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5 Free Ways to Start Making Money From Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the numerous branches of online marketing that has recently seen a rapid increase in popularity. More and more people are turning to affiliate marketing to boost their earnings either by increasing their sales if they are the seller, or making more profit from their commission if they are the advertiser.

Free Affiliate Prgram

On one hand, the rising popularity of affiliate marketing means a drastic increase in competition within the industry and can lead to a raise in entry barriers. On the other hand, however, it also means a much greater choice of options when it comes to finding the appropriate affiliate match — with more products and websites available for cooperation, it has become easier to find a partner that would make the process more profitable for both sides. 

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

If you are new to the world of affiliate marketing, it is essential that you take your time to learn the basics. For instance, it is essential to understand what exactly affiliate marketing is and how it works.

To begin with, it will be fair to state that affiliate marketing is to an extent one of the forms of passive income. It is based on revenue sharing, which means you earn a commission every time people follow the link to the affiliate partner’s product you are promoting and end up actually buying it. 


There are usually three main parties involved in the process of affiliate marketing:

  • Publisher — the party that promotes the other company’s (person’s) products to the appropriate target audience on their platform and receives a share of the revenue in the form of a commission from the sale of goods by the advertiser that occurred as a result of the aforementioned affiliate marketing. 
  • Advertiser — creator of the product who manufactures the goods/services that the affiliate marketer, publisher, promotes on their platform. The main concern of the advertiser is increasing their sales, hence their main area of interest is finding a reliable and effective publisher to promote the product to the target audience correctly.
  • Consumer — the end lank of the equation, the person who enables the entire process of affiliate marketing and acts as a representative of the target audience that reacts to the advertisements and follows through to purchase the products mentioned in them. 

The first two parties are actively taking part in the equation while the consumer, despite being utterly important for revenue generation, can be deemed as a rather passive participant of this three-way relationship. 

Hence, this article is mostly going to focus on the relationship between a publisher and an advertiser, and the ways in which the profitability of it for the publisher can be maximized. 

how affiliate marketing works

As a website owner, a prospective publisher, you may benefit from affiliate marketing in a number of ways. The three main ones include:

  • Low overhead costs. Most affiliate programs are free to join, so you will not have to pay anything to become a part of it and start earning money.
  • No need to invest in the creation of a physical product. You can benefit from selling a product that you do not have to produce, hence you are not limited to a single product. This means you do not have any costs associated with producing the goods and can advertise as many of them as you find appropriate for your website concept. 
  • Flexibility. Entering the world of affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for everyone who is interested in embracing additional sources of income without being restricted in their actions by an array of different conditions and circumstances. Affiliate marketing is extremely flexible in terms of partners you choose to work with as well as the products you want to advertise. On top of that, you are not limited to a set number of venues, so you may be earning as much money as your website allows you to in terms of advertising capacity. 

If you have a website or a blog that has already accumulated a fair share of visitors, you may consider yourself an aspiring publisher and start looking into different affiliate marketing programs to boost your passive income. However, before you do that, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the primary sources of concern associated with it.

It is up to affiliates to decide on the terms of contracts and alter them without consulting (or sometimes even informing) their publishers first. This means that even if you apply for an affiliate program that offers a high percentage commission, you might end up receiving less at the end of the month just because the affiliates changed the commission rate to a lower one. 

Google Search Console

If you work with a lot of affiliates, you might have to allocate a part of your day to managing different affiliate dashboards. Not all of them use the same software to track progress, so chances are you will have to get familiar with different platforms. Not all of them are as straightforward as Google Analytics and Search Console, so you might want to assess the difficulty of operation of each offer before you commit to working with partners. After all, having to work a complicated affiliate dashboard can take up a lot of your time and hinder your overall earning process.

You need to make sure you understand what user actions will bring you money and what will not. Nowadays, when most internet users are browsing the web on their mobile devices, you want to ensure that you are making a referral sale even if your reader gets redirected to the mobile app instead of a browser when they click on your affiliate link. If that is not the case, you will simply be wasting your time and website resources as you will be missing a large number of opportunities that could potentially be taken if cooperating with a different advertiser. 

Top 10 2-Tier Affiliate Programs

On top of all of that, you should also not believe anyone who claims that affiliate marketing allows you to ‘make money while you sleep’. Indeed, affiliate marketing is a form of passive income that requires much less direct effort than a lot of alternative methods of making money. Nonetheless, by no means is this a ‘set and forget’ type of situation. It is vital that you constantly attend all your advertisements and make sure that they all still work and bring you the best results possible. It is essential that you work hard on ensuring that all your affiliate marketing advertising strategies are effective and up to date, and none of the links are broken. You want to generate as many leads as you possibly can to make it work!  

Here are some of the most valuable pieces of advice to follow if you want to start making money from affiliate marketing in 2020!

Make Sure You Are Familiar with Your Affiliate Program

The first way that will immediately increase your earnings and overall boost your performance is choosing the appropriate affiliate program.

Types of Affiliate Marketing 

Affiliate Products - Home office

First of all, you need to be aware of the fact that there are different types of affiliate marketing and this difference engenders an even greater variety of affiliate programs. All of them, despite sharing a similar concept, differ ever so slightly. That tiny difference, in particular, can make a huge impact on the extent of your success and the amount of money you make at the end of the day.

Depending on the type of the website that you own, you might find one type of affiliate marketing, and, subsequently, affiliate programs more appealing and overall more profitable than the others. Usually, this is not a complicated choice and it does not have too much impact if you are not a particular niche website. Nonetheless, if you want to ensure that you are getting the maximum profit and utilize your resources to the max, you need to choose the program that would suit your business model best.

In order to do that, however, you need to at least be familiar with all the possible options that you have. This is, by far, the most essential and initial step on the way to profitable affiliate marketing as it lays out the foundation for your subsequent actions.

The three key types of affiliate marketing include:

Unrelated Affiliate Marketing

Unrelated affiliate marketing refers to the most basic pay-per-click type of activity where you are completely and totally unrelated to the product you are promoting. This implies that you do not require any authority or even presence in the niche of the product that your affiliate sells. All you need to do is place a link to the product and get a commission from every item sold from following your referral link.  

affiliate marketing growth

To an extent, this is a widely unprofessional type of affiliate marketing as you have very little control over the outcome of your campaign. In its essence, this business model is an income-generating model that has little to none relationship-building practices with the visitors of your website. You simply hope that they end up clicking the link you have placed on the pages of your website and bring you money.

The appeal of unrelated affiliate marketing can be explained by the fact that it does not require any experience and active presence in the niche. Unlike other types, this one does not need you to have built a robust relationship with the target audience for this particular product and have gained recognition. Therefore, you may advertise as many products from different niches regardless of the focus of our website.

Related Affiliate Marketing

Related affiliate marketing is another type of affiliate marketing that refers to the business model which includes promoting the products that are relevant to your integral niche. This means, that your platform, either that would be a website or a blog, or practically speaking any other form of informative resource on the internet, is related to the product you are advertising in terms of sharing the niche.

This suggests that you have some degree of expertise in the particular niche and therefore have a certain amount of authority. Hence, you have more control over the product that you are promoting — your opinion is valued by the readers as they believe you can recommend good options for them to purchase. This type of marketing is more suitable for those people who want to be sure that they make consistent profit by placing affiliate links to the products they believe their readers will have interest in.

At the same time, this type of affiliate marketing is characterized by the fact that the products you advertise are not necessarily the ones you personally use and can vouch for. There is no judgment in this as it is a rather widely used practice. Nonetheless, you need to understand the risks associated with it. If the product turns out to be of bad quality, you might suffer some image-related problems in the niche, unlike in the first scenario where you do not have any authority in the niche, to begin with.

Involved Affiliate Marketing

The last and the most infallible type of affiliate marketing is the one that involves promoting the product that is not only relevant to your niche and therefore is in demand among your platform’s target audience but also is used and valued by you personally. If you trust the product you advertise on your platform, you can be sure that it is of good quality and you can genuinely recommend it to your readers. That way, you preserve your authority while making money off affiliate advertising the products you like. The only limitation of this type of affiliate marketing is that you are limited to a certain number of products depending on your personal preferences. 

Affiliate Product Comparison

Depending on the type of affiliate marketing you choose to adopt, you might look into the appropriate affiliate programs. The two distinct types of affiliate programs are the direct ones and the ones done through an intermediary. The latter one is often more suitable for unrelated and related affiliate marketing since it allows you to search for products, the former is great for establishing a relationship with the sellers of the products you already like. 

Some of the most popular affiliate programs at the moment are:

  • Amazon Associates – Direct Amazon product sales;
  • ShareASale – Third party affiliate program that allows you to search for merchants when you sign up;
  • CJ — Third party affiliate program that allows you to search for merchants when you sign up.

Considering the Affiliate Program You Choose To Embrace

When deciding on the affiliate program to choose, you need to make sure that you understand the conditions of the program you are interested in as well as the requirements you need to fulfill in order to qualify for a commission.

This directly affects the profitability of the venue as comparing and contrasting different programs in an attempt to find the most appropriate one for you personally can boost your revenue immediately.

The two main things you need to consider when choosing an affiliate program are the following:

Cookie-window. This refers to the time that a particular affiliate program allows to pass between the moment a customer clicks the affiliate link and makes a purchase. For instance, some programs allow no cookie-window whatsoever and the reader needs to buy the product immediately after they are redirected to the seller’s page, while others allow up to 24 hours between the events. You need to evaluate which of the two would be more suitable for the types of products you intend to advertise as well as the target audience you are working with. 


Commission rate. This should go without saying, but you need to monitor the commission rates different affiliate programs offer. What you are looking for is the most profitable rate that would let you start making money effectively. 

Pay Close Attention to Targeting the Right Audience

If you want to maximize your earnings from affiliate marketing, you want to make sure that you are targeting the right audience. 

If you are interested in getting your readers to purchase the products or services that you promote, you need to make sure that you catch them in a correct mood and ready to make a purchase. This means you need to adjust your content in accordance with the needs of your target audience.


In order to do that, you need to, firstly, choose the product you want to advertise and then build an article around it by incorporating the appropriate keywords that would help the customers find it.

While simply adding affiliate links to the already existing articles and posts could bring some amount of commission and be effective, it is only so to a certain extent. If you want to start making money and boost your profits, you need to make sure that you focus on adjusting your content to the chosen business model. 

For example, if you want to promote a set of books for studying, you should write a review on those particular books instead of simply referencing them sparsely in the article about effective studying.

This is another tip that will help you start making money: consider the buying cycle when creating affiliate content! As it been mentioned before, it is essential for you to make sure that your reader gets on your platforms and finds your affiliate link when they are most ready to make a purchase.

The best types of articles to achieve that is:

  • Product review (the customer is already interested in the product and wants to learn more)
  • Comparison of products (the customer wants to buy this type of products but is not sure which one to choose)
  • ‘The Best…’ compilations (the customer needs to be persuaded that the product they are searching for is the best option)

Aim to Be Solving a Problem 

 If you want to generate more profit from your affiliate marketing efforts, you need to make sure that you are approaching it correctly. 

The best way to create demand for the affiliate products you are trying to market to your target audience is by introducing them as the ultimate solution to the problem posed. To an extent, posing a problem is a part of your responsibilities, too. However, it is easy if you know your target audience.

You need to state something that the product you are promoting can help with and would be useful for and suggest buying it as a remedy for whatever problem is in the question. 

Optimize Your Affiliate Content

It is difficult to underestimate the importance of SEO when it comes to affiliate marketing. If you want to maximize your profits from marketing affiliate products, you need to make sure that people use your referral link for buying them. In order to achieve that, you need to be ranked high by search engines so that your website would be shown to the target audience.

One of the easiest (and absolutely free) ways to achieve that is by optimizing your content. In order to get the most out of your affiliate marketing strategy, you need to develop your SEO skills and be confident about the tools you use.

Here are some of the most essential things to incorporate into your SEO strategy for successful affiliate marketing:

  • Foster deep linking. On a number of occasions incorporating affiliate links into your blog posts or embedding them naturally into your text posts is much more efficient than using pop-up ads and widgets. The reason for this is the fact that customers view text posts as a more reliable source of information than obvious advertisements. Moreover, widgets can overload the website and cause slower loading of pages.
  • Make sure you keep the word count in check. The first rule for every SEO manager is to keep texts lengthier than shorter. This can be explained by the fact that search engines cannot read the actual post to determine the quality of the content to rank the website. However, they can assess the length of the text to see whether it is worthy of a mention or not.
  • Do not spam with affiliate links. While it is up to you how many products you want to advertise on your platform, you need to remember that the best way to approach affiliate marketing would be by selecting the few you would focus on as opposed to spamming your website with endless links. If you happen to have too many, you will end up losing a lot of possible leads.

Research the Products You Are Promoting 

At last but not at least, if you are interested in making affiliate marketing work and earning money from it, you need to be attentive and careful when it comes to picking the products to promote.

Before you partner up with affiliates, you need to ensure that the products you are going to advertise on your platform are not only legit and will not harm your brand image but would also be interesting to your audience.

There is no point in promoting the products that are not relevant to your target audience, and therefore, will simply be a waste of effort. 

About the Author

Lilian O’Brien is a passionate journalist who enjoys writing about psychology and human relationships. Over the course of her career, she was a regular contributor to major media publications, and currently, she serves as an editor for

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