Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

You're here because you searched for Affiliate Marketing for Dummies! 

I'm here to tell you that you are in the right place! Obviously your not a dummy, but you probably are a beginner, and that's great!

I could have named this article Affiliate Marketing for Beginners!

I was never a fan of the whole dummies series of books, but if you are, you can get a copy of Affiliate Marketing for Dummies here. And yes, that is an affiliate link to Amazon.

Go ahead and click on it and you will get a basic idea of how affiliate marketing works.

I will explain more in a bit...

affiliate marketing for dummies

Yes, I know that is not Affiliate Marketing for Dummies! There isn't one in the Dummies series, but I wanted to start by showing you an example of affiliate marketing.

Now, before you go and buy the book, let me just tell you that you will learn more from this article and from just copying what I do, than you will by reading any book.

Let's get on with it...

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies 101

affiliate marketing for dummies

In this article, I am going to teach you the basics of affiliate marketing so that you can begin to understand how to make money online with this form of marketing.

With the emergence of search engines in the mid-1990's, the internet grew into a massive information and e-commerce center.

Businesses realized they had an opportunity to market their products and services to consumers through the millions of websites they visit every day.

Early forms of online advertising, such as CPM or fixed placement began experiencing competition from other emerging and cost effective forms of online advertising, such as affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing has grown rapidly since its inception in 1989.

According to a recent report published by Forrester Consulting, the total affiliate marketing sales are expected to exceed $4 Billion in 2016.

Yes, with a B!

Here are all the essential details you need to know about affiliate marketing so that you can get your piece of that $4 billion dollars!

As you are reading through my article, Affiliate Marketing for Dummies, you will see text links(they are colored blue), be sure to click on these links as they will bring you to pages with more in depth information on that topic.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is an online marketing technique where a merchant pays a commission to publishers or affiliates, for referring new customers to their website.

Affiliate marketing is performance  based, meaning that affiliates are only paid when their promotional efforts result in an actual transaction.

At its core, affiliate marketing is a relationship between three parties: the merchant, affiliate and the consumer.

The merchant, also known as the vendor, creator, seller or brand, is the party that creates the products.

The merchant is ready to pay other people to help with selling and promoting their products or services.

The affiliate or publisher(you) is the individual or company that agrees to promote the merchant’s product in exchange of earning a commission.

The consumer is the person who sees the ad and then performs an action by clicking link and purchasing, or submitting their info via an online form. The consumer completes the affiliate relationship triangle.

The best affiliate marketing training that I have found is at Wealthy Affiliate. You can learn more about WA in my Wealthy Affiliate Review.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

affiliate marketing for dummies

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies

You (the affiliate) must sign up for an advertiser’s affiliate program and choose the products you want to sell.

The seller or merchant will provide you with a unique affiliate link that you will use to refer traffic to their site.

Affiliate links have tracking in them to ensure that you are credited for every sale you make. When a consumer clicks your affiliate link, then the seller will know it is you who sent the customer.

Affiliate programs are run and managed via various affiliate networks.

Some programs are consolidated on a single network while others work on multiple networks.

Cookies are used in the network to track the progress of a customer from the affiliate's website, through the shopping cart of the seller.

The network then automatically pays commission to the affiliate based on the rules laid out by the seller.

In most cases, commissions for all sales of the previous month are paid out on a monthly basis. However, this may vary depending on the merchant’s payment policy.

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies 102

Now that you know what affiliate marketing is and how it works. Let's move on to Affiliate Marketing for Dummies 102!

How Do You Get Started in Affiliate Marketing?

how to get started in affiliate marketing

How to get started in affiliate marketing

To succeed in affiliate marketing, you must take a number of important steps.

The good news is that you can certainly succeed if you are willing to commit the time and efforts that it takes .

So, how do you get started in affiliate marketing?

Step 1: Choose a Niche.

Before you even build your first site, you must choose a niche you are going to target.

To choose the right niche, consider the topics you are already passionate about.

For example, if you have passion about bicycles, select a niche that is bicycle related.

While following your passion is definitely recommendable, ensure there is money, enough demand for products and affiliate programs in your chosen niche.

Click here for an excellent tutorial for choosing a niche.

Lastly, before deciding on a niche, consider the competition in the niche and whether or not you are going to be able to get your website into the first page of Google search.

This is a major factor in determine the success of your niche. The best way to determine the difficulty in ranking on Google is with a keyword research tool like Long Tail Pro.

Step 2: Find a Good Affiliate Program.

Once you have decided on a niche, you can then research the best affiliate programs.

Before choosing an affiliate program, consider the type of sellers who use the program and the commission you are likely to make from the products.

Remember to check the kind of customer support you expect from the network once you have signed up. All this will help to gauge the likelihood of success with a particular program.

Here is a great post on the Top 10 Affiliate Programs to help you decide.

Step 3: Build Your Own Website.

The first two steps are all about research and determining what is possible and profitable.

Now, it is time to put your research into action. If you do not have a website, this will be your next step.

If you are new to building sites, the quickest way to set up a site is by using WordPress. To have your site up and running, follow these few steps:

  • Buy a domain
  • Buy and set up hosting
  • Install WordPress
  • Install an attractive WordPress theme

If you would like help with this, I have a solution that will get you up and running fast!

Join me here for FREE!

There's no obligation and no credit card needed!

Step 4: Create High Quality Content.

Now that you have set up your website, you need to create interesting and engaging content for it.

Each article or post should be focused on one keyword phrase. Again, I can't stress enough the importance of proper keyword research.

The more product reviews, articles, visitor feedback and information you publish on your site, the higher the chances of attracting visitors to the website.

Giving away free informational products such as mini-courses, email series and e-books is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use to build an email list and increase traffic to their site.

Remember your content must be 100 percent unique and relevant to your niche.

Step 5: Build an Audience for the Site.

If you produce excellent content, you will have an easy time building an audience for your website.

An interesting audience will not only attract visitors to your site, but will also lead to consistent sales and of course, higher profits.

Some proven tactics of building audience for a new site include promoting content via social media, investing in paid advertising, using basic SEO tactics among other methods.

Step 6: Promote Affiliate Offers.

After publishing relevant content on your site and building a reliable audience, the last step is to continue adding value by promoting products.

You can promote offers in many ways. It all depends on what you are selling and type of site you have built.

Some popular ways of promoting affiliate offers include writing honest product reviews, using in-text content links, email promotions as well as offering good discounts and giveaways.

Affiliate Marketing For Dummies Video

I've made an affiliate marketing for dummies video that shows the basic process for making money online as well as a real life example of affiliate marketing, Check it out!

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies Conclusion

Stay at home mom

Affiliate Marketing is a Great Way for Stay at Home Moms and Dads to Make Money Online.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to earn monthly income from your website, while providing valuable content to your visitors.

You can start earning money today by following the tips outlined in my Affiliate Marketing for Dummies.

Perhaps the best piece of advice that I can give you is to be "real". Be yourself.

You don't want to come across as a salesman. You want to come across as a friend.

Think about it, if you were interested in buying something, would you take advice from a friend, or from a stranger?

Of course you would take the advice of a friend!

I hope that you have gained some knowledge from Affiliate Marketing for Dummies!

If you are interested in learning more, click here for a guide to the best affiliate marketing course. 

If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in affiliate marketing, including getting a free website and the best free training on how to build that website, Then join me here.

The program above is free to join and you can remain a free member forever, if you choose to do so.

Check it out and get started today!

Affiliate Marketing For Dummies Infographic

I have created an awesome Affiliate Marketing for Dummies infographic that you can see below!

Feel free to share it and you may even publish it on your site as long as you use the embed code located below the infographic!

Affiliate Marketing For Dummies

Embed Affiliate Marketing for Dummies on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below

If you have any questions about affiliate marketing for dummies, please post them in the comments below.

I am very active with my readers and I am always available to help!

To Your Success!


21 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing for Dummies”

  1. Hey Krissy!

    Good to see you here!
    I hope that you found the post interesting and more importantly, I hope that you learned something.
    My goal is always to leave my reader with some new found knowledge that can benefit them in their quest to build a long term, successful online business.

    Thanks again Krissy!



  2. Hey Joseph,

    Thanks man, I love creating content that helps people to move closer to achieving their goals.

    I hope that you have learned a tip or two that can help!


  3. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the praise, I appreciate it!

    I am always thrilled when one of my readers feels like they are getting an education, because that is my goal.

    There are so many scammers out there trying to separate you from your money, that I feel by providing quality information in an easy to read format, I can help people to learn the legitimate ways to make money online and prevent them from being taken advantage of.

    Thanks again Greg!


  4. Hi JohnVanDerLaan,

    Wow I really love your website! Very professional! I have only been doing this since February 12 and I have No prior experience and I’m willing to put the time and effort in because my heart’s in it! I want to help others! Keep up the great work and I’ll be back to your website to check out more of your awesome content!

  5. Hey John, you explain everything so well. Not to mention, giving extra information on everything that I had a question on. I have some of the Dummy books for SEO and Word Press, they are excellent. What info is in that book, that is not include here? I feel I could just read everything here and send you the money. Thanks, for the education.

  6. John,
    Thank you for the page. I work in Affiliate Marketing already, but your page gave me some very helpful information. Can I ask, where do you get your images? I have been looking for some nice images for my pages, but have not found any I like yet.

    Thank you in advance,


    • Hi Brandy,

      Thanks for your comment!

      The images on this page came from Stock Unlimited https://www.stockunlimited.com/.

      I got in on an amazing deal that they were running. I think it was like $47 for lifetime access!

      That deal is gone now, but I think that they still offer $87 for lifetime access. That is unlimited downloads!

      Still a really good deal.

      I’ve heard from friends in the blogging industry that Pexels is a good place to find free images that you can use on your site. https://www.pexels.com/.

      Thanks again for stopping by Brandy!

      Hope this helps!


  7. Affiliate marketing is a crazy business. I started my blogging career in 2011, and spend next 2 years to understand the concepts of blogging.

    But one day I found the concept of affiliate marketing and started building sites around various niches.

    The very first site I made for an affiliate product was in 2014. After 3 months, that site started generating $600-1000 a month. That was a good sign because my efforts were getting paid.

    Once I had money in my hand, I started building 2-3 more sites, and those sites started generating $2000+ a month.

    I was happy because now I could understand the power of affiliate marketing and work involved in it to build a money making blog.

    Soon things were in the more active mode and I ended up making $90,000 in 2015. According to India, these are big numbers.

    Once I had this much money in my hand, I made 15 sites around many products.

    So looking forward to hit $1 million in 2016. 🙂

    All I can say at the end is – affiliate marketing is real and it’s AWESOME.

    • Hi Kulwant,

      You are a true success story in affiliate marketing!

      I appreciate your feedback and thank you for sharing with my readers what is possible when you work hard and use the power of affiliate marketing.

      So, there you go folks, Kulwant was able to begin generating income after 3 months, but here is where it gets good.

      He then scaled what he was doing, in other words he used his success as a guide to do the same thing over and over again and now he is looking forward to hitting $1 million in 2016!

      Thank you for sharing Kulwant and thank you for the inspiration!


  8. Great post again! Affiliate marketing is fairly basic but does take some understanding to get moving with everything. Your post definitely hits the nail on the head and Wealthy Affilite teaches you what you need to know to succeed in affiliate marketing.

    • Hi Dave,

      Glad you liked the post and I agree that Wealthy Affiliate is a great way to get started in affiliate marketing!


  9. Hi…

    Hi I’m a beginner with hardly any knowledge about affiliate marketing.

    I’ve a few questions to ask..

    What the word ‘niche’ refers to? Does that refer to the product that we prefer to promote or does that refer to a category of products?

    If I am an affiliate can I promote more than one product or a category of product?

    If i’m an affiliate of say amazon and snapdeal… Can I promote the affiliate links of both in a single website? Or do I need to have separate websites for each of the affiliate programs?

    Please guide…

    Awaiting your reply…


    • Hi Rashmi,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      You have some really great questions.

      I like to define a niche as a group of people looking for stuff. Here is a great explanation https://www.jvanderlaan.com/niche-is-a-group-of-people-looking-for-stuff

      As an affiliate, you can promote as many products as you wish.

      You can promote many affiliate links on one website.

      The key to success in affiliate marketing is to help your audience solve problems. If you are trying to sell things, you are going about it all wrong.

      The sales come after you have helped your customer to find answers to their questions.

      Thanks again Rashmi for asking some really relevant questions!

      I hope this helps!


  10. Hi John,

    Thank you for this extremely useful article! I’ve been blogging for a while and heard about affiliate marekting from a friend who actually earns some money from it every now and agin, so I decided to try it out.

    I do have a few questions though:
    – Do you need the bran/vendor’s permission or approval to link them to your blog?
    – Can you use an affiliate link on other platforms apart from a blog, say, in the description of a YouTube video?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!


    • Hi Amina,

      I am glad that you found Affiliate Marketing for Dummies useful!

      Every affiliate program is going to have terms and conditions that spell out exactly what you can and can’t do while promoting their product.

      My suggestion for you would be to sign up with an affiliate program that you would like to promote and read through their terms and conditions.

      There are many programs out there and I am certain that you will be able to find one that will suit your needs.

      Thanks again Amina for your pertinent questions!


  11. Hi John,

    Great post! You explain everything so well. I have to appreciate it. Affiliate marketing has a lot of things and stuff one should know. Though people say, affiliate marketing is easy, but it’s all about depth knowledge and experience.

    • Hi Raju,

      Thanks for the awesome comment!

      Affiliate marketing is not difficult to learn when you have the desire and will to follow through and take action.

      Thanks again,

  12. Hey VanDerLaan,

    I feel affiliate marketing is more valuable than many other sources of making money. And, I found your infographic so useful. I guess, my audience would like it. Therefore, I have used it on my blog.

    • Hi Nirmal,

      Thanks for commenting on Affiliate Marketing for Dummies!

      Affiliate marketing can be very valuable when done correctly.

      Thank you for sharing my infographic!



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