how to start affiliate marketing for free

In 2021, You have plenty of Affiliate Programs to join. Literally, in every niche. But how to start affiliate marketing for free? 

If you think, that Affiliate Marketing is just placing your affiliate link, setting a PayPal account and cash in, I have to disappoint you.  

(If it'll be like that, there are daily new millionaires in every neighbourhood.) 

In contrast to that, learning affiliate marketing became a whole new industry. So, no wonder it is challenge to find the right place to start. 

But, no worries, in my blog post How to Start Affiliate Marketing for Free-You Guide 2021, I got you covered. 

I will talk about important definitions, what you should know about Affiliate Marketing, also what are wrong assumptions and where to start. 

I hope you are ready, because we are going to start! 

Don’t Jump Over This Super Important Message

There are 100+1 ways on how to start affiliate marketing for free. 

(Less, probably, but you got my point, there are tons of way starting your affiliate marketing business)

I want to narrow it down for you to have least possible options. 

Barack Obama, had in his serving years as U.S. President just 2 suites!!! Those he would just change permanently. 

Does that make sense to you? 

It let him less choices and more time on other important decisions. 

Put in the affiliate world, as more options you'll have as more it all would be overwhelming and confusing to you. 

Especially, when starting out. 

Therefore, I want to have it about blogging as main way on how to start affiliate marketing for free in 2021. 

No FREELANCE WRITING, NO NICHE SITES.

But pure, old-fashioned BLOGGING.

It is the easiest, the cheapest and in long term, the most profitable way.

Don't get me wrong, you'd still need tools helping you to have your blog up and running. But when it come to monetisation, choose the one way and stick with it. 

In this case it would be blogging.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Don't worry. 

I am not going to mortify you and talk about the super basics, as I think you did already your research and the information needed to understand what you'll be doing is collected.

Just to be sure, we are on the same board, the picture below tells the remainder. 

In the shortest form, affiliate marketing is selling other people's product. If you want to see detailed definition, please refer to this.

how to start affiliate marketing for free

What is Affiliate Marketing NOT?

As there are many definitions what affiliate marketing is, fewer people talk about what IT IS NOT.  

Especially as this is money making option, there are a lot of myths. 

Therefore, I would like to name some very common, so you can get more clarity and maybe you can discard some of the confusion.

I know, I had some "wrong expectations" before I started.   

So, this can hopefully help you to avoid some common mistakes or disbeliefs. 

1) Get-Rich-Quick

Idea of many, especially after completing such a training.

To be completely honest with you, there are more "gurus" with their trainings claiming that you can earn money with Affiliate MARKETING overnight than those who will tell you to be patient. 

However, you want to remember that when starting affiliate marketing, especially with low budget, it will not going to make you millionaire overnight. 

That's crucial to understand. 

Check also: get-rich-quick training.

2) It's Overwhelming 

Once you will join some affiliate training, you might get feeling, it is all super overwhelming. 

Traffic, paid or SEO, Facebook, Instagram, Email MARKETING, Leads, CTA, Copywriting, Marketing Strategy,...

Rather than lying to you, I won't. It can be overwhelming, when you don't know where to start.

If you decide to collect knowledge from "how to" blog posts and YouTube videos ONLY, you will be soon confused. 

I also watch those videos and read those blog posts (you read one actually  -;). But you want to have first your "base" , and from there, search for additional info. 

Because, all will be contradictory to each other. 

No worries, if you will start with advice I will give you later on, you will be sound and safe. Keep reading. 

You can also jump to: all-in-one platform teaching you step-by-step training.

3) You have to be/or have to know “influencer”

So many people are reaching to me and saying they doubt if they can be successful because they don't know any INFLUENCER. 

I was similar at the beginning.

Honestly, that INFLUENCER word is overused and overhyped. MAYBE YOU NEED MENTOR (also not necessary). 

But forget influencer for now. You can have major success, without one, like this guy for instance.

how to start affiliate marketing for free


4) It’s Expensive to Start/Run Your Business

Along with those wrong assumptions, there is popular one. 

It is very expensive to start and then to run your affiliate marketing business.

Certainly, I thought that when starting. I thought of the domain, web design, training and ads, I would need to be spending huge money on. 

Maybe, I got just lucky for finding super amazing training with all tools I need.

But my monthly costs are close to zero $$$.

Generally speaking, there are always several ways of running your business. From very cheap to very expensive. If you want to have your costs down to zero, then I will show you how. 

How to start affiliate marketing for free?

So, in the previous 2 paragraphs I gave you hopefully some idea what Affiliate Marketing is and what it is not. 

In the coming lines, I will be talking about how and where to go when you want to start, as well what to avoid. It will be in-depth, but as well not super overwhelming.

Something you can come back anytime you will struggle and there is no one to talk to. 

Your guide if you will. 

 Firstly, let us start with 2 major qualities you  want to keep in mind before writing a single word. 

  • A) Providing Value
  • B) Build You Affiliate Marketing Around Something You Love (or You Feel Comfortable to Become Expert In) 

Even so, it might look simple, many don't have it correctly here. Some will choose niche that has lot of competition. 

Others will think about it too much and lose the momentum. 

While, there might be people who will just not provide the RIGHT VALUE.

Don't get me wrong here please. But I've seen that happen.

So, keep in my mind, wherever you are on your journey, that PROVIDING VALUE, in other words, HELPING OTHERS, SOLVING THEIR PROBLEMS, should stay your PRIORITY.

If you won't, people will recognise it and go elsewhere. It might sound hard, but that's one of the tougher part of the business. 

Don't be afraid though, it's not that scary. Hopefully the STEPS below, are going to ease you.

how to start affiliate marketing for free

Steps on how to start affiliate marketing for free

1) Product (Niche)

Firstly, there is a niche you want to operate your business. NICHE is word, used lately a lot, but it is quite new for many. 

What does it mean according to the Oxford Dictionary, you see below:

how to start affiliate marketing for free

For affiliate marketing purpose, the best definition it would be the noun and its second meaning.

So, we can describe it freely as a specialised segment of the market.

There are 3 major Niches in today's marketing world:

  • Wealth
  • Health
  • Relationships 

If you will choose niche belonging to either of those 3, you want to be sure you are going to be specific.  

One very good advice, I received and I want to give you as well is, go narrow or die.

It sounds rough, but it makes sense, right?

As narrower your niche, as less people in that particular area, and in the same time targeting those people would be easier.

Additionally, the competition is much lower at narrow niche.

So, in other words you want to be BIG FISH IN SMALL LAKE, rather than small fish in big lake. 

What could be example of such a narrow niche?

  • food supplements for war veterans
  • investing in bitcoin for 60+ males
  • telescoping fishing rods for experienced hikers 

Besides the fact that there is less competition and you can serve targeted people, there is another advantage of narrow niche. 

You will experience your success quicker, as with broad niche.

Because people will find your offer easier on Google and other services. 

how to start affiliate marketing for free


In addition to NICHE, you are going to find a PRODUCT or SERVICE. 

It is safe to say, you will find enough affiliate opportunities in every niche.

There are differences between categories of products you can choose from:

  1. Digital
  2. Physical
  3. Informational 
  4. Service

When fishing is your niche, you will find more difficult to find digital products to sell. On the other hand, investing will provide opportunities in service or digital areas. 

So, we could go on and on with examples. 

At this time, you should see the importance of choosing your NICHE and PRODUCT/SERVICE.

2) Audience

Along with your market, you want to define your targeted audience. 

Audience is group of people eventually interested in the product or services you will offer to solve their problems.

This group can be based on several criteria like demographics, interests, age, sex. 

Furthermore, if narrowed down, you can distinguish audience based on their religion, marital status, education or political preference. 

Tools: Google analytics

When starting out, you don't need all and every detail from you potential customers (obviously as more as better) to understand who they are. 

As a rule of thumb, you want to know their sex, age, and eventually their job/education.

Advice would be here to choose demographic group that is close to you. You will see in the following paragraph why that's important. 

At this time, I hope you are starting getting the point and the dots are connecting somehow. 

So, you chose your NICHE-->PRODUCT-->AUDIENCE

3) Create a Blog About It 

Following two previous steps, you want to create BLOG. 

Obviously, the blog will be related to your NICHE and it will be led in the language suitable for your audience.

Therefore, it was important that you collected some data about your readers.

Because, the language of your BLOG POST would be different for teenage students, young professionals and retired war veterans for instance.

Before I wrote that you should choose demographic group close to you, do you see why is that important? 

People will be in general more keen listening to you, when you have something in common.

Look on you for example, you also pick up opinions and ideas easier from someone who lives in your vicinity, or works with you, or is having the same hobbies like you, right?

See your reader as someone, you would go to have drink with. 

Who will this person probably be? What he will be interested in? Where would be he working, living, or relaxing?

Be creative. 

Trust me, people will recognise if you speak out of your heart, or just because it "must have been done". Blogging is actually talking. 

The idea of your blog is to picture yourself as an authority in your niche. Someone, who people (your audience) would go to, when they have a problem. 

This won't happen overnight, but through continuous writing. Don't forget, affiliate marketing is not get-rich-quick scheme. 

But if you will be writing your content SEO optimised, and you will be consistent, success will come. 

4) Solve Problem (Provide Value) and Earn Commission

Lastly, you want to solve people's problem. 

Otherwise no one will buy from you. 

When someone makes a purchase online, it is because he has some pain point, some trouble he want to solve. 

Even in the positive occasions like buying a present, or booking a holiday stay, the person has issue to be solved at that moment, right?

He or she has a "problem" deciding where to stay for 2 weeks in summer. Of course, this problem is smaller like for instance, how to earn $10 000 online or where to insure one's house, but it is pain point. 

That is important to understand. 

People will not buy from you, if they feel you are too pushy and if your offer is just about making a sale. You can sell it once or twice, but you will not create long term success. 

That's the reason, students of programs like this one, don't make it for long term success. 

You want to create a reputation of someone that is helping people, rather than someone who is selling people.  

That way, people will find you when they have a trouble. I hope that makes sense to you. 

How Much Money Can You Earn With Affiliate Marketing?

Obviously there are lot of questions people starting with Affiliate Marketing have. 

Not only because it is relatively new way of earning money, but also because there are so many (wrong) information easily available. Be extra careful, who is providing the information, would be my advice here.

Anyway, one of very common question being asked, is how much money can I earn with affiliate marketing?  

First of all, you have to understand that this is business. As any business, also affiliate marketing has the simple formula:

As more TIME and EFFORT you gonna invest, as MORE REVENUE you will generate. 

how to start affiliate marketing for free

It is so simple, right?

Despite of that, there are people wrongly assuming, it can be done with push-button strategies overnight. 

The income generated by someone who spend 10 hours a week on building a business for about 2 years, will be different as income of someone who works 40 hours a week for the same period of time. 

Also, there would be difference in income if someone built his business REGULARLY for the last 3 years and someone who spent on irregular basis 1 YEAR in total on it. 

I hope you got my point. 

Obviously, there are some outside influences as well. 

Like choosing a NICHE (narrow niche earlier success, broad niche later), but also choosing a PRODUCT/SERVICE, as there are significant differences in commissions.

Generally speaking, DIGITAL products are enjoying higher commissions than PHYSICAL products. 

The reasons is in production, delivery and storage costs.

So, that is why PHYSICAL PRODUCTS have average commissions 4-20%.

Whereas DIGITAL PRODUCTS are giving you anywhere in between 40-75%. 

Golden tip: don't focus too much on $$$, focus more on the VOLUME you will produce. 2-3 posts/week is the minimum I would suggest. 200-300 blog posts on your website should mean you have FULL-TIME INCOME from your blogging. if not, you are doing something wrong and you want to re-evaluate your effort 

Places Where to Start With Affiliate Marketing? 

My intention with my blog post was to show you how to start affiliate marketing for free. 

Without a doubt, when starting out, the budget can be an issue. Even so, there are plenty of programs that are going to teach you affiliate marketing, not many will do it for free. 

Before I will show you some of the places, where to start, I want to prepare you for the fact, that there is no such a thing as completely FREE starting point.

That's impossible, just because of some costs you have to make. Think on for instance domain, web hosting, and eventually Keyword Research Tool.


Those are all costs you have to take into account when starting Affiliate Marketing. 

Whereas, there is no place to start completely for free, it is a huge difference paying $1000 for lifetime access and, pay, let's say 1$ a day. 

Good news is, that in majority cases, the more expensive one are for advanced marketers.

Something you want to look for when deciding where to start is what the platform offers. I love this one because, it is all-in-one platform. 

Additionally, you can start for free and without a credit card. 

All-in-one in this case means: 

  • Web Hosting
  • Domain 
  • In-Depth Training (part of it available with FREE membership) 
  • Keyword Research Tool
  • 24/7 Community (limited access free FREE members)

Places to start for free: Wealthy Affiliate (BEST option for starters) 

Places to start if you don't mind paying: Authority Hacker, Affiliate Lab (great options for advanced AFFILIATE MARKETERS) 

How to start affiliate marketing for free final outtakes

In my guide on how to start affiliate marketing for free, I was covering blogging, as the main way. Again, it is one of the ways, and there are plenty other ones. 

But when starting out, you should really consider this one, as the starting point. 

From there, you can go further as guest blogging, YouTube, Social Marketing and Email Marketing. But all of those methods will be just bringing extra traffic to your initial blog. 

So, create it as your main property and you are on the way to success. 

All other shortcuts through DFY templates with paid traffic for instance are of short-living success in its best case scenario.

You don't want to go that way. Contrary to that, you want to build up your relationship with your audience, with high quality content, ideally SEO optimised. 

To sum up my blog post, and to help you get the answer on how to start affiliate marketing for free, follow the 4 steps from this post and then be patient. Success will come to you!

NICHE-->PRODUCT-->AUDIENCE-->BLOG CONTENT-->SOLVE PROBLEM-->COLLECT A COMMISSION

If you have any questions, please reach to me and I will be more than happy to get in touch with you. 

About the Author

Julius is an Online Marketing enthusiast helping people with creating financial freedom. Thanks to Affiliate Marketing it never has been easier. In his free time is Julius spending his time on the soccer field, in the airplane, with a great book, or with his friends.


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  • Hi, there we have been coming to this website for a while and now and have to say that we have learned so much when it comes to learning about Affiliate marketing.
    We are grateful that you can provide us with new ways to see affiliate marketing and what affiliate marketing is not.

    Cheers,
    Mathew&Deloris

    • Hey guys, It is my pleasure to provide you with helpful information. It is really the people like you, that give me motivation to go further and do my research, and come with new material over and over again. Please, do come whenever you feel like you need some inspiration or missing information. Also, please reach to me out whenever you have some burning question. Cheers

  • Hi Julius,

    Your article has so much info. I’m grateful it’s all right here for me. I’d like to understand more about #2) It’s Overwhelming, and in particular where it says ‘Because, all will be contradictory to each other. ‘

    ~ Tina

    • Hi Tina. I am happy you liked my post -;)
      Contradictory it will be in the sense, that if you wish to collect knowledge from “how to” posts and YouTube videos from several people, you will get contradictory info, because everyone has different approach to particular things. So, you might hear for instance one stressing the importance of link building, while other will tell you, it’s not important. One will be for ads, while the other for SEO. Therefore, it is better to have all-in-one tools package and also as much in-depth knowledge from one particular source. I hope this make sense, if not, please reach me out. Cheers

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