Affiliate marketing is a fun way to earn some income from your own website. It is easy to get set up and running, and even easier to get into trouble if you’re not careful!
Below is a list of some of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that beginners may make, along with some tips on how to avoid them.
Trying To Sell Everything
We’ve all heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”! Same goes for trying to go too far and wide on a niche website. You are much better of focusing on your niche and the products or services related to it. Trying to do too much can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re new to online business.
An added benefit of being focused on your niche, is that you can build a large collection of specialized articles and product reviews or experiences. This body of knowledge will attract a lot more traffic to your site. It tells your audience that this is something you specialize in and know about. You become an authority!
Not Trying the Product Yourself
Ideally, one should be actively using, or at least try, the product or service that they are representing. This adds much more authority and honesty to your reviews and posts about it. Sharing your own personal experiences with the product makes your write up much more interesting and original. Having lots of relevant and original content is what will rank higher in search engine results, too.
Otherwise, who knows! You may be putting your name on a product that sucks! So, try it out first and see if it is something really want to represent. Knowing intimately what you are promoting and keeping your website dedicated to that particular niche, will as I’ve stated previously, tell your visitors, that you know this stuff!
Folks want to know what your’s and others’ experiences are before making a purchasing decision. This will earn you a lot more trust in the online community.
Joining the Wrong Affiliate Program
Resist the temptation to jump in to the first program that comes up. Take some time to research the programs out there to find a best fit for your niche. More importantly, you want to avoid becoming involved with a scam!
Choose a quality product that you believe in and enjoy! Too many folks are trying to promote crappy, mediocre products just to make a quick sale. This gives affiliate marketing a bad name. Don’t be part of the problem. Put yourself behind a high quality, reputable product – something your customers will love.
Of course, try the products yourself! Your customers will love you and they’ll come back for more!
Quality is everyone’s responsibility.
–W. Edwards Deming
Violating Terms Of Service
Make sure you’ve read, and fully understand, the Terms Of Service (TOS) and any other “fine print” associated with the program you’re joining. Merchants do not want to look bad or, worse yet, face legal liability because somebody is spamming their affiliate links all over the place. Therefore some rules have to be laid down.
It is very easy to do something that seems “innocent” but can be in violation of the TOS. Violations can get you banned temporarily or permanently from a program! Participating in an affiliate program is a privilege – please make sure you follow the house rules!
If you are trying a new idea for promoting your links, re-read the TOS to make sure what you are doing is legit. Review the TOS periodically for any new changes, too. Don’t hesitate to ask the affiliate program administrator questions about anything you want to try.
The same is true of any social media platforms you promote on – please read and understand the TOS!
Too Many Affiliate Programs
Once you’ve got a new site up and rolling, it is all too tempting to sign up for every affiliate program out there. STOP! Before you do, is this a product that is relevant to your niche? Does it apply to the subject you are posting about?
Start slowly and cautiously. Start with one program at a time. Try it for a while and see if it works for you and your style. Get familiar with it and get some results with that program. Then you can consider joining more programs or dropping ones that don’t work.
Website Not Ready
Many programs like to review your website while considering your application to join. They want to see what you’re made of. They want to be assured that you are solid. Have you, or will you, be around for a long time? They may even want an estimate of how much traffic your site or blog receives.
You will want to take the time to prepare a presentable website before joining any programs. Get users visiting and engaged in comments. Build your foundation first!
Thou shalt not spam! Never post affiliate links directly to social media platforms, other people’s sites, message boards, etc. Virtually every program out there has strict rules against spamming. As mentioned above, please read the terms of service for the program you’re using and also those of any site or platform you wish to share on. Many platforms do not allow you to post affiliate links directly.
It is better to share links to your website or blog. In other words, keep the affiliate links within your website.
Attracting the Wrong Audience
Your target audience is very important! Make sure you are promoting your site to the right crowd on social media or in message boards. Use a keyword research tool to discover what your audience is searching for over the search engines. More info on keyword research here.
Buy! Buy! Buy!
Too much emphasis on trying to sell the product. Okay I wrote a little. Here’s the link, now buy! Buy, buy, buy!
Your visitors came to your site looking for useful information. Your job is to deliver that. Write up a detailed review, share your stories and experiences. Demonstrate cool stuff that can be done with what you’re promoting. Don’t sell, Show!
A good product will sell itself – no need for high pressure sales. It only makes you look bad. Be patient – sometimes it takes several return visits before a buying decision is made.
Providing an option for your visitors to subscribe to an email list can be helpful for encouraging return visits. People want to get to know you first! Think of it like building a relationship and gaining trust.
Too Many Affiliate Links
This can be harmful if your are relying on search engine traffic. Too many affiliate links and not enough content on your pages will negatively impact your ranking in search results.
Search engines will see it as a “bridge page“. That is a page that just has banners and ads on it and little useful content. These will rank low in search results.
I find it helpful to do a detailed product review in one post and place the affiliate links in that post. In other posts or areas of my site where I mention that product or something related to it, I’ll add a link that points back to the detailed review page. Sort of like comparing pouring water into barrel full of holes (having affiliate links everywhere) versus pouring water into a funnel (direct all of your traffic to one page where the actual affiliate links are).
Search engines will like you much better, too! Lots of useful delicious content to navigate around in and only a few pages containing affiliate links.
Pro Tip: Keep the affiliate links “below the fold“. That is, the user has to scroll down before the links appear. Another SEO “gotcha”.
Let’s Do It Right!
One bad mistake can undo months of hard work! So, how can we avoid these mistakes?
Do your due diligence. Learn from others and save yourself a lot of “hard knocks”. Don’t venture into the uncharted waters of Affiliate Marketing alone! I have been very fortunate to be part of an active affiliate marketing training community. I would not have made it here without them.
Without further ado, check out my number one choice for learning the ropes of building an online business:
I hope that what I’ve shared here will save prospective internet marketers some headaches, or better yet, avoid disasters. Your comments and questions are welcome below!
Cheers and all of the best,
12 thoughts on “Avoid These 10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes!”
Thank you for this article .
It really helped me out and I think not just me but most of the affiliates who just started this business.
I have done some of the stuffs that you have listed above and now I know what to do and what not to.
You helped me a lot men!
Keep up the good work and have a nice day.
Hi Albert, thank you for your response! I am glad to be of help. Timing is everything in online business building. It is too tempting to rush into the process when you’re new at it. A little patience now will save a lot of grief later.
All the best to you!
That’s a very nice list of what NOT to do as an affiliate marketer. Many people join many affiliate programs too fast when their sites don’t get any real traffic. As a result they get frustrated and they give up to easy.
Many affiliate marketers have a very wrong idea of how affiliate marketing really works and they keep spamming everywhere they can.
This industry is always moving and changing. What worked a month ago doesn’t necessarily works today. And what works today won’t be effective in 5 months from now.
Hi Nikos, thanks for commenting. How true it is! That initial excitement of starting a new online business can backfire! Gotta be patient with the process of establishing yourself. I can’t stress this enough: read the Terms of Service for both the affiliate program and any platform(s) you’re sharing affiliate links on. Stay up to date on any changes.
For me the most useful tip is to keep links below the fold. I know the screen that the visitor first sees when he lands on the page is very important. it is also SEO smart to have the keyword in the first heading in h1.
Thanks for pointing out these mistakes. I have been an affiliate marketer for over a year but I still learnt something here.
Hi Regina, thank you for commenting!
Knowledge is power – the more the better. Internet marketing is an ever changing landscape of opportunities and gotchas. Yep, keeping links below the fold was new one for me. There’s always something to learn! I’ll be updating my blog with more tips as I venture through the jungle…
I am glad to be of help. Cheers and best to you for 2017!
As an affiliate marketer myself I really appreciate this post. You’ve made a lot of great points here and I must admit, I’ve fallen into the trap of some of these as well. I particularly think it’s smart not to join too many affiliate programs. That’s great advice! Better to focus on a few of them that are high quality versus having too many which could dilute what you’re trying to accomplish.
Hi Mike and thank you for your comment! Yes – I too have made these mistakes. I can fully empathize! I thought I’d make a round-up of common affiliate marketing mistakes and share them here so that others may be better informed.
Definitely focus on just a few programs and start small – especially if you’re new to this. Scale up from there when you get a system down, and find out what works and what doesn’t.
Wishing you success on your ventures! Oren
Hi there! I just finished reading your article on affiliate marketing and thought I would just drop you a comment to say how much I enjoyed reading it.
I think most affiliate marketers that have been around for any length of time have made some, if not all of these mistakes at some point! I know that I have. One of the main ones that I see you have mentioned here is getting involved with too many affiliate programs. Guilty!
I have learned from experience that joining and trying to promote too many affiliate programs is a bad idea. I think this is why many new affiliates don’t make a lot of money. If you spread yourself too thinly, you wont make much money. My advice is to concentrate on one product at a time, until it starts earning before moving to the next.
Hi Andrew, thanks for chiming in. Yes, I have made similar mistakes too! It’s too easy make more mistakes when you’re juggling too many programs. Focus on one and take your time to make sure all the “i”s are dotted and the “t”s are crossed before you scale up.
Awesome site. On my wealthy affiliate site, I have incorporated a page specifically targeting passive income and what its all about. Isn’t it crazy to think how people can make thousands of dollars by sleeping. I hope to one day get to this point! Have you gotten much success with this site?
Hi Lorenz, thanks for chiming in!
“Passive Income” is really all about moving away from the “time selling” mentality we’ve been indoctrinated with. It’s about thinking entrepreneurially. I am far from that “making thousands while I sleep” point yet. Using the tools and following the training at Wealthy Affiliate, I am confident it will be a success in due time! The important part is sticking with it and not giving up. Affiliate marketing is a great venue for reaching that goal – if you do it right! Treat it as a real business and not a lottery, and you’ll be successful.
Cheers and best, Oren