What is Affiliate Marketing? A Beginners Guide

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Since, Making Money Online has gone popular these days, we became familiar with terms and phrases like :

Passive income, Escaping the Rat Race, Ditching Your 9-5 Jobs, Living a Laptop Lifestyle, Work From Home and…  Affiliate Marketing.

Although there are other means of making money online, Affiliate Marketing is widely talked about and easy to start with. And most of the people who were successful started out in Affiliate Marketing

The phrases I mentioned in the beginning of this post are some of the concept behind Affiliate Marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a process of earning a commission from promoting other people’s or company’s product. You choose a product that is within your niche, promote it, and make a piece of earnings from the sale you make.

Although it seems complex, the practice is actually straight forward.

Let say for example, you are in a Running niche, you love running and that’s what you’re passionate about, then you choose a product that you think can help you and others (who’s likes running like you) to achieve a better running, And the product can be a pair of running shoes, so you choose an affiliate network like amazon, choose the choose that you like, promote it, and if someone buys from you, you will get a commission from it.



How does Affiliate Marketing work?

Alright before we actually jump into How does Affiliate Marketing Works. We should understand first the components or parts of Affiliate Marketing. What it is and It’s role in Affilaite Marketing.

  1. The Seller / The Product Creator

The Seller, sometimes called the merchant, vendor, retailer or product creator. It can be a solo entrepreneur or a big company, that has or creates a product to the market. The products can be household goods, apparel, health drinks etc. or it can be on a form of ebook or service made by solo entrepreneurs like online courses, tutorials or cookbook.

The Seller or the Merchant does not have to be actively involve in the marketing. They just have to have a product a product to sell. Although, they do have a choice to be the advertiser as well and benefit on revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

2. The Affiliate

Also known as the publishers. Affiliate can be an individual or a big company that promotes a certain product in an appealing and convincing way to potential costumers/consumers.

This is where the marketing happens. The affiliate will promote an affiliate product or more, to persuade potential consumers that the merchant’s products is valuable or helpful for them. And convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer ends up on buying the said product, then the affiliate gets a share on the revenue made.

The affiliate has the option on how to promote the merchants’ product(s), it can be through social media, by making a video, or the most commonly use, which is writing a content marketing blog.

In addition, Affiliates normally has a very specific targeted audience to whom they market a product.


In an effort to be completely transparent, I want to let you know that I have an affiliate relationship with some of the companies whose products or services I recommend.
This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission or credit if you decide to buy any of their products or services. Click here for more.


3. The Consumer

The consumer or customer is I think the most important part of Affiliate Marketing. They make the “Affiliate System” move like a cycle. Without the consumer purchases, then, there won’t be any revenue or sales to be shared or commissions to hand out.

Once the consumer buys a product, the Seller/Merchant and the Affiliate share the profit. There are times that the consumer is unaware that he/she is buying an affiliated products. But these days more and more affiliates are becoming transparent to their consumers through disclosing or informing them that they’ll get a commission on every sale as an affiliate.

Either way the product’s cost and the product itself is not affected for the affiliate’s share of profit is already included in the retail price. So there is no way that a consumer/costumer will pay higher price if it is an affiliated product.

4. The Network

Some may skip The Network as a part that consist of Affiliate Marketing structure. But I believe that this should be part of explanation as well because The Network serves or acts as mediator between the merchant and the affiliate.

In most cases affiliates need to go through an affiliate network to be able to promote a product. Therefore, The network is also considered as the database of different kinds of products for an affiliate marketer to choose from.

(Screenshot of Clickbank)

(Screenshot of Amazon)

The images above are just 2 examples of Affiliate Network.

Now that we know the components or parts of Affiliate Marketing, we can now proceed to the process.

How does Affiliate Marketing works? and How to get Started?

After we have learned the components of Affiliate Marketing, somehow, we are able to understand how it works. Let me show you a diagram that will represent the process and we will discuss it down this post.

(diagram from Wealthy Affialiate Training)

1. Customer – like what I’ve mentioned on my previous post, Costumer or Consumer is the one that make the Affiliate Marketing go ’round.

A customer who is on a diet looks for an item to buy, an Herbal Tea for example. So he/she searched it and landed to a website / blog.

2. Your Site – That customer landed in one of your blogs that talks about an Herbal Tea that attracted the customer, clicked your affiliate link that lead him/her to your….

3. Affiliate Network – … which can be an Amazon for example. That customer decided to purchase the Herbal Tea that you promoted, The Merchant will reward you as a thank you by giving                                                     you…

4. You Make Money – … a commission. That’s the way you can earn from Affiliate Marketing.

How to get Started?

To get you started to be as Affiliate Marketer, you need to find a niche. A topic that you are familiar with that might be a problem for others– and you will be there to help those people or your target audience to solve their problems.

Read this post to learn more about  What Is a Niche Website, to understand it more.

Once you establish your niche, or the topic that you will be addressing it’s time for you to think in what platform you want to execute your promotion, you can use other forms of social media– But, I believe the most effective way to promote a product is through Building a Niche Website.

After you have built your website, time to write quality content post. I would strongly suggest that do not start promoting if your website is empty, what I meant is, still lacking of posts and visitors or traffic.

Once you are, then you can go to any Affiliate Network and apply to be an Affiliate Marketer.

Afterwards, choose a product to promote, write a review about the product. Be consistent.

Do you want to build a website for FREE? Click here!

Alright, let’s do a recap of my post.

Affiliate Marketing is a process of earning commission by promoting other people’s or company’s product. An Affiliate promotes the product by writing quality content post that will convince his/her consumer to purchase the product. If the consumer buy, then an affiliate will get a portion of the sale.


Although I mentioned that Affiliate Marketing is the easiest way to start Money Making Business Online, Affiliate Marketing takes a lot of time and effort to see results (getting commission). Make sure that you are ready to spend long time in your computer creating quality post and doing it consistently. Because success doesn’t happen overnight.

Like the usual, if you have any comments, questions or something to add, you are welcome to leave on comments below, and I would be happy to get back to you. And if you want to know I built my website, click here.

Wishing you all success,

34 thoughts on “What is Affiliate Marketing? A Beginners Guide”

  1. A very informative article for anyone interested in affiliate marketing.  I know that if I weren’t already doing it, I would think hard about it from reading this.

    I especially like your reminder in bold about this not being a get rich quick thing but a legit work long and hard thing, 

    • Thanks for spending time reading my post.

      I intend to do that “reminder” thing for those who just starting out. Let’s face it, most of the people who are convinced on doing affiliate marketing has a thought that everything will be easy. And we/I can’t blame them because that’s what they see on social media.

      It really takes time. 

      Wishing you success,


  2. I’ve been looking into ways of working online, with a view to maybe doing it full time one day, affiliate marketing has popped up as a choice on more than one occasion. It’s actually nice to hear that it involves promoting other people’s products – I always had a vision of a garage being full of products you had to sell!

    What’s the learning curve like with this sort of thing – bear in mind that I have no real experience with any sort of marketing? Also, do the tools needed to take part cost a lot or can you find free versions?

    • That is what Affiliate Marketing appealing, you leverage other people’s product. Though you can be the merchant as well, that too is part of affiliate marketing.

      There are few learning curves specially if you’re a total newbie, but with the proper training everything is doable. With the platform that I am using, I get the most important tools needed along with my monthly fee. And surely you will need additional tools down the road as you progress.

      Thanks for visiting and wishing you success.


  3. That’s are very informative article on exactly how affiliate networks and making money online works Mina.:) When i starred out affiliate marketing way back in 2008 everybody thought I was nuts over here in NZ. But it was the best commitment and career move I ever will make, and website are so much easier to construct, 

    Here’s to a life of inspiration, desire and legacy. May the fearless and wise join us:) 

    Sincerely Rob

    • Hi Ropata,

      It feels good to know that I what I shared is informative specially from someone who’s been in the business for quite long, like you.

      I see to it that I include the components for better understanding of Affiliate Marketing particularly to beginners out there.

      May the force be with you 

  4. I like how this is brought out. I appreciate the layout. It shows how the process of how a person can make money via affiliate marketing.

    I appreciate, however, that you said that it takes time. I don’t appreciate many of these advertisers that say you can make thousands ultra quickly.

  5. since I joined wealthy affiliate, I now have three websites of my own. I done something that I never know I can achieve before. They have the education that is all I need. I’m still learning. Could you share some advise for me? I balance my time to work on my websites.

    • Hi Kit!

      Thanks for reading. I am surprised that you have a 3 websites already. The advice that I can give you is you have to really manage your time wisely since you have 3 babies (sites) you need to take care and balance. 

      It is good to know what Wealthy Affiliate can do to someone, yeah?

      Wishing you success and more power to your websites!


  6. Excellent article, very informative, interesting too. So many affiliates are searching for the low hanging fruit.
    Amazon, Walmart, and the like, these markets are jam packed. How many of these vendors like to brag about the size of their affiliate networks?
    How many of the affiliates are bragging about their $200 commission they earned for selling 10 X $20 product?
    Have you thought how saturated these markets are? MASSIVE competition.
    Now look at high ticket products that pay commissions in the $1000’s?
    Affiliates for an aircraft charter company, you can earn a commission for getting leads. Those who charter the aircraft, BANG, you just made a BIG commission. Private jets are not cheap to charter.
    Just my two bob.
    Thank’s Minah

  7. Great article. I like the breakdown of the affiliate and consumer you have done.I think that it is very important to remember that affiliate marketing takes time. It is not another one of those get rich quick schemes. This is a real business requiring real effort to succeed.

    I think that it is quite good to build your own business and generate income with your own online business.

    • Thank Renton for spending time to read and comment.

      Totally agree with you, most people who joins affiliate marketing gets “over-inspired” by what they are seeing, you know huge amount of cash, nice cars, and thinks that affiliate marketing is easy and fast.

      And yeah, we consider “this” as a real business.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Wishing you success


  8. Hi Mina, thank you for a very informative article on Affiliate Marketing.

    I believe affiliate marketing is set to grow and grow into the next decade as it provides a win-win situation for all concerned. It allows anyone to start a business without the high set up costs, it allows the vendor to gain a customer through the affiliate and only pay a commission after the sale has taken place instead of advertising and not knowing if the ad will produce any sales.

    Great site, keep up the good work!

    • Hi Moni, that is definitely true. That’s the reason why I think more and more people are turning into affiliate marketing, because like what you said, it’s a win-win for both sides.

      Thanks for dropping by and wishing you success.


  9. The think your sight covered every aspect of the business and how it works,I invested several times in companies that claimed to teach you how to make money on the internet but they were mostly scammers or just didn’t know how it really worked. I was very sceptical about Wealthy Affiliate but joined anyway. I have only being working steady for a couple of months but what I have learned is unbelievable. The training is outstanding. I am very pleased with all the training they offer.

    • Hi Carolyn, Glad to know that you finally find Wealthy Affiliate! It is indeed very helpful specially if your are targeting to have a business online.
      And what I like about them is that, they never promise that you will become rich overnight. Compared to other platforms out there.

      Thank you and wishing you success,


  10. Hello Mina, what a very informative post on WA. I have decided to join WA, and build out a successful business in order to really live my life. I recommend this program to anyone looking forward to ending the 9-5 slavery. Thanks again, and I wish you the best of luck with your site!!!

  11. Hey Minah,
    This is a very good article with a step by step explanation on how Affiliate Marketing works.
    Moreover, it is going to be a Solid Gold for those who are just starting out or are anxiously looking around the net to start a business. I like how you have put the pieces together that comes with vivacity and clarity.
    I have read many articles of budding or pro affiliates and yours is definitely a site to note.

    Thanks for sharing this article and I look forward to reading your updates.
    Wishing you a THUMPING Success.

    • Hi Phomrong,
      Thank you for those wonderful words, It made feel like I did something worthy.
      Well, the reason for creating this post, is to guide those who are starting out and tried to be simplistic yet detailed as possible for better understanding.

      Thanks again and wishing you success,


  12. This is a good primer for affiliate marketing for someone like me that is just getting started.  It’s nice to have a thorough explanation and I really appreciate the charts and images that help drive your points home.  I want to get started, but I know it’s going to be a lot of work.  At least sites like this one can help me have a lot of information in one place.  Thanks.

    • Hi Brandon and Welcome to Affiliate Marketing! Glad to know that I can help.
      Well if you really want to start, you have to take action and be willing to exert effort and time– because you are going to need many of it.
      It’s difficult at first but once you get the hang of it and with a proper training, everything will be easy.
      You just have to remind yourself that success doesn’t happen overnight.

      Thanks and wishingyou success,

  13. Mina,

    This is a very good article for anyone looking into affiliate marketing that wants a clear and descriptive read of how to get started and your are right to point out it takes a willingness to learn, dedication and trial through error to be successful at it. It does not happen overnight, you must work at it. Overall, you are on target with your audience in what you have put together in this article but as a fellow WA member I would be honored to help you fine tune it a bit. Keep up the great work and you will see success!

  14. Another great post Mina. I love affiliate marketing. I do have ads up on my blog, but the best income is through affiliate marketing. Plus, I like that I can offer my take on products that I’ve used that can help others, rather than just getting paid when someone clicks on an ad.

    It gives you a fuzzy feeling. Don’t you think?

    Take Care!

  15. I created a free website several years ago and signed up with Amazon as an affiliate. Just as I was getting into the swing of things, I was blocked from my website without explanation. I didn’t know that there was training available for this and didn’t know about creating a niche. It would have helped me so much. I also didn’t know that there were other options for affiliate programs. Maybe I’ll try again. I need another source of income.

    • Thanks Theresa for sharing your experience. And sorry for what happened about Amazon.
      There are lot of ways to make money online. So, don’t worry you’ll find one.

  16. Great article, Affiliate marketing is in the most basic format direct commission based sales that happens in the digital world.

    New Bloggers should keep their eyes and minds open to other methods of monetization in order to diversify their income sources for the long term sustainability of their blogs

    • Hi Derek. Thanks for dropping by.
      And I totally agree! New bloggers should keep their eyes wide open to other methods of monetizing their blogs.

  17. Hi, Mina, I first came across affiliate marketing in March 2018, but it wasn’t until October did I finally buckle down and check out what it was really about. Since then, it’s become a weekend and at times, daytime hobby, and I’ve never looked back. Affiliate marketing is a fun way to generate income because we get to talk about anything we’re passionate about, building a blog around such an awesome niche. Two sites later, I dedicate almost all my free time into my niche blogs and each week, they only improve. Anyone looking for a way out of the 9-5, or in my case 2pm until ???pm/am, grind should seriously consider making affiliate marketing a hobby.

  18. Incredibly informative and interesting article for showing what is affiliate marketing! The process itself is clear as day and shows me what should I do to succeed.I like the fact that success is not instant as many scammy sites continue to show the cash, the fancy cars, the women and fail/refuse to present you the real journey towards success.

    I’ve learned in time that the only way to accomplish great things is to be persistent and not give up in building your business. Our brains are wired to do the easiest tasks or not to do any of them, but this aspect works against us in the money making situation. I initially thought that I could make money by starting binary options at Iq Options( too risky ), by completing surveys(it gives you little money)or by installing moneymaking apps(miserable, earning some cents for watching ads or installing apps), but I was damn wrong. Long-term business is the way to go.
    Wealthy Affiliate came in and I couldn’t believe my eyes that it was legit! I watched and read reviews and saw that no one, but no one had any bad words for this website. All the people were right. It is worth learning and working! The work is done once and the benefits keep coming over and over!

    • You are totally right Sebastian! There are a lot of people who uses fancy cars, big houses to show their success (some are true and some are not) that lead to misconception that earning money online is easy as a snap of a finger.
      It takes a lot of time, work and effort for an online marketer to succeed.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences! Glad to know that you finally overcome those and ound Wealthy Affiliate.

  19. Sure thing, affiliate marketing can be very profitable if done right. Also there’s a lot of hype going around it for more than a decade now. Instant riches aren’t a thing – it’s all about focus, hard work, and patience.


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