99% of All Affiliate Marketers Make These 10 Mistakes.

I see it again and again, 99% of the time, every affiliate marketing newbie that enters this world and/or comes to me with questions, keeps asking me the same things and making the same mistakes. What are they?

Well you’re about to find out and I’m telling you, if you can correct these issues and do the right thing, you’re going to be successful:

affiliate marketing mistakes

10) They’re looking for that “fastest” and “easiest” way to make money.

Some call it shiny object syndrome, some call it laziness, but in my experience this is just a normal hurdle every affiliate marketer has to go through and the reason why is because most programs that “say” they teach about this business, give off that impression.

I have never in my life met any newbie or affiliate marketer who entered this business with this intent in mind that has actually done it. And if you think you’re going to be the exception, let me ask you this:

Has this mentality worked for you yet? If not, then abandon it, please. Not only will you actually clear your mind and focus on real work, but you’ll stop looking for cheap ways to make money, which will result in cheap ways you lose money.

Expecting to make easy money through cheap labor is a very faulty mindset. If you think you can make a website, sell an affiliate program with little or no effort, then you really need to put yourself in the mind of the person who will be visiting your site and ask if you would trust yourself if someone was trying to sell you something in a cheap way.

Odds are you wouldn’t trust them. This and a plethora of other factors is the reason why a get rich quick mentality 100% of the time FAILS.

9) They don’t focus on 1 approach to marketing (for starters).

I blame this in part of the plethora of bad training programs out there that keep saying their method is the best. Affiliate marketing is a single type of business, but to make it work can involve going through different options. I am going to list the most popular ones and briefly explain why they are good or why they aren’t:

FB Ads. Not good for beginners, it’s also pretty complex if you’re starting from zero.

Bing Ads, Adwords. Same type of stuff as FB ads, and thus the same thoughts.

Pinterest. Ok for beginners, but still not good enough for total beginners.

Article Marketing through directories. Dead option, forget it, here’s why article directories are bad.

Forum Marketing. Good luck getting your comment with a link to your site approved, it just doesn’t happen anymore. Forum marketing is also very much useless.

Paid online surveys. This is one of the worst things you can become involved with, trust me. Just forget it, you’re going to close the doors on your success if you get involved with this. Here’s why paid online surveys don’t make you good money.

MLM programs. 99% failure rate. Also very often, you’re dealing with pyramid schemes. Here’s why I don’t promote MLM programs as an affiliate marketing

High ticket programs. 99% failure rate and high costs, not recommended. High ticket programs, particularly educational ones are usually bad. There are ethical high ticket products you can promote, but you have to know the difference.

List building. No point in getting involved with this unless you have a real, good traffic source. Most programs teach this approach, but fail to mention the plethora of other factors that will make it a success, so don’t get involved in this UNLESS you have a good online business, traffic and profits coming in. Read this post on list building to understand what it really takes to succeed.

Solo Ads. ROI is generally very low for solo ads and you spend too much on clicks that generally don’t convert.

Ad swap. Same advice as Solo Ads

And there’s others, but generally the plethora of programs I’ve looked into have taught one or more of the above methods and frankly, most of them suck for beginners.

What do I recommend?

Good old, niche marketing with SEO and YouTube.

Yes it’s hard work, and yes it takes awhile, but success in this opens the doors to use more advanced methods like FB Ads, Adwords, Bing and many other LEGIITMATE forms of marketing to drive more traffic and affiliate sales to your site.

In my opinion, a solid niche site and YouTube channel with SEO optimized content is the BEST way for beginners to start. It is very inexpensive and very rewarding. The best program that teaches this method is Wealthy Affiliate.

8) They stick to the wrong approach.

With the options I mentioned above, that are taught in vague ways by the many bad programs out there, people who buy and study these programs often don’t know the reality of how hard it is to make them work, but they stick to it and keep parroting the methods they are taught.

With the Wealthy Affiliate program I recommend every newbie start with, I find many people ask me questions about for example, email marketing and the best way to collect a list, neglecting the many realities of getting a list and making it work (targeted traffic, good offers, valued content in emails, ect…). But because they were taught this wrong stuff in a bad program, they figured this must be the only way and thus go into other programs (Some good) with this mindset of the wrong training propelling them. 

7) They don’t promote affiliate programs/services/products that they actually know about.

Affiliate marketers are very quick to promote the most expensive product or program (like high ticket schemes), or find the most “profitable niche” in a flash. But…

  • Do they know about it? No.
  • Have they tried it? No.
  • Do they have even a shred of experience in it? No. 

Is it any wonder why when they go out, make their sites or promote to their list, that the content they produce sucks? So yeah, don’t make that mistake, find your niche here

And here are at least 50 niches to consider.

6) They get their traffic from the wrong sources. 

Most of the bad programs I come across teach list building and buying traffic from traffic exchange companies. This usually results in the affiliate marketer mistakenly buying lots of traffic packages for high prices, sending them to an opt in page or worse directly linking (another mistake I’ll mention) and getting little to no sign ups/sales.

The lesson here is: Don’t buy traffic from traffic exchange programs or any place for that matter until you know the difference between regular junk traffic and targeted traffic and how to get the latter, and where. Even when you do, I’d still be conservative about it and stick to Bing Ads. 

5) They directly link to a check out page.

I knew better and I still tried to pull direct linking off several times. Each time it’s failed. People simply don’t buy right away in 99% of cases. Always lead them to a quality page that reviews whatever you’re selling before you actually send them off through your promotional link and make sure your review is good. Get tips on how to write a good product review here.

Quick recommendation:

4) They don’t understand that affiliate marketing is an actual, long term business and treat it like it’s short term.

Sure exceptions happen, but let me tell you, if you expect to make a little site and have it make you $1,000 a month out of nothing, you’re looking at this business in the short term. A real affiliate marketing business that makes serious money, for the long run is made by a person who has that mindset and works hard and by the way…

3) Working hard is a part of being a successful affiliate. 

This may go back to the get rich quick point, but generally, people seeking easy money or fast results aren’t ready or even willing to work hard. Therefore, their results will be cheap, wasted and a fruitless. 

2) They look for too many automation tools and accessories they don’t need.

Backlink programs, Moz stuff, competition spy tools, the best auto responder, and generally flashy stuff for “internet businesses”. Believe me, you don’t need most of that. All you need is:

A) A good training program. Again, it’s Wealthy Affiliate.

B) A keyword tool.

C) A site and hosting.

You need that to start, then when it builds, you can decide on what you need to add to the business. At most, I’d go with a better hosting plan (if you need it) and then an autoresponder, but never backlink packages or spy tools.

1) They don’t try to connect/befriend their leads/traffic/customers. 

People who sign up to your list, who receive your offers/promotions need to know you’re someone they can trust. A trust worthy person is someone who a lead is ready to hang their money to. 

Now you should apply this tactic ethically, but you need to understand this relationship you’re having and why trust is going to lead to sales. 

Update: I have a second site on affiliate marketing specifically, where I not only explain more affiliate marketing mistakes, but more importantly how to do it right. It’s called HelpingHandAffiliate.com and you can learn more there.

30 thoughts on “99% of All Affiliate Marketers Make These 10 Mistakes.”

  1. You made some solid points. The most I have seen the most on this list is new people coming in and none treating this like a long term business. 

    Me personally I never really had that mindset even when I first started of getting rich quick. I knew even a regular brick and mortar takes time for you to get into profit after you invest and pull out loans for your business. I never tried solo ads nor have I tried any type of article marketing. In the beginning I was just relying on content creation through SEO and other free traffic methods like social media. Then I got into some ads, mostly ppc for bing, and it has worked out well for me, like you said though in the very beginning I wouldn’t really worry about it. 

    Content creation on your site and SEO optimized posts on your site should be your main things to really worry about. The beginners that come and see this article will find a lot of benefit in it thank you for sharing your thoughts.


  2. Great Post! I think this post covers the hard hitting facts that no one wants to talk about. In the age of instant gratification it seems difficult for people to grasp the concept of hard work. It is easier to think that there must be an easier way or faster way. I think that people honestly looking for a legitimate business opportunity will find great value in this post.

    The main takeaway for me is that you must respect your online business. Rather than focusing on the fancy tools, build the skeleton and body with hard work and dedication and focus on quality content especially in your first few years as I believe this is when you have to get the quick riches mentality out of your head.

  3. I must say, I still make some of these mistakes, especially the first one, it is so easy to get sucked into new opportunities,especially if you are not seeing results. Its not as bad as before but every now and then, I go through the Warrior Forum and think about buying something from the marketplace. The problem is that SEO is hard, and keeping up with Google is a challenge, especially when you follow the rules and then suddenly you see your rankings tank from some Google algorithm update.

    • Hi Minhaj, you need to know that rankings will move around and if you don’t do anything crazy bad with SEO, then even when algorithm changes happen, it won’t hit your site badly. You can’t look at any changes in rankings and call it a “tanking”, it’s simply a minor adjustment.

  4. Great information and I agree with what you’re saying. The problem is that there’s so much info available about what you need and how to do it. When you start as a beginner, it won’t take long before you discover all those shiny tools that promise to make your life easier when it comes to making money online.

    I think it is part of the learning process. You need to see what’s out there, try it for yourself and see if it has value. I’ve done it also. Especially in the beginning when I got daily seductive emails from the latest Jvzoo programs 🙂

    • Yeah there’s a whole inner network of people within JVZoo who only make their money from selling their products to newbies who will be able to use those programs fully. There’s still merit in making products there and even buying them, but only when you’re experienced enough and most people I see who buy JVZoo products aren’t.

  5. I must admit, I made the mistake of your very first point- I wanted the fastest and easiest way to make money. I wasn’t prepared for the long grind and wanted immediate answers as soon as possible. Through the years and a lot of practice, I can relate wholly to your number 5 point about linking to a checkout page. 

    People need to read the content and what is available, not just go to the buy now page. IF you engage your readers and you have something they are interested in, then they will themselves gravitate towards the checkout page. These are great points! 

  6. I couldn’t agree more with your article, and frankly, I did quite a few of those things when I started out. The beginning is so silent, there’s not much traffic, not much sales, and many deceitful advertisers make you feel like the startup phase can be full of sales and traffic “if you buy this…”. As a result, it’s easy to get anxious or impatient, and try things that are a waste of time. I appreciate your explanations here. Great advice.

  7. One other little thing I find a bit puzzling in #10:

    You mentioned article marketing as being a dead option. I may be in left field but what’s the difference between content creation within a niche website and article marketing?

    Maybe I’m still looking at this the old fashion way but I thought article marketing was still a valid method, as we write reviews, lessons, series segments, etc are all types of articles. What do you mean by “article marketing” here?

    • Article marketing refers to writing content on article directories Daniel. Writing articles for your site is still considered content creation but on YOUR site, which is a different platform. I say that article marketing is dead because article directories are no longer a good way to do SEO. I hope this clears things up 🙂

  8. Hey Vitaliy, 

    I agree completely on the marketing channel part! When I first started, I was stuck for a year because I was focusing on forum marketing and solo ads, non-stop.

    I spammed like crazy until I got banned from a few forum sites including Yahoo Answers and I wasted thousands of dollars on solo ads because they were so expensive and practically useless.

    I realized that the real approach is to be transparent and instead of going after leads, make them come to you by being transparent and sharing your experiences on a certain topic. Wished I had read your article first, I would have saved myself a lot of time :/

    • It’s alright Riaz, I also learned about these mistakes from making many of them mindset, this is how most of us learn and it’s OK as long as evolve and make the right changes to succeed. 

  9. Love your tips. I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps with my site recently and haven’t managed to work too much on it. I’ve had my site for about a year and a half now and haven’t made much money- I know with hard work I can but I have to continue to stimulate myself. Anyway your article has helped. Thanks for that!

    • No problem Hollie. I know what you’re going through because I’ve also gone through this experience many times too. I know how hard it can be to find that inspiration when the site just doesn’t seem to build traction fast enough. If you want, tell me more about this site you have, the niche it’s on, what you’ve done so far with it and I’d be happy to see what can be done to help it grow.

  10. I’m glad I came across this article. I typically always do a bunch of research on different ways to bring traffic to my site. I created my site a month or so ago and I have found a way that works for me to get small but steady amount of traffic to my site. 

    I’ll take your recommendations of what not to do into consideration, but I will still do my research on all of them for the time being. Once again thanks for sharing this, keep up the fabulous work.

  11. Hi there,

    Thanks for posting this article – over the years I’ve tried almost all of the things you mentioned – with the exception (until now) of the thing that you say works.

    I’ve learned now that the only way to succeed in affiliate marketing is to provide good quality, in depth content. A few of the training’s I’ve seen (including the one you link to here) suggest that the only way to succeed is to put your customers first with good quality articles and reviews and I’m finding that it’s really working.

    All the other stuff – FB ads, Pinterest, Instagram Influencers etc might work for some but they’ve not worked for me. Good quality content is all that matters.

    Thanks again!


  12. Hey!

    I’m new to affiliate marketing and I’m being targeted through Facebook ads for lead automation programs. The webinars I sign up for all seem to be too good to be true. 

    Do you know what these lead automation programs are? I guess this is me falling into your automation category. I’m hard working but love the idea of just paying for traffic.

    Thank you

    • Hi Lisa, I know exactly what’s happening here. Basically there are numerous marketers all advertising on FB to people who have liked pages or topics relating to making money online and/or you may have visited their site outside of FB and they used a pixel to retarget you with ads on FB once you were back (it’s a form of tracking to advertise to you later).

      But in short, what these people are doing is trying to advertise an “easy” way to make money via you enter your email and then hitting you up with a webinar. In these webinars, they are likely pitching an “easy” system that makes you easy money and it’s probably tied to some high ticket system you’ll have to buy.

      While it sounds like an amazing thing, believe me, it won’t be cheap and it certainly won’t be easy. This is just the unfortunate, and new trend going on. 

      While advertising on FB and other networks is legit, it’s important to know how to do that properly and the Wealthy Affiliate program helps you do this.

  13. Most of this I agree with. Good old SEO is dependable. Pinterest, and Twitter, I’m actually really new to so I’m not in full understanding of how to truly gain a large following.

    Google + has actually given me more than I expected out of it. It’s nice to say that at the very beginning of my affiliate marketing career, I am getting web traffic and making some changes here and there after my first month.

    Facebook on the other hand I think is useful. Maybe it’s confusing for some but I found this to be the easiest place to go to at the start. Maybe it’s because I had the most experience with it or maybe it’s just my niche. Facebook has given me the most success. I spent $5 to boot a post and I still have people visiting my website because I reached the right people. What do you think?

    • Well in regards to FB, it depends, did boosting the post increase just the traffic or sales as well? Because getting views is actually a simple thing, it’s getting the right views which convert which is hard, that’s what I would look at and if you’re not, then I would adjust the ads you’re running Jonathan. 

  14. I’ve actually managed to avoid most of the mistakes that you mentioned, except for MLMs. It was one of the things I tried to make extra money on prior to learning about affiliate marketing. Needless to say, it didn’t work for me.

    Anyway, back to the topic, I recently received a free trial for some kind of competition spy tool. How are they considered flashy stuff? I thought they function the same as SERP analysis or am I missing something here?

    • Competition spy tools are overrated and indeed they do show the same kind of data keyword tools do, but I consider them flashy because they are pitched as though they are some sort of secret key to beat your competition. 

      They give you numbers on your competitors backlinks and keywords they show up for basically, but they try to have you pay monthly for their tool which is often over priced (See SEMRush, I make a good point about it there) and I make the case that even if you have these numbers, you still can find them on your own and make the necessary adjustments in your business to have it grow on it’s own, you just don’t need those types of tools. Regular keyword tools, sure, but spy tools for SEO, nope.

  15. Hi Vitaliy,

    There were a few eye-openers on this list. Although all of them was great advice for newbies (myself included), number 9, was most insightful to me.

    One hears so much talk about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and even Instagram marketing, that I honestly didn’t know where to go, and since I am not a fan of social media, I wasn’t doing anything.

    So you recommend just writing high quality posts, using good keywords?


    • Well if you’re heading in the direction of free traffic and SEO, then yes Sharlee. This option has FAR more merit than most of the other options you mentioned.


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