4 Beginner Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Have you ever asked, why isn’t it working? Why am I not converting any sales?  It can be often frustrating when our Affiliate Marketing business isn’t achieving the goals we have set out.  In this post we will explore common beginner affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid.  Many of these are down to our mindset, but that doesn’t mean we cannot rescue the situation.  Affiliate Marketing is awesome business model for a work from home job, done correctly and avoiding these mistakes.

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE – One of the ways I try to cover the costs of maintaining Best Affiliate Marketing Tools is via a small number of affiliate partnerships (with tools I genuinely use) where I get a small percentage commission on sales made via referral. You don’t pay any more for purchasing via my affiliate links.  If you click one of my affiliate links, your support is really appreciated!  Learn more here.

Let’s get into the Mistakes to Avoid…

Irrelevant & Confusing Content

Staying highly relevant to your audience is paramount to succeeding in Affiliate Marketing.  It is also easy to be too broadIrrelevant & Confused Content when choosing a niche.  The narrower you can choose a niche the more likely you will start to see better traffic and conversions.  But many when starting out think they have chosen a ‘Niche” when actually they have chosen a category.  For example, they choose home appliances and create loads of content about too many different types of home appliances – kitchen, lounge, smart tech, lighting, etc.  When someone clicks on their website and sees a lot of content that has a loose connection, it can show that the website owner is just clutching at anything.  The reader gets confused about the message and decides to look elsewhere.  So, a key element is narrowing the niche down as much as possible:

  • Home Appliances
    • Kitchen
      • Food Preparation
        • Microwaves
        • Oven
          • Oven Cleaners
          • Oven Gloves

The narrower you can start, the better you will find becoming an authority site on that niche.

Also, consider the fact that when someone clicks on a link about a given subject, that is what they will find.  I find it very frustrating when you click on a link about something, and the web page just has a load of ads and nothing to do with what I was looking for.  You need to ensure you put your reader first in all decisions.

Selling Instead of Helping

Selling not HelpingI have never liked going into a showroom and having a sales advisor selling a product to me. I would rather check out everything and then if I had any questions, I would ask a sales advisor.  It is the same online, people are looking for help online.  Whether it be a problem they have (which you have the answer to) or help understanding a product.  Readers want to know what the product is, what benefits there are to that product, your opinion on that product before they can make up their own mind.

If you constantly sell to their readers without answering these questions you will find you fail.  Help them with these questions and conversions will happen.

Ineffective Introductions & Conclusions

Let’s be honest, not many people will read every paragraph in your post.  You have 2 opportunities to grab their attention and inspire them to read the rest.  If the first paragraph (introduction) does not grab them, then you have no chance.  You have about 30 seconds to get them to want to read the rest and respect your opinion.  That is your Featured Image (needs to be highly relevant to what they are looking for) and a couple of sentences that make them believe they will get the answers they want.

If you grab this attention, you need to ensure the conclusion to the post is a succinct review of the post with a clear message.

I notice I do it with Video Game reviews, I read the intro and check out the final verdict. Then I decide whether I will dig into more of the article.  We cannot help it, our attention spans are not designed to sit there and read a massive volume of text, unless it grabs our attention.  This is key to ensuring you avoid these mistakes.

Not Doing Keyword Research

I recently wrote a great post on the importance of doing keyword research, check it out for more detailed information.  But if you are not doing effective keyword research for your posts, how will you get any traffic.

Writing Content is only part of the process, without any traffic you will find it very hard to succeed at Affiliate Marketing.  Ensure you complete keyword research and choose keywords that will help you get traffic, I like the low-hanging-fruit technique, check out more here.

Take this post, if I used the keyword ‘Affiliate Marketing Mistakes’ I could only hope to get a chunk of what is only 40 searches a month, with 200 competing posts for the same keyword.  By choosing a better keyword “beginner affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid” that changes the dynamic completely, over 100 monthly searches with 13 competing posts.

Being Impatient & Cutting Corners

Success in Affiliate Marketing is about the long game, it will not become a success overnight.  It takes time and effort, but where newbies get it wrong is they get impatient and start cutting corners.  Watch out for these as they can end up destroying your chances of becoming successful.

Using a Low-Quality Website with Duplicate Content

It can be easy to buy into these ideas where they sell you the idea of a website where you do not need to create any content.  It is all done for you, and you just need to sit there and watch the money come in…  Yeah, I wish.

Duplicate ContentThese will not make you any money.  The search engines (like Google) have ways to identify duplicate content and will penalise the website with it on.  Meaning you will not appear in the search results = meaning no conversions.

Your website needs to part of your brand, so it needs to be high quality with content that is unique and created by you on your given niche helping people – that is how you succeed at Affiliate Marketing.

Buying ‘Fake’ Traffic

If you search online, there are opportunities to buy traffic.  They promise it is real traffic with real people.  I have tried it in the past.  Fake

Your Google Analytics lights up with loads of traffic, and it might help with rankings (a little).  But what I found was, there was no cut through with this traffic and it had more of a detrimental effect once you have stopped buying the traffic as your traffic drastically drops.  And, none of this traffic actually is real – as they didn’t interact with the posts or join the email list, etc.

So, I would focus more on getting natural rankings and interactions, this will help your conversions much better.

Following the Herd (Shiny Object Syndrome)

What I mean by this, and I have been guilty of it in the past, is trying something too early because everyone is doing it.  I’ll give you an example, as part of my Wealthy Affiliate membership there is weekly webinars and the last couple of weeks has been about Managing Website Design through CSS.

Following the HerdThis is great training, don’t get me wrong, But I could go away and spend ages on messing with the design of my websites – but at the end of the day, it is the content that is important in the early days.  So what I am saying is focus on creating relevant content, don’t add an email list until you are getting plenty of traffic (it is another feature you need to keep checking on, that gets in the way of creating content). Video is great, but if you are not sure how to do it and you are not getting a lot of traffic, then focus on written content.

There are plenty of examples where an experienced Affiliate Marketer will be doing something, and you think it would be great to do in your business (shiny object – it is working for them, so I will do it).  But most of these things are for when you are scaling your business.  That is key, when you start converting sales, that is when you can start exploring these different aspects.

Our Own Expectations

There are a few bits with Affiliate Marketing, where we need to hard on ourselves when it comes to our expectations:

  • Passive Income – yes, but only when it has started converting sales
  • Timelines – the time it takes to start converting
  • Effort – the effort required to turn it into a scalable business

BusinessMost people looking for ways to earn money online comes down to the dislike of their day job.  So, it is understandable that they want to build this business as quickly as possible to leave their day job.  The problem comes from the fact that searching online you can find so many promises of a system that can turn you into a millionaire overnight.  Whilst these are typically scamming people, it doesn’t stop people believing them and falling into the traps.

Affiliate Marketing is a very legitimate way of earning money – but it is a business and not a past-time.

We also need to consider our expectations with how much we can earn.  I recently read a great post about how a fellow affiliate marketer’s first goal was to earn $33 a day.  It doesn’t sound much, but that is $990/month.

If one of your goals is paying off debt towards being able to work from home, that is a massive step forward.  But when you think $33, it doesn’t seem much.

Most brick businesses will not turn a profit within 12 months, I know the overheads are lower with an online business, but I didn’t earn anything online for 6 months.

You need to stay motivated that the conversions will come.  Set yourself your first financial target (keep it realistic), then once you achieve it you can target a higher target.

Ultimately Not Treating It Like a Business!

Affiliate Marketing is a business model and not something you can play at!  To avoid these mistakes, that is the number one piece of advice I can give you.

Highly relevant Quality Content on a Quality Website that Helps People will always win out against the rest.

It is a great way of earning money online, but requires time, effort and focus to reap the benefits of it.  If you would like an awesome step-by-step guide that takes you through the correct steps for starting an online affiliate marketing business, I recommend you read my Wealthy Affiliate review.

If you are struggling with affiliate marketing, it might be down to a number of the reasons we have gone through in this post, there may be others.  But I am hoping you have a better understanding of the main reasons, and that is down to our mindset with it.

Starting a business takes a lot out of us and losing patience with it is easily done.  But remain focused on the reason why you want to succeed at Affiliate Marketing – My reasons are it will allow me more time to spend with my family.

I am sure you will have your own reasons, share them with me in the comments below.

If you need any help or advice to do with affiliate marketing or you need help getting out of the rut of your current business – drop me a note below in the comments and I will try to help in any way I can.

22 thoughts on “4 Beginner Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid”

    • Thanks Rod,
      I haven’t quite got to the point of adding a list builder, but I appreciate you like the content. Keep on eye out and I will be adding that ability in due course
      thanks again Rod

  1. These are some great tips you have here, and are ones I think everyone should abide by if they want to succeed.

    I think two of the main points that are very important is first of all treat this as a real business and get into the mindset that it will take work and time to see good results.

    And secondly doing proper keywords research is key to getting high converting traffic to your site.

    If you do these two things only, I think you’ll be able to succeed.

    • Hey Michael,

      thanks for taking the time to check out my post and leave your thoughts.

      Getting into the right mindset about this being an online business is so important, being able to plan, do and review around an online business is paramount to success.

      You are also so right around keyword research, getting your content found and on page one is key to getting any traffic.  Traffic is the key to success, whilst quality content leads to conversions.

      Thanks again Michael


  2. Thanks for great reminder! I’m a noob in this field and glad to find your post. Persistence and patience is the key when it come to this field. Sometimes I lost my motivation to create content but thank you for this reminder to be going at it and the result will come. 

    • Hi Sophorn,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving your comments.

      I know exactly how you must feel, creating content when you are not seeing results can be quite demotivating – but you have got to believe that it will yield the results by sticking to it.   The Results Will Come!!

      When you start getting comments on your website and the traffic starts coming in, you will totally see that it was worth it.

      I wish you luck with your affiliate marketing business, if you ever need any help get in touch



  3. Why I’m not making a ton of money by now is actually something I am constantly answering. Although to be honest, I kind of know the answer to that! Lack of posts and being impatient. For the first year I posted at least 4-6 times a month and now it has dwindled a lot due to me having a baby and being too busy. I am still trying to get back into things but like you say, i have to start treating it like a business! Thanks for a great post:)

    • Hey Hollie Rose,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving comments.  i feel your pain, I lost motivation with my first niche website and totally fell off the wagon and wondering why i was getting no traffic.  Also, I know how difficult it is to find time for anything when you have a baby to look after.  

      But focus on one thing at a time, if you only get an hour a day across the week you could plan what you do each day – keyword research for an hour, creating titles and subtitles for your posts for an hour, website maintenance and Research for an hour, Creating Content for an Hour.  

      You will be surprised at how much more productive you will be.  My biggest mistake in the beginning was research one keyword, research the topic, write the content all in one sitting and wondering why I wasn’t achieving as much as I could.

      Keep going Hollie Rose, if you focus and treat it like a business you will easily grow your business and earning money from it too.



  4. You make some interesting points. And although you say these are beginner mistakes, I feel a lot of the more experienced bunch can still learn from this.

    For example, inefficient keyword research is something that I see all the time, that together with selling instead of helping. Sometimes I’m reading other people’s review and I have to smile, because they want to make it sound like they’re helping, but actually it is just one advertising review.

    Keep up the good work guys!

    • Hey Jurgen,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      Appreciate you sharing your experience with this – you are right there are many sites out there that are guilty of it.  The key to anything is never saying you know everything, if you can constantly learn you will always be ready to adapt to anything.

      thanks again Jurgen


  5. this is an amazing post and it should be read by many. You are so right about how many make so many mistakes in the beginning. 

    I usually see this a lot and those people usually quit very fast because they are not seen results. 

    The information you share here is crucial and all newbies should take notes. Thanks for sharing! Much success to you in your journey! 

    • Hey Andrea,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      It is a shame how many actually quite before they see any results, when if they had just managed their expectations a little, they might actually be sitting there with an online business earning them money.

      Thanks again Andrea


  6. This is a really in-depth article on making a start on affiliate marketing. I don’t think you’ve left anything out! Too many people as you said are looking for a quick escape from the rat race but you need time to build a business online just as you do in a bricks and mortar business. 

    I like the way this is explained in a transparent honest way.

    Great work! 

    • Hey Darren,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      We have all been there, the day job is a drag and we are looking for a fix by looking for an online route.  

      I think the main problem is there are that many ads stating there is a system that will make you a millionaire overnight that everyone believes earning online is quick and easy.

      Well, I am still waiting to find one of these that are genuine and isn’t a pyramid scheme to rip you off.

      Your own online business will help you achieve your goals… IF, you do it the right way.

      thanks again Darren

  7. I can’t agree with you more. Most people who start affiliate marketing are looking for money and naturally they focus on selling instead of helping. But the truth is that this strategy does not work. 

    You can only make money when you add value and you can add value when you focus on helping others.

    Buying fake traffic, using duplicate content and other failed strategies are a result of “how to get money fast” mindset. I strongly believe that you are right and affiliate marketers who focus on helping others by quality products are the long run winners.



    • Hey Albert,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      Selling or forcing your ideas on people is not a sound strategy, it is more likely to put people off.  No one likes a pushy salesmen.  Helping is the key to Affiliate Marketing, and anything online really.

      thanks again Albert


  8. All the mistakes that you have pointed out are all the things that are happening to me right now. I’m want really fast result and at the end, my contents are not good. 

    Now, I’m take a break to relax my mind. Complete the task that always bothers me all the time. 

    Thanks for this article. I’ll bookmark it as my own reminder.

    • Hey Amer,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.

      There will always be that push for the work you are putting in to yield results.  But by rushing and cutting corners, you will never reach your goals and can easily get downhearted that it doesn’t work.

      Trust me, you need to take a step back and relax.  Remember to help the readers and you will soon see results, but don’t skip the training you are following.  Wealthy Affiliate’s training is designed to be thorough and if you follow it to the letter, you will not fall into the pitfalls I have spoke about in this article.

      hope that helps, thanks


  9. Great tips! I think it is vital to be able to identify and actively avoid the main pitfalls that can hinder or derail an online business. I think it is very important to remember that even though you cannot physically touch your business, it is still a business.

    I think buying traffic is one of the most dangerous things to do, especially because so many people try to sell you fake traffic.

    • Hey Renton,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments – You are so right about buying traffic.  All it ends up doing is spiking your traffic for a few days, but with no real results (conversions) and then the traffic drops dramatically and the search engines see this as your content is not engaging.  I wouldn’t do it at all, I tried it on a site to measure the effects and it was not great.

      Thanks again


  10. Hey, John and Gemma!

    As an affiliate marketer myself, I think I’ve lost count of the number of mistakes I’ve made over the years. Whether that’s a good thing or not, I don’t know lol.

    I can certainly relate to some of the mistakes you’ve highlighted, like selling, cutting corners, rolling with a poor-quality site, and especially investing in one shiny object to the next. These were some of the mistakes I made when I fisrt started out online in 1999!

    And because I didn’t know “the right way” how to do affiliate marketing, for years I struggled to get a successful Biz off the ground.

    Like you say, when we treat affiliate marketing as a “business” and put all of our efforts into building a business (without cutting any corners), we can be super successful.

    I also certainly agree that focus, time and patience play key roles because without these jigsaw pieces firmly in place, it can lead to the lack of income.


    • Hey Neil,

      thanks for checking out my post and leaving some comments.  Appreciate your thoughts on this subject, we have all made mistakes – but a big part of that is learning from it to become better.  Helping others avoid the most common mistakes will hopefully mean they don’t make as many.

      You are so right about the time and effort required, but it needs to be effective time and effort – people can get lost in social media because it helps your business but you forget to do the basics and it will never work.

      Thanks again



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