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The Beginners Guide to Affiliate Marketing

Everything you need to know about affiliate marketing for beginners.

What is affiliate marketing? 

In the simplest terms possible, affiliate marketing is when you promote someone else’s product and earn a commission if the referral ends in a successful sale.

It’s a straightforward concept, but it’s not an easy task. There is a lot of learning when it comes to the art of affiliate marketing, which we will guide you through.

If you’re reading this post, I can only assume you’ve heard about affiliate marketing and want to check what it’s all about, and that’s a smart choice.

The interest in affiliate marketing is hitting record levels with over 44% increase of people searching for the term “affiliate marketing” between 2017 and 2018 alone (source: Google Trends).

That’s a lot of people wanting to get involved with affiliate marketing, and it’s only going to keep growing. Affiliate marketing doesn’t only benefit the affiliate, but it helps the merchant just as equally.

According to Statista, annual affiliate marketing spending is set to hit 8.2 billion USD by 2022. So if there is a time to get on board with affiliate marketing, it is now.

Merchants are investing in affiliate marketing to promote their products just as much as any other form of promotion. Due to internet accessibility over the years, affiliate marketing is soaring to prominence and now accounts for around 15% of digital media revenue (source: Business Insider).

To understand affiliate marketing better, you need to understand the people involved and how it works. Affiliate marketing can consist of three (merchant – affiliate – consumer) or four parties (network – merchant – affiliate – consumer); it depends on the partnership.


A simple way of understanding an affiliate network is through Investopedia’s terms.

‘An affiliate network is a group of associated (or affiliated) companies that sometimes offer compatible or complementary products and will often pass leads to each other.’

An affiliate network is a database full of products, and the affiliate can choose which products to promote and sell.

Some affiliates find it more preferable to work with an affiliate network rather than directly with the merchant or seller. On the other hand, some affiliates prefer to skip the affiliate network. Those who prefer to skip the affiliate network use a three-party partnership.


A merchant is simply a seller or someone who has a product to offer.

The merchant can be anyone such as a big, well-established brand, a small company, or even a solopreneur. A merchant is simply someone who is selling and might not even be actively involved.

Many bloggers work both with an affiliate network and directly with a merchant to give them more options. Some bloggers work with an individual seller who really fits their audience.

To connect the affiliate to the merchant, the merchant will provide the affiliate with a unique link that is tracked solely to them. When a customer clicks on this link and makes a purchase through it, the sale will link back to the affiliate. The merchant will then know to give that particular affiliate a commission.


The affiliate is the person who aims to persuade consumers to invest in a particular product or service. They earn a commission for any sales generated when a consumer purchases through their unique link. 

An affiliate can either recommend products or promote products to gain the interest of their audience. They will have to convince them that this product is the right product for them and will benefit them.

It sounds tricky, but if you genuinely source products or services that will benefit your readers, then it’s not too difficult.

The main thing to remember when being an affiliate is to only recommend something that you genuinely believe in. Otherwise, you run the risk of tarnishing your reputation with your audience. This would be detrimental to your affiliate marketing career.


The consumer really is the whole reason affiliate marketing actually works. If there are no buyers, there are no commissions available for the affiliate, and the entire thing would be a dud.

This is why I say that if you tarnish your reputation with your audience, it really will be fatal for you.

So let’s look at what affiliate marketing means for a consumer.

When a consumer clicks on your unique link and purchases the product, they will only pay the official retail price of the product even though you get a commission.

It is important that your audience understands this as they might be reluctant to buy directly through you if they think they will be charged more to cover your commission. You can include these details in your affiliate disclosure, which we talk about below.

Hopefully, now you understand the parties involved in the affiliate marketing process. However, there are still a couple of things to explain. You are probably wondering about this ‘unique link’ I keep mentioning and how it works, so let’s touch on that.

Unique links and cookies

When an affiliate creates an agreement with a merchant or an affiliate network, they will be given a unique link, which is what they use when referring to the product or service.

If the consumer clicks on this link to buy, they will be directed to the merchant site. It is at this point that there is a cookie placed into the consumer’s browser.

This is where it gets a little bit complicated and a little bit competitive. Because the consumer clicked on your link, then the cookie placed into their browser is your cookie.

But cookies have a lifespan.

Depending on the merchant or affiliate network terms, the lifespan of a cookie can range from a standard 30 days to 180 days or even a lifetime.

So what does the lifespan of a cookie have to do with anything?

Well, think of your cookie as a deadline. Once your cookie is placed in the consumer’s browser, they have a certain amount of time to make that purchase.

For example, if the cookie lifespan is 30 days, the consumer has 30 days to make that purchase for you to get a commission from it.

Here’s where it gets competitive. Purchasing within the cookie lifespan doesn’t guarantee you receive a commission. You also have to hope that your unique link for that certain product is the last link they clicked on, or else a competitor cookie will replace your cookie.

If your cookie is replaced and then the consumer makes the purchase within those 30 days, your competitor will be credited with a commission.

It’s a dog eat dog world, but it’s worth getting involved in as it has some incredible benefits.

Passive income

One of the most desirable aspects of affiliate marketing is its ability to generate a passive income. Imagine waking up in the morning to see you’ve earned a wage without having to do very much? It seems too good to be true, and it is, but it also isn’t.

To generate a respectable income from affiliate marketing, you need to put in hard work. You are essentially becoming a salesperson but without being pushy, fake, and untrustworthy. You will need to research, promote, recommend, and be a reliable source for genuine, relatable products and services which will benefit your audience.

Then maybe, in the long run, you will be waking up to $$$. It doesn’t happen overnight.

Is affiliate marketing the right fit for me? 

Affiliate marketing can be the perfect fit for those who run their own websites and have an audience they can serve. An affiliate can be anyone from a blogger, online entrepreneur, or anyone who has an online platform on which they can promote and recommend products and services.

Becoming an affiliate can be a great option for you to help your readers and also earn some money on the side.

Especially if you are someone who has an interest in serving their audience but isn’t quite ready to create and sell your own products.

A great thing about affiliate marketing is you don’t have to be an expert in marketing to get your opinions and recommendations across.

There are so many different ways to promote a product or service such as:

  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Written product reviews
  • Video product reviews
  • Unboxings
  • SEM (paid search engine marketing)
  • Display ads
  • Email marketing

We’ve touched on this before, but it’s important for you to hear.

The most important thing to remember about affiliate marketing is to have your audience’s best interests at heart.

Types of affiliate marketers in the current industry

Affiliate marketing has come a long way since its initial introduction to the world, and it has surpassed the dirty reputation it once had.

With transparency and honesty, a standard in modern-day affiliate marketing, it is a practice more trusted now.

Along with the more personal focus approach to affiliate marketing, there is also a significant advance on how people interact with the digital world.

Marketing tools are certainly more robust, and technology has greatly advanced, allowing affiliate marketing to be more approachable, attractive, and supportive to the everyday person. So who are the affiliate marketers of the 21st century?

Large media sites and networks

These sites can have millions of monthly visitors and may be owned by a single organization. Large media sites and networks tend to promote visually through the use of banners along with contextual links (a link within a body of content).

With an audience of millions, you can imagine the exposure and conversion rates of these larger sites. But don’t worry, there is enough room for everyone to get involved.


A microsite is a subsite which has been temporarily created to home a digital media campaign and runs like it’s own website.

Microsites can be extremely rewarding when they have been properly developed and monetized. They allow the owner to focus on very specific content to reach a very specific audience.

Think about it like this:

Let’s say you’re launching a marketing campaign around a new vitamin drink. You can create a microsite based solely on this one product. This may run across multiple pages to give the relevant audience as much information and visual stimulation as possible without the distraction of your original site.

Microsites are only temporary as they only run till the end of the campaign, so they should have a high impact and offer a straightforward call to action to aim for a high conversion rate.


Influencers tend to be individuals who hold a large following and have a powerful ability to persuade their followers to invest in what they recommend.

Lately, influencers seem to be more prominent on social media more than ever. If you’ve not heard of the new popular phrase ‘do it for the gram’, then I don’t know where you’ve been!

Until the recent laws changed, affiliate marketers weren’t obliged to state whether they were making an income from their recommendations, and people didn’t see the overlap of affiliate marketing and influencers.

Now, due to laws and social media changes, it’s common knowledge that influencers are benefiting from affiliate marketing and could be making serious cash.


Bloggers have a brilliant way of managing to rank organically in search engines based on their initial work when creating their blog and their SEO know-how.

Affiliate marketing and blogging tend to go hand in hand as a blogger may already have a great audience with a strong social media presence to boot.

Bloggers can write extensive reviews and promote in a whole range of ways, from visual graphics and displays to ads and even video content. The options are endless when you have a creative outlet.

Comparison and review sites

There are a few comparison sites out there that make millions from affiliate marketing. The funny thing is many people don’t even realize that these are affiliate sites.

An example of an affiliate marketing site is Compare The Market and Money Saving Expert. The latter of these sites also includes many reviews and honest opinions and particularly helps those with financial problems or queries.

Sites that focus heavily on reviews and comparisons are guaranteed to benefit from affiliate marketing as these are most likely the sites that people actively search for to find reviews.

How can I get involved with affiliate marketing?

When considering affiliate marketing, the main thing to think about is whether you have the means to review, promote, and guide people successfully.

Are you influential on social media? Do you have a good amount of subscribers on Youtube? Do you have a blog with decent traffic? And most importantly, do you have a following that values and trusts your opinion?

Next, you should think about your niche. The best idea is to discuss, review, and promote products that are relatable to you and what you post on your chosen platform. This will most likely be the type of things your audience is also interested in. The idea is to be savvy about where you invest your time and also think about your audience’s needs.

What are the basic steps for starting with affiliate marketing?

I’m not going to tell you that it will be easy to make an income from affiliate marketing. As mentioned above, you need drive, persistence, and patience.

Let’s take a look at the basic steps:

Know your niche

We’ve mentioned this above, but I will say again that knowing your niche is so important when starting.

Knowing your niche allows you to focus your time and energy on people who are more likely to convert rather than wasting your time trying to convert people that really aren’t that interested.

An example of this would be promoting a sports car on your blog, which is dedicated to new parents and baby tips. What are the chances of a new parent investing in a high-end sports car? Surely at this point, they are looking for the best nappies, sensitive lotions, and super amazing cribs that will rock your baby to sleep 24/7!

I’ll also add that you shouldn’t worry if you’re not an expert in your chosen area (many people learn as they go). So long as you are honest in your opinions, and research the product well enough, you should still get traction.

Strategy + Go

If you’re a blogger, you will know how important it is to keep your content consistent and engaging. This is the same as affiliate marketing. I would recommend putting a strategy in place of what you plan on posting, when you plan on posting it and where you plan on posting it.

I would recommend investing a good chunk of time on your affiliate marketing strategy and make sure you make the most of your cookie window. If you invest your time well, you will see better results.

Create your platform

Having a place to promote the product and drive your traffic is a given. It would be ideal if you already had a platform that has a good following to provide you with the best start to affiliate marketing. If not, decide what platform would be best for you and your potential audience, and remember you can have more than one outlet.

Many people use their blog, a youtube channel, social media, or website to promote and interact with others. There is no right or wrong answer here. 

The beauty of affiliate marketing is you don’t have to worry about face to face sales. If you are confident enough and good in front of a camera, then I would really recommend creating a vlog based on the item you are promoting and reviewing.

People love to have a ‘hands-on’ experience and see things ‘in the flesh’ (even if it is digitally).

Product Research

Just like we mentioned above with your niche, you must also research the products you want to market. Each product has to be relevant to your niche. It’s not advisable to simply just choose the things you like, especially if they aren’t relatable.

Look into what your audience wants from your content and review relatable items. You could also consider looking into your competition, who have they paired up with?

Drive Traffic / Visitors

There are a couple of ways you can drive traffic to your platform and affiliate posts. One is via organic traffic. This is where visitors come to your blog through an unpaid google search. This is helpful if you currently run a platform that already has a good following.

The other way to drive traffic to your platform is through paid advertisements. This is where visitors search for a specific thing on a search engine and Google pins your website/blog. I suggest you only pay for advertising if you fully understand how advertising works. Otherwise, you will be losing money for little or no return.

The pros and cons of affiliate marketing

There are pros and cons to everything in this world, and affiliate marketing is no different. To make sure you have a clear idea of all aspects of affiliate marketing, we’ve put together a list of the main pros and cons.


Low cost

Many affiliate marketing networks are free or have a minimal cost. The only financial investment you really need to make is on promoting and creating your website.

No expertise needed

When it comes to affiliate marketing, you don’t need to be an expert with what you’re promoting. The main thing here is to be thorough, honest, and considerate of your audience. Over time you will learn along the way and will become more established and become better at promoting and guiding.

You get what you put in

We’ve spoken about this before with affiliate marketing, but you really do get out of it what you put into it.

Affiliate marketing income is based on your performance, and some people may see this as a disadvantage. But if you are persistent and focused, then you should get to where you need to be.

Don’t expect results straight away. Give yourself a few months to a year to see if you can start earning a valid income. 

Potential passive income

Passive income is the main reason the majority of people want to get involved with affiliate marketing.

Passive income is when you earn an income daily with minimal or no work involved. Let’s be honest, it sounds like a dream come true.

When it comes to affiliate marketing, passive income comes into play further down the field.

First, you need to be successfully promoting and generating enough regular sales to be able to take a back seat from it. Only then will your income start to be considered passive.


Just like running your own full-time blog, when you start to earn passive income, you will have the freedom to work from anywhere. That could be from your home, your bed, your favorite coffee shop, or even by the pool somewhere ridiculously sunny and amazing.

You only have to look at successful affiliates to see their journey and where they are now. If that’s not enough to motivate you, then I don’t know what is!

Marketing tools at the ready

Quite a few affiliate marketing networks will offer you access to their marketing materials to promote their products.

You can gain access to banners, visual displays, and any other marketing materials they have to offer.

This is a great bonus as it saves you time doing any visual promo and really helps you get set.


Some affiliate programs are dodgy

Not all affiliate programs are trustworthy, and some of them can even be downright shady. It is known that some affiliate programs or merchants don’t actually payout when you have completed a successful referral ending in a purchase.

I recommend doing your research on affiliate programs, networks, and merchants before you get involved in any kind of dealings with them.

It’s competitive

This goes without saying, but the world of affiliate marketing is, without a doubt, extremely popular and extremely competitive.

One of the main problems of being involved in something so competitive is how easy it can be to become disheartened when you don’t make enough progress, if any.

Can’t control the customer’s experience

One thing about affiliate marketing is you can’t guarantee the customer is going to have a rewarding experience.

This sucks for two reasons.

One, you are sourcing products and services specifically for your audience. You want them to experience something beneficial to them from the start.

Two, if the customer has a negative experience, it can backfire on your reputation as they have relied on your referral and your word as an honest reviewer.

There is no guarantee of revenue

Not knowing if you will receive an income from affiliate marketing is a con to many people. There is a lot of work involved in affiliate marketing. Putting in all the hard work without a guarantee of results can put people off even starting, but I recommend you at least try. If affiliate marketing does eventually pay off for you, then it can be a game-changer.

Why people fail with affiliate marketing 

We’re not one to sugar coat affiliate marketing. We’re not going to tell you it’s easy or that it will happen overnight or that you’re going to be successful in it, but I think you know that.

What we are going to tell you is the truth. This includes the negative mindset and actions, which make it inevitable for your affiliate marketing goals to fail.

They give up too soon

One of the main reasons people fail with anything long term is the lack of patience.

Affiliate marketing is a long haul, especially if you want to truly benefit from it. It’s going to take months of hard work before you start getting any commission.

Affiliate marketing is something you can’t rush. You’ve just got to try your hardest and make smart decisions. Don’t give up before you’ve even begun.

They don’t offer great content

You might excel at writing informative blog posts, but when it comes to promoting a product, do you write just as well? If you don’t write incredible content that is thorough, persuasive, and honest, then you’re not going to do very well at converting your readers.

The best thing to do is include a writer who can help push you in the right direction. If your problem lies in not knowing what to write about the chosen product, then you need to thoroughly research the product and try the product before you make any recommendations.

Make sure you are entirely familiar with what you are promoting, or you will be doing a disservice to your readers.

They don’t promote relevant products or services

Many people suffer from ‘shiny new syndrome’ where they see a product that looks great but really doesn’t relate to their niche, but they go for it anyway.

What’s the problem with this? They are preaching to the wrong people! You’re not going to get anywhere if you stray away from your niche and start to promote unrelatable products. Firstly, your audience just really isn’t interested. Secondly, you’ll start to look unreliable and undependable in your niche.

Google puts them on the naughty step

Yeah, you read that right. Google can and will fall out with you if you start cutting corners and being shady, and they will punish you severely for it.

If you’ve never heard of black hat SEO, let me give you the gist. Black hat SEO is the use of unethical tactics to try to get a website to rank higher in search engine results and is strictly against search engine guidelines. Black hat techniques consist of cloaking, keyword stuffing, and using private link networks. If you get caught by Google, which you will, you will rank extremely low or may even be removed altogether.

Just a word of warning. It’s practically unavoidable now to get caught practicing black hat SEO. If you do, you’ll be wasting time trying to fix your business instead of making money from affiliate marketing.

They don’t choose the right cookies

We’ve explained the use of cookies in affiliate marketing above, and we have also spoken about having a strategy in place for affiliate marketing to make the most of your time and effort.

One thing many people fail at is being strategic with the products they choose to promote. Remember, when it comes to starting with affiliate marketing, make sure to research everything, including the merchant, product, relevance, and the lifespan of a cookie.

If you are continually choosing products from merchants who only provide a cookie lifespan of 24 – 48 hours, you’re not going to get very far. 

Now we’ve covered some of the don’ts of affiliate marketing let’s get on to the reason you’re all actually here – the money. It’s ok, you can admit it.

Can I Make A (Good) Income From Affiliate Marketing?

Earning money stems from one essential thing – you will only earn as much as you put in. If you work a job and want to earn a better salary, what do you do? You work your nuts off to get a promotion or raise. This is the same with affiliate marketing, but you are giving yourself a raise. The more work and effort you put into affiliate marketing, the better the income will be.

How Much Money Can I Earn From Affiliate Marketing?

You can potentially earn a great deal from affiliate marketing, with commission rates ranging from 4% right up to 200% commission on some websites.

You need to bear in mind that each platform will have a different time scale from when the person clicks on your link to the deadline for making a purchase. Those with quicker expiration dates may reward a higher commission.

Earning an income from affiliate marketing isn’t a quick solution, nor is it easy. But it can be rewarding if you treat it like a proper job and put in the time and effort.

There are some entrepreneurs out there who have made six figures through affiliate marketing. But this is likely an accumulation of years of hard graft and adapting to any changes your audience or the world of affiliate marketing may face. There is no limit on how much you can earn. You just need to keep going, keep adapting, and always continue learning.

What ways can affiliate marketers earn money?

There are a few options to earn money with affiliate marketing. Generating sales being the most popular method, but some affiliate platforms and merchants offer different options.

Pay per sale

Pay per sale dominates the affiliate marketing industry, and most networks are exclusively pay per sale. This option is the most popular because of the safety it offers affiliate merchants. Merchants only pay a commission once a sale has been completed rather than paying for leads with no conversions.

Pay per lead

Pay per lead offers less commission and doesn’t rely on converted sales but rather the increase in traffic sent to their site through your leads.

Many consumers don’t convert quickly. This means that pay per lead could be more beneficial for both the merchant and the affiliate as the merchant is gaining increased long term traffic. This way the affiliate doesn’t have to worry about conversion rates.

Pay per click

Pay per click is uncommon, but some affiliate programs do offer pay per click for sending high-quality traffic their way. When being paid for pay per click, there tends to be a minimum you have to earn before they payout. So if you lose interest in pay per click and don’t reach the target minimum for payout, then chances are you won’t get your money.

Tried and Tested Amazing Tips to Increase Your Affiliate Income

Affiliate marketing can make a huge difference to your financial situation if done correctly. However, sometimes things just reach a stand-still, and you’re left wondering, “what now? What more can I do?”. Sometimes it’s good to find someone else’s thoughts and perception of things in the hope that they can inspire and give some ideas to help you move forward. That’s what we’re doing here.

This post will share some simple tips to increase your affiliate income, tried and tested by affiliate marketers around the world.

Choose the right commission type

Consider choosing a program with a recurring commission as this gives you a better chance of earning a commission over a more extended time.

For example, say there is a software platform offering two affiliate plans for you to choose from. The first is to get £100 for the sale of software through your affiliate link and nothing more (like a typical affiliate sale).

The other is to get 10% for the sale of software through your affiliate link and then 5% for every month the customer is paying their monthly subscription. A recurring fee for the customer = a recurring commission for you.

What do you do? Do you take the money and run, or do you invest in a long term option with the hope that the customer stays? This all depends on you as an affiliate, what you would prefer to do, and the situation you are in.

Shareasale is a good start

Some platforms work better for different people and situations, such as business size, niche, and the time you have to dedicate. A tip for small businesses – Shareasale is a good choice for you because it has a minimal start-up cost but has really great support. Cheap on cost but not on support.

Keep an eye on the needs of your audience

An apparent reason why your income can become a stand-still is that your audience is no longer interested in the things you are promoting. Consider running a survey or poll on your platform to get a feel, and understand what your audience would like to see more of. This is such a simple tip, and it will definitely make a difference.

Don’t rush into paid advertising

This tip isn’t about increasing your income but more about saving it. A question that comes up a lot is, “how much should I pay for advertising?”. Let me give you a tip here, do not advertise unless you understand it and you know for sure you can make your money back. I say this because there are so many beginners out there who are not set up correctly but are so desperate for traffic they jump into advertising.

Imagine you invest £200 into advertising, and you get so many clicks it’s unreal, but none of those clicks converts. You have blasted through £200 with nothing in return. Make sure you understand SEO, invest in valuable keywords that represent your niche and what you are trying to offer, and only invest if you are sure it will pay off for you.

Bulk recommend

This tip is a keeper, especially for those in the crafting or art niche! If you are in either of these niches, definitely consider promoting art supplies, which are frequently bought together. Art supplies are relatively cheap and are often bought with other items that you can also have an affiliate link to. Earn commission on multiple small items.

Clean your links

So one thing we don’t like is spam, and one thing we don’t trust is links that look spammy. Super long links with all the characters under the sun in them don’t look appealing or trustworthy. You might notice that your affiliate links look like this:


but wouldn’t it look so much better and more reliable if it looked like this?


If your link looks too spammy, then it most likely won’t get half the amount of clicks as you’d hope for. A solution to this problem is using a plug-in which will cloak your affiliate links. Thirsty Affiliate has a free plug-in to download.

Use your popular posts

If you run a blog that offers more than content aimed at affiliate marketing, then consider promoting your affiliate post or link on your most popular blog post. You can use Google Analytics to see which post is the most popular. Then you could simply add a note at the bottom of your post linking to your affiliate product page or a banner to advertise it. My advice is only to do this with relatable content, and make sure it flows, avoid spamming your post, and you will surely drive traffic to where you want it to be.

Look to Amazon

Definitely consider Amazon as a source for affiliate marketing. Let’s be honest here, this company is taking over the eCommerce world, and customers seem to prefer shopping here over major retailers. The percentage commission isn’t significant, but it is a great step for beginners, and as I’ve always said, you get out of it what you put into it.

Use social media

Please, please, please take advantage of social media. It seems obvious that when you start a new business or project to set up an adjoining social media page but how many people do this but don’t work it properly? Social media is such a powerful tool and can help you reach hundreds and thousands of people if you take your time and do it properly. Learn about your social media, understand what it can do for your business, and take action.

How to choose the right affiliate platform for you

When it comes to affiliate marketing, one of the most important things is to know which platforms work best for you, and that’s in both affiliate platforms and where you market them.

The first thing to consider is whether the product or service is suitable for the platform you plan to promote it on.

For example, if your niche is fashion, then this would be ideal on Instagram as Instagram is a highly visual platform focusing on high-quality imagery.

If you are reviewing software, then a blog or video platform such as Youtube would be more suitable as these require a more extensive review and potential video footage to show the software in action.

Aside from the platform that you are using to promote, you also need to know what kind of affiliate networks are out there and how they fit your niche.

We’ve put together a simple list of sites and organizations that you can partner up with for affiliate marketing, so sit back, take a few minutes and get browsing. You might find some sites work better for you and your goals than others, but this is a great place to start. 



Amazon is one of the most popular affiliate platforms to join as it is suitable for every niche and is one that is guaranteed to make you some money.

The program is free to join, but you don’t automatically get accepted, and commission ranges from 1% to 12%.

When you join the Amazon affiliate program, you will have access to easy to use tools and marketing materials such as banners, which we recommend taking advantage of as the lifespan of cookies is only 24 hours.

There is a minimum earning of $25 in your home currency before payout and earnings can be paid by either direct deposit or Amazon gift certificate.


eBay is another global marketplace that offers an attractive affiliate program.

It is free to join, and if you follow their terms and conditions, the approval rate is high. eBay offers its affiliates access to their ‘publisher portal’ which allows the use of marketing materials, including banners, buttons, and other tools.

The tools cover a range of technical skills, from complete beginners to more advanced coders. eBay affiliate commission ranges between 40%-80% dependant on product category, but there is a 200% bonus if you refer a new eBay or reactivated eBay user to purchase.

The lifespan of cookies is 24 hours, and there is also a minimum of $25 (in your home currency) earnings before payout. Payouts can be in direct debit or PayPal.


Etsy is a popular website that focuses on selling handmade and vintage finds, so it is only relevant to select niches.

Anyone can apply to become an Etsy affiliate and must apply through Awin: Affiliate Portal. However, there are some sites, who cannot register to join the Etsy affiliate program (see list here). There are also some rules to follow when it comes to the social media platforms you promote on.

You can post affiliate links on social media that operate alongside your website URL such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but you cannot post affiliate links on Pinterest and Tumblr.

If you run an Etsy store, you can still become an affiliate but cannot make purchases from your own site to earn a commission. You must declare the name of your shop and any shops you are closely related to along with any shops you register after becoming an affiliate to the Etsy affiliate team.

Standard commission is 5%, and commissions are not valid if the consumer uses a ‘gift card’, ‘check’, ‘money order’, or ‘other payment’ option to purchase.

Cookies also have a 30 day period, which is attractive. Etsy offers free marketing materials such as banners in various sizes, including category-specific materials. Payouts are made by either check or deposit to your bank.

Not On The High Street

The affiliate program for Not On The High Street is free to join but is unfortunately only available to European affiliates, and they prefer to work with ‘beautiful lifestyle websites’.

Not On The High Street offer their affiliates free marketing materials and cookies run for 30 days. They also provide up to 5% commission and have an extremely low return rate of 2%.


Society 6 is a really creative outlet for designers and artists to sell their artwork in a whole range of products. If you are an artist or run a creative blog, then Society6 might be a great choice for you.

The Society6 affiliate program is free to join, and all you need to do is apply with a verified PayPal account.

You will earn a 10% commission on purchases made through your link along with a 30-day purchase window. There is also no minimum earning before payout, and they pay monthly to your PayPal account. They also offer guides to help you on your affiliate journey and insights into current trends. 


Firebox is one of those websites I simply love, especially for funny gifts. It is unique, creative, and brilliant and is the perfect choice for down to earth, no BS blogs. The Firebox affiliate program is free to join, and you will receive an approval email if you meet their requirements. Standard commission is 8% with selected partners earning 12% per shipped sale.

Firebox also offers free guides, competitions, and content for your site, aiming to give you the best start to their affiliate program.

Apple Music and iTunes affiliate

Apple offers a ‘Performance Partners Program’ for affiliates to join and promote their apple music and iTunes content.

The Performance Partners Program is free to join, and it can take up to 5 business days for Apple to review your application. Applicants can be rejected due to several reasons (see full list here). However, if you are accepted to the program, you will be eligible to earn commission by linking to music, apps, books, etc. that generate revenue.

Apple offers a 24 hour cookie period, and commission on all content types is 7%. Apple also provides tools to help build links, widgets, and badges for your website or blog. In regards to being paid, you can select your preferred currency for payment, but you have to reach a minimum threshold before payout. Payout will occur 90 days after a sale has happened if your threshold has been met.


WordPress (+ Jetpack)

WordPress gives the affiliate the option to promote WordPress along with its plug-in Jetpack. Known as Refer.WordPress.com, the affiliate program is perfect for WordPress professionals, including theme developers, designers, and site and plug-in developers, and is free to join.

Affiliate commission in the first year is 20% per client who purchases a premium plan without canceling in the first 30 days, and you can track progress directly from your dashboard, which is so handy.

When it comes to the payout, there is a minimum threshold of $100 per month, and if you don’t reach $100 one month, it will roll over to the next month. Affiliate payouts are made 45 days after the sale occurred and are paid to PayPal only. 


The Shopify affiliate program is free to join with each application carefully reviewed and processed within five business days.

Any denied applicants will receive a personalized email outlining why and this can be appealed. The Shopify affiliate program uses a 30-day cookie, and commission is $58 per user who sign up for a paid plan along with a $2000 per Plus sale.

Shopify also offers affiliate support helplines, including an affiliate manager, discount on tools to help grow your own business, and free content such as links to blogs, webinars, tutorials, tools, and funnels.

There is a minimum $25 payout threshold, which will roll onto the next month if it is not met, and payouts are made only to PayPal and in USD.

What is an affiliate disclosure?

If you are earning money through affiliate links then you must have an affiliate disclosure visible on your blog. An affiliate disclosure is simply a disclaimer that makes the reader aware that you may earn a small commission when they purchase through one of your links (at no additional cost to them).

You 100% need this disclaimer if you are involved in affiliate marketing, it is the law and you can be punished if you don’t disclose this information. To learn more about the legalities of blogging then check out these guides:


Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to earn an income from your blog and for many bloggers, this is where the main chunk of their earnings comes from.

Remember to follow our tips above, only refer things that are relevant to your niche and focus on a strategy. Additionally, check out our affiliate marketing platform list for starting points and you should be making a passive income in no time!

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