Affiliate Marketing for Dummies: Earn Your First Dollar While Sleeping

How’s the feeling, if your blog makes money on autopilot?

Sounds interesting?

Well, affiliate marketing will help you to achieve it 😎

Amazon affiliate income

You can see I’m living proof example of it.

In 2018 I was wondering, affiliate marketing is real or just a hype?

So, I decided to give it a try and finally got my first small success.

first affiliate income

Fast forward to 2020 I can say, affiliate marketing is a real business to make money on autopilot.

If you are looking to start affiliate marketing from scratch…

…don’t worry! I’ll explain everything on affiliate marketing for beginners in this guide.

In this affiliate marketing for dummies guide, you’ll learn,

  • What is affiliate marketing and how does it work?
  • How can you do affiliate marketing?
  • Best affiliate networks to join for beginners
  • How to make your first $ from affiliate marketing (step by step plan)

…and lots more things.

Always remember, affiliate marketing is not a quick-rich scheme. You’re not being a millionaire overnight.

But, if you start with the right mindset and strategies you’ll get success soon 🙂

Affiliate marketing for dummies

Affiliate marketing for dummies

Let’s clear the basic first…

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing where you get a commission from the company or individual to promote their product on every successful transaction.

In simple words, you can promote other’s products and if anyone buys it from your affiliate link you’ll get a commission.

It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

On every successful purchase, you get your commission as an affiliate and the company gets the customer without any extra effort.

That’s why affiliate marketing is an evergreen business.

The affiliate marketing industry has steady growth. According to 99firms, affiliate marketing industry will reach $6.8 billion by 2020.

Professional affiliate marketer Pat Flynn earns $105,619.13 in a single month from affiliate marketing.

That’s HUGE!

However, he has been in this business for over a decade. If you’re just starting out your revenue should look something like this,

small affiliate earning

With experience and proper strategies, you’ll increase it time by time.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Being an affiliate marketer you need to join the affiliate network or company. After sign up and approval, the affiliate network gives access to the dashboard.

Something like this,

amazon affiliate dashboard

From the dashboard, you get a unique affiliate link. 

You just need to copy the link and paste it into your blog, youtube, social media or wherever you want to promote it.

When someone clicks on your affiliate link, the cookie will save to his browser. 

(That cookie will help to identify the sale credits)

…and if he ends up buying the product or service you’ll get a commission (thanks to cookie who track the sale credit).

Cookies have between 1-365 days of life span according to different affiliate networks.

So, if someone clicks on your affiliate link today and he ends up buying product or service after 2 days and that cookie has 7 days life, you’ll get a commission.

That’s a beauty of affiliate marketing.  The longer the cookie life span, more chances to get a commission.

…and even some affiliate networks like amazon associates will give you a commission if someone buys other products from Amazon that you’re not promoting but the user landed by your affiliate link.

Okay, let me explain to you.

Let say you have a blog around the “coffee machine” and someone clicks your affiliate link and he ends up buying that machine. 

…and somehow he decided to buy a coffee mug and sugar as well within a day.

You’ll get commissions for both the products (coffee machine, sugar, coffee mug)

Isn’t it amazing?

You’ll get paid even without promoting other products(sugar and coffee mug). 

Amazon has thousands of products and that makes it a perfect fit for any beginner affiliate marketer to start on. (more on it later)

How to do affiliate marketing

You can do affiliate marketing with a blog, youtube, social media handles, and even with PPC ads.

Blog: You just need to invest in a domain and hosting, after that you’re all set to hunting for affiliate marketing with your blog.

Nowadays, anyone can start a blog from scratch without any coding knowledge.

Most professional affiliate marketers choose blogs to do affiliate marketing. It is one of the best platforms to start on.

If you want to start a blog, then use this coupon code to get 62% discounts only for BloggingShala readers.

You’ll get a hosting account at $3.95/mo with a free domain for the first year. 

I have written an article on how to start a blog from scratch. Go through it once to get an idea.

After starting a blog you need to write an article and at appropriate places insert your affiliate links.

So, if the reader of your blog clicks on the link and ends up buying the product or service, you’ll get a commission.

But, according to FTC guidelines you need to disclose that you’re an affiliate of the product to your readers.

Youtube: Youtube is a free platform to create and upload videos. You can put affiliate links into the description of the video.

You just need to create and publish videos and if someone clicks from your affiliate link and ends up buying you’ll get a commission.

If you put affiliate links then you have to disclose that you’re an affiliate of it in the description or in the video to know your viewers.

Since youtube is a free platform for creators, you have to follow guidelines by youtube.

If you break the guidelines, YouTube has the power to shut down your channel anytime.

Social media handles: You can use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even Instagram to do affiliate marketing.

You just need to share your affiliate link through your social media handles.

IG bio affiliate link

Look at the link in IG bio, It is an affiliate link. If anyone clicks and buys from the link the owner of the page/link gets the commission.

But from my experience, I can say affiliate marketing with social handles has zero to no profit for the long run. (Unless and until you’re Kim Kardashian)

Yes, you can generate a few sales throwing your affiliate link here and there. But, it’s not steady in the long run compared to blogs or youtube.

Paid traffic: When you search for any query on Google, most of the time you’ll find ads on the top of the results and bottom of the results.

This is because of the PPC ads campaign by advertisers.

Same with the FB ads. You’ve found them in your feed while scrolling.

If you want to do affiliate marketing with PPC ads, then you need a budget. You have to create ads and put it into google or any other ads network.

…and if someone clicks and ends up buying through your link you’ll get a commission.

PPC ads are not for beginners. If you have a budget and have experience in ads you can start with it. 

You need to pay for showing the ads on the search engine or FB. PPC ads work if you sell high-ticket products.

If you’re good at storytelling and film-making, start with youtube. But. always remember youtube has the power to shut down your channel anytime.

So make sure to convert and connect your viewers/subscribers to multiple platforms like Instagram, Twitter or email leads.

Most of the Youtuber do it. They connect with their subscribers on Instagram and Twitter and gives updates regarding their projects.

So, if youtube shut down your channel you have a community on other platforms and you’ll start from there something new.

Because…

Audience/customer is the heart of any business

If you love to write or read and don’t want to make videos then you should start with blogging.

I personally make money with blogging. So in this post, I’ll be sharing with you step by step strategies to make your first dollar with affiliate marketing via the blog.

How to make your first dollar with affiliate marketing

Step #1: Find a profitable niche

Step #2: Find content ideas

Step #3: Start your blog

Step #4: Join affiliate networks

Step #5: Optimise your blog for traffic

Step #6: Promote your blog

Find a profitable niche

Finding a niche is a crucial step for any blogging business. If you want to make passive income in the long run, stick with a specific niche.

KnifeSharpenerGuy.com is niche oriented website. His niche is around reviewing different types of “knife”.

…and just by reviewing knife, his blog gets a decent amount of organic monthly traffic. That’s a power of niche blog.

You can go with your passion/interest to choose your niche. Whatever passion you have from cooking to travelling or finance to the lifestyle you can write blogs around it.

Just make sure to choose a more specific niche which has low to medium competition.

Let me explain to you,

Fashion is a highly competitive industry, it’s harder to rank on google being a newbie.

But, you can find alternative ways.

Let me break down more.

Fashion is appreciated by both women and men, agree? 

You can start your blog around any specific gender, it could be men or women.

Let’s say you decided your target audience: “men”

You can get even deeper to find more specific people.

Example: “teenager man” fashion niche has a specific audience of age 10-20.

Likewise, “adult men” fashion niche has a specific audience of age 21-35. 

Both categories have different needs, style taste and budget to spend on fashion.

Teenager men are always looking for trendy fashion and adult men hunting for classic trends.

So, that’s how you can find your specific audience.

…and with minimal traffic, you get a decent income.

Or, if you are too lazy, use Amazon to find a niche.

Yess! You read it right. Amazon doesn’t only help you to buy your favourite product but it also helps you to find your niche.

Open amazon and from the search bar, you’re able to find niche ideas.

In the search bar, you’ll find push down sub-menu “All”. Click on it.

Now, you’ll find different categories which help to identify your niche.

From the categories, click on any one category and hit enter the magnifying icon.

I clicked on “beauty & personal care” category and I was ended up finding in a more specific niche.

amazon micro niche ideas

Look, these all are the super-specific niches.

You can start your blog around “makeup” rather than everything about “beauty & personal care” to get better and faster traffic exposure.

Cool, huh?

If you are still struggling to find a profitable niche, check out my in-depth guide on finding your niche in blogging.

Find content ideas

After settling down the niche next step is to find content ideas. Without content, you’ll never expect organic traffic and sales.

You can use these 3 tools to find content ideas:

  • AnswerThePublic
  • Quora
  • SEMrush

AnswerThePublic(ATP)

ATP is a free tool which helps to find content ideas just by searching words or phrases. It shows you questions people are asking for given keywords.

Head over to Answerthepublic. In the search box enter your keyword or keyphrase.

I entered “coffee” keyword to find content ideas.

…and I get 100+ ideas related to my keyword. Even you can download the data in CSV format for free. 

These are the questions that people used to ask online on “coffee” keyword,

Well, this will probably be great topics to cover in your blog posts. 

Try this free tool with your niche and explore every question and note down the important one and start producing content on it.

Quora

Quora is a free question-answer based platform. It has over 300 million users online monthly. So, you’ll find some great content ideas within it.

Head over to quora. If you’re a new user it’s asking to sign up. Sign up with your email account and set up your account.

Now, you’re able to explore quora.

From the search bar section, you’ll be able to find content ideas.

Just enter any keyword in the search bar box. I entered “espresso coffee” keyword to get content ideas,

Look at the first 3 results, the money-making questions.

If you try to cover this topic in the blog posts, chances are more to get organic traffic.

Quora would be a content idea finding machine for you if you use it wisely.

SEMrush

SEMrush is an SEO tool which helps to do keyword research, competitor analysis, site audit, content marketing and lots more things.

Well, it is a paid SEO tool but you can grab a 7-days free trial from here. You just need to sign up and enter your credit card details.

…and then you can use it free for the next 7-days worth $99.

Before 7-days, if you don’t want to opt-in for their paid plan you have the option to opt-out from their service without any charge.

So, that’s how you’re able to use a powerful SEO tool for 7 days without even paying a single penny.

SEMrush offers competitor analysis which helps you to find already ranked and profitable keywords.

So, if you’re too lazy to find profitable keywords ideas, SEMrush tool will be a life-savour for you.

To do competitor analysis you need at least 5-10 top websites in your niche. You can find them on google.

Just enter any popular keywords within your niche and you’ll end up finding a bunch of quality websites.

Copy their home page link address in google sheet.

Now, head over to SEMrush and paste anyone website link address in the “domain overview” search box.

semrush domain overview

Now, to find profitable keywords look for “top organic keywords” section where you can find organic keywords that your competitor’s website already ranking for.

semrush organic keyword

Now, when you click on “view details” you’ll end up with a GIANT list of keywords (real goldmines).

semrush keyword data

I’ve found around 15000 already ranked organic keywords on google within a single click. 

Cool! Huh?

Now, the next step is to filter out the keywords by search volume and keyword difficulty (KD) ratio.

Remember, Search volume means how many searches happen in a month on search engines for given keywords.

Keyword difficulty(KD) shows how difficult it is to rank on Google’s first page for a given keyword.

According to SEMrush if,

KD is above 80, then that keyword is hard to rank. If you’re a beginner try to avoid this keyword.

KD is between 60-80, then that keyword is medium-hard to rank. It also has competition but you have a chance to rank on google’s first page if you do your SEO well.

Below 60 KD, then that keyword is easy to rank. If you’re a beginner try to find keywords which have below 60 KD score for fast ranking. 

Being a newbie, find the keywords which have less-medium search volume (100-1000) and low KD (below 60).

Something like this,

low KD keyword

“organic coffee roasters” keyword has 140 search volume and 48.02 KD that makes it a perfect keyword to start on being a newbie.

While filtering out keywords you must be check, keyword types, KD score, Volume and CPC.

Check out this beginners guide to keyword research to find profitable keyword ideas. I have explained everything related to keyword research.

Start your blog

Nowadays, starting a blog is an easy task even if you are a student or senior citizen. 

Within 27 clicks your blog goes live (yes! I calculated clicks, haha 😀 )

You need a domain name (which cost you around $8-15)

You need a hosting account (Which cost you around $4-10/mo)

…and last CMS platform to build your website (WordPress which is free)

After grabbing a domain and hosting you need to change the nameserver in your domain’s DNS section if you buy a domain and hosting account separately.

It takes 24-48 hours to update the nameservers.

Now, from the hosting dashboard, you can install WordPress and your site goes live technically.

Feeling confused? Well, yes if you’re a beginner you’ll find it hard to start your blog on your own.

But, hang on!

I’ve something for you. 

I’ve partnered with Bluehost (Hosting company) to get your first website live in NO TIME.

Bluehost provides you with a free domain for the first year with an SSL certificate (useful for site security purposes) at starting from $3.95/mo.

Bluehost is a trusted company for the last 15+ years and has a great performance track record. It offers you the automatic WordPress installer option. 

…and if you don’t like their service you can ask for a refund within 30 days.

So, if you’re not a tech-savvy person like me and want to start your blog within 10 minutes then grab a deal from Bluehost.

I have written an in-depth article on how to start a blog from scratch step by step, go through it once.

Join affiliate networks

Affiliate networks help you to monetize your blog. You need to sign up with them to promote their products.

After every successful transaction through your affiliate link, you’ll get a commission.

Best affiliate networks to join for beginners:

You can also find affiliate programs according to your niche just by typing “your niche + affiliate program”.

If my niche is around dog’s product then I’ll be searching for “dog products affiliate program” on Google.

how to find affiliate programs

If you’re just jumping in affiliate marketing, start with amazon associates.

Major reasons to start with amazon associates:

  • It has a wide variety of products to promote
  • Conversion rate is higher
  • You’ll also get paid for the extra product conversion

The downside of amazon associates:

  • Commission rate is low
  • Only 1 day of cookie lifespan

Give a try to amazon associate as a learner after that apply for the major affiliate network where the commission rate is higher.

I had started with amazon associates first, now I promote the high-ticket products. Amazon associates gave me motivation at the beginning of my journey.

…but still, I promote amazon’s product for the commission and now my conversion rate is much higher than before.

(Average conversion rate ranges between 2-15%)

high amazon conversion rate

How to start with amazon associates

To start amazon affiliate marketing you need to sign up with amazon associates as an affiliate.

Go to Amazon associate (global link) or Amazon associate India. (You can select your country from the right menu bar)

amazon associates sign up page

Now, click on the sign-up button. 

…and enter your e-mail id and password if you already have an amazon account or click on “create new” to make a new.

After that, you have to complete 4 simple steps to start promoting amazon products.

amazon affiliate setup

Step 1: In the first step you have to fill up the “account information” details of yourself and then hit the next button at the bottom.

Step 2: In this “website and app list” step you need to enter your website URL or mobile app URL if you have.

(Select “No” if you see the question “Are any of the websites or mobile apps listed above directed primarily at children under 13?”)

Step 3: In this “profile” step, you have to create a preferred store id. Store id is a unique id which helps to track your sales.

…and you need to enter details on your website’s niche, how much traffic you get in a month and how you’re going to drive traffic to your blog.

Just fill up all the details and hit the finish icon at the bottom.

Step 4: In the final step you need to enter your tax and payment details to get paid. 

You have options to direct bank transfer, cheque or gift cards.

I recommend clicking on direct bank transfer and filling all the details.

If you’re from India or any Asian country and want to promote a global amazon product then you have to make a global bank routing account to get paid.

You can use Payoneer. It’s a free service for people to get paid internationally. You just need to make an account with it.

After completing the sign-up, you get a USA, Europe, Canada and Japan bank account for free of cost.

Payoneer’s account is directly linked to your bank account. So, whenever you get paid from the amazon associates your payment will be transferred to your native bank account in your currency within 3-4 days.

Now, you have a different country’s virtual bank account in Payoneer. 

So, if you want to promote Amazon USA products then you need a USA bank account. Same for Europe and Canada.

But, you’re opt-in for a Payoneer. Payoneer gives access to different country’s bank accounts. You’ll find them in your Payoneer dashboard.

Now, enter your bank details in amazon associates account from your Payoneer account and you’re all set to get paid internationally from Asia promoting global products.

Now, fill up the “tax information page” and you’re all set up to get paid without worries.

Your amazon dashboard looks like this,

amazon affiliate dashboard

The most important task is to generate your unique affiliate link which helps to identify sales credit.

You can use amazon’s Sitestrip tool. It is stuck on the top of every amazon’s page if you logged in with the same account as your affiliate account.

…to generate a link to any product you need to open the product page. Then click on “text” from the Sitestrip tool.

Simply copy the link and paste it into your blog post. So, if someone clicks on your link and he/she buys anything from amazon within 24-hours you get a commission.

OR another way,

Simply go to the product you want to promote. In the product description look for “ASIN” number.

Copy it and paste into your amazon affiliate dashboard and you’ll find affiliate link of the product. copy affiliate link and paste it into your blog post.

how to generate amazon affiliate link

You can check the percentage of commission over here. Amazon has different commission levels according to country.

Optimise your blog for traffic

Your blog is live, you’ve joined affiliate programs. Now you need traffic.

Without traffic, you’re not going to make affiliate sales.

You can drive traffic to your blog via different strategies like SEO, paid ads, email marketing, social media, forums etc. 

Organic traffic is the best source to get unlimited and targeted visitors to your website. Targeted visitors are more prone to buy products from your affiliate links.

…to get organic traffic you’ve to do SEO on your blog. 

(SEO stands for search engine optimisation) 

You can optimise your blog by adding your primary keywords into your title tag, headline, throughout the content strategically, meta-description and image alt-tag.

You can check out this in-depth guide on how to do SEO to drive traffic over here.

Promote your blog

According to Tech Jury, 4.4 million blog posts are published every single day. This is HUGE.

In this competitive world, how you’re going to survive if you’re just a newbie!

Simple, you have to tell the world that your blog does exist.

Social media will be your great friend to drive initial traffic momentum when you’re just starting out.

No doubt SEO is the sharpest weapon to drive organic and unlimited traffic but it takes time, 6-12 months approx.

…till then you can promote your blog via social media handles or forums to get some initial traffic boost.

You can use Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram page, Pinterest or even quora.

I personally use Pinterest, Facebook page and even quora sometimes to drive traffic.

…and for brand awareness, Instagram is my favourite among all of them. 

Start with anyone or two platforms first. Learn the in’s and out’s of the platform and try to get traffic to your blog via that platform.

Related: 14 Actionable blogging tips to grow your blog faster

Important tips on affiliate marketing for dummies(beginners)

Your audience is your assets, Never ever try to cheat them.

Don’t sell worthless products to them just for the sake of money. You’ll make money in the short run but later you’ll lose the trust.

…and it harms your business in the long run.

Before recommending any product try to use it and see if it’s worthwhile to promote or not.

…and if you don’t afford the product then try to read all the reviews and you’ll find the pros and cons of the products.

While writing product review blog posts try to cover pros as well cons that’s how your audience will know them before they buy.

At the end affiliate marketer’s job is to solve people’s problems. 

If you solve their problem with your product, they’re going to happily buy your recommended product and you earn a commission.

If you want to increase your affiliate sales, check out this article. It will help you to increase your affiliate sales.

If you want to know, which tools I use to run my blogs check out here.

FAQ’s

Can you really make money as an affiliate marketer?

Well, the answer is yes only if you are ready to invest your time, efforts and energy. See I’m a real proof example.

Is affiliate marketing easy?

It isn’t easy. But, it isn’t hard either. If you learn the basics and stay consistent you’ll definitely find the success.

I have shown an exact step by step strategy to start affiliate marketing from scratch. 

Just take the first step and start your blog. You’ll love the process after that.

I’m not an expert, I’m still learning every day. 

Do you want to know, Why I’m able to make a decent income online?

Because I’m consistent in my journey. 

…and consistency always rewards you in any kind of field.

How much money do you need to start affiliate marketing?

You just need to invest in a domain and hosting account, that’s it. You can start your affiliate marketing blog with just $3.95/mo.

How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?

It depends from person to person. Some people make money within a month and sometimes it takes over a year.

If you’re just starting out, focus on your blog for the first year. 

If you stay consistent and apply the right strategies, I’m sure you’ll taste the success sooner.

How much can you make with affiliate marketing?

The sky is the only limit. It depends on your dedication and strategies. If you’re just starting out then your earning will be small.

But, don’t feel sad about it. If you make $1 then you can earn $100, even $1000 too from affiliate marketing. 

Being a beginner your first step is to make your initial sale. That will motivate you.

Conclusion

No doubt, affiliate marketing is one of the sustainable and scalable online businesses out there.

If you are willing to put efforts with consistency you’ll dig a big chunk out of it.

Take baby steps. Don’t think you will be a millionaire overnight. 

Start your blog first, then optimise it for SEO and learn every day something new to increase your traffic and sales.

…and make a promise to yourself, whatever you learn you’re going to execute it to your blog.

In the past, I used to learn every day. I read blogs, watch youtube videos but later on, I realise I’m not taking action.

…and to be very honest, one of the dumbest mistakes I made by not taking action.

If you are reading till here, I’m sure you’ll take action.

Start your blog with this coupon code or check out the step by step guide on how to start a blog from scratch.

…and join affiliate networks. At Least start with amazon associates and crack your first sale.

I hope you’ve found this affiliate marketing for dummies guide helpful.

If you’ve any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section.

…and let me know what is stopping you to start your affiliate marketing blog, I’ll try to help you out.

 

You might be also like,

How to start a blog from scratch in 2021 (That make money)

Beginners guide to keyword research for SEO (find unlimited keywords)

5 simple steps to find your niche in blogging (That make money)

14 actionable beginner blogging tips to grow your blog in 2021

4 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing for Dummies: Earn Your First Dollar While Sleeping”

  1. Hey Hardik,

    I have really enjoyed reading this article. You have covered every ins and outs related to affiliate marketing in this guide. Affiliate marketing is the most powerful income stream on the internet. This guide is very beginner-friendly. Thanks for sharing!

    Regards,
    Sayem Ibn Kashem

    Reply

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