What is an affiliate website?

An affiliate website is a type of website where the owner monetizes his traffic by promoting affiliate offers. This type of website is very popular because it can be very lucrative and earn lots of money passively once the website is established.

In this blog post, I will try to give you a good understanding of how an affiliate website is built and how they work.

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a very simple concept:

Someone who does affiliate marketing is a sales person for an outside company. As the sales person, the affiliate marketer never carries any of the products himself. Instead, he sends people to the company, and when these people purchase something from that company, the sale is attributed to him and he receives a percentage of the sale. Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-affiliate-marketing-definition-types-examples.html

Despite the concept being relatively simple, there are many variables to take into account to create a successful affiliate website. If you would like to get started with affiliate marketing, check out my article reviewing Wealthy Affiliate, which is the best program to learn how to make money online with affiliate marketing, by clicking the link below:

Is Wealthy Affiliate Legit or a Scam? This should not even be a question.

The different players involved in affiliate marketing


The merchant (advertiser)

Also known as a retailer or a brand, the merchant is using affiliates to drive traffic to their product with the hope of getting extra sales. Using affiliate allows merchants to receive extra traffic passively while only sacrificing a percentage of their sale to the affiliates. It is a very safe business model for merchants which is why pretty much any brand available on the internet uses an affiliate to grow their sales.

The affiliate network

An affiliate network is a website which connects the advertisers and affiliates. The affiliate network has the tracking technology, reporting tools and manages the payments. Merchants may choose an affiliate network to manage their affiliate program or may use their own in-house affiliate network/platform.

The affiliate (publisher)

What does an affiliate do to make money? Also known as the publisher, the affiliate is the person driving targetted traffic to an affiliate offer. The main goal of an affiliate is to convert some of that targetted traffic into customers for the merchant he is working with.

What are the different types of affiliate offers to promote on an affiliate website

Now you know the logistics and terminology regarding affiliate marketing. Let’s dive into the different type of offers people promote on their affiliate websites.

Pay per click

This model requires the affiliate to send as many clicks that he can to a particular offer. The merchant will reward the affiliate for each visitor he sends to their page. Due to the simplicity of this model, each click generates a few cents, which is small compared to the amount of money you can make with the other two types of affiliate offers below.

Pay per sale

This is the most widely used type of affiliate offer on the internet mainly due to the super popular Amazon affiliate website. The concept here is very simple, for each person using your link to buy a product, you end up making a percentage of the sale. Depending on the merchant the percentage can go from 2% to 80+%. Earnings can add up very quickly which is why so many affiliate websites focus on that type of affiliate offer.

Pay per lead

This type of offer can also be very lucrative if promoted properly. First, let look at the definition of a lead in affiliate marketing:

a lead refers to contact with a potential customer, also known as a “prospect”

Most of the time, the “prospect” will have to fill out his email or a short questionnaire to be considered as a lead. The action that will have to be performed will be determined on the affiliate network platform. Generally, the more info a prospect has to give, the more money, the affiliate offer will earn. This type of affiliate offers can earn from $0.50 per lead to few hundreds of dollars.

What are the different type of affiliate websites

Despite being different in the way they promote affiliate offers, most of the website have one point in common, they create content or bring value to the potential customers to entice them to use the affiliate links. Below I am briefly describing the main affiliate website type and how they work.

Review websites

On a review website, the affiliate will review and compares different products. All the product tested and discussed will have links directing the website audience to different affiliate offers. Anytime somebody buys a product using one of the links on the website, the affiliate will earn a commision. I am sure that you have come across sites like that online but below are few examples to better understand

This website reviews camera lenses, anytime you click on one of the links, you are redirected to Amazon. If you make a purchase, Photophique will make a percentage of the sale.

Price comparator websites

It is almost impossible for you to not have used price comparators when you look for a flight or a hotel room. On this type of website, you are able to compare the price of a specific item from different online retailers. All the product links are affiliate links, therefore, anytime you buy something after being redirected by that type of website, its owner will make a commision on your purchase.  Below is an example:

On Pricewatch, you can check prices for different products. When you end up purchasing something after clicking a link from the website, Pricewatch will make a commision on the sale.

Incentive websites

An incentive affiliate website, promote affiliate offers by offering something to the customer to complete an affiliate offer. Most of the time, the reward will come as cash back if a visitor ends up buying a product using the affiliate link. One of the most well-known incentive websites is Ebate. This type of website makes less money from each conversion, however, it is much easier to convert potential customers into paying customers when you promise some cash back if they buy through your website.

On Ebate, you will earn cashback on pretty much any major online retailer. The only catch!? You need to use the links on their website (their affiliate links) to be credited your cash back. 

Coupon websites

Everybody has used a coupon website at some point in their life. The reason this type of website is so successful is that it helps customers to save some money. Well, this is true but the people behind this type of sites make a lot of money. Have you ever wonder why a website coupon always requires you to click on a button to reveal the code? Well, it is simple! It is to ensure the customer click on their link last before they buy. Doing so, the coupon site makes sure that the commissions will come their way. A very popular coupon website is surprisingly Coupon.com

Personal blogs

Blogging has been a hot topic in the past few years for one big reason: it can generate a lot of money. Successful blogs are able to make thousands of dollars a month for their owners. With that type of affiliate website, you need to focus on creating great content but also grow your audience. Once the blog gets established and receives a reasonable amount of traffic, it is time to start promoting affiliate offers. This type of affiliate website can be very powerful when a large loyal audience is served congruent offers. Below you will find a very successful blog focusing on

On Smart Passive Income Pat Flynn, one of the major bloggers on passive income business models discusses tips and strategies on how to make money online. He earns over $150k per month promoting affiliate offers and his own courses.

Can you really make money with affiliate marketing?

Affiliate-Industry-Growth-GraphAffiliate marketing is a growing industry where lots of money is made. The high earning potential and the industry low barrier to entry makes it very popular with people seeking to make money online

Success stories

In 2017 an Instagram affiliate earned $7 million in affiliate marketing revenue 

Jason Stone, better known on Instagram as Millionaire Mentor, generated $7 million in retailer sales between June 2016 and June 2017 through affiliate marketing alone. The creator has been clear in stating that he only participates in affiliate marketing campaigns that fit his audience’s interests.

Michelle from Making Sense of Cents making $150k/month

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner is the owner of Making Sense of Cents, a blog she started almost 10 years ago. When she started her blog, its main goal was to improve her finances. She had over $37,000 in student loan debt when she graduated from college, and she was determined to pay it off quickly and help her visitors achieve the same!

Michelle has become one of my absolute favorite affiliate marketing success stories and is now making an average of $159,000+ per month blogging.

Gina Harney from Fitnessista

Gina Harney runs Fitnessista a very popular lifestyle blog that she started in 2011. As a mother of two, she always manages to make time for quick and effective workouts throughout her day. She blogs about healthy and family-friendly recipes you can make and how she incorporates workouts that can be done anywhere (like in the store or on a park bench!), and more. Products she uses for her recipes and her workouts are almost affiliate products that earn her lots of commissions every month.

How to find an affiliate program?

There is no secret sauce here, the simplest way to look for an affiliate program is to make a search in a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Few merchants will have their own affiliate program such as Amazon but most of them will work with an affiliate network. Below you will find a list of the 2018 top 20 CPS (cost per sale) affiliate networks compiled by Blue Ribbon Panel 

2018 Top 20 Affiliate Networks

  1. Rakuten Affiliate Network
  2. Shareasale
  3. CJ Affiliates
  4. eBay Partner Network
  5. Avangate
  6. Impact Radius
  7. FlexOffers
  8. Amazon Associates
  9. Clickbank
  10. PepperJam
  11. LinkConnector
  12. Avantlink
  13. TradeDoubler
  14. Webgains
  15. Trade Tracker
  16. Share Results
  17. Affiliate Future
  18. RevenueWire
  19. Performance Horizon
  20. Effinity


Affiliate websites are all over the internet generating millions of dollar. The affiliate marketing industry is growing fast and people are making a fortune running successful affiliate websites. Opportunities are endless since pretty much any brand with an online presence works has an affiliate program.

If you are interested in getting started and get a piece of this 6 billion industry, don’t hesitate to check my article, where I review Wealthy Affiliate which is the best training platform to get started with affiliate marketing.

Until then, make sure to comment or ask any more question you could have regarding affiliate websites.

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