Affiliate marketing for beginners – Learn what Affiliate marketing is and what you can start with

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

Are you new to affiliate marketing and want an affiliate marketing guide for dummies? Then you are at the correct place. I will explain what affiliate marketing is and how you can start with this huge path to online income.


I will explain the different ways to receive traffic so that you will earn commissions. You will know about both paid and free methods.

You will receive tips on how to start with affiliate marketing, where to start and which book you can read to learn more. I will also give you some tips on advanced training that you can receive.

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work

question mark on island

Affiliate marketing can be complicated, or you can do it the easy way. Most people start with one of the methods explained later, and they expand as they learn. This method to keep it simple in the beginning and grow later was also my approach. So what is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Affiliate marketing is when you promote products or services that other sell. You receive a unique link from the owner that track if someone buys through your link. That way you receive a commission from the sale.

I advise you to purchase the service or product before you start promoting. That way you know how you can promote and you can answer questions from potential customers.

So what are the pros with affiliate marketing?

  • You don't need to have customer service. If there are some issues with the product, the customer will make contact with the seller, not you.
  • Affiliate marketing is a very low-cost method to earn money online.
  • Usually, don't take much time. You need to do some work in the beginning, but when your affiliate project is out there, you don't need to spend so much time on it.

So what are the cons?

  • There is usually a seeling regarding income. To make a lot of money, you need to be very good at advertising and email marketing. Then you need to do a little more work to manage the advertising.
  • Often it takes some time between your start with affiliate marketing and your first ok paycheck.

So how do you promote products?

The usual way to do this is to write a product review where you present the product and answer all the potential questions you think the buyer has. It's also wise to have a pros and cons section for those who want a quick overview before they make the decision. At the end of the review, you can recommend the product or not. Remember always to give a better choice if you don't approve the product. You can also recommend the product, but maybe only to beginners? The advanced users can be recommended another product. This is just an example.

Product reviews can be done on websites, youtube, social media or in emails. People that use the last three examples, usually do it in multiple parts and build interest for the product before the promotion starts.

You should also always do your best to be honest. I know it's not easy since you want people to buy so you receive a commission, but most sellers have a return policy. So if you oversell the product, give them bad advice or try to trick people to buy, they will use the return option, and you will lose the commission. You will also lose the trust of the user, and they will think twice to follow your advice later.

Do you need a website to do affiliate marketing?

Many ask if you need a website to do affiliate marketing, but to make a site is not necessary. One of the products I recommend have some training for people without a website. In the Commission Machine, you can learn how to use social media or free blogs to do affiliate marketing. To sum up the training, you join groups and be friends with prominent individuals on Facebook. Then you post your content on Facebook, with links to the comments instead of the main post.

Other methods are to join forums where you start to answer questions others have. After some time you will receive some trust so you can also give a link to products or service that will help them. Remember not to start promoting right away, most forums have rules against it. And always remember to read the rules before you start with this method. Then you know if you can promote products before you decide to spend your time there.

The no website methods are working, but they tend to demand some more time to get this working. I advise you to make your own website or start promoting on youtube.

If you want to know more about this topic you can read my article here.

What about free websites, can you use them for promoting products?

Free website as,, and others is also a method that can work. Usually, they have some restrictions on free plans that will limit you. One thing is that the provider will often advertise on your blog, so a potential customer can find a good offer in the advertising that gets them off your site. Then the provider will earn money instead of you.

You also receive 2 free websites with Wealthy Affiliate and free training on how to set it up. In addition to that, you also receive basic affiliate marketing training.

Another significant restriction is that you will not be able to collect email addresses. So you can't do email marketing.

Will affiliate marketing on youtube work and how is it done?

Youtube is a big source of income for many affiliate marketers. You can search for products on youtube and you will get many hits. Check out some videoes and you will see most of them have a link in the description for that particular product. The link is almost always an affiliate link, and they will receive a commission if you buy through their link. If so many do it, don't you think they do it because of this method is working? Many YouTubers earn a lot on youtube with affiliate marketing only.

The downside with youtube is that you have to make a video. Not everyone is comfortable to be in front of a camera and talk. Many also don't like to give a slideshow presentation where they talk. This is something you should try to overcome since youtube is some of the best sources of traffic and branding. You can read more in my guide here

The best ways to do affiliate marketing

There are many ways to do affiliate marketing, but I will mention the main methods below:

  • Affiliate marketing on Youtube: This is probably the best free method to do. To rank high on youtube is somewhat easy and there are lots of tactics out there to do it. Put your link in the description and on the video, and you will make some money.
  • Promotion with your website or blog: This is probably the most common method. Start a website or blog and write content. You can do a regular blog post or write product reviews. Then you need a plan on how to receive traffic. You can try to rank on Google, promote your content on social media and forums or do paid advertising.
  • Email marketing: This is huge and something everyone should do, especially if you have a website. Give your users something for free in exchange for their email address. Then put them on an autoresponder that sends them emails where you give them helpful tips and promote products.

What is the best affiliate networks to earn commission?

I don't think there is the best affiliate network out there. There are many networks and programs out there. To focus on the best network or the top paying affiliate program is the wrong way to start. How will it help if you have the best affiliate programs to make money, but you don't have the skill to gain traffic? Or the traffic you receive is not converting because you don't know how to achieve the trust so the visitors won't purchase the products you promote?

What you need to focus on is to start receiving traffic and make affiliate commissions.  Then you can later improve your income with high paying affiliate programs.

The most beginner friendly is probably Clickbank.  You will find a vast variety of offers that usually have a high commission. You just need to join Clickbank and find the products that you want to promote. Clickbank is not only easy to start with, but you can find top affiliate products that will work for years.

Other networks like are similar but have mostly internet marketing offers. There you also need to ask for permission to the owner of the product before you can earn a commission. Some of them are strict with who they permit since you can look at the stats they have. Offers with high purchase rate will come higher on the search list, so many sellers don't accept every affiliate marketers.

The most well-known program is probably The Amazon Associates program. The commission is lower at Amazon, but they sell almost every physical product out there, and some people buy a lot. You will earn a commission on everything they buy and not only the one product you are promoting. They don't even need to buy the product, all they need to do is buying after they have clicked your link and you will get a commission.

Amazon Associates is very beginner friendly and you can later try to improve your commission. Amazon Associates is easy to start with, but hard to earn much in commission. Maybe other stores are selling the product you are promoting? If so, they usually have higher commission then Amazon. You can read more about how to become Amazon Affiliate here.

How can you start to learn affiliate marketing?

There are many ways to learn this profession. Many starts watching youtube videos and everything you need is on youtube. There is so much information on youtube that your path to online income can end on youtube, without an income.

Its hard to know what is updated and what you should choose from all the different methods and tricks people teach. That's why I recommend to follow just a few persons and do it their way. This way you will move forward and not just stay on youtube.

You can also join affiliate groups on facebook. Groups are maybe what you want to start with. Follow some groups and engage with the people there. Most people love to help. Often the groups have pinned post or information in the about tab about what you should do. Maybe the admins of a particular group you like have a youtube channel? Follow the youtube channel, and often there is a lot of valuable information on their channel.

What is the best affiliate marketing books you can read?

Books is a great and affordable way to learn a skill. If you also buy it as an audiobook, you can do two things at same time. Your exercise will be more fun while listening to an audiobook about affiliate marketing. Now, I don't know if the books below is an audiobook, but they are still great to read.

What is the best affiliate marketing training?

There is a lot of training and courses out there. Some of the courses on the internet are very good. You can receive a lot of information for your money, but other courses are more questionable. If you are new to this, I recommend you join a membership site. They give you a lot of value and you will usually receive tools that you need to grow your business.

I recommend you to check out my recommendations here.

How to receive traffic and start your path to online income?

If you start a youtube channel and do it correctly, you will receive traffic. If you also promote your video on social media, this can boost your rankings. With a website, you can't just write good content and receive traffic. You need to promote your site.

How to receive traffic for free

Below I have written some of the most popular ways to gain traffic for free to your website. If you use 30-60min every day to comment on forums, blog posts, and youtube videos, you will receive traffic every day and enough to have a nice side income. If you optimize your website for SEO, you will probably be on the first 2-3 pages after some months.

seo brain storm chart

Search Engine Optimizing (SEO): You write articles where you try to rank on google and bing for certain words people search for. With a post like this, I will hopefully rank for many words. You can't just write good articles, but also need to get links from other websites. Basic SEO is a skill that is worth to learn.

Commenting on forums: Go to forums in your niche and be helpful. Remember to read the rules before you start so you know what you can do. Often you can have a signature where you can link to your website. People will see the signature and some people will go to your site.

After some time you can probably link to articles you have written that can help people. If someone asks about tips about dog training, you can reply with some helpful tips and write that he can find more on an article you have just written. Then give a link in the post. Most forums allow this, but don't do it right away and don't overdo it. Answer some questions every day and you will get traffic to your page, not only from the person you are helping but also everyone who sees your post.

Commenting on blog posts: You go to other blogs and give a good comment on the post. Remember to read the post and add value to the post. Ask a relevant question or clarify your understanding of some of the point in their post can also work.

Sometimes you can write your website and a link will be created in your name. You will see this in the comment field. If not you need to link in the comment. Maybe this will not be accepted the first time, but after some blog comments, they will remember you and will probably accept the link. With this, some people may click your link and you receive some traffic. You will also receive a backlink from the website that is ok for SEO.

Commenting on youtube videos: Go to youtube and find videos about your niche. Write a comment on the video or reply to other comments with an answer to their question. Remember you need to be helpful and add value to the video. Then link to your website or an article you have written that will help them. This way you will gain some extra traffic to your site.

Social media: Join groups on social media and be helpful. After some time you can add a link to an article you have written that will help the person you are answering. Don't spam, but be helpful and group moderators will accept the link.

Upload videos to Youtube or do live video: If you do live video on youtube, you will rank very high on youtube during the live sending. You can also upload videos and try to optimize your video for particular search phrases. You can add some links in the description field and add the URL in the video as text. Hopefully many will find your video and go to your site. You can link directly to your homepage, an article, review or even use an affiliate link.

How to do paid Advertising

Paid advertising takes less time, but costs some more. Paid advertising is also a way to scale your business higher than the free methods. With the paid promotions, you can start to earn money the same week if you know what to do.

Solo Ads: You contact people or businesses that sell solo ads. They will email your message to their list, and hopefully, you will receive some results. The sellers usually have big email lists they use, but because they send so many and different offers, they tend to convert on the low side.

Google Adwords: Advertise on Google Adwords to receive traffic have again gained more interests. Facebook advertising does now cost more and people are testing AdWords again. The most popular way is to buy space in the Google search results for the search phrases that usually ends in a purchase.

Facebook: Use Facebook advertising to receive traffic. Find what your audience like and is interested in and target them with a message that converts and with a picture or video. More and more people start to advertise on Facebook, and now we are beginning to see the cost increase. In a few years, you probably will not be able to do advertising on Facebook for low paying products without a good upsell.


Affiliate marketing can be time-consuming, but fun way to start your path to online income. If you choose something that interests you, you will go the extra mile to archive your goals. If your niche is less exciting and you don't gain some success early, I fear you will give this up.

The startup cost is very low and all that takes is a few hours each week. The more time you spend, the faster you will reach your goal, but you can take your time if you want.

If you are willing to spend some money, you can outsource the writing to get there faster. You can also do some advertising while you wait for Google to index your site. Some niches are tough to rank for, and you need to do some advertising to receive the traffic.

I have not written so much about it, but you should have an email list with an autoresponder that sends out emails. An email list can make you much money and will be yours forever. Facebook can change, Google can change, but you will always have your email list.

Remember the methods explained here can take some time to work. As the picture above tells us, it's important never to give up. Start doing affiliate marketing in a niche that interest you, check your results and adjust your path as you go the road. Proper training can be a huge time saver and is something you should consider. Some of the courses I recommend will hopefully save you time.

So if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them in the comment section below. I will also update this article if you ask for more information or maybe I write about it in a future article.

Richard Walker

I'm a father of three children who are very important to me. The 9 to 5 world with small children can be tiresome and I want to break free.

So join me on my path to online income where I find the best way so you can do the same!

Richard Walker

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  1. Thank you for all your work on this article. There is a lot of information to read. Affiliate marketing is something I would love to start with.

    1. Hi Jack.

      Thank you. Affiliate marketing can be fun and interesting as long you pick something that interest you. You will learn something on your path when you research more about the topics you want to share with others.

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