Don’t know what Affiliate Marketing is and want more information? Here are 22 of the most frequently asked questions that I get about my business.
If you have more, please feel to ask in the comments at the bottom!
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Wikipedia defines Affiliate Marketing this way: “Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
But to put it more simply, it is a business model where someone promotes a product on their website and refers them to an online store to purchase it, resulting in a commission.
How Does It Work?
An affiliate marketer signs up to an affiliate program with a retail merchant. The merchant is more than willing to pay a commission to marketers that promote their products because it can be much less expensive for them than many other marketing methods.
So the affiliate marketer reviews and compares products on their websites and provides a link to the retail site that sells the products. If a visitor clicks on the link and then purchases something from the merchant, the affiliate marketer receives a commission from the merchant at no extra cost to the buyer.
What Kind Of Commission Percentage Should I Expect?
The average commissions for sites like Amazon and WalMart are around 5%-10%. But there are many merchants who pay all the way up to 85% to their affiliates.
One of the best features of these programs is that the referred buyer doesn’t need to purchase the exact item that was reviewed. The affiliate will get a commission for any item the buyer purchases!
Also, the merchant will keep track of the referral through a “cookie” for a specified amount of time, usually 24 hours up to a couple months. So even if the buyer comes back and makes the purchase at a later time, the affiliate will still get a commission for referring them.
How Does An Affiliate Marketer Get Paid?
Most affiliate marketers get paid after their commissions reach a certain threshold, such as $50 for example. The merchant will pay by direct deposit, PayPal, or a check in most cases, but you will need to verify the payment method when you sign up with each program.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?
The most honest answer I can give you is that there is no set time at which you can expect to be making money. There are too many variables to say with any certainty, such as:
- The niche (topic of your blog) you choose
- How much time you can spend on your business
- If you have any experience with marketing or are a complete newbie (you can still be a success!)
- How fast you are able to create content for your site
- What affiliate programs you choose
- How fast you’re able to understand all the aspects of running an online business (I can help with that below!)
You have to keep in mind that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick process! There are plenty of programs out there that will tell you they can make you thousands of dollars in a couple of days or weeks, but beware of them–it’s much more likely that they’re trying to empty your wallet than help you make money!
Some people have started making money in the first 3 months, and some have taken much longer. I know marketers who have started getting sales fast and slowly increased their earnings over time. I also know some who took a year to get their first sale, but were making a full time income within just a few months after that.
For a great guideline that will give you realistic expectations of how long it takes to make money with affiliate marketing, check out our video below:
How Much Money Can I Make?
Your earning potential is only limited by you! Do you want to earn enough income to payoff some debt and some monthly bills or do you want to quit your full time job and make your living solely with your affiliate marketing business? It doesn’t matter which one–you can do it!
You can create one or two sites, or you can scale your business out to multiple websites, hire writers, and make as much money as you want. There is virtually no limit on how much you can earn with this business!
Check out this post that details 3 affiliate marketers who started out as beginners and are now making $100,000+ a year:
Making Money By Affiliate Marketing–Earn $100,000+ A Year!
Affiliate Program Questions
Where Do I Find Affiliate Programs?
There are affiliate programs out there for any niche that you choose. The biggest is Amazon, which has literally millions of products to promote.
You can also do an online search for affiliate programs in your niche. All you need to do is type in your niche in the Google search bar, then the “+” sign, and then the words “affiliate programs”, and you’ll find programs.
For example, suppose your niche is zero turn lawn mowers, you would type in “zero turn lawn mowers + affiliate programs” into Google search and see several programs come up. You can also go to the websites of companies that you know sell zero-turn mowers, and if they have an affiliate program,it’s usually listed in the footer of the web page.
Another option is to sign up to Affiliate Networks.
What Are Affiliate Networks?
An Affiliate Network is a company that connects merchants with affiliate marketers who want to promote products. You can sign up with an affiliate network and have access to hundreds of different merchants to apply to in your niche.
Do I Need To Pay To Be An Affiliate?
You do not need to pay to become an affiliate and promote products and services. However, there are programs out there that require you to pay a fee or a license in order to be their affiliate. These programs are taking advantage of you in order to sell you their product.
Do I Need To Purchase A Product To Promote It?
Since you’ll be picking whatever niche you want and most likely it’s one that you’re knowledgeable about, you will probably have access to many of the products you review. However, you don’t need to buy a product in order to recommend it on your site.
What you have to do is give your visitors a thorough, honest, comprehensive review that truly helps them decide if they want to look further at the product. How do you do that? Research!
The extensive research you put in combined with the knowledge you have of your niche will enable you to give a quality review that your readers will be able to count on.
***There are affiliate programs that require you to purchase the product in order to acquire the right, or the license, to promote it. I do not recommend signing up with any of these programs since many of them are designed to create profit by selling to affiliate marketers without the marketer being able to recoup the expense.
How Do I Apply To Affiliate Programs?
Most merchants will have you fill out an online application with information about your site and the promotion methods you use. Then you will receive a notice if you’ve been accepted as an affiliate.
It’s not unusual for a new site to be rejected by merchants who only want well-established websites with a lot of traffic promoting their products. But don’t worry, there are plenty of affiliate programs for every niche that accept new sites!
What You Need
What Do I Need To Be An Affiliate Marketer?
You will need the following to be a successful affiliate marketer:
- A laptop
- An internet connection
- A website set up on a secure, reliable hosting service
- A domain name
- A niche
- Email Marketing Service (not necessary to get started)
How Do I Choose A Niche?
A niche is a specialized topic that your website will be about. An experienced affiliate marketer can promote almost any products in any niche.
However, for a beginner it will be easier to choose a niche that you have a passion about. If you have a huge interest in your topic, it will be much easier to write the volume of posts needed to make your business a success. You will also have to spend less time on research and more time creating quality content.
For more information about choosing a niche, you can read What Is An Affiliate Marketing Niche And How Do I Choose One?
How Do I Choose A Domain Name?
A domain name is something that many people stress about, but you shouldn’t. While a good domain name is important, it’s not going to be what brings visitors to your site. That being said, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Needs to be relevant to your niche
- Not too long, 2 to 4 words is best
- Easy to remember
- Easy to type
- Avoid hyphens and numbers
- Make sure YOU like it
How Do I Set Up A Website?
Setting up a website is easier today than it has ever been! I recommend using a WordPress website, which has a powerful and easy to use platform. My websites are all hosted on my #1 recommended service, Wealthy Affiliate, and here’s a video that will show you how to create your first website in just minutes:
In addition to Wealthy Affiliate, there are several other good hosting services. Just remember to add in all the features, such as security, unlimited bandwidth, email, etc., when looking at each one so you’re comparing apples to apples. Here are a few:
- A2 Hosting
Do I Need Any Technical Knowledge To Set Up And Run A Website?
No, you do not need coding or any kind of HTML technical knowledge to set up your website, add content, or run it. Technology has advanced to the point that all the technical aspects of running your online business are done for you with a quality hosting service.
As long as you understand how to use a computer, how to write a coherent post, and how to follow basic instructions, you have the knowledge to become an affiliate marketer.
Driving Traffic To Your Site
How Do I Get Visitors To My Website?
Getting traffic to your site is the most time-consuming part of running your online business. Without visitors, there are no sales. Without sales, there is no income.
There are 2 types of traffic:
Free–Visitors that find your site without you having to pay for them. You drive this traffic by using SEO,search engine optimization, and by social media.
Paid–Visitors that find your site through ads that you have placed in various places on the internet.
In general, free traffic coming from Google, Bing, and Yahoo and social media is what you are striving for. However, it takes months, or even longer, for you to get ranked well enough for significant traffic.
Paid traffic, on the other hand, can get you a lot of traffic much faster. But since you’re using methods that require you to buy ads or boost social media posts, much, or all, of your profit can be eaten up if you’re not experienced.
How Can I Get Free Traffic?
Content marketing is the best way to get free traffic. You add content in the form of blog posts and pages and optimize them so that the search engines rank them on the first page of their search results.
The way you optimize them is with keywords and relevancy. You use a keyword tool ( I recommend Jaaxy) to find keyword phrases that have a good number of monthly searches, but low competition. Then you write relevant blog posts that include those keywords.
When someone types in a keyword, the search engines look for the most relevant website posts from active, high authority websites. Once your site has sufficient quality content, your posts are likely to get ranked high enough to start getting significant traffic.
Making it to the top spot on page 1 of Google is the ultimate goal for all affiliate marketers. That’s why “Content is King!”
How Expensive Is Paid Traffic?
If you have a monthly budget to work with, you may want to try getting paid traffic. A budget of $10 to $15 a day is good to start with for beginners.
However, you have to be careful and set up limits to be sure you’re not going over your budget. You can easily spend hundreds of dollars a day or more if you’re not careful.
There are several ways you can go:
- Google Adwords
- Bing ads
- Facebook ads
- Boost other social media posts
- Solo ads
Training and Mentoring
Can I Get Training To Be An Affiliate Marketer?
There are some good training platforms where you can learn affiliate marketing. You need to look for a comprehensive program that has up-to-date training from experienced marketers and really teaches youhow it’s done.
However, Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 recommendation based upon the price, the quality of their hosting platform, and the fact that you can get 2 free websites with their Starter Membership–with no credit card required.
Whether you’re a newbie or have experience in affiliate marketing, I believe Wealthy Affiliate is the best place to host your sites and learn online marketing.
How Do I Know If A Training Program Is Legitimate?
While you’re looking for hosting and training programs, you need to know how to spot scams. These programs are very good at luring you in with the promise of easy money with little effort, and they can be very convincing!
I spent thousands on a scam years ago, and it was a very expensive lesson! Here are a few tips for spotting scam programs:
- Talks about exaggerated amounts of earnings each month
- Markets itself by showing a lifestyle of luxury cars, expensive vacations, and huge mansions
- Never actually tells you what their program is, but wants you to buy it
- High pressure selling–you have to buy NOW
- Doesn’t let you try any features of the program
- Ridiculously low price for what they say they’re offering, then several more expensive upsells
For more details on avoiding these types of scams, you can read “Make Money Online Fast–Beware Of The Scams!”
Where Can I Go To Find Answers When I Have Questions?
You’ll have a lot of questions when you start your affiliate marketing business and can find a lot of information just by searching online. But if you want the answers from experienced marketers, you need an active community forum.
This is again where Wealthy Affiliate shines–their community platform. You can ask the community any question, and you will get answers. If you need immediate help, their Live Chat always has members in it ready to give a helping hand.
Wealthy Affiliate rewards members who assist others by answering questions, creating training, and writing blog posts that educate, motivate, and inspire others. So there are thousands of training posts along with the comprehensive lessons to give you the information you’re looking for.
Ready to create your first website? Give it a try now!