How To Start In Affiliate Marketing – The Essential Guide

Table of Contents

Starting Affiliate Marketing Online Is Hard

It is twice as hard when you have to do it all by yourself


The Real Deal Affiliate

Yet, there has never been a better time to be a serious marketer. From on-demand talent to marketing online; Affiliate marketers today, have access to the same tools that power billion-dollar corporations, all at a fraction of the cost.

But where there was once a scarcity, there is now a feast. 20 years ago, you had to part with thousands of dollars to use even the most basic of tools. Today, you often have dozens of solutions to choose from in nearly every area of affiliate marketing you can ever imagine.

This can easily overwhelm any affiliate marketer. When you have half a dozen social media tools, several marketing automation tools, and hundreds of hosting solutions to choose from; Making a decision can be hard.

When you start out as a beginner, it’s easy to be taken in by the grand promises sales pages often make. Some claim to simplify your financial life, while others offer to supercharge your marketing for just a few dollars a month.

It’s not unusual for lots of first-time marketers to walk away, thinking they need every tool to get started.

The truth is, even the best of devices won’t be worth spending your money if they don’t fit into your business plan.

For example, if an email campaign is not a big part of your marketing strategy, investing in an expensive autoresponder tool will be a total waste of money.

In other words, before you even make a start, you need to take a step back and analyze what you need and what you can pass over. One way to do this is by separating all tools into four groups.

. “Critical”: These tools are critical to your business. Without these, you couldn’t possibly run your business.

. “Important”: These tools form the core of your operation. Your business can run without them, but you won’t really be able to do much.

. “Maybe Later”: These are tools that would help you be more efficient, but they’re likely out of your budget or requirements right now.

. “Avoid”: Tools that you don’t really need in your business – at least not right now.

For example, if you were running a blog-based membership business focused on email marketing, this is what your tool stack would look like:

The Real Deal Affiliate

Of course, this isn’t a fixed list; your requirements will change as your business grows. But for most serious bloggers, this approach will help avoid initial overspending. The first things you should spend on should be either in your ‘critical’ or ‘important’ column. Once you have room to grow, you can upgrade to tools in the ‘maybe later’ column.

Focus On Streamlining Business Processes First

As a new online marketer, you’ll likely be doing most of your work manually. Your first priority, therefore, should be to find tools that help you streamline business processes and save time.

The Real Deal Affiliate

Affiliate Marketing How Does It Work?

Affiliate marketing has four components.

•) Merchant: The brand or product owner, referred to as the retailer

•) Network: Facilitates offers for the affiliate to choose a merchant that is in line with their marketing campaign; Also takes care of the payments

•) Publisher: That’s you, the person who promotes and points potential buyers to the merchant’s site using your blog for such purposes

•) Customer: Buyers

What Is The Approach With Affiliate Marketing?

Using this approach, let’s look at the list of hierarchy in more detail.

1.)   Merchants

Merchants are businesses who want to increase their sales, traffic and brand awareness through online advertising via a network of affiliate websites.

They create ads and text links, banner ads, flash banner, even video ads for placement on affiliate websites.

They usually will pay affiliates a commission for every sales conversion meaning they only pay for results.

Some merchants run their own in house affiliate program using an inhouse affiliate software, but generally, they use an affiliate network to find affiliates.

Merchants, typically pay around 25/30% in commissions for network membership, including commission payable to the affiliates each month.

So, using an in-house affiliate tracking software can be very cost-effective for merchants, saving on often expensive membership fees and commissions to the networks.

2.) Networks

Are responsible for a cooperative effort between the merchant and the affiliate by implementing a sales tracking system using a selection of linking methods, and monitoring results and paying the affiliate member.

They also are accountable for attracting affiliates who agree to promote the merchant’s product on their website or by other means of connecting to the merchant’s website.

The Reseller Network helps merchants find new affiliates to increase sales, traffic and brand awareness.

3.) Publishers

Finding the best affiliate program that best suits your business is not as difficult as you may think!

The most convenient way where you’re able to quickly and easily search for a merchant that best suits your needs

and compare the many merchant’s affiliate programs is by joining a network.

However, before you start looking for a suitable affiliate program, you need to understand the expectation of visitors to your site.

In real terms, you need to be aware of what products or services your customers are looking for, that best solves their problem;

Also what affiliate program will best address those needs

After that, just browse and find the merchants with the products that are most relative to your customer’s demands.

Having identified merchants who offer the services that will compliment your customers. Then you now need to prioritize them in order of best choice.

Start by considering the commission payable for each click or sale and the minimum commission before you settle on a preference.

Keep in mind the highest commission per click or sale doesn’t necessarily mean the best affiliate program; So, you need to keep in mind the volume of sales or clicks.

For example, an affiliate program that pays a sizable conversion rate but only gets one conversion per month.

May not automatically be the best choice if you compare it with an affiliate program that pays per conversion (PPC) and generates 1000 conversions per month at a much lower rate.

Apart from these few ideas, the ideal way to find the top affiliate program that suits your business is to experiment with different affiliate programs!

4.) Customers

Primarily the buyer is your customer, and it’s your products or services that help them solve a problem.

When you are deciding who the customer is, your focus should always be on them, and the product they are using. After all, they are the people for whom the benefit

is being created and the reason why the market and the product exists.

It should be noted, however, that the more you know about your customer, will potentially increase your value.

value could potentially be created by knowing more about your customer.

Knowing more about what the end-user (your customer) reveals an avenue for growth that is often worth pursuing; And, most often overlooked.

Web Hosting Tools To Get Started

Running an online business without a web host is almost impossible.

Although it is absolutely possible to start with a cheap, $5/month shared hosting plan.

On the other hand, your site and business performance will improve significantly with a superior web host.

Choosing a web host can be, however, somewhat tricky since there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. For an earnest blogger serious about building a business, here’s the top TWO I suggest.

The Real Deal AffiliateWordPress optimized hosting.

Price: Plans starting at $3.95/month

Ideal for: First-time marketers experienced marketers with a small following.

Siteground hosting is the ideal starting point for beginners through to the more earnest marketers wanting to test out the waters with a new blog.

The cheapest WordPress optimized hosting plan starts at around $3.95/month and is good enough for up to 10,000 monthly visitors. You also get 10GB of disk space, a free domain.

Solid State Drive Storage (SSD). This is a popular data storage device, with integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data persistently. Its function is similar to the hard drive on your computer.

And, a free Content Delivery Network (CDN). This is used for minimizing the distance between visitors and your website’s server. It stores a cached version of its content in multiple geographical locations.

Plus, one free backup of your site daily.

Wealthy Affiliate and Siterubix. Fully Optimized Hosting

Price: Siterux Free – Plus FREE SSL

Ideal for: First-time marketers experienced marketers through to entrepreneurs.

The Most Powerful Website Platform Worldwide.


All Successful Online Business Starts With A Solid Foundation, A Website.


Build your own business using the SiteRubix website and the wealthy affiliate platform.The Real Deal Affiliate

It is not only about websites, wealthy affiliate command some of the most expert and assimilated tools for the website analysis – management – ranking plus security.

It’s ridiculously easy to use, and surprisingly fun. Building your websites has never been this awesome.

So Easy – So Quick.

Wealthy affiliate is yet to have someone tell them that they are unable to build a website within a minute or two.

By having your very own niche, you are going to have an online website that is exposed to the whole world.

Within a blink of the eye, you’ll be able to build a website, that once took weeks and in some cases months to build.

You can focus all of your energy on matters relating to your business, instead of having to spend valuable time meddling around with all of the technical aspects of building a website.

WordPress Optimized Hosting With Infinite Scalability

Price: Starting at $100/month

Best for: Blogs with high traffic and bandwidth needs

Once your blog reaches a point where shared WordPress hosting is unable to cope with your traffic needs.

The Real Deal AffiliateIt’s time to reconsider your options by switching to Kinsta for that extra space requirement.

Kinsta runs its WordPress-optimized hosting on Google’s Cloud Platform. That’s the reason why they’re able to handle massive traffic loads.

For $100/month you’ll get 5 GB SSD storage, 50 GB server bandwidth and no limits on page views or visitors. Other features include daily backups, HTTP/2 support, free SSL, staging environments and more.

And with their automatic scaling feature on all plans, your website won’t buckle if it gets on the front-page of Reddit.

Wealthy affiliate optimized hosting with infinite scalability

Price: $49.00 per month or $329 per annum

Best for: First-time marketers with no experience through to entrepreneurs. With no LIMIT on Bandwith.

Start Your Business With Over Million Lucrative Niches.

When we think about it, Everybody has a hobby or something that gets them excited and motivated.The Real Deal Affiliate

One idea is all it takes to create a very successful online business. Haven’t any ideas? No problem, Wealthy Affiliate will help you select the right direction for your business with over 1,000,000 different niches to choose from.

Website Security

When you take into account, there were something like 244 million security breaches for the 2018 year; And, that figure is only taken from the top ten security breached sites. So, there will be many others not included, which most likely will push this figure beyond 300 million.

Figures of this magnitude highlight the reason why your number one priority must include security.

Far too many marketers take this for granted, only to see their websites hacked and their data compromised.

There’s no need for you to go overboard with this; But, treat it with respect it demands.

After all, there is a handful of free sites you can use. Plus there are plenty of paid tools that will drastically improve your overall security.

The Real Deal AffiliateMalware clean up, hack prevention and DDoS mitigation service

Price: $16.66/month

Best for: All bloggers on any platform

Sucuri is a comprehensive website security service that will:

1.) Detect and clean up malware.

2.) Stop hacking attempts

3.) Mitigate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.

As you are serious about building an online business, a service like Sucuri is vital. It works with nearly every platform and is used by everyone from first-time marketers to media companies.

The Real Deal AffiliateWealthy Affiliate Total Security On All Your Websites

Price: Security include in membership $49.00 per month or $329 per annum

Best for First-time marketers through to entrepreneurs.

Wealthy affiliate gives you the option to use the inhouse SSL security for hosting your website/s. It is included at part of your premium membership

SSL is one of the highest-graded online security systems available that would attract a considerable monthly charge elsewhere.

List Building

Building out an email list is vital for those who are serious about success. With a responsive list of subscribers, you get guaranteed access to an already primed audience.

Moreover, your subscribers are also more likely to turn into customers given email has a significantly higher conversion rate than search, social or direct traffic.

Fortunately, capturing emails has never been easier thanks to the number of list building tools available today. Here is one option, among many others that you can use right away:

The Real Deal Affiliate

Sharing, analytics and lead capture tools for WordPress

Price: Free to use; prices vary for individual devices

Best for All bloggers

SumoMe is a suite of marketing tools conveniently wrapped inside a single app. Once installed, you can enable several marketing functions from within the plugin itself.

Because SumoMe is a WordPress plugin, it offers an abundance of tools that will help you increase and grow your email list. This includes installing opt-in forms, creating social sharing buttons, and even tracking visitor behaviour with heat maps.

There are literally dozens of ways to ask your website visitors for their email address in return for your tantalizing offer.

Basic features are free, upgrade to paid plans to unlock extra features.

SumoMe is a web app, so it can be used with any content management system that supports HTML. They also have their own WordPress plugin, which makes setup easy.

The Real Deal Affiliate

Email Marketing List Building

Wealthy Affiliate Optimized Hosting With Infinite Email List Building

Price: $49.00 per month or $329 per annum

Best for: First-time marketers with no experience through to entrepreneurs. With no LIMIT on List Building.

One of the most stable and long-term revenue-generating technique on the Internet is email marketing. It’s also comforting to know that email marketing is about how to build trust and communication with the readers.

At wealthy affiliate, you can communicate with your audience on an ongoing basis. Full training provided as part of your membership.

Sell Courses Online

Predominantly, marketers have two options for selling their courses and products online. You can either build out your own platform or connect on an existing platform.

The first option gives you greater freedom, with lower fees and overall control over the end-product. Of course, you’ll have to invest a good block of time and money in building out the platform.

The second option helps you tap into the platform’s existing following. This can be good if you want to quickly ramp up earnings and get significant recognition.

Admittedly, there’s a downside, you will have to play by the platform’s rules, and you’ll never have full control over your own following.

On that basis, I have listed two platforms you can use for selling your own courses online.

Based on this, here are options you can choose from when selling courses online.

Membership plugin for WordPress

Price: Plans start at $19.95/month

Best for: Marketers and bloggers who use WordPress

MemberMouse is a powerful plugin that transforms a WordPress blog into a fully-fledged membership site. The plugin supports advanced member management, payment and email integrations.

Supports automation and in-depth analytics. You can use it to create a membership business with recurring, guaranteed revenue on your existing blog.

The Real Deal Affiliate

Price: Free Included In Your Membership

Best For First Time Marketers And Bloggers Who Use WordPress

Wealthy affiliate have you covered when it comes to selling courses online. With the most comprehensive training on the planet; There is no stone left unturned.

The training walks you through every inch of the online selling concept. And, fully supported with videos.


This is a vast topic and covers a massive variety of tools, from analytics to advertising.

For an earnest blogger, however, your first priority should be to streamline existing marketing processes.

Choose tools that help minimize manual work over tools that help you tap into new marketing options.

I have listed a tool that will surely help with streamlining your marketing campaigns.

The Real Deal AffiliateBuffer Social media management tool for marketers

Price: Free to use; paid plans start at $10/month

Best for: Solo marketers with several social media profiles

Buffer is an easy to use tool for automating social media sharing across multiple social networks. With the paid plan, you can schedule up to 100 posts at a time.

Another great benefit, Buffer, currently supports sharing content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Also, it helps you upload and share videos from a single platform; And, creating images for sharing with optimizing sharing time for maximum impact.

The Real Deal Affiliate

Price: Free Included In Your Membership

Best For First TimeMarketers And Bloggers Who Use WordPress

At the wealthy affiliate platform, you will learn how to use social media effectively in your business.

How you can break down each social media platform and educate yourself on the demographics for each channel.

Don’t struggle anymore with social media. Become a premium member and tap into the insightful social media training

Managing Finances – Invoices

Having first-hand knowledge of your business finances is another crucial area.

Surprisingly this is one of the areas, that lots of marketers overlook or don’t give it the attention it requires; Potentially, if left unattended, can lead to disaster.

Tracking your finances using a reliable software system will help with maintaining a healthy outcome for your business.

Not only that, but it will also give you the ability to make wise decisions that are prudent to business moving forward.

If you are selling services, the likes of marketing or coaching, you will also need a system to invoice your clients.

A professional-looking invoice will impress clients and will re-enforce your reputation as a competent service provider.

I have listed one that is ideal with managing and running your finances; And with heaps of scope.

The Real Deal Affiliate

With The Wealthy Affiliate There Are No Surprises Become A


The Real Deal Affiliate

Accounting – Invoicing Software


Price: Free to start

Best for: Solo marketers with limited clients and team members.

WaveApps provides a suite of accounting, invoicing and payroll tools for small businesses.

It’s ideal for you to use in keeping track of all your incomings and outgoings. Facility for sending professional-quality invoices, and manage your payroll for any full-time or contracted employees.

The WaveApps dashboard offers you a quick overview of your business financial health. While the invoicing tool helps you accept payments via credit cards.

Productivity -Project Management

Losing your focus when running your own blog and not having to be accountable to someone else for your work ethic is so easy.

And, that is where productivity and project management tools come in so handy. They will help you keep track of your work, manage time and stay motivated.

There are a significant number of productivity tools online, but I have chosen the best one that will serve your purposes quite well.

The Real Deal Affiliate

Price: Free to start. Although you can unlock additional features with a business class account that starts at $8.33/month

Best for: Marketers who work alone

Trello helps you keep track of managing your blog schedule, communicating with freelancers, organizing workflows, handling to-do lists and more.

Each project in Trello is organized into separate boards, which are further classified into lists. Lists are then broken down into cards.

As you complete a task on a card, you move it forward to another directory, visually signalling the project’s movement towards completion.

Trello is a simple tool to use, yet it has enormous power that will help with all the productivity and management side of your business.

The Real Deal AffiliateContent Creation

Content is the heart of all marketing and blogging success. Whether it is uploading images on social media, or writing long blog posts, you’ll need content in some form.

From all the content tools available to you, here’s what I suggest and it’s what I use myself. Therefore I fully endorse this as being the best content creation tool.


The Real Deal Affiliate

Online Spelling And Grammar Checking Tool

Price: Free to use

Best for: Everyone

Online spelling and grammar checking tool for grammatical errors.

If your content comes across as being sloppy, or unprofessional, though you have misspelt words, used poor punctuation or wordiness. Creates untrustworthiness with your visitors.

Most built-in spellcheck software has a feeble ability in identifying or spotting such errors. That is why you need to use a tool like Grammarly.

Grammarly not only looks at spelling errors but also points out subtle mistakes in syntax and grammar. It can tell you the right word to use in context, suggest sentence/word replacements and even explain why a particular word choice is wrong. Plugging in each post into Grammarly before you hit the publish button is highly recommended.

Design Tool Image Creation

The Real Deal Affiliate

Design tool for creating social media images

Price: Free to use

You can upgrade to premium $16.85/ per month or $155.40 yearly.

Best for: Bloggers, marketers and small businesses

Blog covers, Pinterest images, Facebook posts; However, you have to create a lot of visual content if you want to take advantage of social media.

Hiring a designer to create all these images can become very expensive, quite quickly. Canva solves this problem by letting you create custom images from a vast number of templates.

Use it to quickly create cover images for your blog posts, images for sharing on Pinterest invites for an event, etc.


Wealthy Affiliate

It’s A Platform Designed For The Affiliate Marketer Of All Levels.

No matter whether you are just getting started, have some experience, or an ultra-successful affiliate marketer; Wealthy Affiliate is made for you.

Transform Your Ideas into Profits.

Build A Beautiful, And Profit Ready Websites.

There Are No Design Skills Required.

The Real Deal Affiliate


Consider Your Website As Your Own “Storefront” For Your Business.

Within Wealthy Affiliate, building a website of your own is very SIMPLE. The entire process takes you no more than 30 seconds to create a beautiful looking, mobile, and revenue ready website. State of the art, ultra-powerful with secure hosting that will permit you to grow your business with the Wealthy Affiliate platform.

You Have Access to Over Four Billion Of Prospective Customers.

Tap Into Proven Strategies And Bring In Loads of Traffic.


The Real Deal Affiliate

Your business is driven by people; And, without them, you haven’t anyone to sell or advertise your business to.

In a period of the first few lessons at Wealthy Affiliate, you will learn all about the most up to date traffic methods.

Plus you will get LOADS of customers to visit your site.

Wealthy Affiliate members OWN The Google rankings and own a sizable share of ALL the traffic online; And, that is a reality.

Your Revenue Sources Are Unlimited.

599,000,000 Products YOU Can Instantly Sell.

Your Revenue Sources Are Unlimited.

When you have traffic, you then need to make “money” from that traffic. This is the clever bit. Without you spending a dime, you’re able to promote all the top brands around the world through the affiliate programs.

Being a Wealthy Affiliate member, you’ll be taught how you can choose from around 600 MILLION products/services.

And how easily to promote them on your website. No inventory. No shipping. No support required.

The Affiliate Marketers Worldwide Are Powered By Wealthy Affiliate.

The Real Deal Affiliate

The wealthy affiliate doesn’t just lead the affiliate industry, they propel and innovate the industry.

There is a reason why over 50,000 independent authority bloggers rank Wealthy Affiliate the “go-to” platform for Internet entrepreneurs.

Over To You

Figuring out what tools to use, what tools to ignore is a choice every marketer has to make. This choice is made doubly hard by all the options available to you.

For earnest marketers and bloggers short on time, picking the tools on this list is an excellent place to start. Choosing the most essential tools (hosting, email service) before you buy more advanced software, is by far the best choice.

The choice is quite simple. Remove all the guesswork and all the sifting through in what best suits your needs.

Became a premium member here at Wealthy Affiliate and you’ll have all your bases covered, and all in one place.

The Real Deal Affiliate

I will welcome any stories you may have, or if you have any questions about the legitimacy of any program (or affiliate marketing in general). I would be more than happy to hear from you.

Leave a Comment


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)