Last Updated on by

A year ago, if you’d asked me about earning money from your blog, I’d have just pointed you to my post on ‘Sponsored Posts for Bloggers‘ and would have been done with it.

To be honest, the idea of earning any other way never struck me until a few months ago. All of that changed midway through 2018 when I discovered another source of revenue.

In October 2018, I made $311 using one affiliate network (listed below) and an e-mail list of just under 300 subscribers. The bulk of the money came from just 7 items that I sold to my list.

Want to know more? Continue reading below.

Today, I’m going to share with you some basic affiliate marketing tips for beginners that you can start using right away. Call it affiliate marketing for dummies, if that helps.

This post contains Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. If you do, I thank you for your purchase. Read my complete disclosure policy here.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Put very simply, it is a way for bloggers to recommend products/courses/services to their audience and earn a commission when their readers buy said products.

Image shows a pink Kate Spade handbag. Text includes: Affiliate Marketing Tips for Beginners and Bloggers.

But the bigger questions are, how do you get started on this mode of income generation? Where do you look and what do you promote? How do you promote these things?

Those are the things we will cover in today’s post.

The first 3 points will talk about how to find your niche and join the right programmes. The next 3 points will talk about promoting your affiliate links.

6 Things to know about Affiliate Marketing for Beginners Click to Tweet

Identify your niche

This is the most important step. Affiliate marketing is successful when you are clear on what you are promoting and why you’re promoting it.

For that, you need to be clear on what niche you’re blogging in.

Once you know your niche, study the market, look at what the audience is searching for. You can understand this by hanging out where your audience is and listening to what they’re asking about.

Food bloggers? You can promote items that you use in your kitchen or ingredients you use in your recipes.

Fitness bloggers can promote items related to exercise, supplements and more.

Promote only that which you use

This is a classic mistake many first-time affiliates make and I’ve made it myself.

I added affiliate links in my sidebar and as banners in my posts without ever having bought or seen the item myself! And your audience isn’t foolish. They will know if you haven’t used it.

So, what should you do?

For instance, if you are in my space- Blogging/Pinterest/Productivity/Parenting- there are tons of things you can promote.

Pick the items that have changed your life, generated income for you and be genuine about it.

One product that I recommend over and over again is Tailwind for Bloggers, both for Pinterest and Instagram.

I’ve used it to completely schedule my content on Pinterest so it’s on auto-pilot.

And more recently, I’ve grown my Instagram following thanks to Tailwind’s Instagram hashtag finder.

Best part? Tailwind has a FREE trial for both platforms.

Ever since I started using Tailwind in September 2017, I have seen consistent blog growth plus I have generated affiliate income through Tailwind.

I also got an entire year of Tailwind for free, thanks to affiliate marketing. I know, right? 🙂

Please note that these are my individual results, but do check out Tailwind’s own Typical Results of Tailwind to get an assessment.

Join the right Affiliate Networks

There are so many networks out there that it can be quite confusing for first-time affiliates. What you must keep in mind are two important things:

  • Is the network right for you and your audience? Meaning, do they have products that you are likely to both buy and promote?
  • How good is the commission pay out? Meaning, is it worth your time to join the network at all?

Fortunately for you, I’ve listed two affiliates that I recommend based on my experience with them in the past year.

Both these programmes are fairly easy to get into.

If, for any reason your application is rejected, do mail the affiliate partner and ask how you can be approved and what you’d need to do, to make it happen.

Programme 1: ShareASale. This one is pretty popular and pretty diverse in terms of niche, so you’d definitely find something in your area of interest. 

*Tailwind’s affiliate programme is listed with ShareASale.

Programme 2: Ultimate Bundles. This one is one that I ALWAYS recommend for new bloggers.

They are the best in terms of guidance, help as well as diverse in terms of products and bundles that you can promote.

In October 2018, I promoted my first-ever bundle, the Genius Bloggers’ Toolkit, and was beyond thrilled to sell 7 bundles. That earned me $300 right off the bat!

Ultimate Bundle also featured me in this post on their blog:

10 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Goal Setting

In addition to these two, other programmes that you can join include:

  • Your Hosting Provider. I personally recommend both ChemiCloud
  • Other products you use. For instance I love DesignEvo for logo making and Stencil for social media graphics.

Promoting your Affiliate Links on your Blog

By far, the best way to promote your affiliate links on your blog is to write a post about the product that you’re promoting. Talk about highlights such as:

  • Why you bought the product/service
  • How it has helped you
  • How it can help your audience

By doing this you get two benefits: Build trust with your readers and generate income for yourself. 

The reason this works better than just adding banner links in your post is that the authenticity comes through.

Yes, it takes longer to write a post than just adding a banner, but believe me, when people read your post, they are more likely to click on the banner containing the affiliate link.

The other hidden benefit of this method is that you’re creating quality pillar content on your blog that is great for SEO.

When Google indexes your site, a review with your affiliate link will tend to rank better and that means more eyes on your content and more eyes on those links.

IMPORTANT: Always have clear and open disclosure that your post contains affiliate links. Not only is this mandated by law, it’s also made obvious to your readers.

Promoting your Affiliate Links on your Social Media Channels

All of us bloggers have social media handles. Depending on where your audience is the most active, add your affiliate links on these channels to get more eyes on them.

You can add your affiliate links to your Instagram posts, tweets and Facebook posts.

Study the channel and see where your buyers hang out. That’s very important to ensure affiliate marketing success.

For instance, I notice that my best engagement happens on Instagram, despite having less than 3000 followers.

So it’s not the numbers that matter, it’s the quality of the followers you have.

Usually, when you add a link to your blog post that contains an affiliate link, you don’t need to mention that it is an affiliate in the social media share, as long as the disclosure exists on the blog itself.

IMPORTANT: Mention the word ‘affiliate’ in your social media shares if you’re sharing the direct affiliate link that does not lead to a blog post.

Promoting your Affiliate Links through your e-mail list

When I launched my newsletter in November, 2017, I honestly didn’t think it would end up generating income for me!

Want to start your own mailing list? Read these 8 things before you do!

And yet, that’s precisely what happened in October 2018! Ultimate Bundles ran a sale for their Genius Bloggers ToolKit and I sold 7 bundles purely through my e-mail list!

How, you ask? That’s because I’d spent 10 months cultivating the interest of my readers through my monthly newsletter and my private Facebook group.

As a result, when I recommended this bundle, each of the 7 people bought it immediately!

When you add affiliate links to your Newsletter, remember to also link it back to the posts on your blog that talk about the product in greater detail.

That way, potential buyers have more than JUST an affiliate link to decide before they make the purchase.

And of course, don’t forget to add the disclosure in your e-mails as well. 🙂

Join my E-Mail list today. I promise you ONLY get what you sign up for.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT use Amazon affiliate links in your newsletter, since that is against Amazon’s Terms of Service. 

I’ve added a downloadable checklist for you, if you’re just getting started with Affiliate Marketing. Go ahead and click the button below to get it now. It’s totally FREE!

*BONUS TIP: Invest in a good course

I have to admit that a lot of my affiliate income has been generated in the last 2 months alone and why, you ask? Because I actually invested in an affiliate marketing course.

This course, Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers by Carly Campbell, {Affiliate Link} is seriously the BEST thing I’ve read in the last year.

So, IF you have the funds at the moment , I would strongly recommend that you go ahead and buy Carly’s course.

I will try and do a more detailed review of her course in a separate post, because this one is already way too long, but trust me, it’s money well spent.

You’ll be making the money back in no time, once you start applying the principles she talks about in great detail. Guaranteed.

So, questions? Doubts? Concerns? Drop a comment below and I’d be glad to answer them. 🙂

New to Affiliate Marketing, Bloggers? Wondering how to generate income from products that you recommend?  In this post, I talk about 3  key things to remember when you join an affiliate program and 3 things to know about promoting that content. Read it now. #Shailajav #AffiliateMarketing #Bloggers

Shailaja V

Hi there! I'm Shailaja Vishwanath, a blogger with 12 years of blogging experience and a parent to a teen. I work as a digital marketing and social media consultant. From positive parenting tips to useful productivity hacks, social media advice to blogging advice, you'll find them all right here. Welcome to my blog.


Anindya Rakshit · November 19, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Nice guide to Affiliate Marketing, Shailaja. Though I have been approved for Adsense and already using amazon Affiliates, but am still confused how to get into affiliate marketing for generating some sort of income . Hoping to get some help from this post of yours.

    Shailaja · November 19, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Glad you liked it, Anindya! I am actually not using AdSense yet although I’ve been approved for it. On the other hand, affiliate income has been pretty good since the time I began using it.

    Do let me know if it helps you out 🙂

Shalini · November 19, 2018 at 2:49 pm

Ah, this is great. I will definitely check these in detail. I usually add affiliate links from Amazon onto my blog posts. Not very successful though.

    Shailaja · November 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    For Amazon affiliate tips, I recommend following and learning from Angela Davis. She has a free Facebook group.

Inderpreet Uppal · November 20, 2018 at 9:29 am

This is a good post with details. I will try to use them and get some affiliate income going. Thanks, Shailaja. Keep writing.

    Shailaja · November 23, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Thanks, Indy. Do let me know if you manage to generate income and if my tips helped 🙂

Zar Santos · November 21, 2018 at 2:23 pm

Getting advantage of every social medium there is a great way to go when you want to promote your affiliate link. Greta points you have there, Shailaja!

Anshu Bhojnagarwala · November 21, 2018 at 6:00 pm

Agree with you, Shailaja, Unless you buy and use the products yourself, you will lack the sincerity while promoting those products. Will keep this in mind. I recently registered for Affiliate Amazon Associate, but they revoke the membership if you are not able to make 3 sales in 3-6 months. I haven’t made any so far, let’s see.

    Shailaja · November 23, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Yes I know that about Amazon and one reason I haven’t pursued it actively. I had one membership which got revoked because of that reason. I recommend joining Angela Davis and her affiliate marketing group on Facebook. She is pretty good.

Vidya Sury · November 21, 2018 at 10:33 pm

Good tips! I especially agree about only promoting what one has used. Remaining authentic, above all, is of prime importance. I’ve heard Carly’s course is very good! Consistently promoting is a fine balancing act! Wish you all the best!

    Shailaja · November 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Thanks Vidya. I love the course by Carly. I’ve been working on all her tips as well as those by other course creators for the last month and it’s really paid off. I’m so glad. 🙂

Fernando · November 22, 2018 at 9:38 pm

In my opinion, you don’t need to “promote only that which you use”. But is really important know that have the quality content is the most important thing in a blog, the sales/revenue need to be the consequence and not the focus if you want to be a succesfull blog owner.

    Shailaja · November 23, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Well, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, of course. I find that I always trust people who only sell things that they use. Not otherwise. 🙂

Nandhini Chandrasekaran · November 30, 2018 at 6:38 pm

I started with Amazon affiliate a few months ago and the ads are just sitting there. I realize I’ve been just adding banners to my post. When you say, use a product and then write about it with a link, it makes much sense. Let me give a serious try. Thanks Shailaja.

    Shailaja · February 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Thanks, Nandhini. Hope you’ve managed to find success with these methods. Keep me posted. 🙂

Raju Khadka · December 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

wooooooooooooo great affiliate marketing tips for beginners loved it !!

    Shailaja · December 5, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks a ton! Glad you liked them

Jason Conway · December 12, 2018 at 8:07 pm

These are excellent tips for new individuals getting started with affiliate marketing. Unfortunately no matter how many times we see advice like this, we (myself included) still want to just go “willy-nilly” promoting what ever tickles our fancy!

One thing that I really enjoyed was how you talked about building your relationship and trust with your readers. Too many people out there are still using the old ways of posting PLR Articles and hoping on a prayer that they bring in the money…

I would like to add one last thing if that is alright. Recently I have been tweaking my site up a little bit and have found that if I look at my content from an actual buyer’s perspective it helps me to decide as to whether or not I would want to spend my hard earned money on the product. This process has helped me to up my visitor count for my sites.

Keep on rockin’!

    Shailaja · December 12, 2018 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks a ton, Jason! I’m so glad that my affiliate marketing tips were something you found useful. That’s always my primary aim, to help my readers.

    I love the tip about seeing the blog post from a reader’s perspective. What a fun idea for an exercise in my support group. Thank you so much!

Julie Wilson · December 14, 2018 at 5:15 pm

Thanks for post affiliate marketing intro. I know only basic things about affiliate marketing. My friends are using products to earn money online on their homes. Actually i also have a aim to earn handsome income through this that’s why i am searching some informative sites only for this purpose just like yours and this one also revglue(.)com/blog-detail/29-how-to-make-money-everyday-with-a-niche-affiliate-website. My friends recommend me this site its a UK base register affiliate site which is providing everything on a single platform and i am also thinking to use it . What you say ? If you have any idea or experience about this site please share with me this will help me a lot thanks.

udit khanna · January 11, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Thanks for this informative article. It was really very helpful article. We should join the right affiliate networks.

    Shailaja · February 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

    Agree! Depending on the niche and the quality of products, you must join the right affiliate networks.

Atul Bansal · January 22, 2019 at 11:16 pm

awesome tips to succeed in affiliate marketing. I am still struggling to earn some big in affiliate marketing and earn money by selling some good products

    Shailaja · February 5, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Have you tried promoting products or courses by others first? That is a great way to get some money in terms of affiliate sales.

Harish Kumar · February 4, 2019 at 4:54 pm

Hi there, Its great tips for starting affiliate marketing. Sure it will be very useful. Between, I’m trying Affiliate marketing.Thank you so much!

    Shailaja · February 5, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Glad to hear it, Harish. 🙂

udit · February 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for sharing such a nice article. It is a type of performance based marketing in which a bussiness rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or a customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Affiliate marketing could help you in making moneybut whether it can make you rich it depends on how much traffic do you have.

Matrix Sniper · March 13, 2019 at 12:54 pm

very educative post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!