Make Money Online in Affiliate Marketing: A Viable or Flawed Business Model?




Finding new ways to make money online in affiliate marketing can be exhausting when there are so many. We know it sounds a bit ironic, but not all the options available are a good investment of your time nor a good fit for some of your skills and talents.

Therefore, you might have an ocean full of fish, but in this case, you can’t just fish any random one and expect it to leave you satisfied after eating it.

Instead, you have to take your time in finding the biggest one that will leave you more than simply satisfied and could allow you to have more energy for much longer.

Among the options you will find in this ocean we are using as a reference, affiliate marketing will pop up several times, and we are sure that it has already, considering that you are here trying to figure out whether it is a good option or not.

Fortunately, we will have the answers for you by providing some basic yet crucial information you need to know to decide for yourself if it is a “yes” or a “no” for you.

What Is Affiliate Marketing & How Does It Work?

If you want to start this journey or are considering it, how can you do it without knowing what it is about?

Affiliate marketing is when an online retailer pays you a commission on traffic and sales generated by your referrals when you promote a product or service. They access it using the hyperlink provided by the retailer or company offering the affiliate program.

For you to work this out, you will need to rely on something similar to traditional advertising but less intrusive.

Instead of promoting a product or service via visual advertisements on your website or platforms, you simply embed the product link within your content on most occasions, so it looks more natural.

In simple terms, affiliate marketing means selling goods and services from another person or company.

To join programs or bet for this opportunity, it is necessary to create a blog or website. Of course, your social media platforms or those where you have built an audience are valid too.

Then, join relevant affiliate programs. You can connect to these programs through affiliate networks, which provide you with a link that you include on your site.

You get a percentage of any sale if someone clicks on the link, purchases the product, or hires the services.

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We can summarize the basics in this way:

  • Your website, blog, email list, or social media, allows you to recommend a product or a service to your followers.
  • Followers can purchase the product or service through your affiliate link.
  • For every sale made through your affiliate link, you get a commission.

So far, it is quite simple, but some elements and “components” must be involved for the program to work:

  • The Merchant: Sometimes referred to as the seller, is the person who creates the product or service. This can be a large company like Amazon or small businesses like your local retailers or any store.  Anybody can be an affiliate marketer, from solo entrepreneurs to large companies to startups. They just need a product or service and are willing to rely on this marketing strategy.
  • The Affiliate: Sometimes, this party is also called the publisher. Affiliates can be single people or entire businesses. This is where marketing takes place. Affiliates promote one or more affiliate products and try to get the word out. They Attract and convince potential customers about the value of the merchant’s product so that they end up actually buying it.
  • The Consumer: Affiliates are made to work around the customers. Otherwise, this system wouldn’t work. After all, no commissions or revenue is shared without sales. The affiliate will market to the consumer through whatever channels they choose, including social networks, digital billboards, and search engines that use content marketing to promote blogs.
  • The Network: Some affiliate marketers overlook the importance of networks in this marketing. We believe an affiliate marketing strategy should include networks because, in many cases, a community works as an ally and Intermediary between the merchant, affiliate, and even customer.

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Interested? Here’s How You Can Start Affiliate Marketing

We want you to keep something in mind: there is no business opportunity or option to make money that doesn’t require preparations or elements.

Affiliate marketing happens to be one of the main opportunities in which you will have to work harder than others to start for it to work out.

For starters, it requires one thing: Start a blog or website in your chosen niche or use your social media as an influencer.

However, we will be diving deeper into all the elements we consider necessary for beginners and those starting in this world.

  • Create the website, blog, or social media profiles. 

When it comes to this step, affiliate marketing looks easy because it doesn’t feel like you need to do much. However, building a website, blog, or even having a great social media profile will be tough.

Focusing on the website and blog first, there are many options to build them, but we will always recommend WordPress.

WordPress makes it easy to quickly create a professional-looking website even if your code skills are not great, and it offers more tools than any other website builder to make your sites perform better.

This means your site will have more functionality and your visitors a better experience (UX).

WordPress is the best platform for affiliate marketing if you are looking to make money. You can add options that make it easy to include links and elements to drive your readers and visitors to buy the products or hiring services.

You pretty much know the process for social media: create your profile, build your feed, and bring an audience to qualify for some programs.

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  • Choose your affiliate programs. 

It shouldn’t be difficult to find affiliate products to promote if you have done your research and focus on choosing products that are relevant to your content and fit your niche.

If you have a hard time in the process, joining an affiliate network is a great way to choose your products.

Affiliate networks connect merchants with affiliate marketers and help the process as intermediaries.

Affiliate marketers use affiliate networks for better product selections that they can promote on their sites.

Some of the networks we use include ShareASale, CJ Affiliate, ClickBank, and Amazon Associates.

Along with finding the programs, they often have more information about how well a product is selling. This data can be used to boost your affiliate marketing profits and make well-informed decisions.

  • Find out how the affiliate program works.

Something to keep in mind: not all affiliate programs work the same.

You will need to deal with different tiers or levels in this field since some merchants offer money in exchange for the purchases. In contrast, others focus on freebies, products, discounts, or other types of remuneration for their affiliates.

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Here we have included a brief description of each tear:

One Tier: Affiliate links earn you a commission on any sale (money).

Two Tier: Refer a friend and get a commission once they start selling products or bring more people and friends (multilevel scheme).

Climbing Tiers: Increased commissions when you sell more or reach a specific milestone.

Recurring commissions: This is usually the case with subscription services. You continue to receive commissions for as long as people sign up and pay for the plans available.

Sitewide Commissions: You will receive a commission no matter what products people purchase on your affiliate’s site. Amazon’s affiliate program works in this way since it has millions of products listed.

Pay Per Lead: You will earn a commission depending on how many leads you generate for the business or merchant. For this, make sure you have an affiliate agreement and set up your analytics to track it. It’s not worth wasting time on unnecessary work or if you are unable to track this as well automatically.

Individual Affiliate Programs: It means they (the programs) can be found on the merchants’ websites.

Affiliate Marketplaces: ClickBank is a great example. It has thousands of merchants you can choose from. It is convenient to log in to one place to check the performance and compare multiple affiliates without going to each portal of the merchant.

  • Make content that generates affiliate revenue.

Most affiliate marketers are novices who simply post random content and include affiliate links in their articles. This is a strategy, but it doesn’t work for everyone, but it doesn’t mean it is bad because of that.

If you are starting or just want to test this business opportunity, you’ll need content that is consistent with your brand and make sure it reaches your target audience.

Of course, this content-making process is also crucial for those who have been working with this option for a while.

Now, your target audience will be someone who is interested in buying a product but isn’t sure if it is worth the cost.

It’s your job as an affiliate marketer to provide high-quality content rich in keywords that can take them to your site and help them make a purchase decision and then guide them to the product/service site to complete the purchase.

This means that your article should be targeted, and, going back to the keywords, you must aim for those that your target audience searches for on Google before purchasing the product.

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  • Promote your affiliate products or services using the content. 

Since you now know the type of content you need to generate and share, you can promote your affiliate links using it.

Once you’ve done your keyword research and have your content ideas, you can start to insert affiliate links into it.

The article will determine how you insert affiliate links since it must be natural and go well with the links instead of being invasive and out of nowhere.

For example, if you are reviewing a specific product, it would not make sense to include affiliate links for five different products that aren’t even from the same brand, and even if they are, it won’t work.

But if you are doing a top of some products, you can easily include more links.

Your goal is to place your links as strategically and effectively as possible.

Need some help to maximize the placement of your links and achieve the desired results? This is what you must keep in mind:

  • Add a link when it is appropriate only: If the affiliate link doesn’t belong in your content, don’t include it. This can negatively impact your user experience (UX) and lead to more lost sales instead of bringing potential customers.
  • Keep them as a priority: When you are showcasing multiple products in an article or even one, ensure that you include your affiliate links for them at the top of the list. Many people don’t have the time to read a whole article, so they will be looking for specific information or just take a couple of seconds to minutes to read the first parts.
  • Use your space efficiently (website or not): To promote your affiliate products, you can use floating bars and inline banners as well as sidebar widgets. These increase the effectiveness of your content and can lead to increased sales. For social media, use every single option available, from stories to regular posts and reels.

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  • Turning your visitors into customers. 

A common mistake made by new affiliate marketers is to assume they must have a specific number of traffic to make the same number in profits.

Well, it doesn’t work that way.

Let’s take, for example, the promotion of a product on your website that pays $100 in affiliate commissions for each sale.

Suppose that your affiliate conversion rate for the product is 2%. This means that for every 100 people who visit that site, two will buy it.

This means that the cost per click (CPC) is $1.

What if you could send twice as many people to your affiliate product website or platform?

Simple, you could also double your affiliate revenue based on the CPC value. The best part is that you don’t need to increase traffic.

You could instead set up conversion optimization campaigns that increase your revenue.

A conversion optimization software can help you so you can increase your revenues by converting more traffic from your existing customers into affiliate customers.

If you didn’t get it, it is quite simple.

You don’t need to generate lots of traffic but rather know how to take advantage of the existing one and your current customers to generate more affiliated sales.

Pros & Cons of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is probably the best option for bloggers, coaches, information entrepreneurs, and those who work hard to build and maintain their digital properties (websites, channels, and more).

Or that is what most people say.

In our opinion, this business option is great for anyone who knows how to deal with it and takes some minutes to test it in other platforms and areas that aren’t necessarily websites, blogs, or specific social media profiles.

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Therefore, if you want to give it a try, just focus on these pros so you can have a good picture of what to expect:

  • Low cost: Many affiliate programs offer free memberships, so you don’t need to pay for joining and just focus on your marketing strategies to make money with them.
  • There are no physical products: You don’t have to create a product or service. A pre-existing one is enough, and you don’t need to handle inventory and logistics (such annoying factors).
  • It offers flexibility: As long as you have access to the internet, you can work from anywhere and anytime.
  • Make money without effort: It has a great passive income potential depending on how well you market your affiliate programs and set the platforms and websites you will use.

Now, we won’t forget about the cons because they are just as crucial as the great parts of an opportunity to make money:

  • It takes time: Generating the traffic required to bring in the income takes effort and commitment. You can spend months or over a year to have it.
  • Payouts lost: Affiliate hijacking is when you don’t get credit for your referrals. Many companies don’t pay their affiliates and just make you waste time and effort.
  • It is hard to control: You don’t have any control over whether or not a business fulfills a product or service. Bad affiliate referrals can damage your reputation with followers. It’s important to research and choose quality businesses.
  • Concurrence: Affiliate marketing is very competitive. Affiliates often promote the same products, and they compete for customers and traffic, limiting the options with popular programs and merchants to work with them.

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Best Affiliate Programs to Be Part Of

If you are already making the decision, we have a piece of info that will be the most valuable: the programs you should prioritize to join.

Amazon Associates

Even though you might be just starting, there is a good chance you have heard about the Amazon Associates program, and it could even be the reason why you chose to give this marketing a try.

If you did any research on beginner affiliate programs, you would know that it is a great option for starters, but why? Because of the commissions and opportunities to make money.

You must know many tutorials and courses will show you how to use this network to make a decent living, and you won’t be trying to figure out things on your own, which usually takes lots of time and even money.

CJ – Commission Junction

Commission Junction is an affiliate network that promotes products and works with companies all over the world.

It has over 20 years of experience in the affiliate business space and is a great choice for anyone just starting out since you know it is legit and offers decent commissions.


HostGator is a great way to make money since it allows you to earn about $100 for every customer or user and offers flexibility in its program.

It is enough to create a landing page and add a link to your content so people can easily click it.

You can offer discounts to some of your followers or readers since you are a part of the program, which can help bring more customers.

These discounts can range from 40% to 60%, depending on the current offer and the conditions at the time of the request.


Bluehost’s affiliate program is very popular in the web hosting industry because people constantly create and build websites. Since the program allows you to offer discounts, users want the best deal, so clicking on a link ends up being the best option for them.

Also, it offers a starting pay of $65 per user that signs up for at least a month or any other specific plan offered by the platform.

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Shopify is the most well-known eCommerce website builder globally, and it is only natural for it to offer a program.

Because of their stable conversion rates, everyone uses the platform when building an online shop, but the prices can be a bit high for some, which is perfect for you to use the same method as Bluehost and offer discounts to earn your commissions.

The commission rate depends on the amount of money your users, or people who click your link, pay.

For the first option, you get 2x 100% commission for your referral’s first and subsequent service payments.

Our Verdict: Worth It or Not?

If you are considering affiliate marketing as a way to make money online, it’s worth noting that it can be both rewarding and challenging. Though, we are sure you noticed this already.

Before telling you our verdict and answering the main question directly, we want to remind you that it is important to carefully research affiliate programs before signing up with them.

Also, take your time with the option, and you should be able to make money.

Now, that last statement, or more like a piece of advice, gave you a spoiler of what we are about to say: you can make money with affiliate marketing without problems.

But is it a failproof business? Not really, but we wouldn’t consider it a flawed one either.

Although there’s a lot of competition, you can have your space in it and generate money without worrying too much in the future.

You just ought to be careful about your decisions and how you approach the process of making the affiliate programs actually pay you for your effort.

The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Business

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All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?

The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).

Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:

The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.

Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”

You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.

The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.

The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.

To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.

Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.

To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.

By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.

An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor

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You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.

HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.

They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.

If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.

HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.

Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services.  They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).

Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?

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They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.

However, you need to remember two facts:

  1. Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
  2. They don’t generate “natural” leads.

Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.

Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.

What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.

When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.

What Is Local SEO?

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Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.

What does this mean?

Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.

To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.

If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.

Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.

“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.

Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.

Can My Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?

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If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.

Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.

Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.

How Powerful Are Organic Leads from Google?

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For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.

This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.

I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.

However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.

On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.

You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.

What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?

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Here it goes: you can work from home.

The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.

We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high.  Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.

You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.

Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.

So, let’s summarize this:

  • You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
  • You can bet on passive income.
  •  There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
  • You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.

How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?

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Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.

Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?

You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.

You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.

Learn more about local lead generation below.

Take a sneak peek into our proven strategies to build a passive income by building a local lead generation business from your laptop...