Make Money Online - Affiliate Program 101.. Everything you need to get started with an affiliate marketing business.

Make Money Online Affiliate Program 101

Online affiliate programs make it incredibly easy for the average person to make some extra money online.  And with all the resources available out there, you can easily turn a few affiliate programs into a thriving affiliate marketing business.  

From the basics to getting started, we’re going to cover it all..

How to Make Money Online – Affiliate Program 101

 Here’s what’s included:

  • What is an affiliate program..
  • Different types of affiliate programs (and how you’re paid)..
  • Where to find affiliate programs..
  • How to make money online with an affiliate program..
  • Popular affiliate program lists..
  • How to get started..
  • How to get your own website FREE..

What is an affiliate program?

Affiliate marketing is a serious new contender in the online advertising world.  Companies online, big and small, pay average people like me and you to talk about their product, service, or website.

In joining an affiliate program, you are an affiliate for that company.  As an affiliate, you’re paid an incentive for talking about that business, and getting people to click on your link to go to that that website .  You can advertise your links by writing reviews on your own blog or website.  You can also post links on other sites like forums, or launch pay per click ads to get people to your affiliate site.

Just like a realtor gets paid a commission for selling someone else’s home, these companies pay you a commission for simply referring people to them.  In some cases, the commission only comes after the customer makes a purchase, but you’re always told up front what is required of your referrals before you sign up.

Different types of affiliate programs..

There are many different types of affiliate programs you can join.  Each one falls into one of the following three categories: pay-per-sale, pay-per-click, and pay-per-lead.  The category of the affiliate program determines what is required of your referrals after they click on your link.

Pay-per-sale affiliate programs-

-The customer clicks on your link heading to your promoted affiliate program, and actually makes a purchase from that other site.  And there are two types of pay-per-sale payments types:

  • Flat-rate commission-

This is a fixed commission amount paid to you for a customer sale.

Examples of flat-rate programs are MLM or Co-op programs, like Wealthy Affiliate or Affilorama or ZipNadaZilch.  Because the rate plans are fixed, you get a fixed amount for each sale you refer.   Most of these you have to pay to join yourself, but this is usually worth it because of the high-earning potential in this category.  More about these below.

  • Percentage-based commission-

They pay you a percentage of the total purchase price the customer spent with the advertiser.

An Example of a percentage commission pay-per-click affiliate program is Amazon.  You talk about an item they have for sale, your reader clicks on your link, and makes a purchase (any item), you get a 4-10% commission.

Pay-per-click affiliate programs-

This is where you designate a spot on your site for a bulk advertiser to automatically place ads that are relevant to your niche, or the general topic of your web pages.  You must have your own blog or website  for pay-per-click affiliate advertising.  This type of program pays tiny payments per click (1-20 cent average), and is really only worth it if you already have a large number of daily visitors to your site.

Some examples of pay-per-click affiliate programs are Google AdSense, and Adversal.

Pay-per-lead affiliate programs

This is the easiest type of affiliate program out there, because nothing is actually required of your referral other than signing up and confirming their email address.  Someone visits the site, joins for free and confirms their email address by clicking a link.  Simple.

One example of a pay-per-lead affiliate program is a site called Vindale Research.  This is a survey company that is completely free for you and your referrals to join, and they pay you a flat $5 for each person who signs up under your link.  It’s easy money!

Where to find affiliate programs.  

Affiliate programs are everywhere!

Websites, old and new, are competing for visitors on the web.  So when one site offers a competitive affiliate program, people are enticed to promote it, leading more traffic and business to that website.  In order to keep up, that site’s competitors must offer an affiliate program of their own.  And because of this, affiliate programs are spreading like wildfire.  Search for any topic you can imagine, and there are likely many matching affiliate programs for you to choose from.

There are also free directories, or networks of affiliate programs.  These are companies who take care of individual affiliate programs all in one network.  You join the network site, search their supply or simply go down the list and sign up with different programs right from one site.  And you’re paid all of your affiliate commissions directly through the directory site.  Some of these include PantheraLinkShare, Commission Junction, and ShareaSale.

The affiliate programs on these directories have a huge range of companies, products and services you can choose to promote.  Any possible niche you choose for your website can be complimented with relevant affiliate programs from these sites.

How can I make money online with an affiliate program?

Okay, so let’s assume you’ve gotten your website all set up and active, and the niche you’ve chosen is:  Baby products.

There are so many different avenues you could venture down with this niche.  Affiliate marketing is mostly based on content–which means lots of words (articles, posts) that are valuable to your reader.  So you will be writing about products for babies.  You can do your keyword research to find out what your readers want to know, and write it for them.

Write your first article on any related product of your choice.  Reviews of products are the perfect opportunity to reach people who want to know more about a product or service, and gives you the opportunity to tell them what they need to know, or give them options of other comparable products.

After you have your chosen product, do a search for the best, matching affiliate program.  Say you found this great toddler booster seat.  You do a search for it on various sites and find the best deal, and sign up with that site’s affiliate program.  It is likely that you will find similar baby-related products on Amazon,, and  They give you an affiliate link, and you base your written content on that product, focusing on getting your reader to make the click.

You can also reverse that order–choose the affiliate program and browse their products for something in particular to promote.  Many people do this with product sites like Amazon–they find those top-selling items and become experts.  The best part about using Amazon is that if your referral clicks on your link, and chooses to buy a $1500 laptop instead, you still get credit for that.

And still another way to go about this is to find which baby products actual consumers search the most, then find the product and the affiliate program.  A simple Jaaxy keyword search for toddlers brings up a lot of questions about the “Teach my Toddler Learning Kit”.  I would know, if this was my niche, that I should learn as much as I can about that product and promote it.  I’d likely get a lot of visitors clicking on my site if I could show them more about what the product is and where to buy it for the best price.

You can also promote products or services from different affiliate programs on the same article.  You can promote a toddler training potty from Amazon.. an e-book on the best method to train your toddler on Clickbank..  and a potty training rewards kit from ToysRUs all in the same post.  The possibilities are endless..

Popular Product Affiliate Programs:


  • Minimum 4% commission (up to 10% on varying categories).

Walmart (accessed through Linkshare)

  • 4% commission (1% on video games and electronics)

Affiliate Program Directory / Network Sites:

Panthera Interactive

  • Hosts a lot of great advertisers and very competitive rates.  $50 minimum to cashout.  Cash payments through Paypal, direct deposit, wire and check by mail.


  • Now known as Rakuten.  Hosts thousands of affiliate programs in one spot, including Walmart, and many high-end programs like Lancome, Macy’s and Microsoft.  Linkshare has multiple options for any niche.  


  • Almost 4,000 businesses to choose from, including Reebok, Adidas and Shutterfly.  Each individual program has its own terms and varying percentages paid.

ClickBank – 

  • Affiliate programs for promoting digital information products.  Some are very popular, and easily sellable items, with very high commission rates (50%-75% on average).  

Commission Junction 

  • More than 3000 businesses to choose from, including Home Depot, Turbo Tax, and the Home Shopping Network.  Each individual program has it’s own terms and varying percentages paid.  


  • This one is a little different, as it hosts certain offers that you get a commission from if your referrals actually take part.  These types of offers appear in incentive sites like FusionCash and Swagbucks.  These types of programs can have very high-earning potential, as they include offers from some very well-known companies such as Target, Dell, and Disney.

Popular ‘Make Money’  Online Affiliate Program List:

Wealthy Affiliate

This is my top recommended Make Money online affiliate program.  This site makes it so easy to learn and succeed at an affiliate marketing business.  Literally everything you need is right at your fingertips, including:

  • Unlimited training
  • Keyword research tool  ($20 per month value)
  • Managed hosting for 25 websites ($20 value per website)
  • Instant technical help anytime you need it
  • Unlimited (siterubix) websites
  • Automatic website theme builder
  • Generous commission payouts ($22.50 per referral per month, every month).  Two measly referrals each month pays your monthly fee ($47/month).


AffiloBluePrint, is a packaged deal with most of what you need to get started with your website, including hosting for one year.  Cost: $197

Or Premium Affilorama is $67 month, and it offers a much more detailed training experience, also including:

  • Technical support
  • Keyword research tool
  • Website theme builder
  • Hosting for 15 websites.
  • Unlimited training needed

Motor Club of America (Get Weekly Paychecks)

You pay $20 per month and receive the actual motor-club service, and are paid commissions for each person who signs up under you and becomes an affiliate just like you did.  While it is possible to earn a good income with the Motor Club of America (MCA), you’re limited in your tools and resources, and can only promote the MCA with your website.

Cost:  $40 sign up fee, and $20 per month membership fee.

Empower Network

A very popular site offering training videos on how to sell the training videos to other people.  These are very high-dollar products, with many upsells.  You can start with a low joining fee, but are constantly pressured to purchase the next level.  And while the commissions are very high for you, you cannot earn commission for any of their levels until you have actually purchased that level yourself.  Here are the levels and costs to purchase:

  •  $25 per month (pre-loaded blog)
  •  $300 one-time fee (blog/marketing training)
  • $100 per month (motivation audios)
  • $497 one-time fee (High Ticket Academy)
  • $500 one-time fee (Costa Rica Videos)
  • $1,000 one-time fee ($15k Formula)
  • $3,500 one-time fee (Master’s Retreat)

Because costs are so high, referral sales will be fewer and far between than most other ‘make money online’ affiliate programs.  Find out more about Empower Network here.

How to get started with affiliate marketing.. 

You need your own website or blog to do this successfully.  You can get your own site these days for an unbelievably cheap price.  What you’ll need to start up and run your own website:

  • Domain
  • Web hosting
  • Theme
  • Website builder

Before you get overwhelmed, there are actually affiliate programs out there that will set you up with everything you need, and teach you everything else you need to know.  Wealthy Affiliate is my #1 recommendation for an all-in-one, make money online affiliate program that you can try out for free to see if you like it.  They don’t even ask for your credit card!

Wealthy Affiliate makes it simple!  Check out this sample tutorial on how easy it is to set up your own website.

Learn how to create you own website in under 30 seconds, and be on your way to making money with online affiliate programs.

Otherwise, it is possible to do all of this on your own.  You can get an inexpensive domain name at Namecheap, and hosting from popular sites like GoDaddy and HostGator.  All three options are geared toward the beginner, with setup instructions and walkthroughs.

Get a free website to try out..

Even if you decide not to go with an all-inclusive Make-Money-Online affiliate program, you can take advantage of a free trial and get two FREE websites to play around with.  If you sign up with Wealthy Affiliate, you get two free websites-no credit card required.  You can design your site how you want to, add any posts and pages and images you want to, and actually publish them online!

I highly recommend this for any newcomer to affiliate marketing.  It is a perfect (and free) way to test it out before committing.  You can write an article, sign up for affiliate programs, and earn extra money with these free sites, without paying a dime.  You also get a lot of detailed training (if you want it) and step-by-step instructions with each section.

Enter the name you want for your first website below and see if it’s available..



Now you should have the basics down..  You’ve got some great affiliate programs to get started with and you know where to get your free “tester” website.  All you’ve got to do is get started and start earning your money!

Feel free to leave me a comment or ask any questions.. I’ll get back to you.


9 thoughts to “Make Money Online Affiliate Program 101”

    1. No it’s not. As a new member, Starter or Premium, you’re given 30 free Jaaxy searches, then you’re required to pay I think $19 a month to keep it. It is a great tool with lots of helpful features, but I quit using it after a few months (to save the $$) and started using the WA built-in keyword tool. Now years later, I honestly like it much better and would choose it over Jaaxy anytime. I often suggest to my new referrals to try and avoid Jaaxy from the start and get used to working with the free tool instead. It’s everything you need for thorough keyword research.
      Thanks for your question, I hope my answer helped.

  1. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks , I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your web site?

  2. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to give one thing again and aid others like you helped me.

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