This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
Hello Adam. Thank you! After months of searching and reading how to start a blog, I decided to stop procrastinating and take the plunge…just get started! I signed up for three years with Bluehost using the link at the site of one of the MANY bloggers I came across in my search (didn’t want to miss out on the low cost). I have joined MANY courses for beginner bloggers. Yours has been by far SUPERIOR! Thank you for laying out the information so simply, for providing all the links for more information, but BEST of all, for providing the FULL course, in such detail no less, at the start! My blog is almost three months old, but I have gone back through using the steps in the checklist you provided. THANK YOU!
Once you get your basic website set up, your affiliates all arranged, and you start producing content that other people might want to see, it’s time to learn how to market yourself so that people will start visiting your site and finding out what you have to offer. If it’s good, word of mouth will bring others to see your website, and that (along with more marketing and SEO) will slowly but surely grow your audience. But to learn more about that, you should read some of the other articles on this site.
The first thing to do is to join an affiliate program then select the products you intend to sell. The owners of the products would provide you with an affiliate code you can use for referring traffic to the main site. Also, you will be offered banners, text links and several forms of creative copies in which you just copy and paste the code on your own site to refer traffic.
Once you get your basic website set up, your affiliates all arranged, and you start producing content that other people might want to see, it’s time to learn how to market yourself so that people will start visiting your site and finding out what you have to offer. If it’s good, word of mouth will bring others to see your website, and that (along with more marketing and SEO) will slowly but surely grow your audience. But to learn more about that, you should read some of the other articles on this site.

That’s because the affiliate program works by setting a browser cookie when someone clicks on an affiliate link and tracks any purchases made at the destination before the cookie expires. After that, the affiliate program pays out a small commission. Thus, it’s possible to make a little money or even make a living off of affiliate marketing, but only if you can convince people to click on your links and buy your affiliate partner’s products.
Absolutely wonderful post! I love how you’re striaght forward with all your information but my favorite is how you describe the way you feel when you make that first sale. It’s always a great feeling to see a return on your efforts. I’d just like to add how important it is to Never Ever give up! If you have any interest at all in being successful in this business (and it is a business) then treat it like one and plan, prepare and dedicate yourself. Don’t always focus on making millions, focus on what it will take to change your life. Most peoples lives would change with just an extra $50k a year!
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.
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