What Is Affiliate Marketing And How To Get Started – Your Questions Answered

If you’re an aspiring but inexperienced online ‘Wantrepreneur’ looking at Affiliate Marketing for the first time, two questions you’ll quite naturally be asking yourself are: What Is Affiliate Marketing and how to get started? 

In this post, I will hopefully answer both of these questions for you and any more that you may have. My aim here is to give you a comprehensive inside view of what I believe is the best and most effective way to make money online from home in 2019, and I will show you how you can get started with your own simple but lucrative business today with our FREE online training program.

You can read all about it here.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

What Is The Definition Of Affiliate Marketing?

Put very simply, Affiliate Marketing is promoting someone else’s products or services in return for a commission, without actually ‘selling’ anything.

The Affiliate is the link between the Supplier and the Customer.

You, as an Affiliate promote a product or service via your own website or social media, a Customer buys the product or service and the Supplier pays you a commission.

AND they take care of the shipping and delivery so that you don’t have to!

Have you ever bought a product or service through a personal recommendation?

Have you ever eaten in a restaurant that someone has recommended to you? If so, did you enjoy your meal so much that you went out and recommended the restaurant to someone else?

Now, when those people went and ate at the restaurant on your recommendation, did you get a percentage of their bill paid to you as a commission? No, of course not!

However, you got that restaurant some extra business they would not have got had you not recommended to your friends that they go and try it out, just like the person who recommended it to you did.

And that, my friend, is the essence of Affiliate Marketing. Simple, isn’t it?

You And The Online Retail Revolution

The World Wide Web has really revolutionized the way people shop and how retailers get their products in front of Customers. As a result, Affiliate Marketing has evolved from being merely a way companies expand their reach online to being the very essence of their brand!

The most obvious example of an online retailer is, of course, AMAZON.

It is highly probable that YOU will have bought something via the Amazon website at some time. When you did this, it is almost certain that you were taken to the sales page via an ‘Affiliate Link’ and the Affiliate would have earned a percentage commission on your purchase.

Amazon now have around 500,000,000 (yes – half a billion!) products and a network of thousands of Affiliates throughout the World promoting those products via their Affiliate program ‘Amazon Associates’. And it’s not only Amazon. They’re just the first one that springs to mind.

Check out this SNAPSHOT of how Americans shopped in 2018.

And it’s not just happening in America – it’s Global!

Change In Retail Sales TrendsRoughly half of Smartphone users currently make purchases through their device and the trend is moving rapidly upwards.

In fact, all major online brands – Apple, BestBuy, Hotels Combined, Trip Advisor, Virgin and many more are now being built by Affiliate Marketing!


There are literally hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs to chose from which pay commissions of up to 75% for sales of products which are then shipped directly from the Supplier to the Customer. The Affiliate doesn’t actually handle the product at all!

Affiliate Program ScreenshotThe advantage to the Retailer is that most of the expensive overheads associated with the traditional Retail Supply Chain, such as Sales & Marketing ‘middle men’, expensive advertizing and of course High Street shops which have to be rented, staffed, heated, lit, stocked, etc, have now been replaced by individual independent, home based Affiliates who are paid on a Sale Only basis.

This saves the Supplier a fortune, which can then be used to keep prices down and pay commissions to the Affiliates who bring in the sales.

The Advantage to YOU as an Affiliate is that you can own and run you own business, set up for you at source, and earn commissions without having to develop, produce, stock or ship your own products or services or cope with any of the headaches that come with a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ business.

And you can do all of this from the comfort of your own home, when it’s convenient for you!

The Affiliate Marketing industry is set to be worth over $6 Billion by the end of 2019!

Affiliate Marketing Trends


If You Are Not Doing What You Love You Are Wasting Your Time

That is going to be a huge tidal wave. Just imagine yourself being stood in front of it and being picked up and swept along! There are products and services that YOU use every day whose Suppliers will have their own Affiliate programs.

Some of these will relate to your own interests, so why not TURN YOUR PASSIONS INTO PROFIT!


Why Affiliate Marketing Is Here To Stay

Companies are always looking for ways to reduce costs and overheads, such as expensive Middle Men, etc.

Since Affiliates are paid on a sale only basis, they do not cost the company anything and it’s for this reason that they won’t actually get fired if they don’t bring in any sales!

How much or how little you do is entirely up to you. Conversely, an under-performing Sales Person in the Corporate World certainly would not have that luxury!

For example:

If a company’s affiliate program pays 30% sales commissions on a product costing $100 (it varies from program to program and this is just to illustrate the point), and you make 1 sale, you will earn $30. If you make 10 sales, you will earn $300. If you make 100 sales, you will earn $3000. And the company’s profit margin will always remain the same.

This is why, at no point will a Company’s CEO say ‘Whoa….steady on. You Affiliates are bringing in far too many sales. We’re going to have to let some of you go’!

Why would they? The more they are paying out to their Affiliates in sales related commissions is a direct reflection of how well their business is doing, so what you’ve got here is the complete opposite of how things work in the Corporate World of ‘down sizing’, ‘re-structuring’, ‘right sizing’, call it what you like.

Active Affiliates are considered valuable assets and therefore companies are looking to recruit more of them all the time. More active Affiliates bring in more sales, which increases the Company’s profits and doesn’t create competition between Affiliates as the Market Share increases.

It turns the whole Corporate business model completely on it’s head!

So How Do You Get Started In Affiliate Marketing?

Just like with anything, if you start something with no knowledge of what you’re doing and nobody to show you the way, you’re not going to last very long.

The Wealthy Affiliate online education program gives you FREE starter membership with NO TIME LIMIT and has been around since 2005.

It has a global Community of over 1 million Members and gives you all the tools, training and support you need to start and build your own lucrative Affiliate Marketing business which you can run from home, full time, part time or spare time, as you like.

They are the World Leaders in the online marketing education space.

Click here to read my full Wealthy Affiliate Review


Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Thank you for taking the time to read this article which I hope you’ve found interesting and informative.

Please feel free to comment or post any questions in the box below and I’ll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours.

Your friend and Mentor






Richard Brennan


  1. Hi Richard, and thanks for your article. Perfect overview of affiliate marketing. Sweet and short, without any pressure to click and buy, just honest facts and demonstration of what it can do for you if you are serious and willing to put some work. And WA is the way to go! I have been WA member since 2018 and I tell you this is a great place to be. The community is wonderful, the education is hands down one of the best out there and the price is just right. So, for all of you folks, who think to join affiliate marketing: This is the best place to start. So, go ahead click on one of Richards links and get started. I wish I have done it 10 years ago.


    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, David. I’m glad you’ve found Wealthy Affiliate and are getting such great benefit from it. It really does simplify the whole online home business process and show to people that it’s not such a scary prospect after all. I wish I’d found it years ago. Wishing you much success, my friend 😃👍

  2. I would like to thank you for explaining how WA works. I have tried a few of the get rich quick scams and they don’t work. They just steal from you. 

    I feel more comfortable now to look into Wealthy Affiliate as a good online opportunity that really helps you succeed at online marketing. Thank you for the helpful information and I will look further into Wealthy Affiliate as a promising online business for me. 

    • Hi Lee Ann. Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m glad you found the post helpful. There are other programs out there, some scams and some legit and I’ve been hooked into both! Out of the legit programs, some are better than others. Once I found Wealthy Affiliate I’ve never looked back. I look forward to following your success here at WA! 

  3. Hi Richard

    Great article on Affiliate Marketing, getting started is always the hardest part, there’s a lot to learn even just to cover the basics these days but once you have these under your belt it does get easier and you can learn more advanced techniques. This article is a great place to start as you have covered off the basics in a very easy to understand way.

    Learning affiliate marketing will change the way you look at sales on the internet and I can say from personal experience that while it takes some time and hard work the rewards are amazing.

    Thanks again

    • Hi Dominic

      You hit the nail on the head there with regards to the getting started aspects.

      Even when you sign up to an online affiliate programme you can be left bewildered if you’ve never done anything like it before and support is crucial. 

      I can see you’re talking from experience which you have gained over time and you’re right, it does change your perception of things. 

      For example, when I used to order from Amazon, I used to think that Amazon was simply the online shop, like doing an online grocery shop at Walmart or something. I never knew that it was a community of individuals simply using Amazon as a vehicle to market their products.

      The diversity of affiliate programmes and the potential to monetize them with the right mixture of training and support is quite mind blowing and is both a ‘grass roots’ and a ‘glass ceiling’ opportunity for all, regardless of where we’ve come from. 

  4. Affiliate marketing has loads of potential for people who are willing to commit time and effort and stick with it. 

    Unfortunately many people miss out because they are to be too afraid to even begin, or they give up due to fear of competition. even though this is a huge and ever growing business. 

    I think there will always be a chance for them to get their share of it, because internet connectivity and it’s usage for online shopping is growing all the time. 

    • It certainly has, Faheem.
      There is this mis-conception with people are maybe looking at the Affiliate Marketing for the first time. It’s understandable, and it’s up to us already involved in this fantastic industry to reassure people.
      More and more people are getting connected to the internet all the time and, as you say, using it to shop. I don’t think it will ever be saturated.

  5. Affiliate marketing is here to stay and to me it’s one of the most cost effective means of starting an online business. 

    You can start affiliate marketing absolutely free without committing a dime. But it is important that you get to know the basics and get mentorship from the the right quarters.

    Wealthy Affiliate, as you rightly stated, is one of the best places to get started and it can boast many success stories from Members who were trained by them. It has become a one stop platform for affiliates with differing backgrounds and experiences. 

    The fact that one can start out completely free ensures that they have nothing to lose but so much to gain. 

    No one gets lost within the Community as there’s so much help available. I must say it’s a great article you wrote there and I recommend that anyone who wishes to start an online business should test out Affiliate marketing through the Wealthy Affiliate platform. 

    They’ll be glad they did.

    • Thank you very much for stopping by to comment, Neksummi.

      It’s always good to hear from a fellow Member and I completely agree with what you say.

      The fact that we’ve got over a million people here from all kinds of backgrounds and will all kinds of experiences, education, etc, proves that this is the ultimate equal opportunities program. 

      The internet is a great leveller, but we have to know what we’re doing and Wealthy Affiliate gives us everything we need.

  6. Thank you for taking the time to explain what affiliate marketing is.

    Something came to mind when you said, “, Affiliate Marketing is promoting someone else’s products or services in return for a commission, without actually ‘selling’ anything”.

    On Social Media there are plenty of product promotions. If somebody likes a particular product he/she just clicks the share and it can be seen by all their social media contacts. 

    I realized that affiliate marketing through Social Media is effectively working with the Advertisers without them incurring expenses. Many would just share a link and if somebody buys the product, then that is good for the Advertisers.

    The ‘Publisher’ (sharer on social media) of the Advertiser’s product builds a website and looks for affiliate programs to join, and products / services to promote, but it’s not always easy to be approved as an affiliate publisher. Would the Advertisers simplify the membership process so we can benefit as they benefit from us? 

    • That’s a great question.

      There are over 750,000 Affiliate Program providers out there, and each have their own criteria for accepting and approving new Affiliates.

      This is mostly precautionary, since there are some unscrupulous individuals out there who are out to make a fast buck and think that the easiest way to do this is to make exaggerated, albeit still plausible, eye catching claims about what a product can do. 

      These people are a small minority, but the damage they can do to the reputation of a product owner / affiliate program provider and to the affiliate marketing industry is considerable. 

      For example, programs such as Amazon Associates want to see an applying affiliate’s website before they will grant approval. They want to see some quality content on that website whether or not it has made any sales up till that point and they will give new affiliates 180 days to make 3 sales to allow their membership account to stay active.

      Gone are the days when an affiliate was simply someone who would send spammy links to their e-mail or social media contacts, thankfully.

      Can you imagine if Amazon relied on it’s associates doing this, or even allowed them to do so? Amazon wouldn’t be where it is today, if it still existed at all!

      Whilst Wealthy Affiliate can’t have any influence on the acceptance criteria of all the different affiliate programs out there, it can give us credibility as potential affiliates by giving us the training to make us competent and the websites to show to the owners of the programs we apply for. 

      Having said that, a recent addition to the Wealthy Affiliate system is the AFFILIATE PROGRAM FINDER feature, which went live in mid-May.

      Here’s the link to the blog post that co-Founder Carson wrote about it


      Rather than joining an affiliate program directly with the owner, there are now a number of programs we can join via Wealthy Affiliate, since they are recognized throughout the affiliate marketing industry as being the ones who set the standards for the rest to follow.

      Someone in the Community blogged the other day how they’d applied to join the Udemy affiliate program to sell education courses, and they had been disapproved, but when they applied again some time later through the Affiliate Finder feature, they were approved by Udemy!

      The Owners at Wealthy Affiliate are constantly striving to stay ahead of the game and make constant improvement for the Members.

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