information. It also helps search engines better understand and rank your content.

Affiliate Marketing Step 5: Create your site

As we said above, here you have two options: make the site yourself or entrust this task to experienced professionals. But in any of these cases, you should make the most of the information collected after the analysis on keywords, optimization, site structure, etc.

Affiliate Marketing Step 6: Fill your site with content

Content is everything!

Creating high quality, relevant, and search engine-optimized content is very important not only for affiliate marketing. Don’t forget to update it regularly.

When creating content, you should keep two things in mind:

  • Keywords that are necessary for optimization;
  • Affiliate links that you will organically add to texts after you join affiliate programs.

With these two important factors in mind, you can determine what to focus on in your blog.

Use SEO tools (like SE Ranking) and find keywords with high volume and low competition to help you create a successful strategy that will get you to the top of the SERPs.

For affiliate marketing, it is very important to regularly monitor the actions of competitors. With the help of competitor analysis, you can find the keywords that bring them the most traffic and use them on your pages.

Affiliate Marketing Step 7: Grow your link profile and stick to your SEO strategy

Backlinks, or backlinks, are links on a third-party resource that lead to your site. They are very important for promotion and are a key ranking factor and a resource authority signal for search engines.

Leaving a backlink to your site, a third-party resource thus recommends it to the search engine.

High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites can transfer good link juice to your resource. Conversely, low-quality backlinks or lack of them can harm your site.

How to get more backlinks?

Use SE Ranking’s “Backlink Analysis ” tool to check the link profile of your competitors.

You can contact sites that left backlinks to a competitor’s resource and try to cooperate with them. You can simply ask them to add a link to your page or offer to write a guest post for them – this way you will provide the partner with unique content that already has a link to your site.

Content management and link building are the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. But also do not forget about monitoring the technical condition of the site, auditing individual pages, and improving user experience.

Affiliate Marketing Step 8. Select affiliate programs and add links

As soon as your SEO strategy gives the first results, you can safely recoup the invested resources – try to become a member of the affiliate programs you like.

Look for programs with good rewards that you can satisfy.

Collaborate only with those brands that you fully trust. Remember that you will be promoting products to your audience. By recommending low-quality goods or services, you risk losing the trust of your readers or subscribers.

Key Thought: Collaborate with brands whose products or services you use yourself.

Affiliate Marketing Step 9: A/B Test Various Content Components

Any experienced affiliate marketer knows how important testing is. Only by comparing several options for a particular site element can you determine exactly which direction to move.

A/B test all important content components: H1 headings, title, description, calls to action (CTA), images, and so on. In each test, change only one variable – otherwise, you will not be able to find out what exactly affected the indicators.

Affiliate Marketing Step 10: Convert!

You have done everything to get closer to the goal of becoming a specialist in affiliate marketing. And now comes the most long-awaited stage.

Add affiliate links to your pages and make your first sales. Increase your income and the number of affiliate programs as your website traffic grows.

And don’t forget to regularly track your key metrics to calculate your conversion rate and improve it.

3 Alternative Platforms for Posting Affiliate Links

Again, focus on your website as your primary affiliate marketing tool first. But, of course, it is worth using other platforms where you can also place affiliate links.

How to use affiliate links on a YouTube channel

We mentioned above that YouTube can bring in a lot of traffic.

Add affiliate links in the description below the video (don’t forget the disclaimer!) and be sure to tell viewers about these links in your video. You should only post affiliate links if they are relevant to your content.

How to use affiliate links on Instagram

Even though Instagram restricts users from posting clickable links, you can still use this platform for affiliate marketing.

You can insert a single affiliate link into your bio or cheat by linking to a service like Linktree, which allows you to add multiple links at once.

Although you don’t have the option to link under the post, you can optionally mention affiliate products and direct people to the bio link.

And don’t forget the disclaimer.

How to use affiliate links in email campaigns

Email campaigns have the highest ROI among traffic channels, so this is a great tool for growing affiliate marketing.

When trying to sell subscribers something in an email, don’t forget about the value of the content. Mentioning products should be just an addition to quality and coherent letter.

Don’t forget to include a call to action that encourages readers to click through to your product or service page. Be honest with your audience and be direct about where the link leads. And don’t forget the disclaimer.

Affiliate Marketing Conclusion

To achieve excellent results in affiliate marketing, it is worth thoroughly preparing.

We hope this article has helped you learn more about affiliate marketing: its advantages and disadvantages, income potential, and basic waste.

We have covered all the stages of creating an affiliate site. They also talked about three additional channels that you can use to promote your brands: YouTube, Instagram, and email marketing.

By listening to all our recommendations, you can achieve success in affiliate marketing and receive worthy rewards from sales.

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