What’s An Affiliate Link? A Great Way for Anyone to Make Money Online

affiliate links cover photo

Affiliate links are awesome. This modern day ‘referral system’ is used by most every online business.

And what’s better about affiliate links is that anyone can start making money from them.

In this post, we’ll discuss…

  • What are affiliate links
  • How to use them
  • How to finding affiliate programs
  • And how to make money from affiliate marketing

After reading this article you will have an excellent understanding of how affiliate links work and how you can make extra cash using them.

Let’s begin..

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What’s An Affiliate Link?

Everybody’s clicked on a hyper-link before, right?

There are links that link within a website to other pages, called internal links (this post will teach you how to properly use internal, external and affiliate links).

And there are external links that link out to other websites.

Some of these external links will link you out to other websites as a resource that compliments the article you are reading.

While other links are affiliate links – these are links that link out to websites for the intention of selling you something.

Affiliate links come in two forms, as a special URL or as a Banner (banners are embedded with html code inside the banner).

Photo of affiliate links using an affiliate banner from Expedia.com
An example of an Affiliate Banner from Expedia.com. You put this on your website and earn commissions off it when someone clicks on it and buys a vacation or flight.

Affiliate links are used in affiliate marketing programs and they allow a person/company/website to receive a commission from a product that is sold through affiliate programs.

Confused yet?

If you’re new to affiliate marketing, no worries, it’s very understandable.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

The concept of affiliate marketing and learning how to use affiliate links is simple.

Someone comes on to your website or social media profile. You place an affiliate link within a posting and if someone comes by and hits that link, then goes on to make a purchase, you make a commission from the sale.

Think of Affiliate Marketing like giving paid for a referral or recommendation.

You can easily profit from affiliate links for products that you know, use, and love.

Everyone knows Amazon, so let’s use them as an example. Say you have a favorite book or product that you like from Amazon.

An image of Amazon Associates platform where you can sign-up to become an Amazon affiliate.

You can sign up with Amazon’s Associates Program, once approved to be an affiliate within the program, you can get your affiliate links and/or banners for almost any product that Amazon sells.

Then once you place that link on your website, in a email, or on social platforms like Facebook, you can make a commission from Amazon’s products once someone enters your link and buys something.

As a matter of fact, if the customer enters your affiliate link and goes on to make several purchases, you earn commissions off everything they buy.

The affiliate link has tracking information that is tied to your Amazon affiliate account that will be recorded by Amazon’s affiliate program.

All’s you have to do is get someone to enter through your affiliate link and then they go on to buy something – IT’S THAT EASY  🙂

Special Note on Using Amazon as an Affiliate:

If you’re thinking of getting an Amazon affiliate account in order to get a commission back from the products you normally purchase on Amazon, think again.

Amazon doesn’t allow that, not even if a family member buys something through your affiliate link.

You could get away with a friend or family member with a different last name I would imagine.

But be careful with Amazon, they watch their affiliate program closely.

How to Use Affiliate Links

You can use affiliate links almost anywhere. Post them to your Facebook Page, other social sites, you can even pin them to your Pinterest photos. And send them through emails and newsletters.

But the most useful and effective method to make money off of affiliate links is to have a website and then use them (sparingly) within a product review or article.

You also need to know that most affiliate programs require you to have a website in order to get approved as an affiliate.

If your rolling your eyes now about having a website, don’t worry.

It’s very easy to get a free website up and running in a matter of seconds. You can make a free website in less than a minute right here.

A diagram showing the affiliate program of Host Gator.
Click To Enlarge. The diagram represents the normal flow of affiliate marketing using Affiliate Links within your website to make affiliate commissions

Once you have your website up and running, you can apply for affiliate programs.

Don’t Let Google Consider Your Site to be Spam

You want to use your affiliate links sparingly because if you are trying to get your website posts/reviews to rank, you will have a hard time if your review is sprayed with affiliate links all over the place.

Because your site will come off as a spam site in the eyes of search engines like Google.

Instead, what I encourage people to do is to do a product review (that’s based on keyword research) so that you can get the post to rank on the first page of Google.

You need to write quality content about the product that benefits the user. This is ultimately what Google want to provide people – good search results.

Then place a couple call to actions statement that draw the readers attention within your article and link these call to action statements with your affiliate links.

You also want to use a widget that will cloak your link so that it doesn’t look like an affiliate link.

I use Pretty Link Light.

What this does is disguise the affiliate link so that your link won’t look like an affiliate link to search engines like Google.

For example: Here’s a link to a dating website called Colombian Cupid. After I applied and was approved for their affiliate program, I received an affiliate link that looked like this…


Notice all the numbers/letters/symbols within the link – this looks horrible to search engines and they can tell that this is an affiliate link.

Now when I cloak it using Pretty Link Light, I can name the link as I choose. Here’s what my link looks like now.


See how much cleaner the link looks.

If you’re just sending links via email/social sites, you still want to cloak your link and make it look pretty – so to speak.

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How To Find Affiliate Programs:

This is very easy to do, just put in whatever product you want to affiliate yourself with and then do a search of the product name and add a plus + sign followed by the phrase: affiliate program.

Say you want to affiliate yourself with an Apple Ibook Laptop.

All you have to do is put this phrase into Google and you will find Apple’s affiliate program in a matter of seconds. See the search results below.

An image of a Google search for Apple affiliate programs.
Google search results for Apple’s Affiliate Program. Click To Enlarge

How to Make Money with Affiliate Links:

You can certainly put up a free website, add some content to the site, apply for affiliate programs and then take your affiliate links and send them to people you know or place them on your social sites.

But this is not the most effective method to making money online with affiliate marketing.

The key to making money from affiliate links is to create a niche website that is based on something that you are interested in or passionate about.

Once you have an idea for your niche website, then it’s just a matter of building out the site, learning how to write content that ranks, and then placing your affiliate links within your content.

As your website traffic increases and your website content gets read, you can start making affiliate commissions.

Affiliate commissions range from 4% to 75% of the purchase price of the product’s retail value.

Image that links to a free course to learn how to build your own online business.

How To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re new to affiliate marketing or putting up a website, I would recommend you check out the educational program offered by Wealthy Affiliate.

They’ve been teaching newbies for over 10 years how to create profitable niche/affiliate websites and you can check them out for free.

They provide an all inclusive educational program that comes with 2 free websites, free hosting, and 10 free classes to help you get your website up and running, as well as understand the basics of affiliate marketing.

You can always find a few affiliate programs that don’t require you to have a website, but this doesn’t happen often.

You also should know that spamming social sites like Facebook with affiliate links isn’t the most effective way to start earning affiliate commissions.

Don’t Pay for Affiliate Programs!

Lastly, if you find any affiliate programs that ask you to pay to enter their affiliate programs, run for the hills.

Real affiliate programs don’t charge you to join. Remember, you are helping them promote their product.

If you find an affiliate program that charges money to be an affiliate with them, you are most likely looking at an online scam.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you have a full understanding of how to use affiliate links, if not, leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you right away.

If you know anyone else who might benefit from understanding affiliate marketing/affiliate links, please share this post via the social share buttons below.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m the founder of Learn to Grow Wealth Online. My goal is to help you create a brilliant online business. One that is profitable and will grow wealth for you and your loved ones well into the future. If you're willing to put in the effort, I can help you create your own source of online income.


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  1. Todd, your website has taught me more in an hour than I have learned reading four books and watching a dozen webinars by e-commerce “gurus.” You give actually step by step information, and not just a bunch of broad stroke formulas for success…while keeping the meat of the education for those that buy your $3,000 webinar series. Really appreciate your help! Keep up the good work!


    1. Hi Randy, love the feedback on my site and it’s awesome to hear that you have learned a great deal from the education we provide here.

      However, I’m confused, where’s the $3,000 dollar webinar series, I’d love to be a part of it. I don’t have a series like that but it sounds like a great idea.

      However you can sign up for our Free Traffic eBook and our Free Course to Make Money Online that will give you a much better understanding of affiliate marketing, niche websites, and diving organic traffic to you site to generate sales.

      Here at LearnToGrowWealthOnline.com, I only promote a few really valuable educational programs, my #1 Recommended Training Program is Wealthy Affiliate, and they cost less than $1 dollar per day and their membership includes all the training you need to become successful online. I sure hope you check them out and have not confused me with some Guru overcharging 3K for a webinar series.


  2. Awesome article on affiliate links! Thanks for giving all the info about all the different links. I love using Pretty Link Light, since it makes all the different links so much more attractive. 🙂 Your explanation about why to use this plugin is also very helpful. I always wondered about why this was a much needed plugin. Thanks again!

    1. You’re welcome Jessie, happy to help out. Make sure when you’re using pretty link that you checked in the following for your affiliate links.

      There is some debate about this, and in general you should try to lead people to help you content and then link them to an affiliate products, I still use a no follow for any of my affiliate links. Just Google won’t think of my website as a spam website.

      That’s the luck with your online business, if you need me help, here is the source.


  3. I learned something new in your post about affiliate links. I did not realize that when someone clicks on an affiliate link, that you get credit for everything they buy.

    Wow, I like that!

    I also did not know that I could put them on my FB page. Cool! You did a very great job Todd of discussing affiliate links and how they work. I definitely learned a few new tricks from this post. Thank you!

    1. That’s Awesome!

      So good to hear. I learned all about this from watching a Webinar at Wealthy Affiliate. I then implemented it within the posts I wrote and that’s when I came up with the idea of conveying this knowledge to provide a better user experience for their site users.

      That and the other SEO training I got from WA allows me to rank content in Google quickly.



  4. Fantastic primer on affiliate marketing Todd, I really like the way you laid out things so simply and made it easier to understand how to do affiliate linking.
    I just started using pretty link lite too!
    It seems product reviews are a really good way to get people to click on affiliate links and especially with a quality review. Do you find that links or banners get more clicks?

    1. Hi Maria,

      That’s great, setting affiliate links properly effects the users experience and that effects how well your site is optimized for search engines like Google.

      So it’s a simple concept, but important to do correctly. On you’re affiliate links that you cloak with Pretty Link, make sure you click the no follow. That way Google can’t follow your link and label it as an affiliate link.

      You’ll find that content links convert better or call to action type of statements. Banners on the side bars don’t convert as high, but every now and then you make some sales from them.

      I’ve seen a good effect with banner like call to action signs/buttons work well. Personally, I do both.



  5. I am impressed, you covered most of my questions about affiliate programs. Just happens I am going to be in the market for a affiliate program in the near future, my website is coming along pretty well now. Right now I am working on getting traffic through my posts, I have one question for you.

    Other than the obvious how much commission I am going to earn, what other things should i consider when looking for a good affiliate program to promote.

    1. Hi Jeffrey,

      Thanks for your feedback on our affiliate links post, much appreciated.

      I would really look for affiliate products that have a great reputation and really help your niche online audience. Amazon is one of the cheapest affiliate programs, but they convert so well because they take care of their customers and people naturally trust them.

      You can find other programs that have affiliate programs themselves as well as on Amazon. If you split test your links, you’ll find that Amazon converts better because of the trust factor.

      But whatever you promote, make sure it helps people and is a reliable product before you affilaite you site with them.



  6. Hi Todd,

    This is a great post on how to use affiliate links. I think the most recent Google algorithm looks at the quality of the content and I agree that posting too many affiliate links in one post can negatively affect your rankings.

    Thanks for sharing this info. I’ll bookmark this article and use it as a refresher when writing my next blog post. Keep up the good work.

    1. You’re welcome Ian. Using affiliate links appropriately is import. Don’t forget to provide internal links to relevant content as well. And I always try to use 1 to 2 external links to authoritative and boring sites like Wikipedia. That way you’re providing good resources to your readers without driving them away from your content.

      Here’s another link related post on linking strategies – How To Link My Website.



  7. That pretty link lite program can come handy later. I’m still very newbie at this online business and to be honest I don’t know whether I should promote a lot of products or just stick to my content at this point. My niche is about self-help and most of my content is based on my own experiences. I was kind of toying with an idea of publishing my own ebook eventually later on…but I’ll see where this journey will take me..

    1. Hi Joon,

      Stick to producing quality content for your niche. And for sure, use pretty link with the NO FOLLOW box checked when leading a reader to an affiliate link. But make sure the product you’re linking someone to is really helping the reader out.

      And you better make sure your niche has products that you can recommend. If not, you’ll only make money via advertising.

      Lastly, eBooks can be a great idea, you can have your site be solely based on selling your eBook. Joon, it’s online business and it’s only limited to your imagination.

      If you need structure, support, guidance, and help to produce a successful online business, get connected to the #1 training source online, Wealthy Affiliate. They’ve helped 1,000’s of newbies create successful online websites/businesses for over a decade – Highly Recommended!



  8. Hi,
    That’s a nice article and quite helpful to readers researching for and seeking quality information on online affiliate marketing and especially how to use affiliate links to earn internet revenue.

    Is there a limit to the number of affiliate links one can use per page?

    Many blessings and success in achieving all your 2016 goals and plans

    1. Many blessing to you as well Boniface, may 2016 be a great year for you too.

      Thanks as well for your feedback on our affiliate links article. I just think that not enough people know about how to utilize them.

      You bring up an excellent question for a couple of reasons.

      Search engines like Google look at affiliate links as a form of spam. It used to be that you wanted all your affiliate links cloaked (and I still do) using a plugin light pretty link, and then not use affiliate links in any of your posts, but have your posts drive readers to one centralized review, landing page, or sales page.

      And I still think this is the way to go. It allows the reader to get to know you, what advice you’re offering, and fully understand if a product is good for them or not.

      Pretty link has a No Follow option you can and should utilize on every affiliate link. This will prevent search engines like Google from recognizing you are sending someone to an affiliate link, which comes off as spam to Google.

      But affiliate links should be placed correctly so they take the reader to what they want. And if that’s the latest Adidas shoes, so be it. Just use Pretty Link Plugin, and set the NO FOLLOW and you’ll be good.


  9. Hi Todd,
    A good subject for an article. Before I became involved in affiliate marketing I didn’t really consider if someone was going to make some money when I clicked on a link. I’m sure most people are like that and I’m sure that many people don’t know it’s possible to make money this way.
    The great thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s not really that complicated. It takes a fair bit of work, but if you are capable of writing articles about something you are interested in, you can become an affiliate marketer.
    It’s definitely worth getting some training that will help you set up your first website, then you’re ready to start writing articles and including affiliate links.
    Good job Todd, showing people how they can earn some money online and maybe they will look at those links slightly differently in the future.

    1. Hey Peter,

      Thanks for your feedback on affiliate marketing and absolutely, once I learned about affiliate marketing, I thought differently about each link I clicked. In the end, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t affect the users purchase price, but rewards the affiliate marketer for providing a resource for the user.

      Always great to get your take on my posts, hopefully this post, Affiliate Links, will help other learn what we’ve learned to do. And that is make passive income online. And you gotta love that.


  10. Excellent post and explanation of affiliate links Todd!
    I think that a most people would have no idea what an affiliate link is and even though they would probably click on one many times a day, they wouldn’t know that they could be making someone a commission if they buy something.
    Really, if people could grasp this concept of just how simple it is to make money online through affiliate marketing, I believe a lot more people would be doing it rather than just chasing the next shiny object that captures their eye, but doesn’t really work!
    I believe that affiliate marketing is the best way to get started making money online, and a lot more people should be doing it!
    Excellent post! 🙂

    1. Great points John and more people should start their online careers with affiliate marketing. I would say that the majority of people out there don’t understand the simple concept of affiliate marketing, and how easy it is to take advantage of using affiliate links.

      You can place affiliate links in social websites like Facebook or Twitter. Heck, a really good way to use them is through Pinterest. Since Pinterest is so visual, this is a great way to place an affiliate link within a picture or a product and make an easy commission just by people browsing your Pins.

      And most people don’t know that by clicking an affiliate link brings someone else a commission. But it doesn’t affect the purchase price to the customer, but allows the one a way to make supplemental income or full time income depending on how you practice affiliate marketing.

      If you’ve got a site that sees a good amount of traffic, you might as well as take advantage of it using affiliate links.

      Thanks for your feedback John on the post and you first hand experience with affiliate marketing.

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