Image of Affiliate Marketing for Beginners 2021: Free Guide

Affiliate Marketing for Beginners 2021: Free Guide

Affiliate marketing for beginners can be overwhelming! It is such a great way to make money, but it’s hard to know where to start. The internet is full of opportunities for making money and affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways.

But if you’re new to this world, it can be hard to know what affiliate marketing even is or how it works.

We’ve created an article just for you that will help answer your questions on what affiliate marketing even is and how it works, as well as some types of products best suited for new affiliates like yourself.

I’ll also relate to my story of how I make money using affiliate marketing.

Best Affiliate Marketing Course

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
  • Step by step guide on how to promote affiliate products 
  • How to get accepted onto affiliate programs.
  • How to promote via social media and Pinterest
  • How to rinse and repeat your process
Find out more
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Read our honest review of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s products or services in exchange for monetary compensation. Whether you’re a blogger, Instagrammer, Youtuber, small business owner or just someone who wants to make some extra money, affiliate marketing is an excellent opportunity for earning passive income while doing what you love.

Affiliate marketing is really just a quick way to offer products and services without having to create your own products and services. For bloggers, that means you find a product or service that you like, promote it to your readers, and earn part of the profit on each sale that you make.

How does affiliate marketing work?

When someone purchases something from the merchant’s site using your link and email address, you get a commission as compensation. You need to add what is called your affiliate link to something for people to click on. This can be a product you recommend in an article or review, or it could just be the affiliate link itself when you’re ready to start promoting products. Affiliate links are usually generated by a company that already has relationships with different merchants, so you don’t have to do all of the hard work yourself!

How to Start Affiliate marketing is 5 easy steps

Here’s the key thing to understand as an affiliate marketer.

You are earning commissions in return for valuable insights and information about things people were already thinking about buying anyway.

  • What this means is that you should be able to answer all of their questions about the product: what it does, how it works, how much it costs, if its any good and who the target audience is.
  • If you want to make affiliate marketing work for you, focus on providing value in terms of what people are looking for and you’ll have no problem finding success.

How can you help them to make a better decision about a product than they would alone? How can you make it less overwhelming?

Believe it or not, as an influencer, you are providing value to your audience by saving them time and in some cases money too.

Systemize this via your blog or niche site and you can provide value to thousands of people worldwide!

Choose products you love and trust

It is crucial that when you are choosing products to promote as an affiliate, you only choose products that you love and trust. This way you’ll be more likely to be successful.

Think of it like this:

Would you be comfortable recommending it to your mom?

There are two ways to do this:

1. Promote products you’ve used and you believe to be successful.

2. Promote products you can get access to either by buying them full price or by getting a free trial.

Either way, you need to make sure they are a good fit and useful for your audience.

Set yourself up as an affiliate

Every affiliate program will ask you to register with them. They usually check that your stats for example, the amount of traffic you are getting to your site, matches their criteria. If you qualify for membership to the program, then they may give you access to: 

Every affiliate program will ask you to register with them. They usually check that your stats for example, the amount of traffic you are getting to your site, matches their criteria. If you qualify for membership to the program, then they may give you access to: 

  • An affiliate portal
  • Your affilliate link

Affliate portals will give you an idea of:

  • how many people have clicked on your link
  • How many people have bought the product through your link
  • How much commission you have made from your affiliate link.

Ana from the SheApproach has a superb affiliate program list to get you started. 

Promote your chosen affiliate offers and products

You can do this in a few ways, but personally two main ways work for me. 

  1. Through educational content like this
  2. Via my email list

Other options you can try are: via social media, word of mouth and via ads. I personally believe that if you are on a budget, it’s best to avoid ads, but that’s just my opinion.

Ideas for promoting your offers

Create a resources page

This is an awesome way to recommend products, courses and tools that genuinely work for you. Read my resources page. It will save people time because everything is listed in one place!

Review posts

This is the main way I promote affiliate products. This could be my journey using one product such as Stupid Simple SEO, or it may be involve comparing two or more products like my post on Filthy Rich Writer’s copywriting course. 

It gives people an idea of the value of the products and real scenarios because I actually love and use these products to build on my success.

Educational content on the topic – soft sell

You can also write related content – which to be honest, I have only done with income reports so far. Basically you are mentioning the product in passing. It’s almost like a soft sell because the product is instrumental in the success of my blog. Does that make sense? 

So I will mention that Stupid Simple SEO has helped me grow my traffic and therefore my blog income has increased. But I won’t go into great detail and become salesy because that puts people off and makes them wonder whether I am genuine. 

You could write an ultimate guide post and then provide a link to a great resource that you use.

Bonus content

Bonus content can be anything from a free checklist when they sign up for a course. Or it could even be an ebook on the topic. 

Bonus content ideas:

  • Ebook on the topic
  • Free planner 
  • Checklist for success 
  • Quick start guides 
  • Video demos
  • Coaching time 

Comply with legal requirements

The FTC in the US expects you to tell your audience that you will earn a commission from your affiliate link. But it’s good practice anyway to let people know that you will profit from the sale, even though it won’t affect the price the person pays. 

Basically you need to be transparent. 

Here’s 3 examples of affiliate disclosure I put on my sites

 Affiliate disclosure 1

an affiliate disclosure is really important so you are transparent with your website audience

Affiliate disclosure 2

an affiliate disclosure is mandatory so you are transparent with your website audience

Amazon disclosure in my site footer

an affiliate disclosure if you are recommending products via amazon is part of the terms and conditions.

It’s really important to include this in because you can easily get kicked out of affiliate programs for not disclosing this information.

Examples of Affiliate Products you can promote


Think about it – have you bought an online course that really helped you succeed? They usually have an affiliate program you can join

 What we like

  • The commissions tend to be among the highest and can average at around 40%. Which is pretty awesome when you think some courses are around the $497 price mark. 
  • You usually just need a website to put a review post on and you’re good to go. 
  • You can supplement the offer with your own bonus content.

What we don’t like

  • Nothing to say – it’s a win win

Digital Downloads

Digital downloads are great because the possibilities really are endless. My preferred way is to upload them to Sendowl and the platform handles it easily. 

Examples of digital downloads:

  1. Audio or video files 
  2. PDFs
  3. Ebooks
  4. Links to webpages where the content is online.
  5. Software – games, apps, plugins, games, cloud services. 
  6. Music, TV, movies.

What we like

  • You only need to make a digital product once and then you can sell to many people. 
  • You don’t need to worry about shipping costs/ shipping jobs. 
  • A download can be one page to a whole bundle 
  • Your audience get instant access to the download

What we don’t like 

  • You need to build traffic to your website and build your email list to sell more digital products and start making enough money.

Online, Hosted and Professional Services

  • Designers –  99 Designs, Fiverr, Designmodo

Examples of professional services:

  • Masterminds and membership sites like Serious Bloggers Only, Freelance Writer’s Den, Digital Marketer

Research or consulting services Touchstone Research Group, or Snow Consulting

Examples of services online or hosted:

  • Website hosting (Wix, Squarespace)
  • Website platforms  – Squarespace
  • Page builders –  Thrive themes

Email service providers – AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit

What we like

  • You can make more commissions because usually the products are at a higher price point. 
  • You don’t need to worry about shipping costs/ shipping jobs. 
  • A download can be one page to a whole bundle 
  • Your audience get instant access to the download.

What we don’t like

  • You need to build traffic to your website and build your email list to sell more digital products and start making enough money.

 FAQs Affiliate marketing for beginners

What is the best affiliate marketing for beginners?

Some of the best programs include:

  • Amazon Associates. 
  • ShareASale
  • Commission Junction
  • Rakuten
  • Flexoffers
  • Shopify
  • Buzzsprout
  • ClickBank (for small businesses)

In her affiliate program masterlist, Ana details the best programs to apply to first, with top tips on how.

Is affiliate marketing easy?

I think it’s the same with everything – you get better results over time, the more you learn and refine your process and build your website traffic. You also need to consider whether the products you plan to recommend would work with your audience and whether you actually would use them yourself. 

Affiliate marketing is by no means a get-rich-quick scheme. It will take time, just as SEO does.

Can you make a living off affiliate marketing?

Yes you can, but it takes time and effort. Many times I was about to jack it all in and I’m glad I didn’t. 

Now I’m making on average $2000 a month, I’m working on generating different income streams. So if for example my earnings are lower because of the holidays, I can still pay crucial bills.

Affiliate marketing – is it achievable to make decent money?

In short, yes it is possible to make a decent amount of money from affiliate marketing!

Read my blog income reports

Affiliate Marketing is an excellent way to make some extra money, especially when you are passionate about something. We hope this article has helped introduce the basics of affiliate marketing and how it can work for your small business or blog. 

As a beginner in affiliate marketing, we recommend choosing products that align with what you’re already blogging or writing about so that they match up well with other content on your site.

You need to be transparent and honest – it’s easy to spot someone recommending a product for the sake of it. You’ve seen through it yourself probably many times. Share your journey with people about products you genuinely love and trust and provided you get enough traffic to your site, you should start to see results. 

 If there’s anything else you want to ask us about getting started as an affiliate marketer, don’t hesitate to reach out!