A Complete Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Beginners guide to affiliate marketing

In this beginners guide to affiliate marketing I am going to show you in the simplest way possible what it’s all about. So lets get started.

In a nutshell, Affiliate Marketing is where you earn a commission for promoting someone else’s product. You look for products in your Niche, promote them, someone buys the product and you earn money for each sale you make.

This page may contain affiliate links meaning I earn a commission if you use those links. I only recommend the brands I use and trust. However, by signing up for any of them, there is no additional cost to you.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

What is Affiliate Marketing

As stated above, Affiliate Marketing is fairly simple to explain.

It’s effectively recommending other companies products or services to your audience and making sales. By doing this you earn a commission for that sale. The percentage of commission you earn depends on who you are affiliating with.

There are basically 4 steps to affiliate marketing which are:

  • The Affiliate Website – This is where you have your product reviews or posts. If your visitor is interested in the product you are offering they will click on the link to view it.
  • The Affiliate Network – these are the guys who supply the Affiliate Links that you place on your website. They are unique to you and if a sale is made you receive the percentage of commission.
  • The Buyer – Makes the purchase on the on the advertiser’s website you sent them to.
  • Commission – The Affiliate receives a commission for the sale. This can vary anywhere from 4% to 80% depending on the product and the advertiser. For example, some hosting companies will pay $100 per sign-up.

So as you can see, there is quite a lot of money that can be made with the right product

Why Affiliate Marketing?

For one thing, it’s probably the best way to get started when you want to begin your own online business. You don’t need to handle any physical products, you are just promoting them.

1. You Can Earn a Passive Income

Unlike your typical 9-5 job where you get paid by the hour, with Affiliate Marketing you could be getting paid whilst you sleep as well.

Think about it, your website is up and running, you have traffic and people are visiting 24 hours a day. How good a feeling would that be.

And the great thing is that once you have completed a post or review, it’s out there working for you and apart from updating now and again, you don’t need to touch it.

2. Work From Home

Once you are established and earning revenue, there’s no need to be going into your office of workplace. Your home could basically be your office.

Some call it the Laptop Lifestyle

3. Cheap Start Up

Whilst most businesses will require money up from, the Affiliate method only requires the cost of setting up your website.

You don’t hold any stock because you are not actually selling anything so this is another reason it’s popular to start with Affiliate Marketing first.

4. It’s Convenient

As your own boss, you can dictate your own hours and products. You can also make changes whenever you find you need too.

You have nobody to answer to but yourself, but you should also ensure you are putting the effort in.

5. Rewards based on Performance

Like most things, you get out what you put in to it. If your posts, reviews and campaigns are of great quality and you have the traffic then you will be rewarded for it.

On the other hand, if you don’t put the effort in and don’t have great content, then the chances are you wont earn a lot, if anything at all.

Choosing Your Niche

affiliate marketing for beginners

This is probably one of the most important steps in my opinion.

Get it wrong and you could struggle. By this I mean that if you choose a Niche that is highly competitive then you will struggle to get anywhere with it because the competition is so high.

And with high competition comes big websites generally. To get on page 1 of a search engine ahead of the ‘big boys’ will be incredibly difficult.

On the other hand, if you pick a Niche that has no traffic then you won’t get visitors to your site.

You can check out my post on the best way to establish if a Niche will work or not and the process to follow:

The Best Way to Start an Online Business

What is the Best Niche to Choose

Now, there is a thought process among many people that you should choose a Niche that you are passionate about. I get that, it makes sense but it’s not always going to be the case.

I love trail running and ultra marathons, but it wasn’t my first choice in finding my niche. For sure I will be building content around this eventually because I’m knowledgeable about it, but I didn’t dive straight into it.

My other passion is to help others. Not in any particular field, but as I am an Affiliate Marketer it made sense to me to help others to get there online business started.

I don’t class myself as a guru or expert, but what I do think is that I can put content together in a way that will help others.

My point is, I don’t believe you have to pick a Niche you are passionate about, but it helps. Just as long as you can deliver great content that is helpful and unique.

By unique I mean don’t copy what other people have to say, give the customer the best that you can offer.

Research Affiliate Programs and Products

Once you have found your Niche you need to search affiliate programs and products to see if it will be profitable.

No point in starting with something that isn’t going to generate any money for you – although I can’t think of many things that won’t unless you don’t market it correctly.

Let’s pick a random Niche like Trail Running.

affiliate marketing guide

Now being a trail runner myself, I know the type of gear required for doing this. Starting with trail running shoes, hydration packs, clothing, head torch, Nutrition.

Now that I know what I can potentially market, I need to find out how profitable it could be and what programs offer the affiliate service.

Amazon is clearly one that could be used and of course, they will have lots of products available to you.

For someone starting out I think Amazon is great, but be aware that to begin with your commission starts at around 4% rising to around 10%.

You can find the Amazon payout structure right here

However, you can also check other companies that have affiliate programs and this is how to do it.

In the Google Search Bar type in what you are looking for + Affiliate. So in this example I typed in Trail Running + Affiliate.

affiliate marketing for beginners

As you can see, there are a lot of results reported. The top one being for Raidlight, which happens to be a French running gear company.

There are 2 options when searching for your affiliate partner.

  1. They have a direct Affiliate program
  2. The use an Affiliate Network that you need to join first

I quickly went through the search results and found a US company called Road Runner Sports. They have an Affiliate program but they run it through 2 different Networks.

One is Commission Junction and the other Avantlink.

Now I know that Commission Junction is very easy to join as I use them and the results for Road Runner Sports was that they offer between 6% – 9% commission on every sale.

affiliate marketing guide

Of course, with Commission Junction being an affiliate network, once you have joined you can search any affiliate offers they have. There are lots believe me, and they are all for different Niche markets.

Below are links to a couple of networks so you can see for yourself what they have to offer:

Commission Junction


There are so many affiliate programs out there – you just need to do your research and join the one that’s right for you and your Niche.

Build a Website

In order to market your products, you need a platform to do so. Of course, that platform is having a Website. I have a couple of posts reference this subject that you can find right here:

Create a Website for Free

Building a Website for Free with WordPress

The website is the place where your traffic / potential customers arrive through the search engines or social media so you want to it to look great and appealing for the customer.

If you haven’t built a Website before and want to keep the cost as low as possible then my number 1 recommendation is Wealthy Affiliate.

This is the #1 option and you can create your own website FREE

Create Great Content

affiliate marketing beginners guide
Content is King

It’s not just a case of throwing images and affiliate links onto a website page and your going to start selling.

You need to be able to create great content that is written with the intent of helping the visitor. By means of fixing an issue, answering a question or offering advice.

If they have visited your website it’s because they want something specific. It’s your job to give them that.

For example, lets go back to Trail Running again.

I might write a review on the 10 Best Trail Running Shoes for Women, or, The Best Hydration Packs for Ultra Marathons.

The visitor to your site is looking for something specific wouldn’t you agree?

Specific Keyword Searches

Chances are, we have a lady looking to purchase trail running shoes but can’t decide which ones yet, or someone is going to do an Ultra Marathon and they are not sure what Hydration pack would be best.

Because the titles are very specific, or long tail keywords, it generally means that this person knows what they want and they are ready to purchase.

In other words, if someone searched ‘trail shoes’ they might just be browsing the cost of shoes, or who makes them.

If they search ‘Best Trail Running Shoes for Women’ that means they are searching for the best shoe to by.

Does this make sense?

So if someone is looking for this then you need to make damn sure your content is informative and helps make that person make a decision on what they want.

Now if your top 10 shoes are all affiliate linked and that person decides to make a purchase because your content was so helpful, guess what! you just made a commission that you will be paid.

Poor Content – Poor sales

Great Content – Better chance of Sales

For more help on content creation and how to rank high on the search engines, please feel free to check out these posts:

Learn How to Keyword Research Easily

On Page SEO for Beginners

Build Your Audience

So you have all of your great content on your website, you have your affiliate links to promote your awesome products – but you don’t have any website traffic.

How can you start to build an audience?

Organic Traffic through Google

Paid Traffic


Social Media

There are many factors to this and only you will know the best way to do this depending on your products.

Check out this post on the Best Way to Start and Online Business

Lets assume you have a low competition Niche so you don’t need paid traffic.

Organic Traffic

Now Organic Traffic through Google takes time. What happens with this is Google crawls your site and indexes your posts and starts to rank them.

There is a lot of factors to do this but great content, good SEO, the right Keywords are all factors to getting ranked.

Just don’t expect overnight success, you site needs to gain authority and ranking high may take a while.

For Google to know your site exists you need to tell it through Google Search Console

Here’s a video showing you how to link your site to Search Console and Analytics:

Of course its not just about Google, you can use other areas to drive traffic for your site.

If you are doing product reviews, what better way to do that than YouTube. Millions of people are using videos to search products.

Do a good review, link to your site and drive the traffic that way.

Another great way is through Pinterest. If you don’t already know, Pinterest is actually a search engine too.

Set-up a Pinterest Business account, create great graphics and start to post relevant content – you will generate traffic to your site that way as well.

For other options to generate traffic you can access my post below for other ideas:

Promote your Blog for FREE


As you have read in the post, Affiliate Marketing itself is fairly simplistic in nature. This is why a lot of people online start with this method of business.

But don’t be fooled, this isn’t a get rich quick scheme – they don’t exist.

Once you have your Niche and your Affiliate links the work really begins.

I have already mentioned it above, but the best way to learn all of this is through Wealthy Affiliate.

It will show you Affiliate Marketing for Beginners step by step with nothing missed out at all.

The training is world class and the community is excellent. You can check out my review here:

Wealthy Affiliate Review

You can also test drive it yourself, completely free of charge with no credit card details required. There is nothing to lose because you dont have to spend any money to create a website and do the first part of the training.

You can start your Free access below:

Give it a try if your interested. Either way, I hope this post was insightful and of use to you.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I will ensure I respond in a timely manner.

All the best,




  1. What’s up you’re really a God sent with this post very very comfortable post The Affiliate Website – This is where you have your product reviews or posts. If your visitor is interested in the product you are offering they will click on the link to view it.The Affiliate Network – these are the guys who supply the Affiliate Links that you place on your website. They are unique to you and if a sale is made you receive the percentage of commission. Nice Post very nice Post 

  2. I’ve always stated content ultimately makes or breaks a page. With niche, there are some niches that people search for more often, such as fitness, for example, but I think every niche has an audience, even if some are more obscure than others. With content, as long as it’s helping the reader solve a problem, the blogger will see an uptick in traffic. The more helpful, the better the traffic to that site. 

  3. The way you simplified your article to the extent that any beginner could understand really amazes me. Even the video you dropped was so explicit. I think the areas where most beginners experience difficulty is not being able to choose a specific niche which they could perform optimally on. I will definitely still keep checking your website for more updates.

  4. Thank you mark for writing about basic affiliate marketing. I heard about making money online opportunity from my friends and interested to try it. Affiliate marketing is one that showed up when I’m searching about it. After reading your article, I understand a little about it now. Is it OK if I use several affiliate marketing program in the same website? Also, is there any standard minimum commission percentage that I should be aware of (such as 1% is too small)? Thank you for answering this newbie questions.

    • Hi there, thanks for your feedback and question. I’m glad the post was of help to you.

      The standard minimum commission is a difficult question to answer but I definitely wouldn’t be looking at 1%. I would most certainly be trying to find programs that offer a minimum of 6%.

      Look at it this way, if you sold something for $1,000 at 1% commission you would earn $10.

      If you sold something for $100 at 6% commission you would earn $6.

      I know for sure that I’m far more likely to sell multiple items at the lower cost than that of the higher premium prices.

      So always aim for as much commission you can find realistically. 

      Remember that some products earn a fixed commission. For instance, if I got someone to sign-up for web hosting I could earn $100 for that. That is because for the web hosting company they are looking at someone who is paying monthly or annual subscriptions so will pay you the larger one-off commission to you for getting someone to sign-up.

      It really all depends on the Niche you are in.

      Hope this helps,


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