The Retired Affiliate

What is Affiliate Marketing About and How to Start Right Now?

Mark Apletree

Affiliate Marketing digram in colorful display of words on a blackboard
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What is Affiliate Marketing About?

If you have arrived here I’m guessing you would love to make a passive income with Affiliate Marketing and would like to know where to start?

Our Guide on, What is Affliliate Marketing About and How to Start is going to be your go-to-guide moving forward.

I’m not only going to teach you the basics on how you can become an affiliate marketer, I am also going to show you some real life examples of some of the best professional affiliate marketers who are easily making 6 – 7 figure incomes without spending stupid amounts on Pay Per Click Advertising, or any of the other silly nonsense people are promoting these days!

In this guide we will cover promoting products on Amazon, and I have only picked this as it is the easiest to get started with, we will also cover SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that ranks well on Google, email list strategies, and a great tool to find the best affiliate programs for you to get started.

The Retired Affiliates will show you in a step-by-step guide the entire process o have you earning affiliate commissions as quickly as you can say My Sunday Roast!

OK, lets get started shall we?

Below is a definition you get when you type in the following

Google Search Bar with the words what is affiliate marketing and how to start?And below is the long version of the answer to that question.

Affiliate marketing explanation in text from a google searchBottom line is that you are getting paid a commission on a sale that you make through an Affiliate Link.

If you have been following us at The Retired Affiliates then you would have learned already that bloggers can make money by establishing an audience (Visitors) who trust them, and then you will offer products and services that you know will help your audience.

Affiliate marketing is a way of setting up a business to offer different products and services, without actually having to hold any inventory or stock.

What this means for bloggers s that you find a product or service you want to promote, get that out to your readers and earn a percentage on the profit of that sale.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?


While many people get scared off from Affiliate Marketing thinking that it can get way to technical, you really don’t need to know a lot to get started.

aa1a429d4bfc97276dc384d57fd57448 cropped

The actual mechanics behind your affiliate association runs in the background all thanks to your merchants affiliate software, however I won’t get into the technical side of this because it really isn’t something yo need to know about.

Below I have given you a quick look at how this works:

  1. When you first join an affiliate program you will be given a unique affiliate ID and a specific URL when promoting the companies products and will look something like this –
  2. You would include this link in your blogs or email marketing campaigns and invite your readers to click on this link.
  3. When your reader/potential buyer clicks on that link they will be taken to that affiliate partners site and something called a cookie is placed on the website visitors computer. That cookie makes sure that you get paid for that transaction or sale days or even weeks later.
  4. When your visitor completes the sales process, the merchant then checks the sales record for a cookie that has your unique affiliate ID and your ID is credited with that sale.
  5. You will then get sent a report from that merchant so that you can see your referrals and sales.
  6. Merchants usually pay monthly, however many will have a minimum amount which is usually around $25.

Below is the basic concept in a visual created by BforBloggers.

steps to affiliate marketing diagram illustration from start to finish

The flow from start to finish is really easy once you start to get an understanding and this process doesn’t change no matter what products or services you are promoting.

Let’s now dive into what it will look like for you the blogger who is serious about making money through affiliate marketing.

4 Easy Steps to Start Affiliate Marketing

The key thing you want to remember as an Affiliate Marketer is that you are going to be earning a commission in return for offering your readers (Visitors) true, no bulls(*t insights into products and services they were thinking of buying.

They are already looking to buy the products, otherwise they wouldn’t have landed on your website, and the question is now whether or not they are going to make that purchase from you?

This is where you as an influencer and someone who is an expert in this field can help them to make the smart decision.

You are going to do this through your website and the research you have already done for them.

Below are the 4 steps so as you can do exactly that:

Step 1: As an Affiliate Choose a Product to Promote

There are a lot of UNETHICAL affiliate marketers out there, and this is something we don’t want you being.

So, now that we have agreed that you will follow the ethical path we might find ourselves a little constrained in the products that we choose to represent.

What I mean by this is that we are either limited by our experience in products we know and like that have Affiliate Programs we can use, or due to a tight budget we are unable to trial these products unless they are offering free trials.

There are two options I will give you here, with the first one being the one I used when I first started Affiliate Marketing.

Option #1 Find Products you Already Use and Love (Or Hate)

As I said this is the way I started and it really is the easiest and cheapest way to get started.

Think about it for a minute… You will be an affiliate for something you are already using, you have great experience with how it works, you know who it’s suits, the good points, and the bad and when recommending it you can be fairly confident others will get the same results if not better!

Have a look around your home or office and take note of everything you use and have experience with and write those things down.

My bet is that you would have more than a dozen things you would be happy recommending and promoting.

Once you have found some products all you need to do is a simple Google Search for Affiliate Program + The Product Name and you will be surprised at just how many merchants there are.

You could also do a Free Affiliate Program search with Wealthy Affiliate.

Affiliate program search diagram with popular categories, keywords and trending opportunities diagram.

Once you have found a good Affiliate product to promote check off the following;

  • You have tested or previewed the product which we know you have in this case as it is something you already have.
  • The merchant has a good solid refund policy in place that you know they will be good for (The last thing you want is your customers leaving comments on your site about refund issues)
  • Great customer support is super important. (Make sure to test this yourself)
  • The offer or product you are promoting fits your audiences needs. The last thing you want to do is knock down the trust you have already gained from them.

Right O, you have now found your first product or service to promote, simply apply using the merchants instructions and PROMOTE AWAY!

As I said this option is awesome for those just starting out in the Affiliate Marketing industry and is definitely a great starting point to get you feet wet.

However, if you are like a lot of bloggers out there today, you may also want to have a crack at option 2.

Option #2: Getting Products Through an Affiliate Network

Lest say you don’t have any experience with or any knowledge of products within your chosen niche that can help you readers.

This is where you might look at Affiliate Networks like CJ Affiliate, Share-A-Sale, Amazon Associates and many others you can join for free to find products.

Be careful if you are taking this approach as it will require you to do a lot of research and sometimes money.

This option also requires some due diligence as you have more than likely never used this product or service.

The last thing you want to be doing is promoting something to your readers that turns out to be an absolute flop, after you have just been promoting the hell out of it.

From previous experience, and while they don’t pay the best commissions, Amazon products are by far the easiest way to get started.

Speak to any newbie and I can almost guarantee they are an Amazon Affiliate and this is definitely a great start to begin scaling into other bigger and more profitable affiliate programs.

Step 2: Setting Yourself Up as an Affiliate

It doesn’t matter whether you have chosen step 1 or 2 from above you will have to apply and be approved and will need to provide certain information so as you can be paid.

In addition to the below, most Affiliate Programs will require you to have a minimum amount of content on your website, and I usually aim for about 20 – 30 blog posts before I look at applying for Affiliate Programs.

This is why Amazon Associates is so popular with newbies as they won’t require this.

At a very bare minimum you will need to provide the following;

  • Your personal or business contact information and details for tax purposes.
  • Your bank account details for your commissions to be sent.

The merchant in return will provide you with an Affiliate link which will look exactly like the URL I showed you earlier in this guide.

Along with your affiliate link you will also get lots of helpful hints, banners you can use on your website and many other great marketing tools.

Step3: Promote Your Affiliate Offers

If you have ever ventured into Affiliate Marketing before you will soon realize that all your hard work and research only pays off if that visitor takes your advice and grabs that product or service, correct?

To do this you need to put an honest and trustworthy piece of content in front of them, and this is where I see so many Affiliate Marketers slip up.

They have a website full of promotional links and banners and think this is all they need to make money with Affiliate Marketing.

Let me tell you something from experience.

The most successful Affiliate Marketers in the world have websites that look nothing like that!

Here is what we do at The Retired Affiliates.

Option #1 Create a Getting Started on Your Blog

Our Retired Affiliates getting started is a great example:

Screenshot of the retired affiliates homepage with colorful web design picture

What this does is promote lots of different ways to get started and why these certain products and services would be helpful for them.

If you choose the right program you could put together a landing page just like this in a few hours.

This is not just a sales pitch, it’s an educational part of our website because it contains a lot of quality content on getting started with building a website.

We have also made sure it is well optimized for Search Engine Optimization so that it ranks well in Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Option ##2: Create and Promote Unique, Quality and Custom Content

Content creation will be the backbone of your business!

Without content all you have is a great sounding name and some pretty pictures.

So what is unique, quality and custom content?

1. Write Reviews

You could look at writing reviews of products or services that you promote as an affiliate.

As an example, here is our review of Wealthy Affiliate


Also a good thing to remember is that not all reviews should be shining promotions of a product.

People will flock to your site if you are also making them aware of the products and services out there that may not be that great.

Here is an example of our Flippa review:

Website snippet of Flippa review with Flippa logo as heading

As you can see from the above, at The Retired Affiliates we aim to bring awareness to our readers and it is not all about writing great reviews for every product you promote.

Honesty will take you a long way in this game.

2. Write Well Defined Articles on Related Topics

What I mean by this is that you can write a well researched and well written blog post on your site that is purely a post to educate your readers and do what we call “Soft Sell” your products and work to get your site ranked in one of the big 3 search engines.

As an example, you might write the Ultimate Website Builder for Dummies and then include your affiliate links to one of your favorite hosting providers.

An example of this is a post by The Retired Affiliates on the Fivver platform regarding how this works for both the Client and the Freelancer.

What ever your topic is make sure that it’s information that will be useful for many years to come, and always check back and possibly add to that content to keep it that way.

You can do whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

That could be a blog post, YouTube videos, Infographics, Courses or anything else you want to do, but remember the most important thing – IT SHOULD NOT BE A SALES PAGE!

Focus first on building a trustworthy website and building your authority within your niche.

3. People Love Bonuses

Most Affiliate programs will give you access to bonuses they may have running and this is a great way to get reader buy in.

Everyone loves a bonus and the types of bonuses you can offer are only limited by your imagination.

You will have the tools and knowledge to create ll types of bonuses that will give your readers excellent value and it is a great way to stand out from many other bloggers promoting the same products or services.

Some examples of bonuses we offer at The Retired Affiliates are;

  • Our Free Quick Start Guides
  • Free Coaching Calls
  • Video Training and Demos

4. Your Legal Obligations and Best Practices


Most countries will have a governing body to ensure you comply with this, and in the U.S it is the Federal Trade Commission or FTC who requires you to let people know that you may earn a commission.

Even if you live in a country where this isn’t law, I recommend that you do it, it’s just a good honest way to do business.

Transparency is your best friend in this industry and I can tell you from experience people love that and will appreciate your honesty.

So, just like here at The Retired Affiliates, wherever you share your affiliate links make sure to let your readers and visitors know that while they won’t be paying any extra for the product or service you will be getting a small commission should they end up purchasing.

You may also want to create an Affiliate Disclaimer page on your website.

You can check out an example of our own Disclaimer Page at The Retired Affiliates.

Affiliate Marketing – The Bottom Line is, it’s Not Rocket Science

So, all those dreams you have had and conversations you held about making a passive income from home really aren’t a silly fantasy.

I am here to tell you it is a very achievable reality!

One thing this isn’t, is an instant money making machine, despite what many will tell you on the internet today.

You can’t just switch on a magic switch or plaster your website with Google Adsense code, however with a little help and persistence you can most definitely make this work and even turn it into a full time online business

After you have put in the work to get your following, Affiliate Marketing is really one of the best ways to make money online and you can do all this from the comfort of your own home.

I have already provided you with the steps for starting an Affiliate Marketing Business within this post.

All you need to do is find the one big thing that will help your reader solve their problem or attain their goal and start from there.

Make sure to give your reader lots of valuable content both good and bad as we did in the examples we shared earlier.

The biggest thing I want you to take away from this article is to be open, honest, and trustworthy in everything you do as this will go a long way in building trust with your readers.

And lastly be patient, remember Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day!

If you have any questions let me know in the comments or flick me a message at and I will get back to you.

Any/all links on this site may be affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through one of them, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read the full affiliate disclosure here.


CEO and Founder of The Retired Affiliates



11 thoughts on “What is Affiliate Marketing About and How to Start Right Now?”

  1. I guess I just really love the idea of affiliate marketing at its core. I mean, it’s exactly as you said. It’s about helping people make smarter decisions. I think that’s all that it boils down to. And if we present the insights in a truth-driven way, the readers can feel it and we get to instill trust. Which in turn can help us generate income. But it all starts with helping other people make smarter decisions.

    Also, I absolutely agree with the notion of knowing your products. Nothing’s worst for building trust than promoting something really relentlessly and it turns out to be junk.

    Duly noted – be honest, open, and trustworthy in everything that you do. Indeed, I think people can smell a mile away when someone is not honest, and that 99.99% of the time puts people off and just gives them a reason to click away.

    I appreciate all the insight. 🙂

  2. Daniel Tshiyole

    I have had so many people ask me how they can become market affiliators. I have always struggled to answer that question until today. You have made life so much easier for me. I can always just refer them to this article as you explained everything here. Thank you so much for this. 

  3. You have so many great ideas about how to get started and how to succeed in affiliate marketing.  I appreciate the detail and practical advice on how to get going.  So many of the places I’ve looked at just give a bunch of high-level overviews of what Affiliate Marketing is, but lack the step-by-step practical advice to actually make it happen.  Thank you for sharing!

  4. Thank you Mark.  I appreciated your explaining Affiliate Marketing in a way that anyone can understand.  I really have never thought of the idea of looking for something I already use.  Then arranging to be an affiliate of the company that offers it and writing a review of the product.  That’s an excellent suggestion.  

  5. Affiliate marketing is so amazing offering so many opportunities to make a good living from the comforts of your home, there is a lot that is involved in this line of work but once you do your homework the right way and in time you can make a full-time business out of this. The time invested is worth it all.

  6. First, I love your site name, the retired affiliates.  Second, I love that your review lacks hype. Third, I love that you’ve chosen affiliate marketing as the avenue to make money online. It truly is the easiest way to make money online. Of course, there’s a lot to learn, but if you have the right forum to teach you, the sky is the limit. I’m also glad you didn’t hype Pay Per Click, as many retirees don’t have the extra money. But they do have time on their hands, so they can utilize SEO strategies.  I love your review of Wealthy Affiliate. It really is spot on. I’ve visited the site and it lacks hype. It’s a very well thought out take-you-by-the-hand program.  Thanks for the review. 

    1. Thanks for the kind comments Shalisha, and as someone who detests the hype and ramping some affiliate marketers use I have told myself that will never be us.

      I just want to be know for giving no hype, honest articles to all our visitors, young, old, and in between.


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Mark CEO & Founder
The Retired Affiliates

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