How Long Does It Take To Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing?

A hand with dollars and the caption How Long To Make MoneyProbably the biggest question on anyone’s mind who is considering starting an affiliate marketing business is, “How long does it take to start making money with affiliate marketing?” Truth be told, when I hear about any business model designed to make money online, this is a huge question for me!

A lot of people are going to give you a lot of different answers, but I’m going to go through it and give you the best guidance I can. So keep reading below to get a realistic timeline and see if affiliate marketing is for you!

Expectations Are Hard To Pinpoint

One of the reasons the question is asked so often is because there are so many variables that play into the results you can expect. Affiliate marketing isn’t something that a lot of people understand or even know that it is a business model for making money online.

Writing a list with information on itIf you were going to open up a McDonald’s franchise, for example, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips that can guide you into a realistic timeline to become profitable. You can find all kinds of statistics from the corporation itself and your city council to help you determine what you should expect from a franchise restaurant in your area, such as:

  1. Size of your restaurant
  2. Number of seats available
  3. The population of the area you are in
  4. Wages you will need to pay
  5. Corporate taxes that will be levied, and so on…

All of this information will be used to create reliable projections about how fast you can become profitable. It’s much easier in this case to have a good, realistic mindset going into your business.

However, with affiliate marketing you can ask 10 people how fast you can start making money, and you’re likely to get 10 different answers–with no real expectation of which one is more accurate for you!

So I’m going to give you a basic timeline that is realistic for most people starting out in this business. Then I’ll go over some factors that can cause this timeline to slow down or speed up.

==>==>  Get my Proven 5 Step Plan To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing  <==<==


A Timeline For Most Beginners

~ First month–Finding a quality hosting service to set up your website can be done much easier than years ago, so you accomplish this within one day. Then during this first month you:

  • Choose a niche
  • Pick a name for your website
  • Start your site on a free subdomain or buy a domain
  • Choose a theme for your site
  • Create your base pages–About Me, Affiliate Disclosure, and Privacy Policy
  • Start writing your first posts, which is your content
  • Research and apply to affiliate programs to monetize your site

~ Second and Third Months–You are going to be adding content, but writing is likely to take a while. The research for each post is time consuming, and you’re working on things like your writing style, how to find topics, what keywords should you use, how to add great images, and how to target your key audience. For a lot of people, it’s intimidating trying to write 1000 word posts regularly–I was one of them!A calendar

Your posts are getting indexed on Google, Bing, and Yahoo, but they will dance in and out of the rankings. Your site is young and not established as an authority yet, so good rankings aren’t likely at this point.

It’s likely that you’ll have a lot of questions about working in the back office of your website during this time. You will want a secure site that offers a great experience for your visitors. So you’ll know what you want to do, but it will take time and research to figure out how to do it. There are great plugins you can add to your site to give it more functionality, but it takes time to find them and try them out.

~ Fourth thru Sixth Months–Your writing is getting faster and you’re getting into a good rhythm writing about 3 posts per week. It’s less time consuming, and writing 1000 words is getting easier every day. By the end of this time period, you have somewhere around 50-75 posts on your site.

Your posts are getting indexed faster, and you’re starting to see them rank faster. However, it’s still normal to see them dance in and out of the search engines. You’re adding product reviews and seeing that they are getting ranked faster on Google.Google logo

You start seeing your traffic increase, although it’s still fairly low. It’s not unusual to see sites younger than 6 months old still getting only 10-15 visitors a day or even less. Many people abandon their sites during this time if they’re not seeing the results they want, so Google can be stubborn about sending traffic your way when your site is this young yet!

You start looking at social media more during this time as ways to promote your site. After signing up for a few of them, you post your new content regularly, and you start getting followers.

You may or may not have gotten any sales during this time. If you have, you’re feeling pretty good, but if not, you’re getting down and frustrated! That’s OK, because whether or not you get sales during this time is not an indication of whether your site is going to be a success or not. Many successful marketers have taken months before making a penny.

~ Six Months to One Year–Six months of effort and sacrifices of time to work on your business with not much money coming in are taking a toll. You take a few days off, relax, and come back refreshed–but you don’t quit! These six months are the breaking point of your site because you need to have faith that the effort you’ve been putting in will start paying off.

Your traffic starts increasing gradually, and the numbers are trending in the right location. Once the traffic increases, clicks on your affiliate links increase, and you see sales begin to rise. Seeing results motivates you even more, and you start publishing four posts per week!Computer with an envelope for email

You start your email marketing campaign by signing up for an autoresponder service and creating a subscription form. This starts your email list building, and you start sending out a newsletter twice a month with your recent posts and promotions.

You also start working on creating videos for your site and create a YouTube channel.

Your sales start to increase each month, and by the end of your 1st year, your earnings are consistently rising slowly each month into 3 figures. You’ve got somewhere around 100 posts or more on your site.

~ The Second Year–The results of your hard work keep showing. You keep adding regular content to your site, posting on social media, and sending newsletters to your email list–rinse and repeat!

Putting some of your earnings back into your business will help you scale your profits faster. So you start some paid advertising campaigns and your earnings rise.

By the end of the 2nd year, there are 250-300 posts on your site, your earnings are increasing, and you’re making 4 figures every month or possibly more! Now you decide to scale your business even further by outsourcing content and beginning another website.

==>==>  Get my Proven 5 Step Plan To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing  <==<==


Factors That Can Extend Or Shorten Your Timeline

There are many factors that can change the story above to making money faster or slower, and they all depend upon you! So you will need to look at your own situation to see if there are variables that may slow down your ability to make your business profitable.

Here are some of the factors you need to consider:

A clock~ Time–This can be the biggest obstacle in my opinion. I started affiliate marketing when I was still working a job where I was on call and also taking care of my grandson many nights. Finding the time to write was a struggle for a while, and things progressed slower for me in the first few months.

If you’re in a position where you don’t have the time to write 3-4 posts a week, don’t worry that your business won’t succeed. It may just take longer to see results. One of the biggest benefits of an online business is the ability to work on it at your own pace and fit it into your life!

~ Writing Ability–Everyone has different skills and abilities, so writing may be easier or more difficult for you. I know marketers who can write 3000 to 4000 words before lunch, and there are those who struggle to write 1000 words in 8 hours.

If you have excellent writing skills and can publish more posts with longer word counts, it’s very likely that you can shorten the timeline above to start making money. If you struggle to write good content, you could take longer to reach your goals.

~ Experience or Training–If you have ever created a website before, sold products online, or written for a blog before, you can definitely shorten the above timeline. But if you are a complete newbie, you can expect to make money within that timeline or it could be extended depending upon your learning curve.

~ Affiliate Programs–All affiliate programs have different terms and commission rates and this can affect how long it takes to start making money. For instance, if you are promoting a high-ticket item, you’ll have fewer sales, but the profits will be larger than small ticket items. With fewer sales, it may be longer before you see any income.

~ Product Reviews–Google loves to rank product reviews! So if you have product reviews on your site, you’ll get faster ranking. If you don’t do them, it may take longer to see traffic. This is dependent upon your niche, some of them may rank very well without doing reviews.

Quality control approved stamp~ Quality of Your Site–The quality of the user experience on your site will definitely impact how well your visitors will convert into customers. If it’s well written, with easy navigation, and gives your audience information that they find helpful and enjoyable, your site will retain visitors well. The search engines reward sites like these with great rankings.

If your site is not well written, the navigation is confusing or hard to find, or your audience doesn’t find quality information, they won’t stay long or come back. Your site will not rank well, and it will be difficult to increase traffic–which means it will take longer to make money!

~ Free vs. Paid Traffic–In the timeline above, it’s assumed that you will use SEO, Search Engine Optimization, to drive organic traffic to your site, and use paid traffic after making money.

If you have a budget for paid traffic, you can kick start your traffic sooner, which means that it’s very likely that you’ll start making commissions sooner as well. Keep in mind that paid traffic can be very expensive, especially for those who are not experienced. It’s not uncommon to spend hundreds of dollars a month without getting comparable sales for beginners!

Watch Out For False Promises From Scam Promoters!

There are many, many sites out there that are promising beginners huge earnings fast–sometimes within 24 hours! I have yet to find one that is able to back up their claims. In fact, a lot of these sites are only around for a few months, but then new ones pop up all the time.

Always be aware of anyone who tells you that you can make easy, fast money online because they are trying to sell you something. Beginners buy these programs and their upsells for hundreds of dollars and then sometimes spend hundreds more on paid traffic trying to get them to work before failing to make money.

Here are a few programs that I’ve reviewed recently to show you what I’m talking about:

The fact is that making money online takes time, patience and hard work. You can try to take shortcuts or buy done-for-you programs that say they’ll do it all, and you may make some money with them. But significant, long-term, consistent income is the goal most people are looking for, and you won’t find that by taking shortcuts.

==>==> See how to avoid scams and spot legitimate affiliate marketing programs <==<==


Find Out Why Great Hosting And Training Can Be Key

Great website hosting with all the features you need to run a successful, secure business is essential to becoming profitable. But if you add in step-by-step training, live webinars, live chat, and a community platform that is accessible 24/7, you will have the very best chance of getting your business profitable as soon as possible.

My #1 recommendation is Wealthy Affiliate, and this is the program where I host all my sites and learned how to make money online. Their Starter membership is free for life, and you can create 2 websites and have access to Level 1 of their Online Entrepreneur Certification Training–no credit card required.

I encourage you to check out my full review of Wealthy Affiliate and see if it’s right for you. I’ve been someone who wasted thousands of dollars on programs that turned out to be nothing more than get-rich-quick schemes. So when I experienced the quality of Wealthy Affiliate’s features firsthand, I had no doubt that it would work.

You won’t hear anyone at WA tell you that you’ll make money fast with affiliate marketing. But they will show you how to create lasting, passive income with Time+Patience+Hard Work!

So if you hear someone ask, “How long does it takes to start making money with affiliate marketing?”, let them know there’s no such thing as fast, easy money on the internet. But if they are willing to put in the work, their income potential is virtually unlimited!

Have you ever wanted to earn money online with affiliate marketing? Have you tried any program that promised you fast money with little effort? Share your experiences or any questions you may have in the comments below!

I'm Janelle, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother of 5 angels (most of the time)! I started as a way to show how anyone can become financially independent and retire early. As I build out this site, I hope you'll comment and share your experiences as well. Good luck in all your endeavors, and may your success start now!

104 Replies to “How Long Does It Take To Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing?”

  1. This article has helped me so much!
    It calmed my mind a lot, i am in it for about a month now ans not even seeing traffic come to my page at all, so it is good to know that i should just reset my expectations instead of giving up 🙂 thank you so much 🙂

    1. So glad I could help! I really think that wrong expectations are the reason a lot of people quit a promising career in affiliate marketing. One of my sites right now has just started seeing the traffic numbers start to rise in the last month or so, it’s 8 months old. There are 65 posts on it, and I’m writing 4 posts a week to keep the momentum going, and I have no doubt that my sales and income will rise as well.

      It’s exciting to see when a site takes off, but it always seems to happen right after I start wondering if it’s ever going to! Good luck–I know you’ll get there!

  2. Hi Janelle,
    Excellent post on how long does it take to start making money with affiliate marketing. You’ve really done a fine job walking through what the early months are typically like. It sounds just like my journey!
    I’ve never cranked up to putting out 3 posts per week. Most of mine tend to be closer to 1500 words and since the beginning of 2018 I’ve committed to and achieved 2 posts per week. I crossed the 100th post mark recently and have yet to make any real money. I make a little bit here and there from Amazon and Adsense but to be honest have not really incorporated many product links until just recently. I’ve enjoyed the writing journey!
    This is an excellent post to beginners to help manage expectations.
    All the best,
    Mat A.

    1. Sounds like you’re doing great! I had trouble writing 3 posts a week at first, but have been able to produce more as my writing got better. If you keep writing, I’ll bet you have a terrific second year. I’d love to hear updates on your progress!

  3. This is a great breakdown of how long it ACTUALLY takes to make money with affiliate marketing. So many online opportunities offer ‘instant’ cash, but the reality is that it just doesn’t work like that. 

    You offer a very realistic breakdown of the scale here. I find it hard to gauge where I should be on the scale right now because I made the mistake of taking a couple of months ‘break’ from my site. So I don’t know whether my counter should be from the very start or from when I came back after my break. What do you think? 

    1. I did the same sort of thing when one of my sites was about 6 months old.  We had family up for a couple weeks for the July 4th holiday, we were working on a basement renovation, and frankly I was a bit burned out.  So for about a month I gave myself every excuse not to write much.  At the end of July, the progress I had been making dropped way down.

      But the wonderful thing for me about having access to a community like Wealthy Affiliate is that I could pull up some success stories that others had posted.  I read through some of them which got me motivated again and started writing more than ever!

      It took about a month, but I started seeing my rankings go up and then traffic started following.  I’m sure that I would be a little bit farther along if I had kept going without a lull in my posting, but the search engines came back around as soon as they saw regular activity again.

      You should find the same thing and those 2 months will have stopped your momentum for a bit.  But once you get back writing regularly again, you’ll see your progress–and traffic–moving right up again.  

      Good luck, and I’d love to hear back from you to see how you’re doing!

  4. Honestly it can really all depend on so many factors. People fail to realize that the first couple of months you’re really just learning the business and how to set up your site properly. Then it can takes a few weeks or months for Google to actually trust your website and send it traffic. Once the traffic comes then you’re in a position to make money. But if your website isn’t optimized to convert well in terms of how your word and place your links, it can take even longer to make money. So there is a lot to consider. I feel most of the times you’ll see revenue months down the line assuming you’re doing the right things and picked the right niche. 

    Affiliate marketing can’t be viewed in the timeline like a job where you put x hours and you’ll get x salary next week. It may mean working for free for months. Then the money eventually catches up to your effort. 

    1. I agree totally!  Affiliate Marketing is one of those businesses where you are the factor that determines if you make it or break it.

      Too many people are seeing the sites online that are trying to sell them programs with outrageous earnings and time expectations.  Then they give up when those programs don’t work.  They don’t want to hear that you could go 6 months to a year and barely make any money.

      While my timeline is general, I do hope that it will help someone go into affiliate marketing with a realistic mindset.  Then when they don’t see results right away or start to get burned out, they can work through those times and become successful.  If you just keep writing quality content that will help people and don’t give up, the odds are great that you’re going to make money.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  5. Thank you for your eye opening article. I think that so many people are thinking they can start affiliate marketing today and make money by tomorrow. Your article gives people a realistic guideline that they should be working towards.

    If you have been trying to do affiliate marketing for six months or more, it can be disheartening when the money isn’t flowing in as fast as you would like, but the secret is to keep working on your business, because giving up here would be such a waste of all the effort that you have put in so far.

    It took me about two years before I started seeing consistent sales from my websites, and I am still working towards that 4 figure month. I work full time, so probably don’t devote enough time to my websites as I should, and maybe I should only be working on one, but it is hard to choose which when they are all bringing in sales.

    So I am in no rush, I will keep plodding on and I know in a few years I will be sitting pretty with my websites, and I know that on the back end, I am building my retirement income.

    1. It sounds like you’re doing wonderful and are on your way to building a great retirement income!  Seeing consistent income in 2 years while working full time is great progress.  

      While you always wish you could spend more time on your websites, the great thing about having an online business is that you can work on it around all the other things you have in your life and still be successful.

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck getting that 4 figure month soon!

  6. Hmmm…you have given me lots to think about. I enjoy writing when I know what I am talking about. But my writing skills are limited to the scope of limitations of not being able to write an article longer than 1000 words. I wish I was one of those people who could write 3000-4000 word article.

    But truth be, I really want to read an article which isn’t longer than 2000 words. It’s time consuming to have to long articles, unless they are really interesting.

    I feel people give up way too quickly, yours truly included. This time I am dedicated to keep going no matter what. But also I am doing something I am really passionate about.

    1. I have never written a 3000 word article yet, so you’re not alone there!  I’ve always found that if I write until my topic has been fully explained to my satisfaction, it’s good.  

      If it’s not at least 1000 words, I ask myself if I’ve been thorough enough and could I give more examples to make things clearer and go over it more.  But if it’s 800 words and I’m happy with it–it gets published!  

      If I add fluff just to get the word count up, the user experience will go down for my visitors.  They’ll do exactly as you say, give up quickly and find another site where the information is more concise.

      I have to say that my writing skills definitely got better, and I’m able to produce 3 articles a week in about the same time as 2 before, with an average word count of about 1400 words.  

      I’m so glad you are writing about something you’re passionate about!  Good luck to you, and thanks for taking the time to comment!

  7. Hi, Janelle

    What a great article,  I read every single word you wrote because I am trying to make a earning of blogs and I can see my self in many cases in your article

  8. Everything in this article is explained in just enough detail to clear any worries people may have about starting up any affiliate marketing online business. 

    Finding helpful articles about this topic is difficult to find, as most of them are just vague promises that don’t put the amount of work you need to put into the business in a proper and understandable framework.

    1. There are so many programs out there that want to sell their systems by making a lot of promises that you can make an enormous amount of money online without much effort.  So it’s easy to get frustrated and feel that you should start making money much faster than it actually takes.

      I hope that this timeline will put things into a little bit better perspective for those starting out and for those who are in that crucial period of frustration before things start taking off.  

      Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  9. Hi Janelle,

    I was searching for this kind of information for quite some time because I’m a newbie in its 6th month and I can say that by far this is one of the most accurate answers I’ve found on this topic. As I said I’m in the 6th month, still don’t have a lot of traffic nor sales on my site… and to be honest, I was starting to get a bit frustrated. 🙁 However, thanks to this post I can now see the things in a different light and be overall more positive.

    One big THANK YOU,Nick.

    1. You’re welcome, and I’m so glad you found it helpful!  The 6th month mark was a bit tough for me for the same reasons–wasn’t getting much traffic and only had 2 sales up to that point.  

      Luckily, a couple of successful marketers posted about their journey, and it gave me renewed motivation.  I’m so glad that I dove back in when I did. Because a couple months later my traffic started to steadily rise, I was getting better and better rankings in the search engines, and the sales slowly, but surely, started to rise!

      Good luck, and I’d love to hear updates on your progress!

  10. You are right affiliate marketing does take some time to make money.  I just started working on a website last June.  I had many ideas to write about at first but now it has become more challenging.  Your list of what to expect when starting out assures me I’m still on the right track.  Fortunately I have not been scammed in my search to make money on line but I have heard stories of other people who have been  Warnings about who are doing that should be spread.

    1. It’s wonderful that you’ve never been taken in by a scam program, and congratulations on starting your website!  I plan to keep reviewing as many sites as I can to be sure my readers have information to make good buying decisions when starting their online business.

      Many people have given up trying to make money online and work from home after losing a lot of money.  But they’re willing to work hard and could have a great career in internet marketing if they’d found a quality program first.

      Good luck with your website, and thank you for stopping by!

  11. Hi Janelle,

    You have really hit on all of the big topics when it comes to making money online! Getting started truly was the scariest part of the whole thing for me, but now I find myself cranking out content much quicker than when I was beginning. One obstacle for me is that I am a recent college grad and full time engineer so I am only able to dedicate a couple hours a day to building out my site. Is there any advice you can give me on juggling these two things? Thank you and wonderful article 🙂


    1. I started my affiliate marketing business when I was still working, so I understand that it can be very difficult finding the time to write content and work on your site.  Don’t worry if you can only work on your business a couple hours a day.  You may see results that are slower, but you can still be successful!

      I recommend figuring out a schedule that you can keep up with for adding content.  For instance, if you only have time to write one post a week on average, publish them on a regular schedule.  Don’t go 3 weeks without adding anything, and then publish 4 posts in one week.  Your overall post count may not be as high as you’d like, but the search engines will like seeing your site updating regularly.

      Good luck, and I’d love to have you keep us updated on your progress!

  12. That’s a great question you have in the title – and one I asked myself time and time again when I first started out with internet marketing. 

    I found that the only way I could stay sane, when everyone else seemed to be earning big bucks around me, was to make small achievements to aim for, week by week. For example – I first started off aiming to make a dollar over a week period, then when I reached that I aimed for $5 and so on, and so on. 

    It’s very hard when you first start out – but if you stick at it you will see your fortunes improve. Did you also go through that time of ‘despair’ when you started out with affiliate marketing?

    1. Your idea of aiming for small achievements is a great one!  You’re right–if you can make 1 sale, you can make 5.  If you can make 5, you can make 100.  The key is patience and working hard, and you’ve shown that!

      I definitely had a hard time at about the 6 month mark on my first site.  I was working a lot of hours at my job at that time, helping to take care of my grandson, and writing content as often as I could–about 2-3 times a week.  By the time July 4th rolled around and we had all of our kids and grandkids visit for a few days, I was feeling burned out from writing.

      I found myself making excuses not to write, let myself get distracted, and by the end of July, I had neglected my site pretty much all month!  I knew I needed to find motivation because I really wanted to quit my job and work from home.

      I found success stories that Wealthy Affiliate members had posted and read as many as I could.  They were so uplifting, and many of them had reached a burnout point and gotten past it.  It gave me what I needed!  I made a goal of increasing my posts to a minimum of 3 a week, increased my product reviews, and set a schedule for my work time.

      Through the month of September a gradual increase in traffic started and continued.  My search engine rankings trended up and posts that had never ranked before started showing up in search engine results–my site was taking off!

      Everything I had learned at Wealthy Affiliate was paying off, and the momentum kept going from there!  

      I wish you continued success, and thank you for taking the time to comment!

  13. Thanks for answering the most burning question that probably all newbies have in their mind and it is one of the factor that decide when a person will quit affiliate marketing. In my own exprience I can say that writting is the number one block that delay your online success. If you are not getting traffic just keep building content. Because there is no traffic without content. Once you have content you have traffic too and eventually you can monetize the traffic many ways apart from affiliate marketing.

    1. Yep, it’s definitely the question that I get asked the most.  I agree that writing content can be the number one block for a lot of people, especially those who have never written much before.  But it does get easier and easier as time goes on.  

      Kyle, one of the owners of Wealthy Affiliate, and other experienced marketers have some great tips on how to write great content and come up with ideas.  Whenever I get stuck, I go back to their posts and training, and it always gives me a boost!

      Thank you for stopping by!

  14. This is a great review. One thing in your review struck me though. You rightfully mentioned that great hosting and training can be key. I would actually say it is key because without the hosting, you have no business, and without the training, you have no idea how to go about your hosting. These two work hand in glove and are inseparable.

    False promises really get a lot of people hooked up so easily because everyone wants to make money quick. If only they could understand, that those attractive promises are indicators of a scam, then scam products wouldn’t exist anymore, since everyone would be smart enough to single them out.

    I’m hosting my business with Wealthy Affiliate as well, and they are just fabulous. Your review was awesome. Thanks

    1. I’m so glad you’re having success with Wealthy Affiliate!  Their hosting and training is wonderful, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I’d be an affiliate marketer if I hadn’t found them.  

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!

  15. This is a great timeline for people who are new to the business and want to know what to expect.  I think that everyone would like to see their efforts paid off a little faster than what it takes, but unfortunately, it’s something that you have to work consistently on in order to reap the rewards.

    I’ve heard so many people tell me that you CANNOT make money online, probably because they know someone who knows someone who tried and failed.  But, if you want to grow a passive income stream, you have to believe that it will work out – it just takes time and effort and you will definitely see the rewards!

    Side note – I know a few people who started making money after 3 months with a new site, so if you really bust your butt, it is possible to see it sooner 🙂

    1. I know a lot of people as well who swear that you can’t make money online.  But what I’ve found is that these people either tried with a low quality or scam system or know someone else who did.  Years ago after I lost thousands with one of those programs, I would’ve said the same thing.

      But when you find a program that truly teaches you how to do affiliate marketing right, with no gimmicks, it’s easy to see how profitable it can be.  But the time it takes to get there is a reality that many people don’t like to hear.  Those who go into affiliate marketing with the right expectations have a much better chance of success!

      I know several who have made money faster as well, and you’re so right–really working hard will pay off!

  16. I think with money making online, it happens at different paces for everyone. Its hard to put a time frame on things like that. So I agree that expectations are hard to pinpoint. The timeline is super helpful so thank you for that information. Everyone has different skills and abilities you are right about that too.

    1. You are so right, the different skills and abilities that everyone brings to the table means that the timeline will be different for everyone.  Hopefully I’ve given a decent expectation so that when beginners start, they’re not discouraged right away!

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by!

  17. This is such an informative website and it really sets the expectation of affiliate marketing. Alot of people expect to make money right off the bat without putting in a lot of effort, however it’s refreshing that you’ve properly broken it down. I will definatly be book marking this website so i can view it later on as well and always refer back to it. You did a great job with breaking it down and simplifying it! You even reminded ME not to overcomplicate it when the process is really that easy.

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful!  Having the right expectations is one of the most important keys to being successful in affiliate marketing.  There’s no easy, fast money online, but there’s substantial long-term, consistent income for those who are willing to keep trying!

  18. Hey there! I always struggle answering this question. I like your timeline a lot as it is pretty accurate to my own experience as well. It does take time and progression is individually based on someone’s niche, effort relative to the competition in their niche, research for keywords and the niche itself, etc. The most important factor is to produce consistent, quality content and results will come in time!

    1. You are totally right about producing consistent, quality content to get results!  There are so many variables that it’s hard to put it down in a timeline that works for everyone.  There are many who will produce results much faster than my timeline as well as those who may have a longer one.

      Glad to know that your business is moving along great, and thank you for taking the time to comment!

  19. How long does it take to start making money with affiliate marketing is right on point. I really love this article because it is so motivational. I have been affiliate marketing for about 3 months and as you said. I am beginning to see a little more traffic and more interest in my site from different viewers. Hopefully when I make it to the 6-month point I will be seeing sales and Google love.

    Thank you again but it’s very informative article I really loved it

    1. I’m so glad I could help and I understand waiting for Google love, lol.  When I started my first site, Yahoo loved me, Bing liked me, and Google made me work hard for every rank!

      Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Great post.  I do believe, like any business, making money online is a long term process with a lot of effort required.  Too many people think that they can put up a website, write a blog post or two and wham the money comes flying in.

    Your post is a credit to you and is an honest review on the topic.  People must aim for the sky, but realize that they are many little steps along the way that they need to take to get there.  Consistent action being the number one task.

    As you say, great hosting and training is the key.  I agree that you should learn everything you possibly can as you start and continue along your journey.  The internet is continually changing and having somewhere to learn from so that you can continue to change with every new aspect of the internet business model is so important.

    1. I love your statement “People must aim for the sky, but realize that they are many little steps along the way that they need to take to get there.”  That is so true!

      So many people would be able to have a career making money online if they went into it with the right expectations I think.  But they go into it with the idea that after a couple months the money should start rolling in, and then they get discouraged and quit when that doesn’t happen.

      Hopefully my timeline will at least help set realistic expectations and help motivate people!

  21. Surely, every business has a different time frame at which it can start earn profit, the problem is, most people don’t take online business as real business, there is a belief out there that online business is always quick money. But as for me, I am now understanding how this online thing works.

    There is only one problem I am having with my site which is about 6 months old, there is very little traffic, I really don’t know the problem but I am posting content 2-3 times a week  I wonder where I am missing it.

    Thank you so much for such great article


    1. Don’t get discouraged!  At 6 months, my first site was in exactly the same place–working hard on content to try and get rankings, but traffic was almost non-existent.

      My turn around point came at about 8 months.  As I checked my Google Analytics every week, I noticed that my stats were trending up slowly but steadily.  Over the next 2 months, my traffic went from an average of about 100 visitors a month to about 500!

      There were several times from when my site was 5 to 8 months old when I let myself get very discouraged and had to work hard to stay motivated.  So now when I’m working on a new site, I have to remember to just keep adding quality content and the traffic will come!

      Good luck!

  22. Hi

    When I saw this title How Long Does It Take To Start Making Money with Affiliate Marketing? the first thing I thought about was how long is a piece of string. lol

    Then I started reading and saw that you covered in detail how it really works.

    I am impressed because I learned a thing or two about content marketing and how to become more effective at it. 

    Writing longer articles can really help with ranking say 3000 to 5000 words plus and I am working towards this.

    Many thank for your informative and helpful article, I am so glad that I read it.


    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful!  Just a tip–longer articles can be helpful, but don’t be too tied to the number of words.  If you fully cover your topic in 1000 words, that’s great, or if it takes 3000 words, it’s great.  

      Once you start getting comments on your posts, they are added to your word count.  So a 1500 word article that gets good interaction with your visitors can become 3000 words without you having to actually write that much!

      Thank you for stopping by, and I wish you every success with your online business!

  23. What a great insight into the timeframes that you start earning with affiliate marketing, I have been working at it for around 7 months now so I’m not expecting a full-time paycheque yet but the money is slowly trickling in. I have learned that it isn’t going to make me rich overnight and it will be hard work but so worth it in the end.

    I can’t wait until i get to the point where i can start outsourcing to work and start on a new business, i have a feeling that the wealthy affiliate platform that i am working on is going to make me a success

    1. With Wealthy Affiliate, you have the best chance to make your affiliate marketing business a success!  There is so much information available to help you with every aspect of creating websites and driving traffic–more than any other program or platform that I’ve found.

      Good luck, and I’d love to have you update how you’re doing!

  24. I really enjoyed reading this great article because it is just like a footprint of my journey. I started affiliate marketing in 2016 without any tutelage I just stumbled upon a piece of information about it then and I started out. I had several failures with affiliate sites between 2016 and 2017. 

    I came across Wealthy affiliate late 2017 and I joined as a starter, the trainings are on point as I took my time to complete the tasks one after the other. And now I’m not yet making much though but I’ve left where I used to be. Diligence, hardworking and persistence are the key ingredients to making a fortune as an affiliate marketer. Wealthy affiliate subscription has been the best investment I’ve had so far I must say.

    Thanks for encouraging someone with this great article.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience at Wealthy Affiliate with us!  It is the absolutely best investment anyone can make who wants to start an online business, and the value you get is amazing.

      With the training, website hosting, and the active community, WA has everything you need–all someone has to add is the time and hard work!

  25. Thank you for sharing with us this great post on how long does it take to start making money with affiliate marketing.It is hard to answer this question but as you state in your post,it will require hard work and sacrifices to get the success we want.

    Get ranked in search engine will depend on keywords used and the content which is useful to the traffic where this traffic could turns into customers.

    Success is the fruit of hard work

  26. Hi Janelle, thanks for this eyeopener, I think you answer a lot of questions here.

    I’m working on my niche website for about 9 months now and often think there should be more reaction from traffic already. But you say it right, to get an authority with Google takes time.

    You must be a fast writer if you can publish so many posts. I still am only able to write about 3-4 in a good a week.

    For us the writers the time seems much longer and we think that with all this work we should see better results but now I start not focusing on results but on how to provide help with every post.

    1. It’s taken some time for me to become a faster writer, it’s become easier to set up the articles with experience. You are so right about writing to help others and making sure that is your goal. If you choose low competition keywords and focus on helping your readers, you will be successful!

  27. This is a great and popular question and you’ve answered it quite thoroughly.

    I am glad to have come across your pointers for building a business online and it gives me a better idea of the time-frame in which to work to make a success of my own online business.

    Thank you for taking the time to compile the answer to how long it will take to make money online.


  28. It would be impossible to tell someone exactly when they will make money from affiliate marketing.  That would depend on a variety of factors.  You have a really good list of expectations for beginers.  It does of course depend on the niche and the amount of work you are willing to put in.  Some people may see results sooner and some may take longer, just never give up and you can get there.  Just don’t expect to get rich quick and easy because that won’t happen.

    1. You’re exactly right, there are just too many variables to know when someone will begin to make money.  Hopefully my timeline will at least give someone an idea so they don’t go into it thinking that they will make big bucks right away and then be disillusioned and give up.

  29. Actually a very sneaky method to make affiliate profits fast is to create a 100% content based domain name (website) then use google adwords and bing ads to pay for traffic to that website. But on that website you also have advertisements to a page that automatically redirects to an affiliate offer. Using this sneaky method you can easily make thousands of dollars per day if done right.

    I read through your blog post and I must say I am actually a premium member of Wealthy affiliate and it was where I learnt how to make money online through affiliate marketing. This premium membership was the best purchase I have ever made actually.

    Your timeline for beginners is actually exactly what you need to do to be successful I think you are spot on Janelle.

    Thanks for the informative blog post Janelle, seasons greetings, I will be back!

    1. The timeline I used is based upon using content marketing SEO to gain free traffic since most of the people starting out don’t have a lot of money for paid traffic yet.  Good to know that you’re having great success with your ad campaigns!

  30. I must say that I found your article to be very helpful Janelle. Affiliate marketing is a long-term goal and it is not possible to achieve success over night. I am in the affiliate marketing for over a year and I can say that your statements are very true. My efforts are paying off right now which is awesome. Everyone should give yourself at least a year before they start ripping off the rewards.

  31. You have provided a true, honest timeline to people so they really know exactly what it takes to build a business like this.  That’s why I can’t stand all the scam websites out there telling people they’ll be making hundreds a day in a few weeks.  It just really doesn’t work that way.  This is a business, and if you work it and work it, it will produce fruit.  If you just build and lay back, it was all for nothing.  So congrats to you for providing honest information for all of us searching for a way to make money online.

    1. I review a lot of sites in my blog that are nothing but get-rich-quick schemes that don’t work.  Too many people believe that you can make fast, easy money online and don’t treat it as a business.  I like the way you said if you work it, it will produce fruit!

  32. I think your numbers for making money with affiliate marketing is super realistic.  Of course there is no hard true number as there are going to be a lot of reasons why people make money sooner and some later.

    You talk about Wealthy Affiliate which I am proud to say I am a part of.  My belief is if you are willing to put in the time and effort and learn everything that is taught within Wealthy Affiliate it would be hard to fail.

    This was a great article and anyone looking at this article need not go any farther as Wealthy Affiliate really is the real deal.


    1. Thank you for sharing your experience with Wealthy Affiliate–it is definitely a legitimate program where you can learn everything you need to know about becoming a successful affiliate marketer.  Everyone’s learning curve and the time and effort they’re able to put in means that everyone’s experience with making money online is going to be different.  Hopefully, even though I can’t give any kind of hard numbers for facts, I have given a realistic outlook for those who think they can make money fast.

  33. This is the question people often ask when going into a new online business such as affiliate Marketing. I guess most people are interested in making fast money online . My perception is that startups that would last long and make profit in future needs a solid foundation and planning as well as constant improvement in processes and eventual delivery.

    The same applies to affiliate marketing and many other legitimate online business.

    1. I think most people ask that question because they want to know what to realistically expect.  Starting an online business is very low cost, but the time and commitment required in order to start making money is a lot longer than most people realize.  You are very right that a solid foundation is needed for any business, including an online one.

  34. HI Janelle, what a great article, I love the fact that you have clearly outlined the wqork and timeframes required to start making money in this industry.  There are too many sites out there that promise the world in a short time without the work being done.  Your post is easy to follow and I will be referring to it regularly to make sure I am on ‘track’.  Thanks again.


  35. Thank you Janelle for this article, I am only a newbie with my affliate marketing business and sometimes get wary of the fact that some other are making faster earnings, and some not even as long as I am in the online world. I love how you have given detailed information to each factor that can impact the time to start making money. I have learned a lot today. 

  36. Dear Janelle,

    Thanks for the Great inspiring post! This has to be motivating, not only for me but also for many others.

    I am a full-time blogger and often people ask me this question and your answer is amazing and awesome, of all realistic. In my opinion any business you need to give a minimum of one year time.

    The reason why many people fail online is because of the too much hype and misguided information given by many scams and get rich quick programs, people want to make money immediately and easily. As you mentioned, indeed there is no such thing called fast and easy money.

    The truth is in order to make money online it will take time and effort. Hats off to you for providing the honest answer and guiding people in the right path.

    Much Success!


    1. Thank you so much!  Since I started my own online business with the training from Wealthy Affiliate, I’ve seen so many people give up after a few months because they came in with the wrong expectations.  Time, hard work, and commitment–if you know what to expect, these three things will help make your business a success!

  37. Thank you very much for this great piece of article. I really find it interesting and an eye opening post into the world of affiliate marketing. Thou am still having a hard time coming up with a suitable niche but this post has given me the right information needed to select a nice niche. I can’t wait to become a success in the affiliate world. Thank you 

  38. Thanks a lot for these educative post. The summary of what i have learned from your post, is that it takes time, patience and hard work to start earning consistently online. I have come to realize that get-rich-quick schemes always leads to disaster, and that if one is going to make a good living from Affiliate marketing one has to renew the mind and be ready to work hard following the due processes. I totally agree with you that writing ability is a major factor that can either prolongs ones time-line or shorten it. Would appreciate if you can share with us how to improve ones writing abilities in your subsequent posts. Thanks

    1. I will definitely work on a post about improving writing ability–always love suggestions about new post topics from my readers!

  39. Thank you so much for the valuable article on how long does it take to start making money online. This is important for me because I have just started my first website. As you said we need lots of commitment to sustain our online business. What you mentioned is very true. Content is the most important in our business. We should maintain the quality of our content always. I am a WA member too and I highly recommend WA.

  40. Janelle, I have just entered the world of affiliate marketing. As I was reading your article, it really felt spot on to where I’m at in my new journey, 2 months into this. As I learn more and keep reading about affiliate marketing I have been finding there are some very honest reviews about this topic. You have definitely written an honest review and realistic response to the number one question, “how long to start making money.” I have always been intrigued by the affiliate marketing concept but was not able to find a program/system that didn’t make it feel like it was a get rich quick scheme. 

    I was fortunate enough to find, Wealthy Affiliate and feel like this is a real deal. It’s been an amazing experience thus far. It is showing that like all success there is work that needs to be put and if done correctly there can be rewards later on.

    Did you find one of the more challenging aspects of affiliate marketing to be finding a theme that was easy to work with? 

    1. Wealthy Affiliate definitely is the real deal, and they’re very clear that it will take time and hard work to be successful.  

      I went through several themes until I found one that I liked that was also mobile friendly.  An experienced marketer at WA told me that visitors will stay on my site if it had great content and was easy to navigate, so don’t stress about anything else with a theme.  In the end I stayed with the one that was simple and showcased my content best.  It’s also a free theme, which is a big plus!  

  41. I have just very recently decided to follow a career path in online affiliate marketing. Really happy to come across your post which gives me an idea of what to expect. I’m really working hard to generate content for my blog and I expect to make little in the first year. However, I really hope I can generate sustainable income from my blog during it’s second year.

    1. Generating sustainable income in your second year is definitely doable–good luck, and I’d love to hear an update as you build out your blog!

  42. I have also been at affiliate marketing for almost four to five months now. I was really frustrated today and was not sure what to do. But I have to tell you that gaining all this information from your post gave me a massive confidence and a boost to keep working hard on my website.

    Thank you so much for posting such an useful and an insightful article.

    1. That 4 to 6 month time period was hard for me as well!  You’ve put so much time and effort into it and don’t seem to be seeing results.  But about the time I hit month 7, there was definitely an upward trend starting in my traffic.  I got the motivation to step things up with my content and started seeing results.

      Keep up the hard work, and I wish you every success with your affiliate marketing business!

  43. This is a very good and realistic article about affiliated marketing. I am on my second month, I do see some activity on my website but it is not much. I am getting indexed in google slow and steady. It is not something that happens overnight and it needs to be considered a long term goal, building for the future. 

    1. You have exactly the right mindset to make a success with your online business!  Affiliate marketing is very lucrative, but you have to go into it with the idea that you’re building a foundation for long-term, consistent income in the future.  Good luck!!

  44. Basically the affiliates marketing world doesn’t work like magic there are some must does to be able to make it. Website traffic takes time which means that no matter how good you are as an affiliate marketer, you still need a good niche and quality time and passion to be successful. Also not forgetting patience because it takes time for quality traffic to keep coming to your site.

    1. Exactly! Google knows that a lot of people give up their websites after 4 to 6 months and doesn’t like to rank sites well until they’ve established themselves after that time frame.  Patience and hard work are rewarded in this business, and you have a great mindset for success!

  45. I liked your analogy, Janelle, comparing the expectations you might have for affiliate marketing with opening a McDonald’s restaurant.

    All sorts of help, experience and reliable statistics are available in the case of McDonald’s to give you a realistic answer to the question “When will I start making money?”

    With affiliate marketing, not so much. In fact, not at all. You’ll get as many answers as if you asked how long is a piece of string.

    Your timeline for beginners looks like a great resource that will help anyone plan the journey into affiliate marketing.

    Breaking it up into the necessary steps, from selecting a niche through creating a website, writing posts and connecting to affiliate platforms and then giving a timeline for that, would help any beginner to make a good, planned start to this journey. For a journey it is.

    It’s great that you extend your timeline into 1 and 2 years, so that the budding entrepreneur can see that he or she needs to be in for the long hail and can see how long they might expect before they start getting ranked in the search engines and getting traffic.

    And a timely warning about false promises!

    You’ve provided some great guidance here, Janelle. Thanks.

    1. You are welcome, and I’m glad you’ve found it helpful!  I’ve seen so many people give up who have the potential to make a great living with affiliate marketing.  But they didn’t see the results they wanted fast enough or went into it thinking that they were going to make a lot of money right away.

      Affiliate marketing is really about building a foundation for your future income, and like any business, it takes time and hard work!

  46. Thanks for this interesting article on how to make money with Affiliate marketing. I just stumbled across it and I felt like chipping in some comments based on the quality of the content especially by outlining the benefits and also the patience plus hardworking in Affiliate marketing. So many people and platform are just there with all sorts of lies promising you that you can make money with Affiliate marketing in 1 week which is not true. Thanks for opening people’s eye to the requirements in standing firm in Affiliate marketing. Cheer’s

    1. I review so many programs that promise huge money the next day or the next week, and they are just trying to empty your wallet.  Hopefully this guideline will help people understand what it takes to become successful with affiliate marketing and avoid the scams.  Cheers to you!

  47. Very nice and expository, so I can see from this that people’s opinions of affiliate market is relative and subjective, and I also have the unending question in my mind, ‘when will I start to make money?’ This like has been said here is the most resounding question albeit rhetorical. But thanks once again for this exposition. Cheers.

  48. Hello Janelle,

    I read your article and thought I would share some of my experiences as well.

    I was not aware that product reviews on your site, you’ll get faster ranking.  If i had have know that I would have started writing them a lot earlier than I did but it took me several months of writing to really define my niche well enough.

    Here is a few extra steps that I also fit in around the 12 month mark.  

    SEO – understanding SEO was a huge learning curve and also something I wish I had have known around earlier.

    SALES FUNNELS –  this is really when you start getting intelligent and start planning ahead. Sales funnels is the path that customers take from entry to exit on your site. If you can understand these early one you will be ahead of the pack.

    1. You’re right, SEO is huge for getting traffic to your site, and it can take awhile to really understand how to optimize each post for good search engine rankings.

      I like that you brought up sales funnels, and understanding them is a great way to convert your readers from visitors to sales!  In fact I have written a blog post that might interest anyone looking for basic information about sales funnels, Understanding Online Sales Funnels For Affiliate Marketing.  Thank you for stopping by!

  49. Great and interesting article! This rather gives a more realistic timeframe to beginners looking to get into affiliate marketing. It is true that you wouldn’t have it all rosy at the beginning but with the appropriate guidance, you’ll be able to set up your site, choose a niche, apply to affiliate programs and monetize your website.

    1. Exactly, in the beginning you’re just building the foundation for your business.  For those who stay with it and keep adding quality content to their sites, they are well on their way to being successful in affiliate marketing!

  50. That’s a pretty helpful timeline for people just getting into affiliate marketing. I think most people who want to make money online are turned off by the idea that it takes a year or more to start making any significant income. I’m currently publishing once a week and still seeing slow results. You mentioned that by year 2 when the website has 250-300 posts and can reach 4-figures in income, what if instead of 2 years I’m able to write that many posts in let’s say 6 months? Or is time still the bigger factor?

    1. The more content that you write, the faster you’ll definitely see results.  However, time still plays a factor since so many websites get abandoned by the time they’re 6 months old.  After that, if there’s still a lot of content being added to your site, your rankings should improve considerably.

      Also, keep in mind that quality plays a factor as well as quantity.  If your articles are well written and visitors are staying on your site to read them because they’re finding great information, that’s a big plus.  But if all of the articles are 500 words, don’t provide a lot of information, and visitors are leaving right away without spending much time on your site, Google will look at it like there’s not much quality there.

      Consistent, quality content and a great visitor experience will absolutely get you noticed by the search engines, and they’ll reward you with great rankings!

  51. Hi Janelle,

    I was fascinated by reading your article. If I did not read this blog I cannot find the details about take to start making money with affiliate marketing. I think this article has helped me so much. In recent times, there are so many shot options available for online earnings. I read every single word you wrote because I am trying to know “How long does it take to start making money with affiliate marketing?”. Actually I’ve been working more than 1 year online but there is not much traffic or sales, so I started to feel depressed. I believe that affiliates marketing is not a magic that can be filled overnight, yes it will take some time to avoid being frustrated, for that you need to choose a good niche. And I think patience is going to be a good way to get good traffic. Thanks again once for awesome post I’m going to bookmark and share with my friends.

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful!  Everyone is different–I know those who have made significant money within their first year and those who took 2 to 3 years to do it.  Consistency, patience, and commitment are 3 things that will help you achieve success!

  52. Thank you for this insightful post. This quite helpful for newbie like who expected to just start making money once I joined the affiliate market industry. So many people are lost in designing ways to make money internet. It takes strategy has highlighted in this post, with consistency and drive to start making money on affiliated marketing.

    1. There are so many programs out there that promise you can make huge amounts of money fast online, but they’re just trying to empty your wallet.  Those who go into affiliate marketing with the right mindset and understand the time and effort it takes will have the best chance to be successful!

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