What is affiliate marketing and how to start affiliate marketing in 2018 (the only guide you need)

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What is affiliate marketing ? If you don’t know anything about it. Don’t worry, i will tell you everything about it in this post on what is affiliate marketing and how to start affiliate marketing in 2018.

We are in no hurry today, i suppose. If you are then i will advice you to read this full guide when you have time to invest in yourself. As this guide will tell you exactly how to start affiliate marketing right way and fulfill your money dreams.

Passive income is very often defined as earn while sleeping . Affiliate marketing is one such method to earn passive income online. Its simple if you do it right way . Always remember the difference between hard work and smart work.

What is affiliate marketing ?

It is the practice of recommending a companies products or services to potential customers, generating a sale and earning a commission in return.

affiliate link


Its based on revenue sharing. you sell and promote others products using your online resources like Facebook page ,a blog, a YouTube channel or your affiliate network and the company for which you made the sale pays you certain commission which is in between 8-14% .

This percentage might look insignificant to you but think about the commission you get when you sell an apple laptop for the advertiser company.

Its awesome, you sell products without even investing on their manufacturing .

Let me tell you one truth , every online passive income method requires online audience which you called traffic, let it be a blog or Facebook page, a YouTube channel or anything else and this truth makes affiliate marketing “not so easy”.  Don’t feel disappointed , once you have an online platform where you get regular visitors, affiliate marketing  can do wonders for you.



The process of affiliate marketing generally involves four parties :  the advertiser or product creator often called the merchant, the affiliate network, the affiliate or publisher and the buyer.

Like when you join an affiliate program through commission junction , the process involves four parties where commission junction serve as the affiliate network. We will talk about affiliate networks later in this post.

Sometimes the process may only involve three parties –  the merchant, the affiliate, and the buyer.

affiliate marketing
source : cj

This is the case when you join amazon’s affiliate program . Here there is no affiliate network. A Direct deal between the merchant amazon and the affiliate .

Lets look at each party involved behind a successful affiliate program.


1. The merchant or advertiser

The merchant behind an affiliate program is the one who actually decides to start affiliate program. So this party is called the product creator and seller. Let me give you one example.

Amazon sells stuff online and in order to increase sells amazon decides to start an affiliate program called amazon associates. So here, behind the amazon associates affiliate program , amazon is the merchant and the boss.

amazon associates affiliate website

I too can be a merchant behind an affiliate program. The minimum requirement is to have a product to sell and promote.

2. The affiliate or the publisher

Affiliate is the party which joins the affiliate program started by the merchant site. The work of an affiliate is to promote a product manufactured by the merchant site and increase sales through their online resource like a blog and in return get some commission. Their work is simple just place affiliate links and banners on their website and enjoy the sales.


The website which an affiliate owns is an affiliate website An affiliate marketing business can produce a few hundred dollars in commissions each month or tens of millions of dollars.

Again i will give you an example,

Trusted reviews can be called an affiliate website, it reviews electronic appliances like camera , that indirectly means, his website promotes products and he place links on his websites whenever necessary like buy now which land his website visitors to merchants site like Lenovo, nikon etc. and as soon as a sale is made through his link , he earn some commission.  Here Michael Topham is the affiliate and his website is an affiliate website.




3. The buyer or the consumer


These are the people who buy  merchant’s product from affiliate’s website on account of a link or banner served by the affiliate website or promotion by affiliate.

The affiliate will try to market to the consumer on whatever channel they see fit, whether that’s a social network, digital billboards or through a search engine using content marketing on a blog.


4. The affiliate network

Only some consider the network part of the affiliate marketing equation.  But, I believe that an affiliate marketing guide needs to include networks, because, in many cases, a network works as an intermediary between the affiliate and the merchant. –  neil patel.

The affiliate network drops a tracking cookie into the buyer’s browser when they visit an advertisers website as a result of clicking an affiliate link on the affiliate’s website. They are effectively the glue which makes affiliate marketing possible, and they’re the guys who send your payment to you.

The affiliate network is also treated as a store of many affiliate programs by different companies. From which the affiliate can choose which to join.

Example of some affiliate networks are clickbank, cj etc.

When an affiliate joins any company’s affiliate program through affiliate network, the commission gets reduced as the affiliate network too is cutting out their commissions for joining you. But when there is a direct deal between the merchant and the publisher, The commission rate is preety impressive and high as in the case of amazon associates . They pay a commission rate of 14%. That’s nice when compared to others.

If you are not yet clear, just give a look to photo below

affiliate marketing guide
source : moreniche

After dealing with the definition and working of affiliate marketing . lets see some common terminologies related with the affiliate marketing that can prove handy for you while learning affiliate marketing. You can take it as a revision.

  1. Affiliates are the publishers or affiliate website owners who use affiliate links to promote and make sales for the advertiser.
  2. Affiliate marketplace There are many marketplaces like Shareasale, CJ, and Clickbank. These work as central databases for affiliate programs in different niches.
  3. Affiliate software these are softwares used by advertisers to make affiliate programs for their products.
  4. Affiliate link the special tracking link offered to affiliate websites for tracking the sales and activities through the website.
  5. Affiliate ID  Similar to the affiliate link, but many affiliate programs offer a unique ID which you can add to any page of the product site.
  6. Commission ammount this is the ammount of commission you wil get for every sell through your link. It is mostly between 7-15 percent.
  7. 2- tier affiliate marketing This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program. With this method, you recommend that others join affiliate programs, and you receive a commission when a sub-affiliate makes a sale (similar to MLM or multi-level marketing). This income is also known as a sub-affiliate commission.
  8. link clocking most affiliate links are vast and ugly by using the link clocking method yu can shorten the affiliate links and customize them according to need.

You need to know – cookies ?

In case you’re wondering, there are a couple of ways these cookies can and will disappear:

  1. If the buyer clears the cookies in their browser, either manually or using a tool such as CCleaner.
  2. If the cookie expires. Most affiliate networks work with a 30-day cookie period as standard.

The affiliate programs and networks / how to start affiliate marketing in 2018

By now you’re probably itching to get started with affiliate marketing, but don’t know where to begin. Let me help you with that.

Many online companies who sell products such as shoes, web-hosting spaces, or some other service, usually offer an affiliate program. You can simply sign up for the program and get your unique tracking link. Now, whenever you are writing about their product, you can simply use this special tracking affiliate link to recommend the company’s site.

If your readers buy anything, you will get a commission.

Not every affiliate program is same and not all affiliate networks. They may differ in the cookie period they offer, some offers a 60 day cookie period and others might offer a lifetime cookie period. which means that if a visitor uses your special affiliate link to land on the sales page of the site and buys something within the next 60 days, you will be entitled to the sale’s commission.


The top affiliate websites in 2018

You have made your mind to become an affiliate and earn smart passive income. That’s cool but before you go on and join any affiliate program through any affiliate network. You need to see our exclusive list of top affiliate networks in 2018.

1. Shareasale

ShareASale is one of the largest affiliate networks. The Shareasale platform has about 4,000 merchants listed, of which over one thousand of them are exclusive to them. ShareASale publishes a large amount of data on each of the offers they are running, these include:

  • Earnings per Click
  • Reversal Rates
  • Average Sale Amount
  • Average Commission

Why to choose sharesale as your affiliate marketing website

There are multiple reasons to choose shareasale as your affiliate marketing websites like

  1. Shareasale has a large partner network which include over 4,000+ merchants from them 1000+ are exclusive.
  2. The minimum ammount you need to checkout is 50$ and they pay you on 20th of every month.
  3. Shareasale puts its all efforts to make it easier for publishers to choose the best offers based on the metrics.


2. Flexoffers

Flexoffers is an affiliate marketing network that can pay you faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.


3. Tradedoubler

Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.

4. CJ Affiliate

CJ Affiliate is considered to be the biggest affiliate platforms online; if you have worked in the affiliate marketing space for any amount of time, you’ve probably come across them.

Nearly every major retailer have their affiliate programs on CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction), which makes them as close to a one stop shop as you can get in the affiliate marketing business. Most retailers have multiple ad sizes available for affiliates, which gives you better control of the offers you show on your blog.

With such a wide array of advertisers on the CJ Affiliate platform it makes it relatively easy to compare and segment different offers. Finding the affiliate tracking code to place on your blog is also straightforward; once you’re approved to promote an offer, you can be running lots of different offers on your site in just a few short hours.


To summarise, the advantages of the network are:

  • Large Partner Network. CJ Affiliate has over three thousand advertising partners, many have lots of creative sizes and various affiliate link options.
  • Reliable Payments. They offer a net-20 payment term which means that you’ll get your commission paid out in a timely manner each month.
  • Powerful Reporting Options. The reporting suite from CJ Affiliate is pretty impressive, which is a big advantage for marketers who plan to spend a their time optimizing their sales performance.


Disadvantages of the network include:

  • Steep Learning Curve. While the reporting capabilities are great, they’re also quite difficult for beginners to get to grips with. You’ll need to spend time in the dashboard before you’re comfortable navigating the reporting suite and can then start to take full advantage of the tools on offer.
  • Limited Customer Support.Due to the large number of affiliates and merchants, it’s understandable that customer support is quite limited. But only having a contact form as the main method to get in touch with the support department can be restrictive.

That were 4 of some most used affiliate marketing websites, if yuo want to see the full list of 20 best affiliate marketing websites just click the link below:




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Mohit Paliwal

I am a professional blogger from India . I like to explore the web, learn new stuff and deliver it to my audience. I had been looking for an online job for many years. Now I make a living through blogging. Thus I like to teach people how they can too make passive income online. I write everything that surround s money. I write about SEO.

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