5 Mistakes Every New Affiliate Marketer Should Avoid

affiliate marketing


It’s always one of those “I can’t believe it” moments when new affiliates discover the world of affiliate marketing. When they realise you don’t have to worry about product development or shipping. They immediately “jump into it”, forgetting to perform their due diligence on the company they are joining. Then soon afterwards they expect to be making money within weeks of starting up, until reality ‘sets in’. They are a long way off from being millionaires – if they’re even fortunate enough to be among the minority who do.  Here are some mistakes and tips on how to avoid them.

1. Impatience

As the saying goes “patience is a virtue”.  It took years for Microsoft and other big companies to take off and achieve success.  In fact most businesses can take up to 5 years before they start seeing any profit.  Treating your affiliate business as a real business is important.  Super affiliates that earn $100,000 a month took years to get to that point.

It’s important to research a program before signing up. And make a commitment to “stick it out”. If they offer training and other resources, take advantage of it. Update and maintain your site with fresh content. And don’t “jump ship” when the going gets tough.

2. Too many affiliate programs

Avoid the temptation to subscribe to too many affiliate programs. When the going gets tough, it’s easy to think the grass is greener on the other side.  The problem with subscribing to too many programs at the same time is that you’ll fail to give them the attention and focus they deserve to make you money. I recommend three or four programs at the same time to enable you to turn your hard work into cash.

3. Choosing the wrong program

When it comes to choosing affiliate programs, choose the ones that have a generous commission structure, and that pay their affiliates easily and on time. Have affiliate products that fit in with your target audience. Choosing programs that offer products that niche may not be interested in means no commission or money for you. If you join a program that offers products that are “hot” you will be competing with thousands of others who are promoting the same product. Choose a niche you KNOW.  Check the profitability of that niche.

My #1 Recommended Affiliate Program is Wealthy Affiliate.  Check out my Review.

4. Broad marketing efforts

Focus on Niche Marketing.  Focus on a smaller niche, the smaller and narrower that niche is the better. Try improving on a single key aspect of your business at a time. Putting your efforts in one or two ways will help you to achieve your affiliate program goals. Try to get people to join your list. Then keep in touch with them by sending out valuable information.

5. Link exposure

Hiding your affiliate link on your website is a must nowadays, this does not mean you shouldn’t disclose your links, NO!  it means you need to protect your affiliate ID.  Most affiliate marketers still make the mistake of making there links visible.  Internet users have become savvier and the honest truth is that most web users won’t click on an affiliate link or anything that looks like one.

There are many stories of people’s affiliate ID being switched out for their own ID to divert traffic are becoming more and more common.

There are many big mistakes made by new affiliates that can be easily avoided, but these are just a few of them.  But in saying that, making mistakes in business are inevitable.  If you’re going to fail and make mistakes let it be early on in your business, that way you learn from them quickly. This will help you to move forward towards success.

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy reading “How to start an online business for women”


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24 Comments on 5 Mistakes Every New Affiliate Marketer Should Avoid

    • Hi Aaron,

      I love that you’ve stopped by, but I don’t allow visitors to add names or links to other sites, so I have removed parts of your comment. Have a fabulous day 🙂

    • Hi June,

      I love that you’ve stopped by, but I don’t allow visitors to add names or links to other sites, so I have removed parts of your comment. Have a fabulous day 🙂

  1. Hi Gaylene,
    Thank you for this very important information! #5 has caught my attention. How does one cloak her affiliate links? You mentioned something called Bitly. Is this similar to a plug-in called Pretty Links? I look forward to your answer.

    • Hi Kathy,

      Pretty Link allows you to shorten affiliate links using your own domain name – unlike bit.ly, or tinyurl.com. Not only can you create clean links, Pretty Link tracks each click on your URL and provides a detailed report of where the click came from. Pretty Link is a cool plugin for people who want to tidy up their affiliate links, track clicks from emails and Twitter etc. Hope this answers your question 🙂

  2. This is really great info, thank you so much! I am new to affiliate marketing and just getting ready to start looking at affiliate programs, so this is a perfect read for me. I’m interested in finding out what a “good” commission structure is, since I am just starting and have nothing to compare it to.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for taking the time to check out my post. There are thousands of affiliate programs out there, all with different commission structures. I tend to go for programs that offer over 30% commission, although several of the products I promote offer 50% commission. Each program is different so you really need to do your research on each program. Thanks again 🙂

  3. Greetings,

    I appreciate the simplicity of what you shared, Gaylene. What really struck me was #5, I actually had to read that over twice! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about Affiliate ID’s being “switched”, considering that hacking seems to be a new sport these days

    I have only used social media sparingly, what would you recommend to avoid the possibility of this happening? I know nothing is guaranteed, but it would be good to know what measures can be taken to possibly avoid this from occurring.

    Thaks for the tips, Gaylene.


    • Hi Veronica,

      More and more affiliate marketers are “cloaking” their affiliate links for the following reasons:

      1. Cloaking makes an affiliate url completely ‘unknown’ to visitors and more search engine friendly.
      2. To Protect affiliates from another unfair affiliate who could easily change the affiliate ID and buy the product via their own affiliate link.
      3. To Protect affiliates from visitors who delete the affiliate ID and buy products, instantly bypassing that affiliate ID.

      Unfortunately, the internet is full of people that are dishonest so we have to do whatever is ethically possible to combat this. Thank you for taking the time to comment Veronica 🙂

  4. Hmm… I don’t know if I should hide my affiliate link. Isn’t there a requirement to disclose yourself if you put affiliate links? At least for EU.

    That’s why I am always upfront telling people that products that I recommend have affiliate links.

    What do you think about that?

    • Hi Arief,

      Yes you should always disclose affiliate links, that doesn’t mean you show your full link, for example if your wealthy affiliate link was:


      You could change it to: Wealthy Affilate

      As you can see the first affiliate link doesn’t look very good and its too long compared to the second one. However, when you click on the second link you’ll see the affiliate ID in the url.

      To hide this you need to use a tool like Bitly which also helps you to shorten the link and make it look more appealing.

      If you’re marketing products to other affiliates, it’s a good idea to “cloak” your affiliate link to stop other affiliates switching out your affiliate ID with theirs. Hope this answers your question.

  5. Thanks for this! I’m new to affiliate marketing and your tips are great!
    I have a question though… What do you mean ‘Hide your affiliate links’? I have to put them on my site in order for people to press them…

    • Hi Paulina,

      I’ve just commented to Arief about hiding affiliate links so feel free to check out my reply to him. Hiding your affiliate links does not mean you do not disclose affiliate links, NO, we must always be transparent in all our dealings with visitors to our sites. What I mean is to protect your links to stop other people switching out your affiliate ID with their own. Hope this answers your question 🙂

  6. I am new and I am glad I landed on your article here. No. 1 is definitely my nemesis but now I realise that there are more important stuff to take note of. For point no. 5, does it apply to all websites or just those based in the US? Would like more info on it please, thanks!

    • Hi Moon,

      Yes, #1 is a problem for many. And #5 applies to any website. I’ve commented to both Arief and Paulina on “hiding affiliate links” so feel free to check out my replies to them. Hiding your links does not mean you do not disclose your affiliate links, NO, we must always be transparent in everything we do online, this is about protecting your affiliate ID so no one can switch out your affiliate ID with theirs. And yes, this does happen. Hope this helps 🙂

  7. Thank you for laying this out. I have made a couple of mistakes when it came to starting out. My first site was to broad in who its trying to help. My second was overextending my self to many programs.

    Would you hold of on joining an affiliate network especially if you are a beginner?

    Thank you for your help,


    • Hi Jessie,

      I’m pleased you found this information helpful. And now is a good a time as ever to join wealthy affiliate, there’s a great selection of training and support available to all members. Joining Wealthy Affiliate is one of the best decisions I’ve made. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  8. Great advice! I’m so glad to have found Wealthy Affiliate. I too highly recommend their training program. I am bookmarking your site as I know I will be visiting more in the future. Thanks for sharing your information!

    • Hi Twila,

      Yes, Wealthy Affiliate is a great program that I highly recommend. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Wishing you all the best 🙂

  9. This is such a thoughtful and insightful post! I am right in the thick of what you are talking about, I will be sure to bookmark this and try out some of your advice.

    • Hi Kristen,

      I’m grateful for the comment, and I’m pleased you’ll be bookmarking my page. Feel free to return anytime to share your thoughts. All the best 🙂

  10. This is very helpful for people beginning with Affiliate marketing. Do you know anything else about item 5, when people’s links are changed or diverted? How would that happen, and how can we prevent it? Thanks for the info!

    • Hi Penny,

      I’ve commented on this issue with Arief, Paulina and Moon, so feel free to check out my replies to them as well. There are some very dishonest people operating online that have no problems switching out your affiliate ID with their own, so hiding your link is a must these days, that doesn’t mean you do not disclose affiliate links, it means you protect your Affiliate ID. I hope this answers your question, if not, I’m happy to elaborate further 🙂

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