How to Make Money Online From Affiliate Marketing – The Reality

How to Make Money Online Series – Affiliate Marketing

There are supposedly a lot of different ways to make money online. Some work very well and some don’t. This is a fact of life. There are however a lot of ways of making money online that people will tell you are crap and don’t work, but actually have bags of potential in terms of how much you can earn.

There is however a rather substantial grey area when it comes to products of this nature which may not come as a surprise to anybody. The method that I want to look at for my inaugural article is one that most people who have ever seriously researched how to make money online will have come across and that is affiliate marketing.

Without trying to bombard you with details on the subject here (that is what the rest of this article is for), I will say that affiliate marketing is arguably one of the biggest markets for making money online and it is a truly digital and truly global phenomenon.

So with that in mind, I want to jump straight into this article.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a delightfully simple principle and this is a big part of why it has proven successful. Essentially, you act as a reseller of sorts for another person’s product.

You market their product, introduce buyers and in return, you receive a commission for your sale. In theory, it is as easy as that and this ease is a big part of the appeal. The truth however can be rather different.

So now that we have a rough understanding of what affiliate marketing is, why are so many people drawn to this method? The beauty of affiliate marketing is that once you are established it can become a very good passive business. You don’t really have to do a lot once you are well established and if I am honest, the whole process can be very “by the numbers” meaning that once you have established one revenue stream, it can easily be scaled and reproduced.

The most difficult part of affiliate marketing is getting started when you have nothing. Whilst there are various methods of promoting products (which I will look at in more detail below), all of them require hard work and effort in order to get started.

In many ways, affiliate marketing can be like pushing a very large round stone. It is intimidating to look at and it takes a momentous amount of effort to get the ball rolling, but once you do it is pretty easy to keep momentum going.

With this in mind, let’s get a little more in depth and explore some of the different methods and ways that one can get involved in affiliate marketing.

How Do I Find Products That I Can Sell as An Affiliate Marketer?

When you are an affiliate marketer, you need to start out by finding something that you want to market to others. This is a massively important step as it will ultimately dictate the tone of everything else that you do.You need to find the right products.

When it comes to products to sell, there are literally thousands however to be successful, you should look for products that have a proven track record of selling, especially if you want to build a sustainable income.

If you are looking for a quicker fix as it were, there are plenty of fad products available as well. Both approaches carry different challenges.

In order to find products to sell, there are several platforms available for numerous different types of products.

These can be information products or physical products. Generally speaking, I feel that the focus for most people is on information products. These can vary massively in terms of what they are, but generally speaking their main goal is to provide information (as the name suggests).

These can be made up in a variety of different ways depending on the niche, but generally speaking you can expect to see training manuals, video series and in some cases, one to one training.

There is a lot of versatility available in information products which means that no matter you want to sell, chances are that you can find something that fits in with your interests, and most importantly, your customer base’s interests.

When it comes to information products, there are two main companies that are out there, both of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

ClickBank Affiliates

Arguably the largest platform for information product affiliate marketing is Clickbank. They are a huge company that have been operational since 1998 and have continued to grow steadily since then.

Clickbank offers a huge variety of products in a variety of different niches (which is how affiliate marketers refer to the area they have chosen to promote products from). These include things like home business opportunities, health and fitness, gambling and even dating advice.

clickbank affiliates

The other main competitor to Clickbank is called JVZoo. JVZoo tends to have more products in the way of software and it is almost exclusively aimed at other internet marketers. This is a very profitable and productive niche to be in but it is also one of the most difficult.

I have personally always felt that JVZoo is the kind of place that content creators would go to if they were looking for products to sell on an affiliate basis.

This isn’t to knock the products as some of the most impressive techniques and methods that I have seen in recent times have come about through the JVZoo platform. There is just a tendency to have a little less variety which means that in turn, it can be harder to gather an audience.

There are other differences between the platforms too, for example Clickbank offers a 60 day refund window on all products that are sold through it. JVZoo on the other hand don’t force sellers to offer any money back guarantee.

It is worth pointing out however that many of them do offer at least 30 days.

I have now completed a detailed review of Clickbank and how to make profits, but basically ClickBank has a wide range of digital products that you can promote using your own website as the vehicle to generate the traffic needed for the sales.

More on the ClickBank Affiliate Network can be found here:

Amazon Affiliates

Possibly the biggest and most varied affiliate partnership online is Amazon. They allow users to sign up as an affiliate and sell products on behalf of other sellers. This has a huge advantage over trying to sell information products for a number of reasons, key of which is that you are selling tangible products that people want.

money amazon affiliates

Another advantage of selling as an Amazon affiliate is that you can generally expect to be selling brands that people recognise and are actively selling.

Furthermore, there is an almost unlimited number of products to sell. As is the case with affiliate marketing of information products, there are a variety of different niches that you can take advantage of.

Naturally, the best way of selling is to sell as much as possible and there is a lot of synergy between the niches that you will identify on a platform such as Clickbank and Amazon. There are a lot of people who promote Amazon’s products, and there is a reason for that:

  • Amazon is trusted world-wide.
  • Amazon is the world’s largest online market place
  • Millions of people use Amazon habitually
  • Amazon’s service is fantastic

Here is basically how it works:

amazon process

You can look further into this here:

amazon affiliate earnings

How Do I Sell Products as An Affiliate Marketer?

As I have mentioned, depending on your chosen niche you then have to decide how you want to market your products. The “traditional” way of affiliate marketing is to build a website (this doesn’t have to be anything fancy), create some content for a product and generate traffic this way.

This is however a long and arduous process and it can take some time before your website starts to make money.

WordPress For Affiliates:

One of the main tools that affiliate markets use is WordPress, mainly because it is free if you host the website with WordPress, or you the price of a few £/$ you can purchase a domain name and host the free WordPress software on a standalone website, which is a very cost effective way of starting your affiliate business.

There is a very good reason why 99% of affiliate markets use WordPress, and that is because although it is free, it is fantastically capable, can be modified, and there are endless programs/templates for it that you can use.


As I have stated you can use WordPress and their free services here:

SEO For Affiliates

If you are going to take this approach it is necessary to have some understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO) as well as knowledge of how to build a website.

Many marketers do just fine with a WordPress website, but then you actually have to get your website ranked in Google and the best way to do this is with great content, that is valid and serves the purpose of explaining exactly what your potential customers are looking for.

I suggest you Google the SEO aspect of affiliate marketing because the size of the subject will warrant a page and review all on it’s own, and is far too deep a subject to go into on this review.

This is a free platform that allows you to make good looking sites with no real understanding required of web design. The beauty of building a website however is that you can make it do whatever you want it to.

This kind of measured approach is best suited for people who are aiming to build a longer term business and want to have an audience that they can interact with properly. One of the biggest advantages with building a website as well is that it allows you to build an email list.

An email list is exactly what it says it is and it can be a powerful tool for internet marketers who have a genuine audience. With an email list, you can simply email your readers when there is a new product out that you think may be of interest to them.

If they buy from you, then you make a profit. If not, it has cost you nothing extra really to send out.

The other approach is to use social media and this is a method that is becoming increasingly popular. By using fan pages on Facebook, Instagram accounts and Twitter, you can still interact with your audience without having to create a website and provide content for it.

This makes things much easier and costs less however there are much fewer long term gains to be had from this approach.

Social Marketing

One advantage that I do feel that social media has over a traditional website is that you can sometimes better target your audience.

Through the use of hashtags and interests etc. you can quickly and easily reach out to your target audience (for example, if you were selling a fitness programme on an affiliate basis, you might want to hashtag your posts on Instagram #fitness).

The downside to using social media for affiliate marketing is that it can be much more difficult to get a social media page or account ranked on Google. This can have a substantial negative effect on your marketing abilities as people who are looking for the product you are selling in an organic fashion (that is to say, through a search engine) may not find you.

social affiliate marketing

Unfortunately, these are generally the customers who are most eager to purchase the products that you are selling.

Naturally, the best course of action is a combination of the two methods but this can be rather time consuming and the differences between them isn’t always complementary.

A good example of this is a fitness based Instagram that targets younger users may not necessarily benefit from a full website, just as something aimed at boosting sales leads for a business isn’t really going to benefit from an Instagram account.

YouTube For Affiliate Marketing

A lot of marketers now in the affiliate niche have started to use YouTube as their only source of traffic, and it is probably one of the quickest ways to start generating clicks to your websites.

A lot of these type of markets will generally just place a direct link to their affiliate offers at the end of the video, or in the description but that is not something I would personally advise.

You see with marketing you really want to start building a rapport with your visitors, and it is far better to do this using a website where you can actually communicate.

The following videos is of someone explaining how his business is based around video marketing, and actually has a business and website helping others to do so, but although the video is valid, I do not recommending just jumping on the first offer you see, you need to do your research!

So Is Affiliate Marketing Really Viable?

If you want to know if Affiliate Marketing is really a viable method of making money then I would simply refer you back to the multitudes of people who continue to make money through the method.

Furthermore, I would also point out that the industry is one of the oldest and most proven methods of making money online. Whether or not it is the best is a very different question.

In order to be able to get the most out of affiliate marketing then you should ideally be an outgoing person with a lot to say on a subject. This is why picking a niche that you know and are passionate about can make the job a lot easier.

People are naturally drawn to content whether this is a 2,500 word essay on Affiliate Marketing or a picture of a fitness model with a quote about determination over it.

As well as the fact that you need to be able to produce content, you also want to make your audience trust your recommendations. This means that when possible you should be engaging with your user base in such a fashion that they see you as an expert on a topic (something that indirectly, also helps with SEO).

This way, when you tell somebody that a product has positively influenced your life or business, they see you as a success story that they want to emulate.

If this sounds fun, then congratulations, Affiliate Marketing is something that you can probably make work for you. It is important however to stress once again the hard work that is involved in Affiliate Marketing.

Picking a niche, a marketing method and making the money are the easy parts. The hard part of Affiliate Marketing is in getting yourself established and set up. This is a long road that can feel a lot like talking to yourself for extensive periods of time.

You do also have to keep content coming which means that whilst I have described Affiliate Marketing as a passive form of income, it does still require some effort on your behalf.

Ultimately, this doesn’t have to be overly substantial however and as long as it is on topic and of a reasonable quality, it will keep people engaged and allow you to keep making money.

The beauty of Affiliate Marketing as far as I am concerned, is that anybody can do it with a computer and an internet connection. It isn’t easy to get to the goal line however when you do, you are left with a truly capable and scalable business.

There are a lot of people who have used affililate marketing not just to make a little extra “on the side” as it were, but have made it a career.

What are the Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing?

There are rather clear pros and cons to affiliate marketing in my opinion and this polarising aspect makes it a very difficult method to moderate. The truth is that the pros and cons for affiliate marketing are polar opposites.

The things that make it enjoyable for one person can be a reason not to pursue the method to antoher. None the less, I shall record my opinions here so that you can gain a quick summary and make up your mind.


  • Affiliate Marketing can be an evergreen method of making money online. This means that you can use the method forever without the revenue streams drying up.
  • Affiliate Marketing can be a fun way of building a business with very little start up costs.
  • When you are established, Affiliate Marketing becomes a passive stream of income that requires very little work on a day to day basis.
  • There are a huge number of products available to affiliate marketers to sell depending on your interests and what the current commercial trends are.


  • The start up period for Affiliate Marketing is long and can be draining as it will likely be some time before you start to make sales.
  • You are selling other people’s products and so are ultimately relying on a third party to keep your business up and running.
  • Some people will not like the fact that running your business for Affiliate Marketing does require some input, whether that is creating content or interacting with users.

So How Does Affiliate Marketing Stack Up Compared to Other Methods of Making Money Online?

Affiliate Marketing is a good place for this series to start as in many ways, it represents perfectly what the journey to make money online can entail. It can make you a millionaire or you can sit spinning your wheels for days before anything comes along.Google marketing

This makes it difficult to recommend over a lot of other ways of making money online.

The truth is that running an affiliate marketing website is one of the hardest was to make money online, and yet it is the one that I would recommend over any other to people.

Whilst there are plenty of easier methods available, there aren’t any that involve the potential to make real money. Affiliate Marketing on the other hand is all about building something sustainable and long term.

All of this does make it substantially more difficult than some of the easier and faster routes available to  boosting your income online. Affiliate marketing is one way that I think will pay off for most people in the long term though.

Conclusion on Affiliate Marketing

As far as ways of making money online goes, you can do a lot worse than considering an affiliate marketing business. Really, the best way that you can think of it is to start out writing about things that you love and monetise your content when the time is right.

This isn’t something that a lot of people are capable of doing however as they are looking for a quick turn around.

If this is you, then please forget about affiliate marketing entirely and go elsewhere. If you want to make a quick buck then this definitely isn’t for you.

A lot of the methods of making money online that I will be looking at are much smaller in scope than affiliate marketing (and resultantly, these articles may not be as long) and this is important to remember and to compare with what your end goal is.

For me, affiliate marketing is a good example of something that those who want to build a genuine long term passive income can start out with. I will hold my hands up and admit that the end results may vary (something that can arguably be said about any method of making money online) and this is something that I know will put some people off.

As I have touched upon, I think that you need to be a very certain kind of person to make affiliate marketing work for you. If you are keen on social interaction and have a lot to say, then this method of making money online can feel like a natural extension of your life and as such, it is a very easy thing to do.

Those who are perhaps less active on the internet will likely struggle to find their niche and carve out a space for themselves.

On the topic of niches, this is probably the single most important decision that you will make when you start out as an affiliate marketer.

Given that you will be providing content based around a certain topic, it is definitely for the best that you choose something that is of interest to you, otherwise you run the risk of getting bored and disillusioned further down the line.

Honestly, if you can make affiliate marketing work for you, then I think that you are onto one of the best and easiest methods of making money online. Just take with a pinch of salt all of the people out there who claim to make a fortune without lifting a finger.

It doesn’t really work like that and there is definitely a lot of hard work that goes into it. The rewards are there for the taking however and if you get enough of a following, making money can eventually be as simple as sending out a simple email.

With this in mind, I give affiliate marketing a thumbs up as a method of making money online. This is one approach however that does require serious management of your expectations, especially in the short to medium term.

Related Content & Resources:

How To Make Money Using ClickBank, A Detailed Affiliates Review


What is an Amazon Associate, and Starting as an online Affiliate


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