What is Affiliate Marketing About?

Learn Affiliate Marketing

If you have found yourself here, the chances are that you have been researching setting up your own business and the most cost effective ways to do this.

Affiliate Marketing is definitely one way you can build a home business at a very low start up cost, if not for free.

So what is affiliate marketing about?

Let me explain..


Affiliate Marketing Definition

Affiliate Marketing has really grown in popularity over the years and is now more and more accessible to the average person. A complete internet beginner can get involved in affiliate marketing. You don’t need a product yourself, and in some cases you don’t even need any money to get started.

The essence of affiliate marketing is about selling someone else’s products. An affiliate would create an online resource, less technically known as a website ;-), within a specific niche or product area, and use this to provide information to consumers about products within that niche, and then encourage those consumers to click on links, placed on that website. Those links redirect to other manufacturers websites and the affiliate will get a commission for every sale made. These commissions can really vary from 5% to up to 75% depending on the product, so as you can imagine, this can be really lucrative.

Usually the manufacturers or retailer will add a cookie to their website to remember from which affiliate link the customer came from, and add a time frame to this, so that if that customer doesn’t buy immediately but comes back a month later, the affiliate will still receive the commission for that purchase. How long a cookie lasts varies from 24 hrs to a lifetime – I like that last one!

Have a look at this video which explains it in a little more detail. You will need to scroll down the page a little to see the video, but actually there is some really useful information on this page.

video of how affiliate marketing works









Affiliate marketing is carried out on the internet, and so often employ these techniques to drive customers to their sites:

  • Search Engine Optimisation – being found on search engines by optimising the content
  • Paid Search Engine Marketing – sometimes known as PPC (Pay per click)
  • Email Marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Display advertising.

If you are interested in becoming an affiliate marketer, you can learn about all of these in specially designed courses, some of which you have to pay for and some which are FREE

But Can I Actually Earn Money By Affiliate Marketing?

what is affiliate marketing aboutAffiliate marketing is accessible to anyone these days. Anyone with a computer really. You can learn how to build a website fairly simply with all of the packages around, such as WordPress or Joomla and you don’t need to be a seasoned developer who is an expert in javascript and php.. (sounds all a bit foreign huh?)

To be honest, if you can build a website, then you can learn how to drive traffic to that website. It’s all about driving traffic and there are programs out there to help you learn how to do this, even if you are a complete beginner. Some are better than others. I have listed a few out there below so that you can consider them.

And interestingly, many large companies out there have affiliate schemes, some of which might surprise you, so if your interest is in shoes, you will definitely have no problem finding someone whose shoes you can sell. Amazon for one! This for me is a real clue as to the legitamacy of affiliate marketing. If amazon do it..

I hate to disappoint anyone looking for a get rich quick scheme because affiliate marketing will NOT do this. Just like any other viable and real business that you set up on your own, it needs work. You have to put in the hours to build the interesting content, to share it on social networks, to create your email campaigns. So you have to have patience and you have to be willing. But it can be seriously lucrative, if you are prepared to work, and wait. And the best thing, as far as I am concerned, is that you don’t need to sell to your friends and family in awkward selling parties. The buyers are faceless.

Lets have a look at the specifics, the pros and cons..


The good things about Affiliate Marketing:

  • It’s Very easy to set up
  • You do not have to own a product, you sell other people’s products
  • You can choose a product / niche that is of genuine interest to you, so your own business can be enjoyable
  • There are very low costs to get started, or it can even be free to start as with my number 1 recommendation
  • You work for yourself and set your own hours
  • You don’t need to sell to your friends and family

The not so good things about affiliate marketing:

  • The internet is a very competitive environment and you need to know what you are doing to get the cut through
  • You have to work hard
  • Profits are not immediate, but that is the same with any REAL business
  • You need to be proficient in writing content. You don’t need to be an author, but you just need to be able to write in a friendly personable manner


What is affiliate marketing aboutHow to learn about affiliate marketing?

There are many programs out there which teach you about affiliate marketing, programs designed for right from experienced marketers to complete newbies.

My favourite one though is Wealthy Affiliate, and I am actually a member here. The reason why I like this one is because it caters for everyone. It somehow manages to not be patronizing to those who know something whilst giving those who know nothing, the absolutely key information they need.

Not only is the training totally comprehensive, but they have a brilliant community who help out with questions immediately, so you are never on your own, AND you get to build your website for free. You can read my full review here. 


The Best Affiliate Marketing Courses

Below is a list of of the top affiliate marketing courses out there which would help with your training. For more in-depth analysis and cross comparison of these courses, please see my article on the best affiliate marketing program for beginners

  1. Wealthy Affiliate University – a fully comprehensive training program for beginners to experts teaching you how to build your affiliate business from nothing.  Learn more about them here. 
  2. Affilorama – an very effective affiliate marketing training course with video training tutorial and a whole host of tools to get you started,
  3. Chris Farrell Membership – A focus on email marketing here by building a list through the training. A very interesting and tried and trusted approach

Related aricles



What is Wealthy Affiliate About?
What is The Keyword Academy – Scam or Legi?
What is an MLM program?


If you have any questions or any feedback whatsoever about this article, please just drop me a message below.


44 thoughts on “What is Affiliate Marketing About?

  1. Warren says:

    Good article on affiliate marketing. One of the things you don’t see often in reviews like this is that the set up is relatively easy, but the getting traffic part takes work and that work is creating good, compelling content. People have to want to come to your site. You lay this out well.
    Nicely done.

  2. Julius says:

    Hello, I’m a blogger myself and I can really tell that affiliate marketing is probably the best way to earn money (If you don’t have your own product of course). You seem like a very nice and person. It looks like you really know what you’re talking about. I love your articles so far!

  3. Imad says:

    Hello, Ruth.

    Great article. I think that I already read something like this lately. In my opinion, affiliate marketing is a very affordable way to start a business online. It’s not an easy venture but it can be an enjoyable experience if you follow the rules and learn how to approach it.

    We’ll need invest more of our time and money as we move forward and work hard every day if we want to see results. I am glad that Wealthy Affiliate is there for us, because with the help of this community, everyone can achieve massive success.


    • Ruth says:

      Thanks Imad. You are right, it’s not simple and its not a get rich quick ewway to make money online, but it works and it pays off. Thanks for your comments!

  4. Hi Ruth,

    I’ve been looking at making money online but have been worries about the amount of scams around but it looks like you have come across a genuine program. It looks like the community is quite active here plus the tools and resources seem pretty good. Is this your experience?

    • OH absolutely. The community is one of the many awesome things about Wealthy Affiliate. I didn’t see the point in it until I joined myself, and actually not only do you have ongoing support, but training and everyone shares their knowledge and experience. Plus the training to get you started and keep you going on the path to success is everything you need. It’s really the best program out there. I hope you give it a try, you wont’ regret it. You can start for free here. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Italian Brave Heart says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I’ve been looking at making money online but have been worries about the amount of scams around but it looks like you have come across a genuine program. It looks like the community is quite active here plus the tools and resources seem pretty good. Is this your experience?

    • Ruth says:

      Oh yes, the community is one of the very best things about Wealthy Affiliate. When I was looking into the program I couldn’t really understand why people were saying that it was important. Why do you need it? But its a huge resource. You have a question and someone answers it immediately. Everyone shares their knowledge and you are always up to date with anything that is happening in the online world. It really is truly amazing!

  6. Lynne says:

    I love affiliate marketing, yes it takes a bit of time to get started with earning, but really what business will start turning a profit immediately?
    I can’t see any negatives to it myself. As long as you are hard working, determined and disciplined you will be able to make a success of it. The fact that you can get started with hardly any start up costs is a big plus for me.
    Another great program is Bring The Fresh, you might like to add that to your list of great places to try if you haven’t already reviewed them.

    • Ruth says:

      You are so right Lynne about affiliate marketing. And thank you for the tip on Bring the Fresh. I have heard of it, but I haven’t reviewed it. I will get into that soon. Thanks again.

  7. Chris says:

    Internet marketing has always interested me but I can’t help but notice the amount of competition out there at the moment!
    With everyone stumbling over one another to get on top it seems a pretty volitile area. I like the training video you included with this article – do you have any more like this?

    • Ruth says:

      There is a whole raft of things to learn along with affiliate marketing. It is a much more involved subject than you would think. If you like this kind of video training, give Wealthy Affiliate a try. Its free to join and you can check out 10 courses and see what you think about starting affiliate marketing as a business. I would love to know what you think.

  8. Todd says:

    Hi Ruth,

    I think when you learn what affiliate marketing is about you discover a really simple way to earn money online.

    All one has to do is learn to do keyword research and write quality content that serves the need of a niche audience, then connect that audience with a product that helps people.

    I learned affiliate marketing using Wealthy Affiliate and it was the best money I have ever spent on an education.

    Love the step by step classes and once you get the hang of SEO, the traffic begins as well as the sales.

    Great post, thanks,

  9. Peter says:

    Hello Ruth. You have done a great job on giving us an overview of affiliate marketing and you make it sound very ‘doable’. I am pleased to see you are also promoting Wealthy Affiliate to your readers as that is a great place for anyone serious about learning about Affiliate Marketing and learning how to create a sustainable, long term, internet business the right way without being scammed. Good work on providing such helpful information to your readers. 🙂

  10. rufat says:

    I have to agree that affiliate marketing is one of the best and proven ways to make money online and it’s because you don’t actually need to own a product or create one to make money. The process is easy and simple and if you invest some time and effort into it you can be very successful. The only thing you need is find the right program such as Wealthy Affiliate that will show you exactly how to make money through affiliate marketing and I’m living proof of it.

  11. Michel says:

    Great article explaining affiliate marketing.

    I think as you say, affiliate marketing is easy to learn, but I wouldn’t recommend going it alone as the learning curve will be huge. Rather invest in some good training like the sites you mentioned for a better chance at success at a quicker pace.

  12. Deb says:

    You have a great site here Ruth, well done. I would just like to say that Wealthy Affiliate is a useful membership site to belong to if you want to run any kind of Internet business. I resisted joining for a long time because I didn’t think that I wanted to be an affiliate marketer, I wanted to learn how to promote my own stuff (I’m a writer). The reality is that the support and learning you receive is second to none and all the knowledge you build around wordpress, content creation, traffic generation, social media etc. is necessary for any kind of business that has an Internet component.


    • Ruth says:

      Thanks Deb, yes Wealthy affiliate is absolutely one of the best programs out there in the affiliate marketing world. A lot of people aren’t aware that affiliate marketing exists and what it is. I worked in marketing for years and I never knew. Crazy. So if you want more information on Wealthy affiliate, then here it is. Thanks for stopping by Deb

  13. Melody says:

    That is a really good take on affiliate marketing. I started looking into online business opportunities many years ago and somehow ended up in a course for drop shipping. Although I understood the concept, I didn’t like it. At that time I did hear about affiliate marketing but didn’t know much about it. I truly believe that your article would have done me a world of good.

    You describe it exactly. While it does take a lot of work it can be really fun if you are writing about something you are really passionate about. Two thumbs up from me!

  14. Sue says:

    Hi Ruth. I like your article. It’s very clean, clear and informative. I also read your “About Me” page and can certainly relate to your struggle in finding the middle ground between working a full time job and being a full time mom. I believe many of us women out there have the same need. We are educated, intelligent and experienced so we need and deserve to make something out of ourselves, but at the same time want to be able to spend more time with family. I’m inspired by your post and thanks for providing information on affiliate marketing.

  15. Tasos Perte Tzortzis says:

    Hi there Ruth , you presented a strong explanation on what Affiliate Marketing is and what someone can expect from this business model.

    From the moment I started I got hooked.There are way too many opportunities that anyone can take advantage to make a living.The best part is that you don’t have to own any product , so there are very little risks involved.As long as you provide good and quality content along with your promotions you will have a healthy business for the years to come.

    Affiliate marketing works and is one of the best systems in the market.The commissions are calculated via a very simple payment plan based on the percentage of the price and has nothing to do with complex and frustrating compensation plans like in MLM’s networks.

    Additionally someone can choose a passion and turn it to profit.And if you love what you do then chances are that you will succeed.

    Very good recommendations on Wealthy Affiliate and
    Affilorama.I never heard of this keyword academy you mention.But as I am always searching for new projects I will give it a try.

    What is the most important factor for you that differentiates this model from other business models?

    • Ruth Maisey says:

      Hi there

      Thank you for your interest in this article. It was fun to write. You make some really good points, affiliate marketing is so simple to understand, no complex business models. Especially with Wealthy affiliate, I believe it is one of the most lucrative affiliate programs out there. The thing that i like most about Wealthy affiliate that sets it apart from anything else is the community and until you are in it, and try it out, which you can in your starter pack, you can’t see why this would be so valuable. Somehow Wealthy Affiliate have create a sense of respect for each other, there is no belittling and no question is too silly. And there is training for everything. In fact I think I should add this to my review! Thanks again for your feedback.

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