We’re gonna cover the five biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that many beginners make when they’re getting started, that can easily cost you a ton of time, reduce your passive income, and add a lot of extra headaches.
So if you’re looking to start making money with affiliate programs, these are super simple things that you can put in place upfront, that will pay dividends down the road. But you won’t find them in most affiliate marketing tutorials for beginners.
Now we’ve tried and tested a ton of strategies over the last five years, and we now generate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year, almost completely passively.
So the tips that we’re about to cover, some of the biggest lessons that we’ve learned the hard way in getting to this point. So this article is designed to save you time.
Mistake #1: Not thinking long term (recommending bad products)
So number one then is to always think long-term. Now, I used to think that this went without saying, but unfortunately, a lot of people seem to skip straight past this one.
Whatever product you’re going to promote, always make it a win, win, win. So it’s a win for the company, and for the product, or service you’re gonna promote.
It’s a win for your viewers and for your audience because you’re helping them with a buying or purchasing decision, which then means it becomes a win for you as well, receiving a commission for that lead or for that sale.
So what I’m getting at here is never be an affiliate or recommend a product that you wouldn’t recommend to your closest friends or a family member.
Trust is hugely important, but a lot of marketers focus on which products and services are gonna give them the biggest commissions rather than the best solutions for their audience.
Not only is that unethical, but recommending that other people spend their hard-earned cash, just so you can earn a quick buck is the fastest way to lose their trust.
So they’ll never listen to you again. So always look to maximize the value that you provide to your audience, and only recommend the products and services that you know are going to actually help them.
So I focus on the best products and never the best commissions, and in the long term, everyone wins.
Mistake #2: Not using redirect links
So now that we’ve got that one out of the way, the second big mistake is number two, not using your own redirect links. Affiliate programs; change their links, all the time. Meaning the unique link that’s tracked back to you could change at any given moment.
And if you’ve got a ton of these things out there and they change, then you’d have to go back manually across everywhere that you’ve ever posted them, and manually update them. If you don’t have redirect links in place. So here’s an example of what a redirect link looks like.
This is a link that we own and that we can control and that we can update and change where this is going to be pointed to, or where the person that clicks the link is going to be taken to at any given moment. So when they’re clicking this link, we’re able to redirect them to our affiliate link over if we’d like them to go.
So to manage the bulk of our affiliate links, we use a WordPress plugin called Thirsty Affiliates. And for any of our Amazon links, we use a service called Genius Link to manage that redirection. That there are lots of other options out there as well. You’ve things like Pretty Links, which is also a WordPress plugin, or there are also services like BIT.LY.
Now, if you don’t have a WordPress site, this will be a massive tool for growing your affiliate income over time. I guess this is like a little extra tip that will sneak in here, but this is an example of how powerful it can be. Check out our resources page. On here we put all of our up-to-date gear and software recommendations all on this one page.
And thousands of hours subscribe as it each and every day to help with their buying decisions. Then whenever there is an affiliate program that’s available for one of these products or services that we recommend, then we’ll register for it and we’ll use those links on that page.
So this is a great example of a win-win page that you can build to help your audience and to generate extra income at the same time. These days, it’s easy to get a WordPress site set up and you can also use it then to manage your redirect links with a plugin like Thirsty Affiliates.
For anyone starting out, and you can get up and running for just a few dollars a month with a WordPress hosting plan from a low-cost host like SiteGround, which is where we started out ourselves. And why we recommend it.
Mistake #3: Not reading the terms & conditions
Number three, which is not actually reading the terms of service or the terms and conditions for each of the affiliate programs that you are a part of, some programs have super strict terms of service. And one of the most well-known programs for this is Amazon.
It’s a great affiliate program, but they have some very strict requirements. And they’re also notorious for just blocking affiliate accounts with no notice if you’re found to be in violation of their terms.
We’ve heard of several YouTube channels making thousands of dollars each month, having the Amazon affiliate account switched off without any notice. And it can take months to get it back online if you can get it reactivated at all.
if we’re looking at yeah, Amazon specifically, and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, then Genius Link has a great resource for helping you interpret the Amazon affiliate program requirements. And I’ll link that one in the description below as well. It’s definitely worth the read to get you across all the different ins and outs of the Amazon program. So that brings us to number four, which is not diversifying.
Mistake #4: Not diversifying affiliate links
Now, I’ve seen plenty of folks build their entire business around just one or two affiliate programs, only to have the company have their commission or block them from the program completely. So make sure that you’re diversifying here.
Now, interestingly, we were working with Genius Link to split test our affiliate link conversions, and we actually found that giving people more choice. So BNH and Amazon versus just Amazon resulted in more commissions.
So not only does diversifying reduce your reliance on any one program and build a more sustainable business, it results in more income and a much better experience for your audience.
If you wanna find out more about that testing I’ll link to Genius Links’ article down in the description box below as well. And when we’re still on the topic of not diversifying, is not just about linking to the same products across multiple sites either.
Start by making a list of all the products and all the services that you use and that you trust and that you recommend. And then you’ll have the makings of an awesome recommended resources list, featuring a wide range of companies that you’re happy to recommend to your friends. Our recommended resources page is a great example that you can use to help spark some inspiration.
Mistake #5: Not reviewing affiliate links
Number five then is not reviewing your affiliate links. This is something that a lot of people miss, and this is a place where a lot of people are leaving a lot of money on the table.
So we’re talking about here is over time, you could potentially have a ton of different affiliate links out there across your YouTube channel in your video descriptions, across your websites, and everywhere else that you’re going to be posting them. But also over time, things change, your recommendations might change.
The company might change. The products could not exist or might be out of stock, or even the affiliate programs may have moved to a different service or a different provider, meaning that your link is no longer working.
So what I’m talking about here is to periodically check your affiliate links, to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure that they’re working, and that they’re taking people where you want them to go.
Now, going back to number two, where we spoke about using redirect links and the plugins that we use, Thirsty Affiliates and Genius Link, both of these make this link reviewing process really, really easy.
They’ll actually do a link health check for you and quickly tell you at a glance which links that going to a web page that may not be there anymore, or on the Genius Link side of things, it’ll even tell you if I specific Amazon product is out of stock.
And that makes it really easy for you to just replace that to maybe another seller on Amazon, that’s selling that and has it in stock, or to swap that out for a completely different product. So for us and reviewing our links, this is something that we’re doing every few weeks, just to make sure that we’re able to help our people get to the right place and that our affiliate links are actually working.
So those are the five biggest mistakes that new affiliate marketers make. I hope you liked this information.