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A Beginners' Guide to WordPress Affiliate Marketing

A Beginners’ Guide to WordPress Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing has already been a popular and profitable way for blogs, review sites, coupon sites and download sites to make money online. By taking part in affiliate marketing, you can start earning income easily by selling others’ products instead of creating your own one.

It’s almost costless to start affiliate marketing, and the time for preparations isn’t long as long as you have got a WordPress site set up. Therefore, this marketing strategy is one of the best choices for beginners to make money from their sites.

This tutorial will introduce what affiliate marketing is in detail, and then show you the basic steps to start effective affiliate marketing from scratch. Some tips and suggestions which contribute to more income and better online presence are also offered.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a kind of marketing in which you, the affiliate, promote others’ product to earn a commission. The basic procedures of affiliate marketing are:

  1. You find one or more products that you’d like to promote.
  2. You promote the products to the potential buyers including your website visitors.
  3. The potential buyers click your affiliate links and buy the product they need.
  4. You obtain a profit for each of the orders. The amount of the profit depends on the commissions promised by the product creators or the affiliate network you use.

The greatest charm of affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to invest time and money in creating your own product in order to sell. The resources are already there so you can simply get started by selecting a product relevant to your niche.

To maximize the marketing performance, affiliates usually combine many other marketing and advertising methods including email marketing, SEO optimization, PPC (Pay-Per-Click) ads and social media marketing.

What Is Affiliate Marketing

How to Start Affiliate Marketing?

There are only a few steps to take in order to get started with affiliate marketing. However, each of the steps requires some time and dedicated efforts. If you want to be a good affiliate that earns a large amount of incomes while offering really good content that is wanted by your audience, follow the steps below.

Find the right affiliate product or service

The product you promote is crucial to your website credibility, user satisfaction and income. When choosing an affiliate program, make sure to take the following factors into consideration to judge the value of a product.

  • Relevancy – The product must be closely relevant to your website topic. For example, if you are running a web hosting review site, you can promote some reputable web hosts like BlueHost. Less relevant products not only bring little income, but also make your website look scammy.
  • Quality – Quality products eventually grow your incomes, improve your reputation, and increase your website traffic since they are able to bring real value to your visitors. In contrast, low-quality products can destroy your business and result in many negative comments on your website.
  • Affiliate income – The commission you can gain for referral is not ignorable, of course. However, you should not sacrifice the product quality just for the commission, or you may suffer a loss.
  • Your knowledge and experience – A good affiliate product should be the one that you are very familiar with or have experience in its use. This is important because you will need convincing evidence to make your visitors buy.

Generally speaking, there are two ways to find a product to promote. One is to manually check the official websites of the products you like and see whether they come with an affiliate program. And the other is to use a profitable affiliate platform which has collected various products available for you to choose.

There are several good affiliate platforms. Each of the platforms come with their own focus, so which to use depends on your website content. Below are some of the most popular affiliate platforms which you may be interested in.

  • Amazon Associates – This is the affiliate program offered by Amazon. It enables you to choose products among millions of choices to promote, and by advertising the products to your website visitors, you are able to earn up to 10% of the advertising fees. This program is free to join.
  • LinkShare – It offers a complete platform for both advertisers and publishers. As a publisher, you can choose one or more products from various recognized brands in different product categories including gifts, lifestyle and fashion. Video tutorials are also available.
  • CJ Affiliate by Conversant – It works in the similar way as LinkShare and provides you with the opportunity to become an affiliate of companies that you have already known about.
  • ClickBank – It focuses on digital products and software packages.

Amazon Associates Affiliate Program

Start writing for the products

After finding the products to promote, you can start earning incomes by producing content on your website and including affiliate links in it. Before writing new content, you can also update your old posts and insert affiliate links to the proper places.

When writing for the affiliate products on your WordPress site, you must pay attention to the following things.

  • Content, instead of the affiliate links, comes with the top priority. Every piece of content on your website should be quality and valuable to the human readers. Don’t write useless posts simply to promote the affiliate products.
  • Affiliate links should be inserted naturally and contextually. Don’t be violent when using affiliate links in your posts. Only use them when they are relevant and contextually needed by your readers.
  • Be sure not to overuse affiliate links on your WordPress site, and remember to nofollow all the links.

Cloak the affiliate links

The default affiliate links are long, with a lot of parameters included. To make them clearer and branded, most affiliates nowadays choose to cloak affiliate links and shorten them to something like http://yourdomain.com/refer/product. This not only helps with affiliate link management in the WordPress dashboard, but also adds another layer for click tracking.

Cloaking links in WordPress is not hard because there are many link cloakers available. You can easily get all your tasks done by installing a WordPress affiliate marketing plugin like ThirstyAffiliates. Few manual efforts are required, so even as beginners, you don’t need to worry about any technical problem.

Cloak Affiliate Links

Suggestions to Make Yourself a Good Affiliate Marketer

What discussed above are the basic steps to start affiliate marketing on your WordPress site. However, to gain the maximum affiliate incomes while maintaining your website quality, there are many other things you need to do. Below are several suggestions that could help.

  • Add a disclosure on your website to disclose the fact that you receive compensation for promoting products on your website. Such a disclosure is required by law.
  • Be honest and helpful. Always promote the product you know only. If it is possible, try the product before recommending it to your readers. Besides, when discussing the product, make sure to be honest if there is any obvious drawback.
  • Place ads in the sidebar of your WordPress site. Affiliate programs usually offer advertisements for you to display on your website. You can take advantage of this to maximize your incomes.
  • Analyze and make improvements. Always track the clicks on your affiliate links to find the most popular product on your website, the best placements of ads, and the best anchor texts. This helps you concentrate more on the products that earn you the most incomes.
  • Look for more business opportunities. This includes multiple things to do, including trying new products continuously, promoting products on your social media accounts, sending email newsletters to your subscribers, etc. However, you must be careful when drafting newsletters to prevent dislikes.


Joyce is a professional writer & SEOer who loves trying new things and sharing the experience through blogging. She loves clean design, playing with different WordPress themes, SEO, etc. Very often, you could find her in various WordPress event as invited speakers.