Why You Are NOT (Yet) Earning $1000

Last Update: Oct 21, 2019

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Brace yourself for some eye-opening numbers behind affiliate marketing...

Which is the reality for most beginners, and the reason you're not (yet) earning $1000.

Let's calculate what it takes to make $1000 with your very first blog. Since it's your very first website, we'll be ULTRA conservative.

To earn money with affiliate marketing, you essentially need only two things:

  • Traffic to your blog,
  • Clicks on your affiliate links.


Let's take a standard price for a Clickbank product, which is around: $47. With a common commission of 75%, that is $35.25 into your pocket.

How many people buy the product on the sales page? Let's take an extremely low conversion rate: 1%. That means when 100 people click your affiliate link, 1 buys the product.

How many people click your affiliate link inside your blog post? Let's say something really low again: 3%. That means when 100 people read your blog, 3 click on your affiliate link.

With these numbers in mind...

How many people have to click our affiliate link to make ONE sale? With a 1% conversion rate, we need 100 people to click our affiliate link.

How many people have to read our blog post, until we get 100 clicks on our affiliate link? With a 3% click rate, we need 34 readers per click. So to get 100 clicks, we need 3'400 readers.

And here's the whole funnel, in exact numbers:

  • 3'400 people read your blog.
  • Out of these 3'400 people, 3% click your affiliate link.
  • That means 102 people see the product page.
  • Out of those 102 people, 1 will buy the product.
  • For 1 sale, you earn $35.25.

Knowing these numbers, you now know that 1'000 readers are worth $10.36 (rounded down).

That means you would need close to 100'000 visitors to your blog until you make $1000.


So you might say: But if I have 100k monthly visitors, then I should be earning a full-time income! And the answer is that yes, you most definitely should.

But making $1000, means:

  • Your product can NOT convert at only 1%,
  • Your blog needs MORE than only 3% CTRs on your affiliate links,
  • Maybe even consider selling more expensive products (but this should be the very last option, as you're about to see).

Here's the reality for MOST beginners and new affiliate sites: Your product WILL convert at 1%. And only 3% of your readers WILL click on your affiliate links.

I'm not trying to scare you... But if you're not (yet) making $1000, such low conversion numbers and CTRs are probably the reason.


Please make sure you understood the calculation above. If you're unsure, feel free to ask in the comments below!

100'000 visitors only to make $1000... That is an eye-opening, shocking, dream-destroying number...

But the numbers don't lie.

The calculation is here in front of us.

And if you look at your conversion rates & CTRs, you'll know it's not that far off. (For most first-time affiliate sites anyways.)

But here's the thing...

If you only increased the conversion rate from 1% to 2%, that would already break down your traffic in HALF! Magic? No, simple math!

  • 3'400 read your blog,
  • 3% of your readers click the affiliate link: 102 clicks.
  • 2% buy the product: 2 sales!

Same traffic. Double income.
Half traffic. Same income.

So you have to solve 3 problems:

  • Traffic,
  • CTR (Click-Through-Rate),
  • and Conversion Rate.


This is simply the reality of things: If your blog isn't getting a few thousand visitors per month, you have a TRAFFIC PROBLEM.

No need to worry about anything else: Focus on mastering traffic NOW.

Your time and resources are limited. Figure out how to get traffic to your new site FIRST.

CTR (Click-Through-Rate)

If your CTR is low, then you have a TRUST PROBLEM.

Your readers are suspicious, they don't know if they should click any random link on your site. EVEN if you tell them how amazing it is!

Most likely, you are showing your affiliate links too early....

Asking your audience to take action too early...

Build trust first by letting them read more on your blog. Or by connecting with them on social media. Or showing yourself on video. Or even communicating with them via email. Or better even a combination of all these things!

When your best friend sends you a link, ANY random link, do you click it even if you don't know what it's about? For the vast majority of times, of course!

Become that best friend and your CTR goes through the roof.


If your conversion rate sucks, then you have a RELEVANCY PROBLEM.

The product or service that you're recommending is NOT relevant to your audience. It's not what they are looking for.

Don't chase the most expensive product...

Offer exactly what your audience WANTS and NEEDS.

This might be a hard pill to swallow...

There might be that ONE product that YOU love and you want your audience to buy... You just don't want to let go.

Well, that's how you get bad conversion rates: The product is NOT relevant enough.

Fixing this problem is easy, all you have to do is DROP YOUR EGO:

  • Try out different products (no matter the price).
  • Think about what your audience wants, not what you want.
  • Pay close attention to their answers: they answer you through clicks & sales.

If a product is not selling, SWITCH IT OUT.

Even if your commission is lower... Who cares if you sell 3x more?

Bottom line is: You're earning money with MUCH less traffic. The value per visitor goes up, and you can finally earn $1000.

How to make $1000 then?

  1. Build more trust, and learn how to write better CTAs (Call-To-Actions) on your blog to increase the CTR.
  2. Find more relevant products that convert at more than 1%.
  3. Increase traffic to your blog.

Best of all...

Do all of the 3 things together!

If you have read until the end, please leave a comment below! Thanks :)

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Recent Comments


Great post. I think a lot of people don't look at the numbers or don't want to see the numbers.

But affiliate marketing is a numbers game, and when you know the numbers you give yourself power and you now know what you need to do to get to where you want to go.

And as you mentioned. You always need to be testing. And that means everything. Product, copy, content, headline, call to action, etc.....

And when you do test something, only test one thing at a time. Because if you do more than one thing you won't know what improved or worsened your results.

Currently I'm at a 12.5% conversion rate working my way to 20%.

Again great post, a must read for everyone.

Hi Leo, I like how you see this: As a numbers game. I totally agree! The numbers can be scary to look at but it's the only way to understand what's truly blocking our site from taking off, and how we can solve it.

By the way...

12.5% conversion rate!!! You are a god at marketing!! This is truly inspiring, whatever you're doing, you're absolutely killing it!

Thanks for your comment, you've just set the benchmark for all of us! :D

Really insightful post and a little scary with all those numbers!

Can I please ask, what are your tips for increasing traffic to your site?

I have also just set up a FB page, which I will use to promote my website. Any other advice would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Lisa, thank you for reading & commenting. Really makes my day to know I've written something interesting :)

Regarding traffic, here are a few strategies you can implement:
- SEO: Writing content as often as you can.
- Social media traffic: Post every day, and most importantl interact with people from your niche several times per day through commenting / answering questions etc.
- Forums: Answer questions on a forum, where it makes sense link back to your blog for more information.
- Quora / AnswerThePublic: Answer questions, where it makes sense link back to your blog for more information.
- Blog commenting: Be very active on other blogs, leave great comments, and keep returning to those blogs to make a name for yourself in the comments section.

I hope this helps!

Thanks so much!

Other than writing content as often as I can, I had not even thought about any of the other ideas you have given.

I am truly grateful!


Hi Lisa, I've found that every blogger has his own method of generating traffic! For sure you need content because that's the main incentive why people should check out your blog. But try out different traffic methods and roll with the one that suits your style and works best for you.

For one of my previous blogs forum commenting worked incredibly well for me, and it also improved my SEO from all the backlinks I received as a consequence of helping people on forums. That's just an example that worked for me because I enjoy helping people and answering questions online.

I know others who are generating massive traffic from social media alone! You will find your own style too :)

Wow, James. Really helpful. Thanks for delivering such valuable information. Bookmarking for future reference.

Hi Lauren, thanks for your kind comment! After thinking about this topic for a few hours, it makes me really happy to hear that you found value in my article. All the best, James

James, spot on. Makes a lot of sense. Great post.

Joe, thanks for commenting and confirming! Much appreciated.

Thanks for posting. How old should the site be in order to have 100,000 visitors per month?

Hi Carmen, I don't think that age is the main factor that generates your monthly visitors. Domain age only has an impact at the very beginning. Also, the point of this article was to show how many other tools we have at our disposal to earn more money with much less traffic than that: Improving CTR and Conversion Rates. I hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions anytime!

Thanks James for sharing a good post to read today :)

Hi Alejandra, thanks for your kind comment and thank you also for subscribing to my YouTube channel. I really appreciate that, my channel is new and it's hard working growing it from zero :) Keep in touch!

Thank you James for insightful and yes eye opening information.
Its hard work to do everything correctly and consistently for a beginner but following your advice will surely get me to the right numbers.
Perseverance and presistance
All the best

Louise, thank you for your comment I appreciate it. I agree, it's so easy to become overloaded with information, tactics, and strategies. That's why I decided to write this article, I'm very happy to hear you found it helpful! All the best to you too and keep growing your blog, success is around the corner. Cheers, James

Thanks James. I appreciate the help, obviously this is not as easy as I thought in the beginning. Will definitely use this to rethink and do better each day.

Hey Raymond, this article wasn't meant as discouragement. Only to bring our attention to the things that block us from earning money with affiliate marketing! Sometimes reality can feel like a slap in the face, but it also frees us to focus on what truly makes a difference in our business. Thanks for commenting and I hope your business grows and succeeds!

Putting things in perspective like this is shocking I admit, but it's definitely needed to really understand what is going on with our website.

Like you said, if one of these 3 isn't working well, there must be something wrong. What's cool is that there is a solution!

When I'm doing stuff on my website, I try to be my visitor. Like, I open my website as a visitor and go through what I have written and it really helps me to see my content in a different eye.

My thought is: if I write specifically for one visitor (staying related to the subject for sure), this visitor might click my affiliate link. What I'm trying to say is that I don't write with the thought that maybe one person out of 1000 will click, but more with every visitor should click. It doesn't sound realist I know but that's how I think.

I hope it was not so bad explained 😂

Audrey, thanks for your comment! I love your mindset on this: Writing for a reader who will want to click to your suggestions 100% of the time. Obviously in reality this won't happen but this shouldn't stop us from striving for this! From our personal talks, I know how fast your blog is growing and I think your mindset plays a big part in this. Keep up the great work and thank you for reading!

Thanks for writing this. It explains it very well. Great job.

Hi Lynne, thanks for your comment! I'm happy it is well explained, I had to delete several paragraphs to keep it on-point actually. Easy to get side-tracked on this topic!

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