Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing? Here’s What NOT To Do

Affiliate marketing is an amazing way to generate income, even for beginner bloggers, but it’s not necessarily as easy as it sounds.

Too many bloggers are actually making HUGE mistakes that cost them money and time, and may even hurt their reputation!

Luckily, once you’ve identified these mistakes, you can correct them easily so that they won’t affect your own affiliate marketing campaigns.

In this article, you’ll find out about the most common affiliate marketing mistakes (some of which I already made in the past), as well as how to keep from making the same mistakes over and over again.

So, let’s get started!

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affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid

Affiliate Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links which means that if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure policy here.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Well, simply put, affiliate marketing is selling products or services on a commission basis.

This means you don’t own the products you are selling. You are simply promoting other companies’ products and services that you think can help solve a problem your audience is facing.

Killer Affiliate Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

Mistake #1: Joining Too Many Affiliate Programs

It can be too tempting for affiliate marketers to join many affiliate programs because they are not sure which will be the most profitable for their blog. 

I know this exactly because I’ve been there!

While I knew from the very beginning that I will be focusing on selling digital products as they are suitable for my niche, I still couldn’t resist joining affiliate programs that sell physical products like gadgets and office supplies.

And guess what? It was a complete WASTE of my time.

Not only did I waste my time signing up for these affiliate marketing programs (I joined around 20 at that time I think), but my content creation strategy also became affected as I tried to fit my content to match the affiliate products which are not even highly beneficial to my niche!

Here’s why you too should not join too many affiliate programs at once.

If you join many affiliate marketing programs, it may take a long time for you to reach the minimum payouts required for each program because you’ll be making $3 here, $11 there, and $24 somewhere else… it’s crazy!!

Having said that, wouldn’t it be much easier and more convenient to sell three different affiliate products via one single affiliate marketing program rather than selling thirty different products from twenty different programs?

Furthermore, you have to remember that each affiliate marketing program has its own rules so joining too many of them will cause you difficulty in keeping track of those rules. You wouldn’t want to get banned, would you?

Here’s how you can avoid this.

If you are new to affiliate marketing, find 2-3 affiliate programs to start with. 

Then in each affiliate marketing program, find at least one really hot product that looks like it will convert well in your chosen niche. 

For best results, stick to promoting that product for a while before you try something new. 

Make sure you only join legit affiliate programs. Here’s a free list for you to download. 

Mistake #2: Focusing Too Much On Selling

Look, I get it. The reason you do affiliate marketing is to earn money from your blog

That much is obvious.

But let me tell you this… you should never FOCUS on “selling”.

The main reason is that your audience can tell that you don’t really care about them and that you are only after the “profit”.

So now, instead of just promoting affiliate products to sell, try focusing on helping people. 

This is how you add value to your affiliate offers and how you get your audience to trust you and want to buy from you. 

It doesn’t matter what your market is as an affiliate marketer, your main goal should be helping people. PERIOD.

Travel? You’re helping people know where to go, what to do, and what to bring.

Fitness? You’re helping people get healthy and stay in shape.

Skincare? You’re helping people improve their skin so that they can become more confident in themselves.

The bottom line is… always focus on helping your target customers. This will help you build relationships with people you’d like to sell to, making your job easier!

Mistake #3: Assuming That Money Will Roll In Immediately

Just because you’ve decided to become an affiliate marketer and started putting affiliate links throughout your blog, doesn’t mean you will earn money immediately. 

Think of it as being a salesperson who works on commission. You have to believe in the product you are selling and it will take a lot of work to convince people to buy them.

The only difference is that with affiliate marketing, you can eventually turn it into a passive money-making business. Meaning you can earn money, even when you sleep!

But at first, you will have to spend a lot of time and effort to make your affiliate marketing strategy work. You need patience!

Mistake #4: Choosing A Niche You Don’t Enjoy

I understand that some niches are more profitable than others but that doesn’t mean you have to pick something that you do not truly enjoy or believe in. 

Because as I have mentioned earlier, affiliate marketing is not just about selling. It’s also about helping people. 

So if you are not really passionate about your topic, it will be difficult for you to relate to your audience and it will surely reflect in your content, solutions, and sales.

So before you start blogging and getting into affiliate marketing, make sure to research your potential niche options so that you can easily provide the solution to your audience’s needs and make enough money with the audience, all while having fun!

To help you decide on which niche is perfect for you, you can check out this ebook!

Mistake #5: Not Building Your Email List Now

If you want to earn a full-time income through affiliate marketing, then the key is to start building your email list. 

It’s actually ideal to start building it now, even if you don’t have affiliate products yet.

You can start by offering a lead magnet to get them on the list and then once they become a subscriber, you can share your knowledge and experience with them. The products and “finds” with your affiliate links can come later.

Pro Tip: Make sure to choose the right email marketing software to help you automate your list-building process. The most popular ones are ConvertKit, MailerLite, and MailChimp

Mistake #6: Using Too Many Affiliate Links

If you add too many affiliate links to your posts and even emails, it will make your content look spammy.

Not only that, but it will also give your visitors the impression that making a sale is your top priority rather than helping them solve their problems.

So next time you write an article or an email, really think about whether a specific section is important enough for you to add an affiliate link. 

Use affiliate links sparingly and only when they are essential and highly related to the content you are writing.

Mistake #7: Not Building Relationships

I understand that some bloggers and affiliate marketers prefer to skip this because they don’t want to go ‘public’. 

But you have to remember that if you want to gain more affiliate income, then you have to be open with your audience. 

If you build relationships with your audience or the community within your niche, there is a great chance that they will make you the ‘go-to’ person for your subject matter.

Also, wouldn’t you want to make friendships along the way?

Mistake #8: Not Testing

Let’s face it. Testing is one of those things that everyone seems to know they’re supposed to do, but almost no one actually does.

But why is it important anyway?

Okay, so let’s say you’re achieving a 3% conversion rate. You might think it’s not too bad since you don’t have a large audience yet compared to your competitors. 

But what if one simple tweak, maybe something as basic as changing ONE IMAGE on your blog’s main page or adding ONE PHRASE to your sales page, could increase that to a 6% conversion rate?

It may not sound much of a difference until you realize that’s DOUBLE the conversion rate, DOUBLE the customers, and DOUBLE the affiliate income. 

All of that from just making ONE SIMPLE CHANGE. Isn’t that worth it?

The truth is, if you don’t test, you’ll never know what might make a difference to your affiliate marketing business.

Mistake #9: Using Ugly Affiliate Links

Have you ever clicked on a link and suddenly you see a URL full of odd letters, numbers, and characters that made you think you clicked on something spammy?

Those are ugly affiliate links, and unfortunately, your affiliate links are typically that way. 

The good thing is, you can make them more clickable by simply using a link shortener or installing an affiliate link cloaking plugin. I use Pretty Links for this. 

Mistake #10: Fearing The Competition

Some newbie bloggers decide on picking a niche that has a low demand because they think that they’re never going to be able to compete against the bloggers in the popular niches. 

That’s just a load of BS!

I believe you can compete in ANY niche! Yes, it’s gonna be tough but IT IS definitely possible!

I understand that you may want to steer away from over-congested niches as a beginner, but you don’t have to choose tiny, obscure niches that aren’t likely to earn you income, either. 

The reason is simple… if there’s not much competition, it’s probably because there’s not much potential for money there. 

So don’t fear competition, but DO be aware of them. 

Too much competition may be a difficult thing to overcome, but if you choose a niche that has a decent amount of competition, you’ll soon realize that’s where the money is. 

Mistake #11: Ignoring The Competition

In relation to the above, while it’s important not to fear competition, you also have to be wary of it. 

Because if you are expecting to make tons of affiliate income overnight in a super-competitive niche like fitness then you’re bound to be disappointed. 

As an affiliate marketing newbie, it’s best to target niches that:

1. You have some interest or knowledge in

2. Have a healthy amount of competition

3. Don’t have too much competition that it’s difficult to get traffic

Then make a list of niches you want to consider and check to make sure there are:

– Affiliate products to promote

– Traffic sources you can take advantage of

– Resources available for you to learn from

If you are still having a hard time figuring out which niche will be profitable for you as an affiliate marketer, grab this ebook!

Mistake #12: Not Trying The Product Or Using The Service

As an affiliate marketer, you shouldn’t simply add affiliate links to products and services throughout your blog without believing in their value. 

So the key here is to try using them so that you can effectively and convincingly promote them to your audience. 

By doing this, your readers will feel your sincerity and this will encourage them to try the affiliate products out for themselves. 

Mistake #13: Not Having An Affiliate Disclosure On Your Blog

Yes, it’s great earning an affiliate commission each time you sell a product but you should never forget to legally protect your blog.

By putting an affiliate disclosure, you are essentially disclosing the relationships you have with brands, merchants, or the products you sell on your website.

It doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t even need to draft your own.

Just grab this disclosures template created by an international lawyer and then you’re all set!

Mistake #14: Offering Too Many Products At Once

Many new affiliate marketers become too desperate to sell a product that they just decide to put tons of affiliate links in their content without thinking carefully. 

Now unless you are writing a listicle, it’s best not to overwhelm your readers with choices. 

Remember, a confused customer simply won’t make a purchase. They will most likely exit your blog to search for an easier and more clear solution to their needs.

To avoid this from happening, try not to promote multiple items that solve the same problem. Also, try adding not more than five affiliate links in your posts. 

Mistake #15: Avoiding Research

When it comes to an effective affiliate marketing strategy, you have to continuously do your research.

You have to research your audience, research the products and services you want to promote and research the affiliate program you wish to join. 

Remember, your reputation is on the line here. 

If you promote a product or a service that turns out to be substandard or a scam, you may lose your credibility.

The bottom line is… always do your due diligence.

Mistake #16: Not Doing Product Reviews

Before buying a product or service, people really do pay attention to reviews.

So even if you make an affiliate commission, your audience will appreciate it if you write an honest review about the product. 

Just make sure you have an affiliate disclosure that states that you will earn money from the sale.

Mistake #17: Giving Up Too Quickly

Finally, the worst mistake new affiliate marketers can make is to give up easily.

If you ask me why they do that, it’s probably because they:

– Don’t make money quick enough

– Feel like it’s too much work

– Don’t get a lot of traffic quickly

– Fail to get accepted by some affiliate marketing programs

– Think affiliate marketing is a ‘scam’

If they all have one thing in common, it’s that people expect success to happen overnight.

Let me tell you this… That is simply not going to happen. 

To be honest, these things take time.

If you give up too quickly, then you will never know what could have been. Who knows, if you work hard and keep trying, you might see yourself earning over $1,000 from affiliate marketing just like Dale from Blogging Her Way!

Final Thoughts On Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

To sum up, affiliate marketing isn’t for the faint of heart, or for bloggers who tend to give up too easily.

It actually takes a lot of hard work.

There are no shortcuts! That is unless you have a lot of money to hire people who can do the hardest parts for you.

So always keep these killer mistakes in mind as you go through your affiliate marketing journey.

Be sure you are not making these mistakes, and don’t become too lax once you start earning money. 

Remember, no one is immune to these mistakes, not even seasoned bloggers!

So just keep trying, work hard, and don’t give up! Soon you will see yourself as a successful affiliate marketer.

Have you done any of these affiliate marketing mistakes? Share your experience below!

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  1. Stephanie

    Great advice here – only wish I had read this 4 months ago before attempting my first blog (which is still a work in progress so I can certainly use these tips!).

  2. Flawless World

    Awesome post! Very insightful and filled with a lot of great tips. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Bruno

    Yep, it is a long journey that requires a lot of patience, consistency, and, most of all, “hard work.” Thanks for sharing.

  4. Christina Trama

    Super helpful. Our blog, twitter and IG is new, but our goal is to have affiliations one day. Thanks for all the advice

  5. Lynn McCarty

    I’ve been looking for a good article on how to improve affiliate linking. This is good info. Thank!


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