Affiliate Marketing?

Just What is Affiliate Marketing?

An image of shaking hands over a world map

An image of shaking hands over a world map

You may have heard the term “Affiliate Marketing” bandied about online and elsewhere (certainly here on this website) and wondered “Just what is Affiliate Marketing?”.  As a member of Wealthy Affiliates, I’ve learned a great deal about the subject and I will tell you exactly what it is below.

I looked up the definition of “Affiliate” and this is what it says:


Affiliate:  officially attach or connect (a subsidiary group or a person) to an organization:“the college is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin”.  synonyms: associate withunite withcombine withjoin (up) withlink up with,…

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a way to earn money online – even lots of money online.  It’s a way to earn commissions from helping sell someone else’s products or services.

For example, maybe you are a die-hard golfer like many in the retirement community I live in.  You can create a website to promote golfing items (clubs, balls, clothing, classes, anything related to golf).  You will research products that you want to recommend on your website and sign up to be an affiliate of the manufacturer or maker of that product.  Many businesses have their own affiliate programs you can sign up for, but mostly you will be using Affiliate Programs that are a third-party business that has partnered with a great number of manufacturers and makers of products to offer to those like myself and maybe you who want to be part of an affiliate program.

These third-party affiliate program businesses (like Commission Junction, Raketen Network, Share-a-sale and more) allow website creators to apply to be part of their affiliate program and once you are accepted, you can choose from many types of products and vendors to promote.  You also have to be accepted by the individual vendors and once accepted, you are given an affiliate ID and allowed to select products to promote on your website.  Each vendor or business has its own way to show you how to link to a particular product you want to promote and how to include your affiliate ID number as part of that link.

You then create an article or maybe a review post about that product and include the link to it in the article or post you have created.  Perhaps your link includes an awesome picture of the product and your words tell all about the product and how great it is – be sure you are telling the truth about the product (from using it yourself or from intensive research on the product).  Visitors to your website see the article and read it and hopefully decide to purchase it.

When a site visitor clicks on the affiliate link in your article or review, a harmless “cookie” is placed on their computer that included your affiliate ID.  Most cookies have an expiration date of a few hours – the longer the better.  The affiliate link will take them to the vendor’s site either directly to the product or somewhere they can search and look around at the products offered.  If the visitor purchases something from that site before the “cookie” expires, your affiliate ID number ensures you get credit for the sale and a commission is logged into your account with the Affiliate Program.  Once you have reached a level of commissions which is set by each program, your commissions are paid to you, by mailed check, PayPal or a direct deposit into your bank account (you set this up as part of your Affiliate Program account).

Targeted Audience

An image of a target with darts sticking in it

An image of a target with darts sticking in it

It is obvious that the more visitors you get to your website, the better chance you have of someone clicking on your affiliate links and purchasing products you get credited for.  So you want to get as many visitors as possible and especially “targeted visitors” (those who are specifically interested in your products).

To reach a “targeted audience”, you need to write posts and reviews that your target audience is interested in.  If your site promotes golfing and golfing products, then write about golf.  Not every post has to be specifically about a product – it can be a well-written article about golf that appeals to the golfers out there.

As you continue to create posts that attract your target visitor, your “reach” will expand and you will get even more visitors.  There are things you can do to increase visitors who use internet search engines to find sites that are of interest to them.  This is called using SEO (search engine Optimization).  SEO is a subject I want to elaborate on in another post.  Come back soon to read it.

Success – how to achieve it?

An image of road going away with don't give up written on it

An image of road going away with don’t give up written on it

The keys to success as an affiliate marketer are:

  1. Hard work – like most things in life, hard work pays off.  Lazy people do not succeed.
  2. Persistence – Persistence is of top importance.  Everyone has heard the saying “if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again” and its true, those who quit too early will never succeed and all their work is wasted.  It takes time to create a website that attracts visitors and earns money.  You need to give yourself and your website time to mature and to draw in your targeted viewers in great numbers.
  3. Be willing to accept change – The internet and the ways search engines work are constantly changing.  You will need to adapt and change with it.  The nice thing about having excellent training, such as that I have received through the Wealthy Affiliate Training Program is that my training is keeping up with the latest changes in affiliate marketing, so I’m never behind the curve.



Thanks for looking at my site and coming to this page.  I would love for you to leave any questions or comments below. – Shirley