Is Affiliate Marketing for Beginners? Secrets to Success

Is Affiliate Marketing for Beginners

Updated from a post published in 2016.

Are you brand new to thoughts of working online? If so, this question has an irresistible lure, doesn’t it? Is Affiliate Marketing for Beginners? Trust me! I totally understand the concerns, and even skepticism wrapped up in that question!

A year ago, the query in this post title was my own. I was on the verge of a new, part-time career in affiliate marketing as a retiree, with no prior experience in this field. The excitement was exhilarating, but it still felt like a big step into the unknown.

Imagine my trepidation as a not very Internet savvy senior!

But I was instantly captivated and continue to find it a highly engaging and rewarding activity. In large part, I attribute my extremely positive experience with affiliate marketing to finding a supportive community with excellent training materials and resources. Going it alone as a complete newbie was never an option for me.

Is Affiliate Marketing for You?

Naturally, only you can answer this question. As you contemplate your answer, here are a few key considerations:

  • Do you get excited by learning and trying new things?
  • Would you enjoy sharing your knowledge about a favorite hobby or pastime?
  • Do you like reading and researching topics of interest to you?
  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Are you seeking a way to supplement your retirement income or perhaps increase your retirement savings?

If you can answer yes to all, or at least some, of these questions, affiliate marketing may be the right choice for you. I dove into affiliate marketing after answering yes to all of the above questions. Furthermore, I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed the process for more than a year and have no regrets.

 Affiliate Marketing Overview

Overview of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is the process of selling someone else’s goods or services for a commission. There are tens of thousands of affiliate programs available to meet the needs of virtually any area of interest. Furthermore, becoming an affiliate is a free and simple process.

You can typically enroll in an affiliate program in less than ten minutes. As an example, you might have an interest in How to Become an Amazon Affiliate Marketer.

As the image above depicts, affiliate marketing is essentially a four step process. Let’s examine the steps in a bit more detail.

Step 1 – Choose an Interest or Niche

A niche is really nothing more than a group of people who share an interest in a particular topic. First, you define the target market you will sell to because this will help you identify both informational needs and the types of products and services that will interest your market. Your personal hobbies, pastimes, talents, skills, and passions should direct your choice.

Logically, your first questions should be things like the following:

  • What is my ideal customer like? Try to create an image of a fictional reader that you can comfortably chat with as you would an old friend who shares your enthusiasm for the subject of your website.
  • What types of products and services interest my ideal customer and why?
  • Can I provide tutorials that will help my readers resolve problems?
  • How can I help my ideal customers find the information and products that best meet their needs?

Please pay close attention to the primary focus of these questions because it reveals the first secret of success as an affiliate marketer. You must focus on the needs of your customer first and draw them in by being exceptionally helpful and offering quality content.

No one is interested in a website that’s little more than a “pitch fest”!

For additional information on selecting a niche, please see my previous post, What is the Definition of a Niche and Why is it Important?

Step 2 – Create a Website

The need for a website is an irrefutable fact for anyone with an interest in pursuing affiliate marketing. You will be communicating with your customers online, so your website will provide your communication forum. Fortunately, the fabulous tools that exist today make creating a website a breeze.

Please see my Build a Website page for further details including a video that will walk you through the process. You can create a foundation for your site, suitable for developing over time, in a matter of minutes. Yes, I felt amazement too, but it’s true!

Step 3 – Get Traffic and Rankings

Once you’ve created your website, you will fill the site with relevant, information-rich content. Again, no one is interested in a website that contains purely promotional materials because people are searching for answers to questions.  They are seeking useful information on their topic of interest.

You will provide the answers they are seeking. Your goal is to write epic content based on keyword queries that members of your niche are typing into search engines because this content will drive traffic.

My post, How to Rank My Website With SEO Basic Principles, may be helpful in understanding this process.

Step 4 – Sell Stuff and Earn Commissions

A website with unique, engaging content that ranks well in the search engines and receives traffic has limitless potential to earn revenue. Affiliate marketing is a time-tested, proven technique that is here to stay. One powerful option is to write honest and unbiased reviews for products that intrigue your readers.

Studies show that online reviews influence a hefty 67% of consumers when they make major purchase decisions.  I would say that’s evidence of very impressive reach!

You can expand your knowledge regarding this step by reading my Monetize Your Site page.

The Wealthy Affiliate Online Community

The Wealthy Affiliate online community is an incredibly newbie-friendly resource for beginners interested in pursuing affiliate marketing. They offer all of the necessary training and tools to initiate an online business the proper way. I have found this online community to be amazingly supportive and another of my secrets to success.

Best of all, Wealthy Affiliate offers a Starter Membership that is 100% free to join. Under your Starter Membership, you can create 2 websites hosted through a state of the art platform called SiteRubix. Your membership includes effective, step-by-step training to launch your new venture.

See my Getting Started Online page for an impressive list of everything included in a Starter Membership.  Or, you can begin experiencing the training and community first-hand and get started today. All you need is an email address to check it out thoroughly!

Join Wealthy Affiliate As a $0 Starter Member

In Summary

Is Affiliate Marketing for Beginners? Yes, I can state from personal knowledge that it is definitely possible for beginners with no prior experience to achieve success as affiliate marketers. All of the training, tools, and resources you need are readily available.

Will it happen overnight? No, and please don’t let any online “gurus” try to tell you otherwise. Developing a website filled with quality content takes time and consistent effort. But if you’re willing to invest in yourself and put the work in up front, you can ultimately build a sustainable income.

Please post any questions in the comment section below. Also, consider telling us about any affiliate marketing experiences you may have. Finally, if this post was helpful, please share.

Like It? Please Share It!

To your success!


Starting My Online Business Was a Wise Choice

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20 thoughts on “Is Affiliate Marketing for Beginners? Secrets to Success”

  1. Hi Linda,
    How great that you found a way to earn some income while retired. This sounds like a pretty simple outline of affiliate marketing. But there are a lot of people that may not be real comfortable with doing things like this on the computer yet.

    If one doesn’t have a lot of technical expertise, is the training thorough enough to help with that?

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Kris,

      You’re quite right. Being able to supplement retirement income while working from home is awesome 🙂 I have found the training to be very thorough. I do not have technical expertise but I have become very comfortable developing my website and working as an affiliate marketer. In addition to the great training, the Wealthy Affiliate community includes many successful entrepreneurs who are available to answer specific questions. This has been invaluable to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. Linda,

    This article was really positive to read and i really do think affiliate marketing can be for beginners but like all things success entirely depends on yourself. Great post and i really like how you explained it in a simple yet informative manner. This definitely clarifies what affiliate marketing really is! 🙂

    • Hi Vinnie,

      Thanks so much for the great feedback. I’m glad to hear that my incredibly positive experience with affiliate marketing was reflected in the post. I agree completely that success depends on the individual. You really do have to enjoy research and writing and be willing to invest consistent effort. Fortunately, the work is accomplished from home on my schedule so it’s very flexible. Still, affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. There is work involved. I appreciate your comments!

  3. Hello,

    you have created a good website. I especially like the way your blog posts are organized with photo blocks.

    I would find it interesting to learn more about your journey, what did you try and not like, at least generically. This might give your endorsement of WA a little more weight.

    Great job on your site and congrats on your retirement, I’m still working a day job and would love to just do WA.


    • Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your kind words about my site. Like many folks interested in making money online, I encountered a few scams on my journey. One fairly recent example that comes to mind was Home Pay Day Center. This program involved an upfront fee with no opportunity to view materials in advance. The materials were poorly done, no tools or resources were provided and the path to success was completely unclear. A few days after joining, my support specialist called and rather arrogantly informed me that I was highly unlikely to be successful unless I contracted for expensive mentoring services. The only good thing I can say about this organization is that they did indeed honor their money back guarantee. After this experience, finding Wealthy Affiliate was like a breath of fresh air. The training is comprehensive and excellent, all the necessary tools are provided and the path to success is clearly defined.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Best of luck to you!

  4. Great post on “is affiliate marketing for beginners” Linda!
    You have outlined some very good steps on what affiliate marketing is and how it works.
    I personally believe that anyone wanting to earn money online should start by learning affiliate marketing.
    It is the simplest and easiest way to start.
    I also believe that it is not just for beginners though, as all of the top internet marketers use affiliate marketing as part of their strategy.
    Great post 🙂

    • Hi John,

      Thank you for the great feedback. I couldn’t agree with you more. Affiliate marketing is a proven technique that can be used by anyone who is sufficiently motivated to make money online. Beginners should not be afraid to tackle this strategy and start a business they can grow and expand over time. I appreciate your comments!

  5. to be honest im not retired not even near retiring
    however i am retiring from my 9-5 job and will be going to take on the online world. its a big world as well as a growing world but i think im ready for this now.
    affiliate marketing is the route im going to be taking. its a flexible route

    • Hi Adam,

      Congratulations on your decision to become a full-time affiliate marketer! With close to 3 billion internet users daily, I have to agree it’s a huge world with incredible potential. It is certainly far more flexible than the typical 9-5 job given the ability to work from pretty much anywhere you can find an internet connection. I wish you the very best of luck in this endeavor. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Hello there! I just finished reading your article on affiliate marketing and thought I would just drop you a quick comment. I have been into affiliate marketing for several years now and I think your recommended training resource is spot on. I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate for some time now and can confirm that it has some of the best training online.

    I like the fact that you have asked is affiliate marketing for you? Because the fact is, it isn’t always right for everybody. Sometimes people are led to believe that affiliate marketing is really easy, when in actual fact it takes a lot of time and dedication. So it really helps if you enjoy writing and creating online content, as you have pointed out here.

    Is affiliate marketing for beginners? I would say that with the right guidance, as shown in this article, anyone could become successful, just be aware that it won’t happen over night.

    • Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for commenting. Your points are well-taken. Affiliate marketing is most definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a proven method with vast potential but it does require dedication and consistent effort. It sure helps if, like me, you love to write 🙂 The excellent training available at Wealthy Affiliate can also play a huge role. Best wishes for the success of your business!

  7. There are many options for monetization when it comes to an online business, but I personally think affiliate marketing is one of the best available. There’s no need to create a product or hold inventory, you simply attempt to promote somebody else’s. It’s also more prevalent than people might think – almost every product and service out there has an affiliate program (whether private or part of a network like Share-a-Sale). What other monetization strategies would you recommend for a beginner’s website?

    • Hi Mathew,
      It’s true that there are many options for making money online once you’ve created a website. I’ve discussed some them in an earlier post, What About Making Money Online – Is it for You? That said, I continue to view affiliate marketing as the BEST choice for folks who are new to the online world. As you point out, there are numerous affiliate programs out there. Amazon is a hugely popular choice, but there are a plethora of other programs to choose from with thousands of products that may be appropriate for your niche. You can apply for free, and it’s easy to get started. Once your website is well established, you can consider branching out into other areas such as marketing your own products. Thanks very much for your comments.

  8. Is affiliate marketing for beginners? Well yes and no. People could definitely give it a try because it’s not hard to start. Websites are easy to build these days and there are even free sites being offered at Wealthy Affiliate. But, affiliate marketing isn’t easy and the money doesn’t come till later. It’s not a good primary source of income for beginners. It takes time to build and grow.

    • Hi Andrew,

      You’ve made some good points here that I completely agree with. Throughout my site I caution readers that, much like any other business, affiliate marketing takes hard work and will not bring overnight success. It takes months or even longer to begin seeing results. And yet, I believe that almost anyone has the ability to create an online affiliate marketing business. You have to take those first steps and then be persistent. As you point out, it’s neither difficult nor expensive to get started which is a big plus. Over time, you can definitely supplement your income nicely as a retiree. Thanks for visiting my site and for taking the time to comment.

  9. Hi,
    I’m a 19 years old student who wants to earn full-time income before I graduate. I choose affiliate marketing because it’s very newbie friendly, just like you said.

    I’ve done pretty much everything in this post, except earning commissions, but I’ve set up my website for only a month, I have the feeling I’m going to earn something really soon.

    You explain affiliate marketing in a very simple and clear way. Keep up the good work!! 🙂

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your kind remarks. Yes, affiliate marketing is very newbie friendly and accessible to everyone from teenagers like yourself to seniors because it doesn’t require specialized skills. It does require some training in basic processes and also access to resources like keyword research tools. For that reason, I advocate joining Wealthy Affiliate where training and resources are available at a very affordable price.

      Earning a full-time income is definitely possible with persistence and patience. If your site is one-month old, you’re laying the foundation for future success and earnings will follow in time. Continue to invest in your online business just as you’re investing time in your education.

      Thanks for commenting and I wish you every success with your website!

  10. Affiliate marketing is the best business to make online. Some people are continuously shouting that affiliate marketing is a scam. I think it’s because they don’t have the patience to make money, they need money overnight. Patience is the main key in business. This article is really useful for beginners. Keep sharing with us.

    • Hi Harish,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree completely that affiliate marketing is a legitimate online business that’s increasingly important today and potentially very lucrative over time. Take a look at my post entitled Why Become an Affiliate Marketer for some compelling stats.

      Success comes from adding value in the online space and answering the all-important questions of your target market. Creating useful content and developing meaningful relationships does indeed take time and patience. But isn’t this true of any worthwhile activity?

      You’re on the right track Harish and I wish you well in your online endeavors!


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