Why affiliate marketing could be the best way to make money from home

Here, we look at why affiliate marketing can be a great way to make money on the side, or even replace your main income.

So, you want to make money online from home? Dreaming of no more rush hours, no more bosses, no more alarm clocks? In this piece, we look at why affiliate marketing can be the right choice.

Maybe you’re looking for extra income, or a main income, far higher than your salary. Whichever it is, it’s achievable if you are prepared to put a little work in. Because despite what you read online, there are no overnight riches waiting for you.

But how much work and effort would you have to put into an offline business? The answer is a hell of a lot more than building an online one. And with an online business you don’t even have to leave your PC.

Not only that, but the cost difference is staggering. Offline, you’re looking at thousands of pounds to set up, but online you can start with hosting at around £10 a month and a domain name for a mere £10 a year.

Now that’s exciting. And every successful affiliate marketer started online the same way. A website, a willing-to-learn attitude and the understanding that they’ll get out of it, what they put in.

But here’s what makes affiliate marketing so special. It’s the fastest, safest and most expandable way to make money online.


You can use tools like WordPress to shave days off setting up, as it now takes just a few hours.

You can be up and running fast and continue to grow your site at your own pace. You don’t need any products of your own, payment processing, on-site help or have to deal with deliveries, payments or returns, all of which would take months to set up. With affiliate marketing you can start right now.


We’re talking about building a solid business, not something which will soon be past its sell by date, or get you banned from the search engines. What’s the point of setting up, only to have to do it again when what you thought was a shortcut to an online income, burns out overnight? Your own website saves you from all that.

Don’t believe those who suggest they have a ‘push button’ solution, as it doesn’t exist. Also ignore those who tell you that you don’t need your own website.

Promoting on other sites only leaves you wide open to the potential risks of being shut down or banned. You need your own online real estate to avoid any problems.

Most expandable

Once you have chosen your niche, you’ll find many affiliate products you can earn commission from in networks such as Clicksure.

As your website grows, so can the offers you promote, which means more income streams. You can also expand in to other niches, which you’ll probably want to do, once you see how easy it is to set your website up.

Your very own website is by far the best way to build your affiliate business online. And it’s much faster and easier to set up than you probably think.

The simplicity of affiliate marketing

With affiliate marketing, you choose products to promote on your site, relevant to your content, which have what is known as an ‘affiliate programme’.

This simply means that the company, or ‘merchant’, is prepared to pay you for any sales they get, when someone clicks through from your site and buys.

You use a simple link on your site, which when clicked, identifies you as the one who sent one of your visitors to the merchant’s site. If that visitor buys, you earn a commission. How much? Well this varies and is between around 4 per cent right up to 75 per cent of the sale. You are normally paid bi-weekly or monthly on the sales from the previous period.

No other online opportunities compare to affiliate marketing

You sell other peoples products, online, with just a website link and earn a commission. You don’t deal with customers yourself. No face to face, phone calls, emails, no contact at all.
You are effectively an anonymous ‘agent’ for the company or merchant selling the products. No stock to keep, no premises, just a PC and internet connection.

There are thousands of affiliate programmes online. You can be an affiliate for literally millions of products in virtually every niche imaginable.

What you earn depends on how seriously you take it. Remember it’s your business and if you take it seriously it can be life changing. There are affiliates earning millions a year and those earning £50 a month. You get out of it what you put in.

A recent nationwide survey in the UK has found a growing number of teenagers are running successful online businesses from their bedrooms. Some 21,000 teenagers are earning in excess of £60,000 (approximately $95,000) per annum, nearly three times the average UK salary. Those numbers only just scratch the service and the internet has been responsible for creating more millionaires than any other business channel in recent years.

Helen Southgate, senior online marketing manager at BSkyB and the Internet Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) affiliate marketing council chair, is keen to allay the fears of those suspicious of web-based income schemes: ‘Affiliate marketing is an excellent way to generate an income from online advertising, regardless of the size of your business,’ she says. ‘It has been growing in stature and is highly regarded by key advertisers from large blue chip companies to SMEs.’

How do you get started with affiliate marketing?

You need your own website to do this the right way. The cost for hosting is around $10 a month and a domain name is around $10 a year. That’s it, you don’t need to pay for anything else when you start. Once you have this you can set up your website using WordPress which is included with your hosting.

WordPress is perfect when you’re starting out as you don’t need programming or HTML skills to build your site. A few clicks sets it up on your domain and it’s easy to add your posts, images and other content using the word processor like interface.

You can find many professional-looking WordPress themes too, which instantly make your site look how you want it to. Then you need content for your website, which is easy to write with a little research into your niche on Google.

Product reviews make for great content, so you can read how others are doing it and re-write your own reviews for products in your niche. Then you need products to promote.
You can find these individually and join lots of affiliate programmes, or join an affiliate network, which has lots of niche products in one place.

ClickSure is a popular affiliate network, and another option is Clickbank, which focuses on digital products. There are thousands to choose from to promote on your website.
CJ Affiliate (formally Commission Junction) also offers a huge selection of products for you to promote. They deal in all kinds of niches and products, not just digital.
Amazon Associates is the affiliate programme for Amazon and you can earn by promoting any of its products. You can do the same with eBay too, if you prefer working with giant household names.

Once you have your website up, content and affiliate links live, you simply keep updating your site and begin to attract visitors. This is too large a subject to go into here, but the most people start by using social media and writing high quality, long, useful content, so it gets picked up and ranked in the search engines for free visitors.

So to recap . . .

  • You build a site around a ‘niche’. Weight loss, football, dog training, internet marketing, software… the list is endless
  • You find products relevant and beneficial to your niche, which have an affiliate programme
  • You join the affiliate programmes
  • Get your personalised link or banners etc
  • Use them in your reviews and blog posts to direct your visitors to the products
  • When they buy . . . you earn.

You don’t need any premises, stock, staff, transport, equipment, resources or capital. You don’t deal with staff, customers, returns, complaints or refunds. In fact, you are to all intents and purposes anonymous.

Affiliate marketing is a great way to start earning an income from home, without the stress of developing your own products and dealing with customers.
It’s very low cost to start and the rewards with a little work can be considerable.

This article was supplied by ClickSure.

Further reading on why affiliate marketing can work for your business

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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