Starting out as an affiliate marketer is a daunting task, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are a ton of resources out there for you to help you along the way. If you find yourself asking: “How do I learn affiliate marketing?” this post is for you.

Step 1: Organize your Learning

Before you dive in and start reading up on affiliate programs, you need to have a game plan of what, exactly, you want to learn. Some of the key questions that often come up when you’re just starting out are:

  1. How do affiliate programs work?
  2. Do people really earn money as affiliate?
  3. What is a niche? How do I choose a profitable niche?
  4. How to a setup a domain and launch a website?
  5. How do I do effective keyword research?
  6. How much money do I need to invest?
  7. How much time do I need to invest?
  8. When will I see results?

I encourage you to take this list and adapt it based on your current experience and goals. Before reading further, WRITE DOWN at least 5 questions you have and want to answer.

Step 2: Get to Know How Affiliate Programs Work

I cover the basics of how affiliate programs work in more detail in Intro to Affiliate Marketing.

If you already know the basics skip ahead to learn about what makes the best affiliate sites stand out from the crowd, and how to choose the programs you work with. Learning what to look for before you start is essential to laying the groundwork for success.

Step 3: Know The Pitfalls

One main theme of this blog is that anyone can become a successful online marketer, but the unfortunate fact is that the overwhelming majority of sites fail within the first few months.

There are a handful of common mistakes new marketers make when building a site, but by far the biggest pitfall is giving up on your site too quickly. Results almost always take a few months to show up, and meaningful revenue is usually 6 months to a year away.

Be prepared by knowing it’s natural to have ups and downs in the process, and in the meantime you just need to refuse to give up.

Step 4: Find an Experienced Guide, Community, or Mentor

Many people skip over this step when first starting out. After a little research and a few blog articles, they think they know enough to make their first paycheck. But, money isn’t everything.

The most challenging part of starting a new affiliate site is the (often) solitary nature of the work, and the fact that the return on your investment usually doesn’t start showing for several months. These first few months are the hardest, slogging through building a new site without seeing much traffic or revenue, and it is easy to get discouraged and give up.

Even if you don’t think you need the information, getting involved with an experienced mentor or online marketing community can make the difference between getting burned out in month 2 or pacing yourself all the way to the profit line.

There are dozens of free groups and websites out there to choose from. One of the most active is the Wealthy Affiliate community, which is extraordinarily helpful for anyone who is just starting out.

So now that you know where to start, it’s time to dive in and have fun building your new site!