Affiliate Marketing for dummies- how to make money online with affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – How can you make money in Affiliate Marketing?

Hello HomeBodies. Quick question for you, How can you make money in Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful ways to make sustainable, recurrent income from the comfort of your home. This is why it is my number 1 recommendation for making money online.

The unemployment rate is predicted to go over 20% this year so a lot of people need a way out. Many people are financially free today because they took action on the 7 steps I will show you below.

Many people fail at affiliate marketing because they do not have the tools to make a success of the business. Today you will learn how to get started in Affiliate marketing and move through seven steps that will get you to start earning a sustainable income online.

I have inserted some videos as we go along to make things easier for you.

Are you a beginner? Then this section will get you rolling. Get cozy because this will be the beginning of your journey to financial freedom. Let’s go…

What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?

Simple definition: What can be simpler than a Wikipedia definition of Affiliate marketing

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.

How is affiliate marketing different from MLM?

MLM versus Affiliate marketing

Multi-level Marketing has a pyramid or binary model of selling products. This means, your potential for earning increases exponentially with each person that you refer to the company.

You end up making more money from referring people to represent the company than you do actually selling the products.

The problem with this model is that finding people to sign up is very hard so you end up buying all the products yourself just so you can stay in the game.

Pyramid based marketing makes it very difficult to move from the bottom of the pyramid to the top. The only way to make a sustainable income is at the top.  At the bottom, you are just a coil in a well-oiled machine, working for pennies, while those at the top reap all the benefits.

In Affiliate marketing, your income potential is not based on tirelessly seeking referrals to “move up” in the company. We are all at ground level working and earning based on our individual efforts.

In affiliate marketing, you do not need to buy any products from the company to represent them and the 7 steps below will take the sales to you.

Speaking the lingo – Key terms in Affiliate Marketing that you must know

Before we go on, these are some key terms that you will need to understand:

  • Product
  • Niche
  • Merchant
  • Affiliate marketers
  • Affiliate networks
  • Affiliate platform
  • Buyer/customer

The product is whatever you want people to buy. It could be a physical entity, services, software, or expertise in the form of training, advice, support, etc. If it is something of monetary value on the market then it is the product that we will be referring to.

A niche is an area/category of the market that your product belongs to. Even a product line could be a niche. We will explore this further below.

The merchant is the person selling the product, whether you make it yourself or you buy and resell.

The affiliate marketer is the person who tries to make people aware of the product and points them to where they can pick up this product. Why? Because the merchant is offering a commission for any sale that is made through their referral.

Affiliate networks are the middlemen between the merchant and the affiliate marketer.

Some of the major affiliate platforms/companies include company Websites such as Amazon and eBay.

Merchants list their products and the company offers set commissions for the sale of products based on the category in which they fall. For example, Home Depot offers a 1% commission to affiliates on the sale of appliances.

Buyer/customer is the easy part, this is just the person who takes out their cash or card and decides to purchase the product.

How can you make money from affiliate marketing?

You can make money from affiliate marketing as a merchant or as the affiliate marketer. Both pieces of the puzzle go hand in hand.

It just depends on what you are taking to the table. If you are taking a product to the Affiliate marketing table, you are the merchant.

How merchants make money in affiliate marketing

The Merchant and Affiliate Marketing

Do you own a product? Are you trying to get your product on the market? This means that you are the merchant.

You want your product to reach a wider audience but you cannot do it by yourself. Even if you can, getting people to promote your product will ensure that you reach a wider target audience.

You need to find affiliate marketers who will recommend your products to your intended target market.

The best way to do this is through reviewers. Whether YouTube reviewers, Website-based reviewers, Instagram, Facebook, etc. These people will have influence over how someone will view your products. How can you get to the right affiliate marketers?

One option is to list it on your Website and hope that an affiliate marketer will one day visit your Website and find the link to sign up to become an affiliate…but as a new business, this might not be your best option.

Another option is to partner with affiliate networks such as Commission Junction, Commission factory, Clickbank, Rakuten, and ShareASale.

Affiliate networks will be very beneficial to you because they have access to more affiliate marketers who do niche promotions. So your product is almost guaranteed to reach your target audience.

Affiliate marketers will always be looking for new products to promote. They make a profit and you increase your sales. Win-Win.

Another option is to list your product on a company Website such as Amazon or eBay. This way, customers can buy your product from an already established online store.

The added benefit is that they offer their own affiliate programs and have thousands of affiliates doing a great deal of the footwork for them.

I would suggest partnering with both affiliate networks and online stores such as Amazon.

Now, what if you do not own a product?


How to make money as an affiliate marker without owning products

How affiliate marketers make money without owning any products

If you do not have a product to offer, you can still get in on the action and earn from affiliate marketing.

This makes you the affiliate marketer. How do you get your hands on a piece of the action?

The 7 steps we outlined in the video were for you.

What are the 7 steps of Affiliate Marketing?

Take a look at the video below with an introduction to the seven (7) steps of affiliate marketing using Websites as an example 


Let us talk about each step in detail and get you started today.

First, you need to choose a Website and/or other outlets for your content. It is frequently said that if Affiliate Marketing is King, then the CONTENT is it’s Queen. This is not an exaggeration. Your content will be your platform to reach your target buyers/viewers.

Then you need to release quality content that will play on buyer intent. This is done through reviews or advice on how to choose the right products.

After nailing the content, you need to find companies with affiliate programs that sell the products you have reviewed or products that you intend to review. This way, you can apply and have the potential to earn from your content.

When you get the confirmation of acceptance from the affiliate company, congratulations are now in order as it is time to earn. You can now add the affiliate links for the products within your content at appropriate places.

The next two steps of the process are now out of your hands. Now it is time for people to find your content. Your content prompts buyers to use your links to shop.

Affiliate companies can track each linked purchase because the link generated is unique to your account. So you will get credit for the purchase.

Congratulations, now it is time to cash out.

The 7 Steps to making money as an affiliate marketer explained 

Now, let me teach you how to dominate each step of the process and get to the point of cashing out.

Establish a content creation outlet for Affiliate marketing

You need to create a platform for your affiliate marketing goals. There are three main things  that you must do at this step

  1. Choose a good niche
  2. Choose a unique brand
  3. Choose your content publishing platform/platforms 

But what will your Website/Channel be about? Can you just create whatever you want and make money from it? Technically yes, but at the same time no. Let me explain…

We call this the process of choosing a niche. How do you know if your niche will be a money-making niche or just a “dud” on the internet taking up space?

Choosing a good niche to make money with affiliate marketing

Choosing a niche for making money in affiliate marketing

The truth is that any niche with enough people searching for related content has the potential to make money. You just have to be one of the loudest voices in that niche. So you can choose an area that you love. If not, you will become less and less inclined to produce content.

By “loudest voice” I do not mean shouting. I mean, your content should pop up on the internet whenever someone searches for something related to your topics. Now you should be wondering how you will know what people are searching for.

There are two approaches to this:

  1. You can search for the topics that are trending and choose from there or
  2. You can come up with ideas based on your areas of expertise or interest and then use keyword searching tools to find out if people are interested in the area.

You also need to do a little market research to see if this is an area that is here to stay or if there is something newer on the horizon that will make your niche redundant or obsolete.

After this, your next concern should be the competition. Well, as a beginner you can start off in a medium quality/traffic niche and then move up or you can learn how to rank just as well as those major brands. Most times, they started off from scratch just like you did.

Google does not discriminate.

If your content is good and optimized, you will be considered by their search engine also. So I wouldn’t worry too much about this if I plan on really hitting hard in the affiliate marketing world.

Pro Tip – As a beginner, I suggest you find a low – medium competition niche with the potential to branch out, focus on one area at first, dominate, and then expand.

Choosing a unique name for your brand to earn money with affiliate marketing 

Choosing a brand to make money in affiliate marketing

For example, the name of this Website is “HomeBody Income” with a focus on Affiliate marketing, not “Make Money Online from Affiliate Marketing.” In the future, I have the option of expanding into different online income stream niches.

Let’s say you want to focus on Kicks for boys but in the future, you would like to expand into shoes for adults as well. Your brand name could be “Kicks For Kings.”

Now I can just hear some people shouting from the back “Oh but the master guru of ranking [Insert Guru Name Here], said it is best to have the exact name of the keyword for your niche in the name.”

I am here to tell you that I’ve tried it both ways, and there was no significant difference. I was ranked on the first page of Google for my articles regardless. All you really need to do is write good content.

Point to note here, I am not saying you should name your Website/channel “Baseball Central” when all your content focuses on swimming. That is just bananas. Not that you cannot rank but as a viewer, I would not trust your content because I would assume that swimming is not your area of expertise.

Everything in life is balance - HomeBody Income Quotes

So on the topic of Choosing a “brand” name for a niche versus a “keyword” name, Everything in life is balance, a little common sense, and some creativity. Get creative with your brand name and have fun with it. Make it your own.

Now that you have chosen your niche and decided on a name for your brand, your next move will be creating a platform or preferably multiple platforms for your brand to reach the target audience.

Creating a money-making platform for affiliate marketing

choosing how to connect with your audience for Affiliate marketing


The most successful content display platforms for affiliate marketers that I have seen are:

  1. Youtube videos
  2. Blogs
  3. Social media posts
  4. Podcasts

10 steps for making money with YouTube Videos

Step 1 – Create a YouTube account

Step 2 – Create a YouTube channel

Step 3 – Upload content

Step 4 – Create accessory mediums to share your content eg social media, blogging, etc.

Step 5 – Grow an audience and improve your content

Step 6 – Monetize your uploads – Qualify by getting at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1000 subscribers.

Step 7 – Apply for Google Adsense – Earn money from Google ads by applying for Google Adsense Program

Step 8 – Monitor Via Google Analytics – Monitor your channel to see what your audience in like and customize to suit your viewers

Step 9 – Apply  to other affiliate programs –  Review products and add the links in the description

Step 10 – Apply to the YouTube Partner Program when you become eligible by gaining 15,000 cumulative watch hours in 90 days.


2. Making Money with Blogs/Websites

At the very least, you will need a customizable, fast, and safe Website. How? Here are three options…

As a beginner, there is a manageable way, a hard way, and a near-impossible way to create a successful Website.

Let us talk about the near-impossible way, coding. You can spend half your life learning to code and develop your Website from scratch to a point where it can be competitive on the internet. This might be your area of expertise and quite fun, but it wasn’t mine and I  did not go through that route.

The hard way is, you can go to any Website platform like GoDaddy or NameCheap, buy a Website and then try to do everything thereafter, by yourself, through unguided research.

This is how people learn many new things related to content development, but it might not be tailored specifically to affiliate marketing. This way is hard because it will take a great deal of your time and money for your Website to get to an acceptable enough level where you can start earning money.

The manageable way is to create and host your Website within an affiliate marketing platform or community. Notice, I said manageable, not easy. Affiliate marketing is not “easy money” but it is worth it.

Read my story here

The benefit of hosting within an affiliate marketing community is the support and the guidance offered.

Here are 10 hosting platforms to consider as a beginner:

  1. Wealthy Affiliate
  2. GoDaddy
  3. HostGator
  4. A2 Hosting
  5. DreamHost
  6. BlueHost
  7. GreenGeeks
  8. Hostinger
  9. SiteGround
  10. NameCheap

Pro Tip – I use Wealthy Affiliate to host all my Websites because of the additional benefit of Affiliate Marketing training, current marketing strategies with no upsells within the platform.

3. Making money with Social Media

How to make money with Instagram as your affiliate marketing platform

Instagram influencers get paid in cash, products, or both.

  1. Create an Instagram Account
  2. Find a niche that is best displayed by photos
  3. Display photos consistently and in a presentable manner.
  4. Maintain a strong social media presence
  5. Acquire at least 5,000 followers
  6. Become an influencer by applying for affiliate programs related to your niche
  7. Post photos and links in the description for your followers to take action

How to make money with Facebook as your affiliate marketing platform

Instream Ads

Here is what you need to do to qualify for Facebook In-stream Ads:

  1. You need to be at least 18 years old.
  2. You must live in a Facebook in-stream ads eligible country.
  3. You must pass and remain compliant with Facebook’s Partner Monetization Policies (PMP).
  4. Create a Facebook Page (not a profile)
  5. You need to get at least 10,000 followers.
  6. You need to get at least 30,000 1-minute views on videos that are at least 3 minutes long in the last 60 days.

After you have reached the requirements, In-stream ads will be automatically added to new videos you upload. Thereafter, Any Page the admin for your FB page can:

  • Turn off Ads
  • Adjust the placement of in-stream ads in each video.

Promote Affiliate links

Placing affiliate links in Facebook Ads is strictly prohibited. You can use a landing page such as a Website or  YouTube video instead. What you want to do is review the product then give a video demo and attach the link for your blog with the Affiliate link within the blog post.

How to make money with Twitter as your affiliate marketing platform

You make money from Twitter basically the same as Instagram. Influencers get paid in cash, products, or both.

  1. Create an Instagram Account
  2. Find a niche that is best displayed by photos
  3. Display photos consistently and in a presentable manner.
  4. Maintain a strong social media presence
  5. Acquire at least 5,000 followers
  6. Become an influencer by applying for affiliate programs related to your niche
  7. Post photos and links in the description for your followers to take action

4. Making money with podcasts

Earning from podcasts can be a very frustrating ordeal when you are just starting out. Most major companies require that you get at least 10,000 podcast downloads before even considering a direct sponsorship.

Until you reach that threshold, affiliate marketing might be the answer.

Releasing quality, money-making content for affiliate marketing

Now that you have your Website, you know there is traffic out there waiting for you to swoop in and capture. How will you get your content to the top?

The first rule of content creation is that your content must provide some value to the reader. Before you even consider ranking, I want you to consider your reader.

I have seen pages ranked at number one and they hardly get viewers to stay for more than 15 seconds. These posts will swiftly disappear from the top spot when Google realizes that readers are not interested.

Here are 10 easy tips for creating quality content for your reader:

  1. Research and plan your content before starting
  2. Greet your audience.
  3. Use simple words and explain complicated terms
  4. Write short sentences
  5. Avoid long paragraphs (2-4 lines)
  6. Separate your content into logical sections with headings
  7. Organize headings so that they flow naturally from one to the next
  8. Add visual aids (pictures and videos)
  9.  Avoid repetition
  10. Avoid excessive use of colors in your texts so that your content does not come off as being “Spammy”

The second thing to consider when creating content is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This just means you create your content so that search engines such and Yahoo, Google, and Bing will prioritize your content over your competitors. This way, your content pops up first when someone searches for related information.

Here are 6 powerful SEO tips for posting content to your Website for Affiliate Marketing:

  1. Ensure your Keyword is in your post title and in your first paragraph
  2. Add your keyword in the Meta titles and meta descriptions
  3. Use keyword in Alt tags for pictures
  4. Add internal links
  5. Add external links
  6. Add a video

Read the full article on how to rank well of Google here

Here are 6 powerful SEO Tips for ranking well on Youtube for Affiliate marketing

  1. Use your Keyword in the video file title
  2. Use your Keyword in YouTube video title
  3. Use your Keyword in the Video description
  4. Content duration should be greater than 10 minutes
  5. Get friends to watch your entire video
  6. Use keywords and variations of your keywords in the tags

Read the full article on how to rank well in YouTube here

Pro Tip – Another important thing to do is add a Call to Action (CTA) at the end of your content. Never drop your content on a reader/viewer and then leave them hanging at the end. Tell them what you want them to do.

For example:

  1. Comment
  2. Subscribe
  3. Share
  4. Explore your channel/page/Website
  5. Buy something

Applying to Affiliate Programs

After publishing quality content, traffic starts to flow in. Now you need to apply to affiliate programs that will be easy to get into. Some Affiliate programs will not accept you until you are very established.

Here are 10 affiliate programs and networks that I would suggest for beginners:

  1. Amazon Associates Affiliate Program
  2. eBay Partner Network
  3. Home Depot – Impact
  4. Target
  5. ShareAsale/Awin
  6. CJ Affiliates
  7. ClickBank
  8. Commission Factory
  9. AliExpress
  10. DreamHost affiliates

Pro Tip – Remember to find out if the company for the product you are reviewing offers a direct affiliate program. The commission might be higher.

Adding affiliate links to your content – The right way

Four ways you can make money from affiliate links from Websites include:

  1. PPC (Pay Per Click) or CCP (Cost per click) – Earn when someone clicks on a link
  2. CPM (Cost Per Mille – Cost per 1000 views)- Earn each time you get 1000 views for an Ad or your content
  3. CPA (Cost Per Action) – Earn when someone uses your link to do things such as subscribe to free services, fill out surveys, etc. Eg. Sign up for Amazon free Kindle
  4. CPS (Cost Per Sale) or PPS (Pay Per Sale) – A type of CPA where the visitor uses your link to make a purchase

Watch video of how to add affiliate links to your Website here

Here are 8 tips on how to add affiliate links so that you earn maximum returns from your content:

  1. Ensure that you have an affiliate disclosure before adding any affiliate link to your Website.
  2. Be transparent. If you get the product for free from the company to review, tell your audience. They will respect you for it.
  3. Ensure that the linked product is correct.
  4. Ensure that the link is not broken. Sometimes while embedding, you might make a mistake. Always check your link
  5. Do not throw “buy now” in the middle of your review before you have explained why it is worth buying.
  6. Do not overdo it. If you have 2 affiliate links in one paragraph for the same product, you are overdoing it.
  7. Only use phrases such as “Best deal,” “special offer” “Best price online” “Special Discount” when it is true.
  8. At the end of your content,  add your link in a clear CTA using terms like “Buy” “Purchase” ‘View”  “Find out more” “Get it now”

Your viewers take action and use the links to make purchases

Now that you have quality content and affiliate links, your traffic can now convert into sales. Many people get to this stage and never make a sale.

Here are 5 common mistakes that prevent you from making the sale:

  1. Expired links
  2. Products are sold out
  3. Overpriced dealer
  4.  Sketchy dealer without secure payment options
  5. Bad reviews under the linked products

The affiliate program recognizes you as the source of the sale

Affiliate programs have cookie tracking systems that recognize your unique link. This way, you will be credited for any action taken.

Different affiliate programs track cookies for different lengths of time. For example, Amazon tracks cookies from your links for 24 hours. So if someone ends up on Amazon from your link, any purchase made within 24 hours of leaving your site, will be credited as your account.

Something to consider: Some affiliate programs will kick you off the program if you do not make a sale within a certain time frame. Always read the terms before signing up.

Cashing out – How do you get paid?

After all that work, it is time to reap the benefits.

Most affiliate programs offer to pay by check or direct bank deposits.

Some are more diverse and offer payments through PayPal, Payoneer, etc.

Some have a minimum payout threshold attached.

Bonus Step to give your earnings a super boost – Building an Email List

After you start to get traffic, over 95% will not return to the site again. But there is a way to keep people coming back if your content is of any interest.


  1. Produce content that rank
  2. Create an email series with niche authority and trust – Do not give a sales pitch in the first email
  3. Use an Email Generating plugin like Aweber or Mail Chimp
  4. Automatically build a client list!

Read more on how to build and maintain your email list here


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