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All you need to know about affiliate marketing if you’re a newbie retailer or publisher

You’ve  just published a blog or gone into retailing. And you have learnt that one of the best ways of making money online is affiliate marketing. So you want to go into it but you have no idea about it.  

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In this post I’m going to cover everything you need to know about affiliate marketing.  

First of all, what is affiliate marketing?

You begin affiliate marketing when you sign up with an affiliate company or affiliate network as a retailer or publisher. After which you obtain affiliate links and materials, hopefully. Then you begin to drive traffic to the product page via the affiliate link. Yoou cn do this through their website or with bought traffic. And when someone accomplishes a desired action within a set time frame you the affiliate receive a commission. The commission being a share of the sale. 

Usually the desired action is buying something like a product or a service. But it can also be another thing like getting someone to sign up to a program, to click on an ad, etc.

Affiliate marketing enables you to sell a product without buying it or creating one yourself. And this, with relatively little up-front investment and without worrying about delivery, customer care, and so on.

Now that you have all the preliminaries you need to know about affiliate marketing, we will go to how it works?

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How does affiliate marketing work?

Now, that was the definition. But we all know there can be a huge difference between theory and practice. So, we are going to look at the way affiliate marketing is done concretely. 

Normally it takes two to tango, right? But in the affiliate marketing process the task is split between four parties:

  • Affiliate company or affiliate network
  • Merchant
  • Affiliate
  • Customer


Affiliate companies

Affiliate companies are enterprises that sell their own products on their websites and have their own affiliate programs. An affiliate thus signs up and receives affiliate links directly from the company.

Notable examples of affiliate companies are Clicksure, Ebay, Amazon and Kowabunga. Others that I work with are AWeber, Global Money Line, Wealthy Affiliate, EasyCash4Ads, Peerfly.


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Affiliate networks

Affiliate networks are firms that offer the products of third parties for sale on their websites. These networks effectively act as intermediaries between multiple merchants and publishers. The affiliate programmes on their sites belong to these individual merchants. So a publisher could sign up and get access to promote the products of any merchants that network is working with. 

Working in this way ultimately makes life easier for you since you can sign up to work with divers merchants, all from one convenient place. 

Examples of affiliate networks are JVZoo, Clickbank, PayDotCom, Rakuten Linkshare and Commission Junction.



A merchant is a sort of a wholesale trader. They have goods or services to sell which they promote themselves. Instead of promoting their brands themselves, they may also offer them to an affiliate network. The network then puts them on their platfoem to attract promoters.

Affiliate marketing becomes a viable option whereby the merchant can get other people to do all the sales work. They do by creating content and attracting customers and all they have to do is pay them once a sale is actually made.

Some merchants that I work with are Designrr, TheHoth, Brainy Affiliate Potty Training, Fat Diminisher, VertShock, Venus Factor, Superior Singing Method.


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An affiliate is someone or a company that promotes a product or service to potential customers. In return they get a commission on the sale made.

This is where you come in as the affiliate can be a publisher, advertiser, or a retailer merchant. To sign up as an affiliate at an affiliate company or affiliate network site is easy and free. You just have to supply a few details and it is done. Most of the companies or networks will accept you as affiliate once you fill in the form. Others may have to study your application before agreeing to your demand.

Once you become an affiliate, you obtain affiliate links. You also get other useful affiliate materials like email swipes, affiliate banners, video, reviews, customer testimonials, etc. The number of affiliate materials available to you depends on each company.

Now, you can post your affiliate links, banners, videos and reviews on your website. You can also do so on ad sites. This will help you promote the product to your website visitors or paid traffic. You can even plug the email swipes (it’s a good idea to personalize them) into your email autoresponder to promote it to your list in the hope that people will click the links and buy something when they get to the other side.

Instead of a part of the price of the purchase made, the affiliate can also get paid for each click or another action the customer takes. This depends on the arrangement they have accepted from the affiliate company or the merchant.

Should the desired action be made successfully, you get paid a percentage of the sale. Commissions may be as little as a few cents or as much as thousands of dollars on high ticket items. The payment may be immediate or after a set period. It may be by bank transfer, by cash to your Paypal account or by cheque sent to your postal address.

As a publisher you may include your affiliate links in your everyday content if they go with them. This is what I have done up here. Or you can produce content just to sell an affiliate product.  


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The customer

People love the comfort of buying from home. To do so, they visit websites to read product reviews or look for products to solve a particular problem.

When a customer finds a product that they like on a publisher’s site, they click on the links, videos or banners. This takes them to the affiliate company’s site or the affiliate network’s merchant’s product where they make the purchase.   

To recapitulate:

  • An affiliate company offers its own products or an affiliate network displays those of a merchant
  • The merchant (an affiliate company or a third party with an affiliate network) has trackable links to its site for products.
  • A publisher signs up at the site to become an affiliate and incudes the link in their content or on their website.
  • A visitor follows the link to the retailer’s site and makes a purchase, and the retailer pays that publisher a percentage of the sale.

Now that you know everything about affiliate marketing partners, we will look at the compensation plan.


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Now, compensation methods

We are going to talk about three affiliate compensation methods here:

Revenue sharing or Pay-per-Sale: More than three-quarters (around 80%) of all affiliate programs resort to revenue sharing or PPS to compensate their affiliates. As already said, this means that the affiliate gets a percentage of any sales that result from promoting their affiliate links. 

Cost-Per-Click: In Cost-Per-Click or CPC, the brand pays the affiliate for each visitor the affiliate site drives to the seller’s website.

Cost-Per-Action: Cost-Per-Action or CPA, is usually used as a compensation method when the brand question isn’t actually selling a physical product. 

We can cite Pay-per-Lead (PPL) which is somewhat in between the PPS and CPC.

In PPL, a visitor you directed to a site has to provide their contact info (usually asked for in a site form) and you get paid.

Affiliate-to-affiliate: In some programs like matrices, when the affiliate buys the program, they pay directly to the affiliate whose affiliate link they followed. This is either 100% or a split between the program owner and the affiliate as in EasyCash4Ads.

Pay-per-Call: In PPC, the advertiser pays a rate determined by the number of telephone calls made by the users.

This payment model has been getting more popular of late.

This is attributed to the popularity of smartphones these days.


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Concrete examples from my own portfolio…


Affiliate companies

Wealthy Affiliate

When I signed up to Wealthy Affiliate from a Wealthy Affiliate Review, I obtained the following as an affiliate:

Login Page:
Your email:
Your password: (hidden, for security reasons)

Referral link: (I’ve changed the last figures for security reasons)

With this link, I can refer people to Wealthy Affiliate. This will enable me to get a monthly commission if they pay every month or one lump yearly sum if my referees pay every year.


I refer people using articles like My Honest Wealthy Affiliate Review which contains my affiliate link. Or I can do this by driving traffic to my link through ads like Bing or social media marketing.


I can also use my affiliate banners as below and many other means. How to get signups


Affiliate networks


When I signed up to Clickbank network at I obtained the following as an affiliate:



Account nickname: xxxxx (Changed for security reasons)

Password: (hidden, of course)


As a ClickBank affiliate, you are essentially a product advertiser or marketer. You earn commissions by promoting products at the ClickBank sites. These commissions are tracked through ClickBank’s HopLink system.

To automatically create a HopLink that will track accurately, you need to visit the ClickBank Marketplace.


There, you can browse for products to promote by selecting a category or by searching keywords in the Find Products search field.

When you find the website you would like to promote, click on the “Promote” button on the right-hand side of the listing.

Now, enter your Nickname into the HopLink creation form, and click the “Create” button. (The Tracking ID is optional, and not necessary for your HopLink to function.)

This is how the hoplink format looks like:


You replace AFFILIATE with your nickname and VENDOR (the merchant) with the vendor you wish to promote.

Take surveys for cash: When I signed up for this merchant, I saw this on the affiliate page:


And my affiliate link became:


With this link I can get people to pay to become survey takers and I get commission.


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Now, what?


You have to look up some of the affiliate companies and affiliate networks mentioned here. You can find others on some of the links given below or through Google research. Then you sign up as an affiliate.

Note that affiliate marketing appears easy but it isn’t really so. You need adequate training to succeed in it. It also always look to newbie marketers as if affiliate marketing would quickly make them rich. While that may be the case for some, most of us have to work hard to drive traffic to our links to make some money.

The best advice I can give you to avoid heartaches later on is not to think of affiliate marketing as a magic wand to wipe off all your financial problems. But instead to consider it as an extra revenue stream to another source of income. I personally use my affiliate earnings to promote my affiliate businesses.

So, if you are looking to promote affiliate offers, the best advice I can give you is to sign up first as a Wealthy Affiliate member. You’d not only learn to succeed BIG online in Wealthy Affiliate and other affiliate programs but also have a website that will help you efficiently promote Wealthy Affiliate and the other affiliate programs out there.

Trust experience and do it NOW!

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Some useful resources on this blog


Why Affiliate Marketing Can Be Your Best Route to Making Money Online

7 Easy Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success (Intro & step I)

Affiliate marketing tutorial

Are you looking for the best affiliate marketing training or business?

How to succeed as a Clickbank affiliate

Essential Online Marketing Tools for Internet Marketers

What’s AWeber’s affiliate program – And is it right for you?

Affiliate Companies                                         


I hope you’ve got everything you need to know about affiliate marketing. However, if you have something to add, just scroll down and do so.


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2 thoughts on “All you need to know about affiliate marketing if you’re a newbie retailer or publisher”

  1. Of all the articles I’ve seen about affiliate marketing, yours, Akoli made it a piece of cake for me. I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the terms and jargons lurking around the past articles, but this one surely gave me a head start. Please suggest more affiliate companies for research.

    • Hi ernst marc,

      I’m really thrilled that you found my article about affiliate marketing helpful. That should be the objective of every blogger, to render service to their blog visitors. If you check the useful resources at the end of the article or research other article s around the site, youwill find oher affiliate companies for research.

      Thanks for the visit and hope to see you again soon.



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