Affiliate Marketing FAQ – Top 32 Answers for Affiliates
For people who want to make money online through affiliate marketing, this Affiliate Marketing FAQ page may have the answers to your most heart burning questions.
I've classified them into 5 main categories:
- General Questions
- Niche Questions
- Basic Website Questions
- Content Creation Questions
- Website Development/Growth Questions
Hope you can find your answers here! If not, don't hesitate to ask in the comments below.
32 Affiliate Marketing FAQ
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing is a type of marketing business where the affiliate (the middleman between buyer and seller) earns commission by referring/linking/recommending the buyer to the product or services from the seller. Whenever the buyer purchased anything through the affiliate's affiliate link, the affiliate earns commission from the seller.
Check out the video below for visual explanation of affiliate marketing:
Basically, there are 3 main parties involved in affiliate marketing - merchant/seller, affiliate and customer.
When a transaction takes place in the form of affiliate marketing, the customer gets the product they want, the seller makes a sale and the affiliate earn a commission by recommending the customer this particular product.
The following image pretty much sums up the whole process:
One thing to take note:
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other types of Internet Marketing to some degree because affiliates often use different type of marketing skills to promote their affiliate websites/products. Some marketing skills that are related involves Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Paid Advertising, Content Marketing, Attraction Marketing, etc.
Why do affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways for you to earn a full-time passive income online/from home.
8 Advantages of Affiliate Marketing Business
- Source of Full-time passive income
- You can work from anywhere in the world
- Turn your passion into your business
- Fully flexible working schedule
- No prior knowledge required
- You don't need to do selling in person
- You don't need to produce your own products
- You don't need to handle shipping & customer service
1. Source of Full-time passive income
You'll be building your own websites to run an affiliate marketing business.
A website will be working 24/7 for you once you set it up so you can make money anytime in the day even when you're sleeping because customers can come from any country/time zone in the world.
This can provide you with a true passive income!
2. You can work from anywhere in the world
As long as you have a laptop and access to the Internet, you can work on your website.
You won't be stuck in your office or places you don't like anymore.
Although there are many successful affiliate marketer showing pictures and videos of them working on the beach or any place they travel to, it is still recommended to have a proper place in your house or your office to work on your business.
This is to let you focus while working instead of having other things to disturb you. Those pictures and videos are just attraction marketing techniques to attract people into their business.
3. Turn your passion into your business
You can decide the topic/niche of your own website so you definitely can build a business based on your own passion or hobby.
4. Fully flexible working schedule
You don't have to clock in and clock out based on the timing your boss gives you. You are your own boss. You can come out with your own working schedule since this is a home business.
5. No prior knowledge required
In the past, the largest barrier of entry into this business is the technical knowledge to build your own websites.
Today, the technology has advanced that you can build your own website in minutes without knowing a single thing about coding.
Also, the marketing skills can be learnt at a very affordable price. You don't need to go to college and have a degree to build your own online business.
Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best learning platform for anyone to get started.
6. You don't need to do selling in person
In traditional business, network marketing business or Multi-level Marketing (MLM) business, there's usually a process of interacting with real people in person and pitching sales.
Many people are afraid of this kind of selling in person, especially in network marketing or MLM business where they usually start by selling to friends and family members.
In affiliate marketing, you don't have to do any of that. You just need to learn how to build a proper website and how to market products to people who are interested, definitely not your friends or family members.
Your customers can be from any part of the world as long as the Internet can reach. Your potential customers are way larger than those in network marketing and MLM business.
7. You don't need to produce your own products
In order for you to make money, there must be a transaction. In order for a transaction to take place, you need to have products or services to sell to your target audience.
There are 2 ways to do this - either you create your own products and services or you sell other people's products and services.
In affiliate marketing, you do not need to produce your own product (although you can). You can simply sell other people's products and earn a commission for every sale you make.
While product creation is a totally different territory to be learnt, not all business can sell other people's product.
8. You don't need to handle shipping & customer service
Since you're just going to link the customer to the products by recommendation, the shipping and customer service are still the seller's responsibility.
When the buyer purchased a product through your affiliate link, you earn your commission and your job is done!
Any criticism against affiliate marketing?
Abusing the use of affiliate links.
The most serious criticism against affiliate marketing is that too many affiliates are trying too hard to make money so there's a problem of abusing the use of affiliate links.
Many people have the wrong mindset and they just want to earn money fast. When they learn a little bit about affiliate marketing, they simply want to know how to promote their affiliate link to as many people as possible. So, many will end up spamming people or using unethical or even illegal way to promote their affiliate link.
However, people who abuse the use of affiliate links usually quit after a while because they can't get any results.
People who know how to do proper affiliate marketing won't have this issue.
How long before I start making money?
My Favorite Answer for People Asking This Kind of Question!
Different people have different situation. There's no point to compare and know how long you can start making money. It all depends on how much time and effort are you able and willing to put into your business.
Some people can start making money within a few weeks but that's because they spent hours and hours of hard work in front of the computer.
The above screenshot is just an example. Alex has been a very active and successful member of Wealthy Affiliate. He was able to make his first commission that fast because he commit to his business fully.
From what I know, he had experienced many failures and scams before he made his first commission with Wealthy Affiliate.
How long you can start making money online really depends on yourself and your situation. If you have more time available and you are willing to invest into your business, you'll definitely make money a lot sooner.
Just for your info, some people started making money online within a few months and some took years.
If you utilize platforms such as Wealthy Affiliate, the average time needed to make your first commission will be around 3 to 6 months. (provided you follow through the lessons and take consistent effort. No guarantee.)
What are the Affiliate Programs available?
There are 3 main types of Affiliate Programs: Private Affiliate Program, Affiliate Network & Amazon Affiliate Program.
Private: Affiliate Programs offered directly by the seller of the product. You'll have to apply through their respective website/platform.
Affiliate Networks: These include platforms like Shareasale, Clickbank, Commission Junction, etc. These are the platforms which allow sellers and affiliates to connect and work together - Sellers to offer affiliate programs and Affiliates to look for affiliate programs/products to sell.
Amazon: Amazon is different from those affiliate networks, although similar in certain way. In essence, it's an E-commerce platform which also offers affiliate opportunities.
As an affiliate (Amazon call it "associates"), you are able to promote any products available on Amazon. Whilst, you are applying for separate affiliate programs/products on other affiliate networks.
(NOTE: Different platforms have different rules and conditions for affiliates and sellers. Make sure you are familiar with their respective rule before you sell/promote.)
How much time do I need to invest in my business?
Depends on your schedule.
There's no exact time you need to invest into your business. You can put in 2 hours a week or you can put in 2 hours a day. It's totally up to you and depends on whether you have other commitments.
The fact is, the more time you spend on your business, the faster you can see results and the more money you earn.
So, if you want to see better results and earnings, you should invest more time into your business, if possible.
What kind of products or services should I sell?
You can sell ANY products and services as long as they are relevant to your niche and they have an affiliate program.
Products and services can be classified into 2 main categories - Physical & Non-physical.
Physical products are very straightforward.
Non-physical products include online tools, software, membership, eBook, online course, etc.
The main point is that your products and services must be RELEVANT to your target market and they solve people's problems.
Research has shown that digital products are the most popular products to sell online. Digital products generally refer to those non-physical products - eBooks, courses, etc.
Can I just buy traffic/use PPC to promote my affiliate links?
Some people are lazy and they don't want to spend hours learning and creating contents so they ask me whether they can just buy traffic to make sales.
My answer to people asking this is this:
Buying traffic and monetize it is not as easy as you may think. If you don't learn the basics, you will end up losing money instead of earning.
Even if you know how to buy traffic and monetize it, it is not a long-term strategy. Most likely, you won't get consistent sales by buying traffic.
Instead, creating content and rank it in search engines is the free and long-term strategy to build a passive income.
Although it may take a longer time to see results, the monetary rewards you are getting at the end is worthwhile.
How do I know if my efforts are paying off or I'm just wasting time & money?
You won't know unless you persevere.
Affiliate marketing business is not the type of business that will make you rich overnight. It takes time to learn the skills, apply the skills and make search engines trust your site.
The only way for you to know whether your efforts are paying off is by putting in consistent effort and persevere despite you may not see results in the short term.
It generally takes at least 3 to 6 months before you make the first commission.
In order to persevere, you just need to keep in mind that there are already many people succeeding by persevering.
Believe in yourself and your effort will pay off!
How much money can I make from Affiliate Marketing?
As much as you want!
(Provided that you are willing to put in the effort, time and some money)
The potential of affiliate marketing is really HUGE. Pat Flynn is a good example. He is the expert in this. In his monthly income report, you can see that he is earning at least $100k PER MONTH.
I know you may be thinking: "Duh. He is the expert in this. It's not surprising he is earning that much."
He is indeed the superb or the extreme example in this case. But I've seen a lot of people earning a Full-time income and living freely travelling around the world by building a successful affiliate marketing business from home.
Just take a look at this: 13 Wealthy Affiliate Success Stories.
According to ConvertKit's research, professionals in this industry have an average profit of $138,046 in 2016. Whilst, those who are not-yet-professionals but are working hard in this industry have an average profit of $9,497 in 2016.
The potential is there. Once you set it up, your website will be running 24/7 and making money 24/7 for you.
Unlike the traditional paycheck you receive from your boss every month, you can really "make money while you sleep" with affiliate marketing.
But you need to put in the necessary efforts for sure!
It won't be easy. But it's definitely worth pursuing in the long term perspective.
Should I pay for Online Marketing Training?
Not necessary BUT recommended.
Not necessary because...
In today's digital world, almost all the information you need to build a successful online business can be acquired for free around the Internet.
The information are all over the place. It'll take you a lot of time to search and collect all these information. There are also many scams and false information on the Internet.
If you are a complete beginner who wants to make money online, it's best to have a systematic training. Or else you will most likely to quit before you build anything or see any results.
There's a high chance that you'll be too overwhelmed to continue.
So, it's still recommended to find a proper training and a proper training is usually not free.
Can I promote/sell products which I've never tried before?
You have to be completely honest and state that you are reviewing/selling product from your own research and not from your personal experience.
The key to success online is to be completely open and honest!
Although many people argue that you must purchase/use the product or service yourself before you can review and promote it to others, let's be honest it's really hard and expensive to own all the products you promote, especially you're just a beginner getting started.
So, you can sell products that you have not tried it yourself. But you need to do a lot of research and be honest about it.
Another thing you can do is to reach out to people who have used the product before and ask them to write about their experience with the product.
As you become more experienced and have a higher budget, you should aim to own as much products and services as possible before reviewing and promoting them.
Will Affiliate Marketing ever be saturated or no longer works?
There a growing concern that since there are more and more people doing affiliate marketing online, will affiliate marketing become saturated one day?
This concern is understandable but redundant.
While it's true that the number of affiliates are growing rapidly, don't forget that the number of customers purchasing stuffs online are growing at a much faster pace.
With the advancement in technology, there are more and more people having access to the Internet every day. This means there are more and more potential customers every single day.
Also, there are more and more markets being invented and discovered, affiliate marketing can only grow.
Check out this post for more information about the future of affiliate marketing.
How will I succeed with so many competitors out there?
You will succeed if you stop worrying about competition and focus on doing the actual work!
I understand this is a valid concern but having this concern is not going to lead you to success.
Even if you have a lot of competitors in your niche, you can still make money because no two websites are the same. Different people have different opinions and different things to offer to their target audience.
Affiliate marketing is different from tradition business where you need to beat your competitors and win a bigger market share to earn more money.
In affiliate marketing, your job is to understand the needs of your target audience and offer them solutions.
As long as you can choose a good niche/target audience and market good solutions to them, you can make money.
Do you add affiliate links only after you have a decent ranking?
You can, but not necessary.
Some people may think that search engines don't like affiliate links so it's best to get decent ranking for your content first before adding affiliate links.
However, this is NOT true!
Google doesn't hate affiliates. This post will show you why.
What Google hates is Low Quality Websites/Contents.
So, you can add in affiliate links when you are writing the content. You don't need to wait for it to rank first.
Your ranking mainly determines by the quality of your content!
What is a niche?
A niche is a group of people.
This group of people is the target audience who are interested in what you are offering them.
Choosing a niche means choosing a group of people whom you want to help and create value for by meeting their wants and needs or by solving their problems.
Let say you are a 55-year-old man and you used to be fat. But after some hard work, be it exercise, diet or any means, you've slimmed down a lot and are very healthy right now.
From this example, one of your possible niche can be: How to lose weight for men over 50.
You don't have to be a fitness instructor, neither do you have to be a dietician. Since you have the experience of successfully losing weight, you have knowledge and experience to share with people who are still struggling with losing weight.
So, men over 50 are your target audience. You aim to help these people to lose weight from your own experience!
How do I find a good Niche?
There are 4 rules to consider for you to choose a good niche:
- It should be your own passion/hobby
- It must be very specific
- You must be able to write contents & give your own opinions about it
- It must be profitable
1. It should be your own passion/hobby
Having passion in what you are doing is critical especially when you are just getting started. There are a lot of skills and knowledge to be learnt. You'll most probably get overwhelmed at the start.
Choosing a niche that is your passion or hobby allows you to stay on track and keep motivated. You'll have more content ideas for topics that are your own passion. This is very crucial.
2. It must be very specific
There are 2 reasons for choosing a very specific niche:
- It's easier to pinpoint specific problems and identify specific solutions for your target audience
- It's easier to make a name for yourself and establish yourself as the "go to" authority in a more narrowed niche
Basically, the more specific your niche is, the faster you can see results and make money.
Some people may have the misconception that they need to reach a large audience so they end up selecting a broad niche. This is not true at all.
My advice is don't try to please everyone. If everyone is your customer, then no one is your customer!
There's also a saying that goes like this: It's more profitable to be a big fish in a small pond than a small undefined fish in a big pond.
3. You must be able to write contents & give your own opinions about it
Content creation is one of the most important aspects of affiliate marketing business. So the niche you choose should be the topic you can keep writing about.
This is also why it should preferably be your passion - so that you have personal experience you can relate to.
Having your personal opinion allows your site to have a personal touch. This also allows you to engage with your audience more and makes your words more trustworthy!
4. It must be profitable
You can make money from almost every niche. However, the potential of every niche is different. Not all niche can be profitable.
There are quite a few ways to predict whether a niche is profitable. But as a beginner, I just want to give you 2 rules to follow:
- There must be product tie-in for your niche
- The price of the product shouldn't be too low
You can search in Google or on Amazon to see whether there are affiliate products or services you can sell in your niche. This is the most basic yet important aspect of making money in affiliate marketing business.
The products or services should not be too cheap because a product which is just a few bucks won't make you rich by promoting as an affiliate. There must be products that are more expensive or services that can pay you residual income (E.g. Recurring membership fee).
I'm not an expert in my niche. How to persuade people to trust me and buy from me?
Expert is relative. You don't need to be an absolute expert. You just need to be a relative expert.
You don't need a PhD in your niche in order to make money.
Ironically, having a PhD doesn't guarantee you to be good at making money in your niche if you don't know the marketing skills - the real knowledge of how to make money!
In order to make money, you just need to know more than your target audience.
For example, if you have a cat, you are much more experienced and knowledgeable in raising cats than those who don't have a cat but want one. You don't need to be a vet or cat expert but since you have the experience of raising a cat, you can help people who yet to have a cat.
As long as you have more experience and knowledge in a certain field, you are considered a relative expert for those who don't have the knowledge.
Basic Website Questions
Subdomain VS Own domain - What's the difference & Which one to get?
Domain name is the URL of your website. It's like the address of your house, whereas your hosting is like your actual house.
Mostly FREE. It'll generally look something like this:
YourDomainName.siterubix.com OR YourDomainName.wordpress.com, etc...
Paid. The cost varies depend on the quality of the hosting server. A decent one generally costs around $15 to $20 (sometimes the costs subject to demand as well)
A paid domain will look something like this:
YourDomainName.com OR www.YourDomainName.com, etc...
You do not fully own a free subdomain while you fully own the paid domain. And your own paid domain will usually rank higher in search engines.
What's the difference between Page & Post?
Page: A "Static" article. The article won't be affected by the time published. Some examples are About page & Contact Page. It's best to publish those evergreen content as pages.
Post: A regularly published Blog article. They will be displayed in your blogroll. As new blog posts are published, the older ones will be pushed down.
I'm not a tech guy and I know nothing about coding. How?
I also don't know anything about coding!
This worry is unnecessary because the technology today allows people to build their own professional looking website without any coding knowledge.
WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) which allows people to manage and edit their websites in a user-friendly interface without them touching any coding.
SiteRubix is a powerful website builder which helps you build your website in minutes adopting WordPress as the CMS.
Should my Homepage be my Blog or a Static Page?
Using a static page on your homepage allows you to clearly tell your visitors upfront what they will expect from your website and whether this website is for them.
Using blogroll as your homepage doesn't serve the purpose of telling your visitors what your website is about.
They need to spend some time navigating around before they understand what your website is about. But they will most likely leave your site before they even try to understand your site.
In fact, a lot of people use blogroll as their homepage because they are lazy or don't know what to put on their homepage.
Your homepage need to deliver a clear message to your target audience, preferably with a call-to-action, because people's attention span online is very short. You need to be super clear on what you're offering and only static homepage can do this.
Content Creation Questions
How long should a post or article be?
Any length, but longer is usually better
A research by Neil Patel proves this:
This image shows that the average word count for contents rank at first position in search engine is around 2450 words.
Some people may think that since people's attention span online is so short, not many people would read such a long article.
But the reality is that longer content tends to get more shares, more link-backs and more trusted by search engines.
The reason is that longer contents usually have more quality information and that is what search engines want.
It doesn't mean short contents can't deliver value but most long contents definitely have more value and information.
Check out this post by Neil Patel on this topic. You'll get inspired!
Do I need to be a writer to create good content?
Being a writer may give you some advantage when comes to writing contents for your website but not guaranteed.
Writing contents online is different from writing books or writing composition for your school exam.
In order to make money, you need to write contents that are conversion focused! This is something that you won't bother when writing books or composition.
Personally, English is my second language.
There is a particular successful online marketer I know in Wealthy Affiliate that English is his FOURTH language but he is still creating content and earning a huge passive income online through his website. He is even running a successful Podcast now!
There are skills that can be learnt to help you write contents that sell.
Don't worry if you're not a writer or you think you're bad at writing!
Can I post the same article to multiple locations?
This is definitely not acceptable because it will be deemed as duplicated content by search engines. The duplicated ones will be ranked low so there's no point doing that.
It's best to come up with your own original content every time!
Can I translate another article by myself and publish it as my own?
It will be considered an original content by search engine if you translate the content manually by yourself.
After all, it's hard to detect that the content is from another source because there are many ways to translate the same thing.
Don't use things like Google translate. Firstly, the translation will definitely be low quality. Secondly, it may be detected by search engines.
However, it's best to come up with your own original content because that's the long term strategy if you really want to make a long term full-time income online.
How often should I post a blog post?
Depends on your schedule but the norm is one post per week.
How often you should write a post really depends on your time and your schedule. If you can write more, that's definitely better.
Studies have shown that the norm is one post per week.
If you are posting at least one post per week, you're good.
If you're not due to your other commitments or limited time, it's fine. It just means it'll take a longer time for you to see results.
Can I copy contents from difference places & put them together?
If Google finds out you're doing this, which they most likely will, your website will be penalized. This usually comes in the form of not being able to rank well in search engines.
Again, there's no point posting contents that are not yours. You should be posting original and valuable content if you want to rank well and make money.
If you want to quote things from other websites, you can take screenshots instead of copying the part you want to share on your site.
Can I outsource my blog posts/content creation?
You can outsource content creation by hiring writers to write for you. But you should only do it after you've seen some results and earned some money online.
Outsourcing content creation is not as simple as you may think.
You need to know what kind of contents you should write and how to write it, so that you can give clear instructions to people who are writing contents for you.
This can only be done if you have achieved some results by writing for your own website.
Many beginners want to outsource content creation at the start because they are lazy or they are not confident in their own writing.
Even if they outsource content creation at this stage, they won't be able to give clear instructions to people who are writing for them.
So the content they outsourced won't really make them money. Instead, there is a high chance they will only lose money.
Website Development/Growth Questions
What is the best source of website traffic?
Organic search is the traffic from the search engines when your contents are ranked.
It is the best source of website traffic because it is totally free and once your content is ranked well, the traffic is passive and it'll just keep on coming in.
The research done by Convertkit can prove this.
What is the best strategy to grow your audience?
Once again, Convertkit's research shows that social media is the most popular way to grow audience.
This is probably because social media marketing is one of the most common strategies people know about growing audience.
This page is by all means an inexhaustive list. Should you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below and I'll do my best to help you.
I'll add more FAQs into this list along the way!
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