What Is Affiliate Marketing and How To Get Started?

Have you asked any of these questions? What is affiliate marketing and how to get started? How easy is affiliate marketing? Can you really make money affiliate marketing? What is the best way to make money with affiliate marketing? Should I build an affiliate marketing website? I’m pretty sure I asked all of these questions and if you have, I hope this blog post will help answer them

What is affiliate marketing?

When I was looking for an online opportunity, I came across the term affiliate marketing. I have no idea what it was so I decided to look up the definition. This is the definition I found – Affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.

Okay, so that is the technical definition, but what does it really mean? To make it as simple as I can, you become an advertiser for a selected company. There are different types of ways to earn through affiliate marketing that I will describe below.

Can You Really Make Money Through Affiliate Marketing?

Of course, I’m sure the question comes up “Can you really make money through affiliate marketing?” The answer to that is yes and no. If you are expecting a get quick-rich plan, this may not what you are looking for. If you are willing to put in the effort and time, yes, you can earn money.

I just want to be honest when I say putting in the time. A lot of your success depends on your website traffic. It can be difficult (but not impossible) to gain significant traffic within the first year. I personally saw a large jump almost exactly one year from my first blog post (see chart below). I have also seen numerous examples that also had that same experience I did around that first year anniversary.

How To Get Started? Do I Need A Website?

The very first thing to know is what you want to blog (or write) about. You need a niche and I recommend something that you enjoy or are passionate about. It is so much easier to write about something you enjoy. Then in order to earn affiliate income, you will need a website. Now wait, take a breath, don’t freak out. That doesn’t mean you need to know how to build a website.

There are different options to help walk you through the website process but I recommend WealthyAffiliate.com. This is the website host I personally use (and yes, this is an affiliate link), but it is so much more than a host. In addition to hosting your website, they also provide valuable training, help with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and keywords, and so much more! One of my favorite aspects to Wealthy Affiliate is the ability to ask questions to a community of other bloggers who truly want to help you succeed. There is a free version that is great, but if you are serious about this, you may want to check out the paid version. I switched within a couple of weeks from starting. Here is a chart to show the differences between the two options.

With Wealthy Affiliate, you will be using WordPress for your website. It is very easy to use, no need to writing code. There are also plug-ins to help with anything you could want – mailing lists, sharing buttons, and so much more!

What Is The Best Way To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

There are different ways to earn money with affiliate marketing. You may seem some terms that you won’t recognize so hopefully this helps. A couple of the most common terms are CPM and CPC. )These definitions come from Rakuten Marketing. Please visit them for additional information on these terms and more.)

CPM – When used in online advertising it relates to the cost per thousand page impressions. CPM is usually referred to as the number of clicks registered on a website by the readers. Ad Networks, such as AdSense, calculate ad revenue for websites based on CPM.

CPC – This is a payment option that compensates a publisher whenever their referred customers click on a link for an advertiser’s offer. CPC is also an internet-marketing formula used to price banner ads. Some advertisers will pay publishers based on the number of times a banner is clicked.

These are a couple of ways you can earn money. As you can see, this is why website traffic is so important. To learn how to find website traffic numbers, keep reading.

Affiliate Marketing Companies

So, now you have your topic and website host, but how do I find the companies to advertise? You will want to join at least one Affiliate network. These networks have a collection of companies (sometimes 1000s) to choose from. Once you have joined the network, you have the ability to advertise any of the companies in that network. (Sometimes the individual company will have to approve your website prior to using their ads). The benefit of these networks is that you don’t have to go looking for individuals companies and ask if they pay for affiliate marketing. You can advertise multiple companies at the same time, but receive your payment in one easy payment.

Some of the most popular networks are:

Rakuten Marketing (to sign up, click Publisher Sign Up in top right corner)


Commission Junction

Once you start gaining views, there are additional companies you can join.

Mediavine – this is a great option but requires at least 25,000 sessions a month

AdThrive – requires 100,000 monthly page views

Google Analytics

You will definitely want to join Google Analytics. There is no cost to join and it provides valuable information. It will show you your page views, sessions, where your visitors came from, what posts they are visiting and so much more! This will allow you to see what areas (posts, where traffic is from, etc) you are successful in and what areas you could work on.

Final Notes

As long as you can talk (type) about a subject, there is really no special skills needed for affiliate marketing. With a little persistence, you can succeed. If you hit a road bump, search the internet. There are plenty of websites that will help you. Just remember, this won’t happen overnight but you can do it!

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