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Affiliate Marketing Beginner’s Guide 2020, Everything you need to know to get started with

Chances are, if you come to Money Success Guide more often, you’ve heard of affiliate marketing. Maybe you’re interested, but you have no idea where to start. For beginners I’ll explain below how to start an affiliate website. 

Based on this article on how to set up a website and start as an affiliate, you can start developing yourself in this business.

I first start by setting up the website, after which I switch to the content part of affiliate marketing itself. But first of all a refresher, what is affiliate marketing again?

Affiliate marketing in a nutshell

Affiliate marketing is a form of marketing where advertisers – often web shops for example – collaborate with partners (affiliates) on a performance-based basis. This is a pay-per-sale model where the advertiser only pays out when results are achieved. The affiliate then receives a commission on the sale they helped make possible. By means of affiliate marketing, advertisers can reach a larger audience, for which they only pay if there is a result.

In this case, affiliates can be many different parties. It can be a fashion or travel blogger, it can be the consumer association, but it can also be comparators such as,, or a discount platform.

In the standard format there are three parties involved:

1. Advertisers

This is often the webshop, they offer products or services. Goal: want to generate extra traffic and sales and make promotional material available for this purpose and link a commission to the results.

2. Affiliates

These are the publishers or editors of websites, they support the advertisers in getting new customers, they inform visitors about offers and forward visitors to the advertiser. Does this lead to conversion? Then they get a certain commission for it.

3. Networks

An affiliate network is the link between the advertiser and the affiliates. They ensure that the results are correctly measured and see where the reward is or is not paid out.


But, where do you start affiliate marketing?

Choose a domain name and build your website: 4 steps

To start with, a domain name and a website are very useful. First think about which niche you want to focus on, is this fashion, discount or travel for example? Tune your domain name to this and preferably keep it easy.

When capturing a domain, it is good to see where you want to do this. Pay particular attention to the user-friendliness of web hosting.

SiteGround and A2-Hosting, for example, have a one-click installation of WordPress, which saves you a lot of technical knowledge, which you probably lack in the initial phase. This way, you can avoid FileZilla and other more difficult things for a while.

For Webhosting click on one of the Banners below:


1. Website

In the initial phase I would personally go for the use of the WordPress software. WordPress is open source software for CMS that has developed at a rapid pace in recent years. An additional advantage: it is constantly updated. Google likes it. It is also very user-friendly (nowadays) and free of charge. 

Another important point: WordPress has a lot of documentation available due to the open source system, which is handy if you get stuck. YouTube is also full of tutorials on how to get started with WordPress (tip!) or how to set up a theme.

Install & Manage WordPress

2. Theme

You can choose one of the free themes that WordPress then offers, my experience is that you will soon run into restrictions. Via or Creative Market for example, you can find themes that offer more possibilities. 

Find a theme that matches your preferences (travel/fashion etc.), and pay attention to the functionalities in a theme. 

Note: The most popular themes at Themeforest are for a reason, usually user-friendliness. Also pay attention to the responsiveness of a theme. This means that it automatically adapts itself on all screens. The site then comes out well on smartphone, tablet and computer.

You can choose one of the free themes that WordPress then offers, my experience is that you will soon run into restrictions.

Often, if you have purchased a theme, you can import the complete demo of the theme. After importing, you’ll soon have the basics of your website and you won’t have to ‘really’ build it anymore. Then it’s just a matter of making text adjustments and replacing images. Start with that and gradually learn the basics.

Before you start working on your content, it’s good to go through the default settings. Here you can choose your URL structure. For example, choose which page should serve as your homepage, and set the time and language.

3. Plug-ins

Almost all themes have extensive documentation that can help you further. Should Visual Composer or  Elementor not be integrated in the theme, this is really a plug-in worth buying. This is a drag-and-drop builder, so you don’t need any html knowledge in the beginning. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to dive into this.

4. Yoast, Rank Math SEO & Akismet

These are three plug-ins that always come in handy. With Akismet you protect your website against spam. With Yoast or Rank Math SEO you have a tool that helps you with the analysis of search engine marketing (SEO). 

The Yoast or Rank Math SEO plug-in helps you to clarify what you need to pay attention to when you become visible in Google and actually helps you to master a part of search engine optimisation. The Yoast or Rank Math SEO plug-in can be linked to webmaster tools (more below) for further insights on where you can improve your content.

Analytics, webmastertools & plug-ins

Is your website ready? Then it is interesting to integrate Google Analytics. Create a Google Analytics account and link the GA code to your website. There are plug-ins for this within WordPress. Search for Google Analytics and for example Google Site Kit or MonsterInsights will be shown. Then it’s just a matter of installing and activating them. Slowly but surely the results will become visible when you log in to Analytics.

Then you can link your website to webmaster tools (also known as Google Search Console). With webmaster tools you can, among other things, indicate which country you are targeting, what your preferences should be, and so on. Webmaster Tools also allow you to submit a sitemap, which makes it easier for Google to crawl your site and speeds up indexing.

Creating a sitemap is again quite simple using the previously Yoast or Rank Math SEO plug-in. With the help of webmaster tools and Google Analytics you get insight into a lot of data, with which you can keep improving your site: Measuring is knowing.

On one of my Sites, i use MonsterInsights:

Analytics Monster insights This Website is Seasonal, in the Summer there will be much more visitors!

All right, now let’s move on to the ‘affiliate marketing for beginners’ section.

Niche, content and analysis

Think about which way you want to go, whether there really is a passion or motivation here and/or there is something to be earned in that market. It may take some time before you see real return on investment in affiliate marketing. Investment here is to a large extent time, patience and perseverance. As a starting affiliate you don’t have a lot of costs.

The beginning is a road of trial and error and based on that analysis and improvement. Starting a successful affiliate business takes time and motivation. Minimum condition is interest or affinity with the subject you are writing about.

Content, content, content

Work a couple of weeks on content that you think will add value or interest people. After a few weeks you dive deeper into Google Analytics to see how people get to your site. Which content is relevant? Which pages of your website are people on? And how long will they stay?

Then try to align your content with the keywords and other data emerging in analytics and webmaster tools. Based on that data, you will really have to answer the questions or provide the information that visitors are looking for. Whether these are travel tips, or where to buy the cheapest socks.

Keep improving yourself and your content in this area. Make sure you have the best content in your niche, and make it even sharper, more fun and/or more informative through the analyses.

Affiliate networks

If everything is starting to run a little bit and you have some traffic on your domain, it’s a good idea to sign up with several affiliate networks. Clickbank, Shareasale, CJ Affiliate, JVZoo and MaxBounty are the more well-known names in the States. See if they have programs in your niche and sign up with those programs.

Once the advertisers have accepted you, start replacing your normal links with affiliate links that you can find in the networks. For example, for your travel blog, find out where your trip to Sweden is best arranged or cheapest. This you will explain to your visitors. Can you convince them and book through your site/links? Then you get a commission on that booking.

Can you convince someone and book them through your site/links? Then you get a commission on that booking.

Pr, SEO & linkbuilding

The success of your website largely depends on the content on and the added value of your website. Are you able to engage the reader/visitor? Will the visitor find what he is looking for? Do you offer added value or will the visitor be gone in no time? This is all very important, but a successful affiliate can – almost – not do without SEO, link building and/or PR. You have to sell your product, right in the beginning.

For the indexation and your rankings within Google, it is important that there are also impulses, in the form of incoming links for example, to your website. The more authority the sites have, the more interesting. You can try to achieve this through good PR, but SEO can also play an important role in this. I can go into that in depth now, but I would like to refer you to the entire collection of SEO articles on Money Succes Guide.

Social and communitybuilding

Nowadays it is quickly possible to build a community. A strong example of a success case with community building is Tweakers actually has a small percentage of visitors, but these are incredibly loyal and provide a huge amount of interaction on the forum about all sorts of things and nothing. 

The big advantage of this is that the community contributes to keeping the content on the website relevant and fresh, which is also very interesting for Google. At Tweakers, the community around the website – nowadays – is at least as important as the people behind the website itself.

Consider if this is interesting within your niche. This is something for the later phase, that community can consist of Facebook fans, social followers, or newsletter members. Instagram is also a good way to earn money when it comes to large accounts (through sponsoring), but conversion via social remains a tricky issue. 

All in all, it’s better to use social for promotion than for conversion.


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And now what?

You have a website, and based on the content you’re constantly improving, traffic is now coming in. You give your visitors in your articles recommendations for your niche and you link them to the product or trip you recommend. If they proceed to purchase, you get commission.

8 concrete tips to start affiliate marketing

  1. First go for valuable content with added value. Your success depends on the added value you offer, only go for income later.
  2. Start with WordPress or another free CMS. As a starting affiliate you don’t need to invest in a complete custom made system. Everything you need is – almost – free of charge. In addition, it’s good to learn before investing. First invest in knowledge, then in more professional sites.
  3. It doesn’t matter which niche you choose, but make sure you have an interest in it, or at least are motivated to dive into it.
  4. Analyze and improve your content with Google Analytics and webmaster tools.
  5. Be patient. The beginning is a learning process and in that period little will come in financially. An additional advantage: there are hardly any costs.
  6. However, invest directly in a strong relevant domain name (about 5 euros per month).
  7. Also try to do some SEO, link building and PR. This can give your site a boost in Google rankings.
  8. And again: offer added value!

Do you have any tips on how to start affiliate marketing? Let me know in a comment.