Affiliate Marketing – Affiliate Programs For Beginners

One of the benefits of having an online business is the capacity to earn a supplemental income or create an alternative source of income to quit your current full time paying employment.

There are several, money making opportunities on the Internet, one of these is a process called Affiliate Marketing. To make money as an affiliate marketing beginner, you will need to create your own website and have companies advertise on your site. As an example, I create a website about a niche or passion that I have, where I help people who have the same interest. When someone visits your site and clicks on a company’s advertisement, you get paid.

I am sure when you research most topics on the internet, you notice several pieces of advertising on the various sites that appear because of your search. Well if you click on one of those adverts, the person who owns that site will get a commission based on what you do after you clicked. That could be a one-time payment, but how do I make a sizable income?

Like millions of individuals currently making money online, you have to link with either individual companies, like Amazon, who have their own Affiliate Program and/or an Affiliate Program Network, like Clickbank that will allow you the capacity to earn an income that is generated by the content on your site and the number of repeat visitors that return to your site and click on an affiliate banner or advertisement.

In this post, I want to introduce you to Affiliate Programs, a key component of affiliate marketing and a way of making money. Also provide you with an understanding of what are they, examples of the types that exist, how they work, and how they will help you as a beginner to make an income while you sleep or vacation.

What Are Affiliate Programs

Making an income from online affiliate marketing requires the following four things:

  1. A website owner who could be a blogger, website developer or an existing business. This person is known as the Affiliate or Publisher.
  2. Affiliate Programs are usually owned by a business (e.g. Amazon or Apples) that wants to attract traffic to its site through links on other websites to sell its products. They are called the Merchant.
  3. Affiliate Program Networks are a go-between organization that links many merchants under one banner and the Affiliate. It provides Affiliates with an opportunity to find and link with affiliate programs that are more suitable for their specific niche or passion. They also allow the Merchants an opportunity to promote their products to a larger audience through all the Affiliate websites that participate in the network.
  4. The consumer, this is a visitor to your website that clicks on an affiliate program link,  who may purchase something through that link.

An Affiliate Program or Network allows you the Publisher to register with an affiliate company or companies to install links on your website. This arrangement allows you to earn a commission based on the number of clicks or sales on the Merchant’s site. The Merchant profits of course from any sales. It can also pursue any leads generated by the clicks, through its own marketing team.

Categories Of Programs

You would think there are as many affiliate programs as there are niches or passions, well maybe not as many, but there are a lot. Through several of the affiliate program networks, you will find both large and small companies that will pay you a commission for connecting them through your website, with a potential consumer. There are, however, only three main affiliate marketing categories and they are:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Pay Per Lead (PPL)
  • Pay Per Performance (PPP)

Pay Per Click (PPC) provides the Affiliate with a small commission for every visitor that ends up on the Merchants site. In this scenario, no sale is required, just a visitor generated by your site.

Pay Per Lead (PPL) is a little different from PPC. In this scenario, the visitor provides the Merchant with personal information that the Merchant’s marketing team will classify as a sales lead and pursue at a later date. You get paid for the number of leads you send to the Merchant’s website through the banner or advertising on your website

Pay Per Performance (PPP) this category can be broken into two types of arrangement. The first is what is called Pay Per Sale. This is where the Merchant pays you a commission for each lead that turns into a sale of one or more of its products. Amazon, Best Buy, and Apple are good examples of this arrangement. You get paid a percentage of the sale as a commission. The commission can be a one-time payment for the item purchased. It can be a commission each time the consumer purchase items for a fixed period, or it can be paid each time the consumer purchases an item over their lifetime.

The second is a Residual arrangement. In this scenario, if the visitor signs up for a membership or the use of the Merchant’s products, the Merchant will pay a commission every time the consumer makes a payment. Wealthy Affiliate is an example of this type of arrangement.

Generating An Income

To generate an income the first thing you have to do is create a quality website that has up to date and informative content. Now there are several sites that can show you how to create a website. Some will show you how to do that in 30 minutes and I have used a few of them in my time online. They do not show you how to create an income on that site. The one that I found that not only helps you create a website but also takes you step by step through the marketing process is Wealthy Affiliate. The website you create is yours for your life on the internet, and You can create it for free.

Your site must be attractive to draw visitors. You must create very high-quality content that is relevant to Your niche or passion. Content that is new, relevant and high in quality will determine your success in affiliate marketing.

Now you have a website that contains a few affiliate program links. I would not recommend contacting affiliate programs until you have several posts (content) on your site. This will indicate to them that you are serious and an authority on your niche or passion.

You will have to attract traffic to your site for your affiliate programs to generate sales and in turn an income. One of the easiest approaches for promoting your website is through social media, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest. There are many more, but these are the ones that are currently popular. By sharing your content through these sites you will attract visitors through the link to your website and increase the possibility of converting them to customers of the affiliate programs.

Where do you begin? I began my journey in affiliate marketing through a program called Wealthy Affiliate. As I mentioned earlier they provided a holistic training program that takes you through a step by step approach and it is free. There is a trial period (seven days) in which they take you through creating your own business online and creating your website.

After the trial period, you have the opportunity to join the premium program for a month at a discount of $19, after which you pay $49 per month. If you choose not to join the premium program You can continue with your website still for free. The premium package, however, provides access to additional training, free additional themes and domains to create more websites, free tools to help you to create an attractive website, and the Wealthy Affiliate community. For me, the Wealthy Affiliate community has given me my money’s worth. The members are available 24/7 for asking questions or just chatting. This includes me.

The Best Programs for Beginners

So now you have decided to become an Affiliate Marketer, and have to find affiliate programs that complement your niche or passion where do you begin? Do you stick with the tried and proven like Amazon, or do you try and find companies that specialize in products associated with your niche or passion?  My recommendation would be to try and use both.

I think most of us have heard of Amazon. Amazon was the first to create an online Associate Program back in 1996. After Amazon, new players called affiliate program networks were created. Commission Junction (now CJ Affiliates), and Clickbank where the first. These are the two oldest affiliate program networks. They offer smaller companies the opportunity to increase their exposure to larger audiences at a lower marketing cost. Since 1998, the number of affiliate programs and networks have increased and the following are what I would consider the best for beginners:

  1. CJ Affiliates (formerly Commission Junction)
  2. Clickbank
  3. Rakuten
  4. Wealthy Affiliate
  5. eBay
  6. Google Adsense

These are not as large as Amazon and you should also give Amazon consideration, it is considered an excellent affiliate program. All of these have proven records of providing opportunities for beginners to earn a good income.


I hope this post has provided you with an understanding of what an affiliate program is and how it can create an income. The size of that income is, of course, dependent on how much you want to make, the time you are willing to dedicate to creating that income and your will to work hard.

I would recommend that you do not quit your day job right away at least wait until you have attracted a sizable amount of traffic to your site and a good portion of that traffic is converting to customers. There are several people on the internet that are making a good income from affiliate marketing and there is no reason why you cannot achieve the same success. Just do not expect it to happen overnight.

My recommendation is that you try a company like Wealthy Affiliate and see if affiliate marketing is for you. The good think about Wealthy Affiliate is it allows you to try it for free. Try it now click here.

I would like to hear from you, so if You have any questions or comments please leave them below.





Hello, I am Harvey the creator of My Living The Dream. I was born on the beautiful island of Jamaica but grew up in the United Kingdom. With my family I immigrated to Canada and settled in Ottawa, Ontario. The capital of Canada. I am retired and I want to travel and enjoy my retirement. Get out of the cold and take vacations somewhere warm and low key. That is why I started this website. I figured if I can earn sufficient “crazy money,” that would allow me to travel five months of the year my dream can come true. I want to show you how you can turn your dreams into reality.

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  1. emi - Reply

    Hi, reading your page was really great. Each post on your page provided a great understanding of what an affiliate program is and how it can create to generate income. it give more detail that example what affiliate program is and how to navigate the aspect of it. Also, it was good you explain that to get income you need to put in lot or work.

    • Harvey Brown - Reply

      Hello Emi,thank you for your comments. You never know whether  what you have written will resonate with the target audience.

  2. Glenford - Reply

    Brilliant article to get an understanding of what various places to try and get a supplementary income. I like the way you mention one of the fundamentals that you have to attract traffic to gain an income. This is sometimes missed by people setting up with an affiliate scheme, you don’t just set up a website and expect income.

    • Harvey Brown - Reply

      Thank you Glenford, your comments are well appreciated. I do remember what it felt like when I was tarting out and thought with this post I might help others avoid that overwhelmed feeling.

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