How to Start Affiliate Marketing Step-by-Step in 2023

In this article, I'll share my step-by-step free guide on how to start affiliate marketing for beginners in 2023.

Why should you listen to me?

I have close to 10 years of experience in the industry, have earned over $1 million in affiliate commissions, run one of the largest affiliate marketing YouTube channels with tens of millions of views, and host a Top 50 Entrepreneurship podcast titled "Affiliate Marketing Millionaire".

Disclosure: The links on this page may get you discounts off normal pricing due to partnerships. We receive a commission if you make a purchase through these links. This adds ZERO cost to you, and can only SAVE you money. It’s a win-win!

What I’m using right now in 2023:

JetPage BenefitsActive CampaignSurfer SEO


What is Affiliate Marketing? And is it still worth it in 2023?

Affiliate marketing is simply referrals. Anytime someone uses your unique link to purchase a product you receive a commission. These can range from a few dollars to tens of thousands! Unlike e-commerce, with affiliate marketing, there's no customer service hassles, no supply chain issues, and high-profit margins.

While affiliate marketing has been around for a long time, with the increased costs of ads, more companies are turning to affiliate marketing. In fact, over 84% of companies use affiliate marketing and rely on it as a major driver of sales. 

Mix that with the fact that 85% of online shoppers check Google for information before making a purchase. And you’ll see why affiliate marketing has been getting bigger and bigger and is expected to be an $8.2 Billion industry in 2022

Because you can earn money passively off the content you created months or even years before, Affiliate marketing gives you true freedom. You can work from anywhere, and get time to do the things you love without working a 9 to 5, or staring at a zoom screen for hours every day. 

I’ve been doing and teaching affiliate marketing for over 9 years, but this is one of the first years that there have been major changes. So 2022 How to Start Guide will feature all-new tips, strategies, and research. 

No get-rich-quick schemes, no blackhat technique, just proven strategies and straightforward information. So let’s get started!

Step. 1 Choose a Niche 

The first step when starting affiliate marketing is to select ONE niche. The reason for choosing just ONE niche over several is that you really connect with specific customers compared to a “general store” type business.

Your niche will be the category of products and the market/industry you will promote and center your business around. It helps to “niche down” which means to get very specific.

For example: Consumer Electronics > Audio Equipment > Headphones. A lot of people just go for “consumer electronics” which could be ANYTHING from TVs, mobile phones, computers, video games, cameras, etc. You want to start SMALL so you can really establish authority in a certain sub-niche (such as headphones).

In fact, my first successful affiliate marketing business is in reviewing headphones! I started off a little more generally with “home studio equipment”, but then the data showed me that headphones were a much more popular market than audio interfaces and microphones.

My advice on your first niche: Choose a niche that you either have some knowledge in already or are passionate about. This will give you a competitive advantage and also it’ll prevent burnout when the sales aren’t coming in the beginning.

I personally would choose something that you love to talk about so much that you’d do it for free anyway. Remember, virtually ANY niche can be made profitable and nobody is perfect with their first choice.

This is why it’s more important to focus on just learning the fundamentals since it’s easy to make a second, third, or fourth business in a different niche.

If you’re having trouble choosing ONE specific niche, you can always default to a personal blog about yourself which can contain many niches in one.

Step. 2 Signing up for Affiliate Programs

Finding Affiliate Products

Now that you’ve chosen your niche, you need to find products you can be an affiliate for. First, you should look at what products in your niche you already own or use. You’ll have the most experience with those and will have a much easier time writing a review. Then look at what high-ticket options are available in your niche. 

You should also look for the products that are most commonly used in your niche or well-known. Even if they’re low ticket or don’t have an affiliate program. This way people interested in your niche can find your content and then you can always upsell them on other products in the future. 

Signing up as an affiliate 

Once you’ve identified some products you want to be an affiliate for, you’ll need to join their affiliate program. Some products offer their affiliate program directly, simply by being a customer you can join their affiliate program and get a link. 

Other products you’ll need to apply with the company directly or through an affiliate network. Below are some of the best for beginners:

  • Commission Junction

  • Amazon Associates

  • Share-a-Sale

  • Impact Radius

You can search these networks for affiliate products that fit your niche. Depending on the affiliate program, they will have different requirements. But for almost all of them, you’ll need to have a website to apply (I’ll show you how to build one easily next). 

Others will have traffic requirements on top of that as well. For example, things like credit cards often have very strict requirements. If you’d like to promote something but don’t meet their traffic requirements, start with some easier products and you can work your way to the products you want. 

I started on amazon associates, and then as I built my skills and my knowledge of things like headphones, and websites I transitioned to higher commission products. 

Step. 3 Building a million dollar website and brand

One of the most important factors in affiliate marketing is trust and authority. Do people who find your content trust you? And do they think you know what you're talking about? The best way to do that is to build a brand. Whether based on you or a company name you come up with. 

So how do you build a brand that is trusted and has authority when you’re just starting? You’ll need a name and logo, a website, and a way to collect emails. 

Choosing a brand name and logo

You can either choose a brand name that is independent of your name, OR you can use your name as your personal brand. The advantage of a personal brand is it allows you to connect with your audience on a personal level. You can share who you are and what your qualifications are. You do give up some privacy by sharing your name online. 

A brand can sound more professional and you can look like an established company faster, but you do lose the personal connection aspect. 

You can make money and be successful either way, so choose which sounds better to you. If you choose a brand name you’ll want it to be clear so people instantly understand what you do. Get too clever or cute and people won’t understand. 

When you’re choosing your name you want to make sure you can get a domain name with your brand name. You can check on a place like Namecheap, to see if it’s available. You first should try and get a .com but .co and .org are also good ones. Just make sure that there are no other currently existing brands in your niche using that name. 

Once you have a name you want a professional logo. You can either make one yourself on something like Canva. Or go on Fiverr and pay someone $5 to make you a quality logo. You want to make sure your logo has a transparent background and will be easy to read. 

Getting a Website 

You may have heard people say you don’t need a website, just get social media, and this is just not true. A website is a huge advantage and most affiliate programs require you to have one. 

With social media, you don’t own your audience. If the algorithm changes suddenly your videos or posts may stop getting views. Social media also requires constant posting to stay popular and get views. Take a month off and your views and impressions will plummet. 

With your own website, you can get free organic traffic from SEO, you can get people to sign up for your email list, and have a way to reach back out to them to offer new deals and keep them coming back. 

You can also do things like retargeting where you can show ads to people who have already visited your site but didn’t buy. And you can get great data on where people are coming from, so you know what content is the most effective at getting sales. 

So how do you actually get a good website? There’s the classic way that everyone online is teaching with WordPress, and there's a brand new way for 2022. I’ll break down both and you can decide which you would prefer.

Getting a WordPress Website

When you hear people say you can get a website for $3 a month this is what they're referring to. For WordPress, you’ll need to get some type of web hosting, such as Bluehost, which is what WordPress recommends. 

Bluehost starts at around $3 a month but you do need to pay for a whole year. Once you have your hosting you’ll need to buy and install something like Elementor that will allow you to have a drag-and-drop editor. 

Then you’ll need to design your website, by arranging different elements. Then you’ll want to make sure you get a few plugins for things like security, performance, and improvement. You’ll also want to make sure you update your plugins regularly for security reasons. The big advantage of WordPress is its fairly cheap and has endless customization options. 

Want to get started with WordPress? Click below to start with Bluehost for $2.95 a month and then watch this tutorial to help you get set up. 

Sign up for Bluehost starting at $2.95/month with my affiliate link!

Building your Website with JetPage

JetPage is a brand new software that focuses on generating a ready-to-go blog right from the start. It will optimize all the back-end Technical SEO, take care of things like SSL for security, and already has a proven design. So no need to spend hours trying to get your website to look professional. 

You don’t need to get hosting or worry about plugins. And for only $29 a month, you can have your site up and running in minutes. With the huge advantage of having a high-performing site that’s built for SEO, unlike those tens of thousands of slow WordPress sites. 

You can either read more about the features JetPage has for affiliate marketers or click below to start your 14-day free trial!

JetPage free trial

Now that you have your website you need to set up email marketing. Email marketing allows you to build an audience that will come back to your site, and that you can upsell to other products that they might be interested in.

To get people to sign up for your email list you’ll need a lead magnet. That’s just some type of content that a reader of your site would find useful. Maybe it’s your easiest chicken recipe or a productivity guide. Make sure it has real value and would be something you would enjoy getting. 

When it comes to the emails you send, simple beats fancy every time. You don’t want complicated templates, you want simple to the point emails that announce a new product, or a new piece of content. 

For email marketing, I’ve used a ton of software, and from talking with my students and other affiliate marketers, I’ve now switched to Active Campaign. 

Active Campaign allows you to send affiliate links which some software like MailChimp does not allow. And it easily integrates with my JetPage websites. It’s affordable and works great, and I’ve been really enjoying the switch. 

Active Campaign

Step 4. Getting Traffic

So now you have your brand, how do you actually get people coming to your website and using your link? You might hear a lot of people online tell you to just run some Facebook or Google ads. Or telling you to use SEO without giving any real tips. So how do you actually get people to your website? 

The best way is by getting free organic traffic from Google. This would be people searching up a word or phrase on Google and seeing your site come up. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is making your content and website as Google-friendly as possible, so you can rank higher on search results. 

There are a few main areas of SEO:

  1. Technical SEO (Passing Google Core Web Vitals, Fast load times, mobile responsive, security, proper meta titles and descriptions) 

  2. Keyword Research (figuring out what keywords to target based on things like how easy they are to rank, how many searches they get, and how relevant they are to your niche)

  3. On-Page SEO (Creating blogs, writing clearly, making sure to include links to outside URLs, having images, and making sure your content matches search intent)

  4. Distribution and Backlinks (getting reputable, authoritative websites to link to your content, distributing your content via email marketing, and social media to make sure your audience sees your new articles and videos)

Technical SEO

This was one of Google’s huge updates this past year. How well your website performs now matters a lot with the ranking algorithm. You want to make sure you are passing Google’s new Core Web Vitals metrics as well as having as close to 1 second load times as possible.

For technical SEO if you are using JetPage, you don’t need to do anything, they already optimize for technical SEO and your site includes AWS cloud hosting so no need to worry about it. 

If you’re using WordPress first you’ll want to test your site on GT Metrix. This can help show you where you need to improve. You’ll want to get some plugins for WordPress for caching, CDNs, and lazy load. All these can help speed up your site somewhat. You can find a helpful list of WordPress performance plugins HERE. 

One of the best things you can do for technical SEO is to have cloud hosting, though this does cost more depending on the number of visitors. Plans start around $35 per month for one of the most popular cloud hosting options for WordPress, Kinsta, or if you use JetPage AWS cloud hosting is included in the $29 per month price. 

Keyword Research

The best way to do keyword research is Ahrefs. This is what I’ve been using, and I’ve used other big ones like SEMRush and Ahrefs. It is easier to use and gives better insights in my opinion. 

It runs around $100 a month which for the data you’re able to get is well worth it, but there are options if you want to start doing keyword research for free. 

You can use a tool like Google Trends to help you see which terms are more popular, and you can even use Ahrefs free tool as well. You can find out more information on keyword research HERE. 


If you're looking for a cheaper way to do keyword research you can try Mangools. Starting at around $30 a month they offer similar features to Ahrefs, and you can start your free trial by clicking HERE. 

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO starts with actually creating the content. John Muller of Google says that it’s  “Hard to call a site authoritative after 30 articles.” So you should be aiming to create about 50 articles for your website. 

Writing 50 articles can seem pretty daunting, but if you build a process and use tools you can start cranking out articles without tearing your hair out. 

So how do you write effective articles quickly? First, you stick to the basics. You don’t need to write some great work of literature. You just need to write simple reviews that break down who the product is for, the best parts, the worst parts, and how it compares to competitors.  

Remember you want to make it an honest review. The best part about being an affiliate is you can be an affiliate for multiple products. Recommend products people will actually love and use.

In March of 2022 Google first rolled out their product review update, which targets review sites that simply copy and paste from how the manufacturer describes the product. They reward people who show actual knowledge of the product and offer multiple product options. 

Second, you can speed up your writing process by using something like This AI writing tool allows you to tell it a summary of what you want it to say and have a robot generate blocks of text for you. 

Use this as a starting point and then you can edit it to fit your style and include any information it left out. This will help you overcome any writer's block and focus on being an editor instead of having to stare at a blank page. 

Jasper AI free trial

Finally, you want to make sure your article has all the little things that Google likes to see. The right keyword density, images, internal and external links, etc… 

The best way to do this is to use something called Surfer SEO. Surfer will tell you how to fix your article to be as SEO-friendly as possible. And it also uses AI to scan all the top-ranked articles for your keyword. It can then tell you what all those articles have in common and what you should make sure to include in yours. 

Even better, Surfer SEO integrates easily with to make your life even easier! 

Surfer SEO Free trial

Finally, an easy way to speed up content creation is to make templates on Google Docs. You can set things like default fonts and sizes for H2 headings and body text. I recommend using an 18-point font for headlines and 16 for body text. That’s large enough to be easily read by most people. 

Backlinks and Distribution

Having reputable domains link to your website can help signal that you’re an authority in the space. You can get backlinks by offering to guest post on other blogs and offering them a chance to guest blog on yours. 

Creating posts that include large amounts of data from case studies, or have infographics is another great way to get sites to link back to you when they use your data or infographic. 

You also want to make sure anytime you create content you announce it to your email list, post about it on social media, and go find places like Quora where you can answer relevant questions that your blog post might answer. 

If you want to hear how one of my current students using blogging alone, has started to generate $3,000 a month in less than a year, and hear his process, you can listen to his entire story below!

Step 5. Scaling your business

So now that you’ve created a brand name, built a website with email marketing, and are starting to create content, how do you scale up to living the life of your dreams? 

The amazing thing with affiliate marketing is that it follows an exponential growth curve. It took me a year to get to my first sale. But once I hit my first sale I was able to scale up to $3,000 a month in a fraction of that time! 

Then I was able to scale that up to $30,000 a month. It will be easier to scale up than to get your first sale. As you start to get sales you can lean in to what is actually making up the bulk of your income. 

Then you can start making content focusing on the products providing the best upside for you. You can create in-depth reviews and spend your time more efficiently. 

Also as you start to earn a little money you can re-invest! Just like any successful business, growing takes investing money back into it. Running Facebook and Google ads to cold audiences is incredibly expensive and doesn’t usually provide good ROI anymore. There are still ways to use paid ads to pour fuel onto your fire. 

Installing things like a Facebook Pixel and Google Tag Manager will allow you to run retargeting ads to people who have already visited your page. This can remind people to finish reading your review and purchase the product. 

Running ads to your content can help get views faster and in turn, help you move up the organic ranking. Remember to never use your affiliate links in the actual ads as this will result in being banned. 

Remember you're building this business, not just to get a few extra hundred bucks, but to build a source of freedom for you. An affiliate website can help pay for that trip you’ve always wanted to take, or finally, pay off those debts that have been hanging over you. 

Treat it like a business, invest in it, build systems and study your data to see what’s working and what’s not. While a year or two sounds like forever, once you start working you’ll be amazed at how fast it goes. 

If you’re ready to get started but want some more guidance here are some resources to help you make today the day you decide to change your life. 

First I have a totally free 6-hour Affiliate Marketing Mini-Course, that goes into more depth than we had time for in this guide. It covers:

  • Strategies for every stage of your affiliate marketing journey

  • Keyword research strategies

  • Creating content that gets conversions 

  • SEO

  • High ticket niches and strategies to promote high ticket affiliate products in your niche. 

  • And more! 

join the free course

Second, if you are looking for one-on-one mentorship I have temporarily re-opened enrollment in my Passive Income Lifestyle Program. 

This features over 100 hours of content including several updates for 2023, case studies, and more! 

I’m also including a few special bonuses for the first 10 students who sign up. 

learn more about mentorship

Any questions? Email me at "" and I'll try my best to get back to you within 24 hours or less :)

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