Who can say no to passive income? Affiliate marketing lets you make money while you sleep. But, that doesn’t make it easy. The truth is a little more complicated.

First, you’ve got to put in some work. But, with a lot of effort and commitment, you will get to feel the thrill of making your first commission.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission through promoting products or services of an online retailer. You direct your site visitors to the product page. When your visitor makes a purchase, you earn a commission.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Naturally, the retailer has to know you’re the one who directed the buyer to them. There are many ways to track affiliates. Almost all revolve around the same principle – someone needs to click on your special tracking link.

Thanks to the link, the retailer can tell it’s your referral, and then you get paid if the visitor makes a purchase. There are more complex methods based on IP or email addresses, but those are less common.

Find a Niche

Before you even build your platform (site, blog, vlog), you need to find a niche. That’s what your site will revolve around. Start with things you are passionate and knowledgeable about.

Are you into DIY adventures? You can create a “how-to” blog and write tool reviews. But, you can’t make money off of passion alone. Which interests of yours are moneymakers? For instance, knitting probably isn’t a topic that’ll help you pay rent, but cosmetics is one that might. Choose a moneymaker.

woman writing a review for affiliate marketing program

But, choose a niche with low competition. If there are many affiliates in a niche, you’ll have to compete with an army of affiliates who have been around for a long time. And, make sure the topic you’ll write about is big enough.

If you can make a hundred blog posts, you’re golden. If there’s not enough content on your platform, you may have difficulty developing authority or with SEO (search engine optimization). To recap, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • What’s my passion?
  • Is there money in it?
  • Is the niche oversaturated?
  • Is the topic big enough?
  • Create a Website

Think about the domain carefully. Many companies like to see who you are first before they start doing business with you. “Salesy” content is off the table. Remember, you’re an affiliate marketer. The retailer is the one selling the products and advertising them.

Platforms like WordPress and Squarespace allow you to build a site without much effort. But, it takes a bit more if you want to be an authority in your niche. Make sure your site includes the following pages and content:

  • Terms of Service
  • Disclaimer
  • Privacy Policy
  • Contact
  • About

Create Quality Content

You should have at least five top-notch posts before you become an affiliate. You may be required to have a certain level of site traffic and established content before you become a partner. Make sure to post regularly and frequently. Your content should be well-researched and helpful to the visitors.

Research Affiliate Programs

There are countless affiliate programs out there. However, you’ll need one that’s in your niche. Choose a program according to your niche and not the other way around. If you’re a passionate poker player and your blog revolves around Texas hold’em, you can research casino affiliate programs that let you to make commissions by writing poker room reviews and other related content.

But, if you’re more into products, Amazon sells just about anything. Chances are, they’ll fit in with your niche. Clickbank and Commission Junction are also very popular and reputable platforms you could check out.

affiliate marketing business technology concept

Time to Promote

You need to promote something that fits your content and your niche. Ideally, you’d want to promote products that fill a need. What do your visitors use and love? Once you have the product or service, write reviews and plug the link.

But, you have to promote your site as well. If you have a budget, you can use Google Ads and other digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to your site and attract your target audience.


Once you make your first buck, you’re a proper affiliate! But the work doesn’t end there. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track your performance.

Make sure to keep updating your site with fresh content. As you can see, it’s possible to earn money while you sleep. But, it still requires hard work during the day!

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