How to Start Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money from your home. And getting started with affiliate marketing is a straightforward task. You can earn money without creating and owning a product. You don’t need an office or infrastructure to earn money from affiliate marketing. It is easy and lucrative.

Anil Agarwal, for instance, earned $300K+ from a single affiliate product. Here is a screenshot of his earnings:

affiliate earnings case study

The best part: He doesn’t even own the product. He just sends traffic to the affiliate product, people buy it, and he gets his commission. No inventory, no customer support, no office, no team to manage, no borders. You just need to market your affiliate product and that’s it.

If you are interested in becoming an affiliate marketer, keep reading. This step-by-step guide will show you how to start affiliate marketing even if you know nothing about it.

What is Affiliate Marketing and How It Works?

Affiliate marketing refers to earning a commission per sale by promoting other people’s products. Affiliate marketers select an affiliate product, promote it, generate sales, and are paid by the manufacturer.

Here is how it works:

how affiliate marketing works

As an affiliate, you get an affiliate link from the merchant (product manufacturer or owner). When a customer clicks your affiliate link and buys, you get a commission from the merchant.

Simple, right?

Let’s see how you can do this and start earning money.

Step #1: Choose a Niche

A niche is a subgroup of a large market that has its unique needs and preferences. When starting affiliate marketing, the most important thing you have to do is select a niche market.


To stay focused and unique.

You need to target a specific market that other big players aren’t targeting. This will give you a head start and you’ll be able to stand out from the crowd. Targeting a unique affiliate niche helps you generate sales easily as compared to choosing a common niche where competition is fierce.

You can avoid competition by selecting a micro-niche that is the narrowest possible niche in the market. You can easily rank for long-tail keywords in a micro-niche with minimal SEO.

micro niche in marketing

Here is how to choose a niche for your affiliate marketing business:

  1. Follow your passion. Find your niche in something that you love to do
  2. Use a keyword research tool (e.g. SEMrush or Ahrefs) to refine your niche, check competition, and keywords. Make sure that your niche has demand by analyzing keywords and search volume.

Step #2: Select Affiliate Network and Affiliate Products

Choosing an appropriate affiliate network and finding the right affiliate products is one of the most essential steps in starting affiliate marketing.

An affiliate network connects affiliate marketers with merchants and acts as an intermediary. The affiliate network manages everything ranging from affiliate links to tracking to payments to transparency and more.

Your best bet is to go with a famous and reliable affiliate network such as Amazon Associates, eBay Partner Network, ShareASale, and Rakuten Marketing.

Remember, you can register with multiple affiliate networks and work with merchants from different networks. When selecting an affiliate network, make sure it offers numerous products in your selected niche.

The affiliate product must have low or medium competition. Most affiliate networks have a competition metric that you can use to find competition. Alternately, you can use a keyword research tool to analyze the product’s competition in SERPs.

You can use monthly search volume for the product’s name in your favorite keyword research tool to analyze the competition. Affiliate products with low monthly search volume (under 100 searches per month) should be your top priority.

Get affiliate links for your selected products and move to the next step.

Step #3: Decide the Marketing Channel

What is the primary marketing channel that you wish to use for affiliate marketing?

You can use a blog (or a niche website), social networks (Instagram or YouTube), free blogging platforms (e.g., forums, or a combination of multiple marketing channels.

Nothing works better than having your own self-hosted website or blog.


Because you own it. You can use it the way you like. And it is fully scalable. The problem with your website or blog is that it needs time to grow. You have to work hard to drive traffic and generate sales as your website won’t be credible.

This is why a lot of affiliate marketers prefer using social networks and free blogging platforms that are already well-established and reputable. However, you’ll still have to drive traffic.

I recommend creating your website as it is yours forever. It doesn’t cost you a lot of money to create a website or blog from scratch. Here is how to do it:

1. Buy domain and hosting. A lot of hosting companies offer a free domain name such as Bluehost, DreamHost, and HostGator. Initially, you can go for shared hosting that costs under $10 per month.

shared hosting example

2. Install WordPress on your domain. It is an open-source content management system that is absolutely free to use. You can find a step-by-step WordPress installation guide with your hosting company. Installation hardly takes 5 minutes.

how to install wordpress screenshot

3. Install a free WordPress theme and basic free plugins.

4. Start publishing content, add affiliate links, and publish your website.

Step #4: Drive Clicks to Affiliate Links

You need people to click your affiliate links and buy products, that’s how you’ll get your commission. Making your target audience click your affiliate links is the real task.

Here is a proven technique to drive traffic and generate affiliate sales like a pro:

  1. Write awesome long-form content using skyscraper technique or 10x content strategy
  2. Focus on helping people instead of writing promotional content
  3. Target long-tail keywords
  4. Add relevant affiliate links within the article without getting salesy
  5. Publish content on your affiliate website
  6. Share your content on social networks
  7. Show your content to influencers who are most likely to link to it. Choose bloggers and webmasters who have linked to similar content. This data can be accessed from any keyword research tool
  8. Acquire backlinks naturally e.g. guest blogging and broken link strategy
  9. Repeat.

Do this consistently to drive traffic to your affiliate website, generate sales, and build your community.

Get Started with Affiliate Marketing Now

Getting started with affiliate marketing isn’t hard. You know how to start affiliate marketing, right?

But that’s not enough.

You need to stick with it and be consistent. Above all, the golden rule to affiliate marketing success is to help – not sell. This holds true for all types of businesses but it is the most important variable in the affiliate marketing business model.

Try helping your target audience by solving their problem and suggest appropriate affiliate products that can genuinely solve their problem. Don’t force them to buy affiliate products. Help them, solve their problems, and they’ll trust you. Once you develop trust, you’ll be at the top of your game.

Featured Image: Pexels

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