What Is Affiliate Marketing And Does It Work?

What Is Affiliate Marketing And How To Get StartedWith 2017 and beyond shaping up to be great years for Affiliate Marketers, thanks largely to Google’s clean up of spam from search engine results, this may be the best time ever to get started in affiliate marketing. So let’s do a little rundown on what this thing is all about.


So, what is Affiliate Marketing?

In its simplest form, it is a program where you are paid a commission, or referral fee, for recommending a merchant’s product or service on your website. You get paid if a visitor to your site follows a special link that you place on your site to the merchant’s store where they can purchase the item, and they purchase the item. Simple as that!


For example:

Let’s say Jane writes a blog article about a favorite family recipe. She describes the recipe, the ingredients and how to prepare it. She also describes this wonderful Acme food processor that makes the process easy.

John visits Jane’s blog and reads this article. The recipe sounds great. He’d like to try it and also that food processor Jane mentions.

When John reaches the end of Jane’s post, there is a link to a store that sells that Acme food processor and other kitchen tools. There are also links to stores that sell specialty ingredients.

Jane is a member of the affiliate programs those merchants offer. Those links contain an code that uniquely identifies Jane as the referrer.

John clicks into the food processor link to check out this Acme food processor. If he buys the food processor, Jane will receive a commission percentage of the sale.

However, John bookmarks the site to come back later after thinking about it.

In this case, Jane’s affiliate id is stored on John’s computer as a cookie so that if John later returns to the store directly, and not through Jane’s link, Jane still gets the commission if John purchases the food processor.


It’s a win-win for you, the website or blog owner, and the merchant offering the program. The merchant gets word of mouth advertising, product reviews and use stories from real people. You get an easy way to earn some income without having to handle transactions, stock or ship the actual product. Your relevant website content drives business to the merchant. The merchant handles the physical product, payment transaction and delivery.

Merchants also save a ton of money by not having to rely so much on conventional advertising, which is expensive. The niche websites of few passionate enthusiasts can generate a lot of referrals!

One of the greatest things about affiliate marketing through your own website is that you can:

  • Choose what you want to promote
  • Choose how you want to promote it (within reason!)
  • Give your website your own format and personality
  • Build a business around a hobby you enjoy

This is certainly not a get rich quick scheme. It requires effort on your part. You have to attract targeted audience traffic to your site, maintain content, and be patient with the process. It can take some time for a new website to get established and start to become active. The tough part for many is just giving the process the time and commitment it needs to start to become profitable.

Put in the effort, stick with it, and you’ll be rewarded!


Affiliate Marketing is easier than ever today!

The good news is that technology has advanced and is making a lot of things easier. This includes setting up the essentials you need for an online business.


Setting up a website is super easy

Your website is your foundation! You can now create websites with just a few clicks. In the past, setting up a minimal website involved writing your own HTML code and then having put it all together as a structure and hope the whole thing works.

Today it is easy with web hosting and content management systems like WordPress, Weebly, and many others. I personally love WordPress because it is so versatile. Easy to install on your own website and/or server. Easy to manage yet very customizable.

Domain names are dirt cheap, and hosting on a shared server is cheap. Low cost shared server hosting, like Bluehost and many, many others, are a great low cost option for new websites. An established website that receives heavy traffic will need a dedicated server which is more expensive.


Search Engines are smarter

Google and other search engines have taken big steps to get rid of search engine spam, aka “Spamdexing”, and irrelevant results. They’ve made it more difficult for people who cheat the system to gain high ranks in search results. This kind of abuse made it hard for the rest of us, who are playing honestly, to be found in search engine results pages.

Major updates to the way search engines index and rank web pages have been made that will detect these type of abuses and will keep these “bad guys” from cluttering the search results.

In fact what ranks best is high quality original content and a few carefully researched keywords. Posting fresh content and engaging your visitors will get you ranked. Choosing the right keywords, combined with relevant content, will help you zero in on your target audience.


Affiliate programs are very easy to join

Affiliate programs exist for every imaginable product or service from Matcha tea to model trains – solar panels, legal services, digital media, audio books, smart watches, and the list goes on… you name it! You can join website like Share-A-Sale or Commission Junction and browse thousands of merchants who offer affiliate programs. There’s enough choices to make your head spin!

Of course, Affiliate Marketing has several gotchas to be careful of. I cover some of the common ones in another post:

Avoid These 10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes!


Many different ways to promote your business

You can be patient and let your site gain trust and traffic via the search engine result listings. There’s also a wide variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and many more for promoting your site. You can share a new post you’ve authored on Facebook or Google+. You can Pin or Tweet an infographic from your blog – etc. etc. etc! I carry business cards with my website info and even a QR code on back.

The most effective way to build your site and promote your business is to choose a niche that your are passionate about. There will certainly be many related affiliate programs you can leverage.

Here is just a small sampling of the types of niche businesses you can build around:

11 Targeted Internet Marketing Niche Ideas


And now it is easier than ever to get the best training!

Grab your favorite niche, bring your commitment and patience. Get in on the best training on how to build your own online business.


Click Here to Learn More!

How To Turn Your Blog or Website Into a Thriving Business!



I hope you’ve enjoyed my latest post! I would be delighted if it helped clear the clouds and answers the question: “What is affiliate marketing and does it work?”. Let’s make this an awesome year for online marketing. Feel free to ask questions or comment below!



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4 thoughts on “What Is Affiliate Marketing And Does It Work?”

  1. Reading your post takes me back to the good old days when affiliate marketing was just getting its base within the online world.

    And it wasn’t really as good as I make it appear

    Building a website was a hundred times harder than it actually is today. As you say it, you did have to get a computer programming curse with a bare minimum of HTML coding, which means before you built a good functional website, you had to spend atleast 3 or 4 years learning to code.

    How I am glad to get over that phase 🙂

    • Hi Dave, Yes, I am blown away by how easy it is these days. Not having to tackle big learning curves makes a difference! It takes me just a few minutes to buy a domain name and put up a WordPress site ready for content.

  2. Good example about the cooking and the processor. Yes, affiliate marketing really is a win-win for customer and vendor. I do think however that companies like Amazon that offer 4-5% commission per sale really are screwing the affiliates……I mean how much work goes into creating blog pieces, and ranking them, and SEO etc etc….it sounds easy but we all know…it’s not. 4-5% is a little low I think

    • Hi Lain, I agree that Amazon is like the “minimum wage” of the affiliate marketing world. I favor joining more lucrative programs first and using Amazon as last resort.

      Thanks for chiming in!

      – Oren


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