Affiliate Marketing: What It Is & How It Works (2024 Guide)


You may have heard about affiliate marketing if you are trying to earn some extra bucks by using your internet and digital device.

It is one of the most popular earning sources for many people. But the internet is full of confusing information about it, and if you are a beginner, you can easily be distracted by this information.

In this article, I have explained some common questions of beginners who are trying to get involved in this industry. Let’s get started with the basics.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

The concept of affiliate marketing is simple. You need to sell someone’s product or service in order to receive a commission.

In this case, you don’t have the worry about making any products or delivering the product.

You need to sell the product; the company giving you a commission for selling their product will do the rest of the work.

Usually, you need to sell someone’s product or service through promotional activity.

How Much Do Affiliates Get Paid?

The payment of affiliate marketers is pretty good. Companies know very well that with a good affiliate commission, they will get quality affiliates.

So, they try to provide a good amount of money to their affiliates. As a result, the earnings of an affiliate are pretty good.

Sometimes, they get 100% commission on some products. Usually, the average commission rate is between 10 to 15 %.

For example, if I talk about the StableHost affiliate program, StableHost pays a 35$ flat commission to their affiliate partner.

So, your income will depend on how much you are promoting and how much you are selling through your affiliate links.

How Affiliate Marketing Works?

Though the concept of affiliate marketing is simple, the process behind affiliate marketing is complicated. So, as a beginner, you need help understanding the process behind affiliate marketing.

In this part, I have tried to make it easy for beginners to understand how affiliate marketing works.

Firstly, if you join an affiliate program, the company that is offering the program will give each affiliate a unique link.

Through this link, affiliates need to promote the company’s product or service. A cookie will be stored on their browser if someone clicks the link.

This cookie is essential because of these cookies, and the seller can identify the affiliates responsible for the sales. But there are some cookie policies that vary from company to company.

Most companies offer a 30 day cookie policy. This means if someone clicks your link but doesn’t buy the product, then he comes back and decides to make a purchase within 30 days, you will receive the commission.

Nowadays, companies are reducing their cookie expiry date from 30 days to 15 or 7 days to increase competition in the affiliate market.

Members of the Affiliate Marketing Chain

Affiliate marketing involves three main participants and one optional participant. The three main participants are:

Affiliates: Affiliates are the sales associates or marketers. They promote a product or service of a company and get a commission if someone purchases the product because of their promotion. They are the main part of an affiliate marketing chain. They are usually content creators who create blog video landing pages in order to promote a specific service or product. Affiliates can be individuals or a company responsible for promoting a product or service.
Merchant: They are the owners of a specific product or service. They offer affiliate programs to the affiliates. If affiliates are able to sell their product or service, they give them commissions.
Consumer: They are the targeted part of affiliates and sellers. The section contains people like us who need various products or services to make our daily life more efficient.

The optional part is affiliate networks. Affiliate networks work as a platform where merchants can list their affiliate programs to find affiliates.

Plus, these platforms will also help a merchant to manage their affiliate programs. In short, they are a bridge between markets and affiliates.

How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing?

Starting your affiliate marketing journey takes a lot of work. Though some people say it is the easiest way to make passive income, it is not true.

You need to work very hard for a certain period of time to reach a position where you can earn a hefty amount of money without much work.

In this section, I will tell you about the steps to get started with affiliate marketing.

#1 – Choose Proper Niche

The first step is to choose a proper niche. It would be best if you thought about some factors before choosing a niche.

First, you need to question how much you know about the niche. You need to create content based on a niche for an extended period of time if you want success.

So try to choose a niche similar to your interest to avoid boredom. Then the second, you need to think about the competition and profit.

If you are a beginner, it is important to avoid a saturated niche with a lot of competition. Because if there is too much competition as a beginner, it will be impossible for you to achieve success in those niches, and profitability is an important thing.

Try to choose the most profitable niche with low competition. Your 70% success depends on choosing the niche.

So be careful and do good research before selecting the niche. If you don’t know how to choose a profitable niche for your affiliate business, here is an article discussing how to choose a profitable niche.

#2 – Choose your platform

The next important thing is to choose a platform where you want to promote the product. There are a few different ways to promote a product.

You can choose blogging, YouTube, podcasting, etc., but my personal choice is blogging or review writing.

It is not only mine, but more than 65% of affiliate marketers suggest blogging as beginner affiliate marketers.

If you don’t know how to start a blog from scratch, You can refer to my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog.

I will describe more about how to become successful in affiliate marketing by blogging later in this article.

#3 – Build Your Audience

No matter which platform you choose, the similarity between them is that you need to build an audience base.

Not a random audience; you need to create an audience who will trust you. Because if they don’t trust you, they won’t buy the product you are promoting.

So it is crucial to build a trusted audience base. 

#4 –Choosing Affiliate Network

It is the crucial part when it comes to choosing an affiliate network. There are some factors you need to monitor before joining any affiliate network.

1. Commission Type

You need to know about the commission type and amount of the company. It is vital to know before joining any program.

Usually, two types of commission structures are available in the market, flat and recurring. Usually, the most common of them is a flat model.

As a beginner, try to stick with the flat model because it is simple and removes the complication of your work.

2. Cookie Lifetime

It is an important factor. Try to choose a network or program that offers the highest cookie lifetime.

Because the more cookie lifetime you will have, the more you have the chance to sell.

So it is important to search for programs that offer at least a 30-day cookie lifetime policy.

3. Product Quality and Relevance

Try to join networks with good products. Because you can sell good products very easily, and remember to choose a product according to your niche.

4. Promotional Assets

Some companies will offer extraordinary eye-catching banners, videos, and audio to promote their product.

It is beneficial when you will try to promote their product. So keep in mind to always try to collect these types of assets from affiliate networks.

5. Payout System

As a beginner, you will always look for an easy payout policy. The most common of them is a minimum of 50$.

Also, it’s important to know how they will pay and what you have to do to receive the payments.

I would love to say that most companies pay their affiliate through Paypal and Wise. As a beginner, you can choose any method that is best for you.

6. Competition

Try to choose programs with low competition. Because if many people try to sell one product as a beginner, you won’t stand a chance there. So, try to avoid saturated markets.

How Do You Start Affiliate Marketing as a Beginner?

As a beginner, the easiest way for you to start affiliate marketing, as I mentioned before in this article.

So, what will you need to start blogging as an affiliate marketer and earn money? Follow my steps, and you will get the answer to this question.

Step1: Build a website

If you want to start blogging, you will need a platform. And the best platform is WordPress.

Plus, you will need a domain and hosting to build a website. Some of the most reliable hosting service providers are Hostinger, Network Solutions, and KnownHost.

I recommend Hostinger because it is one of the most popular and best web hosting service providers.

Hostinger also has a built-in website builder, which will help you build your site without any cost. It will help you a lot as a beginner, especially if you have a tight budget.

Step2: Write Content

After you create your blogging site, you need to write quality reviews and how to use type content in order to promote the product.

If you have skill in writing, I suggest you write on your own. But if you need to improve, you can hire a writer to write for you.

But first of all, hiring a writer is expensive. As a beginner, usually, a person only has a little money to hire a good content writer.

To save you from this, I have some solutions. There are some excellent AI writers available in the market.

Currently, they have a significant discount on them. Some of the most famous AI writers are Writesonic and Rytr.

Step3: SEO

You have created your website and written quite a good amount of content for your website. Now it’s time for search engine optimization.

It is essential because, with proper SEO, your website will appear on the search engine’s first page.

As a result, you won’t receive any viewers. So hiring an SEO expert or doing the optimization work on your own is essential.

But in this case, I will also tell you about some extraordinary tools that will help you do your SEO work easily and perfectly.

It will save you from the cost of hiring SEO experts. Those tools are Semrush and KWFinder.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

The affiliate market is so lucrative because of its tremendous benefits. Though it is not a way to earn passive income entirely after some time, making a lot will take less work.

You can take it as your primary profession. The affiliate market is worth $17 Billion and is growing.

You can easily take a large piece of this industry because it is still growing. So let’s talk about some benefits of affiliate marketing.

A Chance of Passive Income

Suppose you make a video or write content for a promotional activity of a product. Then you upload that on your website or on YouTube. Your work is done.

You can use those videos or content for months, sometimes years, to promote a product and attract customers.

It will take your one-time work to gain a greater reward. So you can earn nearly a heft of passive income from it.


In affiliate marketing, your duty is to sell the product. You won’t have the tension of producing, distributing, or quality control.

You need to create promotional content based on the product you like, and that’s all. This job is for people who want less pressure and more money from their work.

Cheap to Start

If you want to build a business selling something, you need to invest a lot of money. First of all, you need to establish a production factory, then you will need raw materials, labours etc. etc., all of these things will cost you a considerable amount of money.

But in affiliate marketing, you can also earn money by selling products, but in this case, someone else will make the product for you.

As a result, you don’t have to worry about investing. With a small amount of money, you can start promoting the product.

Low chance of loss

As you invest little money at the start of your affiliate market journey, the chances of loss become low. So you don’t have to worry about huge losses.

But the profit is more significant in affiliate marketing. So it’s becoming one of the favourite side hustles of many people.

How do Affiliate Marketers Make Money?

There are a few ways to make money as an affiliate marketer. Usually, the way you earn your money as an affiliate marketer depends on the company you are affiliated with.

There are three common ways that companies pay their affiliates and they are:

  • Per Sale: This is the most common type of system companies pay their affiliates. An affiliate has to make a sale in order to earn a commission. The commission rates vary from 5% to 100% in some cases.
  • Per Click: In this method, an affiliate needs to make a click on his affiliate link. They don’t need to sell anything to earn a commission. He needs to make people click on the link.
  • Per lead: Lead generation is the new marketing strategy that is paying companies a high revenue. So companies are ready to pay a hefty amount to those affiliates who will generate leads for them. Now this model is becoming popular.

Last Thoughts

Affiliate marketing is still in a growing stage. So there are plenty of opportunities and chances in this market.

You need to have a strong mindset and dive into this market in order to achieve success. This article will help you to make your first earnings as an affiliate marketer.

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