Affiliate Marketing For Dummies – How Beginners Can Get Started

My name’s Dom Wells, and I am a full-time affiliate marketer. Today I’m going to teach you how to follow in my footsteps.


In 2012, I was a complete beginner with affiliate marketing. In fact, up until late August 2012, I’d never even heard the term before. Was I an affiliate marketing dummy?

Yes I was.

However, if you fast forward to today, March 3rd 2016, a lot has changed.

On an almost daily basis, I get emails in my inbox asking me to take part in “Expert roundups” about Internet Marketing. I’ve been called a guru, despite not liking the term, and I’ve even been featured on as one of 8 online entrepreneurs worth following (See pic below of me at number 3!).

Entrepreneur feature

I own a business which is 100% online, and I can work from anywhere in the world (as long as it has an internet connection!). I just spent three weeks travelling around New Zealand with my Fiancee, and I didn’t have to take any time off or ask anyone’s permission. The best thing is, I made more money while travelling than I spent…and New Zealand isn’t cheap.

I have a team of 3 project managers, dozens of writers, and a few virtual assistants for good measure.

And let’s talk about the money, because that’s likely why you’re here.

Last year, my main online business made $110,000 profit. As of right now, it’s already made over $40,000, so I’m guessing 2016 is going to be a good year.

In January 2016, I sold one of my very first affiliate websites (built back in 2013), for $27,000 USD.

Long story short, I know how to make money online.

…and it’s not even been 4 years since I got started. I wouldn’t say it’s from zero to hero, but it’s that kind of thing.

Maybe, affiliate marketing dummy, to affiliate marketing expert would be a better description.


I don’t tell you these things to brag. While I’m proud of my exploits, I don’t see the point in starting this website purely to talk about myself. That’s what instagram is for.

Instead, I tell you the things above so that you’ll be able to see that I know what I’m talking about.

When I tell you that I can teach you to make money online like I do, you’ll know that chances are, I’m actually able to teach you.

Because if you don’t really believe me, then there’s not much point continuing.

Of course, you’ll see people making these “I can teach you a system” claims all day every day anyway. There’s a whole bunch of scammers out there, and that’s part of the reason I made this site.

With that said, I know the only real way to make you trust me, is to demonstrate my knowledge.

And that’s’ what I’m going to do now, for free.

Lesson 1 in “Dom’s guide to affiliate marketing for dummies” is simple. I’m going to give you an overview of how affiliate marketing works, some examples, and some steps you can take to get started.

If you want to learn more about me and why I made this site, then head over to the about page. For now though, let’s talk about making money online, and how you’re going to do it.

Affiliate Marketing Training – An Introduction

Please note before we start: Affiliate marketing takes time to get going. If you’re expecting profit in the first week, you’re in for a surprise. However, once you do start getting traction, the sky really is the limit. Look at this graph of my earnings from January 2013 (when I had barely got started), to January 2016, just  three years later.


The first three years of my income. It's not a get rich quick endeavor.

The first three years of my income. It’s not a get rich quick endeavor.

What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing? – A Beginner’s Guide

I’m going to assume that you’re reading this page because you’ve heard of affiliate marketing. Maybe you did a Google search and found this article, or you found another article that lead you here. Either way, let’s do a quick recap in case you missed something.

Affiliate marketing in a nutshell:

You promote other people’s products, and when a purchase is made, they pay you a commission.

If that didn’t really clear it up for you, here’s another example, using’s affiliate program:

You have a website about cooking, and you share useful recipes and cooking advice. You also recommend the best cooking equipment over at, and when people buy it after clicking through to Amazon from your site, you get paid a commission.

It’s a very straightforward process, but I know right now you are thinking that you have no idea how to do any of that. Good, we’re on the same page. You’re starting out exactly as I did.

A Real World Example

One of my very first websites was about shaving. Nothing original there (and you don’t have to be original to succeed at this). I would write articles about different types of razors, shaving techniques, accessories, and product reviews. Here’s a list of some of the typical articles you might have found on the site:

  • Straight razors vs safety razors
  • How to do the three-pass shave
  • The benefits of shaving with a straight razor
  • The best safety razors you can find
  • Badger hair vs boar hair brush

If you’re into shaving, writing these topics is quite easy. Yeah it takes time, but time is what we have in abundance when we first start.

Now on those articles, I would recommend products to people. I didn’t have to do any hard selling at all. For example, in the straight razor vs safety razor article, I just debated the merits of each razor type, then put a few pictures up of the best straight and best safety razors.

Here’s a little snapshot:

Safety Razors vs Straight Razors - Luxury Shaves 2016-03-04 13-15-25

This little box earned me a lot of money.

People would read my article, click through the pictures/links to Amazon, and more often than not, buy one of the razors I’d recommended. Amazon would pay me a commission, and I’d make money over and over again, from that ONE article I had written once.

When you add up all the articles I wrote over the years, that was a lot of little articles making me commissions over and over again.

Here’s a snapshot of my Amazon affiliate account. Lot’s of little orders trickling in every day, but they add up. Please note, this is just for one website, and it was a site I built when I had received virtually zero affiliate marketing training.

This screenshot shows the number of items ordered and the commissions received for one of my websites in December

This screenshot shows the number of items ordered and the commissions received for one of my websites in December

It’s That Simple

Of course, writing the articles, reviewing products, learning how to assemble a website, insert links, and get that website to the top of the search engines…that’s a process that takes time.

However, you really don’t need to be a genius to pull it off. Learn a little bit every day, take action every day, and sooner or later, you’ll be making money online.

I know this, because it’s how I did it.

How To Know What To Promote – Affiliate Marketing For Dummies

A huge stumbling block for a lot of people is figuring out what their website should be about. Not only that, but people worry that they aren’t an expert in anything, or can’t help people with their site.

These fears are natural. I like to call it “Thinking too much”. If you follow my guide on this page, you’ll learn how to choose your site topic (also known as “niche”), and how to make money, even if you don’t think you’re an expert.

I knew nothing about straight razors when I started my shaving site!

To give you an example of what kind of topics you can blog about though, the list is pretty much endless. A good way to get some ideas is to browse the categories on Amazon. All of those categories and subcategories would make great website ideas, but the list doesn’t have to stop there. Here are some more ideas just to show you how endless the list is:


Right now though, we don’t need to “think too much” about this topic. I just want to show you how anyone with any knowledge can start affiliate marketing.

Different Ways To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

Another thing people wonder about, is how they actually make money. I’ve already shown you one example with my shaving site making money from Amazon, but here are a few other ways sites can make money:

  • Google Adsense (adverts placed on your website)
  • Other Adverts (you either get paid when someone clicks an ad, or for every thousand views)
  • Affiliate Programs (just like Amazon, but for countless numbers of other companies, such as eBay, Walmart, and many smaller brands).
  • Selling Your Own Product (whether it’s an eBook, a course, a physical product, a service, there are endless ways to do this.)
  • Selling The Website (just real a house, your website is online real estate, which means it is a massive asset you can cash in someday – just like when I sold a site for $27,000.)

There are probably some more ways you could do it as well, but the ones above are the most common, and will easily get you making some money.

Building An Affiliate Website

This is another place people have hangups over. Let me tell you this right off the bat:

You don’t need to know code to make money online. I make close to $20,000 per month and barely know any code.

The Internet has progressed to the point where you can use software like WordPress to manage, design, and operate a website without doing a single line of programming. It’s all drag + drop and visual editors. It’s pretty much as easy as using Microsoft Word or Gmail.

Again, I’ll go into details on my getting started page, this is just an overview and a reminder that yes, you CAN do this.

Getting Started With Affiliate Marketing

The scope of this article is to introduce you to what affiliate marketing is, and explain how you can get started making your first dollar online. However, to actually GET started, I created another page, which you can view here.

If you want to get started, I’ll show you how you can take your first baby steps making money online for free, and who knows, one day you might be the one teaching ME a thing or two.

Yes, Show Me How To Get Started