"This Post contains affiliate links; we earn commissions if you shop through the links on this page."

10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners

A week ago, we discussed a very crucial topic – What is affiliate marketing, and how does it work? If you haven’t read that post, I advise you do so first before going ahead with this one – the ten affiliate marketing mistakes you should avoid.

This will give you a good understanding of affiliate marketing and how it works. Also, it will prevent you from making these mistakes in affiliate marketing.

Mistakes are part of life. We all commit blunders at some point. So don’t hit your head against the wall if you’re guilty of these common mistakes affiliate marketers make.

These are mistakes that have been holding back your success over time.

Suppose you’re conscious of what you’re doing, despite these common affiliate marketing mistakes. You’ll discover the opportunities that come along with it. It only takes an open mind to recognize these treasures that come in disguise.

With Every Failure, Comes an Opportunity

Often, they come in disguise, failure always comes along with more significant opportunities.

So, just like we do make mistakes in real life, the same goes for affiliate marketing failure. Since there is always a beginning to something, every super affiliate marketers you heard of today are once a novice.

They all started somewhere.

I have been doing affiliate marketing for a while.

During this period, I have found myself in a very state of want. Confusion and even wanted to close up on everything concerning affiliate marketing. Every strategy I applied doesn’t take me anywhere good.

After a long marketing journey, apply different affiliate marketing tips and strategies.

Things that have kept me in the dark for so long, I decided to share with you some of those deadly affiliate marketing mistakes I have committed.

I wish you could learn from them so that you can scale years of trial and error.

10 Reasons People Fail at Affiliate Marketing

1. Focusing Too Much on Selling

Your job as an affiliate is not to sell the products but rather, to educate the prospect on the benefits/disadvantages of using the products. Write honest product reviews not intended to make money alone.

I find it very hard to accept the above statement during my early days in affiliate marketing. All I was conveying to the prospect was to sell the product directly with my sales copy.

The more I tried to get good at this marketing strategy, the more I get frustrated because instead of going forward, I can see that am heading nowhere.

two hands out from computer to exchange goods and money
Don’t focus too much on selling; offer value first.

The task of selling the product is the duty of the merchant’s website. That’s where the prospect found all the details that sell him the products. Like the product features, functions, benefits, claims, etc.

Please don’t get it mixed up. Selling a product is different from educating prospects about the product’s benefits.

People don’t want to be sold how great a product is by displaying all the fantastic functions/features.


They want to be told how those great product functions/features will enhance their business. How it will help them makes more profits, increase efficiency, and productivity, and helps them scale up faster.

Think about this, if I market to you a WordPress mobile responsive theme and all I told you are:

Hey Jack, this theme is good, made by Studiopress for genesis framework. Mobile responsive, with six layout options to choose from and blah blah blah great colors.

What I only did above is tell you about the theme features.

That’s a good way of selling. But there is a better way to help your prospect make the right decision without appearing as a high-pressure salesperson.

Explain to them why they need to purchase a theme made by Studiopress. Give them reasons why you think Studiopress is a leading developer to trust in the business of WordPress themes.

Don’t just tell them the theme is mobile responsive (Not everyone knows why their blog theme should be mobile-ready). Give your prospect reasons why every website today should go mobile optimized.

You can tell them Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, so webpages need to be more mobile-friendly.

Also, they could be losing traffic if their web pages are not optimized for mobile visitors.

All this information should be available on your sales copy.

No matter how great a product is, it won’t sell if it offers no tangible benefits to users.

2. Not Building an Email List

This one is a beginner’s affiliate marketer’s mistake. It’s okay to make this one mistake in your early days of blogging/internet marketing.

email list form

But as soon as possible, start building your email list today. Don’t wait until the right time. You’ll never find the right time because there is nothing like that.

Time will not always be perfect to start something. Just start today and now.

For a successful affiliate marketing business, you’ll need to have access to on-demand traffic. An audience waiting to reach when there is a marketing campaign.

Start building your email list today, and establish good relationships. Communicate with them regularly, and don’t make it only when you pitch product offers.

There are free email services to get started immediately. Mailchimp is an ideal option for beginner marketers. It is free till you reach 2,000 email subscribers.

3. Too Many Affiliate Programs

Possibly, you have been reading that having multiple streams of income is the ideal way to go.

 Yes, that’s true. 

But not so true with having too many affiliate programs to manage.

Stop signing up for every affiliate program for bloggers you see out there. Look for a few high-in-demand affiliate products and do all you can to get the best out of them.

Having too many tasks to handle is one of the biggest obstacles to success in internet marketing.

Sign up for a good affiliate product with a high commission. Put all your resources into promoting it, and the reward will show for itself.

It is never in quantity; it is in the quality of the product and your marketing and how well you can do.

4. Not Testing

Before I started promoting SEO Powersuite, which happens to be one of my most converting affiliate products based on the total income generated from it.

I downloaded and test-run the product to see what it looks like and how it works—the benefits of using it, features, user interface, usability, etc.

scientist in a lab cloth

I downloaded some videos on YouTube too. This helps to see what others have made out of using it. It also helps in making the right decision if this product is worth promoting or not.

Though, you may not have this type of opportunity with every affiliate product you want to promotes. But it is a good thing always to test run the affiliate product you wish to promote.

Another thing you should always test run is the affiliate links in your copy. This is easy to neglect. But I tell you the truth, don’t ever neglect to test your affiliate links in an email newsletter or your blog post.

Test it, and confirm it leads to the correct webpage destination when users click on it. I have lost potential sales opportunities having broken affiliate links on this blog.

5. Not Tracking Your Progress

One of the biggest mistakes I made is not tracking clicks on my affiliate links. It is like walking blindly and doing things without knowing how you get there.

Seeing those earnings is a good feeling, but knowing how you make those sales makes you a better and wiser affiliate marketer.

If you’re not tracking which affiliate links people clicked the most on your blog? What pages on your blog brought the sales? How many clicks in total?

You’re marketing blindly and will miss out on the opportunity to quickly grow your affiliate revenue.

Most affiliate network programs have tools that allow you to track your affiliate links. Collect relevant data that will help you understand how your affiliate marketing strategies are performing.

Affiliate management plugins like Easy Affiliate Links have a link analysis feature to help you understand how your affiliate link is doing.

This is a helpful tool for affiliate link analysis and tracking.

6. Not Doing Keyword Research

While it is straightforward to choose an affiliate product and start promoting immediately, it’s better to do keyword research properly before choosing an affiliate product.

Nobody wants to spend his time promoting products people are not buying.

One of the strongest factors that lead to affiliate marketing success is promoting products people are already buying.

How to Discover High in-Demand Affiliate Products?

Very simple – keyword research is the answer.

Let’s use SEO Powersuite as an example.

Initially, I never knew about this product, never heard of the name before. I was doing keyword research using Google keyword planner when I stumbled upon a keyword related to search engine optimization tools with high commercial intent.

Google keyword planner homepage

Then I decided to give this keyword phrase a run. So I headed back to the Google search engine and typed in my proposed keyword; from there, I learned about SEO Powersuite.

I went through a few pages that write about this product in review posts. I was impressed with what I read because mostly, these reviews were from real SEOs/marketers with practical experiences to share.

Next, I head over to the merchant website to find out if they run an affiliate program. Luckily they do through the Shareasale affiliate network program. I joined and am now part of their affiliates.

The rest, as they say…is history.

If you want to succeed in the affiliate marketing business, always do keyword research to know what’s trending and in high demand. So you can ride on the wave of success before it is gone.

Affiliate marketing is a business of “transparency,” credibility, and trust from your audience. If you’re not disclosing affiliate links in your content, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.

Besides, according to federal trade law, disclosing all affiliate links in your copy is mandatory, and the disclosures must not be hidden on the page. Or need users to hover their mouse before it can be seen.

It should be clear, concise, and available on pages with affiliate review posts, links, products, etc. Transparency is what makes Pat Fylnn one of the best affiliate marketers of our time.

8. Promoting ONE-TIME Commission

This may not be a mistake, but it is advised to balance promoting one-time commission and recurring affiliate products.

The one-time commission may give you that BIG paycheck, recurring affiliate commission will earn you consistent income for the lifetime of the customer.

There are good recurring affiliate programs you can sign up with.

Such affiliate programs include:

  • Web hosting.
  • Membership sites.
  • Productivity Software.
  • Email marketing services. ETC.

9. Fake it, Till I make It!

This happens mostly to newbie affiliate marketer that has never made a dime online. But they go after promoting make money online affiliate products and services.

You’ll notice this kind of salesperson by their email signature in forums, sales copy, review post, etc. They have no practical examples to show for their income.

All they do is talked about it but will never show it.

Don’t follow in such a step. It is hard to convince people to buy your affiliate product in the make-money-online niches without practical examples to prove you’ve earned from the same program or products yourself.

If you don’t have a case study to tell. You have no earnings to prove.

Don’t make a false claim in your copy. Just talked about the product’s benefits, features, and whatever.

One crucial piece of advice, please, don’t fake your earnings. It will ruin your credibility faster than anything if your audience later knows about it.

10. Not Educating Yourself

Affiliate marketing is a serious business, and you should treat it as such.

There is never an end to learning.

If you’re not upgrading your affiliate marketing knowledge, you won’t make much from it.

There are many good resources on the internet that serve as the go-to for affiliate marketing education.

You can start your education with one of these affiliate marketing blogs below. They offer comprehensive guides and tutorials helpful in improving your knowledge.

6 Affiliate Marketing Blogs to Follow

Get started today, and get your affiliate marketing knowledge going in the right direction.


There is no big deal in making mistakes in life. What matters most is what you make out of those mistakes. Who and what you’ve become from the lessons you’ve learned about life.

So also, in affiliate marketing, there is no big deal in committing these affiliate marketing mistakes. What matters most is how you can use these mistakes to your advantage and strike the best out of the next opportunity that awaits you.

However, I will love it if you share your experience with us in the comment box below.

Profile image

About Author

I'm Shamsudeen Adeshokan, a full-time blogger and affiliate marketer. I started CyberNaira in 2012, helping beginners with helpful marketing tips and advice to build a blog that is worth reading and turning into a business. Learn more about me here, and let's connect below.


25 thoughts on “10 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners”

  1. Great article!

    There are many affiliate marketers that has good intentions fail in their affiliate marketing efforts because they do not recognize some of the most common blunders in their affiliate marketing strategies.

    In my point of view, if you know what you want, need, your, goal and your target market, you will not have much problem in picking what product or affiliate program. Pretty sure, if you are passionate and raring to be successful, you will consider list building as one of the most important things to be triumphant.

    Good thing that you create and share this blog post with us here. Beginners must be aware of these affiliate marketing mistakes so they can avoid these pitfalls that most affiliate marketers make.

  2. Thanks, Mezt,

    Your input to this article is of high value and most welcome. Sure I have to share with the Kingged community.

    Kingged community has been a wonderful place for me, helping my little blog grow and spreading the word out of it.

    If there is just one thing I can give back, it is to help contribute quality stuff to this place and make sure I create time out of my busy scheduled to engage with others.

    Thanks, Mezt, nice having you.

  3. Hey Shamsudeen,
    You are points-on with this presentation. Indeed, affiliate marketing mistakes are easily made by newbies.

    Until they start accepting the need to correct these mistakes, making money online with affiliate marketing will just be a mirage!

    Personally, I have made some of these mistakes in the past but now I know better. The name of the game is provide value, be transparent, and help visitors to solve their problem.

    One mistake I made and that is still affecting me today is not creating email list earlier on!

    This comment was left in kingged.com

  4. Shamsudeen Adeshokan

    Hi Sunny,

    I think most of us are guilty of that – not building an email list – I too take that long to attempt building a list.

    You know, I was somehow skeptical and don’t so sure if people will take buy into my idea. So asking for an email address in exchange for something is a BIG scary then.

    It is okay for most beginners to go through that phase, everyone and everything has gotten a beginning, so there would always a time when we don’t know something, right?

    Thanks, Sunny, nice having you.

  5. Great post Shamsudeen,

    These are the major mistakes affiliates usually make even without knowing its a mistake. I was also guilty of it initially until i learned my lesson.

    The one that is worst of them all is not building an email list, this is one of the worst mistakes any affiliate marketer will ever make.

    I wish i started building my list earlier, there would have been tremendous changes in my business by now. But all the same, learning never stops so, i guess its good to learn from our mistakes.

    1. Hi Theo,

      Nice to see you around here. Like I respond to Sunday’s comment above, not building an email list from that humble beginning is mostly a beginner’s problem which I think most of us fall into that category in those early stages.

      Good that we have come to realize our mistakes, but the most important now is to go all out correcting it.

      Thanks for stopping by, nice having you around.

  6. Hi Shamsudeen,

    So nice to see your content on affiliate marketing mistakes. So many blogger quit from affiliate just because they never find out what mistakes they do for affiliate marketing. E mail subscriber is one of the great way to get direct sales of your product..

    Keyword research is one of the most vital factor for affiliate. If keyword is not suitable with your site power then it will be pretty tough to reach on top.

    Here you nicely describe in which mistakes blogger unable to earn money form affiliate marketing. Many thanks for your great effort.

    Kind Regards.

    Yasin Rishad

    1. Hi Yasin,

      This words in your comment really caught my attention,

      If the keyword is not suitable for your site power then it will be pretty tough to reach on top.

      It is important that bloggers know the strengths of their blog SEO vs the keyword they choose to target. If there is no balance between these two, there is a BIG problem.

      Thanks, Yasin, nice having you with us,

  7. Hey this is very informative and nice post. I was not knowing about affiliate marketing, after going through i am clear with the concepts. Thanks for the post, this post will also helpful for me about affiliate marketing mistakes.

    1. Hi Swapnil,

      Akismet caught your comment as spam, LOL….I just discover it now while digging through the spam folder.

      Well, I am glad and fill fulfilled knowing this post is useful and could help you on your way to starting affiliate marketing.

      Thanks, Swapnil, do have a good day.

  8. Nanda Rahmanius

    Hi Shamsudeen,

    Yes, I agree with you. Everyone who is seeking something is bound to make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural thing and we should not be ashamed to admit it. ?

    Oh yes, before selling a product and introduce it to our viewers, we must test the product first. There are many benefits that we can get when doing it. We will know clearly, what the advantages and disadvantages of these products.

    After reading this article, it feel likes I have a desire to start an affiliate marketing business again. It seemed if I follow what you share here, I could achieve success because of it. ?

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Shamsudeen,
    Have a great weekend!


    1. Hi Nanda,

      Thanks for taking the time also to visit my blog and leave your opinion, am so glad to see you like this.

      Go give it a try as I said on Kingged, I wish you the very best of luck.

      Thanks, Nanda.

  9. Hello Shamsudeen,

    Oh so true my friend I was told this a long time ago The Worst Mistake YOU Can Make Is Being Afraid To Make One. But the important thing is to learn from them HUH?

    Your tips are all spot on, I do believe that I will always be in the learning mode LOL

    Thanks for sharing..

    1. Thanks, Chery,

      Good to see you again after a long time, welcome.

      The day Man stops learning, it is sure the day he dies. Let’s keep learning, as we explore this worldwide-web. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Hey Shamsudeen,

    This was a much needed post for all of us that do affiliate marketing and not just beginners. Some of us fall into the trap of making the same mistakes over and over again without making any type of changes.

    I was one that did this when I was using solo ads and PPC. Although I was getting a lot of leads, I wasn’t doing any type of tracking. Especially when it came to sales conversions. This is what you were talking about in point #5 and it is vital to anyone’s success.

    Also #2 is important. Building an Email list and communicating with them will help you to build competency and trust among your audience. Without it, it would be much harder for you to make any sales whatsoever. A good rule of thumb is to use Pareto’s Principle where you promote value 80% of the time and sell 20% of the time.

    Thanks Shamsudeen for sharing this post! It definitely will help a lot of people!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      Good to read you’ve tested Solo ad and PPC for your affiliate marketing, I would be very glad if you can share more light on your experience using Solo Ad and PPC with us, a full post will do better on your blog.

      What do you think?

      On building an email list, I believe it doesn’t stop with affiliate marketers alone, anyone running an online business that needs lots passing foot on a regular basis should strive to get their email address because email remains one of the best channels to reach people and build up that relationship.

      Thanks, Sherman, nice having you around.

  11. Hi Shamsudeen,

    #1 is the affiliate killer LOL.

    Selling before sharing kills your online reputation. I have had success online by sharing free content to prove that I’d help you for free. Then I sold affiliate products aligned with my brand, along with my eBooks and services. Share before you sell.

    Thanks for the fab list!


  12. Hi, Shamsudeen,

    Wow, I liked your article and the topic especially. The very first dollar I ever made online was through affiliate marketing. So affiliate marketing has a very special place in my heart because it gave me the encouragement to move forward in learning how to grow and online business.

    I love your point number two because building an email list is the core foundation of my business, so I couldn’t agree more.

    I also like to point you made about being involved into many affiliate programs. I did this in the beginning and learn my lesson.

    Testing and tracking with something that I did later on, as I learn the importance of it.

    In the beginning I used the long, ugly, raw affiliate link instead of using PrettyLink to make it a branded link. PrettyLink will also give you the stats you’re wanting to know about clicks, unique clicks, etc.

    Now I have my own own URL shortener and can look at stats etc.

    Thanks for sharing. Spreading the word…

    Talk soon,
    ˜Carol Amato

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thanks for stopping by my little empire.

      Affiliate marketing is no doubt one of the very best monetization methods in online marketing. And good to read you also get your first breakout curtsey affiliate marketing, just like me too.

      Running too many affiliate marketing at a time is one thing I experience myself, so I can tell how it can be a step in the wrong direction especially for newbies.

      Granted, you can market many affiliate products, but good if all merchants with these products are within one affiliate network program company.

      Thanks, Carol, nice having you here.

  13. Hi Shamsudeen,
    I’m surprised you did not mention the number one problem most beginners to affiliate marketing have. I can bet you that everybody who started affiliate marketing business has been caught up by this mistake. That is the SHINY OBJECT SYNDROME. That is, jumping from new strategy to the other. Getting bugged down by information overload. And so on.
    My advice to beginners is focus on one thing at a time. Master one aspect of affiliate marketing before going to another.

    Nice blog you have here.

    1. Hi Salihu,

      Thanks for your valuable input. I agree with you on that. Information overload is something that affect almost even intermediate online marketer, is hard to handle but with focus and self discipline, it can be overcome.

      Thanks, Salihu.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top