Online marketing – and specifically affiliate marketing – is a great way to make money. One of the questions we often get at BrandBuilders is: “How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?” It’s a good question, and worth a detailed reply!
In this article, we’ll look at what the norm is on how fast you can make money with affiliate marketing. We’ll also look at some ways you can speed up the process so you can make money faster.
Since you’re wondering how fast you can make money with affiliate marketing, you probably know what affiliate marketing is. However, if you’re a new affiliate marketer, here’s a quick summary of what it’s all about.
With affiliate marketing, you enter into an agreement with a merchant or affiliate network. You agree to promote certain products or services in accordance with their terms. Then, the merchant or affiliate network agrees to pay you a commission on sales you’ve referred through your affiliate links.
Depending on the program, product, or service, you’ll be given a unique affiliate link or even several affiliate links.
You can choose from millions of products to promote. Unless you pay for advertising, which we don’t recommend, you have very little downside risk and huge upside potential. It’s a great way to make money online!
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, I suggest you read our article how to become an affiliate marketer. It covers many important aspects of affiliate marketing, including why free organic traffic is much better than paid ads.
Okay, so how fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?
I’m not going to give you the standard “it depends” or “how long is a piece of string?” answer.
As a rule of thumb, you should start earning consistent commissions from affiliate marketing within 6 months to 12 months. This is not cast in stone, and is subject to many variables that will be covered shortly.
Here’s how some other sites see it:
“Affiliate marketing takes about 12 months to start seeing success.”
“Affiliate marketing will take anywhere from 6 to 8 months to start producing a consistent income, and more than one year to be making a full-time income.”
“Most well-made niche sites will see their first affiliate commissions within the first 6 months. But there is a huge difference between a site that makes a few bucks and one that is contributing 4+ figures to your bank account each month.”
“In my experience, a good niche site won’t achieve it’s first $1000 month until somewhere between 12 and 18 months.”
“Traffic doesn’t start to pick up for the typical niche until somewhere between 6 and 12 months, and it will take at least 12 to 18 months for your affiliate earnings to be over four figures.”
Whether it takes 6 months, 8 months, or 12 months, one thing is clear: Don’t expect to make money with affiliate marketing in the first week! It’s going to take time before people will start clicking on your affiliate links.
But remember this too: the time will pass anyway. So the earlier you get started, the sooner you can be making money!
Every blog is unique and has its own story. The following blog was started by a student. The blogger, a lady called Valentina, has been very transparent about her journey.
Valentina started her blog The Female Business on the 1st of July 2019. Her mission is to help others start their own blog, and make money from it.
A hundred percent of the money she made during her first 6 months came from affiliate marketing.
July 2019 – 1,798 pageviews
August 2019 – 5,056 pageviews
September 2019 – 5,485 pageviews
October 2019 – 4,589 pageviews
November 2019 – 5,190 pageviews
December 2019 – 11,066 pageviews
In July 2019, she had just under 2,000 pageviews. For the next 4 months her pageviews stayed around 5,000 pageviews per month. It was only in December 2019 (month 6) that she started getting a lot more traffic.
It’s normal for a new blog not to get a lot of organic traffic during the first couple of months.
Valentina did not post a lot of content to her blog in 2019 and didn’t pay much attention to SEO. A lot of her traffic came from Pinterest.
According to Valentina: “Pinterest is the best and fastest way to get traffic to a new blog, so the sooner you start using it, the better.”
She has been able to get 20,000+ pageviews a month from Pinterest in 2020.
Income (100% Affiliate Marketing)
July 2019 – $75
August 2019 – $25.21
September 2019 – $75.40
October 2019 – $110.20
November 2019 – $375
December 2019 – $450.61
RPM (Revenue per 1,000 pageviews)
RPM is covered in detail in our article how much traffic does a website need to make money. It’s a great way to see how well a blog is doing. The formula is very simple:
(Earnings / Pageviews) * 1,000
For example, in July 2019, Valentina had 1,798 pageviews and made $75.
($75 / 1,798) * 1,000 = $41.71 per 1,000 pageviews.
Here’s what it looks like for the first 6 months:
July 2019 – $41.71
August 2019 – $4.99
September 2019 – $13.75
October 2019 – $24.01
November 2019 – $72.25
December 2019 – $40.72
Looking at the above figures, her RPM is all over the place. This isn’t unusual for a new blog.
It’s easy to get discouraged if your blog doesn’t make any money in the beginning. Just know that this is normal for most new blogs, especially if you’re doing it all yourself. Don’t give up!
Adam Enfroy is a good example of what’s possible if you treat your blog as a real business. By working hard AND smart, he’s been able to achieve great results as an affiliate marketer.
Adam launched his website Adam Enfroy in January 2019. For the first 6 months, he worked 100+ hours every week on his website and full-time job.
By May 2019 (5 months in), revenue totalled $11,609, with 70% coming from coaching/consulting services and 30% from passive income, mainly from affiliate programs.
By June 2019 (6 months in), his website traffic increased to 46,355 sessions. He was making more money from his website than his full-time job.
By September 2019 (9 months in), his website traffic reached 133,391 sessions. The revenue from his website increased to $35,174 per month.
In February 2020 (14 months in), his website traffic reached 231,524 sessions. The revenue from his website increased to $45,152 per month.
In March 2020 (15 months in), his website traffic reached 303,960 sessions. The revenue from his website increased to $61,572 per month.
In April 2020 (16 months in), his website traffic reached 414,389 sessions. The revenue from his website increased to $74,484 per month.
In May 2020 (17 months in), the website traffic reached 444,461 sessions. The revenue from his website increased to $80,188 per month.
Notes on Adam’s May 2020 Income Report:
Here’s a quick breakdown of how traffic to his website increased over the 17-month period from January 2019 to May 2020:
January 2019 – 1,147 sessions
February 2019 – 2,053 sessions
March 2019 – 7,672 sessions
April 2019 – 16,920 sessions
May 2019 – 34,261 sessions
June 2019 – 46,355 sessions
July 2019 – 76,926 sessions
August 2019 – 105,056 sessions
September 2019 – 133,391 sessions
October 2019 – 141,348 sessions
November 2019 – 143,705 sessions
December 2019 – 178,021 sessions
January 2020 – 248,910 sessions
February 2020 – 231,524 sessions
March 2020 – 303,960 sessions
April 2020 – 414,389 sessions
May 2020 – 444,461 sessions
According to Adam: “This proves to me that you can start to generate some solid passive income by month 5 (or sooner).”
By May 2020, Adam had about 25,000 email subscribers. These are people who joined his list by entering their name and email address, and clicked on the “Subscribe” button.
Adam reported that 5% of his May 2020 revenue came from email marketing. 5% may not sound like a lot, but based on his turnover for May 2020, it amounts to about $4,000.
The two case studies illustrate how bloggers in the same niche can experience totally different results. Both Valentina and Adam are happy with the results they’ve achieved from affiliate marketing.
Key takeaways from the case studies on how fast you can make money with affiliate marketing:
As mentioned earlier in this article, an affiliate marketer should start earning consistent commissions within 6 months to 12 months. This doesn’t mean you have to sit and wait for things to happen. There are many ways you can get more eyeballs on your affiliate links!
There are several things you can do to fast-track your success as an affiliate marketer and avoid common mistakes.
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
Having clear goals and the right mindset are essential if you want to be successful in life. This includes making money with affiliate marketing.
In the second case study we looked at, it’s clear that Adam Enfroy achieved great results from affiliate marketing. It wasn’t by accident. He had clear goals and knew what had to be done to achieve them.
According to Adam:
“I wanted to make real money in 3 – 6 months (not 3 – 6 years). To do this, I had to scale my blog like a startup. I focused less on writing and more on treating my blog like a business.”
Many people work 40-hour weeks and only spend 2 or 3 hours every week on their blog. There’s nothing wrong with that – as long as they don’t expect to make more money from their blog than their full-time job.
If you want to be successful in any business, you need to put in the time and effort. Making money online is no exception. If you treat your business like a part-time hobby, it will pay you like a part-time hobby.
As we’ve seen in this article, it takes time to build a successful affiliate marketing business.
Finding the right niche is critical to your success. If you get this step wrong, everything you do afterwards will more than likely be a waste of time.
Here are some things to consider:
1. Choose a niche full of hungry buyers.
You want to be in a niche where people are looking for solutions to problems. They must be willing to spend money to get what they want.
Some marketers advocate that your niche should be full of desperate buyers. It’s not a bad idea, but I wouldn’t necessarily go that far.
What is true, though, is you don’t want a niche that’s full of tire kickers or window shoppers. You also don’t want a niche where people expect to get everything for free.
People searching for what you have to offer should have “buyer’s intent” and shouldn’t only be browsing for fun. They need to be willing to spend money when they find what they are looking for.
2. Your niche shouldn’t be too broad or too narrow.
A niche such as weight loss is a massive and highly profitable niche. However, weight loss is far too broad. You’ll quickly get lost in the crowd! In addition, you’ll be competing against many established affiliates marketing to the same audience.
Rather, focus on a sub-niche, such as weight loss for women over 40 with diabetes. It’s more targeted and it will be easier to establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche.
Don’t drill down too far, though. Your niche should be big enough to earn you decent affiliate commissions every month. You don’t want to be on the first page of Google and only get a couple of hundred visitors every month.
You need decent traffic to make good money in any affiliate market. As a rule of thumb, a website needs at least 50 page views per day to be profitable.
3. Know your niche or be willing to learn all about it.
In order to be trusted, you need to be seen as an authority in your niche. The last thing you want to do is post thin or basic content. The most successful niche marketers are those who are actually part of their target audience.
You should have an intimate understanding of your topic and your target audience. You need to know their challenges and what they want.
If you’re not currently an expert in your niche, then you need to be willing and eager to learn more about it.
Publishing quality content on a regular basis is key if you want to make money online with affiliate products. Even when you outsource your content creation – which is a good idea – you’ll run into problems if you don’t know your niche.
You don’t necessarily have to be in love with your niche. However, being passionate is often the one thing that keeps you going if your business is slow to take off.
Note: If you’re stuck finding a good niche, we can help! We’ve spent dozens of hours doing niche research and compiled a list of 1,452 niche ideas you can download for free. Check it out!
In real estate, there’s a common expression: “Location, location, location.”
If online marketing had an expression, it would be: “Outsource, outsource, outsource.”
Most new bloggers have limited time and little, if any, experience and expertise on how to build an affiliate website. And I’m not talking about slapping together an ugly-looking, poorly optimized site with thin content. That will be nothing but a waste of time.
Even if you can create a website full of high quality content, it still makes sense to outsource what you can. As the owner of a new startup, you can make better use of your time. Your job should be to manage your business, not to try to do everything yourself.
Outsourcing can give you a great head start by saving you a lot of time and effort.
Note: At BrandBuilders, we specialize in supplying premium content creation and high quality pre-made turnkey affiliate websites. These sites are fully optimized and ready to make you money right away. We’re also able to supply custom affiliate websites to fit your unique requirements.
The low-hanging fruit on a tree is easier to reach. And it’s just as sweet as the fruit on the top of the tree!
A common mistake with affiliate marketing is new affiliates often choose highly competitive keywords that are hard to rank for. This is one of the main reasons they have to wait so long to get free organic traffic from search engines.
A search engine such as Google isn’t going to rank your content higher than that of a trusted authority site. This is especially true if you have a brand new website with a low domain authority and you’re targeting the same keyword as an established (i.e. trusted) competitor.
Domain Authority (DA) is a guideline developed by Moz. It rates a website on a score from 1 to 100 on how likely it is that site will rank well in Google, based on its profile of backlinks and overall authoritativeness. The higher the score, the higher the likelihood that pages on the site will rank well.
So, how do you find low-hanging fruit?
Here are a few ways you can research your competitors and find good keywords.
1. Use free (but valuable) browser extensions to save time.
Download and install the following free browser extensions for Chrome. I’ll explain in a moment how they can help you.
This free tool shows the Page Authority (PA), Domain Authority (DA), and number of links pointing to a webpage.
This free browser extension shows monthly search volume and related searches. It also shows estimated organic traffic for a domain, page word count, and exact keyword usage.
The free version of this tool shows “related keywords” and “people also search for.”
Using the above free tools, this is what my browser looks like when I do a search on Google for affiliate marketing:
I can see the keyword gets about 40,500 monthly searches. The top organic result has a DA of 92, a PA of 59, and 562 links pointing to the page. The page length is about 7,841 words and the exact keyword is used 3 times.
It will be difficult to rank #1 in Google for the keyword affiliate marketing.
Fortunately, both Keyword Surfer and Keywords Everywhere give me many additional keywords to consider, such as:
Let’s have a quick look at the keyword “is affiliate marketing worth it” first.
The #1 result has a DA of 38 and a PA of 29. The page has 1,520 words and only 4 links pointing to it. In addition, the exact keyword doesn’t appear once on the page.
This is a good example of where the page hasn’t been optimized for the exact keyword, but ranks for it by default. Google looks at how well the page topic has been covered and ranks it for keywords it didn’t even target.
Here’s what you can do to help you get into the first page search results:
Even though your page may not have the same DA or PA, you should be able to rank well if your content is targeted and your page is better optimized than those of your competitors.
Why go through all this trouble to rank for a keyword that only gets about 110 searches a month?
The answer to this question is the secret sauce of SEO that most affiliate marketers don’t know.
It’s not their fault. The typical regurgitated information you find all over the internet, says the following:
1. Find low competition keywords with a high search volume.
2. Publish quality original content that’s written around your main keyword.
3. Get dofollow backlinks (links from other sites that point towards your webpage).
The above information isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s dated and only shows you a small part of the SEO puzzle. Google has evolved over the years, and is still evolving! What worked many years ago may very well be obsolete today.
Find low competition keywords with a high search volume?
First of all, it’s not easy to find a low competition keyword with a high search volume. If you do find one, it’s likely because people searching for that keyword aren’t interested in buying anything.
“Affiliate marketing” may get a lot of searches every month, but it’s too broad. Can you imagine what those people are looking for? Are they new or experienced affiliate marketers? Are they looking for the solution to a problem? It’s very difficult to understand their search intent – and it’s something you need to know!
“Is affiliate marketing worth it” is a lot more focused of a key phrase. Can you figure out what people searching for it are really looking for? Obviously, this is what people search when they are unsure whether affiliate marketing is worth their time. They are wondering if they can make enough money from it.
By understanding their search intent, you can provide searchers with relevant, useful information.
The key for fast money with affiliate marketing is to understand search intent and to give your audience EXACTLY what they are looking for.
Publish quality original content that’s written around your main keyword?
Focus more on the topic of your content than on any specific keywords.
Don’t try to write an article around a single keyword only. Write it around a topic and include many relevant keywords.
According a study done by Ahrefs:
Your main keyword such as “is affiliate marketing worth it” may only get around 110 searches every month. However, if your article is well written, you may rank for many other keywords as well.
Get dofollow backlinks?
Backlinks, especially from sites with a high domain authority, can give you a good boost in the search engine rankings.
Not all links are equal, though. You see, Google views a link from site A to site B as a vote of confidence from site A in the content of site B. However, a “vote” from a site in the dog niche to a site in the weight loss niche doesn’t count that much. The link really needs to be relevant.
There was a time when people tried to game the system. They would ask for reciprocal links (i.e. if you link to me I’ll link to you). They would try to get links by any means necessary, such as paying for links, and spamming blogs and forums. Today, doing so it’s a waste of time and can get you penalized by Google.
Backlinks should be natural, or at least look natural. Many sites use the rel=”nofollow” attribute which doesn’t pass “link juice.” Although it looks natural to have dofollow and nofollow links pointing to your site, you need dofollow links.
An easy way to know if links are nofollow is to install the free Chrome extension Strike Out Nofollow Links.
When looking at a page, you’ll normally be able to see right away if links are dofollow or nofollow.
The above example is from Quora.com. Quora is a nofollow site so all links posted on Quora will have a strikethrough, indicating they’re nofollow.
Here are two ways you can get high quality dofollow backlinks:
1. Write guest posts.
Many sites accept guest posts and will reward you with one or two dofollow backlinks in your author bio.
A quick way to find sites that accept guest posts is to do a search in Google for the following query:
inurl:guest-post + keyword
If you use the MOZ SEO Toolbar we covered earlier, you’ll quickly be able to find high domain authority sites. Using the Strike Out Nofollow Links browser extension, you’ll be able to determine if guest posts have dofollow links.
Guest posts can be very time-consuming, so I really recommend you outsource this task!
2. “Steal” your competitors backlinks.
This is a very good strategy to get highly relevant backlinks that are currently pointing to your competitors.
Step 1. Find sites that are linking to your competitor’s web page.
Get started “stealing” by finding sites that are linking to your competitor’s web page. There are several tools you can use to find your competitor’s backlinks. Although most of these tools charge a monthly fee, many of them have a free option as well.
The best, most accurate tool is Ahrefs.
If you’re not prepared to invest in getting Ahrefs, they have a good free backlink checker.
Simply enter your competitor’s URL/web page to view their backlinks. The URL that’s currently ranking #1 in Google for the keyword affiliate marketing is:
By using Ahrefs, we can see who’s linking to that page. Here are some of their backlinks:
The first site has a Domain Rating (DR) of 72. DR is Ahrefs equivalent of MOZ’s Domain Authority (DA). It shows the web page linking to them as well as the anchor text “best affiliate network programs.”
It’s a dofollow link. Ahrefs shows when a backlink is nofollow.
Here’s what it looks like on the source page that’s linking to Hubspot:
Alternatives to Ahrefs include the following sites. I don’t believe any of them are better than Ahrefs, though you may be able to uncover some additional links by using them. All of them offer a limited free version.
Step 2. Contact the webmaster and ask him/her to link to you instead.
Does your page have better content? If yes, send the webmaster a message and ask him or her to link to your page instead.
Explain how your page is better. For example, mention it has more recent information and is more comprehensive.
Whatever you do, don’t spam! Never just copy and paste a generic message!
Write a personal message and use the webmaster’s name. It should be obvious from your message that you’ve actually looked at the web page. You should come across as sincere in believing linking to your web page will add more value to their visitors.
Not all webmasters will respond to your message or grant your request. However, even if only a couple agree to link to you, it can boost your page and website in the search results.
Talking about links, don’t forget about your own internal website links!
This is how Google expects webmasters to qualify outbound links to Google.
The answer to the question on how fast can you make money with affiliate marketing isn’t only about site traffic. Yes, you need to get traffic… But promoting the right affiliate programs will play a big role as well!
If your website is relatively new and unknown, promoting respected brands can do a LOT to increase your conversions. It’s much easier to promote a brand that’s a household name than some obscure brand nobody knows.
Once you’ve established your credibility and are trusted, it will become easier to promote unknown brands. In the beginning, though, try to stick with known brands that have a good reputation in the industry. It’s the best way to get started in promoting affiliate products.
At BrandBuilders, our #1 affiliate marketing network is Amazon.
Amazon is highly respected and has excellent brand recognition.
It’s not surprising many affiliate marketers earn their first affiliate commissions by promoting affiliate products listed on Amazon.
Case Study #1: DogFoodInsider.com
When Mike Rogers started his website, he planned on promoting PetFoodDirect.com. Their affiliate program pays up to 40% commissions. However, his website wasn’t converting well.
Mike decided to try Amazon instead, even though their commissions are lower. To his surprise, he made a lot more money with Amazon!
Mike explains that everyone knows and trusts Amazon already.
“Most people have an account and use Amazon all the time anyway. This increases my conversion rates substantially.”
He also noticed that most of his Amazon commissions came from non-pet related items.
According to Mike:
“It seems as long as I get people ‘through the door’ so to speak, they tend to make purchases on Amazon.”
Case Study #2: Fitnancials.com
Blogger Alexis Schroeder says:
“It took 2 days for me to get my first affiliate sale, although my first sale was through Amazon, which is probably the easiest way to get into affiliate marketing for a blog at any level.”
“It came naturally as I was talking about products I love and simply included a link with what I was talking about”
Amazon is not the ONLY affiliate program suitable for beginners, but it’s one of the best affiliate programs for beginners.
Note: As mentioned earlier in this article, BrandBuilders supplies high quality pre-made turnkey affiliate websites and custom affiliate websites. We specialize in Amazon affiliate sites and have managed to achieve a 96% success rate with over 1,784 sites built.
Affiliate marketers often think Google doesn’t like affiliate links and that’s the reason their sites don’t rank well in Google. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Google doesn’t have a problem with affiliate sites as long as those sites add value to users. What Google doesn’t like is “thin” affiliate sites.
According to Google, examples of thin affiliate sites are:
“Pages with product affiliate links on which the product descriptions and reviews are copied directly from the original merchant without any original content or added value.”
“Pages of product affiliation where the majority of the site is made for affiliation and contains a limited amount of original content or added value for users.”
Here are some tips straight from Google:
By giving Google what they want, you can receive a lot more free organic traffic from them.
Note: Not everyone enjoys writing, has the time to write, or can write high quality content. At BrandBuilders, one of our most popular services is supplying our clients with premium quality SEO optimized content. Contact us to discuss your content needs!
Having a list of targeted prospects is a valuable asset for any business. It’s traffic you own.
Most visitors will leave your site, never to return. By capturing the name, email address, and other relevant information from visitors, you can contact them again at will. Provide them with value, gain their trust, and they will support you!
An email marketing service such as ActiveCampaign will get you started in no time.
Many new affiliate marketers think they can only start making money online once they get traffic from Google. This is a common misconception. You can get traffic from a number of sources that’ll allow you to make money online.
Here are some traffic sources you need to consider for your affiliate marketing business:
1. Social media sites.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram can be great traffic sources.
Here are some articles that can help you get started:
Don’t add your affiliate link on your social media post. Direct visitors to your website and give them additional information on a product or service and capture their name, email.
Many people see Pinterest as a social media platform. It’s actually more of a visual search engine than a social media site. People use Pinterest to search for things.
A strategy followed by many new websites is to focus on getting traffic from Pinterest. Once they reach 50,000 sessions per month, they apply to be accepted into Mediavine. That’s the plan, at least.
Pinterest, like Google, has its own algorithm. It can be a major traffic source for any affiliate marketer. Pinterest is often the best way you can make money with affiliate marketing if you have a new website.
Although you can post your affiliate link in a pin, it’s advisable to send visitors to your website first. You’ll make more money online by warming up your visitors before encouraging them to click on an affiliate link.
3. Major authority websites.
Earlier in this article we spoke about getting dofollow backlinks. Most of the highest domain authority (DA) websites are nofollow. This doesn’t mean they are useless, though. Even websites that may not pass “link juice” can still send a lot of traffic to your site!
Here are a couple of sites worth posting content to:
Medium has a DA of 96. It’s a huge site and carries a lot of weight with Google.
Start by publishing an article on your blog. Once it has been indexed by Google, republish it on Medium with a link to your original article. If you don’t want to republish the whole article, publish an extract of it and add some additional information.
Scoop.it has a respectable DA of 93. Use it to create and share curated content pages.
With content curation you can take a short extract from a website and add your own spin to it. It’s normally much faster than creating your own content and can help establish you as an authority in your niche.
Flipboard has a DA of 91 and can help you distribute your content and connect with people.
Quora has a DA of 93. It’s a great site to answer questions in your niche. Since these are questions asked by real people, it’s a good idea to incorporate some of these questions in your content.
Provide a helpful answer, at least a couple of paragraphs long, and link to your website for further information. Quora can send you a lot of site traffic if you provide real value to its users.
We covered a lot of ground in this article! We’ve explored answers to the question “how fast can you make money with affiliate marketing” in detail. We’ve shown, based on expert opinions and case studies, that you should start earning consistent commissions from affiliate marketing within 6 to 12 months.
We’ve also discussed how you can make money online faster with affiliate marketing by:
If the case studies we looked at reveal one thing, it’s that you get out what you put in. Affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme. Like any normal business, it requires work, commitment, and time to flourish.
But if you treat it like a business, your affiliate blog can become a money-making machine in just a handful of months! The best time to get started making money with affiliate marketing is right now!
Ready to take your affiliate marketing earnings to the NEXT level?
If you’re serious about building a real online business, get in touch with us! We are pleased to offer you a FREE no strings attached 30-minute coaching call.
Schedule your call right now and let’s explore how BrandBuilders can help you make money with affiliate marketing… fast!