How to Make Money Online: An Intro to Affiliate Marketing

There are thousands of ways to make money online.

So what’s the problem?

It’s that the chances of making a lot of money are super slim.

Most people aren’t gonna become the next Pewdiepie.


The chances of you starting an app that takes over Snapchat are one in billions.

In 2008 I started out to learn how to make money online.

I tried out some ways to make money online like blogging, writing, ecommerce etc. (read my story about how I made my first massively profitable campaign here).

After a few failures in other areas I tried affiliate marketing.

Haven’t heard of affiliate marketing?

Here’s what affiliate marketing is.

make money online affiliate marketing

First, you should know, there are different types of affiliate marketing.

  • You could be a blogger and throw up some Hostgator links on your site
  • Some people write reviews of Amazon products & them become an Amazon affiliate
  • Others might build out a fitness content site and push Clickbank weight loss products

How do I do affiliate marketing?

I do CPA affiliate marketing

This means that I buy traffic, then I send them to an offer (like an app they can install, or a subscription site, or software).

If I make more in commission than it costs me to buy the traffic, I profit.

If I profit, then I can just buy more traffic, and I make more money.

That’s why I do affiliate marketing.

Why else do I do it?

It’s something you can do by yourself, from your computer.

Why did I choose affiliate marketing over other business models like SEO, niche sites, viral content sites etc?

Because affiliate marketing has a TON of advantages:

  • You don’t need inventory – digital or physical (you get a commission when you sell other people’s products)
  • It can scale to make huge profits when you nail the right combo (I made $1m+ in 2008)
  • You get results right now. It’s not like SEO or blogging which can take years to work (if they ever do)
  • You don’t need to put your face on anything – the only thing you do is choose which offers and landing pages/ads to run. I wanted to be low key.
  • You’re building real skillsets – you learn to test, optimize, bid and build creatives

This is why I chose to do affiliate marketing.

Want an example of what an affiliate campaign looks like?

  1. Popups and popunders on mobile are almost always affiliate ads
  2. Most native ads are run by affiliate marketers
  3. A lot of ads on Facebook are run by affiliates – you’re probably seen some

Major affiliates are pulling seven-figure incomes without ever developing their own products.

While you don’t need all the time and hassle of building your own product, affiliate marketing is still a massive investment.

So what does it take to make money online as an affiliate marketer? Here’s what you need to do.

Join an Affiliate Network or Program

Let’s say I had a business and a friend randomly started referring customers to me.

Would I pay my friend for these leads?


I’d have no idea who referred them and I’d probably think they did it out of the kindness of their heart.

But what if they came up to me sometime and said, “Hey Charles. I know a lot of people that are interested in what you’re selling. If I refer them to you, will you give me a cut of the sales?”

I’d jump at that chance.

That arrangement means I wouldn’t have to pay for advertising, and they’d get a nice income of their own.

It’s a win-win for both of us. How could I say no?

The same rule applies in affiliate marketing.

You can’t just start pushing traffic to a brand’s website.

You must be accepted to their affiliate program, which you do by either joining a network they’re on or signing up with them directly.

This is the first and most important step.

Every super affiliate had to submit an application to join an affiliate network at one point.

Convince the network that you’re honest and can send quality traffic, and you shouldn’t have a problem.

You can find my recommended affiliate networks here.

Find a Traffic Source

There are plenty of ways to drive traffic to affiliate offers.

I use Facebook and some mobile traffic sources, but there’s a ton of others, like native, search, toolbar etc..

Most traffic sources are easy to get up and running on.

Then you’ll need to get some landing pages and some ads together. I’ve got tutorials on how to build landing pages.

Building ads is a simple process (most of the time it’s just an image with some text on it).

Get an Affiliate Tracking Software

You want to know who clicks on your ads right?

If users on Apple devices convert for your offer, but Android users don’t, then you need a way to know this.

Then in your traffic source you can change who you send to your offer.

Hint: This is how affiliates can make money fast. They can hone in on segments of people, and send them specific offers.

I use the software Voluum.

It’s the most comprehensive tracking software available.

It lets you see which city people are from, their IP address, if they clicked on your pages, which website they came from… It can tell you everything.

Learn to Split Test

split test marketing campaign

This is the one thing that sets big affiliates apart from the newbies.

You’ll have to test a lot of things: ads, landing pages, offers, networks running your offer (yes, really), targeting options and day parting etc.

You’ll never know ahead of time what will work and what won’t.

You need to spend money to test.

I can’t tell you how many times something that should’ve worked totally bombed and something that I threw up for fun turned into a $500-a-day campaign.

The golden rule is to test everything. I know it’s a lot of work, but testing the shit out of campaigns is what differentiates the benchwarmers from the players.

Ready to Make Money Online as an Affiliate Marketer?

You know the basics of affiliate marketing.

Set up your first campaign and start making some money!

Here’s a link to my Ultimate Guide to Launching an Affiliate Campaign – this is your next resource to read.