Why Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work & What to Do About It

If you are here, you might be considering whether affiliate marketing really works? There are plenty of reasons why affiliate marketing might not be working for you and you are looking for help to turn the corner and make it work.  But let me answer that first question – does affiliate marketing work?  Yes, totally but there are some factors to consider when thinking about why it might not be working for you.

First off, there is no big secret as to how it works and a lot of it comes down to one factor – Patience.

The Biggest Factor to Achieving with Affiliate Marketing is Patience

One of the biggest mindsets you need to get out of when starting any online business, including affiliate marketing is thatThe Biggest Factor to Achieving Affiliate Marketing is Patience you will not immediately earn a return for the time you invest.  People sink a lot of time and effort into an affiliate marketing business and will see no return after 3 or even 6 months and walk away from it stating “Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work”, when really 6 months is the point where your website is starting to earn the traction it needs with the search engines to turn your articles into a money-pot.

The main thing I see with struggling affiliate marketers is they are drawn into these training platforms that are not telling you the truth about the need for patience.

Think about it, unless you find a genuine training platform like Wealthy Affiliate that is honest and realistic about the timescales needed to make this successful – Most affiliate marketing (or programs advertising themselves as affiliate marketing) state that you can be earning money really soon after starting…

Whether it is an e-book, a training course or learning from a guru they all lull you in with false promises of a passive income stream that can happen overnight.

In reality, the biggest thing you need to get over is that this is not a reality.  I did not earn anything from affiliate marketing for 6 months and if I had stopped at the 6-month mark I might have been in the same place you are and questioning whether Affiliate Marketing works.

That 6-month point is really important in your affiliate marketing business.  The market is being flooded with people wanting to do affiliate marketing, but as most give up on the 3 or 6-month Google consider this when deciding on where to rank your content.  If a website is still alive after 6-months and is offering high-quality content, that is a great sign for your rankings and will mean that you will start to get good traffic.  Traffic is what you need to make money with affiliate marketing.

Another key reason as to why affiliate marketing does not work for some is because they do not know how to do it properly.

Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work Because People Do Not Know How to Do It the Right Way

Another big reason as to why affiliate marketing does not work for most marketers is because they are learning from scammers. There are thousands of products out there claiming to be the best affiliate marketing training, but in reality, have been put there by fraudsters to get your money or personal information and leaves those that fall for the trap believing affiliate marketing does not work.

They give away enough information to get you to buy the product, but not enough information for you to find any success with their tactics.

There are many factors to consider making sure affiliate marketing works for you, but you also need a training platform that is honest, can be trusted and ensures you are put on the right track from this point onwards.  We highly recommend the training and tools available at Wealthy Affiliate.  They are the training platform we used when we first started out with Affiliate Marketing and without the support from the team, I might not have stayed the course and saw that first sale after 6 months.

With clear training on choosing a niche, creating a website, writing content that converts and SEO and other marketing methods they are a highly recommended and up-to-date training.  Learn more about what they offer and their success stories within my Wealthy Affiliate Review.

Many Affiliate Marketers are using Outdated Tactics

Another factor as to why affiliate marketing does not work is people using outdated techniques. One Example is using duplicate content.  Some products out there claim that their system will generate you content for your website without you needing to do any work?  How?  They steal another person’s work and display it on your website.

But the search engines are actively looking for duplicate content and using duplicate content will lead only one way – your website and content not getting ranked at all.

What the search engines and people searching via those search engines are looking for is high-quality content that provides value and helps people with their query.

In days gone by, some affiliate marketers used tactics including just writing a 20-page website, and sending unnatural links to it by spamming blogs, comment sections, etc. This would benefit the website for about 3 months, before Google found out and would penalise the site. This technique stopped being effective since a change in Google’s algorithms in 2011.  But I have still seen training material showing affiliate marketers this tactic, even though it will not work at all.

If you can provide high-quality content that helps people and provides value, you have the key ingredient to making affiliate marketing work.  You just need to remain consistent posting this high-quality content regularly to see it turn into a successful affiliate marketing business.

Affiliate Marketers Not Treating It Like a Business

It is possible for anyone to launch a website and start affiliate marketing nowadays.  You can get a free website really easily and little or no financial barrier to getting started.  This brings with it the idea of testing the water with affiliate marketing, with little commitment needed.

This leads some to not get into the right tracks that this is a business model.  It also means they do not have a business plan for their affiliate marketing business.

Think about your current goals, if they are just to make money – then this could be a factor into why it is not working.  Even if you start with small goals, like I am going to write 3-4 articles a week that is a better goal to start with.

We all have a financial goal, and that is normally the main reason why we have chosen affiliate marketing as a way to Setting Goalsachieve that.  But a normal bricks and mortar business will not expect to turn a profit in its first year.  Now, an online business doesn’t have the outlay a normal business does, but why does that mean you can immediately expect it to turn a profit straightaway.

Set yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals that are not about earning money.  It could be creating articles, spending an hour doing proper keyword research, researching your niche and engaging with others in your niche, learning how to get started in video marketing.

There are tons of things that you can set yourself up with, and the beauty is if you are constantly working on your business and creating excellent value – guess what you will start converting this into sales.

Not Getting into the Mindset of an Entrepreneur!

One of the things that I notice about people who say affiliate marketing does not work, they think it works in the same way as working in your day job!

Think about a job that pays by the hour for a moment, you do an hour’s work and you get paid an hourly rate.

Affiliate Marketing does not work in the same way.  A true entrepreneur plays the long game.  I know affiliate marketers who are earning money from articles they wrote years ago, and they are still converting.  The article might need a little update every now and then as things do change, but in essence it is the true way a passive income works through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate Marketing is in definition about playing the long game.  Write a high-quality article that helps, is based on a low-hanging fruit keyword and offers value to the person who reads it.  Once you have posted it to your website and shared it on social media.  You start researching into your next article.  Don’t get hung up on Google Analytics, it can work against you as you will not see a great deal of traffic and that can be demotivating.

Just focus on writing articles, regularly and keep that going for 6 months, then plan for your next 6 months.

I know it is hard to hear, but with effective training and support, it doesn’t need to a journey you travel on your own.

Get the Right Training & Support You Need to Succeed!

One of the things about those early stages of an affiliate marketing business is it can feel kind of lonely.  If no one is interacting with your website, it can seem like you are writing content for no one and it can be something that leads you to believe that affiliate marketing does not work.  But that is why I love the guys at Wealthy Affiliate.

You do not need to do this alone, you can join a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who can help in ways you may not fully understand at this point.

First off, you will gain access to high-quality training that will ensure you are following the right path for your affiliate marketing business.  this includes:

  • Picking the Right Niche – some people start too broad, and end up not being competitive enough and failing
  • Doing Effective Keyword Research – without keyword research you have no chance of ranking your content
  • Writing Quality Content – It is the key ingredient Google is looking for, they want to offer value to their users in the same way you need to with your content
  • Social Media Marketing – this is essential for your business, but you will be surprised how many do not know how to utilise this effectively.

One of the key things that Wealthy Affiliate offer that I have heavily used in my time with them is the ability to learn from some of the Super Affiliate’s that are on their platform.  To be able to learn from them and to ask them questions at any point was really motivating in those early stages before I started earning money from Affiliate Marketing.  With a free starter membership, you can truly experience the platform with no commitments and see how it differs to any training you have experienced in the past and also see the opportunities that lie within.  It is really empowering to live chat with some of these affiliate marketers and learn new techniques that work, with proof.  Read some success stories and try to incorporate it into your online business and learn from some techniques that haven’t worked too.


Let’s just clarify the key points of this post.

  • You need to have a lot of patience with affiliate marketing.  This is not an overnight success route.  If you can only post once a week, it will take a lot longer to get the search engines trust and the rankings that this means to get traffic.
  • If you feel you have not had the best training, you need to go back to basics and learn it from the best training platform out there – Wealthy Affiliate.
  • The only tactic you need to concentrate on is doing the right keyword research and posting high-quality content that provides value and helps the reader
  • This is an online business model – if you are currently playing at it, what will it take for you to commit?
  • Think like an entrepreneur! Don’t work to get paid, work to build a future for yourself and your family.
  • Get the Right Training and Support – Read my Wealthy Affiliate Review and see how this amazing platform can help your affiliate marketing business

I know you might be currently thinking that Affiliate Marketing does not work and you might be thinking that it will never work.  But I want to assure you, it can and does work!  I would not be where I am today without it and I love the fact I found Wealthy Affiliate when I did.  I had been caught out by an online scam and could have given up on my desire to make money online.  At one point, I did not think it was possible.  That was the point I saw a review for Wealthy Affiliate and found out about affiliate marketing.

It is a proven route to make money online, but it is so easy to fall for a fake affiliate marketing training out there.  I want toWealthy Affiliate - Free Starter Membership guarantee anyone who reads my Wealthy Affiliate review, they are totally genuine and are a really supportive platform.  They are all about you making up your own mind about them and offer the free starter membership as a way for you to make your own decisions.  A truly great bunch of guys.

If you ever feel like you are struggling, just reach out.  We have all been there and thought the same.  But that does not mean affiliate marketing doesn’t work, we just need to keep believing and learning.

Thanks for reading this, if you have any questions or want to add any experiences with affiliate marketing, I would love to hear from you.  I will respond as soon as I can.  thanks

10 thoughts on “Why Affiliate Marketing Does Not Work & What to Do About It”

  1. Patience and perseverance I think is what is needed in affiliate marketing as this is not a quick rich scheme and will take time to build up. It is a good idea to start while you are still at work and transition to your new online business as it starts to gain momentum. 

    Wealthy affiliate is an ideal platform to use in order to learn this lucrative industry 

    • Hey Darren,

      some great points there.  It will not get you rich quick, no matter what anyone has said.  Starting it whilst you are still working is how many of us got started, and allows us the freedom not to focus on the money side, until it eventually comes.

      Wealthy Affiliate is a great platform to learn in a safe environment with a great bunch of people to help you every step of the way.



  2. I could not agree more with your post. It is so true sometimes affiliate marketing can be really overwhelming and people can feel discouraged and give up before they even try. I have been lucky enough to use Wealthy affiliate the same program you are talking about and it has been the first time i felt like I had to keep going. Luckily I did. And success came but I could not have done it with out the support and traiing offered by Wealthy affiliate.

    • Hey Barbara,

      thanks for sharing your experiences.  I saw a great graphic the other day of 2 miners digging for diamonds.  The one had given up, but was literally a metre from a huge pile of diamonds.  He looked beaten and distraught.

      Yet the second miner was still eager and determined and was going to break through to those same diamonds.  I would love to find it again and show people, but it was a great way of showing how you need to remain patient and determined when working online.

      I am glad you found success.


  3. Great article! As an affiliate marketer myself, I can agree it takes patience for sure! You won’t make money right away, I am at around 4 months right now and working towards making money. However, I am seeing progress in other forms. I still feel like affiliate marketing is a great way to make money, and I will know for sure when/if I start seeing income. What is your favourite part of affiliate marketing? Thanks for the great article!

    • Hey Kohl,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  I am sure you will achieve your goals, just remain patient and determined and it will come.

      to explore my favourite part of affiliate marketing is to why i started this website.  I have always been into learning and development, and I love helping people.  The core way to succeed at affiliate marketing is by helping and not selling.

      People do not want to be sold to, they want help understanding something before making a purchase decision. I wanted to help people learn affiliate marketing and avoiding the tons of scams out there to do with affiliate marketing.  I got burned from a scam early on, and learned from my experience and wanted to help out others find a road to genuine affiliate marketing training and tools.

      that is my favourite part of affiliate marketing, plus I get to see more of my son growing up!



  4. This is a really great article. As someone who has been in affiliate marketing for just a little over two months, I absolutely get what you are saying about having patience. It really is key. At one point, I too was getting frustrated, because I was creating quality content, but didn’t see movement. It is encouraging that you had to wait 6 months before you really started to take off, because it gives me hope to hold on to. As far after six months, was it a big jump in success and Google rankings, or did it slowly start to build momentum?

    • Hey Steve,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  Hold fast to what you are doing and you will start to see movement.  It is hard to be patient with it, but it is the true affiliate marketer who plays the long game.

      For me, I utilised affiiiate marketing into my wife’s wedding business and using the knowledge I learned at Wealthy Affiliate, I grew her traffic for her own products which is getting to where we want it to be.  We also added affiliate marketing and dropshipping to the business too, which I think the drop shipping is a little more successful than the affiliate marketing yet.  But that is purely down to timescales, I think.

      But traffic is starting to grow, google rankings are improving with every post.  So, everythings looks good for a bright future.



  5. Hi John!

    Affiliate marketing works. Just, not for all, of course! I agree about that. The reasons why many people fail with affiliate marketing and online marketing, in general, are many. In my opinion, the biggest 5 mistakes people make are:1) choosing the wrong product or service2) trying to start or to maintain too many businesses at once3) lack of knowledge and needed skills4) the wrong mindset5) not satisfying the customer’s needs

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Best regards,Igor

    • Hey Igor,

      thanks for checking out my guide.  Your 5 points are very valid, and I can say that those are also reasons why people fail.

      WIth the right knowledge and skills, you might go for the wrong product or try to maintain too many businesses which end up in the same place.  No traffic, and no money.

      thanks for adding some value with your comments Igor



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