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Affiliate Marketing in 2020: Short Guide for Beginners

Guest Author on January 28, 2020
affiliate marketer on podcast video

Every blogger aspires to run a blog that not only has a large following but also makes money for them. While sponsored posts by brands and influencer partnerships bring in revenue, there is another form of marketing that can generate significant income for you long after you have posted a content piece.

Known as affiliate marketing, it is an arrangement that you enter in with a company to promote its product/s and earn a commission every time a person buys that product through your links. It is one of the fastest and easiest ways to maximize the earnings from your blog or social handles.

How does affiliate marketing work?

As a blogger looking to get into affiliate marketing, you will first need to find a company or a product that you like, one that you think you can promote to your audience. 

The company you pick is known as the “merchant”. Once you have found the merchant, you will join their partner or affiliate program, which makes you their “affiliate”. (Editor’s note! Hover has an affiliate program you can join if you think your audience loves domain names).

After joining the program, you will receive an affiliate id that you are required to use in all the links in which you are promoting the merchant’s product. The merchant uses this id to track the number of people who bought the product through your link. For every purchase, you will receive a commission as per the terms in your contract. 

It is important to note that you will only make an earning if the customer buys the product, which makes affiliate marketing different from other forms of marketing where you earn by simply promoting a product. It is crucial, then, that you have a strategy in place that enables you to convert your referral links into steady streams of income. 

How to start affiliate marketing

Build an amazing blog

From the blog’s content, promotion, to its domain name–make sure every detail of your blog is immaculate. Doing this is important as your blog is basically your shop where you’ll be doing the work for affiliate marketing.

Get a great domain name for your blog on a new domain extension such as .ONLINE or .SITE to ensure your blog has a unique address that helps it stand out. Next, ensure you’re sharing truly valuable content that helps your readers. Once you have this, promote your blog aggressively to attract good-quality readers to your blog.

Believe in what you’re selling

While it’s important to pick a product that is in demand, you should also keep in mind that what you promote impacts your reputation. Providing accurate information and honest opinions is something you owe to both your audience and yourself. 

The best way to do so is to pick products that you know are useful and reliable, and affiliate with brands you personally trust. Your belief, passion, and commitment will reflect in the work you do, which will translate into greater sales for the merchant, better decision-making for the audience and more earnings for you.

Build rapport with your audience

Ultimately, it is your audience’s actions that will determine your success with affiliate marketing. The more they see you as an expert in the field, the more they will trust your recommendations, and the more likely they are to buy through your links. 

Work on establishing yourself as an authority in your domain through great content that builds your audience’s confidence in you.

Drive traffic from different sources

The Internet is teeming with channels where you can promote your content. The product you’re promoting and your target audience can help you determine which platforms you should use for marketing. 

For instance, apart from your blog, you can also share content and ads on social media, YouTube and search engines. 

Join an affiliate network

The endless variety of products in different niches can be overwhelming for someone who is just starting out. Apart from that, one also needs to consider tracking and analysis and management of earnings. 

Once you have narrowed down on your niche, you can join an affiliate network that specializes in your area of expertise to streamline your marketing plan for you. This will not only give you easy access to a database of products but also help you in planning your strategy.

What are affiliate networks?

Affiliate networks are platforms that help merchants find the right affiliate marketers and vice versa. Affiliate networks allow merchants to:

Every affiliate network brings something different to the table. While some list out a wide range of products, others are more niche, catering to technology, fashion, sports, health or pet care. 

From the marketer’s perspective, these networks increase your chances of finding the right product fit. Moreover, you can easily track your work and earnings to ascertain which products/strategies are doing well and plan your work accordingly. 

Finding the right network, however, involves several other considerations. Before you sign up for one, make sure you understand the finer details of their policies so that there are no discrepancies in your earnings. 

Some networks offer a wide variety of income options while others take a bigger cut from the profits, resulting in fewer earnings for the affiliate. 

Which affiliate network should you join?

If you are new to affiliate marketing, these three networks can help provide you with a promising start.

  1. Amazon Associates

There is nothing that Amazon doesn’t sell. If you’re unsure about which products or companies you want to affiliate with, signing up with Amazon Associates might be the right thing to do simply because of the sheer variety of products you could choose from. 

It is easy and free to join, requiring only one approval and no third-party approvals, so you can start as soon as you’re onboard. It also provides several easy-to-use linking and tracking tools so you can maximize your earnings and measure the success of your campaigns.

  1. eBay Partner Network (EPN)

eBay has almost 1.1 billion listings. Here, you’ll never run out of physical products to promote to your audience. From global brands to local, eBay connects millions of buyers and sellers around the globe, allowing people to make the most of their affiliate program.

You can make money for the traffic you drive to a specific item, and also any traffic that results in a sale. Sending users to some of their high-converting landing pages can really move the needle.

  1. ClickBank

If you are a blogger with niche interests, whether they’re in fashion and travel or politics and sports, ClickBank can help you find the right product match from its wide-ranging repository of digital assets. 

Here you can find products that will help you improve your skills, which you can then vouch for and market easily to your audience. ClickBank claims to offer some of the highest commission rates in the business, as much as 75%, timely payments, and advanced analytical tools.

Affiliate marketing is undoubtedly an easy and lucrative way of making passive income online, even after you have done the required work. However, by finding the right merchant and product, you can use this opportunity to promote a cause, a lifestyle or a brand that you truly believe in and improve your status as a reliable, expert and committed blogger.


Alisha is a Content Marketing Specialist at Radix, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .STORE and .TECH. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.