What’s Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work? A Simple Guide For Beginners

Share with

So you want to learn affiliate marketing. But what’s affiliate marketing and how does it work? How can you get started and actually make money?

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work

You have landed on the right place, because in this article I will tell you everything you need to know about affiliate marketing, including how you can get started for free even as a beginner.

If you stay until the end, I will even give you my Make Money Online Guide to help you fast-track your success. Without further ado, let’s begin.

What’s Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work?

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is the process of promoting other people’s products and earning commissions for doing so. You work with companies by promoting their products and each time you generate a sale, you earn a percentage of that sale.

Most companies that have an online presence, such as Amazon, Apple, Ebay, Nike ,etc, have affiliate programs through which you can promote their products for money.

Here is an example of Amazon’s affiliate program called Amazon Associates:

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - Amazon Associates

Affiliate marketing is not about selling. It’s about recommending products and helping people. Here is how it works.

You send somebody to the Amazon website by recommending a product, they purchase something, you get paid.

Of course, this is a simplified model. There is more than just ”spamming your links to people”, but we will get more in detail later in this article. The important thing for now is to understand how affiliate marketing works.

Why is affiliate marketing such a great business model?

Affiliate marketing is a fantastic way to earn money because you literally only have to focus on one thing – promoting.

You don’t need to deal with customer support, shipping, sales, refunds, buying inventory or anything like that. Your only job is to drive traffic to an offer.

Another great thing with affiliate marketing is that there is no face to face selling or talking over the phone, which makes this business model perfect for introverts too.

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - sky

But the best part is that there are no limitations of how much you can earn. The more work you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Some affiliates earn as much as 5-figures per month and if you really push yourself, you can go beyond 6-figures per month. Only the sky’s the limit.



How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a pretty simple business model. First you find a company that you would like to promote. Then you join their affiliate program (which is free to do) and they give you a special link, called affiliate link. It contains your unique affiliate ID and it is through that link that you will be promoting their products.

Let me make things clear by giving you an example. Let’s say you join an affiliate program that gives you the affiliate ID ”abc123”. Your affiliate link may look something like this: ”www.companyname.com/abc123”

If someone clicked on your link and made a purchase, the company you work with will get notified that it was you who generated the sale and give you a commission.

I hope it makes sense now 🙂

Some companies even use ”cookies”. These are small text files that contain an expiry date & your affiliate ID. This means that if someone clicked on your link, but didn’t purchase right away, you will still be credited for the commission.

The cookie life can be 24 hours, 5 days, 1 week, 1 month, 90 days, and so on. It depends on the company you partner with.

The important thing is that as long as the ”cookie is alive”, you will earn a commission when someone makes a purchase.

This is another proof that affiliate companies make it really easy for you. They do almost everything. Your only job is to promote their products. There is no need to sell, deal with customers, ship products or anything like that.

You just need to send people to an offer and if they buy (even if that doesn’t happen right away), you make money.


How Do Affiliate Marketers Make Money?

I don’t want to give you the false impression that it is going to be easy to make money with affiliate marketing. Even though the process is simple, it will still require a lot of hard work.

Whether or not you are successful with affiliate marketing depends on how well you promote your affiliate links. You need to get clicks in order to make sales and therefore, money. The more click you get, the higher chances you have to make money.

But how do you get clicks and traffic to your affiliate offers?

There are a number of different ways to get clicks. Some use paid advertising (also known as ads), others use social media, but in my opinion there is a much better way. What if I told you that it is possible to attract your own traffic (visitors) instead of having to chase them? And what if I told you that you can achieve that completely free?

All of that is possible thanks to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

What Is SEO And How Does It Work?

SEO allows you to leverage search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo to get unlimited visitors to your website for FREE. Just as the name reveals, SEO is all about optimizing your content for the search engines so that it is easier for them to identify what your content is about.

Let me explain how it works.

Let’s say that you create a website and start publishing articles on it. Google will discover your content and list it in the search results as an option for people to click on when they search for something related to topic of your articles.

So as an example, if you are interested in backpack traveling, you could create a webpage about the best travel backpacks. Then, when someone searches for ”best travel backpacks”, your article will show up in the Google search results. Like this:

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - backpacks google search

This is the way you get free traffic from Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Someone searches for something on Google and lands on your website if it is relevant to the search term.

Now when you have people coming to your page, it is a good opportunity for you to promote your affiliate offers and make money.

This is exactly what the owner of the page shown above has done. Take a look:

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - backpack links leading to Amazon

As you can see, each of those links are affiliate links, leading people to Amazon. When someone clicks on those links and buys something from Amazon, the creator of that page will earn a commission.

As I already mentioned earlier, some affiliate programs use cookies. Amazon’s cookies last 24 hours. This means that if someone clicks on the affiliate link, left the page, but then came back 24 hours later and bough anything from Amazon, the person who created the backpack article will still make money.

And guess what? It took only a couple of hours to write that article and the person who created it will continue to make money from it for years to come. This is the power of affiliate marketing and SEO combined together.

My top recommended training for learning affiliate marketing and SEO is Wealthy Affiliate. It is where me and thousands of others got started and learned how to build a successful affiliate marketing business.

How Much Money Can You Make As An Affiliate Marketer?

There are no limits of how much you can earn. Some affiliates earn 5-figures per month, some even earn 6-figures per month and others earn only 3-figures. It all depends on the amount of work that you put in. The more time you dedicate to it and the harder you work, the more money can you make.

The good thing with affiliate marketing, especially if you leverage SEO which I talked about in the previous section, is that once you have done the initial work, it will continue to earn you passive income every month. Your income can literally build up like a snow ball.

Here is an example that can serve both as a proof and inspiration about what is possible when you combine affiliate marketing with SEO.

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - exponentially growing income

This is the income from month 0 to month 10 of a brand new affiliate marketer in his early 20’s called Jerry. If you want to read more about how he did it, check out this blog post about his journey.

As you can see in the first 4 months, he wasn’t earning a lot. This is because SEO takes time. You need to gain the search engine’s trust first. The way you do that is by publishing new content regularly. After you have gained their trust, the search engines will start ranking your posts. This means that more and more people will see them and your income will grow exponentially.

In other words, you will earn more and more over time as long as you are committed and do the work.

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - don't give up too soon

The biggest mistake that I see people make is giving up too soon. They see the lack of results within their first few months and decide to quit because they think that it isn’t working.

The reality is that it just takes time, consistency and persistence. Those who are willing to be patient and do the work, will reap results. Others, who are only after quick solutions, will always go from one opportunity to another and struggle.

So to summarize, only the sky is the limit, but no one can do the work for you. You have to do it yourself, be persistent and don’t give up too soon.


How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

When I first heard about affiliate marketing and all the opportunities that come with it, I wanted to get started immediately. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to get started. I spent an entire month only watching YouTube videos about affiliate marketing, but at the end I only felt overwhelmed and confused.

Luckily, I finally found a platform that has the solutions to all my concerns. The platform is called Wealthy Affiliate and it has everything you need in one place. Wealthy Affiliate provides you with step-by-step training, tools, access to community, support and even 1-on-1 coaching.

The best part is that you can join Wealthy Affiliate for free.

Wealthy Affiliate offers both FREE and Premium coaching. When you create your free account, you will get access to the first 10 lessons of the training. You will also be given access to a powerful keyword research tool. Wealthy Affiliate will teach you how to build your first website for free and you will have the opportunity to interact with some of the greatest affiliate marketers in the community.

You don’t even need to enter your credit card details when creating your free account. The only thing that they will ask for is your email.

This means that you will not lose anything by checking it out. You can only get new knowledge and if you decide that the platform isn’t for you, you can always leave.

Here is a sneak peek of what you will learn:

What's Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work - first 10 lessons

I am telling you all of that because I know how you are feeling. I was there too. But I don’t want you to struggle and do the same mistakes that I did. Sure you can learn a lot from watching YouTube videos, but they will never give you the step-by-step process in such a depth as Wealthy Affiliate does.

Wealthy Affiliate was the solution for me and I believe that it can help you as well. Take a look inside the platform and decide for yourself. I hope to see you on the other side and help you grow our business 🙂

Get My FREE Make Money Online Guide

If you have read this far, it means that you are serious about building a successful affiliate marketing business. As a thank you for reading this article, I decided to put together a FREE Make Money Online Guide. There you will find lots of helpful information about affiliate marketing.

Other than my own experiences with affiliate marketing, you will find out what is the number one reason why people fail and how you can avoid it. I also explain the step-by-step process of making money with affiliate marketing. I will show you how you can create a website for free and drive traffic to it.

I will give you real life examples of affiliate marketing and lots of success stories. I will tell you why I prefer affiliate marketing over other business models and at the end I will show you how you can become an affiliate marketer for free. Check it out by clicking the button below.

Get My FREE Make Money Online Guide Here


Affiliate Marketing FAQ

Hopefully, the article above has answered the majority of your questions, but to make things even more clear, I decided to put together this list of others FAQ that beginner affiliate marketers have.

Is Affiliate Marketing Legal?

Yes, affiliate marketing is 100% legal. Almost all companies that have an online presence have affiliate programs. There is no need to recruit someone or sell. Your only job is to promote products by recommending them to people. There’s nothing illegal about that.

How Can I Start Affiliate Marketing With No Money?

The best place for those of you who want to start affiliate marketing, but have no money, is Wealthy Affiliate. Wealthy Affiliate allows you to test drive the platform for free. They even give you the first 10 lessons for free and provide you with tools. They will also give you a free website and help you build a solid foundation for your online business.

Isn’t Affiliate Marketing Too Saturated?

While it is true that many people are making money with affiliate marketing, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make money with it too. Don’t fall for the scarcity mindset. There is more than enough for everybody. There are more businesses online and more people shopping online than ever before. So there’s actually never been a better time to make money with affiliate marketing.

Can I Do Affiliate Marketing Without a Website?

Yes, you can, but I don’t recommend it. Unless you have a huge following, it will be extremely hard to make money without a website. You will always have to chase people. A website is an asset that you have. People will come to you instead of you going after them. If you don’t know how to build a website, check out this step-by-step tutorial.

Is Affiliate Marketing Passive Income?

Both yes and no. It all depends on how you drive traffic to your affiliate links. If you use methods that require active input, such as social media, then it won’t be passive. But if you leverage methods like content creation, it can be 100% passive.

A perfect example of that is publishing articles that are optimized for SEO. Note that it will take time to set everything up in the beginning, but once it is done, it will require no or very little of your time.

How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Technically you can earn money immediately. When someone clicks on your link and buys you will make money. But let’s be realistic. The chances that will happen are very small. So generally speaking if you’re brand new, set yourself a time frame of at least 3 to 6 months before expecting to see your first commissions.


Got More Questions?

I hope the answers I provided in this post were helpful. If you still happen to have more question, do not hesitate to leave them in the comments below and I will be more than happy to help you out 🙂

If you feel like you have enough information and are ready to get started, simply create your free account here. I hope to see you on the other side and help you get started the right way.

Share with

16 thoughts on “What’s Affiliate Marketing And How Does It Work? A Simple Guide For Beginners”

  1. Hi Delyana,
    What a great compilation explaining what is Affiliate Marketing and how one can make money out of it. I stand by your recommendation of Wealthy Affiliate which has a great training in place and is a great hand-holding for new affiliate marketers.
    I am a member at Wealthy Affiliate and enjoying the benefits explained in your post above. It is highly recommended for anyone trying to make money online via affiliate marketing.
    Thanks for this great post.

    • I am happy to hear that you are a Wealthy Affiliate member and enjoy the platform. Wealthy Affiliate gives the best affiliate marketing training at the lowest price possible and I absolutely love it. I can’t recommend it enough!

  2. This is a well thought out article that answered my questions on affiliate marketing. It let me know what to expect and to consistently keep working to improve my articles with solid recommendations. I just have 1 question: Can you make money from any topic as long as it has products to sell in it?

    • Yes, you can make money with any topic. Some are more profitable than other, such as health, wealth and relationships, but they are also more saturated. However, that shouldn’t stop you. The training at Wealthy Affiliate will teach you exactly how to outrank your competition. But in general you can make money online from literally anything. If you have a specific interest, chances are that others have the same interest as well.

  3. Hi, Delyana,

    Thank you for this post. I agree with you on all aspects you’ve touched here and that’s not because I want to flatter you.

    This is the power of Wealthy Affiliate training where everything gets clear and simple to understand.

    I’ve red a lot of negative reviews about WA where people say that the training is outdated and doesn’t work. Which is simply not true. I’ve made my first sale in approximately 4 months and that was exactly what they were promising.


    • I am so happy to hear that you have success with Wealthy Affiliate. Most people who write negative reviews about WA are the ones who are only after quick solutions. They expect that they will make money within a few weeks, but that’s not the case with Wealthy Affiliate since it focuses on SEO and blogging. These things take time. It can take several month for the search engines to start trusting your content and start ranking it.

      So to all people who are thinking of joining Wealthy Affiliate, but are coming across negative reviews, chances are they are written by people who are looking for quick money. The training at Wealthy Affiliate works. You just have to follow it exactly and be patient.


  4. Affiliate marketing is amazing and has changed the way we do business. This is a great business to get involved with.

    Though it requires a lot of work, the rewards are there. Thanks for sharing a great review on how this business works.

    • You are welcome, Norman. I believe affiliate marketing is the best business model out there, both for beginners and for experienced marketers. No matter what level you are at, Wealthy Affiliate has the step-by-step training for you. And for those who are more experienced, Wealthy Affiliate offers one on one coaching, live webinars and training created by people with years of experience in the affiliate marketing field.

  5. Thanks for this post. I have learned a lot about Affiliate Marketing. I have to say, I wish that I had started with affiliate marketing as apposed to Network marketing from the very beginning. I cannot tell you how much money I wasted by going down the wrong path. I think many people do this because they are looking for a short cut rather than building a foundation for their business. Which, of course, is building your own website. I agree with you about allowing yourself at least 3 to 6 months to start earning commissions. This is a realistic goal and is certainly worth the effort.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate people who are willing to put in the work and are thinking long term. I am sorry to hear that you got involved in network marketing, but the important thing is that you have now understood the power affiliate marketing has over MLMs. Better late than never 😉

      I just wish there were more people like you who are not after the quick solutions, but rather for building a solid foundation for your business. Wish you all the best


  6. You have made it easy for people to understand the advantages of affiliate marketing, as well as demystifying how to start a business and succeed. By learning the basics and applying them consistently affiliate marketing is an ideal source of income. I appreciate your thoughts.

  7. Thank you for sharing these insights into affiliate marketing Delyana. You’ve broken it down so that anyone new to or curious about affiliate marketing can take action and get started.
    I like how you took the time to answer various questions about it also and in summary!

  8. I would first like to thank you for crafting such a great post and tell you that I’m very appreciative for taking the time to explain to me how affiliate works and all the possibilities that come with it.

    I’ve been making money by running CPA campaigns, but I’m finally ready to move on to blogging. I’m almost sure that I went on a wrong path from the very beginning, but ALL is about to change very soon.

    One more question: Do you think that free traffic works better than paid? And if yes, why so?

    • Yes, I believe that free organic traffic is the best kind of traffic that you can get. Why?
      1.People come to you instead of you having to chase them.
      2. As long as people are searching for a specific keyword in Google, you will keep receiving traffic. With paid advertising your traffic ends as soon as your money ends.
      I hope that answered your question 😊


Leave a Comment