Become An Affiliate Marketer

How To Become An Affiliate Marketer

Of the many ways to make money online, affiliate marketing is one method that has been the most commonly propagated. It is also one method that has been tried by many, succeeded by some and failed by the majority. Fact is, affiliate marketing though being professed by so-called Internet Marketing Gurus to be an easy way to make money, is not as simple as it seems.

For all that you have read, I will place my bet that 80% of those who has written about Affiliate Marketing is either not an affiliate marketer themselves or has never succeeded in making much as an affiliate marketer.

Transforming Yourself Into An Affiliate Marketer

One usually does not start their lives in the Internet as an Affiliate Marketer. Nobody can claim that they are born Affiliate Marketers. Affiliate Marketers are made or transformed and not born. Most start their lives on the Internet as a blogger and slowly transform into an affiliate marketer.

Even if you were never a blogger and your first attempt to join the Internet Kingdom was with an identity of an affiliate marketer, you would have been prowling around the Net for years doing your research, getting to know the ins and outs before you took that first step. In that essence, you too were not born as an affiliate marketer. You only successfully transformed yourself into one. Whether you succeed in becoming a successful one is another story to be told on another day.

Affiliate Marketing Is A Different Ball Game

If you are a blogger, eager to go into affiliate marketing because whatever monetization methods you have attempted did not bear much fruit, you have to change ball games. The basic rules may be similar, but the playing field is different. The players will be different and the spectators too will be different.

With the assumption that that you already know the basics of keyword research and getting traffic, you will now have to change your target. When before, if you are using Adsense and you are targeting traffic that searches for specified information, the target now is traffic that is looking to buy certain products.

Trust me, getting people to fork out money to buy rather than depending on them to click freely for more info is much, much more difficult.

Heed these Rules.

Rule Number One – Do Not Be Apologetic About Becoming An Affiliate Marketer

The first and foremost rule in becoming an affiliate marketer is, DO NOT be apologetic about it. Especially those who have been blogging for sometime and has built up a community or a legion of fans.

I see many writing post apologizing to their readers that they will be selling affiliate products from here on. They warn their readers about all the affiliate links appearing in their sites and they will be making money if their readers happen to buy through their links.

I mean, WHAT THE HELL? Where is the logic behind this behaviour? Don’t you want to sell? Are you selling some crap so you want to tell your loyal readers that you do not want to cheat them? If you are indeed selling crap, then is it okay if  those who are not your loyal followers buys it? Does that make you more ethical?

If you are going to be so sorry about your readers buying, then JUST DON”T SELL! Just stick to blogging about whatever. Why apologize?

Get Real.

Rule Number Two – Know The Products You Are Marketing

You can never sell anything if you do not know what that thing is all about. The most ideal situation will of course be you buying and using the product first before you join that affiliate program. Of course, that is quite impossible if you are trying to promote every product under the sun, so stick to the few that you have tried and used.

I only stick to marketing Premium WordPress Themes in my blog.

The best selling ones (For example: Genesis Framework) are the ones that I am using because I am able to write very comprehensive and thorough reviews about them.



Of course I do promote many other Themes. Sometimes just to help add a slight nudge to those new WordPress Theme developers who are just starting out and sometimes out of goodwill because they emailed me asking me to review their Themes.

I usually do those for free and my only compensation are from the affiliate commissions, if I can get them.

These comes in negligible trickles because I can only recommend them through what I have read and I cannot provide any further details.

Rule Number Three – Rank For The Right Keywords

Now that you have gotten rid of that silly mindset about being apologetic and you have in-depth knowledge of the products you intend to promote as an affiliate, the next step will be working to get your keywords ranked.

This is especially important if you are not into email marketing and do not or have not built up an email list. If you are practising Affiliate Marketing within your blog alone, getting search traffic is your only hope. Your existing followers might give you a kickstart and give you your first commissions, but after that initial phase, sales will dry up if you do not get organic traffic flowing in daily.

Be reminded that conversion rates in Affiliate Marketing is very low. You might get a high click-through if you have written an awesome review about the product, but out of 500 clicks, only one or two will convert into sales. So it is a numbers game. The higher the numbers, the better are your chances.

To get that high number coming in daily, get your keywords right. Not what you think is right, but what those who are searching thinks is right.

What Are The Right Keywords

Contrary to what many might think, the right keywords to sell a product is not always the product’s name. Especially if it is a new product that no one has heard of. Just like working your butt off to rank for your personal name, ranking for the name of an unheard product will not get you any hits.

Let say you have just bought a script that can automate link building and the name of the script is “Super Duper Link Builder“. You liked the script very much and it is an awesome tool so you decide to promote it as an affiliate. What Keyword term would you want to rank for in the Search Results in order to get the first sale?

Many would go for the term Super Duper Link Builder because it is the product’s name and those many will not be getting any traffic or sales for at least 6 months to a year ranking for that keyword term. Why? Simply because NO ONE knows or has heard about “Super Duper Link Builder” so who the hell is going to search for it?

Getting The Keywords Terms By Piggy Backing On Popular Products

Lets say again that there is another script of the same nature that is hugely popular and everyone in the whole wide world knows about it. Everyone who wants to buy a link building software will search for that name. The name of the script is called “Link Builder King“.

Compared to this “Link Builder King“, “Super Duper Link Builder” is virtually nothing. However, you can make things happen for this new and rising star. You can do so by piggy backing on the popularity of Link Builder King.

You go and work your behinds off to rank for the terms like “Links Building Program That Works Better Then Link Builder King” or “More Awesome Link Builder Than Link Builder King” or “Build Backlinks Faster Than Link Builder King” or whatever you can think of, but make sure Link Builder King is included in the Phrase. Never include Super Duper Link Builder.

Long Tails like these are easy to rank and then, if your landing page or your post is convincing enough, you will get some sales.

Maintain your rankings for the term Super Duper Link Builder though. It will be worth something when one day that product really overtakes Link Builder King as the most popular link building software. It might be one or two years, but when it happens, you will be in for a big payday.

That is what affiliate marketing is all about anyway. Time. And of course lots of effort.

[box type=”note”]This post is part of our Blog Contest! If you like it, support the author by sharing it and adding comments. Also make sure to check other entries by visiting the blog contest page.[/box]

Costa, who has been blogging for the past five years and and an affiliate marketer for three. He likes to say things as it is. His straight talking and sometimes sarcastic blog has been toned down to give away Free WordPress Theme Tips And Reviews these days.


Get our latest articles delivered to your email inbox, plus download our FREE 15 minutes later marketing guide.

We respect your privacy!
{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Julia November 18, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Oh my, “Internet Laptop Lifestyle” I love to mention it 🙂
    Yes, I think I choose “Getting The Keywords Terms By Piggy Backing On Popular Products” as my best picks from your article. It is great if we could find the new product with low popularity but of course we need insight of the product first. Is this product gonna be so hot in the few next months? if yes, then start to promote ASAP. Because if you are the first one who promote, then you’ll gonna be the first one who takes the Number 1 on search engine.

    Good luck for your contest, Costa 🙂

  • Dana W August 20, 2012, 4:38 pm

    I know I’m late, but great post! Way to “keep it real” about the truth about affiliate marketing. Marketing online, in general, sure isn’t the quickest way to riches, but with hard work it can be one of the most rewarding.

  • sai krishna November 27, 2011, 11:01 am

    thanks for this tips Mr.Costa .you really explained very nicely about affiliate marketing.hope you will be win the contest.

    • Costa November 27, 2011, 8:03 pm

      And thank you for your comment. It’s worth something. 🙂

  • Shiva November 19, 2011, 5:02 pm

    Hey there Costa,
    I really loved the article but specially the pick of the post was the last point. I am comparatively new to affiliate marketing and I can certainly vouch that I have done the mistake of promoting a completely new product with just its name, just a few months ago. This tip of yours certainly is something that will be pretty helpful for me in the future. Thanks a lot

    • Costa November 19, 2011, 8:01 pm

      Hi Shiva,

      Sometimes it al boils down to common sense. Here’s to your success!

  • Vlad November 19, 2011, 1:30 pm

    Hello Costa!
    Nice neat post…The sad thing that in order to become an affiliate marketer one needs to imply a lot of hard work and pass trough a lot of different mistakes and difficulties. I would like to add one more rule to your post: Be stubborn and never give up!
    Thank you!

    • Costa November 19, 2011, 8:00 pm

      Good Point! Perseverance is the mother success.

  • Raj November 18, 2011, 11:50 pm

    The point about people being apologetic about letting users know of their affiliate campaign is quite right. I mean, you are going to introduce some awesome products to an audience who would be interested in products on the same niche – So, why be apologetic?

    There is one thing we need to be careful about though – Search engines. Excessive affiliate links are not viewed in the positive light by the search engines!

    • Costa November 19, 2011, 8:04 pm

      Hi Raj,

      Most of the time, I use a redirect for my affiliate links, and I make sure all links are no-follow. I can’t say I am sure but I think that helps.

      • Raj November 21, 2011, 5:11 am

        Good strategy Costa… But I still think that search engines might be able to identify the affiliate links. They are capable of highly intelligent analysis. But what you said might be better than directly linking to affiliate pages with a dofollow link…

  • Sean November 18, 2011, 4:50 pm

    This is one of the best articles I have read about becoming an affiliate marketer. I started one year ago but have been quite inactive. Now it is time to activate. You gave me valuable information and inspiration. Thanks, Costa!

    • Costa November 18, 2011, 7:04 pm

      Thank you too. Go activate. 🙂

  • Darren November 18, 2011, 11:42 am

    Nice article, Costa. Like you said, product quality and knowing the product line are keys. That, plus having respect for you audience and wanting to sell them something good.

    Scammers have given affiliate marketing a bad name, but obviously that doesn’t mean affiliate marketing is bad. If you can add value, it’s a lucrative way to earn money.


    • Costa November 18, 2011, 7:02 pm

      Yes, affiliate marketing is the best alternative if we do not have the resources to develop products of our own. It is risk free.

  • Jeff Gross November 18, 2011, 7:06 am

    I am very interested in affiliate marketing. For most people 1st choice is AdSense or other ppc solution, but I’ve heard that with affiliate marketing can get better financial results. Off course, nothing comes without comprehensive studying of articles like this one.

    • Costa November 18, 2011, 7:54 am

      In my opinion, the first choice SHOULD be Adsense. After you understand how you can get the traffic to get clicks from Adsense Ads and make your first Adsense dollar, it will be easier for you to understand Affiliate Marketing.

  • Salah Messaoud November 18, 2011, 7:05 am

    Hi Costa,

    I really dont agree with you at some point, you said that 80 % of bloggers who has written about Affiliate marketing they are not affiliate marketers themselves or they has never succeeded.
    simply I will quote Guy Kawasaki : “Experts are clueless.

    Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.”

    So you still placing your bet ?

    • Costa November 18, 2011, 7:48 am

      Hi Salah,

      Well, if you put things in that context, then I will have to agree. A basketball coach need not necessary be a good basketball player. A football coach need not be a football player either.

      Experts are those who understands the theories, IF the theories are fixed to certain facts, figures and concepts. They can advise based on those proven facts, figures and concepts that have been handed down by the experts who has experienced them and which they have they have studied. They need not be the actual players. All they need is a keen sense of observation and put those proven theories and concepts to work

      That is what is happening with a lot of so-called Internet Marketing gurus. They read some tips about the subject and they start advising based on that. However, in doing business, especially business online such as affiliate marketing, nothing is fixed. Facts and concepts that works today might be bad the next. Things evolve so quickly that I doubt any one can advise without having first hand experience.

      I do not claim to be an expert nor will I be an expert anywhere in the near future. What have been written today might simply be obsolete one month down the road. In fact, I think it is already different as I am writing this. If I write another post here next month, my opinions may be totally different then.

      So if you have never been an affiliate marketer or have had some success in being one, how then can you “advise”? You can’t base your advise on fact and figures that are outdated. You have to become one to know.

      Yes, I am still hanging on to my bet.

      • Salah Messaoud November 18, 2011, 9:21 am

        Great, like that you made it more clear but even I am not an expert to give advises I will still give or write about tips that worked for me based on my experience.
        Thanks for the great article, myself I am new to affiliate marketing.

  • Lyka Ricks November 18, 2011, 4:54 am

    Totally Agree! It’s not Bad to sell anyway. You just have to know the product or the service before promoting to others ,otherwise you are not effective then.

  • Wiliam November 18, 2011, 4:02 am

    Haha, I totally agree with you on 80% of people who write about affiliate marketing don’t, in fact, know much about the stuff they’re writing about. The figure is probably true with many other topics as well… Good post.

  • Nishadha November 17, 2011, 10:41 pm

    I agree that you don’t need to apologize for selling affiliate products. But I think it’s a good idea to disclose if it’s an affiliate link. Especially if it’s a product review post.

    • Costa November 17, 2011, 11:43 pm

      Yes, but I feel the Disclosure and the Privacy Policy page should cover that and there is no need to openly declare every affiliate link that we insert.

  • Shamelle November 17, 2011, 10:25 pm

    I almost always research and purchase a product before I promote it.

    Although I will admit that every now and again I do promote things that I don’t know anything about just because “everyone else is promoting it” or it was created by someone I trust.

    I do think it’s a good rule of thumb to purchase and use a product before recommending it to others.

    • Costa November 17, 2011, 11:47 pm

      Naturally we cannot buy every product we intend to promote, so it is good to do an in-depth research first for the products that we have never used before.

      I really do not know how to promote anything that I do not know anything about. 🙂

      • Ricardus November 18, 2011, 1:51 am

        I agree with you. We need to have a thorough research and also a a comparison before we can promote the product.

  • Costa November 17, 2011, 8:27 pm

    Check out also the follow up post to this article to learn the basic secrets of affiliate marketing. CommentLuv should show the link

Leave a Comment