Affiliate marketing mistakes. Who hasn't made any? Most beginner bloggers think that once they've added a few affiliate links here and there they'll start making money.

But that's not true. Affiliate marketing is relatively easy to do, but if you want to be successful as an affiliate marketer, you have to make sure you avoid the most common affiliate mistakes.

Here's a list of mistakes most beginner bloggers make (and yes, I've made some of them myself).


Need to save this for later?

Pin it to your favourite board!

[Disclaimer: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

Before we go any further, if you're starting out with affiliate marketing and want to learn all my tricks and strategies, check out my Affiliate Marketing for Beginners book.

Affiliate Marketing for Beginner Bloggers + Worksheet

Why do affiliate marketers fail?

Is affiliate marketing to good to be true? 

I mean, it all sounds so simple, doesn't it?

You just need to sell products made by other people or companies and when you make a sale you get rewarded with a commission.

  • You don't need to create your own products,
  • in most cases you don't need to pay to promote a product as an affiliate,
  • you don't need to be a rocket scientists to do affiliate marketing and 
  • you don't even need a website to do it! (I explain how to do affiliate marketing without a website in my ebook, if you're interested.)

So why do some bloggers fail to make money as an affiliate? 

There are many reasons why beginner bloggers are not successful with affiliate marketing, so let's go through some of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes most people make.

One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes is starting late

If you want your blog to be your business, get started with affiliate marketing from the beginning. There’s no reason to wait.

Your blog doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to have 100000 visitors for you to start making money through affiliate marketing.

I had only a couple of blog posts when I started making some money.

Granted, you won't be able to retire with a small blog, but you need to start somewhere.

So once you've decided you want to add affiliate links to your blog content, don't delay!

By the way, if you're struggling with making money as an affiliate marketer, these affiliate marketing resources can help you too, and if you're looking for a course, this affiliate marketing course is the most comprehensive affiliate marketing course I've found there.

Starting affiliate marketing early showed me you don't have to have a big blog to make money. #makemoneyblogging #affiliatemarketing

Click to Tweet

Plus, if you start too late, you’re missing out on money-making opportunities and you’re going to have a headache when you introduce affiliate marketing links to ALL your earlier posts.

Also, if you are paying for your tools, your blog is costing you money, so start using affiliate marketing to pay for your tools and expenses.

Not Doing Your Affiliate Marketing Research

Another common mistake beginner affiliate marketers make is not to do their research.

You could join lots of different affiliate programs because they're there,  but at the end of the day, if it's not the product your audience is interested in, they will not buy it.

Because they dont' want it.

So you need to figure out who your audience is and what they need.

There's a section in my blog post about creating a social media strategy that will help you figure out who your audience is.

When you find out who is reading your content, then you'll find it a lot easier to figure out the right products for them. 

And when it comes to doing your research, the next affiliate mistake is super important. 

Affiliate marketing is not just about knowing your audience and the products, but you need to send people to your affiliate content.

Is failing to do SEO an affiliate mistake you're making?

You can make money with affiliate marketing without doing SEO if you're using Pinterest and other social media.

But things with Pinterest are a bit iffy at the moment and lots of people have seen a drop in their Pinterest traffic.

And other social media also change their rules and their algorithms.

But if you do your SEO research and optimise your affiliate blog content for SEO, you'll get better results and will get more money. 

When you get your SEO right for your affiliate marketing posts, you get more of the right traffic to your content. 

And because it's the right traffic for your content, more of them convert and buy the product, so you make more money.

Choosing low commission products

This is the second of the affiliate marketing mistakes in this list because it stops you from making more money with every link/click.

If you want to maximise how much money you make with affiliate marketing, you must look at products that give you a higher commission.

For example, Amazon affiliates is one of the most popular affiliate programs. It’s easy to apply to, everybody knows Amazon and trust it and people all over the world will be happy buying from Amazon.

But Amazon affiliate commissions are some of the lowest.

And Amazon cookies are some of the shortest, so you only make money if your readers buy something within 24 hours.

Should you still apply to become an Amazon affiliate?

The answer is yes, because there are things you can do that will make you money each week. But bear in mind, there are some Amazon affiliate mistakes that will get you banned.

It also works for most niches and there are times of the year when being an Amazon affiliate really pays off.

But don't apply if you have less than 10 posts, use it to complement other programs and don’t put all your efforts into this unless you have a very specific Amazon niche website.

Where can you get higher commissions?

You can become an affiliate for a digital product. For instance, if you have used something like this Easy Marketing Planner, this Smart Blog Planner or this Blog By Number course, you can have access to their affiliate program. Their commissions are much higher (between 25% and 40%)  and their cookies are much longer.

Or use Shareasale to find products that pay more than 15% commission, like Tailwind. Here's a blog post to help you choose the most profitable programs.

Worst affiliate marketing mistake ever? Not using affiliate programs with recurring payments

Ideally, you should start with products that give you recurring payments, because it will build up over time.Yes, it does start as a small amount,  and you need to wait until it gets to the minimum payment to get paid.
The good thing about these programs is that you keep getting paid for months, even years.

For me, the recurring payments come from programs like Drip or Tailwind.

Affiliate Marketing Tracker

Get your Affiliate Marketing Tracker 

When you join too many affiliate programs

Another of the affiliate mistakes most people make is to join too many programs when you are starting. But you can’t spend enough time on each one of them to do it properly.

Focusing on 2 or 3 products is going to help you be more effective.

You’re better off writing a series of blog posts about one or two products than writing lots of different blog posts about different products.

It’s easier for you to batch your writing and create outlines of all the things you need to address, so will be more productive with your writing.

They can also help you reduce your bounce rate if you have a series and you will be keeping more people on your site for longer.

But the main reason for this is that you can become overwhelmed with all the work you need to do if you join too many programs or want to promote too many products.


A while ago, in October, I had just joined several programs and was planning all my posts and emails but I didn’t think that Black Friday was around the corner. Then I started getting bombarded by emails from affiliate programs with all their offers and their instructions about what to do, what emails to send and when, what to schedule on Twitter and Facebook, etc.

And I wasn’t just doing it for this blog but for others too!

I did my best and was very happy with the sales we achieved in the end, but it was a bit mad for a while.

Not having an Affiliate Marketing Strategy

The same way you have a plan for your blog content, a plan for your emails and a plan for your social media you should ALSO make a plan for your affiliate marketing, hence my tracker.

I plan everything on my calendar so I know what is going on every month. When I get a notification from one of my affiliate programs I can now see where I can include an email or a blog post and it helps to keep me sane. This also helps you make the most of your content.

Because when you link your affiliate marketing plan to your content, social media and email plans, you make the most of your time. It helps you decide when to publish a post about this or that, when to promote it on social media, when to send emails and to which subscribers…

>>>You'll love these affiliate marketing resources<<<

Forgetting to create a resources page

One of the best ways to display your favourite affiliate products is to include them in a Resources Page or Resource Library

Resource pages are easy to create and can include your own products as well as affiliate products.

The simplest resource page could be a simple list of affiliate products with a one or two lines explanation about why you like it and a link to the product.

But if you want a prettier way to display your affiliate products that will get you more conversions, this Resource Library Template by my friend Kimi will help you.

It's Elementor based, so you can edit it and customise it to suit your branding easily with the FREE Elementor Plugin.

Resource Page Template

And one thing I love about creating Resource Pages is that you can have more than one.

For instance, I also have an affiliate marketing resources page as well as my general resources page, but you can also use them for Black Friday campaigns, Prime Day Campaigns or you could have seasonal resource pages.


Create a Resources Page and send it to all your subscribers as part of your welcome funnel.

Not using affiliate links in social media

Yes, we all know that you cannot depend on social media because they keep changing things and what’s allowed one day is not allowed the next.

Just like when Pinterest banned affiliate links that redirected and left a lot of people unable to make money the way they used to.

But when they are allowed, one of the affiliate marketing mistakes people make is not to use them on autopilot.

With social media, you can take people directly to the product you’re using and not just to your blog posts.

It works really well for impulse buys, products that solve a problem, like this Body Back Buddy

I use SocialBee to post my evergreen affiliate links to social media and this is making me affiliate sales regularly without me having to do anything.

This complements whatever you make through blog posts and you are taking the reader directly to the sales page.

Bombarding your email list during sales season

This isn’t just one of the most common affiliate mistakes but one of the most annoying for your readers.

Let’s imagine there’s a sales campaign by ConvertKit, you’re an affiliate and want to make the most of it so you prepare a few emails to promote the current promotion.

Yes, it’s a great time to make sales, but what usually happens at this time is that your readers are being emailed by every other blogger to sign up to ConvertKit through their link.

So you’re competing for your readers’ attention and, if we’re going to be honest, they’re going to end up fed up with all the emails.

It makes more sense to include relevant emails in your autoresponders so you can be making sales all year round and not just during sales seasons, as Leanne explains in Affiliate Marketing Superstars.


You’re always going to make mistakes when you start something new.

And you really need to try lots of different things and if that means you are going to make some affiliate marketing mistakes, so be it. You will learn from them.

And you also need to learn what your readers like and what they don’t.

So starting early, having a clear focus and a plan can help you make more money in the long run.

What are your worst affiliate marketing mistakes? Tell me in the comments so we can all learn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    1. It’s easy to get carried away with new ideas but it’s always best to start with a plan and focus on a smaller number of things.

  1. I think I’ve probably done every single one of these mistakes 😀 But 2020 brought a whole new mindset for me and I’m embarking on a new try with affiliate marketing equipped with a plan. Remains to be seen whether it works.

    1. It’s so much easier to be successful with affiliate marketing with a plan cos you know what you have to focus on. Best wishes!

  2. I think the commissions are pretty awful on Amazon and they've just lowered them even further. I share a house with a friend and they refused to honour the purchases he bought as gifts. I don't think their terms of service said buyers were not to live in the same house, or am I wrong? Ok, I missed out on maybe $3 for 4 products.

    1. They are lower than they used to be, but it’s still a good affiliate program to use if your links convert well.
      As far as I know, you can’t get affiliate commissions for products sent to any of the addresses you use.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

get your blog post publishing checklist!


The 30 Minute Online Marketer
Want to keep in touch?