There’s a lot of confusion within the affiliate marketing world, and among newcomers to this space. The problem I see is there is so much misinformation out there about what it is, how you will actually be making money, and the process itself, It is no wonder that people are completely confused.
First off, I know for a fact that you can because I have been doing this full-time for the last 16 years within the online world. The idea whether it exists, to me, is no different from arguing whether air exists.
I am going to settle this argument once and for all and am going to be going into detail answering the question of Can you make money affiliate marketing, and if so what is the proper process of doing so and how exactly do you make money within the affiliate world. .
The Process of Making Money as an Affiliate
As an affiliate marketer, you have access to over 550 million products and services that you can promote as an affiliate. When you join an affiliate program, it gives you access to promote given products and services that are available within that program.
Some companies off their affiliate programs independently (they operate and manage them in-house), and some are part of what are called affiliate networks, a grouping of many affiliate programs.
When you join an affiliate program you get access to certain promotional materials like affiliate links, banners, and sometimes more sophisticated widget that you can add your website, you can also promote many other places.
For example, If I were to join the Amazon affiliate program, that would give me immediate access to promote 100’s of millions of products on Amazon. Let’s say I wanted to work within the organic skin care niche, a quick search within Amazon would indicate that I could promote over 70,000 different products and services on Amazon alone.
And that is just ONE affiliate program. Amazon pays 6% on every sale that I need, so if I sell a thousand dollars worth of product, I am going to earn $60 in affiliate commissions. These are paid either through check, or through Amazon gift cards. Every affiliate program pays a bit differently, but almost all will offer you several forms of payment.
Misinformation is Rife Within the Affiliate World.
Part of the problem with those seeking to create an affiliate marketing business, is that the industry is full of outdated or simply incorrect information being propagated through all corners of the Internet. Companies are making money selling you a course that are based on “theoretical” affiliate marketing principles, stuff that should work but probably won’t.
Then you have companies pretending to be affiliate marketing, when they are not. They are a scheme, an MLM, or something that is completely different (that is, a scam).
Then you have old products/services that were ONCE good in their glory years, but haven’t been updated to keep up with the trends in the affiliate world, new technology, new platforms, and new techniques and strategies that are being used by affiliates.
So although the opportunity is significant within the affiliate world, it can be difficult to achieve success if you are linking up with the wrong people. That is why education element, and having access to the tools and support you need to build a proper affiliate business is going to be imperative to your success.
Affiliate Success Starts Proper Affiliate Education
There is a right way to build a business online, and there is the wrong way. The proper way of building and affiliate business, has remained the same for many years.
You have a potential customer, and you have a product (that has an affiliate program). You as the affiliate, your goal is to connect the potential customer with the product through relevant content and/or through various marketing channels.
To do this, you will want to have a WEBSITE that will act as your storefront for customers, and offer you the ability to promote one of the over 550 MILLION products/services that you can promote as an affiliate.
There’re many platforms online cleaning to be high quality affiliate education, but which one do you choose. If you don’t do your due diligence, you are likely to end up joining a company that is “pretending” to be affiliate marketing and they end up offering a low quality education, and worse yet, some of these programs are multi-level-marketing and are acting as a wolf in sheeps’ clothing.
So how do you know when is a good education, from what is potentially poor or misleading education. Here are a few tips when looking for high quality affiliate marketing training.
- The Company Reputation. Is the company legitimate (do they have a good standing with the BBB.org). Are there positive reviews about this company online. Have they been in business for some time.
- Free Trial or Free to Try. If you can’t get insight into what a company is offering, then you shouldn’t even be considering. If there is no free trial or at least a sneak peek (outside of their sales pitch), then avoid it.
- Cost Efficient. Building an affiliate marketing business should not be expensive venture, even the education aspect of it. If you are spending more than $500 per year to run your business, including the websites, hosting, tools & technology, coaching, and networking, you are overspending. Companies charging more than this are likely in the business of “taking your money” and not helping people, so avoid overpaying.
- Are They Clear With What they Offer. If you are to go to a company website, you go through the content and you still are unsure of what you will be doing, and what they are offering, then avoid this company at all costs. If they are selling you on the idea of owning a big house, expensive car, sitting on the beach, or “you can do it”, without telling you what you are doing, you are almost certainly going to be getting yourself involved in a scam.
- Do They Offer You Everything You Need to Run Business. To run an online business, you need a website, you need hosting, you need keyword & research tools, you need proper training (ideally some sort of interactive training as well), coaching and mentoring, and the ability to network with others that are involved in the business. If a company is missing one or more of these, then you are not getting everything you need to properly run a business.
I personally have been working directly and helping affiliates for the last 12 years of online and it has been the sole purpose of my business. My affiliate home base (and where I educate and help people) is through Wealthy Affiliate, and if you are interested in building an affiliate business, I recommend that at the very least you take a look.
Of course, you can feel free to do some research online and see what best suits you, but I can tell you that there isn’t a more progress, forward thinking, cost-efficient and caring platform in the world for affiliate marketers. That is something that I will stand behind.
Here’s the breakdown of what I would recommend as the ONLY (and top) affiliate education platforms online that you should consider, and I am basing that on the criteria I mentioned above.
WealthyAffiliate.com: Been in business since 2005 (visit website here)
Free Trial: Yes (unlimited Starter membership)
Cost Efficient: Yes, very. $49 per month (or $359 per year)
Clear What They Offer: Yes
Everything You Need to Run Business: No, there will typically be lots of extra costs.
Who It’s For: Beginner to Expert Affiliate Marketers
Quick Review: Wealthy Affiliate is the elite affiliate marketing platform in the industry. With over 1.4 million active members, you have access to the largest resource of experts in the space, but unlike most communities of this size, the environment has a true “pay it forward” vibe to it.
It offers a true all-inclusive environment where you have access to everything that you need in one place to create, grow and manage a very successful business online (or several of them). This includes training (all formats), live classes, websites, hosting, keyword/research tools, content/writing platforms, support, expert coaching, and the ability to network with over 1.4 million fellow aspiring and successful Internet Entrepreneurs.
Udemy.com: There are some good courses there, they are a legitimate platform
Free trial: Yes, you can see “some” of the courses before you buy typically.
Cost efficient: Fairly, $15-200 per course.
Clear What They Offer: Yes
Who It’s For: Generalize Affiliate Marketing Skills
Everything You Need to Run Business: No, there will typically be lots of extra costs.
Quick Review: Udemy is a wide open education platform, with training resources across a breadth of topics. You can buy individual courses and training within their network. Some of the affiliate marketing training is really high quality, but it is lacking the fundamental tools to build an actual affiliate marketing business (websites, hosting, research tools). So the courses themselves are good education, but there will be many costs beyond that.
You are also required to pay for every course, so you definitely do not have access to an environment where you have all the training you need, it is more of an la cart type education platform.
Affilorama.com: Have a long-standing track record in the affiliate space
Free trial: Yes, you get some access (including their forum)
Cost efficient: Fairly, $67 per month (+ $1,000+ in up sells)
Clear What They Offer: Yes
Who It’s For: Beginner to Intermediate Affiliate Marketers
Everything You Need to Run Business: No, there will typically be lots of extra costs.
Quick Review: Affilorama, founded by Mark Ling and expert in the affiliate marketing space has been one of the few programs to survive since the 2000s. The reason is result of the long-standing focus on offering a good service and platform at a cost-efficient price. They are also one of the few education companies in the affiliate marketing space that offer a free trial, which I am absolutely an advocate of and respect.
Although the time investment and the commitment to being update has suffered a bit in recent years, the framework and principles taught within Affilorama are still consistent with the industry. Do know that there are additional costs outside of the initial $67 per month.
So as you can see, there are appropriate services available if you want to learn how to build an affiliate marketing business and truly one that will actually generate you revenue. There is a right way to build an affiliate business and a wrong way, most companies simply do not cut it (the 3 mentioned above do though).
Why Most People Fail Affiliate Marketing.
Before I leave you today, I want to share a few insights into why people fail, and what failure truly looks like within the affiliate marketing world.
There is one contributing factor that I see on a day in, day out basis as to why people don’t achieve success online. Patience.
There is a natural tendency to treat any business venture, and compare it to a job. Most people want instant results, because well, you earn an hourly wage with a job and it should work the same way in your affiliate business right? Actually, no. It is quite the opposite.
Before you establish a business and can actually even promote affiliate programs, you typically are required to have a presence (website) and a foundation built. That is exactly what is taught within Wealthy Affiliate, but most newcomers to the affiliate marketing space never get to that point because they are not equipped with the proper tools and training to get them there.
Once you have your foundation of your business set out, at that point you can start generating success and building a business online. This success will snowball and before long, you will see your traffic and revenue grow. For me, that started around the 3-month mark in the affiliate marketing world and here I am 16 years later (being full time online and very successful as an affiliate).
So please, promise me that you are not going to treat this like a job. It isn’t, affiliate marketing is a business and the time and energy you put into your respective business today, typically takes 3-4 months to really start to materialize and show you the fruits of your labor.
I personally have a vested interest in not seeing you fail. My mission for the last 12 years through WealthyAffiliate.com has been to harbor and create very successful affiliate marketers. That is what I have been able to do, and that is what I plan on doing moving forward.
If you want my personal help and coaching (and to get rolling for no charge), simply roll on over to Wealthy Affiliate and set-up your account. Upon doing so, you will have direct access to not only the most comprehensive and elite platform for affiliate marketers in the world, you will have access to ME. 🙂
27 thoughts on “Can You Make Money Affiliate Marketing? In a Word, Yes.”
Is affiliate marketing actually a viable way to make money off of websites these days. I have heard either Adsense or drop shipping is better, though I will be honest I really don’t know the difference between them. I was just reading upon this the other day.
Your process and your explanation definitely makes more sense though but I would like to hear your expert response.
Affiliate marketing is one of the many ways in which you can monetize website traffic, as you have it. In my personal experience, it is by far the most lucrative as well as you have the most control over your offers (unlike adsense) and you have the largest subset of products/services that you can promote to your audience (unlike drop shipping).
But these are things that you can test as you build out your website and reach a state in which you are getting traffic and consistent revenue from your site. Affiliate marketing is incredible and the amount of money this space is generating folks like you and I is growing exponentially year over year still. I have been at this 16 years full time now and I have never seen the opportunity to create a full time (and scalable) business in the AM space so big.
Great article – I have never seen someone give details like this including the $500 ceiling on anticipated yearly costs. Thats helpful to know. Some programs treat that figure like you should have a bottomless pit of money to throw at training, and they guilt you out about it if you dont have more to spend on up-sells. Just one question though, you mention that Amazon pays 6% so that means I would have to sell a ton of stuff to make any decent money as an affiliate marketer… how do I sell that much stuff?
All affiliate programs will behave differently, some will pay 6% some last, and some a lot more. I never recommend that anyone relies on one affiliate program on their website, you can leverage many within any given website.
Evening at 6%, I know many Amazon Associates that are earning high 6 figures. The great part about Amazon is that people are comfortable buying, and the cart size only continues to go out. For example if someone went to Amazon looking for a protein powder, and then ended up buying that, a suit and a fridge, you would get 6% on all of those items.
Remember, there are 4 BILLION people online and the net revenue of 6% isn’t that bad when you think that you don’t have to deal with any costs. But of course, there are affiliate programs that pay 50-75%, so you can have a nice mix of affiliate programs you are promoting on your website.
Great article Kyle about affiliate marketing and explaining how anyone can make money with this process.
I know my family members when I tell them I am trying to make money online and build a business, all tell me it can’t be done or that l’m getting scammed.
I blame the millions of bad products and information out there for this, and look forward to the day I start generating a regular income through affiliate marketing.
From all the programs you mentioned, wealthy affiliate seems to be the best bet in leaning how to build a long lasting business — so I will choose this to help me start and grow my online business.
Naturally there are going to be a lot of naysayers out there, in particular because of what you said. MOST (yes, most), people that have attempted to start an internet business have been scammed at some point in their journey. Many people never end up giving it a fair shot as a result of running into one of these scams which is really said.
There is a proper process you want to follow as an affiliate marketer and that is exactly what we teach at Wealthy Affiliate. No fluff, just the core process that starts with a website, and ends up with you promoting one of the 550 million affiliate products/services that are available.
The opportunity is amazing and in all of my 16 years online, I have never seen the opportunity as big as it is today. The internet continues to grow and so does the amount of $$ people are spending buying online!
Man, You nailed it on the head. There is so much bad info out there about internet marketing. As well as, so many doing it wrong. Your knowledge and the sharing of your experiences of online world. Have been nothing but appreciated by me. Thank you #Priceless
So much. Which is why there is a need for people like you and I that can help people understand the reality within the affiliate marketing world. How does it work? Like this. How do people make money doing this? Like this.
It should be straightforward in theory, but many companies and individuals main motive out there is to earn money, not help people. They also are conflating the idea of what affiliate marketing is, and as a result confusing newcomers to the industry into thinking they are learning affiliate marketing when they are not.
Keep doing what you do, a bright future in the affiliate space lies ahead for you Sean!
Affiliate marketing, one of the steadiest means of residual streams that I know.
I just love the mentality of getting some GR8 content online that helps people solve problems, teaches folks new skills and encourages positive change can be ones ‘bread and butter.
Love the idea of working a pt-job with ft-income 😉 #ptjobft
Coolio post Kyle, I’ll be keeping my beedy on this weblog.
Absolutely the case. People get too caught up in the first few months of building a business, expecting amazing success and the idea of auto-pilot income with their affiliate marketing ventures. What they don’t realize is that the time and effort they put into their business NOW, pays off later and often times forever…as you are starting to truly benefit from.
You can go away for a week, an your affiliate marketing still ticks along, generates revenue, and can still be growing. The beauty of the internet is that it operates 24 hours per day and you have the ability to reach people from every country in the world. Our audience for our websites is truly massive, 4 billion people massive!
Hi Kyle;I love your post. It is helping me to stand firm in my belief about Affiliate Marketing and Wealthy Affiliate training methods.
I believe that Affiliate Marketing more than anything else can make money for the people who are involved in it.Once they follow the training principles.
Stock their websites with relevant good quality content Over time the money will be very friendly flowing in.
Kyle; is there any limit to the amount of content one needs to write in one’s website?
Affiliate marketing is definitely a stable way to build and scale an income online and as the e-commerce world is continuing to mature, we are seeing more and more large companies and WAY more indie companies investing a great deal of their resources into affiliate programs and affiliates.
In respect to your question, website content will never end unless you want it to. The more content you create and through time, your business can continue to grow. Content marketing is one of the many mechanisms that you can use to build rankings and traffic on your website, so there should never be any reason to end that (unless you want to end growth).
The sky is the limit within the affiliate marketing world and you can truly capitalize on this from within Wealthy Affiliate.
When you get older (70) you need less sleep. The early morning is my magical time everything vibrates at a slower pace and I have a laser sharp brain.
I just wanted to add that I am an avid fan of your work.At 4am this morning I was watching yourContent Efficiency, Maximize Your Writing. It’s priceless .if I continue doing what you do I am going to very successful at Wealthy Affiliate
I have a heavy schedule . Have an extraordinary Day .I know I will
So glad you enjoyed that training. One thing that I have had plenty of time (and trial and error) on is efficiency in my own personal activities, content being one of these. Segmenting your daily tasks in business to “like things”, can really improve your efficiency. When you start to scatter and blend your activities, you have to get in a different state of mind for each and this really hurts efficiency.
I think this months training skills will really help you out Richard. You have an extraordinary one well.
I have been making a full time income in the affiliate marketing world for the past 3 years. So this question seems insane to me but I too get asked it all the time. People think stuff online is fake for some reason likely because they have been scammed by companies in the past as you mentioned.
The thing that still amazes me is when people don’t realize just how many affiliate programs are out there. I have literally received 15 checks from different companies in a month, from a wide variety of programs. These are residuals and they all are the results of my few blogs that I run and that continue to grow (I am currently in 3 niches).
People are always going to buy things and more and more are doing it online. Behind most online purchases is an affiliate/affiliate program and hopefully I am behind more and more of these as time goes on. Keep the affiliate train rolling Kyle and keep the good info coming.
I would agree with you, people reach a point after trying several programs that are bogus and assume the entire Internet opportunity is one big hoax. I actually don’t blame them as I realize just how many scams there are out there and the vultures in the industry that are truly in the business of taking money from people (and offering very little in return).
Our mission from day 1 at WealthyAffiliate.com was to put the PEOPLE first, MONEY last. As crazy as that sounds, it is an effective approach to creating a long term and sustainable business. If people love your service, respect what you do, and love your brand, the money part will naturally follow. Fast forward 12 years later and WA is the most active and thriving community in the world for affiliate marketers and online business owners with over 1.4 MILLION members.
It’s been a lot of fun, but the best is yet to come (that I can assure you of).
Thanks for sharing your story about affiliate checks. That is the reality of affiliate marketing as you get rolling. I remember going into the bank with a wad of checks, many with pretty big number on them and the bank tellers wondering what the heck I was doing. Some “affiliate marketing” thing, lol. Now I think most people understand what affiliate marketing is and the true opportunity behind it, and most of the successful affiliate marketers in the world you will find hanging out within the walls of WA.
The affiliate training is going to keep rolling as you said and we intend to be the engine leading this train!
This is the first time i saw one of your articles on affiliate marketing outside of WA! Everything looks good and i continue to learn from it, affiliate marketing is new to me but I am very much intrigued by the idea of it. I just wish I had found it a bit sooner.
One thing that I love about it is the idea that I can go in any direction that I want with my business and I am in full control of that.
I am writing regularly on the topic and affiliate marketing is something that I truly live and breathe and have for the past 16 years. Doing the same thing for so long, you would think that one would get bored doing it? Well not within the affiliate marketing space.
It is constantly evolving and I have never seen more opportunity than I see now in this space. Some of the main things I like to highlight are:
(1) All big brands are investing lots of money into their affiliates and affiliate programs
(2) There are close to 4 billion people online now, this is your target audience
(3) Over 550 MILLION products and services to choose from as an affiliate
(4) Affiliate network consolidation, many are now offering 5,000+ companies within ONE network. This means that you don’t have to join 5,000 affiliate programs to accomplish the same thing, one login and you have access to over 5,000 of the biggest brands in the world.
And as you mention, you are in full control as the affiliate. If I want to build a business in the weight loss space…or basketball niche…or within the make money niche….I can. This is completely up to me and through time I can be running several very successful businesses online all from a cost efficient platform like Wealthy Affiliate.
Hi Kyle! Great to read you as an ordinary affiliate marketer. Honestly, when I started reading this post I even did not mention that it is You. Well, skipping blah, blah I would like to agree that patience is the most needed tool for me to make some $$ success. But, after you have made your affiliate money site juicy then sometimes just the TIME is your helper. It is so exciting when you see how some of your forgotten posts emerging on the Google first lines. I hope you understand what I’m talking about.
I can personally attest for Wealthy Affiliate! I’ve learned so much from Wealthy Affiliate, even being an internet marketer with 8 years of experience. And I haven’t even finished the main course, nevertheless the ‘side classrooms’ for lack of a better term. Not to mention the FANTASTIC tools they offer!
Awesome, thanks for your feedback and I am really glad your are enjoying your experience at Wealthy Affiliate. It is a community of not just new affiliate marketers, there are members that have been within the affiliate marketing industry 15-20 years and are more active than ever.
1.4 MILLION affiliates strong, WA is the most trusted in the industry for a reason.
What a detailed explanation of affiliate marketing. To be honest with you Kyle this was all new to me till, I started researching online, where my main motive was to find a way of reaching out to more clients for my network marketing business.
I liked the way you detailed on how one can evaluate what best option to check out for, when hunting for the best Affiliate marketing option. I am only realising that, I actually did that subconsciously , when I finally landed on Wealthy Affiliate’s platform. It was the right accident for me, as I have gained a lot of knowledge after going through the first set of lessons and completing some set of activities. I am still learning, and I can still say, it’s worth every second of my time and every penny.
From being a newbie into the affiliate marketing space, I can say there is a lot of potential in this space. I am still curious though to understand, what you recommend as the best number of affiliate programs one can register into and remain focused on the online space as one can get overwhelmed in that space?
Thank you for highlighting that lack of patience is one on the major enemy, when we venture into something. That is so true Kyle, I feel like we are looking for quick fix solutions to our problems, hence we fall into the traps of shoddy deals online, that overpromise and sometimes never deliver at all.
Keep the great work of educating us on Affiliate marketing.
You can register for as many affiliate programs as you like. When it comes to promoting a program, you have to of course make sure that what you recommend to your readers/audience, is relevant to what they are looking for. Solve their problems.
If you can help people and build trust, you are going to convert well. People that trust you, will heed to your recommendations and as your website/authority evolves, you will more than likely be promoting lots of products from lots of different affiliate programs.
The signature of the master. The real deal, the real writing. Being a wa member for almost 6 months I can only endorse all the statements and reviews.
What is needed?
Just join the wealthy affiliate and see for yourself. In following the lessons and bootcamps you will learn and practice at the same time. And to make it nice and affordable, you can try for free before jumping in the ocean.
Now Kyle, tell us, how you got into this?
Funny enough, I got into this business through Carson. I was in his class in college when back in 2002 when he told me all about this “affiliate marketing” thing. Well, the rest is history. I took note, I learned about it, and I figured out how to independently create a very successful affiliate marketing business online.
3 years later in 2005, we started a community called Wealthy Affiliate, which now has over 1.4 MILLION members. 🙂
Back in 2009 I joined WA and back then it was a bit confusing for me. Over the years I have seen people promoting it and I thought it’s too confusing. Then I started seeing so many people giving it raving reviews. Not just as an advertisement but in general conversations. So I had to go see what was going on. I recently joined back and WOW what a difference. You guys have made a platform truly worth noticing.
Wealthy Affiliate definitely continues to evolve. One thing that you can be sure of is what you see now, is not what you will see a year from now as a great deal of new training, new technology, upgrades, and platforms are added to make your life easier as an Internet Entrepreneur and affiliate marketer. That has been the case since the inception of WA back in 2005.
Great to hear you are enjoying your experience at Wealthy Affiliate Glen and thanks for stopping by.