The Truth About Affiliate Marketing

The Truth About Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of those terms that gets thrown around quite a bit online, particularly in the context of making easy money on the internet. Unfortunately, many of the supposed facts about affiliate marketing are gross misrepresentations. While it can be a very legitimate income stream, affiliate marketing has become a byword for get-rich-quick schemes and unrealistic earning expectations. However, the concept itself is a very sound one, and can be used to generate at least some income.

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For those of you who are not familiar with it, affiliate marketing is simply the use of third-party individuals to market a company’s product to potential customers. Generally, the marketer, also known as an affiliate, is given a link to put on his or her website. When readers click on that link and purchase the product being marketed, the affiliate receives a portion of the sale as a commission. In this manner, a website that promotes a product can earn its owner a certain amount of passive income. The problem, however, becomes that many people represent this very simple business concept as a way to get rich quickly. The truth is that it is anything but a fast path to easy wealth.

There are more myths than real facts floating around the internet about affiliate marketing. Many marketers claim to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with little to no work. These claims are, of course, simply not true. One massively common myth is that affiliate links will perform well on pages that are dedicated to nothing but selling affiliate products. The reality is that, just like normal advertising, a website must offer value to its readers in order for affiliate campaigns to succeed. Affiliate marketing should be thought of as a way to monetize and enhance an already successful website, rather than being the principal focus of that site.

Probably the most common myth, however, is that anyone can begin making money with affiliate marketing almost overnight. The sad truth is that affiliate links still need to be seen in order to generate income. This means that they must be put on a website with a good amount of traffic. In other words, a website cannot be thrown together one day with a few affiliate links and become a gold mine by the middle of next week. Like any income stream, an affiliate marketing business requires growth planning, work, and careful cultivation in order to be successful.

By now, the affiliate marketing business model probably doesn’t look so appealing. However, it should not be written off. It can still be a very profitable source of passive income, provided you are willing to go about it the right way. While it can be a matter of trial and error, there are some good general ground rules that can help you succeed:


Build your website and its traffic stream before you even consider pitching affiliate products.


Make sure your site provides valuable information to readers. This will not only help to increase traffic, but also make your readers more likely to trust your product recommendations.


Affiliate yourself exclusively with products you know to be of high quality. When you recommend a product on your website, your reputation hinges on the quality of that product.


Don’t turn your website into a sales page. Honest product reviews are a good way to generate affiliate income, but never make your readers think you are trying to sell them something.


Use affiliate links sparsely. The focus of your website should still be the content, not the links.

Ultimately, success in affiliate marketing will depend on your ability to provide value and good information to your readers. By promoting good products, providing great content, and building a good traffic stream to your website, you can set yourself up for a good chance at success. If done correctly, affiliate marketing can be a good way to make extra income. Remember, however, that it will take a lot of work to get started and is not going to make you rich overnight.

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