What is Affiliate Marketing – A Simple Explanation

How Do People Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is internet advertising that allows any online business to affiliate themselves with website owners (known as affiliates or publishers) using affiliate programs. Affiliates make money by generating leads, sales, and traffic for the merchant’s business. Put simply: an affiliate program allows you to link from your website to products and banners, which when clicked or bought through, generate income for YOU.



How Do You Find Companies That Offer Affiliate Marketing Programs?

Basically, you can go to your search window and type in any word such as “baseball affiliate marketing” and hundreds of results will pop up. There are affiliate marketing programs for almost anything you can think of.

Just to give you an example of an affiliate for clothing for example, when I typed in “Macy’s affiliate program“, I immediately saw that there is one available. If your niche is athletic shoes and apparel, you can sign up with Amazon.com, generate some links in your website, and when someone clicks those links and buys through the site from your link, you get paid. Some sites keep your link active for 24 hours and some will keep it active for 30 days or more.

The commissions vary by program, but usually start around 3 or 4 percent. Some programs pay as much as 50 percent for certain products. You can set up links in words or pictures, so that when they are clicked on, the customer is directed to your custom linked product that can make you money.


“What is a legitimate affiliate marketing program?”


You can also set up banners that can run along the side of your page or anywhere in your posts. Banners are advertisements that can be placed anywhere in your website that, when clicked on, take your visitor to a custom online link that could make you money if they buy something. Some banners, like Google AdSense banners, can make you money just by being clicked on.


Amazon Associates

One of my favorite affiliate programs is with Amazon.com called Amazon Associates. They only pay about 4 percent on most of their products, but they have like a zillion products, so the amount of ideas and items you could sell is endless. Just to give you an example, my main website is called BaseballMomStuff.com and I have several links to baseball products that I have either reviewed or recommend on my site. If people click on any of my product links and buy them, I get paid a commission on it.

In addition to that, if they get sidetracked and click on a big screen TV or some other item and buy it within 24 hours, I get commission on it. You can see how if you are able to generate traffic to your website, this could be very profitable! 

Affiliate Networks

Another type of entity that you can sign up for is an affiliate network. Basically, that is a group of affiliates that is managed by one company. Some affiliate networks have thousands of affiliates that they manage, and you only have to sign up for the network to have your account managed. You still have to be approved by the individual companies, but it’s a great way to get exposure to thousands of human circlecompanies. A few examples of affiliate networks are: FlexOffers.com, Rakuten Linkshare, Affiliate Window, and Commission Junction.

There are many more out there…all you have to do is search. I am signed up with all of these because there are different companies that I want to affiliate with and they don’t make you sign any exclusivity contracts.


What Affiliate Programs Should I Sign Up For?

Use your imagination to find companies that you can affiliate with. Remember though, you should sign up for programs that are related to your niche or website theme. Just to give you some more ideas of what affiliate programs are out there, here are a few companies: Home Depot, Apple iTunes, GoDaddy.com, BestBuy, and Barnes & Noble. You may even be able to come up with a website niche by searching for the available affiliate networks. The possibilities are endless!

Google AdSense

Google AdSense is a free and simple way to earn money by displaying ads next to, or inside of your online content. Also, free to sign up for, Google AdSense allows you to show relevant and engaging ads to your visitors, and the look and feel can be customized to match your website. With AdSense ads, you get paid when the ads are clicked. So hopefully when people are reading your engaging content, something will pop up that piques their interest and they click on it. Generate enough traffic and you could make some serious bucks!

What’s the easiest way to learn about about affiliate marketing?


If you are interested in learning more about affiliate marketing for the novice, and if you are interested in a training program that can teach you step-by-step how to build a website and become an affiliate marketer, click on this link:


If you have any questions about affiliate programs or getting started online, please leave me a comment. I would be happy to help!

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  1. Shannon, a really good explanation of what Affiliate Marketing is all about along with some helpful advice and suggestions. You managed to cover the whole idea of how money is made through online business, in a clear, easy to understand way. Loved the layout and cleanliness of your page too. Most attractive.
    A very nice job. Thank you! Jamie.

  2. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering
    if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?

    Thanks a lot!

    1. Hello,

      The captcha for comments is part of my theme, so I didn’t have to add one. I’m not familiar with any of the captcha plugins, in fact I might remove it because I’ve heard that it discourages people from leaving comments. Sorry!


  3. Hi Shannon,

    Thank you for the information. I will definitely use your Amazon.com link in the future because I do almost all of my gadget and toy shopping on there and if it can help you, why not?! I wish you continued success on your site and Happy New Year!

    Best regards,


  4. I’ve come across affiliate marketing numerous times, but have often wondered how it works and how people earn money online from it.

    Thanks for clearing things up for me because I have just learned a lot on affiliate marketing. I actually didn’t realize I could make money online with Amazon, and it sounds so cool! And now I also see why some bloggers promote Google ads on their sites too! 🙂

    The Wealthy Affiliate University sounds fantastic, and I would love to start up my own affiliate marketing business now.

    1. Hi Neil. Thanks for visiting my page. It is absolutely possible to make money with affiliate marketing through sites like Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, and many other companies. Wealthy Affiliate is a great place to get started on your journey, and you can get all the help you need there. 🙂

  5. One of the best and thorough explanation on what an affiliate marketing is that I’ve seen so far.

    Which one of these affiliate programs you think is best for the beginner? Which was your first program when you started out? I believe Amazon might be the best at the beginning which I’m using myself. I signed up for some other affiliate networks but I don’t really use them.

    1. Hi Jolita. Thanks for visiting my page and offering your feedback. Yes, I think Amazon is the best affiliate program to get started with, although they only have a 24 hour cookie and there are many others out there that have 30 day cookies or more. If you can make those work for you, you’ll have a better chance of making more money, but Amazon has millions of visitors every day. 🙂

      1. Yes, I heard this thing about Amazon 24 hour cookies which is a shame because I think many people might buy maybe couple days after and you lose an earned commission. Programs that have 30 day cookies would be really nice. Maybe I should start using one.

        Thank you for the tips.

  6. Awesome website Shannon! From a Southern Californian to a Southern Californian! Lol. I just bookmarked your website for reference. There’s a lot of information on here! Thank you very much!


  7. Hi, if I had about 1,000 visitors to my site per week, how much money do you think I could realistically make with google adsense? I am quite familiar with affiliate marketing, it truly is one of the most lucrative forms of making money out there. Thank you for this awesome article!

    1. Hi Jacob.  With Google Adsense you really can’t make a lot of money unless you have thousands and thousands of visitors because it’s just pennies. 🙂

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