Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn money for your business, but these mistakes will kill a beginner's marketing strategy before it even takes off!

7 Deadly Sins to Avoid When Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing

Getting started in affiliate marketing is a rather simple process. You join an affiliate program that’s in your niche or one matching your business ideas. You grab the affiliate links and begin promoting offers across the platforms.

What happens between joining and promoting is what many get wrong.

Many will try and fail because they’re lead to believe its easy money. What they fail to understand is that affiliate marketing is a business. And, like a business, marketers need to put in a lot of sweat equity before the first dollar.

What are the troubles so many have with affiliate marketing?

In this article, you’ll learn the common mistakes people make when they start. Then, learn about some of the barriers well-after they’ve set up campaigns. So, if you want to be a success in AM, stick around and learn a few things.

Getting Started in Affiliate Marketing and the Early Blunders You’re Bound to Make

The first sign of resistance or real work and many people bail. Let’s end that by identifying the blunders so you can adapt as they come.

1. They’re Too Broad, or Too Narrow

Let’s consider niche selection (something you’ve all heard about):

  • A big niche — Has more buyers but more competition
  • A small niche — Has fewer buyers but less competition

Somewhere between is where you’ll truly want to be. Niching too far can back you in a corner, leaving you few opportunities to scale.

Pick an established niche backed by data, and showing people buying goods. Find what makes your approach unique and use that to gain attention and build the brand.

2. They Skimp on Quality Web Basics

The basics would include:

  • A memorable domain name
  • A fast and reliable web host
  • A semantic and attractive site design

Yes, you can build an affiliate site using free website builders and hosting. Yet, in doing so, you give up complete control of the site operations.

Do this:

Get the best domain you can afford based on keyword and market research. Do the same for the web hosting, ensuring its super fast. Then, pay for premium site themes and plugins so your online platform is amazing.

3. They Don’t Have a Plan (For Lots of Things)

You need to plan your affiliate pipeline:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Content marketing
  • List building
  • Outreach

… and really anything else you feel will pop up.

What happens if you don’t? Well, you:

  • Develop a low performing, unoptimized site
  • Run out of content and lose interest
  • Fail to capture an audience
  • Lose out on branding/sales opportunities

Think of the big picture of your affiliate marketing efforts.

Work on building your site’s SEO and Google rankings for traffic. Plan every piece of content for the next year and how you’ll promote it. And, most importantly, begin building an email list the moment the site goes live.

4. They Pick Underwhelming Affiliate Programs

There are three metrics worth noting in affiliate programs:

  • Commission rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Cookie window

Some programs offer high commissions but offer relatively unknown products and services. This means you’ll likely have a low conversion rate. Worse, some program has a short cookie (tracking) window, having you miss the conversion.

Start with easy programs like Amazon Associates or eBay Partners. Or, join reputable platforms like ShareASale or Rakuten.

Look for:

  • Decent commissions around 5 – 20%
  • High converting offers and upsells
  • Long cookie duration like 30-days or more

Start exploring those niche programs once you’re making money. This lets you diversify your income without disrupting the main money maker.

5. They Only Do the “Free” Strategies

Yes, blogging and social media are great ways to drive traffic for free.


You’re doing yourself a huge disservice by avoiding paid tactics. What we’re talking about is exploring PPC advertising.

With PPC (paid) ads you can:

  • Validate a business idea in moments
  • Cut through the noise and reach targeted prospects
  • Test new ideas and ventures for growth

Aim to reinvest half your affiliate income back into the site. You want to hit critical mass in your growth efforts. This is far easier when you’re spending money on ads and marketing than what everyone else is doing for free.

6. They Wall off Potential Partners

Not everyone is your competitors.

You should embrace your competitors because they could become your biggest proponents. Those coming up around the time you start are great mentors and potential partners.

Do this:

Work together in promoting a big product launch, contest, or promo. The affiliate tracking will split the commissions fairly, anyway.

7. They’re In It for a Quick Buck

You can make quick money in affiliate marketing doing this:

  1. Find an upcoming product launch
  2. Put together a marketing funnel
  3. Send traffic through paid ads

The problem? You’ll end up in an endless cycle. Eventually, you’ll do it wrong and lose all steam you have an affiliate — and there goes the income.


This is what real businesses do and it’s no different for affiliate marketing. So, get this idea of a quick buck out of your head otherwise you’ll fail.

Affiliate Marketing Troubles You Won’t Expect Until You’re in Too Deep

You’ll hit a stride if you overcome the beginning affiliate blunders. Yet, you’re not in the clear yet because many new challenges await.

Consider these a heads-up once you’re settled in with affiliate marketing.


You will get bored covering the general topics year in and year out. Somewhere along the line, you’ll take a vacation never to return to the site.

Avoid it:

  • Pace yourself and the content creation
  • Outsource when you’re not feeling it
  • Consider selling it during its prime

Algorithm Changes

Affiliate marketing greatly relies on search engine optimization for traffic and leads. Google changes its algorithm all-the-time meaning your site could get wiped out.

Avoid it:

  • Follow best practices and white hat SEO tactics
  • Keep up-to-date with algorithm changes and adapt
  • Diversify your traffic and lead generation

Market Shifts

A great offer today may become lame by the end of the year. Your affiliate income shrinks as the market shifts away from what you promote.

Avoid it:

  • Branch into new sub-niches and markets
  • Create your own products to promote and sell

In all, don’t set your efforts on “autopilot” like so many pitches the idea on.

A Better Way to Master Affiliate Marketing

Getting started in affiliate marketing has a low threshold and barrier for entry. This is great if you have a limited budget but lots of free time.

Here’s the thing: You’ve got to spend money to make money.

You’ll reach more people and create more sales when you throw money behind your efforts. This includes investing in affiliate marketing tools and training.

What’s our suggestion? Get in touch and find out.

We’d love to discuss how we can help improve your affiliate marketing efforts. Our team has years of experience in the industry and we’re bringing it to you.

Give us a call at 888-495-6464 or send an email — let’s both find success!