Affiliate Marketing For Dummies: A Beginners Guide

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make some extra money on the side or become a full-time income, and it’s something that anyone can do.

In this article, we’re going to walk you through the basics of affiliate marketing so that you can get started right away.

This beginners guide is going to be affiliate marketing for dummies if you will so let’s get started.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s products.

While it can seem complicated, it really is quite simple. You find a product you like, promote it to others and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make.

Many companies offer affiliate programs, so you can simply sign up and start promoting their products.

Affiliate Marketing For Dummies

How does affiliate marketing work?

When you find a product that you like and want to promote, you will need to sign up for their affiliate program. This will give you a unique affiliate link that you can use to promote the product.

When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you will earn a commission. The amount of commission you make will depend on the product’s price and the affiliate program’s terms.

Some affiliate programs will also give you additional bonuses or rewards if you can refer new customers or meet certain sales targets.

How much money can you make with affiliate marketing?

How much you can earn from affiliate marketing depends on a few factors, like the products you’re promoting, the amount of traffic you get to your website (or other places you promote), and the conversion rate you have.

Typically, you can earn anywhere from a few dollars to several hundred dollars per sale.

Stores like Amazon offer commissions of around 3%, but on the entire shopping cart when someone purchases through your link, even if they do not purchase something you have recommended.

It’s quite common however to find affiliate programs that offer between 10% and 40%, but these are normally focused on a specific product.

For digital products, you can even sometimes find affiliate programs that offer up to 70% commissions.

You can earn anywhere from a couple of cents, to hundreds of thousands of dollars on a monthly basis with affiliate marketing.

Beginners shouldn’t set their expectations too high though, a couple of hundred dollars per month is a great start and platform to build upon.

Should you become an affiliate marketer?

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is and how it works, you may be wondering if it’s something you should get into.

Here are a few things to consider before making your decision:

Do you have a platform?

One of the most important things you need for affiliate marketing is a platform. This can be a blog, a YouTube channel, or a social media account.

Basically, anywhere that you can post links and promote products to your audience. If you don’t have a platform, it will be much harder to succeed as an affiliate marketer.

Do you have an audience?

Another important thing to consider is whether or not you have an established audience to whom you can promote products/services.

If you don’t have an audience, it will be very difficult to make sales and earn commissions, and you will need to build up this audience over time.

Do you have time?

Affiliate marketing can be a full-time job or something you do on the side. It’s important to consider how much time you have to dedicate to it before you get started.

If you only have a few hours a week to spare, and you’re expecting to get rich overnight, then affiliate marketing is not for you.

On the other hand, if you have the time to spend and are willing to put in the work, it can be a great way to make some extra money (or even a full-time income).

Are you willing to learn?

Affiliate marketing can be complex and there is a lot to learn. You will need to be willing to invest time in learning about the industry and how it works before you can start seeing success.

If you’re not willing to learn, it will be very difficult to succeed as an affiliate marketer.

Now that you know what to consider, it’s time to make your decision. If you think affiliate marketing is something you’d like to get into, the next step is to start building your platform and audience.

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How to start affiliate marketing in 6 easy steps

Now that you’ve decided to become an affiliate marketer, it’s time to get started. Here are the steps you need to take:

Choose a niche

The first step is to choose a niche. This can be anything that you’re passionate about, from makeup and fashion to gaming and technology.

Think about the products you use and love, and then find a way to narrow down your focus. For example, if you’re interested in beauty, you could start a blog about natural makeup hacks.

If you’re interested in gaming, you could start a YouTube channel for reviewing the latest games.

Choosing a niche that you’re passionate about is important as you’ll be more motivated and insightful when creating content to promote products and services.

Once you’ve decided on your niche, you can move on to step two.

Build your affiliate marketing presence

This step is all about building your online presence and getting your name out there. You can do this by starting an affiliate marketing website, creating videos for YouTube, or posting on social media.

Whatever platform you choose, be sure to create high-quality content that will help you build an engaged audience.

The best way to promote affiliate products is through your own website. This is because you own the platform. YouTube and social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter can ban you without warning and your income stream is wiped away with nothing you can really do except hope that they realize it was a mistake when you appeal.

If you own your website, then you are in control of what can be placed on it. This is also why I recommend starting a website in parallel to a YouTube channel or other social network, for affiliate marketing, or anything else. If you lose your audience, you will still have your own platform where people can find you.

Follow this guide to set up a blog in minutes.

Or this guide to starting a successful YouTube channel.

Join affiliate marketing programs

Once you’ve set up your online presence, it’s time to join affiliate marketing programs for the products and services you want to promote.

Most of these programs don’t really have minimum requirements and you can simply join them and mention how you plan on promoting them.

There are a number of affiliate networks that companies use to manage their affiliate programs. These are useful as you can register your information with the affiliate network and then search through the database of companies that have that fit your niche and find matching products and services.

These services make affiliate marketing a lot more convenient than having to deal with a bunch of individual companies (especially when they all have minimum payout requirements).

Some of the top affiliate marketing networks are:

And then there is the Amazon associates program which is what I tend to recommend as a fallback option. Even though they have fairly low commission rates, they have such a large variety of products, you can usually find what you’re looking for on Amazon.


Once your platform has been chosen and you have some affiliate products to promote, it’s time to learn some SEO.

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of making your website or videos more visible in search engines. The better your SEO, the higher you’ll rank in search results and the more traffic you’ll get to your website or videos.


You need to create content to attract people to your affiliate offers.

By creating content, in the form of articles, videos, social posts, etc., and incorporating good SEO, you will start to build an audience and people will be able to find your content on search engines.

Analyze what is working and repeat

Once you’ve created some content and started to get some traffic, it’s time to start analyzing what is working.

You can use Google Analytics to see how people are finding your website and what they’re doing once they get there.

Are they watching your videos? Reading your articles? Leaving right away?

This will give you an idea of what content is resonating with your audience and what isn’t.

You can then take this information and create more content like the stuff that is performing well and ditch the stuff that isn’t.

And that’s pretty much it! Just keep creating content, analyzing what is working, and repeating the process. Over time, you will start to build up an audience and traffic will start to come consistently.

Final thoughts

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to make some extra income, but it’s not as easy as just putting up a few links and sitting back.

You need to create content that attracts people to your affiliate offers, analyze what is working, and repeat the process over time.

If you’re willing to put in the work, affiliate marketing can be a great way to make some extra money (or even a full-time income).


Can I earn a full-time income from affiliate marketing?

It is entirely possible to make a full-time living from affiliate marketing. However, how much money you make will depend on your efforts, niche, platform, and traffic sources.

Can I start affiliate marketing without a website?

While it is possible to start an affiliate marketing business without a website, it is not recommended. A website will give you a professional online presence and allow you to build trust with potential customers.

Do I need to be an expert in my niche to be successful?

No, you don’t need to be an expert in your niche to be successful. However, it helps if you have some knowledge of the topic so that you can create content that is helpful and informative.

David Woutersen

Article by

David Woutersen

David is the founder of and has been in the social media industry since 2017. Since then, his mission has been to help others take control of their online presence. For some, this has been earning an income online; for others, it's teaching how to use social networks more effectively. And each year, he continues to help millions with strategy, troubleshooting, and inspiration.

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