What is Affiliate Marketing & FAQ

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What is Affiliate Marketing & FAQ

Whenever I publish my Income report or share how I earn money with my blog, I often mention a term call Affiliate marketing. Bloggers and internet marketers who are into online marketing from years, most of these people know what is Affiliate marketing and how it’s the most lucrative way to earn online. In this article, I will share the basic of aff. Marketing and all details that you need to know and understand how Affiliate marketing works.

What is Affiliate marketing and how it works?

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest form of marketing, where you refer someone to any online product and when a person buys the product based on your recommendation; you will get a commission out of it. This commission amount varies from $1 to $10000, depending on what product you are promoting and recommending.

What is Affiliate Marketing

Now, the most common question is, how companies track the record of who is sending the traffic and who is making sales. The simple answer is tracking URL, which is a unique link given to you by affiliate company or product company, which is used to keep a track of all the traffic and sales you are making via your Website or other promotion techniques. Many old fashioned Affiliate programs, let a buyer add the Email or referral details, which is also accounted for affiliate sales, but certainly not the best way to track progress.

So, in simple words:

Many online companies who sales product like Shoes, Webhosting space or any service, and you offer an affiliate program. You can go ahead and sign up for the program and get your unique tracking link. Now, whenever you were writing about the product, you can simply use special tracking affiliate link to, recommend the company site, and if your readers buy anything, you will get a commission out of it.

Every affiliate programs have their set of TOS, for example, many of them offer 60 days cookie period, that means, if a visitor uses your special affiliate link to land on sales page of the site and instead of buying today, he buys in next 60 days, you will be entitled to the sale income.

Here are some of the common terms associated with Affiliate Marketing:

  • Affiliates: Publisher like me and you who are using affiliate program links to promote and make the sale.
  • Affiliate marketplace: There are many marketplaces like Shareasale, CJ, Clickbank, which works as central database for affiliate programs in different niche.
  • Affiliate software: Software’s used by companies to create an affiliate program for their product. Ex: iDevaffiliate.
  • Affiliate link: Special tracking link offered by your affiliate program to track the progress of your affiliate promotion.
  • Affiliate ID: Similar to Affiliate link, but, in this case, many affiliate programs offer a unique ID, which you can add to any page of the product site with ?affiliate ID.
  • Payment mode: Different affiliate program offers a different method of payment. For ex: Check, Wire transfer, Paypal and many more.
  • Affiliate Manager: Many companies have dedicated affiliate manager to help publishers and make them earn more and give them optimization tips.
  • Commission percentage/amount: The amount or percentage of sales amount you will be getting an affiliate income from every sale.
  • 2 Tier affiliate marketing: This is a great way of making money from an affiliate program. In this, you recommend others to join affiliate programs, and you will get a commission out of it, when sub-affiliate make sales. More like MLM (Multi-level) marketing. Also popularly known as Sub-affiliate Commission.
  • Landing pages: A unique product sales or demo page to increase the sales. Most of the programs that you will be promoting, they have many landing pages, and you can run A/B testing to see which converts more for you.
  • Custom Affiliate Income/ account: Unlike a generic affiliate account, many companies offer custom affiliate income to people making most affiliate sales for them.
  • Link clocking: Most of the affiliate tracking links are ugly and using a Link clocking technique like URL shorteners, Gocodes plugin, you can turn ugly looking links into human readable links.
  • Custom coupons: Many Programs let affiliates create custom coupon, which is also used to track sales. Also, custom discount coupons help you to increase affiliate sales.

For companies who offer an affiliate program, this is one of the best way to get free promotion and save on advertising. For example, whenever you see coupons or discounted links, most of the time such links are affiliate links, and when you make a purchase, webmasters make money out it.

FAQ about affiliate marketing:

I believe so far you have a basic understanding of what is affiliate marketing and how it works. If you have any question regarding the same, you can always ask it via comments. Now, let me answer some of the common question asked by webmasters and marketers related to Affiliate Marketing.

Is affiliate marketing harmful or illegal?

No, it’s not as you will be just using the particular link instead of a direct link to link to any site.

Aff. marketing and Adsense: Can we use both?

Yes, you can as affiliate marketing doesn’t violate any Adsense TOS. In fact, for me Affiliate marketing works better than Adsense, and that’s one reason you see fewer Adsense ads here at ShoutMeLoud.

How to find Affiliate link for any product?

Not all companies offer the affiliate program, but for the companies who offer Affiliate program, you can always check on their site or FAQ page. Another way is to do a simple google search. For example, the simple search with following term “Product name + Affiliate program” and Google it. Replace product name with the product you are promoting, and you will have the landing page. Many companies uses the affiliate marketplace like ShareASale, CJ, Clickbank that is free to use and you can go ahead and create a free account.

How to find new products to promote?

Affiliate marketplaces (Mentioned above) are the best place to start with. You can browse your niche and see top performing Affiliate programs. Alternatively, many niche based forums is a great place to find new products to promote. For example, I often use Warriorforum to find products related to IM and blogging niche.

Alternatively, you can keep an eye on blogs in your niche and see which product they are promoting and what methods they are using.

Is it important to have a Blog for Affiliate promotion?

Not necessary. Though, Blog is the best way to promote but you can always use many things like PPC or advertising to promote a product. But, this is more like hit and run affiliate marketing and best way to make most out of it is, have a blog and use it for hard and soft promotion.

How much is cost to join an affiliate program?

These is no charge for joining an aff. program. Though cost depends on what promotion technique you are using. For example,a Blog post doesn’t cost a dime. Where as PPC marketing, Email marketing or advertising comes with a price tag.

Qualification to become an Aff. marketer:

Literally there is no qualification require to become an affiliate marketer. Though having a good copywriting skills and marketing skills will be an added advantage.

If there program which automatically converts links into affiliate links:

There are few networks like Viglink, Skimlinks which automatically convert normal links into affiliate links. Since they are using Javascript, so it’s SEO friendly and you need not need to sign up individual affiliate program.

How much money one can make from Aff. Marketing?

As I mentioned above, there is no limit to amount you can earn from affiliate programs. It all depends which program you promoting and how much conversion you are making. I started with $47 as my first affiliate income and now, I make almost $4k-5K/month by promoting products which I use day-to-day.

Alright, I understood what Affiliate marketing is all about, how do I get started:

Here at ShoutMeLoud, me and many guest author have covered some of the best guides to help you understand in depth about getting started and some of the pros and cons. Here I’m creating a list from our Aff. marketing archive which will help you to get started.

I hope this starter guide to Affiliate Marketing, will help you to get started. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask me via comments.

Don’t forget to join my Email newsletter for getting more similar tips and updates. If you find this article informative, do share it on Facebook and Google plus.

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1046 articles.

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  1. Hiren says

    sir, your article on affiliate marketing is very goods. it clear most of my doubts. i went to know about amazon and flipkart. if i am displaying in my website x product that link is clink by my viewer but after clinking it purchases other product say y product in this case can i get commission or not. if i went get most of product than i have to make general link to product link electronic or mobile get more product from get commission.
    thank you in advance

  2. Manoj Mali says

    Hi Harsh,

    I wanted to know if I can track the list of items sold with my affiliate id? and if is possible the way by which we can achieve it?

    Manoj Mali

  3. says

    Hello Harsh,
    Happy you hear that we can use affiliate marketing and Google Adsense at the same time.

    But I have one question, What if somebody is already having 3 Google ads unit and what if he/she adds one or 2 more affiliate links ? Will it now violate Google adsense terms ?

  4. says

    Hi Harsh. I don’t want to praise your blog post about affiliate marketing. because it has already done by the above commentators. So Harsh, How many affiliate links a post is suitable? I’m already an affiliate partner of Aweber, but i have just started my blog and getting only 10-20 traffics per day. So that I’m going to write a review post about Aweber for including my affiliate link. I know that it will be very difficult to make sales from my blog with this traffic. So I’ll promote my Review post via facebook promotion. In future, my blog will have a decent amount of traffic, that time i will join more affiliate programs. That why i asked the above question. How many affiliate links a post?

  5. Ashish says


    Let me know that my website is already running Google ad-sense so will it be possible that I shall display ads of any company as a affiliate program along with adsense.

  6. Vibhuti says

    Very well written article about affiliate marketing. You have described everything about it. I really needed to know about basics of it so that i can continue your article ” how to start with affiliate marketing ” :)

  7. Yogita Aggarwal says

    Thanks Harsh for mentioning all the basics of Affiliate marketing. Though I am totally new to affiliate marketing this one is the great read for me.

  8. keyur savaliya says

    Harsh,i am new to all this as i am mechanical engg. student.
    could you answer me following questions?
    is it possible to make money by become affiliate of any top e-commerce site and promote their products via facebook ads or any other way?
    is it against of e-comm. site affiliates?

    • Kishor Mhaskar says

      Hey Keyur,

      If you become affiliate for any product/ services. You can promote it by various means as you want ( as long as ethical ). For example Blogging , Email marketing, PPC and lot more. You should check with affiliate program what is allowed and what is not. There may be some restrictions ad you must follow them.

      Yes Facebook Ads are one of the good way. I am doing lot more stuff with facebook.

      Kishor Mhaskar

  9. kapil says

    hi harsh i understand affiliate program can you tell me any affiliate program of online shopping mall actually i started with a company (online shopping mall) but now they are not sending products to customers so please tell me i want to start online store again if you know any company than pls tell me with their website link
    thanks & regards

  10. Abhishek Mishra says

    OMG, Trootrac, Icubeswire and Clickzoot are some more good affiliates networks in india

  11. Ankur Khanna says


    Great article on Affiliate Marketing for newbies. I am an affiliate marketer myself and have been using OMG India’s affiliate network to sell products. I’ve tried different networks like tyroo, vcommission but if I were to rate them, OMG India would definitely come first.

    I’ve been getting constant payouts (60days) and I do call them up whenever I have any tracking problem. If you guys haven’t tried any indian affiliate network, then I really urge you to try Omg India! You can google more about it if you want :)

  12. says

    Thanks Harsh for such a detail info. This would be like a quick reference guide for beginner Affiliate Marketer.

    I am very much an of your writing and truly speaking you and Amit Agarawal ( from labnol.org ) are the marketers who inspired me a lot to start in IM 2 years back.

    It would be very nice if you can write ( and I know you will) more about this like , different networks, different methods and mainly legal and taxation procedures for Affiliate / Internet marketers in India.

    -Kishor Mhaskar

  13. Me Passionate says

    You have discussed only the concept of affiliated marketing which can work only for out of India visitors.
    But Now, there will be a boost in India for affiliated marketing as online shopping websites are coming and their investment plan for advertisement is huge as you are watching TV almost 50% Ads of online shopping website.

    So be ready for that and tell if there is anyone passionate blogger who would like to invest time and money to make our own online store by using our own experiences. No one alone can eat the competition.

    What you think Harsh??

  14. aditya says

    Hey there,
    I am a blogger already however need to deep dive into affiliate programs. Thanks for the wonderful and informative post on affiliate!
    I want to know how do you keep track of the affiliate links? For example, if you want to check total sales at one place for all the different brands and different products you were running affiliates for. Like if i have affiliate links for Hostgator and Bluehost and lets say Godaddy, I want to avoid going to their individual dashboards to check the total sales and see all the sales at one place in some common place/dashboard. Any suggestions?

    • says

      There is a software call Nifty stats which works with many affiliate marketplace including AdSense.. But as you mentioned (For HG, BH, Godaddy), it won’t work with it..And I have not come across any such software which works with them…!!
      If I will come across any such software, I would let you know. Thanks for your comment. :)

  15. Umm-E-Abdullah says

    You have very nice & informative blodg. One thing I would like to ask that Can I use affiliate programs on blogger hosted blog?

  16. Pradeep Venkatesan says

    Hey,Harsh recently i logged on to the CJ website and i was reading the terms and conditions the publisher must know to promote an advertiser’s product .I came across this line that all the relations with an advertiser are “on a contract basis” and the “publisher is obliged to do his job for payouts ” .Does this mean that for suppose any XYZ reason i am not able to dynamically make updates as an affiliate ..would that create kind of a loss to me in terms of money ! ???

    • says

      CJ is a marketplace, and when you apply for any particular affiliate product, you need to accept the TOS put by the affiliate company. That means, minimum payout, and usage of ads and similar terms…. You will not lose money, but your payout may delay, if you can’t fulfil the minimum requirement…

  17. Ambika Choudhary Mahajan says

    Great post, as usual! :)
    While affiliate marketing can earn you much more than adsense can (as you have also pointed out), the most important thing is to get traffic to the blog.
    Nothing will work well- neither adsense nor aff mktg or direct ads as long as you are not getting enough traffic.
    Once you start getting traffic, particularly organic traffic, the sky is the limit!
    I am sure Harsh will agree to this- he has been doing it successfully for a long time now.

  18. Santanu says

    Wow!! Harshe you are a genious man. Just gone through this article. Never read affiliate marketing in such a detail. But my problem is, for a multi niche blog like i run, can you please tell me wheather there is any scope of affiliate programs that I can target….Thanks in Advance.

  19. Newton Adera says

    I am glad about this post that Harsh has explored in deep .I agree with you,but many newbies like i dont have website.Many sites asks for personal website.Again sites like ezine.com will allow you to write good content articles and then you place aff.link in Resource Box

  20. Shiwangi peswani says

    Hey Harsh, you have given a detailed post about affiliate marketing but the only thing which I want to learn about Affiliate Marketing is still missing here and that it ‘How To Promote A Product with your Affiliate Link?’

    • Amit Shaw says

      Shiwangi, There are lots of way to promote your affiliate product, You can do offline as well as online.
      If you have blog with targeted visit then i will suggest you to write review on that product and do some on-page SEO and try to rank on SERP and get ready to boost your sales.
      Here are some other way : Email Marketing, Banner Ads, Signature Etc.
      Thanks for this Post Harsh. :)
      Cheers :)

  21. Alan Tay says

    Probably you might want to start a post on why newbies usually fail in affiliate marketing ;)

    There is no doubt that affiliate marketing is one of the method to earn from internet and I personally prefer this over Google Adsense.

    However, being a starter as an affiliate can be a challenge because there is a lot of doubt whether, “Does this really works?” or ” Why would people buy from me?” and etc.

    • says

      One simply rule: If someone is recommending a good product with all the honestly, it will surely work. Newbies, usually impose product on readers, rather than giving them an option, and unbiased review…. This is one reason, most of newbies struggle to fail…. \

      More over, a good idea is to pick a complete new product, which is useful and not mentioned at lots of places…

  22. akhilendra says

    Affiliate marketing is a very good way of learning also. When you do affiliate marketing, you are constantly looking for good products and then you come across something which you cannot only sell to others but also it extend your knowledge base.

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