What I’m going to share with you today is an one of the best and most simple ways for you to start making your first dollar online.
And this method that I’m going to share with you does not require you to have any marketing knowledge, any products or services of your own, and you can do it without a website.
What this method involves is you promoting someone else’s’ product/service as an affiliate – And whenever someone purchases that product/service that you are promoting via your unique affiliate link, you’ll get paid a certain amount of commissions (the amount of commissions you’ll receive varies based on what the respective merchants are willing to give out).
Affiliate marketing has to be one of the most evergreen ways to generate income online, and if your good at it, you can easily make a living from it while working from home.
Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links below may be affiliate links (disclosure). If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission (which come at no additional cost to you). Thanks.
What is an affiliate program?
An affiliate program is, in layman terms, a program that is being set up by the product merchant to invite marketers (a.k.a. affiliates, or sometimes also known as associates) to promote products that a merchant offers.
And whenever the affiliate has successfully referred a sale (in that he/she manages to get someone to purchase products from the merchant’s site), they will be paid a certain percentage of commissions (usually the amount of commissions the affiliate will receive is calculated based on the total sales that is generated).
Choosing a profitable niche
The first thing you need to do in affiliate marketing is to choose a niche (that you want to promote products/services in).
This is the first step, and also one of the most important steps if you want to become successful.
So, here we outline a few methods for you to find that perfect niche for your affiliate marketing:
Many newbie affiliate marketers do not know what to promote!
There are thousands of niches available (i.e., health and fitness, business opportunities, love and relationships, finance and investment, self-improvement, home and garden, etc.) for you to choose from. You can literally find programs in any niche that you choose.
So, which niche should you venture into? The first thing you can do is to do some simple brainstorming.
Especially when you are just starting out, you will want to go into niches that you have an affinity with. The reason is because, by going into a niche that you are interested in, you will know exactly the problems that people in your niche are facing, and you will be easily able to recognise products that help with “pain points” of that selected niche.
As long as you can find products/services that act as a solution to problems that people are facing, and you explain to them how these products/services can help them solve their problems, you can be sure that people will want to buy them (and you will be able to generate commissions for each sale you refer.
2. Check for demand
After you have decided on the niche that you want to enter, the next thing you need to do is to check for product demand.
The reason why you want to do so is because, if nobody is interested in the item that you are trying to promote, then there is no way you will be able to generate any commission at all.
There are a few simple ways to determine whether or not there is a demand in the niche market that you are intending to go into, specifically:
- Books: Check out Amazon’s website. Find out whether or not there are books written for the market that you are intending to go into.
- Magazines: Are there any magazines dedicated to your market? If there are lots of magazine available, you can be sure that people are indeed spending money in this market (and that means there is a huge potential for you to be able to generate a lot of money as well).
The reason is because, magazine publishers will not publish magazines in markets with little or no demand. So, if you find lots of magazines available, that means good news for you.
- Articles: Check out major article directories such as Medium, Quora and Reddit and find out whether there are articles (or questions, topics etc) written in the niche that you are intending to go into – If there are lots of articles, chances are there is a demand in it (and that means you can safely go into it)
3. Keyword research
There are various keyword research tools (Such as the free Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool, free Wordtracker Tool, and the free Keyword Discovery Keyword Research Tool) that you can make use for free to check out whether or not there are people searching for the niche that you have selected during your brainstorming.
Generally, you are looking for at least 1,000 monthly searches for the keywords that are relating to the niche.
If there are no books or magazines, or articles written that is about the niche that you have just brainstormed, or that there is a low search volume for the keywords around the niche. You should then possibly look for other niches to work on (as chances are there is very little demand for it, and likelihood is that you will not be able to generate a lot of money in this niche as well).
Choosing the best affiliate network
Once you have found something that you want to promote, you need to create a unique link that you are able to promote. This link is a specific identification method that the merchant uses to recognise where the sale was generated. To generate this link, you need to join your desired affiliate network and then create your first link.
Generally merchants will provide you with various banners and images to help you sell the product.
However, before you sign up to an affiliate network, you need to do some due diligence to make sure you don’t join a dud program. Here are 4 things you should specifically keep an eye out for:
1. How is the affiliate network perceived?
Before I sign up to any affiliate network, I always search Google to see what other people say about the network. It’s super easy. All you have to do is search the name of the program then type in review. For example (here is one I created earlier): Ezoic Affiliate Program Review.
It’s important to look at when the article was produced (more recent is generally better), whether the writer is honest in their review (or are they aiming for you to sign up through their link), and the overall opinion of the program.
2. Types of programs available
Before you sign up for any affiliate network, make sure that:
- it has products in the niche that you are in that you can promote
- the amount of commissions that you will make for every single sale is desirable.
Without the proper products, or without a good pay-out, you’re not going to be able to generate much income!
3. How conversions are tracked
What does the dashboard of the affiliate program look like? Are you able to see results in real time, or is there a delay once a user has clicked a link?
A Lot of programs will allow you to link to different pages, allowing you to include your unique link on multiple products. Other programs also all you to use “deep linking”, where you can add a unique code to any page of that product.
What’s important here is that your able to track where the link comes from. Without knowing where the conversion is generated (i.e. from a product review page, YouTube video, or from an email newsletter), you don’t know where to spend most of your resources. For example, if you know that your product review page is bringing in 95% of your commission, then you would look at ways of promoting that page (i.e. backlinks, paid links etc.) to generate even more revenue.
If you are unsure as to how conversions are tracked, you can quickly email the affiliate network and ask. It’s in their interests to help you out as much as possible!
4. How do you get paid?
Once you know how conversions are tracked, it’s important to know about how you can receive money.
Some important things to take not of here include:
- What are the minimum levels that you need in your account before you can withdraw money?
- Is there a time limit to receive your money? A lot of programs may have a set 15 or 30 day period to ensure that no products are returned.
- How do you receive a pay-out? Does the company use PayPal, or do you get a check,
- What currency is the pay-out? Do you need to open a Wise Borderless Account to be able to receive foreign payments easily?
Deterring how you get paid is really important, especially if you are relying on that money to use in other ways (i.e. PPC marketing, article writers, advertising, sponsored posts, etc.). You always want to have more money coming in than going out.
Promoting the product
Now that you have identified the niche that you want to go into, and you have chosen a product you want to market. The next step is to determine how you go about promoting the product.
There are, so many different ways in which you can promote a product. But so we don’t overload you, here we share the 3 simplest ways (both free and pai) to promote your affiliate product:
1. A website or blog
Here your options are:
- a domain name and hosting and create a self-hosted blog,
I highly recommend that you create your own blog with domain – As it is more professional to have a “.com” name as your website (compared to a free blog name).
Creating your own website is super simple, and we have written a helpful guide to help get you online and promote your first products!
There are 2 ways which you can promote the product in your blogs / websites, and they are:
Product Review – You can promote a product by doing a full review of it. Information you can include in your product review can be a brief information of what the product is all about (in general), what it can do for your prospective customers (if he/she were to get it), along with the pros, as well as cons, of it.
Articles – You can write articles cantered around the subject in which the product is about and post them onto your websites. And within the articles, you can sprinkle your affiliates links to the product you are promoting throughout the article (not too much though, just 3 to 5 at max, if your article is about 500 words in length).
2. Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
This is, in fact, the fastest way for you to get traffic to the product sales page via your affiliate link.
How this strategy works is that, you create ads to be displayed on search engines (under the sponsored listings column), and whenever someone clicks on your ad, you will pay a certain amount of advertising fee to these search engine (hence the name Pay Per Click – You pay only when someone clicks on your ad).
Most of the time, your ads will be approved within as little as 15 minutes (some even instantly) and shown to your targeted audiences (based on the keywords that you have selected), and if you target the right keywords, you can expect to generate traffic in under an hour.
However, if you intend to use this method to promote products, you need to equip yourself with the right Pay Per Click marketing strategies – Otherwise chances are you will end up spending lots of money (in advertising fees) and at the same time not getting a single sale.
3. Article marketing
Similar to writing articles and post them on your websites, you write articles and submit them to the top article directories, such as Medium.
Where ever you submit it, take note of what’s allowed. Once you go outside your own domain, there may be restrictions of whether you can share affiliate links or other marketing strategies. Sometimes you may only be able to include affiliate links in the author’s bio.
If your not allowed to post affiliate links, you can use a simple trick to still drive traffic to your link.. What you can do is make use of domain forwarding to redirect your readers to your affiliate link (whenever they click on your domain name in the author’s bio).
Beginner affiliate marketing success strategies
In order to generate massive amounts of cash from nothing but promoting other peoples’ products and/or services as an affiliate, you should be equipped with some strategies. Here are three beginner strategies to get you started:
1. Building & maintaining relationships with your subscribers
Heard of the saying “The money’s in your list“? By simply building and maintaining a subscriber list, your able to promote products that could be helpful to your readers.
Your emails can be personal ones (with you telling a bit more about yourself, what you have been doing recently, your expertise in the market that you are in, etc.), informational ones (sharing with them a tip or two on the subject area that you are in), or promotional ones (recommending a product/service – along with your personal reviews).
2. Master 3 to 5 traffic generation strategies
There are so many different traffic generation strategies available to help you drive massive amounts of traffic to your websites or product offers (if you know how to fully utilize the different traffic generation strategies). However it is impossible for you to master every strategy.
Therefore, you should look at 3 to 5 strategies that you are interested in, and then learn everything there is to know about these. Read up as much as you can, and possibly take some courses or to maximise your traffic generation.
3. Focus and consistency
As always, in order to be good at something, you need 2 things – focus and consistency.
After you have decided on the niche you want to explore, as well as the traffic generation strategies you want to master, you will want to focus on driving traffic to your website. This means that you will need to put aside any distractions and direct all of your energy into getting the sale.
Next comes consistency – You need to treat this business seriously, and have put in the same amount of effort that you would put in if it is a brick-and-mortar company that you set up. If you were to treat affiliate marketing as a hobby, then you are going to get “hobby” earnings, instead of full-time income earnings.
Programs to Consider
Through my research I have found many great affiliate programs that you can start promoting, even as a beginner!
- These are companies where the products sell themselves. Think of a company like Amazon. They have literally everything you want. Through their program your able to link directly to products in the Amazon range, making it super easy to include affiliate items on your pages.
- Another great company to start promoting is Fiverr. Through Fiverr your able to hire help for nearly anything. It’s super easy to sign up, and super easy to promote on your pages.
- The final program that I want to mention is Ezoic. They are a premium ad network that help you to earn more from your site. The company guarantees that you will earn more through them than any other ad network (especially the big ones). This makes it super easy to promote as both you, and the person that signs up win. How cool is that!
Other considerations – Link cloaking
The process of “cloaking” affiliate link is where your long affiliate link is being shortened, and this is done for 2 purposes:
Ease Of Remembering
Instead of having long affiliate links such as http://www.productdomain.com/product.html&prodid=98765&affid=afflink, you can cloak it to something like http://shortlink.com/myaffiliatelink.
As a customer, which link will you be able to remember better? Also, which link will you feel more comfortable in clicking on? Obviously, it’s the cloaked link, right?
Prevent Commission Hijacking
Commission hijacking is where another affiliate illegally replaces your affiliate ID with theirs before they purchase something that you recommend so as to “steal” the affiliate commissions you deserve.
There are essentially 3 ways you can go about cloaking your affiliate links:
Using free URL shortener services
There are many free URL shortener services available on the Internet that allow you to cloak your affiliate links for free, these include:
Using domain redirects
If you are running wordpress, then one of the easiest ways to utilise redirection, is to install a free plugin such as Easy Affiliate Links or ThirstyAffiliates. These tools allow you to manage your link lists, easily insert links into your posts and redirect your links. So, you would have a link like: yourdomain.com/recommends/affiliate link.
Running your own link cloaking service
If you do not feel comfortable using free link cloaking services (for fear that they may have downtime from time to time), you can host your own link cloaking service.
All you need to do is to get yourself a short domain name (as short as possible so that it is easy for anyone to remember), and then install a link cloaking script (I would recommend this link cloaking script called “HideURL” and you can download the script here – HideURL Link Cloaking Script)
With that, I’ve just shared with you an absolutely straight-forward path to allow you to start generating income on the internet without any marketing experience, without any products and services of your own, and without your own website.
To recap, you are really looking at three main steps, specifically:
- Choosing a profitable niche including what products you could be promoting
- Find the right affiliate program that offers great terms for your as the marketer
- Promote the product to then get the sale.
What you need to do now is to act upon the information that I’ve just provided above and I can guarantee that you’ll start seeing income coming in soon. 🚀
This was just one of many other ideas about starting a side hustle, and or making money online without experience. If you want to discover more opportunities, check out our list of additional ways to earn money.