How Fast Can You Make Money With Affiliate Marketing?

• updated on
June 7, 2023
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Passive income. It’s the dream of anyone working 40 hours a week. Imagine making money online while you sleep… it doesn’t get much better than that!

You’re ready to delve into the world of affiliate marketing. The premise is pretty awesome: You build a website, write a ton of content for it, and start adding affiliate links. Once people click those links and make purchases, you make money.

The question is…how long will you need to wait before that last part happens?

The answer: Usually as long as it takes to rank for your target keywords. Depending on the competitiveness of your niche, that could take 2 months. Or it could take 6

At the start, you’ll see commissions trickle in here and there. But what about making good money? 

Now that takes a little longer—usually up to a year

Once your site starts gaining traction, it can take off pretty quickly. It depends on the type of product you’re selling, how competitive the industry is, and the amount of content on your site (plus a host of other things I’ll get into later).

So, how fast can you make money with affiliate marketing? I’ll show you how to make excellent passive income through affiliate marketing faster:

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

TLDR: You do the marketing for the provider of a product/service, and each time they make a sale from a customer you sent their way, you get paid commissions.

Basically, you generate more sales for that merchant by promoting their products/services, and you’re rewarded with a percentage of those sales (a commission). 

There are a few ways you can market affiliate products. Writing blogs is the most common one, but you can also make social media posts, send out newsletters, or try your hand at video marketing with a YouTube channel. 

If you can add an affiliate link to it, you can use it for affiliate marketing! 

Affiliate marketing is a great system for everyone involved. You make money by promoting products and being your own boss. The vendor makes sales they wouldn’t have otherwise. And the customer buys a product that adds value to their life. 

You’ll receive your commissions once you reach the minimum payment threshold (which is usually determined by the merchant). The size of those commissions will vary, as will the time it takes to build them. 

You might be selling affordable products that are bought repeatedly by customers. Or you’re selling big-ticket items that are usually purchased just once. Factors like these all influence how frequently you’ll get paid.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work? 

Now that you understand the basics, I’m going to explain how you can make money as an affiliate marketer. Here’s an overview of how affiliate marketing works:

Once you’re approved for your chosen affiliate program, you can start building content with affiliate links! Use the links provided by your chosen merchant; these will track any users from your site that make a purchase. 

Next, build content and add affiliate links to it. The type of content you write will depend on your niche. 

Finally, get people to read your content! The more users you have on your website, the easier it is to make money with affiliate marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a great way to boost your website traffic.

Once people click the links you’ve included and purchase products from that merchant, you’ll earn a percentage of those sales. As soon as you reach the minimum threshold, you’ll get a payout from the seller. 

Examples of Successful Affiliate Websites 

How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing? 

You can’t see the future, but you can look at examples of real affiliate websites! This gives you an idea of how long you’ll need to wait to see the green.

Here are a few sites and the timelines for each:


Website launched in: November 2017

First sale was made in: December 2017

Total time: 1 month


Website launched in: September 2016

First sale was made in: September 2016

Total time: A few weeks!


Website launched in: 2011

First sale was made in: January 2016

Total time: 4 years

So, if you’re feeling like your efforts won’t pay off, be patient! Follow my advice, and your profits will come in due time. 

Even though some time frames can be pretty short, keep in mind that affiliate marketing won’t instantly fill your pockets. Your first affiliate income will probably be less than three figures.

Expecting overnight success is just not realistic. You need to drive traffic to your website first! You can always book a consultation call with me if you think there’s a problem with your site.

The Road to 10k per Month 

Almost anyone can make a few bucks from affiliate marketing here and there.

But what if you want to scale up your site? Make enough money to live off of?

For that, you need to treat it like a full-time job. 

Getting steady website traffic is key to growing and sustaining your income. 

Follow this roadmap, and you’ll be on your way there:

Content creation is king 

Unless you outsource all your writing or have a ton of time on your hands, this part takes some long hours but it’s time well spent.

Of all the factors that help you rank in search engines, content is one of the most consistent. 

Why should you focus on content creation? Because…

  • Your income is dependent on your website traffic. One of the best ways to get a steady stream of users on your website? Rank at the top of the most popular search engine: Google. Content creation will help you get there.
  • Create more credibility. Google ranks your website based on how relevant and authoritative it is for a search query. Content will help boost your credibility in your industry. 
  • Keep people on your website. Your readers might not be ready to make a purchase the moment they visit your website. But if they keep coming back for more content, chances are they’ll be closer to buying the next time they visit. So keep them entertained! Post content that’s original, valuable, and informative. 
  • Increase your chances of ranking. You’ve spent hours writing an insightful blog post—but after you hit publish, it just sits there. No one clicks it. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. Just keep trying, write more content, and eventually, you’ll have a piece that drives traffic. The more blogs on your site, the better! 

It’s simple: You need more traffic on your website. SEO helps you do that. And to optimize your website, you need to put a lot of content on it!  


Commercial vs. Informational content

Next up, you need to consider the intent behind each piece of content you put out.

Commercial content is written for people who are ready to buy. Before people make a purchase, they want to make sure they aren’t wasting their money. So they’ll look up product reviews, information about the brand, or top 10 lists of similar products.

Informational content is more general. People look up questions and specific features of products that they’re thinking about buying. This content is more educational than it is persuasive.

You want content that drives people to make purchases. So, consider which search intent people have in mind when they read the topics you’re writing about.

I’ll illustrate that with an example:

Let’s say you have an affiliate site that focuses on self-care. You’re writing an article with an affiliate link to a yoga mat.

To promote that product, you could write informational content about why yoga mats are better than rugs.

Or you could write commercial content reviewing the top yoga mats available online.

The second approach would probably get you more commissions. 

There’s nothing wrong with adding informational content to your site—it’s a good practice! But you should remember to balance it with commercial content, too. 

Alternatively, you can write informational content that helps buyers feel more comfortable making a purchase. By the end of the article, you can link to a different commercial blog to help them take the next step.

Signing Up for Affiliate Programs 

How do you become an affiliate marketer for another business?

First of all, you need to decide what type of product you’d like to promote. The beauty of affiliate marketing is that choice is entirely yours

What interests you? Which industries do you have knowledge and expertise in? Ideally, choose one that you’re familiar with; this will show in your writing and help build trust among customers. 

Many businesses have pages about it on their websites. You can Google the brand name with “affiliate program” to see what comes up. 

For example, Amazon is one of the most popular affiliate networks. You can become an Amazon Associate and start affiliate marketing for a giant selection of products. 

Working with Amazon has a few key benefits. It’s a widely known name brand, so customers have an easier time trusting it. Since it’s a popular platform, the affiliate program is streamlined and quick to set up. And since there are so many products on the site, you can use Amazon for nearly any niche. 

But you aren’t limited to just Amazon. Choose any product or service that interests you, and get in touch with the vendor. You might choose one over another based on:

  • What payment methods does the vendor accept?
  • What kind of commission rates will they offer?
  • What types of products or services do they sell?

You can go after one specific product or look for a network of products/services. It’s all up to you. 

Affiliate Marketing Challenges & How To Overcome Them 

You’re ready to jump headfirst into the affiliate marketing industry. Getting started is easy enough; you’ve chosen your industry, picked a vendor, and found out what makes your brand unique compared to other niche sites.

But like any job, this one comes with a unique set of challenges. What kinds of hiccups can affiliate marketers expect to deal with as they’re just starting out? And how can you handle them? Here’s a look at what to expect in your first year: 

  • Your income is dependent on your website traffic. You only make commissions when users click your links and make purchases. If people aren’t clicking your links, you aren’t making money. You need a marketing strategy to keep driving people to your website.
  • Certain niches are incredibly competitive. You aren’t the first person to find affiliate marketing so alluring, and you won’t be the last. If you’ve picked a competitive niche, be prepared to work hard to get the site traffic you want! That’s why you need to hone in on your SEO and marketing efforts to rise above the competition. 
  • It takes time to get the ball rolling. As you’ve seen already, you can make your first sale within a few weeks. But to make more substantial money with affiliate marketing, you need more time. With a typical job, you make money every couple of weeks—with affiliate marketing, you need to wait longer to get a good payout. 
  • You have no control over the product or service you’re selling. Depending on how you look at this, it could be a pro or a con. On the one hand, it’s nice not having to worry about all the responsibilities of manufacturing and distributing products. On the other, you can’t control the customer experience your readers will have once they click your links. Choose the vendors you partner with carefully, or it may harm your reputation. 

Realistic Income From Affiliate Marketing 

It’s easy to see why people are drawn to affiliate marketing: 

You don’t have to manufacture a product or offer a service.

You don’t need to hire staff to help you do it. 

You don’t need to find out how to sell your products online.

All you need to do is direct enough traffic to those affiliate links and earn money that way.

You might be thinking to yourself: “That sounds too good to be true! How much can I expect from my affiliate earnings? Can I really make a full-time income?”

I’ve rounded up the statistics averaging what affiliate marketers earn:

  • Glassdoor: $67,185/year
  • ZipRecruiter: $56,649/year
  • PayScale: $53,382/year

Success stories like these are exciting, no doubt. But affiliate income isn’t easy to generate yourself. To scale it up, you need to basically run your own affiliate business. And that’s easier said than done.

Save yourself the legwork with my consulting services! 

Get Your Online Business off the Ground With My Consulting Services

Now that you have a general idea of how affiliate marketing works, you’re ready to launch your online business. But sometimes, you have to spend money to make money. 

My consulting services will help put you on the right track in affiliate marketing. Let’s position your website for success! 

At SerpFocus, you can book a free, no-obligation call with me. I’ll look at your site and map out an SEO strategy. Once your rankings go up, so will your affiliate revenue. 

Book your call today!

From The Author

Terry Williams

With over 10 years optimizing sites, I've boosted search visibility for brands through customized strategies. Currently, I develop effective SEO solutions for a top agency, immersed in the latest trends and innovations. Read my full bio.

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