What is Affiliate Marketing Online?

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If you have been looking for a way to work from home, chances are that you have come across the term “affiliate marketing”. It is popping up more and more, and with good reason. Affiliate marketing is a growing field, as increasing numbers of companies begin to market online. But you may still be asking what is affiliate marketing online?

You Probably Do It Without Realising It

We’ve discussed this elsewhere, but it probably bears repeating: you probably do what affiliate marketers do every day without even knowing that you are doing it. Almost everybody does, and that is why it can be a great career for so many people.

What is Affiliate Marketing Online?


Imagine that you have been in need of a new pair of shoes for a while now. After searching around for a comfortable, durable pair, you found what you consider the perfect shoe, buying more than one pair because they are so awesome. The next day when you see you get together with one of your friends, they complain that their shoes hurt and they need a new pair.

Well, you jump all over that, telling them about the ones you bought and how great they are, while waving your feet at them, showing off how fashionable they are.

Your friend, impressed with your review decides to go and buy a pair for themselves.

Now, imagine doing that, but for hundreds of friends at a time. Maybe even thousands. You are doing them a great service by helping them find a high-quality product at a great price.

Your opinion and your excitement over these shoes leads to dozens and dozens of sales, and many happy feet. That alone is pretty awesome. You’ve just helped a lot of people. But what would make it even better would be if you earned money every time someone bought a pair.

Share the Things You Love

Now, you might be hesitant about that. Maybe you feel that you don’t want to push people into buying something they don’t want, or don’t need. Well, to that I say: don’t. No, really. Don’t You won’t be doing anyone any favours if you try to convince them to buy something you don’t believe in. That’s not at all what I am suggesting.

Instead, find something that you love. Something that excited you. Something that you could talk about for hours. We all have something like that. You might need to think a bit to find it, but there is something that you are passionate about.

Maybe it’s shoes, like we said above. Maybe it’s baby clothes and accessories. Maybe it’s video games, or electronics, or kitchen appliances, or one of a thousand other things.

If you love it, someone else does, too. Lots of someone elses. Those people are looking for information on products before they buy. If you can provide that information, guiding them to a quality product that meets their needs, then you are providing a great service, saving them time and money, as well as possible disappointment if you can steer them away from something of questionable worth.

Again, this is something we all do every day. We have things that we love. We talk about them. We share what we have learned and experienced, and that helps others determine whether they want to try those products.

If you can guide someone to a product that you love, that you know they will love, and at the same time make a living doing so, do you really have to question if it’s something worth doing?

Help, Don’t Sell

When people hear the word “commission” they usually connect it with something negative, like a used car salesman aggressively trying to make a sale, even if you aren’t interested. Or how about when you walk into a store and three employees just about trip over each other trying to get to you in order to earn your business.

And if you are seeking a job, chances are your first choice isn’t the position that pays by commission…

This is a bit different though. You are not going to be pressuring people, trying to force them to buy. That may or may not work in other businesses, but as an affiliate marketer, that is not your primary goal, or at least shouldn’t be. If you want to be successful, you need to be honest, with yourself and with your customers.

Help them, don’t sell to them. If you are pushing for a sale, your potential customer will sense that and will be less inclined to follow your advice. If, however, your goal is to honestly help people, then you will be much more genuine and trustworthy, and trust is a big part of affiliate marketing. Would you buy from someone you don’t trust?

Your Own Business

As an affiliate marketer, you are your own boss. You decide what you want to promote, so go ahead and choose something that is fun for you, something that you are already familiar with, or want to learn about. Your enthusiasm will translate to what you write, and that will be more interesting to the people you help.

You will have the freedom to work how you want, where you want, when you want. Do as much or as little as you want. Make it your full-time job if you like, or do it part-time while keeping another job on the side.

It’s up to you. All it takes is a bit of product knowledge and a desire to help people find what they are looking for. You can do that. You do it already, just not online.

With time, you might even become an authority in your chosen niche. Companies might send you their products in order to have you review them. You can build your own brand and be the person that everyone turns to for good advice and help in making their buying decisions.

Where Do You Learn How?

Everyone has to learn from someone, and you want to make sure that you learn from the best. It will help you develop your business faster and see better results. If you have never built a website, the thought of doing so can be intimidating. And how do you bring people to your site so that you can share your knowledge with them?

Where do you learn how to become an affiliate marketer?

For over a decade now, Wealthy Affiliate has been the leader in teaching affiliate marketing. There, you will find everything you need to know to turn your passion into a thriving online business. The lessons and tutorials are top-notch and designed to take you from virtually no knowledge to expertise.

The community is another resource that is not to be overlooked, filled as it is with people just like yourself who want to see you succeed and do well online.

If you’ve been looking for a way to work online, and are tired of scams and misleading offers, then try Wealthy Affiliate. Learn how to work for yourself, doing something you love. I will personally do all I can to help you out once you join.

There has never been a better time or a better place to become an affiliate marketer than right now at Wealthy Affiliate. Click here to learn more.

Let me know what you think. Tell me what you love and what you would like to share with others. I’ll be very happy to hear from you!


 Want to learn how to make your own website? I can help. Learn how to build your site, rank it with Google, and become an affiliate to earn money while blogging about something you love. I’ll be there to help you, as will one of the most amazing communities online.

Get Started Here!

Craig Williams

Working online was a dream of mine for several years, and now I am doing it. You can too! I am here to help in any way I can!

  • Hi Craig, How very well you describe affiliate marketing! It really is the most natural thing in the world, so unlike the typical ‘sales scenarios’ that would give me nightmares to be doing! I love how you compare it to our natural enthusiasm over something we found. I have been getting a lot of compliments on my new glasses…and I jump all over telling people exactly where I got them and all the cool selections they can get. I think I need to get in touch with them to join their affiliate program, don’t you think? Hmmm
    Thanks for this… I endorse what you say about Wealthy Affiliate! It is a really good way to learn this business. That and the new training site…tell them about that one! What a value!

    • Thanks Annie!
      I really think that affiliate marketing must be looked at from the point of view that we are sharing what we are passionate about. If you are going into it with the intention of just making money and selling stuff, I am not sure how successful you will be.I think that the best approach is to help people who have a similar interest as yourself to find the things they need. It works better, and is much more rewarding than trying to force a sale.

      As for the new training site? I totally agree. Anyone who is looking for some excellent training and support all at an incredibly low price needs to check out 1000 Dollar Project.

  • Lisa says:

    This is a very informative post on Affiliate Marketing. I especially liked the help, don’t sell part. That is great advice. I’ve seen sites before where you can tell someone wants to sell you something. It is a big turn off. If I feel a website is all about the sale and not helping, I won’t consider purchasing from them. It all goes back to help them with their decision and they will buy from you.

    • I don’t think anyone likes to be aggressively sold to .

      I now that when I was considering different websites to work on, I had a number of different things that appealed to me, but I chose to do this because I legitimately want to help other people get away from the jobs and lifestyle that they are in and start working for themselves.

      I’d like to think that people can tell the difference between someone out to make a buck and someone who wants to help.

  • Paul says:

    Dear Craig,

    Affiliate Marketing is very useful to those who Work from Home. Its very Genuine way to earn money online.
    We can be your own boss by Affiliate Marketing. Our success depends based on our interest, efforts and knowledge etc.,
    Great Post with useful information.

    Your Friend,

    • Thank you!
      I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing. I think that affiliate marketing offers tremendous opportunities to anyone who wants to pursue it.

      • Paul says:

        Dear Craig,

        Yes true I came across a statistic saying affiliate marketing created more millionaires so affiliate marketing is one of the genuine way to earn online. The best part about affiliate marketing is you don’t need to worry about the inventory and shipping hassles. Thanks for the post!

        Your Friend,

  • Wow Craig,

    Your article was so helpful reading. I have been hearing about Affiliate Marketing. But I didn’t know all that it entails. In fact I didn’t know its such a wonderful opportunity out there which I can make some good income out of it.

    I really like your story line and the way you explain things so clearly. I’m really interested in this business, especially since you mention that Wealthy Affiliate is a place where I can go and get all the training I need to start this business.

    But my question is, can I try Wealthy Affiliate for FREE before making any payment?

    Please let me hear your answer to this question.

    • Craig says:

      Hi Stephen!

      You absolutely can try Wealthy Affiliate for free. They won’t even ask for a credit card!

      When you create a FREE account you will have access to the entire first course of training, which will guide you through the basics and help you create a site of your own!

      Affiliate marketing is a growing business, and is something that almost anyone can learn to do. It does take some time and effort, mind you, but Wealthy Affiliate can show you the way.

  • CraigO says:

    That is interesting take on the fact that we have always sort of been marketeers and just have not realized it. I don;t know how many times I have recommended a product to a friend or co-worker just because I have used the product and have been satisfied with it. I’ve recommended a ton of stuff over my lifetime so now I’m going to try and get paid for it haha. Great article with a lot to think about.

    • Craig says:

      We really do “market” to people all the time, without even realizing it. And sure, why not get paid for it? After all, you are helping people find what they want and need, and also helping them avoid getting ripped-off. Store employees do this every day.

      Plus, it’s kind of fun once you build a rapport with people, and they start coming specifically to you because they know they can trust you.

  • Melinda Curle says:

    This is a great explanation of what affiliate marketing is and how to do it correctly. I really like that you explain that people should help, not sell. Writing honest reviews of products really does help people determine whether or not they want to purchase the product. I can’t tell you how many times that I was unsure of something and typed reviews for it in google first. I also always scroll down to the reviews section on Amazon to see what people are saying about it. Sometimes I still buy the item, but other times I realize that it may not suit my needs.

    • Craig says:

      Yeah, really what it all comes down to is giving your personal opinion on something, and we all do that pretty much every day. The hardest part, I think, is reaching people, or having your site/ review be found. 

      This really is something that anyone with an opinion can do, and for many people, it becomes a full-time job with remarkably good income, but honesty and a desire to legitimately help are key ingredients to success.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • igorze says:

    I have been a member of Wealthy Affiliate community for one year. I have learned a lot about building the website, creating a content and other “secrets” related to affiliate marketing. WA platform offers really excellent training opportunities and useful pieces of advice. I am proud of my website with more than 60 posts but I am still waiting for my first sell. Maybe I have chosen a wrong niche. Do you think we can earn money online from every niche?

    • Craig says:

      I would say yes, but some may prove more difficult depending on the size of your audience, how specific your niche is, how visible your site is within Google, and how much competition you have. 

      When you consider that there are over 3.8 billion people online, even if 1% of 1% of them are interested in what you are promoting, that is hundreds of thousands of people. The main difficulty will just be reaching your audience. I have seen people promoting things that I would have never thought of and doing quite well, so it seems that anything is possible. 

      What others have said to me, and I am noticing myself, is that things tend to start happening all at once; one day you are struggling and wondering if things will work out, the next, the sales start and things get rolling. 

      I’d love to hear back from you when you get that first sale!

  • Michelle says:

    Hello there Craig,
    Great article!
    You are so right – we are affiliate marketers ourselves without even realizing it – the simplicity of it all and the concept that all big companies use – voicing an opinion to get people to take action – this is what it boils down to in a nutshell.
    I loved your thought sequencing – it was so simple, easy to read and understand. Thank you.
    Sometimes, we can get so caught up and wordy and then without realizing it – we have lost the main thread to the conversation.

    Ooops…well, I better stop before I find myself ‘eating my own words’.

    Thanks again for such a concise article.

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for taking a moment to respond!

      I know that some people who are looking for ways to work online think about affiliate marketing as something difficult to do, but it really is, as you say, sharing your opinion with people. That’s about it. There is no great mystery to it. The only things you really need to learn are effective communication and how to reach your audience.

      I really do think that this is something almost anyone can do. It just takes some time and effort, and a willingness to learn. But with the resources available at Wealthy Affiliate, there is no real reason that someone couldn’t succeed.

  • Warren says:

    Craig, what jumped put at me when I read this is the fact that you mention that we should set ourselves up as problem solvers with the help people are looking for as opposed to be short article internet billboards, full of a zillion links to sell. All of this is self-defeating though as the search engines don’t like this behavior. Good points all. Thanks.

    • Craig says:

      Hi Warren. Thanks for responding.

      Yes, I think the main thing is to try to be helpful to people. First off, that’s just the right thing to do. That is my main motivation. I know a lot of people could benefit from starting up their own business online. I would love to help them. I know what it’s like to hate one’s job, and to be desperate for something better to come along. Well, instead of waiting for an opportunity, why not create one?

      Also, from a more business-oriented view, Google doesn’t really care for site that just toss out links for people to click on, or products to buy. A site that is motivated purely by a desire to sell won’t perform as well as one that honestly tries to help.

      I appreciate you taking time to comment!