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Free Affiliate Marketing with WordPress: A Guide for Beginners

Shams Sumon





27 min read

If you’re an entrepreneur at heart but can not launch your startup due to a shortage of money, affiliate marketing can be a great solution to kickstart your own business right away.

With a $12B market size, affiliate marketing has become a top choice to earn passive income online from home. According to a recent survey:

Over 80% of brands use affiliate marketing programs to promote their products.

So, if you are wondering how to be a part of this industry, keep reading this blog post. In this blog, we will discuss how to do affiliate marketing for free, including strategies and tips to get started without having prior knowledge of it.

Let’s get started!

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a performance-based marketing model where you as an affiliate, promote a product or service on behalf of your merchant. And for doing that you charge a commission on every sale.

You will promote your merchant’s products or services through various channels such as a website, social media, email, or other digital platforms. When a user clicks on your unique tracking link and completes a purchase, you earn a commission on the resulting sale.

This is an image that shows how does affiliate marketing work.
An example of how affiliate marketing works

Affiliate marketing benefits both the affiliate and the merchant as the affiliate can earn revenue without having to create their products, while the merchant can expand their reach to a wider audience through the affiliate’s promotion efforts.

It is a win-win situation for both parties and has become a popular way to monetize digital platforms.

Is It a Good Idea to Start Affiliate Marketing in 2023?

Yes, starting affiliate marketing in 2023 can be a good idea. Affiliate marketing has been a lucrative industry for many years, and it continues to grow as more businesses shift their focus to online sales and marketing.

With the increasing number of people using the internet to purchase products, there is a growing demand for affiliate marketers who can help drive sales through their promotion efforts.

According to a report by Business Insider,

Affiliate marketing spending has already been reached to $8.2 billion by 2022 in the US alone. This indicates that businesses are continuing to invest heavily in affiliate marketing and see it as a valuable marketing strategy to drive sales and revenue.

Furthermore, a survey conducted by Rakuten Marketing found that 84% of publishers and 81% of advertisers are currently using affiliate marketing.

So, if you’re willing to put in the work and have a passion for marketing and promoting products, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn passive income and potentially even grow a full-time business.

How to Do Affiliate Marketing for Free – 5 Easy Steps

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Now we have come to the main part of the blog- how to do affiliate marketing for free. So without any further ado, let us show you the 5 tips at a glance to get started with affiliate marketing as a beginner:

  1. Choose a Trendy Niche 
  2. Pick a Profitable Affiliate Program 
  3. Create an Affiliate Website
  4. Create Top-Notch Content 
  5. Promote Your Content Using Multiple Channels

Now it’s time to discuss each of the above mentioned points in detail so that you can learn everything about affiliate marketing and start your business right away.

Step 01: Choose a Trendy Niche

Like any other business, you have to choose a niche for an affiliate business as well. Without knowing what you want to sell and who is your target customers, you can’t even think of making a profit out of your business.

You have to be very strategic in finding a trendy and profitable niche for your affiliate business. There are some proven ways that you can follow to get your job done. Here are the tips:

  • Look for Products and Services That are Popular: This can be done by keeping up with the latest news and trends in your industry, browsing social media, or checking out online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, or eBay to see what products are selling well.
  • Research Your Target Audience: Identify your target audience and their needs, interests, and problems. This can be done by conducting surveys, analyzing online forums and communities, or using a tool like Google Trends.
  • Analyze Competition: Look for other affiliates and brands that are targeting the same audience as you and analyze their strategies, products, and content to identify any gaps or opportunities.
  • Check Affiliate Networks: Browse through affiliate networks like Clickbank, ShareASale, or Commission Junction to see what niches are popular and have a high demand for affiliate marketers.

Some Popular Niches for Affiliate Marketing

  • Health and wellness like fitness, weight loss, supplements, natural remedies, and alternative medicine.
  • Personal finance like saving money, making money online, investing, credit repair, and debt management.
  • Beauty and fashion including makeup, skincare, hair care, clothing, and accessories.
  • Technology like gadgets, software, apps, and online services.
  • Home and garden including home improvement, gardening, DIY, home decor, and furniture.
  • Travel services related to hotels, flights, travel insurance, tours, and activities.

Remember, it’s important to choose a niche that you’re passionate about and can create high-quality content for.

Step 02: Pick a Profitable Affiliate Program

After choosing a trendy niche for your affiliate marketing business, it’s time to join a profitable affiliate program. Of course, you’ll join an affiliate program that aligns with your niche.

There are two ways to join an affiliate program:

a) Directly Join an Affiliate Program Related to Your Niche

Let’s assume you want to sell Dokan multivendor plugin as an affiliate. That means you have to sign up for the Dokan multivendor affiliate program and then promote the plugin to earn commissions.

b) Join the Affiliate Marketplace

You can join an affiliate program marketplace or network where you can browse thousands of programs and sign up for them through the marketplace. 

Some profitable affiliate programs include:

  • Amazon Associates: Amazon offers a vast selection of products that you can promote, and commission rates vary based on the product category.
  • ClickBank: ClickBank is a digital marketplace that offers high commission rates for promoting digital products such as eBooks and courses.
  • Commission Junction: Commission Junction is an affiliate marketing network that offers a wide range of products to promote.
  • ShareASale: ShareASale is another affiliate marketing network that offers a variety of products to promote, including physical and digital products.
  • Impact Affiliate Network: Impact also works as the ShareASale affiliate network. You can register to this network and partner with several affiliate products to kickstart your affiliate business.

Points to Consider While Choosing an Affiliate Program

You can join either of the options. But consider the below points while choosing an affiliate program:

  • Relevance: The program should be relevant to your niche and audience. If you have a health and wellness blog, it would not make sense to promote a technology product.
  • Commission Rates: Choose programs with high commission rates. Typically, commission rates range from 5% to 50% depending on the product or service.
  • Conversion Rates: Look for programs with high conversion rates, meaning a significant percentage of clicks on the affiliate link convert into sales.
  • Reputation: Choose programs with a good reputation and a history of paying affiliates on time.
  • Support: The program should have excellent customer support to assist you with any issues or concerns.

Step 03: Create an Affiliate Website

In this step, you will need a website to start affiliate marketing. You can create an affiliate website using any platform. But as it’s an affiliate website and your main purpose is to promote your affiliate product by creating top-quality blog posts, therefore, nothing but WordPress can help you the most.

Because WordPress offers the most flexibility in terms of blogging, SEO, and maintenance. So, our recommendation is to choose WordPress as your affiliate website platform.

Now follow the below procedures to launch your site:

a) Choose a Secure Domain and Web Hosting

There are several domain and web hosting services around you to choose from. But you have to be very careful while choosing your web hosting. Because choosing the wrong hosting service can ruin your dream.

Here are our recommended web hostings for you to create an affiliate website:

  • Kinsta: It is a managed WordPress hosting provider that offers high-performance hosting on the Google Cloud Platform. Kinsta targets businesses and professional WordPress users who require high-performance, managed WordPress hosting.
  • Cloudways: Cloudways targets small to medium-sized businesses and developers who require flexible, cloud-based hosting solutions for their WordPress websites. They offer a range of hosting options with a user-friendly interface that’s suitable for beginners and experienced users alike
  • Hostinger: Hostinger is a budget-friendly hosting provider that offers WordPress hosting plans with features such as automatic updates, 24/7 support, and a free domain name. It targets budget-conscious individuals and small businesses who require affordable and reliable WordPress hosting.

Also Read: How to Install WordPress on cPanel in 10 Minutes

b) Choose a Perfect Theme

After installing WordPress on your cPanel, now it’s time to design your site. To do so, first, you have to install and activate a theme to customize it.

Here are our recommended themes for your affiliate website:

  • GeneratePress: GeneratePress is a lightweight and fast WordPress theme that’s suitable for a wide range of websites. It’s a multipurpose theme but specially built for blog websites.
  • Divi: Divi is another popular and powerful WordPress theme that comes with a built-in drag-and-drop page builder. It’s a multipurpose theme that’s suitable for building any type of website, including blogs and portfolios.
  • Neve: Our last but not least item is the Neve theme. It’s a lightweight and fast WordPress theme that’s suitable for a wide range of websites, including blogs, business websites, and more. This theme is suitable for anyone who wants a fast, customizable, and versatile WordPress theme.

c) Install and Activate an Affiliate Plugin

As an affiliate marketer, you may find it helpful to use an affiliate plugin to manage your affiliate links and track your commissions. However, it’s not necessarily required, as you can manually create and manage your affiliate links without a plugin.

That being said, using an affiliate plugin can save you time and effort by automating certain tasks, such as creating and inserting affiliate links into your content, tracking clicks and conversions, and generating reports on your earnings.

Here are the top affiliate plugins for you:

  • AffiliateWP: AffiliateWP is a powerful and user-friendly affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress that lets you create and manage your own affiliate program. It provides real-time reporting, and customizable referral rates, and supports many popular payment gateways.
  • ThirstyAffiliates: ThirstyAffiliates is a popular affiliate link management plugin for WordPress that helps you create, cloak, and manage your affiliate links. It also offers advanced features like automatic keyword linking and geolocation-based linking.
  • Pretty Links: Pretty Links is a URL shortening and link tracking plugin for WordPress that can be used to manage your affiliate links. It provides detailed click tracking and reporting, as well as the ability to create custom-branded short links.

d) Optimize Your Site for Search Engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) for an affiliate website involves optimizing the website’s content, structure, and metadata to rank higher in search engine results pages for relevant keywords and phrases.

SEO is important for an affiliate website because it helps attract more organic traffic from search engines, which can lead to increased affiliate commissions.

When it comes to optimizing an affiliate website for SEO, there are a few key factors to consider:

  • Content: Your website’s content should be high-quality, informative, and relevant to your target audience. You should focus on creating content that addresses their needs and interests, and that includes relevant keywords and phrases that people are likely to search for. We will discuss this part in the next segment.
  • Structure: Your website’s structure should be logical and easy to navigate. This means using clear categories and subcategories, creating a clear hierarchy of content, and ensuring that your pages are linked together in a way that makes sense.
  • Metadata: Your website’s metadata, including your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers, should be optimized for search engines. This means including relevant keywords and phrases, as well as clear descriptions that encourage people to click through to your website.

When it comes to optimizing an affiliate website for SEO, several plugins can be used to help.

One popular option is Yoast SEO, which provides a range of features and tools to help optimize your website’s content, structure, and metadata. This includes the ability to analyze your content for readability and SEO-friendliness, as well as tools for creating and managing your website’s sitemap and robots.txt file.

Other popular SEO plugins include All in One SEO Pack and RankMath.

Step 04: Create Top-Notch Content

Whichever platform you choose as your traffic source, you need to create top-notch content for that platform. The success of your affiliate marketing efforts relies heavily on the quality of the content you produce.

Here are a few tips to create top-notch content for your affiliate marketing blog:

  • Understand Your Audience: Before you start creating content, it’s essential to understand your audience’s interests, pain points, and preferences. This knowledge will help you tailor your content to their needs and create something they’ll find valuable.
  • Offer Value: Your content should provide value to your audience. Whether it’s solving a problem, answering a question, or providing insights, make sure that your content offers something that your audience can’t find anywhere else.
  • Use Visual Aids: Visual aids, such as images, videos, and infographics, can help you convey complex information in a more accessible way. Including visual aids in your content can make it more engaging and increase the time your readers spend on your blog.
  • Product reviews. A highly popular content amongst affiliate marketers, as 90% of online buyers seek product reviews before visiting the site and purchasing a product. So, write reviews based on your product to build trust with your audience.
  • Product comparisons. Compare two similar products and explore their advantages and disadvantages to help the audience make a buying decision. Don’t forget to produce content based on product comparison.

By following these tips, you can create top-notch content that will help you succeed in affiliate marketing.

Step 05: Promote Your Content Using Multiple Channels

The last but not least step of how to do affiliate marketing for free is to promote your content using multiple channels. By using a variety of channels, you can reach a wider audience and increase the visibility of your content. Here are some popular channels you can use to promote your affiliate marketing content:

  • Social Media: Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are great places to share your content and reach a large audience. You can use paid advertising or organic outreach to reach new audiences and generate traffic to your affiliate links.
  • Email Marketing: Building an email list is a powerful way to promote your affiliate content to a targeted audience. You can use email marketing tools to automate your campaigns and send personalized emails to your subscribers.
  • Guest Posting: Writing guest posts on other websites and blogs can help you reach new audiences and drive traffic to your affiliate content. Look for websites and blogs in your niche and pitch them your ideas for a guest post.
  • Forum Discussion: Participating in online forums related to your niche can help you establish yourself as an authority and promote your affiliate content. You can provide valuable insights, answer questions, and share your content in a non-spammy way.

Other valuable channels you can consider include influencer marketing, paid advertising, video marketing, and podcasting. The key is to experiment with different channels and find the ones that work best for your niche and audience.

Note: If you want to take inspiration like how affiliate works, how much the commission should be, how to pay the commission, and so on, you can enroll in our affiliate program.

Bonus: Difference Between Affiliate Marketing and Dropshipping

Affiliate marketing and dropshipping marketing are both popular business models used by online sellers, but they differ in their approach and revenue generation methods.

The main difference between affiliate marketing and dropshipping marketing is that in affiliate marketing, the affiliate earns a commission on each sale, while in dropshipping marketing, the seller earns a profit by charging a markup on the supplier’s price.

Another difference is that affiliate marketing is typically used for promoting a single product or service, while dropshipping allows the seller to offer a wide range of products without the need for inventory.

Ultimately, both affiliate marketing and dropshipping marketing can be profitable business models, but they require different skill sets and approaches to generate revenue.

Let’s check all the main differences between affiliate marketing and dropshipping marketing in one place:

TopicAffiliate MarketingDropshipping Marketing
Business ModelPerformance-basedRetail fulfillment
Revenue GenerationCommission-basedThe markup on the supplier price
Inventory ManagementNot requiredNot required
ShippingNot requiredHandled by supplier
Customer ServiceNot requiredHandled by seller
Product SelectionLimitedWide range
Skill Set RequiredMarketingMarketing and sales

How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Free- FAQs

Can I do affiliate marketing for free?

Yes, you can do affiliate marketing for free. Many affiliate programs do not require any upfront fees or costs to join. However, you’ll still need to invest time and effort into building your affiliate marketing business, such as creating content, promoting products, and building an audience.

Do I need a website to do affiliate marketing?

No, you don’t necessarily need a website to do affiliate marketing for free. You can promote affiliate products through social media, email marketing, video marketing, and other digital channels. However, having a website can make it easier to promote multiple products, build an audience, and establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

How can I find free affiliate programs to join?

There are many free affiliate programs you can join, such as Amazon Associates, Clickbank, ShareASale, and more. You can search for affiliate programs in your niche using Google or affiliate networks, or by reaching out to merchants directly and asking if they have an affiliate program.

How can I promote affiliate products for free?

There are many ways to promote affiliate products for free, such as creating blog posts, making videos, writing product reviews, sharing on social media, participating in forums, and more. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your audience and promotes products naturally and authentically.

How can I track my affiliate earnings?

Many affiliate programs provide tracking and reporting tools to help you track your earnings and performance. You can also use free tools such as Google Analytics to track your website traffic and conversion rates and create custom tracking links to monitor the effectiveness of your promotional efforts.

Start Your Affiliate Marketing Today with No Money!

Now you know what is affiliate marketing, how it works, and ways to start affiliate marketing without investing a large amount of money.

You can start affiliate marketing without money if you don’t want to create a website for your business. But if you need a website to launch your affiliate business, you’ll need some money to create your website.

So, follow these below steps to start your affiliate marketing today:

  • Choose a trendy niche that has demand in the market
  • Join a profitable affiliate program that gives at least 15% commission per sale
  • Select a platform where you want to promote your affiliate products
  • Create top-quality content to attract your target audience
  • Promote your content using multiple channels like email marketing, guest posting, forum discussion, and so forth.

If you have any further questions regarding how to do affiliate marketing for free, feel free to ask here using the comment box below. We would love to hear you!

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