How to start an affiliate business

What is affiliate marketing?

Many online sellers have so-called affiliate programs. Anyone can create an affiliate account there and start promoting their products online. The promoter (you) gets a commission for referring paying customers to the seller.

How do you get paid?

Once signed up with the affiliate program, you can download so-called tracking links and/or banners with “tracked links” on the affiliate website. These can be embedded on your website, and when a visitor to the website clicks on this link, the seller knows which affiliate referred this customer, based on the ID number in the link.

There are two basic models for your cooperation with the affiliate program: CPA (Cost per Acquisition) means that the affiliate gets a fixed amount once the new client has a certain amount of sales. MGR or Revenue Share means that the Affiliate is paid a percentage of the sales revenue. Depending on the terms and conditions, you will get paid for all future sales as well, or only for a specific time span.

How do you promote those sellers?

What you are going to need most of all is to have a website that gets visitors. See the paragraph “Make a plan” below! Getting “traffic” for your website is the most important thing.

That website can either be a website related to a specific product (the product you want to promote), or just a website on any topic – as long as it generates enough traffic. Example: You build a website about a topic that you have good knowledge of, let’s say diving. You write great content, and people visit your site. Then, you start promoting an online sales site specialized in diving equipment. Every time a visitor goes from your website to the seller’s site and buys something, you get a commission.

There are mostly two scenarios:

If you had a website with a wide range of article topics, and that website had thousands of visitors every day, you could more or less sell any product you wanted. The sheer number of visitors would generate a nice income. And our affiliate program is a great fit for any website because, after all, everybody loves the lottery, right?

If you had, for example, a lottery-related website, you will probably have fewer visitors, but the traffic is more “targeted”, i.E. your visitors are more likely to buy the lottery tickets you are promoting. Even if you only had 10 visitors per day, you would be seeing some revenues. And there is one thing about playing the lotto, and that is people tend to keep playing for a long, long time. Once you have referred a certain number of clients to our affiliate program, you will see a rather steady revenue stream.

How to get visitors to your website?

In order to get visitors, you will need good articles on your website, with information that is useful to the reader. You must also learn the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This is important because there are certain “rules” you need to know to make sure that the pages on your website will rank high on Google for search “keywords” which can bring you visitors. Affiliates call that “driving traffic” to your site.

SEO is not rocket science. Just google “SEO basics” and do some reading to learn the most important rules for creating your articles, and improving your skills later.

The power of having an email list

Always set up your website in a way that visitors have a reason to sign up or just leave their email addresses with you. Build a list, and use it to send out emails promoting special events, sales, etc. If you already have a list, then you may not even need a website to be an affiliate. But do not buy lists from spammy email address sales sites – they are not worth it.

How much does it cost to get started in affiliate marketing?

Simple answer: nothing or almost nothing!

All you need is a domain name and a hosting plan for Webspace, which is cheap to get today. As a beginner, you do not need your own server, simple web hosting as it is offered from 2 € per month is sufficient at the beginning.

Example: Go to and choose a domain name that is available. Put some thought into the name of your domain before you order it. Then, choose a basic hosting plan. Register and pay for the account. Then, log in to your client account and take a look around. One tip: Look for an additional function called “Domain Privacy” – this is something to consider if, for some reason, you do not want anyone to know that you own and run this website and the affiliate business connected to it.

We suggest getting started by installing a WordPress website with a free template (a layout). WordPress is a Content Managing System, a system that automatically builds your website and allows you to manage it. Webspace providers such as have very simple functions that you can use to set up a WordPress site in seconds. No programming skills are needed at all!

Read the basic tutorial to learn the most important functions of WordPress. You need only a few hours to acquire the basic skills needed to manage a simple website. And then there is detailed documentation on the WordPress website, as well as a forum where you can other, more experienced users for help.

How much money can you earn?

That depends very much on how much you are committed and how good you are. There are affiliates who earn millions, others earn very little, but many earn several hundred Euros per month. Do not expect to earn money right away. It takes some time before your website will get visitors. If you invest the necessary work, you will be able to live on it in the long run.

Should/can one do this full-time or part-time?

Everyone has to decide that for himself. But 90 percent of affiliates join the business part-time. A large percentage of affiliates later move on to do it full-time, when they have enough success and experience in this business.

Is this legal?

Absolutely, unless you are promoting products that are illegal in your country of residence. If that is the case, you need to take measures to shield yourself from inconveniences. See “Domain Privacy” above, among other things. Be sure not to choose a domain registrar and/or hosting service in such a country where your website would be illegal!

Most importantly: Make a plan!

Before you can earn money with the help of an affiliate program, it is necessary to make a sensible plan for the start and to get some information. You may have seen the Kevin Costner movie “Field of Dreams” in which a voice from the sky says “Build it and they will come”? Well, if you think that you can just cobble together a website on any topic and a short time later the money will roll in, you will end up frustrated.

But if you approach the matter with a plan, you can earn good money, and advertising for an affiliate program is tremendous fun. It’s ideal for starting as a part-time job, and if it goes well, you can easily make it your main job.

Your plan must contain the following things:

Choose a topic that you are passionate about, and for which you are able to provide valuable information to your readers. If you are new to this, always choose a “niche” topic – if there are tons of other websites about that topic, you will have a hard time competing with them. Also, it is going to be hard to rank for any keywords. Of course, you need to choose a topic that fits a product that can be bought online and has an affiliate program.

Make a list of keyword combinations that potential visitors might be searching in Google. Be mindful of the fact that achieving high rankings for obvious keywords like “lotto online” is almost impossible. Go for more specific phrases. An extreme example would be “Can people participate in Powerball if they do not live in the US”.

Then decide which keyword combination you will target on the home page of your website. Write a home page article for that keyword combination. Next, make a plan for the structure of your website. Write a few more articles for other keyword combinations that you can come up with.

From then on, your focus must be on two things:

Build links pointing to your website. Links are like positive votes for your site, and good links will improve your rankings in search engines. Ask friends with websites for links, contact other webmasters, and offer to write an article in exchange for links, etc. The best links, though, will come naturally when people read your articles and link out to your page because they liked what you wrote!

Create more content (articles) with good SEO. Use your imagination, and write new articles on a regular basis. Maybe add 2-3 articles per week, to begin with.

While you do the above, you will get more and more skilled, and the first visitors will visit your website. Use a (free) service like or Google Analytics to monitor your visitor numbers and their behavior. Check your account with the affiliate program from time to time to see whether you are generating revenues.

Use SEO service to help you find more keywords related to your main keyword. Create SEO-optimized content that targets those keywords. More content drives more traffic to your website and increases your commissions.

After a certain period of time, whenever you put some work in, you will almost certainly see a positive effect in your visitor numbers and your revenues.

On a personal note: the people behind RedFoxLotto and the affiliate program started out as affiliates more than 15 years ago. They have been quite successful ever since. And if you ask them what they like about this business they would tell you this:

  • You can start with almost no investment
  • It can give you financial independence
  • You can work from anywhere you want