What is Affiliate Marketing? A Quick Guide

Last Update: September 05, 2015

Affiliate marketing? What is it? How can it be done? And what are the benefits of a setting up an online business with this model?

You don't need to be a pro to understand this concept so here I am going to try and answer every question with simple clear answers.

From Wikipedia

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.

In other words, affiliate marketing is a marketing system where a business will allow other individuals/businesses (affiliates) to advertise on their behalf, and when sales are made through the affiliates' efforts, they will receive a reward. The reward can be between 6% to 50% of the sale that was made.

Sound simple enough? Anyone can be an affiliate and almost every company has an affiliate program, even small companies.

The 3 Main Parts of the Affiliate Marketing Industry

There is the Merchant (The Brand) - Nike, for example

There is the Publisher (The Affiliate) - This is me and you

And there is the Customer - The visitor to your site

I will use Nike for an example. Just say I have a site all about sprinting shoes and I do a lot of reviews on Nike runners. I decide to go to Nike's website and see whether they have an affiliate program I could join. I join their program, and from then on I can direct people to buy Nike's shoes through a unique tracking ID that Nike has given me through their program.

How The Tracking Works

When you join an affiliate program, the business will assign you a unique tracking link ID. You will use this link when you are asking people to go to a particular product. Some programs give you a unique link for every product; some just give you a unique bit of code to put at the end of every page you link to their site.

If someone who is visiting your site clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you receive a commission of the sale.


The process is simple to understand... But you might be asking some of these questions....

Q: How do I begin something like this if the whole concept is completely new to me?

A: Let me point a few things that will help keep you at ease. There a few ways to begin this venture, and let me assure you, it is not hard or unachievable, even for someone with zero experience.

The first steps are very simple: Create a website (can be free or around $10), choose a niche and write some HELPFUL content (you do not need to be an amazing author, just helpful to your visitors), join an affiliate program, and begin advertising.

Let me just say here as well, that here at Wealthy Affiliate, all the support, training, tutorials, questions, and advice you will ever need is available. WA is the best place to start a venture such as this.

Q: Do I need experience in marketing?

A: No. You do not need experience in marketing. One important thing to remember is, when you make a website that you want people to visit, you need to write helpful informative content. If you focus on this aspect, the marketing will happen naturally. If people come to your site asking questions, and you answer them, you are already half way there.

Q: Do I need to create a website and is this difficult to do?

A: Yes, you need a website. And no, it is not difficult at all! Creating a website is the best way to succeed in affiliate marketing. The process of creating a website is very simple, with free platforms such as SiteRubix and CMS's such as Wordpress.

With Wealthy Affiliate, this process is made even simpler. WA supplies you with two free sites and free Wordpress themes, guiding you through the whole process. It is very, very simple and setting up the framework of your first website will take around 30 seconds!

Q: Do I need to invest a lot of money into a business model like this?

A: Absolutely not. All good affiliate programs should be 100% free, so you should never pay to join one. If you want to, you can also use free hosting for your website, like SiteRubix. Even if you decided that the community, training, and support here at Wealthy Affilaite was something you needed, you have the choice to stay as a free member.

Honestly, paying for your Premium WA subscription is hardly bad business. If it is your only cost, besides your $10 website domain name, then I'd say it is well worth it. The knowledge found here will set you up for life, and for success. It only requires you to put it into practice.

Q:And last but least, is this business model profitable?

Does it work? This is everyone's question. Yes, affiliate marketing certainly does work. But it requires some practice on your end. And it will not bring you dividends in the first month.

Setting up your website and putting good quality, helpful, interesting, relevant content on it is so important. This will bring people (traffic), and eventually Google will trust you and give you good rankings. This does take time, but that is ok. You will be learning throughout the whole process and everything will be moving you forward.

Putting affiliate links on your website will not guarantee success - it takes time to build up reputation and begin bringing in traffic. This is what really takes time. But the wait and the journey is very worth it.

Here are a few success stories - small and large - if you are interested on how it generally happens... these are all continuing stories.

Rob's Story https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/robvallair/blog/pm...

Shawn's story https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/shawn-martin/blog/...

Dom's story https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/domw/blog/0-to-10k...

Parre's story https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/parre/blog/boom-go...

I hope that this article has answered some of your questions in regards to affiliate marketing.

I wish you all the best as you consider what to do, and I wish you all the success in the future! Affiliate marketing is such a great opportunity. I encourage you to also think about what Wealthy Affiliate can offer you if you do decide to go ahead with this business model. Wealthy Affiliate will be by side your side the whole way, and the training that is offered will guide you through every single process, no matter how small. Every question you will have (and you will definitely have some questions!) will be answered. Wealthy affiliate is a great - no, the best - environment to be in when beginning your affiliate marketing journey.

Kind regards,


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Narda Premium
I felt over the last couple of days that I finally got it!
This absolutely verifies exactly what I hoped I had got! Thank you ever so much for blogging it, Elsie!
elsie919 Premium
Thankyou Narda :)
I'm so glad you felt it verified your learning.

All the best!
NicheME Premium
Very well written an researched. Thanks for taking the time. Eager to read the examples you provided. I also like the fact you took advantage of headers text and bullet points, to make it easy to read. Thanks again.
elsie919 Premium
Hi there, thanks. :) Yes, the stories are inspiring. And article formatting makes life so much easier. :P

All the best,