What Is Affiliate Marketing – Explained


In this first article ever on this site, we shall look at the first question people always ask.

“What is affiliate marketing?”

This article will answer that question and also be updated periodically with links to articles that answer other common questions.

We will also look at the various terminology and concepts that you will encounter should you choose to start this amazing business.


Disclosure : Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.


What Is Affiliate Marketing?




*Below the basic examples there is a section that will describe terminology for you.


To put it as simply as possible, affiliate marketing is the practice of referring traffic, and therefore potential customers, to businesses and products.

A person posts a link online to a product or business and if the person buys a product, the person who posted the link earns money.


Let me give you some basic terminology to help you understand the examples below.



An affiliate is a person who earns money from referring traffic to companies and products via posting links on their website or social media.


Affiliate link

An affiliate link is a website URL that, when clicked, sends the person to another third party website.

Within that URL is the affiliate i.d.


A normal URL might be https://buystuffhere.com/

Anyone who clicks it would be referred to the homepage of this site.

An affiliate URL might be https://buystuffhere.com/lauren1234


The person who clicks will still go to the same exact page, the only difference is that Lauren’s affiliate i.d. is attached to the URL.

This means that anything the person buys while on the site will earn Lauren a commission.


*It does not cost the person who clicked the link any extra or affect the price of the product.


Affiliate I.D.

When you join an affiliate program, you will be issued with an affiliate i.d.

Some companies allow you to choose an i.d. and others will generate one for you.

In the example above, Lauren chose her own i.d.

Some pre-generated i.d. tags may look like this.




Most affiliate programs pay a percentage rate on the total spent.

Rates can vary from 2-3% up to 50% or even higher.

This type of program relies on the referred traffic spending money and also relies on the company website being able to convert website visitors into purchasing customers.

There are other types of affiliate compensation available such as flat fee bounties and residual payments which I will describe below in this article.








Lauren owns a blog that is based around health and fitness.

She writes articles that talk about diet, supplements, gym routines, etc.


The blog gets several thousand visitors a week, and she has also built up a foundation of followers on various social media platforms.


Lauren joins an affiliate program for a company that sells health supplements such as protein powders.


The company pays 10% on any purchases that are referred through their affiliate links.

This is called an affiliate program.

The company provides, links, banners, and all kinds of promotional materials for their affiliates to use on their site.

Within these links and banners etc, is embedded Lauren’s affiliate i.d.


Lauren writes some articles about supplements and includes some affiliate links and banners within the content.

She posts these articles to her website and then posts links to the articles on her social media.


Over the next month, 5000 people read her articles and 1000 click through to the supplement website.

Out of the 1000 people, 200 end up buying supplements from the site.

Lauren’s affiliate link contained her affiliate i.d. so she earns a commission from each the 200 people.

Between them, the 200 people spent an average of $30 each.

200 x $30 = $6000 total sales.

Lauren gets 10% of the total as her affiliate commission.

10% of $6000 = $600.

Lauren earns $600 from her links.


Now for the really cool part.

Those articles and social media posts may be read and shared by people for years to come.

So, those articles could potentially earn Lauren money every month for years to come.


Now….If Lauren rights a lot of articles, builds up her social media following and ends up sending 1000’s of people a month through her links.


I’m sure you can imagine the potential…




I’m sure now you have all kinds of plans forming in your mind of how you are going to start affiliate marketing and have your laptop pumping out money.


Don’t get me wrong, you absolutely can…


But you still have a lot to learn if you aim to be successful.


Here are some more basic terms you will encounter as we go further into this article.




A blog is a type of website that is made up of posts rather than static pages.

For example, a restaurant may have a fixed page website.

The website would rarely need to change and its pages would consist of content such as a menu, location details, reservation booking page, contact information, etc.

A blog, however, is a site that has new content posted on a regular basis.

Some blogs have new content once a week and others have multiple posts per day seven days a week.

Lauren’s health and fitness blog would have new articles several times a week.

These articles are called blog posts.


Blog platforms include software such as,





This site is built using WordPress for example.



A domain is the website name/address

So for example, this website is called “what is affiliate marketing”

The domain is whatisaffiliatemarketing.com




A search query is what people type into a search engine in order to find relevant information.

For example, “How to train my dog to sit” would be a search query.

The keywords are what search engines look for on the site in order to decide which page is most relevant and which order to list them in search results.

Keywords in that query would be things such as “Dog” and “Train”

Obviously these are vague, so search engines now lean towards what are called “long tail keywords”

Long tail keyword examples would be,

“Train my dog” and “How to train my dog” or “Train my dog to sit”

The search engine would then produce a list of search results.

These results would be ranked according to relevance dictated by the search engine algorithm.

So the pages that contain those keywords and offer a lot of useful information, links, videos, resources, etc, will be ranked highest.


Search Engine.


A search engine is what internet users type their search queries in to find relevant information.


Examples of search engines are,





SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


Search engine optimization or SEO as it is known is something you are going to have to become very proficient in if you are planning to do affiliate marketing.

Search engines aim to provide the most relevant information to the user, so therefore, they have complex algorithms that figure out which page or post is the most relevant.

Relevance is decided by a whole spread of factors such as amount of content, links out from content, links that lead to the content, keywords, and more.

Search engine optimization involves making your pages content the most relevant to the search engines so you rank high in results for the keywords, and therefore get traffic to your site.

It also involves helping search engines find your content in the first place, but that’s a whole topic in itself.

Search Engines and SEO are a vast and ever evolving topic that are far to detailed to list here, but that is the basic overview.


Here is a video from the web and design company YouTube channel



Social Media


I’m sure you have heard of social media, but I will write some basics just to make sure we are on the same page so to speak.

Social media are platforms that allow people to build and join networks of people online.

Such networks may be as simple as a group of followers consisting of friends and family.

There are also group and brand pages that may have literally millions of followers.

For example, Lauren may have a personal Facebook page that has 100 followers consisting of family and friends.

On that page she will post things about her daily life that may be relevant to share with her followers.

She may also have a brand page for her supplement blog that has 5000 followers.

Here she would post links to her blog posts and any other content related to her supplement topic.

Some social media platforms allow you to post affiliate links directly on your social media feeds!


Fun fact.


Did you know that some people on Instagram build up huge followings, millions in some cases, then arrange sponsored posts with brands and products?

This means they will take a picture of them with the product and then post it to their Instagram account.

Some brands will pay a lot of money to get their product in front of so many people.

These people are called “Influencers” and charge tens of thousands of dollars per post.

Can you imagine taking a picture with a product then getting paid $30,000 dollars to post it on your account so that your 3 million followers see it?

Sounds great doesn’t it?

Well, there are people doing this month in, month out!

Although technically not classed as affiliate marketing, it does show how much money can be made online.

The techniques and basic training are more similar than you may think.


Some examples of the bigger social media platforms are.








How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?



Here I will give a very basic overview of just one of the many techniques that can be used to make money online with affiliate marketing.


I will use our friend Lauren from the example above to illustrate my points.


Lauren decides she wants to make some extra income.

She goes on the internet and discovers affiliate marketing.

After researching and completing some basic courses, she is ready to start building up her online income.

She draws up a basic plan of what she needs to acquire and do to lay the foundations of her online business.


Decide what niche she wants to focus on.

Research customer base and keywords.

Decide on what her personal online brand/persona is going to be like.

Select affiliate programs to join once she has set up her online infrastructure (A lot of affiliate programs want to see your site etc before allowing you to put their links on it)

She needs to purchase a domain.

Choose a platform for her blog.

Acquire social media accounts that will be linked to her site and represent her brand.

Set up her blog infrastructure (Menus, page layouts, templates etc)

Set up her social media pages (Layout, Bio, etc)

Start researching, creating, and adding content to her blog.

Posting links to her content on her social media to draw traffic and build a follower base.


That, is a very basic overview of a basic affiliate marketing set up.


It may sound complicated, or it may sound simple to you according on your level of internet knowledge.


Once this basic infrastructure is in place, then her routine would look something very similar to this.


Research and create quality content to expand her site.

Post quality content to social media to draw traffic and build up her follower numbers.

Keep learning and developing new techniques to stay on top of the constantly evolving internet and its trends.


She would also set goals such as.


Minimum 3 posts a week to her blog.

Aim to keep her social media following in a constant state of growth.

Get as many of her posts ranked high in search engines as is possible.


As you can see, it really breaks down into 3 parts.


Learn Affiliate Marketing.

Set up online infrastructure.

Maintain and expand online presence via content and social media.


Granted, that is a very simplified way to look at it.

But it is quite accurate.


You could look at it as,

Learn how to do.


Keep learning and doing.


That is the truth of the matter.


You first learn how to earn money online, then set up the infrastructure, then do what you have learned, and the money is the result.


Below, I will tell you where you can learn the basics of affiliate marketing for free.


But first….Can you really make money affiliate marketing?



Make Money Affiliate Marketing



All of the above boils down to one key aspect.




There are a LOT of ways to make money online.

Advertising Revenue

Sponsored Posts

Creating Your Own Products


The list is huge and changing everyday as some fall out of favor and new ones evolve.

Some will be added to this site as time goes on so be sure to follow on social media and to bookmark the homepage.


Follow on Social Media

What is Affiliate Marketing


As I mentioned above you can make money on a percentage of sales revenue commission basis.


However some affiliate programs pay flat rate bounties or even residual payments.




Some affiliate programs pay a flat rate bounty.

For example an affiliate program may pay you $20 for every free sign up you refer.

I have seen credit card affiliate offers in the past that paid an affiliate bounty of $250 for every person referred that applied and qualified for a credit card.

At ONE a day, over a year, that would amount to $91250 a year income. (365 x $250)

Now consider 2 or 3 or more a day on average.

People made a LOT of money from those programs.

All from posting links within content.


Consider that carefully.


I have also seen as recent as today, as I write this I did a quick search, offers that pay $65 for referrals and also 60% residual income on every purchase that customer makes for life.


*Consider the fact that affiliate marketing is a huge and profitable business, otherwise companies wouldn’t be paying these kind of bounties.


Residual Payments


Some affiliate offers also provide residual income.

In other words, if you refer people to such an offer and they sign up, then you get a cut of every payment they make or product they purchase.


Quick example.


A website has a special members area for professionals and charges their members a monthly fee so they can access the premium content.

The cost is $20 a month to be a member with a recurring 50% affiliate payment.

Every member the affiliate refers that signs up to the sites premium plan earns the affiliate $10 every time they pay.

Let’s say Lauren promotes this offer and over the course of time she manages to get 1000 people to join.

Each month she gets 1000 x $10 or $10k a month…Every month they stay members and pay.

Again…I’m sure I don’t have to point out that the potential is HUGE.


Lauren does not have to interact with the members in any way.

She just refers them, the site signs them up and keeps them provided with enough content to keep them paying month after month to remain members.


Lauren just refers as many people as she can through her links.

Consider if she builds up to 2000 or 10,000 members over the course of time…..

I’ll let you do the mathematics on that…It’s not hard, but very enticing…..

Also….Perfectly feasible.


So without further ado as they say, lets look at how you can learn affiliate marketing.


Where To Learn Affiliate Marketing


Let’s put this into as simple terms as possible.

There are many ways you can learn affiliate marketing, but here are the most common in my opinion.


Self Taught.



You can teach yourself most topics if you are willing and dedicated enough to do so.

There are plenty of sites around the internet that have information on affiliate marketing.

You are reading one right now!




The internet evolves quickly and what you may read today may not be relevant tomorrow.

If it is old information and techniques it may not have been relevant yesterday or even effective last year.

It’s a harsh truth, but true none the less.

Most cutting edge information is behind a paywall of some kind.

That may be an e-book course that costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars to learn premium affiliate marketing techniques.

It maybe a course that teaches you in a fashion similar to a University over the course of multiple training modules.


Let’s look at both.



Paid course bundles.



Usually available in e-book form, though I have seen them in module form delivered in multiple emails over a course of time.



Usually very well laid out with step by step instructions.

Often have “special” techniques not found anywhere else.



Often highly priced (I have seen such courses costing thousands of dollars)

Information may not still be current.

May encourage “black hat” techniques.


*Black hat marketing is a term used to describe techniques that attempt to trick google into ranking sites unfairly.

Such techniques can get your site slammed to very low rankings on search engines (Think page 68 in search results) or de-listed all together (Literally not listed on Google at all)


Almost always sold by self proclaimed Gurus.

There are a lot of self proclaimed Guru’s on any topic and affiliate marketing is no different.

Such people are easy to spot.

Usually they show themselves with sports cars, on the beach, or cavorting around the pool with girls.

They will tell you how they made this much or that much using a simple technique.

If you buy their book or course you can earn ridiculous money and be frolicking by the pool at your new mansion within 6 months.

At least…according to them…

Truth be told…

Most of these guys make their money from selling their books and courses…not from their “secret techniques”

The car is leased for the video shoot, so is the mansion, and all those hot girls…Paid models.


Now, this is not to say that there are not some people out there who can teach you techniques that will earn you money and live the life they portray.

For example, one internet guy is well known for making a course and selling it online for a limited time several years back.

He made $23.8 million in 24 hours on that one course.

Its a well known story, and is true.

He can, and does, make huge amounts of money pretty much when he feels like it.


I have personally met affiliate marketers who make a $1 million a month, residual.


I have met many others that have simply replaced their job and have a lot of freedom in their life (No boss, forced schedule, etc) thanks to affiliate marketing.


I have met others that have kept their jobs and do affiliate marketing as an extra income source to help with bills or to pay off debt.


Affiliate marketing is like most things in that if you focus your efforts on it, you get the rewards.



Paid Ongoing Courses



Usually website based and offer training courses, support, and occasionally community forums.



Typically very in depth step by step training from beginner to advanced.

Often updated frequently to stay current and therefore effective.



Almost always trying to up sell you from beginner to advanced etc.

Support may be slow, lacking, or even none existent.

Some communities are not as friendly or helpful as others.


I have seen such programs come and go many times over the years.

Some just fall into obscurity as the owner loses interest due to not earning enough or the community ends up becoming toxic and unfriendly.


One course I have seen go from strength to strength is the one I personally use.


Wealthy Affiliate.



Wealthy affiliate is an online affiliate university that has been in business for over a decade and continues to grow and evolve.

It offers step by step training from complete beginner through to advanced techniques.

The training is broken down into easy to follow and understand modules which often include videos so you can actually see what is being taught implemented in front of you.


It has all the tools you need built into the platform. (WordPress, keyword research tools, web templates, etc).

It has live chat help features so you can ask questions straight away, 24 hours a day.

It has a social media platform built in for members so you can form networks just like other social media platforms.


It has the friendliest, most helpful, and respectful online community I have ever seen online. (Other members help each other with questions and problems).

The owners are very friendly, patient, and approachable. You can message them directly within the social media platform. (They want you to succeed and want to help you to do so).


I could list many more benefits, but you know what?

Don’t take my word for it, go and take a look at the site yourself via the free membership below.

Who am I and why should you listen to what I say?

I have been a member of WA since around 2011 and dabbled in online marketing off and on in phases while I worked a job.

I now work for myself full time online and quit my old job that paid me very well because affiliate marketing enabled me to do so.

I haven’t promised, and will never, promise you mansions, models, and mountains of money.

I can however promise you that there is more than enough money in online marketing to write your own paycheck.

I can and do.

I do not earn millions, not yet at least, but I live from my online marketing earnings, set my own schedule, I’m my own boss, and do what I want, when I want.


Surely the chance of attaining that is justification enough?


So if you are serious, or at least curious about learning affiliate marketing then head over to Wealthy Affiliate and take a look around.

It’s free to join, no credit card, or any kind of money involved to take the free membership.

If you do not like it, then that is fair enough, at least you have satisfied your curiosity.

If you do like it, then welcome to the world of affiliate marketing!

Wealthy Affiliate offers the training to write your own paycheck….


What are you waiting for?…Learn To Earn!



Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership


Further Reading




Learn Affiliate Marketing




How To Learn Affiliate Marketing




Why Now Is The Time To Start Affiliate Marketing




What Is The Best Affiliate Marketing Course


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What Is Affiliate Marketing