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Start An Affiliate Marketing Business

When I first started with affiliate marketing, I signed up for an account at ClickBank and innocently decided I will promote the top product in the affiliate marketing category and that was the CB Passive Income, a complete build-for-you program that promises you ongoing passive income.
I learned to drive traffic there and it went pretty well, until I realize… no one was buying.

I spent days on end working on email marketing and finally, I though better and decided I need to try the CB Passive Income myself. Long story short, I realize the program has very low conversion rate and I didn’t make a dime from it.

That was when disappointment sets it… I made an overall check on the products on ClickBank… and to my utter disappointment, they all look phony with very bad third party reviews.

Am I gonna promote these shitty programs for bucks? I asked myself. What if this whole affiliate marketing business thing is an utter scam?

The answer is yes and no. Not all affiliate products are bad, I mean aside from ClickBank – which I don’t recommend – you can promote anything from and many other big websites, and that includes big brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma etc.
Also the high end games, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

How do I start this affiliate marketing thing?

Yes, now that you know this business is about promoting another’s product for commissions… Let me guide you through the steps towards putting your affiliate products out there and grabbing an audience.
Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the action part!

1. Choose niche, choose your products.

What is a niche? It’s a group of people having a common interest. Choosing a specific niche and working on it will help zoning down on one specific subject hence enhances quality. Also, who doesn’t like specified contents.

Next, choosing your product is important. Remember people are not idiots, most will realize when you are lying to them. Promoting a product like a rip off advertisement is the worst.
Remember to build your business upon trust.
So the products you promote better be something you use or tried yourself! It could be anything, really! The clothing line you are into, the games you played, the pillows you use…
Be truthful and genuine about what you have to say!

You not only need people to buy from you, you also need to create relationships and long term customers in order to make your income passive.
It is proven that it is 4 times harder to sell a product to a new customer than it is to an recurring one, keep that in mind!
To better understand a customer’s mindset and relate to them (I mean, they are not so different from me and you, right?) read this insightful training The Customer Purchase Life Circle by Kyle from Wealthy Affiliate.

2. Choose a method of promotion.

Yes, you got that right, I didn’t say “method” in plural, when you first started out, focus is very important and will enable you to make the most out of your efforts.
There are many methods to go about it. Personally, I have tried buying traffics and using SEO combined with blogging. I recommend SEO much more because it is stable (not because it’s free, really!) and prospective, as you develop your blog, your rankings will go up so there comes the traffic! While paying for traffics doesn’t assure you any kind of control and most people who buys traffic still have to work on their rankings on search engines. SEO is key!

SEO means Search Engine Optimization; the process of maximizing the ranking of your pages on major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Okay, that sounds pretty complicated doesn’t it? I mean there are always thousands and millions of results for the keyword “making money online” for example, how can my little blog be top ranked there?

The answer is very simple! You will not compete with the big guys, instead, leverage on the less popular keywords. Which is what I am doing with this blog here.
With that, you will need a keyword researcher.

Don't mind my searches, ha ha.

Don’t mind my searches, ha ha.

I use the keyword researcher from Wealthy Affiliate, which is free for 30 searches (I bought it so it is unlimited for me).

Other than that I believe you can give the Google Keyword Planner a try.

It is quite simple, you search for relevant keywords that has around 50 searches (that is the Searches column in the picture) per month and under 400 – 300 search results (Click View results to try the search). So low competition and targeted, easy right?


I hope this article brings light to affiliate marketing for you and will get you humped to get started, if you haven’t already!

If you need more throughout guidance on how to begin…

I highly recommend you join Wealthy Affiliate. It’s a community and educational program about affiliate marketing that I learned a lot from. You can use the free membership, it has the most insightful beginner lessons I’ve found.

Kyle will walk you through building a website with relevant daily tasks. Here is my Wealthy Affiliate Review, check out to see what they have to offer.

Don’t hesitate to leave me a comment if you if you have any suggestions or comments. I will reply as soon as possible.

Anh Nguyen is a blogger and minimalist who's crazy about design and content quality. Learn more about him here, or connect with him on Twitter.

Leave a Reply


  1. Great advice you give, Anh.
    I’ve hooked up with WA too, their training is brilliant.
    Am in the process of adding content to my website, and am encouraged by all the positive comments and suggestions.

  2. Loretta

    Hi, your article is very informative. You give step by step on how to make money as an affiliate. Your website is clean and easy to read. I realize keywords are very important to help drive traffic. And once you get the traffic and customers I have to find a way to keep them coming back.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Always happy to help, Loretta. You got all the points right, I am sure you’re gonna create a great business.

  3. Ehab

    Hello Anh,

    Wow great post about affiliate marketing I really like your simplicity & every word is clear like crystal, but actually I prefer Jaaxy for keyword search it’s pretty cool & have also option to know your site ranking & some training lessons, nice post & website. 🙂


    • Anh Nguyen

      Always happy to help, Ehab. 🙂

  4. Angel

    Dear Anh,

    An outstanding Blog Post indeed. I really liked it from start to finish. I am sorry to hear about your experience with Clickbank. 🙁 It is bad that they offer Products that are lame and do not convert well. Some of the Online Scam Programs they believe should promote just to get a commission based on the sole merit of posting their Affiliate Links all over their Blog Post Article alone.

    I have heard some say Clickbank is a good place to start for a novice marketeer, what are your thoughts on if someone who is a newbie goes for the Amazon Affiliate Program instead? Is that a bad move to make?

    Thank you kindly in advance for taking time to answer my questions. 🙂

    Wishing you all the best with your online accomplishments above and beyond the horizon,


    • Anh Nguyen

      Angel, I am flattered by your kind words.

      ClickBank is recommended for beginners because it did convert pretty well (more so in the past, when people are more… ignorant). The products there have good pitches that makes people buy, but I have to say their quality are not so good. And I think it’s better to promote products that you are comfortable with.

      Starting out, I think it’s good to consider Amazon or ShareASale. The commission rate there are lower compared to ClickBank but they are better in terms of quality.

      All the best!

  5. Loes

    Hi Ahn,

    Thanks for warning me off for Clickbanks. You surely have to be careful to not take the wrong steps online nowadays.

    The Amazon sales market looks indeed more attractive to me. Promoting products, and all delivery and payments are done by Amazon, and still earn commision.

    Yeah, I can live with that. 🙂

    I realize, I can’t do that on my own, I surely need help to set up a website and find a way people will find my website between all those billion others.

    I looked over the training “The Customer Purchase Life Circle” by Kyle from Wealthy Affiliate. To get an impression. Looks very professional I must say.

    Thank you for this lead, I will seriously consider your proposal.

    Kind Regards, Loes.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hi Loes, I am glad to hear about your ventures. Starting a website could be overwhelming and takes time to develop. What I would recommend is find a good educational program that teaches you how to build a business online and dedicate your time to it. All the best!

  6. Emmanuel

    So with affiliate marketing I can make some money online? Does it also mean that most of the things I have bought online have been bought from affiliates who have displayed then on their sites? Are you saying every product from Clickbank is quack too?

    Wow, If Wealthy Affiliate will help me make some affiliate money, why not.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hello Emmanuel,

      If you have bough your products straight from sites like Amazon, then no that’s not an affiliate product. If you bought from 3rd party sites then there is a big chance it’s an affiliate sale for the site owner. About Clickbank products, I wouldn’t say every products are quacks, here is an article I wrote and made researches about their products Are Clickbank Products Worth Your Time?

      I hope that gives you a clearer idea about what they have to offer.

      About Wealthy Affiliate, it’s a great educational site to learn about affiliate marketing however do remember you have to make the efforts and put out the work to see results, it’s not magic and it’s more than likely take time and effort. If you are ready to commit, you are good to go!

  7. Terry

    Hi Anh, great information on affiliate marketing contained in your post How to start an Affiliate Marketing Business. Explaining choosing niches and the method of promotion was helpful, this is an area where most people usually get stuck. It took me a while to choose a niche. I thought it had to be something that I had extensive knowledge on, turns out I was wrong. I’m interested in affiliate marketing, so choosing a method of promotion was very helpful. Good job. Thanks.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Anytime, Terry.

      It could definitely be head buzzing to choose your niche. I think for most of us, we don’t really think we have something out of the ordinary to offer, but the most important thing is to actually take action and do something anyways. There is no need to overthink about your niche as long as you have something to say about it and passionate enough to engage into discussions about. I am glad to hear I could be of help to you.

      Thank you and good luck with your endeavors. Feel free to keep me updated!

  8. Stephen

    Hi Anh,

    You have such an interesting read here. Great job making your site easy to understand and easy on the eyes. It was very informal as I’m starting my blog as well. I will be bookmarking your site to reference back to. Wish you the best in your future endeavors.

    Warm Regards.

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hi again, Stephen.

      Starting a blog could be a tough cookie at first, there are a lot of things to do and it could be overwhelming for sure. One of the things I’ve learned is to effectively add medias like pictures in your site to make your site more attractive. I use free stocks at Pexels. I suggest you give that a go, they have many great high quality pictures.

      The good thing these days is that you have so a lot of professional blog templates out there and that surely is how I can make a site like this in 10 minutes. Just take one that’s optimized and enhances your content then play around with it’s function.

      Feel free to drop me your site, I would love to check it out.


  9. Chris

    Wow I really love your honesty at the start of this article. I also jumped on the Clickbank popularity bandwagon and got zilch for my initial efforts. In the end I picked a diverse and trusted subject that I knew nothing about and bang…I started making money (it was aquaponics by the way!).

    Great article – really enjoyed it. 🙂

    • Anh Nguyen

      Hi Chris,

      I have to say I am surprise with your venture! I didn’t think it was possible to tackle with a subject that you didn’t know much about and make money out of it. I have my hats down for you.

      It’s interesting how you chose that topic, something that most people probably wouldn’t think about.

      Thank you, I enjoyed reading your comment too.