Beginners’ Introductory Guide to Affiliate Marketing


Beginners who make cash immediately with affiliate marketing either have a huge following already—either online or offline. Some even have other blogs they’ve built experience with, but don’t give full disclosure.
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If you are a beginner and would like to make money online, affiliate marketing is the way to go. Read this guide to have a brief idea of affiliate marketing.

If you are reading this, I am sure you are a beginner who has been looking for a proper affiliate marketing guide that will show you how you can monetize your new blog.

Oh btw, this post is an introduction to affiliate marketing series for beginners.

Theoretically speaking, affiliate marketing is an easy way of making money online. But practically, it’s not.

You have to put in the work– constantly testing what works and what doesn’t, by factoring in your niche, your audience and means of promoting your affiliate niche to your audience.

What makes affiliate marketing seem so easy is the fact that as an affiliate marketer you will neither deal with inventory, customer care nor shipping.

Yours is to get online and to anyone who cares to listen, recommend products or services created by merchants. When people buy the products or services you have recommended to them, the merchant gives you a commission.

I like to think of affiliate marketing as an unknown virtual sales person who never meets the clients or the boss (doesn’t even know what they look like), and earns a sales commission for anything they’ve sold on behalf of the boss.

Let’s dive in.

Here are the questions most beginners ask in their quest to understand affiliate marketing:

  1. What is affiliate marketing?
  2. How does affiliate marketing work?
  3. How does one become an affiliate marketer?
  4. Can you make money immediately with affiliate marketing?
  5. Can you do affiliate marketing without a website?
  6. What are the best affiliate programs for beginners to join?
  7. What FREE resources can beginners use to learn about affiliate marketing?
  8. What is the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping?
  9. What affiliate marketing tips should beginners know?

What is affiliate marketing?

Before defining what affiliate marketing is, let me explain that an affiliate is one who, after promoting a product or a service online and without having to deal with the shipping, customer care or inventory, gets a commission when the said product or service is purchased.

Merchants are those who create products or services for affiliates to promote online, and are required to pay commissions to an affiliate for any successful purchase. Merchants deal with all the shipping, customer care and inventory procedures.


Affiliate marketing is any online initiative an affiliate takes while promoting a merchant’s product or service and warrants a commission from the merchant after any purchase has been made.

How would you define affiliate marketing in your own simple terms? Let me hear in the comments section.

How does affiliate marketing work?

As a creator of a product or service, would you rather make your 5 dollars-a-day-profit by promoting the products yourself or leverage the marketing power of 100 people who will each make you the 5 dollars profit for a single product?

For example, if I provide a domain service for $12, and out of the $12 expect 5 dollars profit, I would partner with affiliates who would promote it at $20 dollars so that I get to keep my $5 profit and pay them their $3 commission.

Here is a visual representation of how affiliate marketing really works.

How does affiliate marketing work?

How does one become an affiliate marketer?

To become an affiliate marketer, write down a list of affiliate companies you would like to join. Then at the header or footer menu of each company website, you will see, AFFILIATES. Click on it and apply.

You can also become an affiliate marketer by joining a publishing company.

What a publishing company does is to connect affiliate marketers with merchant products or services. So, instead of applying to a company directly, you apply to join a publishing company. Then once approved, you can promote different products by different companies.

I honestly prefer publishing companies. They reduce the hassle of applying to so many affiliate companies. I mean, you will just apply once and get access to so many companies.

One of the key things you will be asked for during application is a website URL. When you have a website/blog, you will be easily accepted into an affiliate program.

HINT: Create a blog with these simple steps.

I figured, when applying to join affiliate programs, one has to have a niche in mind. Focusing on different types of affiliate products to promote only causes confusion and you won’t make any money.

For example, if your niche is fashion, it only makes sense to promote fashion products like shoes, belts, jewellery, jeans, name it. It won’t make sense promoting anti-virus services. Why? Your followers follow you because of your fashion tips and are not interested in anti-virus services. Having a niched blog will help you create solutions for a loyal niche market.

It would be weird seeing a banner promoting diabetes products on this post, ey?

HINT: To learn how to find a niche for your blog, read this.

Also, when affiliate companies review your application, they tend to go through your website to see what it’s about. I recommend having at least 5 blog posts published if you’re a beginner.

HINT: Read this to find out the actionable steps for beginners to take after creating a blog.

Can you make money immediately with affiliate marketing?

This totally depends on your level of expertise. But if you’re a beginner, don’t expect to make money the first time you slap an affiliate link on Facebook.

Beginners who make cash immediately with affiliate marketing either have a huge following already—either online or offline. Some even have other blogs they’ve built experience with, but don’t give full disclosure.

If you want quick cash to live on, solely depending on affiliate marketing when you are just starting will only frustrate you. I would suggest you get a job. Sometimes it takes money to make money.

Remember, you are just starting out. Search engines and social media platforms have to know what your blog is about. How? By the kind of engagement users have with your content.

Also, since you’ll be just starting, the traffic to your blog will be low or even zero. And the money is always in the numbers.

I would recommend creating high quality content for your blog, and finding quality traffic. Also, build an email list of subscribers you will be promoting affiliate products to.

Of importance is not giving up. It pays off eventually.

Can you do affiliate marketing without a blog or website?

You can only become an affiliate marketer if you have a website or blog.


There are many ways of promoting affiliate products without a blog. You only need to find the right platform with the right eyeballs for your promotions.

I would however recommend having a website or a blog to increase chances of being accepted into networks.

HINT: Check out this post on how to do affiliate marketing without a blog or website.

What are the best affiliate programs for Beginners to join?

The internet is awash with many affiliate programs. The question is can newbies join them?

There are programs that only accept established affiliate marketers but as a beginner, don’t fret, I have compiled a list of affiliate programs that can accept you.

Remember, if you have a blog or website, publish at least 5 posts so that affiliate managers can know what you are about.

What FREE resources can beginners use to learn about affiliate marketing?

I have seen an affiliate marketing course going for $1000. For a beginner that’s not justifiable, considering you have already paid for other resources like webhost+domain.

While it’s important to invest in yourself and your blog if you want to make money online, it is much better to learn what you can for free. Chances are free online resources give information you will find in paid-for resources.

As usual. I got your back. Here is a detailed post on free resources you can use to learn about affiliate marketing.

What is the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping?

Before starting my blog, I wanted to start a dropshipping store. But the question that lingered at the back of my mind was: What is the difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping?

I have discussed what affiliate marketing is: No inventory, shipping or customer support involved. Your blog or website basically acts as a referral channel, and every successful purchase warrants a commission to the affiliate marketer.

Dropshipping is quite similar, only that one has to open an online store and come up with ‘retail’ prices for products.

When people buy from a dropshipping store, the owner places the order with a supplier at a wholesale price. The supplier then ships the product to the buyer.

So dropshippers and suppliers can be located in different continents.

Since orders are placed on the dropshipping store, dropshippers are tasked with customer service, in order to build their brand.

Affiliate marketers do not have a say on how much they earn but dropshippers do.

What affiliate marketing tips should beginners know?

Important tips that beginners should have in mind when starting are:

  • Be open about the fact that you will get commission should a reader purchase through your affiliate links. You can add a link to your disclaimer as well.
  • Focus on creating quality blog posts first, then appropriately add affiliate links. Don’t be too salesy.
  • It is better to promote products or services you have used. Your content will be more believable and it’ll show. For example, promote affiliate links from your host provider since you know how to work it.
  • Be consistent in promoting your affiliate links. Don’t write a review of affiliate products then sit and chill waiting for a sale for a whole week. The game is in the numbers. Go figure.

If you are thinking of making money online with affiliate marketing, go for it. If you don’t have a blog, find ways to get your promotions to where your audience is. If you have a blog or website, even better. Create top-notch content and watch your site make you money while you sleep.

Let me hear your compliments or criticisms in the comments section.

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Hey there. Nice to e-meet you. Being a stay-at-home mum doesn’t mean we get to have it easy. Besides catering to my family’s needs, I have my own thing going on. Like this blog. Read more ……

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