Bowels of Google: The Definitive Guide to Affiliate Marketing Online

If you’re looking at ways to make money from home, you’ve probably heard of affiliate marketing. The term may sound familiar; after all, you could be clicking on affiliate links to make money online, watching ads, or searching the Google Play store. However, did you know that all of these options come under the umbrella of affiliate marketing?

What is affiliate marketing?

Put simply, affiliate marketing is when a business rewards people for bringing in sales of their products or services. When you join an affiliate program, you’ll typically get a commission when someone clicks a link or buys a product that’s promoted on your site. Some affiliate programs will even pay you to promote certain products or services.

There are two primary ways to make money with affiliate marketing. You can either sell and ship your own products (like and do). Or, you can become a marketing affiliate for a company (think or, again). When you do this, you get a commission when someone clicks a link or makes a purchase after being redirected to the company’s site by a marketing affiliate.

Why should you consider affiliate marketing?

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to try affiliate marketing. To begin with, you don’t need to have a huge audience to get started. In fact, affiliate markets work best when you’ve got a small but passionate audience. That way, when someone joins your affiliate program and buys a product or service that you promote, you’ll see a small but meaningful return on your investment.

Also, with the right tools and a little bit of know-how, you can automate the process of getting commissions from your affiliate sales. For example, if you’ve got a WordPress blog with a sizable audience, you can integrate affiliate marketing with WordPress using a tool like AffiliateWP. With this tool, when someone buys a product or service that’s promoted on your site, you’ll earn a commission without even having to lift a finger.

Types of affiliate marketing

There are a number of different types of affiliate marketing, and it’s important to understand the differences before you get started. Let’s take a quick look at the different types of affiliate marketing and why you might want to try them.

  • Traditional affiliate marketing involves selling and shipping your own products or services ( and ETSY.COM are good examples of this). If you’ve got a physical product that you can sell, you’ll want to look into affiliate marketing for that product type. You get a commission when someone buys what you’re promoting (usually a product or service that you’ve endorsed).
  • Modern affiliate marketing involves promoting someone else’s products or services, and getting paid when someone buys that product or service (think Google.COM and AMAZON.COM, again). When you promote a product or service in this type of affiliate marketing, you’ll typically get paid when that product or service is purchased by a consumer who previously visited your site. You can also promote products and services on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and get paid when someone purchases something after seeing your shoutout on social media.
  • Cyber-affiliate marketing occurs when someone clicks a link or buys a product that’s being promoted on a website or social media platform (think,, and FACEBOOK.COM/ADVERTISING). When you promote products or services on social media platforms, you typically don’t get paid for each click or purchase; you get paid only for the sale that’s been generated as a result of your work.
  • Scared money is not a good motivator. However, we do believe in the importance of curiosity and the desire to learn new things. When you’re curious about a product or service, but don’t want to spend money on it, you can try out a trial version, or look for a cheaper alternative. When you find a product or service that you’re curious about, but don’t want to spend money on, you may decide to try out an affiliate marketing program with a reputable company. Trial versions and cheaper alternatives are good ways to learn what a product or service is like, without having to purchase it.
  • Products relating to food, drink, and cooking (e.g., food processors, mixers, food containers), are increasingly popular among consumers. If you’re into weight loss, fitness, or food prep, you may want to look into some of the many products and services in these categories. Trying out an affiliate marketing program with a company that specializes in food-related products may be a good fit for you.
  • If you’ve got a large social media following, you may want to try and leverage that to become a marketing affiliate for a company that produces software to manage social media (e.g., Hootsuite, Social Media Examiner, and Canva). When you promote a product or service on social media, you’ll typically get paid when that product or service is purchased by a consumer who previously visited your social media page. The key is to create compelling content that’ll keep people interested in your content — and in turn, your affiliate sales.

Hopefully, this brief overview of the different types of affiliate marketing helped you understand the definition and what constitutes as different types of affiliate programs. As we mentioned above, not all affiliate programs are created equal, and it’s important to understand the importance of picking a reputable company with a good standing in the industry. Also, be sure to educate yourself about the differences between the various types of affiliate marketing so that you can pick the right one for your needs.

How to be an affiliate marketer

If you’ve decided that affiliate marketing is right for you, the next step is to dive in and learn as much as you can. There are a variety of topics that you should become familiar with, and here’s a short list of some of the things you may want to learn:

  • Marketing – Learn all you can about marketing to different groups of people (e.g., millennials, Gen Z, etc.)
  • Sales – Learn how to close sales, and how to manage your sales team
  • Growth hacking – Learn about growth hacking, which involves leveraging digital marketing to grow a business
  • Web design – Learn how to design a website, as well as HTML, CSS, and content management systems (like WordPress)
  • Pricing – Learn about pricing strategies, and how to implement them
  • Distribution – Learn about different distribution platforms like Amazon, YouTube, Shopify, and more

In addition to the above, you may also want to consider pursuing affiliate marketing certification. There are several reputable certification programs out there, like the Accredible Marketing Award, the Affiliate Marketing Certification, and the Affiliate Summit Achievement Award. As you may imagine, getting accredited in affiliate marketing means you’ve learned a lot about the topic, and are now equipped to start or join an affiliate marketing program. Once you’ve gotten accredited, you can continue to learn and grow with the industry.

Make money online with affiliate marketing

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided that affiliate marketing is a viable option for you. However, before you begin building an affiliate marketing program, it’s important to understand how online affiliate marketing works, and how you can make money online with it. If you’re looking for a quick guide to getting started with affiliate marketing, check out this popular post on the subject.

When someone visits your site, they usually have a clear idea of what you do and what you offer. That being said, there are a variety of methods you can use to subtly entice someone to make a purchase, even if they’re not immediately interested in what you offer. One method is to simply ask a question about the product or service you promote. For example, if someone is on your site and interested in weight loss products, you may want to ask them about the best diet for rapid weight loss, or the most popular diets. You can also use this method to promote various diets that are high in fruit, lower in sugar, and good for your body. When someone clicks the link to your site, they may not necessarily be making a decision to buy the product or service right away, but it’s still considered online affiliate marketing.

Start a blog

If you’ve been thinking about exploring the world of online marketing, but don’t want to plunge in right away, you may want to consider using your personal blog. You can use this space to experiment with different types of content, as well as to build a following. When you’ve got a large enough audience, you may decide to try and leverage your blog into a commercial venture.