15 Proven Steps How To Start Affiliate Marketing For Beginners in 2020

Have you ever wondered how to start affiliate marketing for beginners? Meaning you don’t have much experience with affiliate marketing and would like to know more about how you can make it work in the real-world as an affiliate marketer. It can be hard to make money online with affiliate marketing but once you get the hang of it, the amount you can make is unlimited. So use these examples below to know how to start affiliate marketing for beginners in 2020.

Choose your affiliate niche

Choosing your affiliate niche is probably the most important thing you should do before you even start creating your first website. There is nothing worse than having everything set up, just to realize, you are in the wrong niche that would not make you money later on. Choosing your affiliate niche is the first and most important step you should do and you have to spend enough time doing the research. You don’t want to be in an affiliate niche that’s oversaturated. You can use Google Trends which is a free tool to find out which niche is still expanding and growing even after a few years. Let’s look at the image below.

Shopify trend in the last 5 years

 Another important thing to know when you are choosing your affiliate niche is the fact that you need to be able to make enough money long-term. The best one would be so cold evergreen niches. That means you create something that can be used even years later. You don’t want to spend time doing something or creating content for something that would be in the market for a very short period of time. That usually means reviewing products that go out of the market quickly. Laptops. Cameras and other electronics are great examples.

Now the important thing is to know you can create enough content that you would be able to have the website or YouTube channel for a long time. You have to write enough articles so you can get to higher rankings in Google or any other search engine The more content you create the higher chance that people would find your content. That could be a website or YouTube channel. So you need to find an affiliate niche in which you know you can create enough content for a long period of time. 

Another important thing to know is that there are some niches that will be harder to rank for on Google or any other search engine platform. These are usually related to niches like business, health, money, and finance in general. These might be really hard to rank for on Google as they don’t want to show just anyone the information that might not be correct or useful for the readers. So it could take you a lot of time to rank on searches in these specific niches. Let’s look below at what are the niches you should avoid. 

  • Health niche
  • Fitness niche
  • Healthy food niche
  • Investments

Research your competition

Once you’ve chosen your niche it is important to research the competition. That means you have to look at other websites or YouTube channels to see what other people are doing. 

You are trying to get an idea, not to copy others. So you should Google and research the websites that are already in the niche you have chosen. Look at the first page on Google and go through each website that is showing on the first page. This will get you a better idea of what’s already there. You should spend quite some time looking at other people’s websites and see if you can make some changes or adjustments by yourself.

That means you have to create your own ideas but still stay on the topic of the niche. If the competition is too fierce it might not be a good idea to start with the chosen niche. Try to find something that will be even more specific to that niche so you’ll go into more detail than the competition. For example, if you want to start a website about pets and you see the competition is really fierce and there is a lot of information about pets in general, you can focus more on a specific bread like a dog or cat so you would go into much more detail in that specific niche.

You can also use tools that will help you more to distinguish the competition. Let’s look at some popular tools that can help you with the competition research. I found a great article by OptinMonster where you can find the 25 essential competitor research tools you need to know

Research affiliate programs and services

Once you have researched your competition, it’s time to research the affiliate programs and services you are planning to promote. You don’t want to promote just any product even though you could make good money. You should only promote affiliate products or services that you know your audience could benefit from.

 I advise you to spend quite some time and research the best affiliate programs for your chosen niche even before you create the website or YouTube channel. The worst thing you can do is to promote the products that are of bad quality or company’s customer service is non-existent. Your audience will just flock away. What are the things you should look for in a good affiliate program? Let’s look at some examples below. 

  • Customer service
  • Quality product
  • Already used by other known bloggers
  • Recommended by trusted sources

Now, you need to know how much money you are able to make from a certain affiliate program. Of course, this vary a lot depending on the affiliate niche you choose and it can go anywhere from 1% to as much as 70% for some products.

 For example, if you are in the traveling niche, the popular airline KLM has an affiliate reward of just 1% from the sale. On the other side, popular software called ClickFunnels has the affiliate rewards on 40% for sale. So as you can see, it can vary a lot. 

You should choose and promote affiliate products that are high-quality, with good customer service and recommended by trusted sources with a good commission which would allow you to make a living with affiliate business. Now let’s look at some of the best affiliate programs that are available.And if you want to discover more programs I recommend you to check my other article about The Best Affiliate Programs in 2020. 



So once you have done your affiliate program research and know you are able to make money from affiliate marketing, it’s time to get to another step.

Create an affiliate plan

 The biggest mistake the beginner affiliate marketers make is that they treat affiliate marketing just as a hobby. If you treat it like this, you will make money the same way, just for a hobby. 

It is important to create an affiliate marketing plan, just as you would with any other business because, in the end, it is. Affiliate marketing can make you as much money as possible, so it is important to create a business plan that will help you achieve your goal.

You should write down everything step-by-step on how you plan to grow your affiliate business. That means you have to go exactly one step at a time and set a deadline for each step that you want to accomplish. You can use these steps as a guideline to know what you should be focusing on next. 

Get a domain name

So if you have created your affiliate plan and did your research, you are finally ready to create your first website. The first thing you need to do is to set up a domain name. Decide how the website will be called. The name of the website is not as important but there are few rules that you should adhere to. Let’s look into those rules a little bit more. 

  • As short name as possible
  • The name should reflect the website niche
  • Easy to remember

And if you can’t come with the name I recommend a domain generator which is a website that will generate a domain name for you. It will give you a sound example and you can use them as an inspiration for the name of your affiliate website. 

Simply Google domain generator and you’ll see many websites that will help you come up with a name for your affiliate site. After you have come up with a domain name, it’s time to register the domain.

 I recommend two options, those are Google domains and SiteGround domains. I use both options and they are great and reliable. I didn’t have any problems so far. 

Once you have set up a domain you should also register email with that same-name-domain. It could be [email protected] That means you are now appearing as a company that looks more professional and trustworthy to your readers and partners as well.

Anyone who is going to be interacting with you will be treating you more seriously just because of the email name. I recommend the Gmail because you will get access to Google Docs which you can then use for writing articles with an incredible feature that is the speech-to-text function. It will allow you to write your article way faster than you would with writing. I’m using the speech-to-text feature right now and even though it isn’t perfect, it definitely helps me to get more done in less time.

 The Google Cloud will cost you around $6 per month but the benefits you get for your business are well worth the investment. I have to say that Gmail is very easy to work with compared to other website providers. So even though the Google domains are still in beta I would recommend using it anyway. 

Get a hosting for your affiliate website

Hosting is a place where your website lives. The first thing you need in order to create a website. All your files will be stored in a hosting environment, which means articles, pictures,  videos and any content you produce will be stored there. 

I recommend getting a reliable host for your website. The one that we use is called SideGround and now I host all my websites on the SiteGround platform. Their hosting was voted as the most reliable and fastest among all. You can see more reviews.

The basic hosting plan will cost you around $5 per month and if you want something better it will cost you around $15 per month.

 if you are on a very tight budget you can go with another hosting platform which is a BlueHost and their plan start at just $3 per month. I would only recommend Bluehost for those who are on a very tight budget and can not afford to pay more than $15 per month with SiteGround. 

The biggest advantage of having the SiteGround is they can set up the process for you so you don’t have to do the setup yourself. That might be very helpful if you are just a beginner and don’t have much experience with creating and linking websites with domains.

Beside, SiteGround support was also voted as one of the best in the industry and if you don’t believe me just check the speed of this website. Try opening any page and you’ll see how fast it opens. 

Create a website or YouTube channel

Let’s start with creating a website. The best and easy thing to do is to install a WordPress platform. It is a content management system for websites that helps you with creating all content on the platform. It is free and doesn’t cost you anything. Simply install WordPress from your hosting platform. It will give you the ability to create pages, posts, upload photos, videos and change the design of your website.

You should also install plug-ins that will make some tasks even easier. Once you have installed your WordPress, you should choose a theme. That is the look of your website. You can either choose a free one or the premium one. The latter will of course be better as you would have more options and the quality would be higher. You want to make your website as nice as possible so people can easily find what they are looking for within a nice layout.

The average price for premium themes is around $52 to $100. There is no monthly fee. You pay once and get the theme for lifetime with all the upcoming updates. Let’s look at some of the popular platforms, where you can purchase a premium theme. 

  • ThemeForest
  • WPEngine
  • ThemeProShop

So once you found a good theme it is time to install it and also install the necessary plug-ins that will help you rank higher in Google search. Also make the website faster and more reliable. Let’s look at some of the most popular plugins you should install on your WordPress theme. 

  • RankMath – One of the new plug-ins that you can use for SEO which will help you tremendously to rank higher in Google search. It is free and doesn’t cost anything. It is a competitor of the popular Yoast plugin which I do not recommend anymore. RankMath will give you way more benefits in order to see and improve your SEO game. It even has more than 10 modules like local SEO, search console optimization, on-page SEO advisor that is great and it will help you make your content appeal more to search engines. It also supports the rich snippet like the review stars and much more. 
  • CloudFlare CDN – If you are using SiteGround, the Cloudflare CDN is free of charge and it will help you make your website much faster. CDN stands for Content Delivery Network which means you’re website will get faster, depending on the location your visitor is in. So if you are planning on having worldwide audience, it is almost necessary to use the CDN network.
  • WP Rocket – And if you want to make your website super fast then you should install the WP Rocket plug-in which costs $49. It is considered one of the best plug-ins when it comes to improving your website speed. I use this plug-in personally and my website went from 50% to now almost 98% of speed. That is an incredible result and for a new website, the speed is probably the only thing you have against the competition. You can not compete with the content, which means you probably don’t have as many articles as your competition, so you need to rely on the website speed if you want to win the race with them. Their website speed is not as important anymore because they already have an audience. They have a huge amount of content so they don’t have to focus on the speed as much as you should when you are just creating your first website.

Start making content

You have probably heard many marketing experts say that the content is king. They are absolutely right. In the beginning, the only thing you should focus on is creating more and more content. That could be writing articles, making videos on YouTube, posting on Instagram and other ways that someone can find later.

You want to focus on evergreen content which means that it will be searchable even after a few years. That’s why I also recommend choosing the evergreen niche when you are just starting your first website. It is important to choose a topic that has very low search volume and competition. You don’t want to and can’t compete with other big websites. That means you should start writing articles that your competition would not write about. Let’s look at some examples below. 

  • How to set up DSL Canon 212
  • How to travel when you are broke
  • How to build an outdoor office

As you can see those are phrases that not many people would look for on Google. Yet, they do get a certain amount of searches each month. That means, as a new website, you would rank higher for those terms signaling to Google that your website is already on. It will help you later when you create a better and bigger content, where you will be competing with the competition. However, your first 10 or so articles should be written on a very specific niche topic. I’m going to show you how to look for these lower volume keywords using just a regular Google search.


After you have written down 10 so articles with very low volume search, you should now start creating content that is more competitive but still not as competing as much. These articles should be around 2,500 words long and they should focus on the more general topic. You will probably write a lot of those. It will bring you a fair amount of traffic each month and you should spend some time creating a nice design and layout that will go along with the articles. Don’t forget to activate the share buttons, that means people could share your articles on social media or elsewhere.

Once you have written the articles for the more average search, now is time to compete with the beasts in your niche. That means you are now going to create a pillar post that is a long detailed and of much better quality than the competition ones. These articles can be even 4000 or 5000 words long. Try to make them as long as possible. You may spend even few days creating one article like this.

 However, these articles are the most important ones as they will probably bring you the most traffic and in the future the most revenue. So make sure you spend your time and create the best articles as you can. Look at the competition and try to make it better, nicer and more meaty. 

You don’t want to just go and copy the competition, so take an idea and try to make it in your own way. If you see that the competition has really big and helpful articles, it does not make much sense to create another one if you can not make it better. In that case, you should look for another topic and avoid writing about what competition has already written about. 

Bring in the audience

What’s the point of having a website if no one visits it?  You need to find ways to bring in the audience. That means you either have to optimize your web page for SEO or you need to pay for advertisements on different platforms. Let’s look at some ways you could bring in the audience.

  • SEO – Which stands for search engine optimization and it is probably one of the most important things you should use if you want to bring in as much audience as possible for free. That means you optimize your articles so they can be easily found by Google and you appear in search results on higher positions. You should optimize your website for on-page SEO and also for off-page SEO. The important thing to know is that you should always put the reader first. You don’t want to over-optimize your posts. That could even mean penalization from Google. So you have to find a balance between optimization for Google and optimization for the reader. And what I mean by optimization for the reader? It means your article should be easily readable. You should use headlines properly which means H1 H2 H3 should be used correctly. You should use bullet or number points whenever appropriate. Also, use vocabulary that your audience can understand. I recommend using RankMath, which will help you significantly with the on-page SEO. and it’s free so you don’t have to purchase anything. The plug-in will give you advice on what you should do to optimize your article well. You will see all that information when writing the article itself

  • Guest posting – Meaning that you are posting articles on other people websites that already have an authority in your niche. That might be hard to do in the beginning and you should always try to provide value first, to that website, that you want to go and promote your content on. That means you don’t want to just spam the website owner, you want to bring value to their audience. They probably get a lot of emails while people are trying to post on their blog, so you have to stand out. The email you send to them has to be different than from others. It means it all starts with the first email you send them and you want to make that as valuable as possible. So focusing on the subject in an email is very important. Guest posting can be very effective if done properly. You don’t want to just write on any blog you find. You could even get penalized by Google for doing this. You only want to guest post on people websites that are very relevant to your own site. That means, if your website is about making money online you should only consider posting your article to the websites that are in the same niche of making money online. You don’t want to post on a fitness niche website. Usually, you can do guest posting for free but sometimes you would have to pay. Their might be some people that will charge you for posting on their blog. You should always contact the owner and if it is a very competitive website that has a high-ranking, you should consider paying for guest posting. 
  • Build an email list – Building your own email list from day one is probably the number one thing you should do. It is the only thing you own. If you think to post on social media will bring you traffic think again, You have no control over the social media and they can shut you down anytime they want. I recommend getting a plug-in that can help you collect emails from your website. One of the most popular plugins are MailChimp for WordPress and ThriveLeads. These two plug-ins can help you collect emails from your website. There are free with basic functions which are totally good if you are just starting out. Once you set up your lead magnet you need to register with the email providers. I recommend MailChimp and Convertkit. These two are probably the most popular ones for sending emails to your audience. ConvertKit might be a little more advanced and better if you would like to have also some logic when sending out emails. Let’s say you want to send certain emails to one group of people and you have different emails for other people. This type is great if you want to be more personal and you want to help each person as much as possible. So they would get an individual response to their own question. 
  • Comment on Forums – Commenting on forums like Quora or in Facebook Groups can be a great way to bring traffic to your website. There are millions of people that use these platforms every single day and they are looking for answers to their questions. if you can help out people, they will certainly visit your website and you will probably get a long-time visitor. Also, people that found you in forums are more likely to stay on your website longer, because they care about the topic. The bounce rate of someone visiting your website from forums is very low, which means people stay on your website for a long time signaling to Google that your website is relevant and they should rank you higher.
  • Commenting on other blogs – Another way to bring traffic to your website is similar to the previous one and that is commenting on other people websites. Your comment must always be relevant to the topic. Once you start spamming other websites you will probably get banned and you will never be able to comment again. Your reputation will also diminish because now you are appearing as a spammer, not as someone who wants to help others. Let’s look at some examples of how you should comment on other websites and where should you put your links.
  • Paid advertisement – If your budget is higher and you want to spend some money on promoting your website, you can bring an audience creating an ad on Facebook YouTube or any other platform and get that audience to visit your website. However, I do not recommend it. This technique will cost you a lot of money and in most cases people do not stay for a long time. They might visit your website for a few minutes and then they are gone. Which means you have wasted some of your money for nothing. So try to sneak away with free methods as much as you can. 


Register with affiliate networks and programs

When you have your website set up and you already have some audience, you can start looking into promoting other people’s products, programs or services. That is also called affiliate marketing. You can either register with an affiliate network, which means there is one network for multiple companies that they use in order to organize their affiliates ( people that promote their products or services ). 

Some popular affiliate networks:

  • ShareAsale 
  • CJ affiliates 
  • Rakuten 
  • Amazon Associates 

Another option is to register directly with a company and promote their affiliate product or program. For example, you can register with company called ClickFunnels, which has their own affiliate program.

When applying as an affiliate you will need to fill out the form with your credentials, your website and usually the reason why you want to promote the affiliate product and how you are going to promote it. 

Sometimes, it is important to have a website so you look better in the eyes of the affiliate network or company. In most cases you should get accepted. However, they might find some problem, why they wouldn’t accept you. In this case I recommend that you visit the website MakingSenseOfCents.com where you will find more information on how to get accepted to all affiliate networks and programs with ease. 

Promote affiliate products and services

Once you have created your website and you have an audience, you should start focusing on promoting your chosen affiliate products or services. That means you want people to click on and purchase the products you are promoting, so you can make some money. You can not expect people to just purchase whatever you put in front of them. Now, more than ever, people are more reluctant to purchase anything online, unless they are convinced that it can help them in any way. So let’s look at some of the most popular ways you can promote affiliate products or services. 

  • Links in the articles – Probably the most common way to promote your affiliate products or services is to simply put links to your article, that you are writing and hope people will click on the affiliate link to purchase the affiliate product. You have probably seen it on many websites. It’s the simplest way you can promote affiliate programs or services.
  • Resource page – Having a resource page on your website is very crucial and it can help you bring a significant amount of money. That means you create a page where you list your favorite tools, products or services that you are using and recommend, while making the affiliate commission in the end. A very good example is a resource page done by Pat Flynn where he showcases his favorite products and services that he personally use in a very nice way. The whole design just makes you want to click on those offers, which brings him a nice commission in the end.
  • Email promotions –  Another popular way of promoting affiliate products is with email marketing, which means you send emails to your email list and try to get people to purchase the affiliate product or service. You would say the reason why they should purchase the product, how can it help them and how is it helping you. So always try to help your audience first. Never just sell a product, because of the high commission.
  • Banner ads –  Banner ads are the oldest way of promoting products on the website. Creating a banner ad might backfire if someone is using an ad blocker on their computer. Nowadays a lot of people use it so I would be very careful of using the banner ads. Again, it is very important to make the ad look appealing so you don’t want to have too many of them on the website as that could just irritate your audience.
  • Discounts – Another great way to promote affiliate programs or services is to use discounts that you might get from the affiliate network or the company itself. A great example is again the website of Pat Flynn, where he’s promoting the web hosting company BlueHost and he is offering a special discounted price of just $2.79 to his audience, which is a lower price than the original price on the BlueHost official web page. So his audience can save money with Bluehost. It is a great way to build rapport with your audience as you are trying to save them money as well. People will love you even more.
  • Product reviews –  Another great way to promote affiliate product can be by doing reviews. That means you honestly review the product that you want to promote and in the article you also mention affiliate link that people can use and you would get a commission. That means, if someone found your review valuable and they are interested in the product, they will most likely use your affiliate link to purchase it. You can also compare two similar products and have two affiliate links, which means that no matter what product the person choose, you will still get an affiliate commission. You can compare popular web hosting platforms, website creation platforms, e-commerce platforms and much more. By simply comparing two products, you are giving your audience a better picture of what products should they choose and which one you personally recommend. 

Have the right tools to manage affiliate promotions

Once you have set up your affiliate links and got some sales you need to track your effectiveness and see what is working for you and what does not. There are some great tools which will help you to manage your affiliate promotions. That means they will make it a much easier and time effective. So let’s take a look at some of the most popular managing plugins.

  • AffiliateWP
  • PrettyLinks
  • Affiliate manager
  • Affiliates
  • Ultimate Affiliate PRO

Personally I would recommend using the PrettyLinks, which is a great plug-in that has the best rating and is also recommended by well-known bloggers, so it really works well. The biggest advantage is that it allows you to track your links and see what place is the most effective on your website. You will know how many people clicked on a certain affiliate link and how many of them converted and purchased the affiliate product later. So if you are serious about affiliate marketing and you already have affiliate links across your website, I definitely recommend using the PrettyLinks plugin.

Try consulting

 I think consulting can be a great way to make money in the beginning, when you are just starting your website. It may take you months or even years to get to a good position on Google search, so you have to diversify your options when it comes to making money online.

Even though affiliate marketing is a great way to make money I’d say consulting could be a very lucrative way to make money in the beginning. It might be easier to convert just a few people from your audience that already trust you and will be willing to use your consulting feature.

You don’t have to be an expert in the niche, you should simply know more than the person who wants get consulting from you. I definitely encourage you to try consulting even if you have no prior experience. I found a great YouTube video, where you can learn more information if you are just starting with the consulting business. 

Design your website

The last aspect that you need to accomplish is designing your website. Many people make the mistake of thinking they need the design in the beginning and they spend too much time and focus on design, instead of creating the content that would bring them the customers and readers.

Design is only important ones you have an audience that is coming to your website regularly. You don’t have to go overboard. I recommend creating your logo using the website called 48hourslogo.com where designers create a logo for your own website. The price can range anywhere from $50 to $200 depending on your budget. I have used 48hourslogo.com before on my websites and I have to say they are doing a really great job Your logo will be professional and appealing to your audience. 

If you have purchased a brand new theme for WordPress, it probably has some design built in so you don’t have to do much. I don’t think it is necessary to hire a designer to do that. Simply play with the design a little bit and try to find the appealing way your audience would love. 

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