Becoming an affiliate marketer is possible for just about anyone with a computer and an internet connection. Sure, affiliate marketing will take some financial investments just like any other business (web hosting, a domain name, etc). However, unlike most business ventures, affiliate marketing does not have many of the barriers to entry that most other businesses have. But why do so many new affiliate marketers never make a single dime online?

Well, recently, someone asked me, “what are the top 10 things I should know about becoming an affiliate marketer?” If you go into affiliate marketing with these ten things in mind, your chances of success will be greatly enhanced.

1. Have The Right Expectations

First of all, you have to get into this with the right expectations. It just blows my mind how many new affiliate marketers get into this field thinking they can put 5hrs per week into their business and they will start making money in a few weeks. Let me be clear…. This is NOT some fast and easy way to grow a business. Yes, anyone can do it part-time from home with little capital investment, but this is going to take a lot of time and effort. A realistic timeframe to start making money is 6 to 12 months, minimum, but it could take even longer than that. If you’re extremely lucky, you could start making money sooner, but that is much rarer than the scammers and “guru’s” would have you believe (they want to sell you products, after all).

For more information, check out my article on how long it REALLY takes to make money online.

2. Get Familiar With WordPress

Even if you start off with a free domain at WordPress.com just to try things out, just get the hang of how to use it, play around with different themes, etc. You don’t need any coding experience to use WordPress, but there is a learning curve. While there are many other platforms you can build a website with, I can only recommend WordPress to new affiliate marketers. There are to many reasons to list for this article. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there are tons of tutorial videos on how to build a WordPress site. Here’s one I found on YouTube.

3. Learn How To Perform Keyword Research

“Keyword research” might be a foreign term to you right now, but as an affiliate marketer, you will definitely want to research this more. Find a topic you enjoy, but also one that has enough people searching for your niche without too much competition. There’s a lot of information around the web on how to do keyword research, but you can also read this article I wrote about it.

4. Learn About Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, may also be a foreign term to you, but this is another very important aspect of your affiliate marketing business. Don’t worry about “link building” or anything like that, just focus on how to write great content for both people as well as search engines. On-page SEO should be your main focus. In short, you want to be able to create content that is not only friendly for your site visitors, but you also want search engines like Google to display your site in search results. Learning how to optimize your pages for search engines through SEO is crucial to your success.

5. Don’t Focus On Traffic Or Sales Right Away

In fact, I wouldn’t even pay any attention to your website traffic for at least 3 months. Just keep creating awesome content and a good user experience for your site visitors. Creating an online resource that is trustworthy and helpful to others takes time. Search engines generally do not rank new websites well no matter how great your content is (known as the Sandbox). Over time, as you build your site up, you will start getting traffic and sales, but at first, you shouldn’t pay any attention to that at all. It’s like watching paint dry and will harm your motivation in the beginning.

6. Provide VALUE!

Don’t just make your website one huge sales ad. Create posts that you never even plan to monetize, simply because you want to provide useful information for people in your niche. Those helpful pages will rank well, and indirectly increase your rankings for your monetized pages. For example, are you enjoying this article you’re reading right now? Do you feel like I’m trying to sell you anything? I hope not. I’m just trying to give good, honest advice to my site visitors. If you happen to click on an ad or something, great, but I’m not trying to sell anything in this article. I just want to provide real value.

7. Get People Late In The Buying Cycle

Try to focus on search phrases where people are late in the buying cycle. In other words, they are ready to buy, but just need a little nudge in the right direction. That’s why I love review sites so much. You can write an article on “The Top 10 Best Widgets In 2018” or something like that. People are just looking for the “best” of something they already want to buy. Just nudge them by giving them a few really great options. You basically do the homework for them. You can see this strategy at work on my dog food review site DogFoodInsider.com.

8. Focus On Digital Products

If possible, sell digital products over physical ones (training programs, software, online services such as web hosting, etc.). The profit margins and commissions are much higher. While I like to stay diversified and also sell physical products, I’ve found that selling digital products, such as Wealthy Affiliate, require the same effort for even higher commissions.

9. Sell Your OWN Product!

What’s even better than selling someone else’s product? Selling your OWN product! Even if it’s just a simple ebook or training program, you likely have knowledge about something that others could learn from. By selling your own product, you control everything, and can even have affiliate marketers like me selling YOUR stuff FOR YOU!

10. Don’t Give UP!

The only people who truly “fail” are those that give up. So, don’t give up. No matter how long it takes. No matter how many mistakes you make along the way. You have to get past the point where most people quit and believe me, most people do quit. Affiliate marketing takes more time and effort than most people are willing to put into it. Be the one who goes the distance, and succeed.

Bonus: It’s OK To QUIT!

I know, this is completely contradictory to what I just said in #10, but it’s true. It’s ok to quit. Let’s say, for example, you just really don’t like doing this. You hate learning WordPress, you hate writing content every day, you don’t have the patience to wait a year to make money at this or any other number of reasons. If you aren’t enjoying yourself, this isn’t for you, and you should find something else to do with your life. There IS something out there for you. The only real people I ever see succeed at this are those that actually, truly enjoy what they are doing, myself included. That doesn’t mean every day is a cakewalk, but in general, I love what I do and wouldn’t want to do anything else. It’s almost a hobby for me.

I hope these top 10 tips for becoming an affiliate marketer are helpful, and best of luck to you!