This page contains affiliate links and we have advertising relationships with the stores and companies in this post.

Are you confused about what exactly affiliate marketing even is? I have heard many beginner bloggers and influencers stress their issues with understanding affiliate marketing so I composed this easy to follow guide to get started with affiliate links.

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My fail-proof guide to get started with affiliate links and affiliate marketing

The Fail-Proof Guide To Get Started With Affiliate Links

What is affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is when you monetize your blog by promoting and selling other’s products. You would try to earn money by placing an affiliate link on your website, social media account, or anywhere that you have online influence for potential sales. Affiliate marketing ultimately aims to have people purchase a product through your affiliate link or links.

Who is an Affiliate?

An affiliate is a person or other business who promotes a product or service offered by other people and businesses. Once you promote an affiliate product, you become an affiliate.

The mistakes I made starting out with affiliate links.

Like most beginner bloggers out there, I got started with affiliate marketing by first signing up for Amazon Associates’ affiliate marketing program. At first, it was hard to understand and I made no money with it. This was because I did not know what I was doing. I kept telling myself I am a developer, not a salesperson. Wrong! As bloggers, we all wear many hats and must go with the flow. It was time to tackle that learning curve and get to the nitty gritty.

Moving forward.

I soon learned there are other affiliates you work with and use their links if they are more appropriate for a certain topic and learned certain ways you should implement affiliate links to potentially make money from them.

There are also easier and more appropriate affiliate programs and networks for bloggers to join that may be more appropriate for their blog content have more potential in their niche market.  As soon as I implemented these easier to use and understand affiliate programs with more appropriate affiliate links and used Amazon’s affiliate links in a more effective way, I was getting the hang of it and actually making some money.

I soon started making some money but wanted to maximize my earnings and perfect my strategy. Earlier this month I signed up for Michelle’s Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing course, which made a world of difference for me. It not only reassured me that I was on the right track but simplified everything step-by-step down to a T so I could add and tweak my strategy and hopefully perfect it. It is the best blogging resource I have come across and I have access to all the course content and Facebook group for life.

affiliate marketing

Michelle is the creator of makingsenseofcents.com and makingsenseofaffiliatemarketing.com and is a blogging superwoman. She quit her full-time job to run her own business and travel full time. She makes $100,000+ monthly from her blogging business and a large part of that income comes from affiliate marketing. Michelle’s experience is unmatched in the blogging world, at least I think so, and thus her course content is unique. Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing was 100% worth it and has already doubled my affiliate marketing earnings within only 2 weeks. 

The best affiliate programs for beginners.

The thing is my blog is still fairly new so I don’t have that many followers or page views yet. My following is nothing compared to what other bloggers have. Yet, that has no effect on your affiliate marketing potential. Affiliate marketing is all about the quality of followers, not the quantity. You want a particular following that is loyal and interested to click on your affiliate links. This is why it is important to partner with affiliate programs in your niche, so the readers and potential readers/future following in that same niche are interested.

Affiliate networks are perfect for starting out since you can search a variety of affiliate programs in different categories, easily apply to them in one click and wait for a response for approval or denial. After you are alerted that you have been approved, you are ready to use their links and the affiliate network does the rest for you for payment. It is also nice that you could potentially have 20 something affiliate partners in one network, but only need to worry about the payment from the affiliate network and not 20 different payments. These are some of the affiliate programs and networks I have found to work the best for me and have the largest payouts.

Affiliate Networks to search for programs


I use affiliate links from the below networks for programs that do not have their own hosted affiliate program but offer through these affiliate networks instead. These programs include as StudioPress, iThemes, PicMonkey, GoDaddy, WPEngine, Grammarly, Fiverr, Decluttr, Swagbucks, etc. You just search your desired category and join the programs you see fit from each network.

After you sign up for an affiliate network and complete your profile, search your desired category and join the programs you see fit from each network.

Affiliate Window

Shareasale

Commission Junction

Rakuten (Link Share)

Stand alone Affiliate Programs

Web Hosting
If you have programs in mind, go ahead and google your program name with the word affiliate and you are bound to find somewhere you can sign up. Here are some programs I promote using affiliate links and have worked well for me so far.

As mentioned above, Amazon, in the right context.

eBay

Adobe Creative Cloud

Siteground

Bluehost

Creative Market

Elegant Themes

ConvertKit

Shopify

Be compliant. Include an affiliate disclosure at the top of your content.

Before you start including affiliate links in your blog and posts, you MUST include affiliate disclosures before any content. Create a page called ‘Disclosure’ and include your full disclosure statement there. I include my disclosure immediately after the title and featured image, on its own page and in the footer of every page. I was able to do this easily by creating my own shortcode to be the first thing in all my posts before any content. I later found an easier way to do it with a plugin. Continue reading to find out how.

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Create a shortcode to include an affiliate disclosure in the beginning of a post or page.

Use a plugin to generate your shortcode or add it manually via functions.php.

In your WordPress dashboard, select ‘Appearance’ -> ‘Editor’. In the file editor, on the right sidebar, select functions.php.

Add the following code to the end of your functions.php file. Edit the code to fit your disclosure and save.

function get_disclosure($atts) { return ‘<p><em><strong>This page contains affiliate links. <a href=”http://iliketodabble.com/disclosure/”>Read my full disclosure</a>.</strong></em></p>’; } add_shortcode(‘disclosure’, ‘get_disclosure’);

guide to get started with affiliate links

When you include the shortcode in your posts before any content, just type [shortcode]. In this case, ‘shortcode’ would be ‘disclosure’.

guide to get started with affiliate links

Use a plugin to automatically add in your affiliate disclosures.

I have found an easier way to implement affiliate disclosures automatically on every post using a WordPress plugin called FMTC Affiliate Disclosure.

Go to ‘Plugins’ in your WordPress dashboard and select ‘Add New’. Search for ‘FMTC Affiliate Disclosure’ and it should pop up first. Click ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate’.

You will see the ‘Affiliate Disclosure’ option under ‘Settings’. Click it and edit the disclosure text, click save and it automatically does the rest for you.

guide to get started with affiliate links

I use the plugin for my posts and I after I updated the disclosure text, there is no further action required. The affiliate disclosure automatically shows on all posts. It does not show on pages though, which is why I still use my shortcode to include in pages with affiliate links.

On posts, with the plugin, the disclosure shows in between the featured image and Shareaholic buttons in my theme.

guide to get started with affiliate links

On pages, with my own developed shortcode, the disclosure shows after the page title and Shareaholic buttons.

guide to get started with affiliate links

Use a plugin to make your affiliate links more appealing to your readers (and therefore more clickable).

I use Pretty Link to make my affiliate links more appealing to my readers so they are more likely to click on them. The more they click, the more likely it is for them to purchase something or sign up for something, and the more likely it is that you make money. The less spammy they look, the better. Pretty Link Pro is even better, giving you more control over your affiliate links!

For example, they would convert this link structure https://www.siteground.com/index.htm?afcode=96dc8f56125441a6facce995a04022c8 into this https://iliketodabble.com/siteground. This way your users trust what they are clicking and overall makes your site more trustworthy.

How to add affiliate links to your posts.

If you have never added links before in WordPress or on any other blog or website before, you might need some instruction on how to go about adding a link.

Here are a couple easy steps for you to follow along on.

  1. In the WordPress post or page editor, click the link icon. above the text area.guide to get started with affiliate links
  2. When the link editor pops up where your cursor is in the text editor, select the gears icon for ‘Settings’ to create your link. guide to get started with affiliate links
  3. Fill in the link url and the text you want the link to appear as. Select ‘Open link in new tab’ so you don’t send your users away from your site completely. guide to get started with affiliate links
  4. Now you are good to go!

Use affiliate links in your content effectively.

Include affiliate links at the beginning, middle, and end of your posts but don’t use them too much or make them look spammy. Try to sell your users on it but casually. Do not be spammy. For example, write a review to a product and link to the affiliate link at the beginning, middle, and end. Write a post on blog tips and ways to boost a blog’s success and include affiliate links to various blogging tools. Create a ‘Resources’ page to include all of your recommendations for readers that maybe want to use the same products and services as you. Include the product name, the product affiliate link and a small photo for each in your ‘Resources’ page. See my resource page, for example, Resources. It is, however, still a work in progress.

To find out more how to perfect your strategy with using affiliate links in your content, check out the Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing course.

Share your posts to others and engage on social media.

Just like every new post that is published, you need to share it across as many platforms as possible, in groups, boards, tribes, etc. Engage with your readers and followers as much as possible. You can post affiliate links directly on social platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest but make sure to always disclose that it is an affiliate link and do not make it spammy.

To find out more how to perfect your strategy with using affiliate links in social media, check out the Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing course.

Be patient.

This is not a get rich quick deal. Nothing will get you rich quick besides being born into it. Affiliate marketing, much like other marketing strategies, takes a bit of time to perfect. Practice makes perfect. You must be patient and constantly learn new ways of doing things and find what works for you. Just keep going with your content and engagements, constantly seasoning and tweaking. You will get there, I am still ‘getting there’ and have much more to learn. I am only coming to the end of my second month blogging, and have already made 200+ dollars from affiliate links and that is all I need. A little result soon turns into a big result. The best is yet to come!

Related:

How To Create A Self Hosted WordPress Blog

How To Monetize Your Blog Using Free WordPress Plugins

21 Top Tools To Help Boost Your Blog

Frustrated With Google AdSense? Try These Top Alternatives

How To Secure Your WordPress Blog From Hackers

How To Work From Home Doing Anything You Want

How To Create A Beautiful Blog Using Free WordPress Themes

Idiot Proof SEO: How To Improve Your Google Rank

How To Create Killer Blog Posts

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64 Replies to “The Fail-Proof Guide To Get Started With Affiliate Links”

  1. This is a great post for us blogging newbs. I launched my blog at the beginning of April and have got no where with my affiliate links for similar reasons that you mentioned. I love how relate-able your content is, it ensure I’ll be trying all your tips over the next month.

    sarriewebdesigns.com/blog

  2. This is SUPER helpful! I have been toying with the idea of getting started with affiliate links for a while, but had no idea where to start.

  3. That is a great affiliate links 101 and I definitely need to learn more. I will try and use some of your ideas for my blogs.

  4. These are some great tips. I am always wanting to learn about new affiliate programs to sign up for. Most of the time I don’t promote them, maybe I should give it a try again.

  5. This is an excellent post and guide on setting up affiliate links on the blogs, its something I have been meaning to do but keep putting off as like you said I had no idea how to.

  6. Thanks for such a clear guide. I’m a newbie and haven’t yet looked at how to make money from my site but this article has really helped me by clearly explaining what is involved. I’ll refer back to this in the future I’m sure.

  7. This is an awesome article! I’m actually in the middle of starting to set up my affiliate links and this is some info I’ve been trying to find for days! Thank you!

  8. Fantastic tips. I use Amazon affiliate successfully and have considered some of these other ones too.

    anestinthecity.com

  9. Thank you SO MUCH for putting this together!! This is such a difficult (but vital) topic for new bloggers to figure out. I’m bookmarking it to read in-depth this weekend. I appreciate the information so much!!

  10. amazing tips! I want to get started in this and it’s definitely on my list of things to figure out.

  11. This is a great guide for those who wish to venture into affiliate marketing. I like what you’ve done to your blog in terms of the design. Looks great! I wish to re-design mine in the future as well.

  12. Affiliate marketing is awesome if you know how to play their game. I think this is a pretty good guide on how to get started and what companies to sign up with.

  13. I’ve been blogging for over 6 years, and I have yet to take advantage of affiliate marketing, with the exception of Amazon. This guide was especially helpful for me.

  14. I think being patient is the BIGGEST part of affiliate links. Its so crazy when one starts to almost be obsessive about checking sales/link clicks. But, once you “chill out” a bit, you see that people are starting to check out what you share!

  15. Great post! I made the same mistake – signing up for Amazon affiliates. After all, I shop on Amazon all the time and so do many others. But of course, I didn’t have enough followers and never sold anything.

    I did sign up for other affiliates but then didn’t follow through with promoting them (at least not enough). I’ve pinned this post to refer back to as I continue to grow my blog.

    Thank you for the clear and thorough info!

    Yours,

    Mariana

  16. So glad to see a reminder to disclose, especially since the FTC is cracking down on bloggers or influencers who fail to do so. Using affiliate links can benefit your blog as long as you follow the rules.

  17. I love the plugin to change the affiliate structure! I am still on blogger – so I have to manually do a lot of that. Affiliate marketing is definitely a great way to earn income.

  18. This is so helpful to me. I’ve been trying to start with a few and really needed this to get me there. Hope this helps someone as well as it will me. Great tips!

  19. Thank you for sharing this amazing article about affiliate links, being an absolute beginner at bloging this can help me a lot !

  20. This is very helpful, since I am just starting with affiliate marketing. I have a relatively new blog and want to start expanding it. Thanks!

  21. This is a very informative post and a great resource for bloggers. I’ve always wanted to learn more about affiliate links and how they could be beneficial.

  22. Thanks for this guide. Is so complete. I need this help with affiliate links I have them for quit some time and I’m not getting any money out of them.

  23. This post is extremely helpful! I am bookmarking it. Never even thought about affiliate links until I read this.
    I’m a wedding photographer so I will have to look into what is relevant to me. Thank you for sharing!

  24. A very thorough blog post to get someone off on the right start to affiliate marketing. Going to take a more in depth look into it and see what will work best for me. Great post!

  25. This is a great post! I am so lost when it comes to affiliate marketing and feel like I’m missing a big piece of the puzzle.

  26. Thank you so much for sharing this! It’s exactly what i’ve been looking for. I’m interested in affiliate marketing but haven’t taken the leap yet as I needed some more info. Thanks again!

  27. Thank you. Finally I have a little more understanding. And to also know that your blog does not have to be huge to start monitizing through affiliates.

  28. Very useful information! I wasn’t aware that you have to announce that you’re using affiliate links. I’m currently signed up through Amazon for affiliate links.

  29. This is a really great guide. I found it really easy to follow and will definitely share it with my followers who are looking for more information about affiliate links. I didn’t know there was a plugin for affiliate disclosures, so I was able to learn some new things for myself too.

    Thanks for sharing!

  30. This was so helpful. I’ve just switched from WordPress.com to self hosted and it was a nightmare. I’m taking things step at a time but have bookmarked this as I know I’ll need this much in depth info when I’m ready for affiliate links!

    http://www.nmdiaries.com

  31. This article was exactly what I needed. I am starting to work on the affiliate marketing and this post was so helpful! Step by step guide!! Thank you.

  32. This was a great guide, thank you! 🙂

    I use affiliate links on my blog but don’t think I use them as well as I could so I enjoyed reading this 🙂

    Hope you have a great weekend ahead of you! 🙂

  33. This post is so incredibly helpful! I have to save it so I can remember it all because I am constantly researching the topic and feel a little more lost with each thing I read, but THIS! This is exactly what I’ve been looking for, thank you thank you!

    xx, Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

    1. There is more where that came from, Taylor! Sign up for my newsletter for some freebie blogging resources and post updates!

  34. I’ve recently started a web site, the information you offer on this web site has helped me greatly. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  35. Thank you for this! I have been looking for this info for ages and there’s so much to wade through on the net that it’s hard for us newbies to filter it all.

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