Do's and Don’ts of Affiliate Marketing: For the Beginner

I have seen many stories about and reasons why people become interested in affiliate marketing. Some of the more popular ones include: needing extra money, working for one’s self, working out of the house, having previous knowledge in marketing and/or Web design/development, or wanting a low- work/high-income job (not a good reason, by the way).

The reason you have become interested in Internet and affiliate marketing is fairly irrelevant. What you do after you have decided to give it a try is what really matters. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” for beginners that may help guide the learning process.

Do: Your research! I am not sure why, but so many people have this misconception that there is not much to learn about how to become a semi-successful affiliate marketer. Just like any other career path, there are plenty of important facts to know and skills to master to be successful online. You wouldn’t apply for a nursing job without the proper knowledge, right?

Take what you know about marketing, the Internet, websites, etc., and expand on that knowledge. Learn the different ways you can make money online, the importance of SEO, how to properly research keywords, how to write amazing content, and how to convert visitors into buyers and return customers (just to name a few). Build your knowledge of the subject so that you are prepared to succeed.

Don’t: Think you are going to slap together a website, throw on some copy and a link, and watch the money roll in. These days, Internet users are smarter than ever. People are turned off by cheap, unsafe- looking websites, and usually will not purchase anything from them, let alone stay more than a few seconds. Competition to rank highly in search results is getting tougher by the day, too. To build and maintain a website which ranks well and makes money requires time and effort, so be prepared to commit.

Do: Take action! Research is very important (as stated above), but can also cause “Analysis Paralysis,” or the inability to get started, from too much of it! A common problem with first-time affiliate marketers is over-reading blogs, collecting every white paper or PDF they come across, and combing through forums without ever applying action to anything learned. Sure, you need to know the basics, but don’t let research halt your production. You should keep studying and learning, but take action while you’re doing so. More often than not, learning from experience will give you a much better grasp on the process.

Don’t: Fall for the hype. What do I mean by this? There are countless digital products being sold by “Internet marketing experts” claiming to “Make Big Money in Only 5 Days!” or something along those lines. These marketers use outrageous headlines and financial claims to sell their products, guides, videos, and more to beginner marketers. However, all the information you need can be found for free through industry-leading blogs, forums, and even Google itself. Don’t waste your money on these products.

Do: Keep a positive attitude and plan for success. Like anything else, there is a learning curve to affiliate marketing. Stay positive and keep trying to learn and implement. It is possible to be successful online; it just takes time and effort. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not making any money right away. Plan what you’re going to do and stick to it.

Don’t: Give up!

Hope this sheds a little light on affiliate marketing for any beginners out there. For those who have been  at affiliate marketing for a bit, I will be working on a follow-up to this post that has more advanced “dos” and “don’ts.” Good luck!



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  • “Keep a positive attitude and plan for success.” This is one of my favorite parts of your article, because a positive outlook is detrimental to any kind of success!

  • Q says:

    Can you tell me of any helpful places to learn from scratch

    • Joe Bencar says:

      There are many, many resources online where you can learn affiliate marketing, SEO, PPC, social media, and more. Some great places to start would be industry blogs like SEOMoz and SearchEngineLand, and forums like WarriorForum. This is in addition to Fathom’s blog and YouTube Channel. Hope this helps you out!

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