If you’re looking into ways to make money online, you’ve no doubt heard the term “affiliate marketing”. This strategy provides an excellent way for stay-at-home mums, solopreneurs, and others to earn extra cash each month.

However, for those not experienced in running a business online, it can be a bit daunting trying to work out what the term means and how you can use affiliate links to improve your financial situation. To get you started, here are the basics.


Affiliate marketing, also known as performance-based marketing, is a particular type of marketing arrangement. With this tactic, you can earn a commission by promoting other people or organisation’s products or services to your own readers or customers.

Producers offer promoters a financial incentive for this referral since the strategy helps potential customers find out about and pay attention to wares. Affiliate marketing revolves around a revenue-sharing concept, in that the promoters earn money once the producers earn revenue from a sale.


The process of affiliate marketing works by referrers finding, of their own accord, a product or service they like, or being approached by the producer to become an affiliate. Promoters mention a product or service on a website or blog and link to the relevant page where consumers can go to learn more and then place an order.

When someone clicks on the affiliate link and makes a purchase of the offering (either straight away or within around 30-days, typically), the promoter earns a commission. This occurs after the merchant confirms the sale is legitimate, too.

If you decide to become an affiliate, you might choose a single item to promote, if it’s a best-selling one, or link to a variety of goods and services. (Most people advertise numerous things.) The idea, though, is to choose wares you know your audience will want to hear about and be interested in spending money on.

As an affiliate, you’ll be told up front how much money you will earn for each click and sale. Usually, the commission is calculated on a percentage basis, based on a certain amount of the profit the seller receives. If, after some time, you’ve been bringing a company decent sales, it’s worth asking if you can receive an exclusive, higher commission rate, or a special discount to offer to your readers to help increase clicks.

Most affiliate marketing operates through an affiliate network service. An affiliate network is a third- party entity designed to connect producers and promoters. This business handles the administration and payment side of the transactions.

The third party is the one to track transactions and attribute the correct affiliate (promoter) to the sale. The affiliate network creates the online system that does this work, and they also act as an impartial third party if any disputes arise between the seller and the advertiser.

On some occasions, companies will set up their own network systems themselves, and get promoters to work with them directly. This is usually only done by very large businesses, though, with the resources to develop and run the systems effectively.

Tech-wise, the affiliate network or seller creates a unique pixel widget (which contains tracking code) for each affiliate that joins. The pixel is what notifies the affiliate network or seller that an affiliate link led to a sale.

The link that takes readers to a seller’s website is also essential. This link allows for the correct sales to be accredited to the right affiliate. Links can be inserted using text or creative graphics that the seller or affiliate network designs. Promoters receive clear, step-by-step instructions on how to set up affiliate marketing correctly on their blog or website, too.

To register as an affiliate, you will need to provide the affiliate network or the seller with a few pieces of information. Submit your social security number, the address of your blog or website, a description of your digital property, your customer demographics and figures, and the total number of unique visits your site or blog receives each period.


Affiliate marketing is a tactic used by many people when they decide to start earning money online, as it’s a practical place to start. There are two major benefits of getting involved in this marketing avenue. For starters, as an affiliate, you don’t have to have a product to sell to generate income. Instead, you find people or organisations with wares to sell and link to them. Helpfully, you don’t have to pay for expensive stock or provide services yourself.

Plus, if you join an affiliate network, you’ll notice that there’s a whole list of brands taking part you can potentially link to. You therefore don’t have to contact each business separately or do a stack of your own independent research to find promotable options.

The other big plus is that affiliate marketing enables you to make money while you sleep. Of course, you need to build up a decent audience, so that people actually click on the links from your website or blog, but once you get to this point, the marketing strategy offers a simple way to earn some passive income.