How to sell online without your products with Affiliate Marketing

How to sell online without your products with Affiliate Marketing

Even though this way of earning money has been in use for many years, few still master it, and there are still many doubts about what they are or how they work. That is why we have decided that it would be ideal for creating a great tutorial to help all the people who find themselves in this situation.

Therefore, the objective of this article will be that you know what affiliate systems are, how they work, how to implement them and see concrete examples of how to sell products and services online with affiliate systems.

After reading this article, you will have no excuses to start monetizing your website, whatever the subject.

Before going entirely into the subject, we will do an initial review so that we are all on the same line and can follow the entire article.

What is Affiliate Marketing, and why does it work so well for monetizing a blog?

To understand everything that follows, we are going to give a simple definition of what Affiliate Marketing would be :

Affiliate Marketing is a way to monetize your blog or website through third-party product recommendations. That is, on your website, you will talk about a product/tool/service that does not belong to you, but that can be obtained from another advertiser’s website. If that person later buys that product, you will earn a commission.

Therefore, it is about you talking about specific products on your website and getting visitors to go to the website where they are sold and buy them. If you do them well, everyone wins your reader benefits because they will get quality products that you know will give them a good result, you get a commission for it, and the supplier gets a sale.

The idea is simple, right?

I like to say that thanks to Affiliate Marketing, we become sellers of any store or product.

But maybe you can ask yourself:

How does the advertiser know that I have recommended a visit?

There we would introduce the concept of ” affiliate link. ” This is a unique link that will tell the advertiser that it is that person who has come from your website.

What happens if you don’t buy at that moment: do we lose the commission?

To finish understanding how affiliate systems work, we would ask ourselves this question:

If you enter from my link but do not buy that day but later, will we still have the commission?

The answer is it depends, but generally, yes.

When that person enters the advertiser’s website from your link, they insert a cookie.

Surely you have heard of cookies on more occasions, but this is nothing more than a small code installed in your browser when you enter several pages. It is not bad; practically all websites insert a cookie (hence the famous message that we have to put indicating if they are accepted).

Their objective is to obtain specific information from the person visiting your website. For example, you might know if that person is new to it or has already been through it. Or, in this case, you could find out if someone has recommended that person through an affiliate link.

This means that that person does not need to buy the item when they enter from your website, but by having that cookie installed in their browser, the commission will also be credited to you if they do so later. The duration of this cookie usually lasts about 30 days, although it will depend on the advertiser.

Once we have seen what Affiliate Systems are, we will get down to business and see how we can start using them to sell third-party products online.

The first thing will be to know what different types we have at our disposal to do this.

Types of Affiliate that exist to monetize your blog or website

All the types, in the end, will be based on the idea explained above: offer us a unique affiliate link that we can publish on the Internet (on our website or wherever) to be able to recommend (sell) your products and obtain a commission thus monetizing our blog.

The difference will be in the system or platform that we will use to obtain that particular link and how we can keep track of the results, we are getting in terms of clicks on it or sales made.

For this, we would differentiate between two types:

  • Affiliate platforms: it would be affiliation through an intermediary.
  • Direct affiliation systems: there are no intermediaries.

The way of working of both will be very similar and, once one of them is understood, we will be able to master and use either of the two.

Let’s start by explaining the first:

Indirectly managed affiliate systems: Affiliate Platforms.

Affiliate platforms are websites that will act as an intermediary between advertisers and us, as reflected in the following image:

affiliate platforms
What are affiliate platforms? Representation of its operation.

Once we are registered in one of them, we can access a multitude of advertisers and their products to sell (promote) them on our website and thus obtain commissions with Affiliate Marketing.

The procedure to use the affiliate platforms will be straightforward. It will be composed of these steps:

  1. Register in the affiliation platforms: For this, we will have to enter our data and usually indicate the website where we will promote the products or advertisers, which we will access through it.
  2. The next step will be to wait for the application to be approved. This one shouldn’t last long.
  3. Once approved, we will have access to the platform. Now is the time to find the advertisers we want to promote. For this, affiliate platforms usually offer internal search engines ordered by categories.
  4. When we find an exciting advertiser that would fit our theme, we will sign up for it.
  5. People from the affiliate account team of the said advertiser will review your website and approve it or not.
  6. If they approve it, it only remains to obtain the referral links to add them to your website.
  7. At all times, you will have a control panel with statistics to see how your links are working and if you are getting commissions.

What affiliate platforms are there, and which one should you use?

These platforms are very abundant, and we can find many of them.

When deciding which one to use, it will generally depend on the advertisers we can find.

There will be advertisers that can appear on several different platforms, even offering various commissions for each one. Or there will be some who even have the option of advertising through affiliate platforms and directly, as we will see later in an example.

Indeed, you wonder how you can know on which platform we will have to register to sell a particular advertiser’s products online.

For this, we have several options:

  1. Go to that program’s website that we want to promote, and look for a place where they advertise their affiliate program. For example, if we wanted to promote the WordPress Genesis framework, we would go to their page and look for the affiliate systems’ option. Specifically, at the bottom, you will see an option that says ” Affiliate program. ” When you click on it, you will see the following message (you can see it directly on the page where they advertise their affiliate system ):
search web affiliate system
How to find the affiliate platform for any tool?
  1. Find other blogs that talk about what you want to promote, and see the affiliate link they have in place. That will give you a clue to find out through which affiliate platform they are promoting it.
  2. Use the web search engine. You will find a search engine at the top left on that website. In it, you will be able to put a program you want to recommend, and it will tell you in which affiliate platform you will find it. I have to warn you that it is not very up-to-date, but it can be helpful on many occasions. This website will help you obtain much information about affiliate systems since it contains one of the leading blogs specializing in this subject.

What are the best affiliate platforms?

It will depend on the program you want to recommend.

Some of the most famous would be Tradedoubler, Zanox, Webgains, Affilinet, Commission Junction, etc.

My recommendation, based on some specific topics, would be:

  • Shareasale: To promote tools for a Marketing blog such as the Genesis Framework, Optinmonster, Godaddy, etc.
  • General ideas: To get commissions with a travel blog. You can promote Booking, Voyageprive, Logitravel, etc.

In the end, whether you choose one or the other to monetize your blog will always depend on the theme of your website and where you find the advertisers that best suit you.

As a recommendation, I will tell you to try to use, whenever possible, the same affiliate platform for the different advertisers for whom you promote products. Why? The reasons could be the following:

  • It will accumulate in your affiliate platform account as you store money for commissions. To withdraw it to your bank or Paypal account, you will have to reach a minimum. If you are promoting two programs in two different ones, the effort will be more significant to get the minimum payment in both. On the other hand, if you are promoting two programs through the same affiliate platform, you will add the amounts and reach the figure to withdraw the money sooner.
  • As the winnings will be bigger, you will have better conditions. When you start generating commissions on an affiliate platform, its team takes an interest in you. That means they will be able to offer you better commissions, as well as personalized monitoring and support. And it will help you generate more profit.
  • Etc.

Directly managed affiliate systems.

There are many advertisers who, instead of managing their affiliate program through an affiliate platform, prefer to run it themselves.

In the end, when you deal with intermediaries, you are leaving money along the way, and it costs companies much money to participate in affiliate platforms. That is why many decide to get rid of that and manage it directly.

We can find many programs that use this direct management system. Some of the most famous could be:

  • Amazon offers a commission for recommending any of the products in its store (we will see that later in-depth).
  • eBay: it would work the same way as Amazon.
  • Booking: Although we have named it before as managed through Public Ideas, they also opt for the direct affiliation model by managing their affiliate program.

The way to start participating in these systems will be the same as through an affiliate platform.

You would find all the instructions to start from the page of said website by looking for something in it such as “affiliate program,” “affiliate system,” “recommendation program,” etc …

Once enrolled in your program, the operation will be very similar to that of the affiliate platforms, but in this case, as it is already a specific advertiser, you will only have to go to the option to get the affiliate links to be able to put them on your website.

Case study 1: Sell products online with direct affiliation on Amazon

Amazon is one of the most used affiliate systems. The reason is that in its store, you can find millions of products, which means that you can monetize a website of practically any theme by offering articles that you will find within this giant of online buying/selling.

You could recommend any product you see within your store on your website with an “affiliate link,” and you would earn commissions for the sales that occur from it.

But is all that glitters within the Amazon affiliate program gold?

Like everything in life, this affiliate system has good and bad things. We are going to review them:

Advantages of the Amazon affiliate program:

  • In its store, it offers products of any existing theme. Therefore you will always have material to write about on your website.
  • It is a store with an excellent reputation, where people are used to shopping.
  • They optimize the sales process very well, which could help you sell more. For example, in my case, I can promote a specific technological product, and because of the accurate and personalized recommendations that they make on their website, maybe that person ends up buying a suit, which would also leave me a commission.
  • They are very reliable and rigorous with the payment dates.
  • They offer several forms of payment such as by bank account, by check, or by gift coupon for your store.

Disadvantages of Amazon affiliates:

  • The cookie only lasts one day. That means that if the person you have recommended does not buy on that day when he does later, he will no longer credit you the commission. That is fixed if that person has inserted the product in their cart. In that case, the cookie would be 90 days old. If you buy in that period, you will have your commission.
  • The commissions are not the highest, we say. They are usually 5% of the product’s final price, while other affiliate programs could even approach 10%.
  • You have a maximum of 10 euros of profit per product. If, for example, you recommend an iPhone 6 on your website, with a price of 800 euros, and they buy it, the 5% commission would be 40 euros. Instead, they would pay you 10 euros as they have an established limit. That makes you ask yourself what products should or should not be promoted from Amazon.

In the end, like everything, you have its advantages and disadvantages. On the other hand, I consider that the former stand out, and it is a method worth trying.

Especially if you are starting to use affiliate programs, it is interesting to start here.

Once we have seen all this, we will jump right in and see a case that we could monetize through Amazon’s affiliate systems.

How to use Amazon affiliate systems with a specific case?

The way to start using Amazon affiliate systems will be straightforward.

  1. We register on your platform and wait for the account to be approved.
  2. Once we have access to the panel, we can go to the option ” Links and banners ” -> ” Links to any page ” that we will find in the top menu.
  3. There we will see the option ” Enter the URL, “where we will enter the address of the product that we want to promote.
  4. By clicking on accept, you will give us the affiliate link that we will have to insert on our page to promote the product, and we will be credited with the commissions if they buy it.

Example: Monetize a website about vacuum cleaners

To go with a concrete example, we will review a product that we could promote using the Amazon affiliate system.

Imagine that you are considering setting up a website to earn affiliate income, and you conclude that it would be interesting to sell this type of product online. This could be because you are an expert in the field or because you have seen an unfilled gap where people are looking for it, but there is not much information about it. If you find a theme that meets that formula, you will have many cattle ?

Then we would enter the most extensive online sales site for these products, which is Amazon, to see how the issue is and if we have enough information to cover a complete web about this article.

When creating a website, this would give us infinite possibilities:

  • You will talk about the different types of vacuum cleaners, filtering them by Brand (as the Amazon store options allow us).
  • You would give information about each of them extensively.
  • To each one, you put the related products such as replacement bags or any other accessories that they may require.
  • You could even add manuals on the use of each model or recommendations for a better vacuum (for example) that you will also find on Amazon in the form of ebooks.

As you can see, you could set up a huge information center about this product, based on articles from Amazon.

Once you have given the form and structure to the web, it would be time to generate content and insert the affiliate links to the final page to buy the product on Amazon.

To do this, we would follow the steps that I have commented on before to get the affiliate link that we would insert on our website.

Case study 2: Monetize a travel website through direct affiliation

The travel theme is one of the most competitive. Many companies are fighting to make the most of a cake as big as tourism.

We are all day being impacted by travel advertisements (what if the best hotels, what if the best websites to find deals, etc …). That is a sign that much money is being invested in being successful.

And … Why not take advantage of it?

There is so much competition that these companies look for people who recommend their services at all costs. As far as we are concerned, this translates into very juicy affiliate systems, with good commissions that we can take advantage of.

In the same way that I say that it is an excellent opportunity, you will also think that there is much competition and that it would be tough to make our website stand out. And it is true, but it is also true, that there is a lot to talk about when it comes to travel, and if we specialize in something particular, we will not find ourselves with such brutal competition.

That could be, as an example:

  • Specialize in the festivals of a region. When those dates arrive, you will surely be very found if you are on the website with more information about them.
  • Talk about a fashionable place in your city or that you know will open soon. Many websites will cover that news, but few will have as much content as what you could create and would position you for that specific place.
  • Use your website to recommend to friends. How often have you made a trip and then your friends have asked you about it! They have asked you what you visited and, most importantly (and here the affiliation enters), they ask you where you stayed ?. Put that information into an article and send them to it. You can see an example of applying this on my trip to Japan.

In the end, we can find many options to make a hole and make a travel website economically profitable. But…

How can we monetize it with affiliates?

We can find many travel-related companies on the different affiliate platforms.

As I anticipated, one of the ones I like the most on this subject is Public Ideas. In it, you will find several travel-related programs and, most importantly, you have many components that you can also insert on your website, such as:

  • Flight search engines: inserting a flight search engine on your website will provide the results of the different companies that offer these flights will generate a commission if they end up buying them.
  • Banners with updated concrete travel offers.

How many friends do you have that go on vacation and book with Booking? More ?.

In addition, in those articles where you talk about a particular place you have visited or a trip you have made, you can put links pointing to Booking of the sites where you have stayed, as you have seen in the article about my trip to Japan. Ten euros for each reservation does not sound bad at all, does it?

I do not want to go too deep on signing up or adding these elements to your website since it would extend the article a lot. But if you’re going to go into more detail, you can take a look at the article on how to monetize a travel website, where you will see it step by step.

How to make selling products online with Affiliate Marketing work for you?

At this point, you already have enough information to know what possibilities Affiliation Systems offer you.

You have also learned the types and how to start using them.

But the most challenging part is missing; how do you make them pay off?

In the end, you have seen that everything is based on putting a link to the advertiser’s website and, if they buy, you generate the commission. But to generate results, it is not enough to put the link and out, but you will have to do things with your head.

That is why, to end this comprehensive tutorial on affiliate systems, I would like to give some advice based on my experience.

There you will find the difference between actually earning income or simply staying with a failed attempt.

We come up with three options to take your Affiliate Marketing to another level:

  1. Generating a local community will be your primary objective

You should not forget that you recommend a third-party product that they will indeed have to pay for.

That means that your opinion should be essential to help that person decide if that product is what they are interested in or not at that moment.

The most optimal way is to generate a community of trust to achieve this. This community is the one that will then allow you to have those profits. And not because you will be able to “strain” whatever you want to that community and they will buy it, but because they will know that if you are recommending something, it is because it can be helpful to them.

This point is often discussed as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, and it is, but that does not mean that it is easy to achieve.

To gain the trust of a community, you must have been offering helpful content for a long time; in fact, you should never stop doing it.

You will have found that topic where you can help, and indeed you will have achieved it since you see that the people who come to you, in the end, achieve their goals thanks to your help.

That help cannot try to arrive from the beginning with the intention of monetizing, but the value generated will always be in a disinterested way thinking of them and meeting their needs.

Little by little, you will know what interests them and what can be helpful to them. In that case, this may be a payment and may leave you a commission, but always without forgetting what was discussed above.

This will take us to the next point:

  1. Do not promote anything that you are not convinced of or that you have not tried

We have seen that we have achieved a community, which trusts us and is very attentive to the knowledge that we can contribute.

If we recommend a tool, they will be willing to buy it because they know that if you talk about it, it is because it is worth it.

Therefore, do not play with that confidence, do not play it, and do not recommend products that you do not believe in, even if they have offered you much money for it (such as through a sponsored post, for example).

When you go to recommend something that has an affiliate system behind it and so thanks to its recommendation you can get a commission for sales, think about the following phrase :

If this product does not have an affiliate system, would you recommend it?

If the answer is yes, go ahead! That means that it is a product that can be useful for your audience and that you do not mind that it does not leave you direct benefits in the form of commission.

If the answer is no, that you only promote it for the money it can leave you for sales, I do not advise you to do so. If it is not a good product, people buy it and are unsatisfied; you will be putting your reputation and the trust generated at risk.

Therefore, only promote products or services you have tried and are familiar with. That way, you will be sure that they can contribute.

If it is something that you are starting to use and that you have not yet mastered, but you consider that it may be interesting, nothing happens, but comment on it. Comment that you have discovered this product and found it interesting to comment on it, but that you will say your more advanced opinions when you master it.

You are not recommending it, but you are reporting its existence. No one will think badly, unlike if you say that it is something you control and recommend it when it is not.

A fascinating example in this sense would be the Thrive Architect tool. This fulfills this philosophy very well with the following equation:

It leaves everyone who uses it impressed and goes commission to whoever recommends it.

In this sense, we are generating income, but people are not offended by it, since the information you have offered them to use the tool is so good, and they are so happy with its subsequent use, that in the end, everyone wins.

  1. Provide as much information as possible before sending it to the advertiser

Many will think that if the objective is for someone to click on my link to send the advertiser and thus obtain the cookie to credit me for sale, it is best to do it as soon as possible. To do this, they put large buttons as soon as you start or directly corner you, leaving you no other option than to go to the advertiser.

I think it is the wrong position.

It is best to offer you as much information as possible the better. So that you have no doubts before going to the advertiser whether that is the product you are looking for or not.

If we send you directly without giving you much information, we will leave the purchase decision in the advertiser’s hands. In the case of Amazon, this works because it is a very reputable store, and it does very well on its side, but maybe the same does not happen with other advertisers, and we run the operation because the advertiser does not know how to sell their product well.

Instead, provide all the necessary information with elements such as :

  • The text explains all the characteristics and, above all, what this product can contribute to the person looking for information about it.
  • It even includes videos with its operation. You can find these on YouTube or even create them yourself.
  • It offers a question and answer section that people might ask about the product. Put yourself in their shoes and go ahead by providing them with the solutions.
  • If you can offer some opinions from someone who already uses it, much better.

In this way, you will only leave in the hands of the advertiser the one who has a more or less correct payment system, since the person who has gone to their website will have already done so with the decision of whether they want it or not.


There are many more techniques to continue this optimization and improve affiliate results, but this would lead to a more advanced article. The important thing is to consider the bases that you will always have to apply and, from there, continue to grow. Who knows … maybe in the second part of this article ?

I hope you found it exciting and that it has offered you the necessary information to enter the incredible world of affiliate systems with lead feet.

As always, any questions that arise or any comment you want to make, I will be happy to discuss it with you through the words of the article.

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