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Affiliate Marketing A-Z 2020 Guide: The Passive Income Machine

Affiliate marketing is one of the most preferred methods for making passive income online.

Who doesn’t want to earn passive income?

Affiliate marketing is a billion dollar industry and it has become a primary source of income for thousands of people all around the world.

Here is the list of top affiliate marketing blogs and affiliate marketers.

But what basically is Affiliate Marketing?

In simple worlds, affiliate marketing is the process of earning commission by promoting other people’s products either on social media or on your website.

Just find the product, write about it or just start promoting it directly on different platforms.

You earn a small commission whenever people make a purchase using your affiliate link.

In general, you help companies to generate more sales, and companies pay you the commission for those sales.

With more and more online businesses getting involved in affiliate marketing, more and more affiliate marketing opportunities are getting created for a blogger like you and me to make more passive income through blogging.

The product cost remains the same for the customer, while the profit percentage for the product owner reduces.

But the product owners are happy because they are reaching to the potential customers they probably wouldn’t reach on their own.

So it’s a win-win situation for both the parties.

The best part about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to create your products.

You don’t have to invest your money and time in creating and maintaining that product.

Someone else has already created a product, you just have to promote that product and drive people to the product page.

To simplify, here are the steps involved in affiliate marketing:

  • Find a product you want to promote
  • Sign up for its affiliate program
  • Get a special tracking link from the merchant to track your sales
  • Promote the product on your preferred platform. (Blog, social media etc.)
  • Customer clicks on your affiliate link
  • Customer buys a product
  • You get a commission

Here is the quick illustration of how affiliate marketing works.

Affiliate marketing
Image Source: JustLearnWP

Read: Affiliate Link Cloaking

Who Should Do Affiliate Marketing?

Anyone who wants to earn extra money online can start affiliate marketing, but affiliate marketing is a great choice for bloggers, Instagram influencers, YouTubers, online entrepreneurs, and anyone with a great base of audience.

If you are someone who doesn’t want to create your own product but have a good amount of audience, you can start affiliate marketing easily.

Affiliate marketing is not only limited to these people, anyone who can drive traffic to the product page can start affiliate marketing.

You just have to remember one thing that, affiliate marketing is a get rich quick scheme. You need to be honest about the product you are promoting to earn a decent amount of money.

Parties Involved In Affiliate Marketing:

Traditionally there are three parties involved in affiliate marketing, but I will also talk about the hidden fourth party.


affiliate marketing parties
Image Source: DigitalVidya

Let’s understand all the parties in detail.

The Publisher or The Affiliate Marketer:

The publisher or affiliate marketer is an individual who promotes affiliate links on his blog or any other medium.

The affiliate can be an individual or a company.

An affiliate marketer can generate tens of thousands of dollars in commission by promoting affiliate products on a blog or on different platforms.

Consider you as a publisher who wishes to earn a commission by promoting products.

You can create an affiliate site in a particular niche.

After creating site start writing about the products that you use or find helpful.

Give your honest options and start building an audience base for your site.

Once you do all the ethical things, start adding affiliate links in your article to drive traffic to the product page.

If you are honest in writing your content, you will see a huge conversion rate which will generate more revenue for you in commission.

The amount of commission you earn depends on many factors such as:

  • How popular is your blog?
  • Your traffic location.
  • Daily traffic to your blog.

And finally, the conversion rate, means how many people are actually buying the product after clicking on your affiliate link.

You occasionally see Bluehost banners of my site, those are affiliate links.

I have signed up for the Bluehost affiliate to monetize this blog.

affiliate marketing

There are certain sites dedicate to only affiliate marketing.

The perfect example of such site is

They are making millions of dollars just by using affiliate marketing.

They promote products from amazon and BestBuy.

entire affiliate site
The Merchant:

The merchant is also known as the brand, product creator or just a seller who wishes to sell his product by participating in affiliate campaigns.

The merchant prefers to market their product through affiliate marketing as they don’t have to spend a single penny on marketing.

More and more merchants are preferring this model just because they have to pay to the affiliate marketer only after conversion.

The Consumer:

The consumer or customers can make or break your affiliate campaign.

When these people perform the action on your affiliate links, you get a commission.

The affiliate marketer promotes the affiliate links to the consumer on many different platforms.

The consumer clicks on the affiliate link knowingly or unknowingly.

Many affiliate marketers disclose “affiliate links” explicitly to the customers.

And many don’t want to let their customer know that they are going to click on the affiliate link.

It’s ethical to let customers know that you are using the affiliate links by adding affiliate disclosure.

The Affiliate Network:

Remember I was talking about the hidden fourth party in affiliate marketing?

An affiliate network acts as the intermediary between the merchant and the publisher.

Many affiliate marketer ignores the affiliate network as they only focus on being the direct affiliate with the company.

An affiliate network allows the publishers to get access to the affiliate programs of many different merchants at one place.

Different merchants register on affiliate network with an intent to promote their product through affiliate marketing.

The publisher registers themselves to promote those products on their website or social networks to earn affiliate commission.

Commission junction popularly known as CJ affiliate is such an example of an affiliate network.

I will talk about these networks later in this post.

Sometimes you must have to go through the affiliate network in order to promote certain brand products because some brands manage their affiliate program through the affiliate network.

For example, if you want to promote the Wpengine hosting on your blog, you must have to go through the ShareASale affiliate network.

Once you sign up for the affiliate network, you get access to thousands of product at one place to promote on your blog to earn a commission.

For example, Amazon. Amazon’s Amazon associate affiliate program opens a new world of affiliate products.

amazon affiliate marketing

You can promote any item sold on Amazon on your website using just one affiliate account.

Now you know all the basic things and terms used in affiliate marketing, let’s understand how to start affiliate marketing.

How to start successful Affiliate Marketing:

Step 1: Create an Audience Base

To start successful affiliate marketing you need to have a good audience base to promote that product.

You can start building an audience by creating a blog, YouTube channel, Instagram, and on many different platforms.

I have written a detailed article on how to start a blog, you can refer that blog post to build your own blog.

It is quite simple to build a blog with WordPress.

  • Get a domain name and web hosting from Bluehost (Discounted Link)
  • Install WordPress on Bluehost
  • Get a theme

Step 2: Choose Your Niche

Depending upon your interest choose a niche to start writing your content.

One such a niche is smartphone review industry.

Android Authority is a popular website which solely focuses on android mobiles.

They write reviews of Android smartphones and add affiliate links for the same to earn affiliate commission.

smartphone review niche

Step 3: Product Research

Next step is to find the right products to promote.

Start researching products in your niche to promote.

Make sure you keep your readers interest in mind while product research phase.

Choose products that your audience is interested in.

Don’t just promote any product.

Step 4: Amazon Affiliate Program

To discover a large variety of products, Amazon is a great place to start with.

There tons of products available on Amazon to promote on your blog.

Sign up for the Amazon Associate Program to get access to all the products.

Use your unique tracking link to track your sales.

Amazon has made it really easy to track your traffic and earnings.

Step 5: Sign Up for Other Affiliate Programs

Sometimes some products require you to sign up for their own affiliate program.

If you happen to promote such products then you have to sign up for their affiliate program to earn an affiliate commission.

Step 6: Create Content

Once you have narrowed down your niche and products, it’s time to write content around those products.

Create video tutorials, create review posts, add products to your resource page.

If you have an email list, then start promoting that product through the email outreach program.

Step 7: Track Your Earnings

Monitor your traffic and link clicks to track your earnings.

See your earnings growing day by day.


Affiliate marketing is a great source to make passive income online without investing in products.

You can start affiliate marketing either by becoming the merchant or an affiliate( the publisher)

I prefer becoming the publisher as I don’t have to worry about other aspects of affiliate marketing.

Just promote the products of other people on your blog and see your earning scale.

Best Affiliate Marketing Platforms 2019

Here are some of the most famous and trustworthy affiliate programs that you can sign up for.

#1.Best Affiliate Networks:

#1: ShareASale

shareasale affiliate network

ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks.

More than four thousand merchants have registered themselves on the ShareASale platform.

ShareASale accepts only genuine and the sites with high-quality content for their affiliate program.

You name product and ShareASale has that product in their affiliate product list.

Advantages of ShareASale:

  • More than 4000+ merchants to choose from
  • Quick payments
  • Trustworthy

Disadvantages of ShareASale:

  • Hard to get accepted into their affiliate program

#2: CJ Affiliate

CJ affiliate( formerly known as Commission Junction) is the biggest affiliate network right now.

Consider Commission Junction as a one-stop solution for your affiliate marketing campaign.

Once your application is approved by CJ, you can start promoting a wide range of products on your blog.

Advantage of CJ:

  • A large number of merchants to choose from
  • Trustworthy payment system
  • Reporting options are good as you can track your all earning effectively

Disadvantages of CJ:

  • Require a little bit of learning curve
  • Average customer support as they have lots of affiliates and merchants

#3: VigLink

VigiLink works a bit differently than other affiliate networks.

Instead of you the publisher choosing which merchants and products to work with, VigiLink dynamically chooses the highest conversion merchant for you.

Consider VigiLink as a middleman between you the publisher and merchants.

VigiLink adds affiliate links in your content by scanning your content in real time.

You don’t have to add affiliate links manually.

VigiLink takes care of everything.

Advantages of VigiLink:

  • Dynamic linking
  • Alternate option for people rejected amazon and ShareASale
  • You just have to focus on your content rather than adding affiliate links
  • Dynamic link updating to maximize commission

Disadvantages of VigiLink:

  • Requires you to be approved by every merchant
  • Only one payment per month
  • VigiLink takes its share from your commission
  • Commission varies a lot for different merchants

#4: Amazon Associate Program

Amazon is the largest affiliate program for all kinds of affiliate marketer.

Most beginners start their affiliate journey with Amazon associate.

You don’t have to worry about getting accepted into the program.

99% of the application get accepted by Amazon.

Amazon provides API to create a large affiliate website for the affiliate marketer.

Advantages of the Amazon Associate Program:

  • Easy to use interface for all kinds of affiliate marketers.
  • A larger number of products to promote
  • Trustworthy
  • Best tracking system

Disadvantage of Amazon Associate Program:

  • Varied commission rate

#2. Web Hosting Affiliate Programs

#1: Bluehost Affiliate Program

Bluehost is one of the best web hosting for hosting all kinds of websites.

That’s why I have recommended Bluehost to all of the wpwiser readers.

I have written a detailed Bluehost review, I have talked about the aspects of Bluehost hosting.

I strongly recommend Bluehost for hosting.

Advantages of Bluehost Affiliate Program:

  • Easy to get started
  • High commission rate
  • Trusted brand in web hosting niche

Disadvantage of Bluehost Affilate Program:

  • Only one Payment method.

#2. Siteground Affiliate

Siteground is a renowned web hosting service provider.

Earning commission with Siteground is much easier as it is widely popular.

Their affiliate program is easy to join and trustworthy.

Advantages of Sitegound Affiliate Program:

  • Easy to signup
  • Clean and simple dashboard
  • Best tracking system
  • Inbuilt Affiliate tools

#3. Internet Marketing Affiliate programs

#1: BErush Affiliate

SEMrush the keyword research tool hosts its affiliate program with BErush name.

It’s a popular SEO tool to take your blog to the next level.

Check out my detailed review of SEMrush here.

SEMrush 40% recurring commission to their affiliate marketer.

#2: ConvertKit

The popular email marketing tool for the current date.

Many email marketers are now shifting ConvertKit due to its simplicity yet powerful interface.

They pay 30% commission for driving customers to their platform.

Advantages of ConvertKit:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Easy to join for a new affiliate marketer
  • 30% commission

Disadvantages of ConvertKit:

  • Long payout time
  • No promo offers from ConvertKit

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

1. Do I need to have a website/blog to do affiliate marketing?

No. You don’t have to own a website or blog to do affiliate marketing.

You can start affiliate marketing without a website/blog.

Just promote your affiliate links on social media platforms or in any form.

2. Is Affiliate Marketing legal?

Yes, it’s totally legal.

3. Why do affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn full-time passive income.

4. How much money can I earn?

Zero to Millions. Yes, you heard it right. There is no limit on how much you can earn with affiliate marketing.

4. Do I have to pay to join an affiliate program?

No. You don’t have to pay a single penny.

5. What kind of products or services can I sell?

You can promote any kind of products and service as long as they are relevant to your audience.

6. Is affiliate marketing industry saturated?

No. It’s a growing industry, and trust me it’s just the beginning.

7. Do I need technical skills?

No, you don’t have to have technical skill.

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About the Author: Swapnil Harpale

A programmer by heart and passionate blogger. Swapnil is a founder of WPWISER - A Blog for Bloggers.

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