What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Started Like a Pro?

what is affiliate marketing and how to get started, affiliate marketing, build a blog

If you’re new to the online business world, you might have heard about the term Affiliate Marketing from somewhere, saying that you can make massive commissions from your site or blog.

This is both true and untrue as there as many factors of how you can get success on monetizing your website.

Trust me, it took me 6 months to finally make my first affiliate sale and that alone was just a mere $22.50 which wasn’t enough to convince me to quit my current job.

So what is Affiliate Marketing? How much can you earn? Or can you even earn money from affiliate marketing in the first place?

Well worry not because today, I’m going to delve on one of my favourite topics of all – What is Affiliate Marketing and How to get started the right way so that you too, can start your online business with the right mindset and expectations.


What is Affiliate Marketing All About?

Affiliate marketing simply put is a way someone earns money by promoting someone else’s products in exchange for commissions.

Though the word can be applied offline in the real world, it is more likely used in the online word simple because the market is huge and there are limitless possibilities for you to earn since your target market is globally and you can reach them all if you have internet.

A great example of an offline affiliate marketing is by being a Honda sales person whereby you get commissions off the car you managed to sell.

How it works online is very similar, except for the fact that…

  • You won’t need to work for someone to sell their product.
  • You won’t even need to sell, all you do is just to recommend.
  • You don’t even need to go out of your house! All you need is a computer and an internet connection.

Pretty simple right?

Plus you’ll also get a higher commission usually than being a salesman offline, especially if you become an affiliate for digital products as they don’t have any stocks to keep which is why they are able to give you commissions as high as 50%.

Just so you know, how I monetize my blog is by recommending my #1 program of choice called Wealthy Affiliate to my readers.

You can promote more than one affiliate products but always make sure you know what it is about first and that means getting your hands dirty and using it yourself to get that firsthand feel.


It’s important to set your Expectations Straight

affiliate marketing picture

A lot of people keep getting wrong perceptions on Affiliate Marketing, mainly because of those internet scams that promises you millions overnight (I wrote reviews of those scams here)

I used to believe the exact same thing too and back then – I was so naïve that I keep jumping from program to program, hoping to find the right one that can finally teach me how to make money overnight.

I was so brainwashed that I was going on and spending money with that messed up perception in mind.

At the back my mind, I keep saying to myself “If people can make millions overnight, I can too”

Having that huge motivation is great, but you don’t want to push yourself for something that you can never achieve because in reality, nobody can make millions overnight, not unless you have millions of dollars in your pocket to spend on some large-scale marketing.

So here are some things I learned about Affiliate Marketing that you should know too…

  • You won’t make millions overnight, nor can you even earn on the first day.
  • On your first month, getting your first $500 is the most difficult task you’ll ever face.
  • Your best bet at making your business on autopilot is through a blog.
  • You can still make money without a blog but you won’t get far as it can be very tiring compared to having a permanent page where people can drop by even when you’re not trying to promote.
  • Even without the hard work product creators have to go through when creating their products for you to sell, Affiliate Marketing is actually hard to do and you need to have patience before you can finally lift your business off the ground.


How to Start Affiliate Marketing in 5 Steps

Ready to face reality? Don’t worry, I’m here to guide you with my step by step affiliate marketing training that I personally use and so should you…

Step #1 – Narrowing Down Your Competition Through a niche

The most common mistake every beginner tends to make when it comes to Affiliate Marketing is selling everything they can get their hands on.

Please don’t do this!!

Not only will you risk making yourself look like a spammer, you will also confuse your readers because there are so many products for them to choose from.

Remember, the power of Affiliate Marketing lies when you dedicate your time promoting only a few hand-picked products as each and every one of those products have a meaning to you.

This is totally the opposite of an ecommerce business whereby the more stuff you sell, the better because people have a tendency to buy in bulk. You have to niche research your product first and determine what products fit that particular niche.

For example, the gardening niche can sell gardening equipment, gardening eBooks, and even trees or plants!

In fact, you can narrow that down to be even more specific like targeting solely on growing roses, or solely on growing your own vineyard and this can be very successful.

Ever since my mother got interested in planting roses, she spent thousands of dollars on fertilizers, books, and even the roses themselves – All of this from rose blogs she found on the internet.

Here’s a picture I took from my mother’s Facebook (She keeps posting pictures of flowers)…

mama rose

Pretty cool right? Imagine how much money those gardening blogs earn from people who make gardening their hobby! Since they trust those blogs, they would be more inclined to buy things that were recommended and this is exactly why blogs are a powerful tool to monetize online.

Another example would be the blogging niche which is the one I am currently doing.

Blogging is a very wide niche too and you can narrow it down to blogging tips, SEO for blogs, business blogging, social media, content marketing, product creation, email marketing and many more!

So you see, everything is related to each other when you choose a specific niche which helps compliment your main affiliate offer. You don’t see a clothing store selling food stuff, do you?

Once you’ve got your niche done, you’re now set to…

Step #2 – Building your very own Blog

Finally, a chance to build your own blog!

When it comes to affiliate marketing, it is so much easier to make profit when you have a blog of your own because people tend to trust you more as they can know you much better through your writing style and your willingness to share information.

Every typical beginner who are new to affiliate marketing would just jump straight to things and promote their products by spamming everywhere which causes people to have bad perceptions on products that are aggressively promoted.

However if you have a blog, people will be more willing to buy from you because you’re not like the rest – You put in more effort to do business and you don’t come out as pushy.

Instead of chasing after people, why not make them come to you?

You’ll save more money that way not to mention you’ll have a much better conversion rate too since they are already looking for a solution which only you can provide.

So how do you build a blog website for affiliate marketing then? Here’s how…

how to build a website in 30 seconds

Clicking will open you a new tab to Wealthy Affiliate where the video is stored.

There are many free website providers out there such as Weebly and Webs but Wealthy Affiliate’s platform is by far the best when it comes to making affiliate websites as they give you a free dashboard on your site’s condition (Plus a free website creator).

website health analytics

Here’s a quick look at my website’s health check, it doesn’t seem to be too good!

Stuff like how good your SEO is, how frequent should you post or even keeping track of your comments is really important because when you’re just starting out, it can be really overwhelming to keep track of so many things so why not let the website keep track of things for you instead?

If you’re wondering what the difference between a blog and a website is, they are practically the same thing except that blogs are regularly updated and has a more personal touch since you are free to write anything you want, whereas websites are more to corporate businesses which are often boring, dull and full of sales and prices everywhere.

Having a blog can really help you out in terms of sales but if you really want to pass out on that, it is still possible to promote your affiliate offer through my top 10 methods here.

Basically, all the other methods besides blogging costs more money such as through solo ads, PPC or FB ads and you won’t even know if you can make any in the end which is why having a blog is much safer as you are ensured success if you put in effort.

Once you’ve chosen your blog name and started building your very own from scratch, it’s about time we go about…

Step #3 – Finding Products to Promote

amazon associates home page

I purposely didn’t want to put this step before creating your blog because even when you do have a product, you won’t make any sale if you don’t know how to promote.

A lot of people ask me this question because they are afraid that they might not find products for a particular niche.

That might be an issue last time but today, there are thousands of products to choose from and there are various programs and companies which allows you to become affiliates too such as…

  • Amazon – Great for physical products like swords and stuff.
  • ClickBank – Great for digital products like eBooks.
  • Commission Junction – Great for traditional wares such as janitorial franchises.

There is a thin line between promoting and spamming and when it comes to affiliate marketing, the best way to promote is by recommending your readers the product of your choice as they will be more inclined to check out your offer compared to when you’re just simply selling it.

One very important thing to always bear in mind when you’re looking for affiliate products to promote is to NEVER choose something just because they pay high commissions.

I know making money online may have a slow start but eventually your business will bloom and people will start to know you so you don’t want to be seen promoting a scam product just because you can make money out of it.

Have some products in mind already? Good, because now you need to…

Step #4 – Create reviews as your sales page

Did you know that nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads?

People will be more likely to buy from you if you show them the benefits, the cons, the cool features, and of course pictures of the product to help them decide better so how do you achieve that?

Google search results for easy listbuilding strategies

This is on a review I made on Easy Listbuilding Strategies.

By writing reviews of course!

Reviews are like the sales page of your product but instead of trying to sell that product to someone, you recommend it to them which is why it is so powerful and it’s also why if you’ve noticed, there are loads of review websites around regarding a certain product, specially the new ones.

In fact, writing reviews is how I earn money from my website too and I even wrote a whole blog post on that here.

There is also a very important reason as to why you need to write a review of your product and that is because if you promote your affiliate link everywhere, Google is going to penalize you for being spammy but if you were to promote your review page instead, it is absolutely legal and fine with everyone.

In fact, Facebook is also against the use of Affiliate links so you can’t even add those links on your Facebook page because they will surely detect it.

However what you can do instead though, is by sharing links to your blog’s pages instead of your affiliate link and that is why many people boost their Facebook ads on a specific page link instead of their own products.

After you writing your review on your product of choice, you can find similar products within the same niche to write reviews on and compare those on your blog so that you can grab readers looking to buy those other products to check out what you are offering instead.

Step #5 – Mix commercial intent with interests

My internet quest home page

How I mix my boring reviews with other interesting topics to attract more people.

Writing reviews are all for commercial purposes based on commercial products which is good for business but not so good when it comes to your public image.

To add more color to your blog, you need to alternate your time to write about other stuff too such as tips or controversial opinions on rising trends because that way, you’ll have a much wider group of people coming to your blog from everywhere.

For example, my blog here is on blogging so instead of writing reviews all the time, I also write blog tips, social media tips, WordPress tips and many more.

If you’re doing a gardening blog, you could alternate your product reviews with gardening tips, fertilizing and so on.

Writing topics of interests is a good way to establish your website’s brand and as it will open up your mind to think outside the box as well as increasing your blog authority at the same time.

You may realize that I haven’t included advertisements as the compulsory steps and that is because if you have a good blog, you don’t need to pay for marketing because Content Marketing itself can generate 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% lesser.

So what are you waiting for, start your affiliate marketing journey now!


What is the Best Course to Learn Affiliate Marketing?

Wealthy Affiliate Home Page

There is no doubt that Affiliate Marketing can make you money, even more so than using Google Adsense because the earning potential is bigger.

However, the steps which I showed you just now are only the basics that every beginner should know of to get their business up and running so if you really want to boost your results, its better if you delve deeper and find out more from the very source of all my knowledge, Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate is an Online Business course which specializes at teaching you how to earn income from Affiliate Marketing and grow it huge out of any niche imaginable.

The lessons are regularly updated, there are tools you can take full advantage of in order to research your niche, free website builders and an awesome community just as enthusiastic as yourself!

There are a lot of cool tips you can learn to propel your business even further and one of them is through SEO which helps you rank your blog on the first page of Google to get never-ending clicks by targeting keywords that have very low competition.

Here’s an example of one of my reviews…

Google Search results for Niche Revealer Review

Google search results for “Niche Revealer review”

One of the best strategies to get people to trust you is by doing product reviews and from there, you can share your experiences and recommending your readers your affiliate product as the better choice and Wealthy Affiliate teaches you how to do that from scratch with templates and guidance which is how I got started too.

Since my review got on the first page, people are clicking on it non-stop because your page is going to stay on Google forever so just imagine how much traffic I can every day if I have 20 more review pages up there? That’s about at least 2,000 clicks a month!

Once your reviews have good ranking and traffic starts coming in, sales will follow after. Here’s a quick look at my affiliate earnings…

December sneak peek

My earnings last month on November 2015

Those are my affiliate earnings for November 2015. Although it isn’t much, its pretty cool to get that earning since I haven’t really worked on my blog for a while.

I’ve been juggling time between my blog and my event startup so getting additional income this way is really encouraging for me. It’s also pumping me up to work harder this month and I’m sure you can do better than me as you’ll definitely have more time focus on your online business than I do this year.

I have to sleep midnight almost everyday just to find time to work on my blog and now it looks like my hard work is definitely paying off..

November statistics shooting up at my internet quest

From the looks of my website stats above, my graph is beginning to shoot up at the end of November and this only means that I have to continue working harder to carry my momentum. Never give up because you may never know that the moment you’re about to give up is actually the moment you’re going to get a breakthrough.

I learned a great deal of knowledge from the owners of Wealthy Affiliate, Kyle and Carson. Without them, I would have given up somewhere in the middle so now, I’m returning the favour by helping others succeed too so if you ever wanted to give it a try, I’ll personally help you get started.



Affiliate Marketing is a great way for beginners to earn money online as you don’t have to worry about the headaches of product creation since you’re basically helping them sell.

Although there are no costs to start, you can still risk not making any money at if all you do is spamming your affiliate link and risk getting yourself blacklisted so if you want to succeed, learn how to do it right by researching your niche and finding keywords that have less competitors because that will really speed up your success rate tenfold!

If you’re interested in finding out more on the best Affiliate Marketing program for beginners, check out my #1 recommendation here.

Thanks for reading, do drop down any thoughts you may have down below as I’ll be more than happy to reply 🙂 .


26 comments on “What is Affiliate Marketing and How to Get Started Like a Pro?
    • It definitely is Suzette, its actually where I first learned about Affiliate Marketing and from there, I implemented what I learned to create my blog and start my own affiliate marketing business. Those 5 steps will come naturally to you over time as how it did for me, thanks for dropping by and I hope you have a lovely day!

  1. Hey Riaz,

    I hadn’t been thinking about all these keys to success and the patience it requires until I read your page here. I love how insightful your advise is to newcommer’s in affiliate marketing like myself.

    I’ll becoming here often…I need more guidance! Thanks for the step by step support!

    • Hey there Benjamin,
      I’m glad my article helped you. There are just so many newcomers out there getting wrong perceptions on Affiliate Marketing everyday and this is the number one reason as to why they give up halfway without making any money (I too was one of them). So after I started learning the reality of it, I wanted to help out other too and judging from your comment, I guess I’m on the right track 😉
      Thanks for dropping by, guess I’ll be seeing you again on my next post eh?

  2. Hi,
    that’s a really great explanation of Affiliate Marketing and how to get started with it.

    It really is a problem that there are so many scammers out there, that people seem to think success will just come over night.

    I agree with you that it takes time to get anywhere with online marketing, but the possibilities are immense!

    • Thanks Moritz, it’s true that you can’t make money overnight and when you’re building a website, you can’t expect Google to recognize you on the same day and hope your page will rank on the first page hence giving you instant sale, it doesn’t happen that way. I see many people come and go and this is because of their ‘make money overnight’ mindset that they seem to get from somewhere which is really disturbing and that’s why I try my best to help get things straight before they delve into affiliate marketing in order to ensure their success. Thanks for your comment Moritz, hope you have a lovely day.

  3. Hi Riaz, a well researched article. I can share your experience with making a first sale only after 6 months. Setting up a profitable (internet) business takes time. But we do this for the long term! Cheers, Jerry

    • Right on Jerry! An internet business at the end of the day is still a business and like any other businesses, you won’t become a millionaire overnight and its important to set our expectations straight so we have a clearer view of the road ahead. Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Hi Riaz – Great post. the information is bang on. The 5 steps make it sound so simple, as indeed it is.
    However it is time consuming to get started as you have mentioned, its not an overnight success.
    Good work

    • Thanks Mark, those 5 steps may sound simple but a lot of people can get misguided when information isn’t as detailed. many other blogs make it simple by just giving short points and hoping people will understand but by doing that, they left out on a whole lot of information like how do you even start finding your niche, how to build a blog, or how do you piece everything together. Not all beginners are equipped with prior knowledge so it is important to let them get a clearer on things before telling them to commit their time and judging your comment, I guess my article is helpful in a way. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. Hi Riaz

    Great work. This post ticks all the key boxes I look for when reading:
    – There’s a detailed explanation of affiliate marketing
    – You include personal touches to connect with the reader
    – You give practical advice in methodical fashion
    – You make good use of images.

    A lot of the stuff you wrote is of course what Kyle has taught in his lessons, but they are good reminders to not expect to be raking in cash straight away, but to be patient and persistent in doing the “right” things. I’d appreciate some comments on my recent post too.

    • You know what they say Jeremy, slow and steady wins the race. Having an Online business is more to persistence instead of going all out on certain days and it’s always better to have the will to do something for a year and keep to the schedule than to work 24 hours hoping you’d make money instantly. I appreciate your kind words, hope you have a lovely day!

  6. Hi Riaz Shah,
    I like the advises for you. Surely to become a successful affiliate marketer would take longer than just overnight!

    Too many scams are out there, but I strongly agree its a different world in WA. All those training and help provided within WA is in its own league.

    One would fall in love with the community once they joined. Great post!

  7. WOW, what an AWESOMETASTIC post on how to get started as an affiliate marketing pro, Riaz!

    I loved your fantastic steps and have just learned such a lot on affiliate marketing here. From the looks of your screen shots, you are doing extremely well with your online business, so I congratulate you!

    I have bookmarked this article for further reading, and it will definitely help newbies to get a head start in the online world of business building.

    Cheers. Neil

    • Thank you for your kind words Neil, you made my day! Glad to know my article helped you, I have been putting a lot of effort and some of the things I learned from you as well. I guess I’ll be seeing more of you here, eh?

  8. Riaz,
    Way to go bro. You have written a very long and precise info about Affiliate Marketing. I can feel your determination as you need to stay at night to work on the posts, reviews and etc. Looking at your graph, it seems apparently it pays off and you are beginning to reap the harvest. Online biz is the way to go. My knowledge in the area of semiconductor, telecoms are giving way to online biz. Keep it up. I like your article – detailed and precise.

    • Hey Stanly,

      I guess all those late night ups are starting to pay off aren’t they? Online business is certainly the way to go, I’m planning to use that income to inject my startup with some capital as well as giving me room to breathe and enjoy with some extra expenses. Thanks for your feedback, hope you have a lovely day!

  9. Thanks Riaz,you write like a man that knows what he’s talking about, I’m really glad I got to review your site, because you educated me on how I can diversify and reach a broader audience you also shared tips and tricks that has definitely help me understand what it takes to become successful online being an affiliate marketer.

    • Glad I could help you out Raphael, being affiliate marketer can definitely pay off in the long run. All the best in your onlien business, thanks for dropping by!

  10. I had no idea what affiliate marketing was until I read this. It’s a very interesting article which really lays it out step by step and how to build an affiliate marketing site. I have been scammed in the past as I too believed, how can everyone else be millionaires overnight and I can’t do it?

    So it’s good to hear that its not just me and than maybe these programs are scams… I will definitely look into this program. Thank you!

    • Way to keep a positive mind Ruth, you rock! I was exactly like you when I first started. It’s great knowing that you can still go on despite coming into some scams, I’m sure you’ll do great, good luck in your online business!

  11. You are quite the expert on Affiliate Marketing when it comes to educating newcomers. I like how you outline the steps to getting started.

    I find it really impressive that you also highlighted in other post on the site that it does not happen overnight. Building a viable online business takes time, determination, and the desire to serve.

    Thanks for sharing,


    • Thanks Dan, I like my steps to be as actionable as possible because when I first started, it was hard finding articles on the internet which can teach us exactly that. Glad to know you liked my guide, hope you have a great Tuesday!

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