Top 9 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes That Beginners Are Always Making

Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways to make money online from your blog or any websites. However, there are also a lot of mistakes that many bloggers and affiliate marketers are making over and over again, especially for the beginners.

In this post, I’m going to dig down deep into the 9 most common affiliate marketing mistakes and explain to you what exactly are the problems that hinder you from making money online. Not only that, I’m going to give you some tips on what you should do instead.

(To learn more about the best way to get started with affiliate marketing and start making money online, click here!)

I’ve seen a lot of people starting their own blog and trying to make money but it just seems so hard for them. One of the most common and critical issues is usually their choice of niche, or some of them don’t even have a clear niche in mind.

A niche is a group of people. It is the target audience you want to help and it is also the topic of your website.

The 2 biggest mistakes are either:

  1. The niche is too broad
  2. There’s no target niche at all (i.e. Personal blog)

For example, many people claim themselves to be a “travel blogger” and their website is all about sharing their travel experience and stories. This is fine if you just have the passion for blogging and not trying to make money. But from the money-making perspective, it is awful.

The “Travel niche” itself is very broad and it is very competitive. As a beginner, you’re not going to stand out from the competitive crowd anytime soon. So naturally, you’ll not be making money because either no one trusts you or no one is paying attention to you.

What’s even worse is when you don’t even have a focus for your website and you’re just randomly sharing your thoughts and experiences as a personal blog.

People are searching online for information they need. If you are just randomly sharing your thoughts, you’re not helping them. And it’s hard for people to figure out what your website is about in the first place if you don’t have a clear focus.

I’ve seen many beginners wanting to make money but are still making this mistake.

What You Should Do Instead:

Firstly, you need to define a clear topic for your website if you have not done so. My recommendation is to start with one of your passion or hobby. Then dig deeper into it.

Take the “Travel niche” as an example. There are different types, forms and purpose of traveling, such as backpack traveling, business trip, family trip, couple trip, group tour, hiking, etc. Within these, you can dig further into different regions or destinations to make it even more specific.

The benefit of this is that your niche will be narrower and has less competition. Less competition means you’re more likely to stand out and gain authority in your niche.

Another thing is that a more clearly defined website topic allows you to easily target the right audience who are looking for the information you are offering. This can greatly increase your conversion and make more money!

#2 Spreading Yourself Too Thin

When you’re just getting started with affiliate marketing or any kind of new online business, it’s very normal for you to get overwhelmed at the beginning with all the information overload.

This thing happens to almost everyone but you shouldn’t make it even worse by “spreading yourself too thin”. What this means is that you’re trying to handle too many things all at once which allow you to accomplish even less.

This can happen in many different areas, such as managing multiple websitestoo many affiliate programslearning and applying too many marketing strategies simultaneously.

It’s always tempting for beginners to “try their luck” by managing multiple websites and participating in many affiliate programs. This is understandable but this is also something that is hindering many beginners from getting results.

This will usually end up with nothing being accomplished and people will start losing hope and giving up because they thought this thing doesn’t work.

What You Should Do Instead:

In the beginning, you should focus on just ONE website and ONE marketing strategy (preferably Search Engine Optimization, SEO). Stick with it and only move on to the next when you’ve gotten the hang of it and seen real results.

Also, start with ONE affiliate program first. In fact, Amazon Associate Affiliate Program is one of the most common ones people are utilizing. There are thousands of products you can incorporate into your business from Amazon alone.

#3 Non-Transparent About Affiliate Relationship

Some people may think about letting others know about their affiliate relationship with companies or programs will make potential customers think they are just trying to make money. This is understandable and I had the same mindset at the start.

But let me just tell you the truth…

Being transparent about your affiliate relationship will only have a positive impact for both you and your customer.

Firstly, it is compulsory for you to disclose your affiliate relationship as long as you have affiliate links on your site. This is a legal issue.

In fact, some affiliate programs like Amazon can legally refuse to pay you your commission if you don’t explicitly disclose your affiliate relationship with them.

Secondly, being transparent about it can only benefit you because it shows your honesty and transparency. Your potential customers will be more likely to trust you and purchase things through your link.

What You Should Do Instead:

Do not try to hide your affiliate disclosure. Clearly, state that in your footer. It’s usually recommended to include them in the posts where you have affiliate links as well.

If you go and study websites that are highly successful and profitable, they do clearly disclose their affiliate relationship.

Being an affiliate has nothing to be ashamed of because you are trying to help people by offering them valuable information in your particular niche. In fact, people want to pay you something if they are truly benefiting from your information.

I learned this from Pat Flynn, a very successful affiliate marketer of all time. I listened to his advice and did exactly what he recommended. And he’s right!

Let me share with you one of my personal success stories later on in this post! Stay tuned!

#4 No Specific Audience in Mind

It is not enough with just a clearly defined niche and target audience. When you’re creating content for your readers, you must always keep them in mind. Your goal is to help them and add value to their lives as much as possible.

For example, a very common issue happens when beginners write a “feature-based” review instead of a “benefits-based” review. Let me explain…

A “feature-based” review is simply listing the features and explaining how the particular product works. Whilst, a “benefit-based” review focuses on how the particular product can benefit and add value to your audience’s life.

If you’re writing a lot of things that start with “I” or things that always focus on “ME! ME! ME!”, it’s an indication that you’re making this mistake of not keeping your real audience in mind.

What You Should Do Instead:

  1. Research on your target audience’s needs and wants
  2. Create content that seeks to meet their needs and wants
  3. Focus more on “YOU”, instead of “ME”
  4. Give them enough reason to read your content, trust you and purchase from you

In order for the last step to take place, you need to show that you understand what your audience really need and how you can truly HELP them.

#5 The “Shiny Object Syndrome”

Shiny Object Syndrome refers to the tendency for beginners to chase after the next seemingly awesome opportunity for making money online.

There are thousands of different online programs and products that claim to help people make money online. There are many scammers who are good at making use of the weakness of beginners and make them fall into their trap.

I’ve personally come across many beginners who keep on dabbling around to find the next best “shiny object” because they want to earn easy money and get rich quick. They are really tempted to invest in different products to “try their luck” but the reality is that they are often just wasting time and money.

What You Should Do Instead:

Stop the temptation to keep on looking for different programs or methods to make money online. Do your necessary research and once you’ve chosen one, stick with it. Do not quit or try any other things unless you’ve found out it’s a scam or you’re sure that the program is not for you.

If that’s the case, then move on to the next and stick with it. You may not get it right the first or the second time but it is the necessary learning experience you must go through.

Keep on trying different programs and don’t stick to any one of them will just decrease your productivity and hinder you from getting any real result.

To help you save some time and money, here’s a list of my recommended resources to get started with affiliate marketing in the right way, with the right tools!

#6 Too “Salesy”


Another common mistake beginners are making is that they are “trying too hard” to sell. Beginners usually want to see the real result as soon as possible so that they have the motivation to continue. This is understandable.

However, being too “salesy” and having too many promotional pitches will usually result in the opposite way. What’s even worse is that some people will tend to spam affiliate links or bullsh***ing about scammy products. This is something you should definitely avoid.

What You Should Do Instead:

Instead of being “salesy”, you should be HELPFUL.

The only way for you to earn real and sustainable money online is by sincerely helping people to meet their needs and solve their problems.

Focus on building relationships with your potential customer and adding value to their lives. Value people/relationship over profit is the way to go.

Still, remember I said I want to share with you a success story of mine? Here it goes…

Recently I was helping a guy by answering his questions about a specific digital product online which I’m not an affiliate with (I just want to help as much as I can because I have the knowledge).

In the end, he asked me whether I have an affiliate link to give him so that he can pay me back in some way for what I’ve done by purchasing the product through my link.

Pat Flynn had shared in his SPI Podcast that when he has helped and added a lot of value to other people’s life, there are many of them asking him for his affiliate link to pay him back.

I was really excited because I knew I was doing the right thing and Pat Flynn is absolutely right! I was just doing my best to HELP and it just happened.


Although you may not see the purpose of it at the start, just keep in mind that all your kindness, effort, and hard work will definitely pay back in the future!

#7 A Website Full of Distractions

How your website looks like will determine your conversion rate and its potential to make money. Since many beginners are too impatient about making money, they thought they should include as many money making methods as possible.

A very common mistake is to fill up your website with lots of Ads within both your content, sidebar, and footer. This is not only annoying but it also makes your website looks like a scam or a spam. They distract your reader’s attention away from the main content.

Another issue with Ads is that there are many people who have their “Adblocker” installed. So, they will not be able to see any of your ads no matter how many you put. Once again, an ineffective method.

Secondly, many people are putting way too many opt-in forms and pop-ups. The common scenario is when you just entered a website and two opt-in forms popped up together. I’ve even seen 3 or 4 all at once. That is really ridiculous.

Lastly, some people like to have a lot of fancy design/animation on their website to make it look more professional. Making a website more professional and visually-appealing is a good thing but overusing it is not. Eventually, those fancy designs will just be a distraction.

What You Should Do Instead:

Firstly, if you want to put ads, put them in the suitable place with the just adequate amount. If not, just don’t put any. Focus on your main affiliate marketing business and don’t be distracted.

Secondly, you should get rid of all the annoying and distractive pop-ups/designs.

How do you know if they are annoying? The answer is simple.

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and view your website as if you’re a visitor.

Another way is to show your website to your friends, family members or any strangers for a few seconds and ask for their feedback.

Last but not least, don’t forget to include simple Call-To-Actions (CTA) and clear navigation for your readers so that they won’t get lost and have a good experience browsing your site.

All in all, the most crucial thing is to put yourself in your reader’s shoes and anticipate what they may be thinking. This is the most important thing when designing a reader-friendly website, instead of an annoying one.

#8 No Patience & Consistency

Let me be frank with you, affiliate marketing is not any kind of magic that you can get rich quick by doing some simple tricks.

Affiliate marketing is a real and serious business. It takes a lot of your time and consistent hard work before you can see any result.

Again, a lot of beginners are too impatient and they just want to see real results as soon as possible. If not, they’ll be discouraged and quite easily.

It’s understandable to get discouraged when you’re not seeing any results in the beginning. I’m guilty of that as well.

But if you have no patience for it and the will to put in consistent actions no matter what, you’re definitely not going to succeed.

What You Should Do Instead:

In affiliate marketing, there are a lot of things that take time.

  • It takes time for you to learn the knowledge & skills
  • It takes time for your content to get ranked in search engines
  • It takes time for you to gain authority in your niche
  • It takes time for people to trust you

So what you should do is just to give it some time and keep putting in consistent efforts despite you may not be seeing results yet.

It’s not easy but trust me the reward is worth it!

#9 Unrealistic Expectations

Last but not least, unrealistic expectations is usually the cause for beginners to be impatient.

There are many people who have achieved success online and are sharing their success stories. There are also many products that claim to be the “secret” to succeed online.

“Just by following this proven system will allow you to make $1,000 in the next 5 days…” Familiar with this kind of sales pitches?

Oh, come on! You believe it?

All these things make beginners think making money online is easy and there’s some secret system to follow to make them rich in a short period of time.

However, what many successful people didn’t really share about is how much time and effort they had put in before they eventually achieve success.

So, if you still have that false impression about affiliate marketing, it’s time for you to wake up. I’m telling you that this is a real business after all. It is not as easy as you may think. Having this kind of unrealistic expectations will just make you quit faster.

What You Should Do Instead:

The first thing you need to do is to have the right mindset. Commit yourself to learn and develop yourself in both your niche and affiliate marketing.

Ignore all the noises, shiny objects, and the negative thoughts. Focus on how you can become a more valuable person to your audience.

Next, you can set small achievable goals to motivate you forward so that you can keep on improving and progressing.

Let me tell you, affiliate marketing works. But in order to make it work for you, you must be able to take and conquer the challenge given to you!

Tip: Just Be Yourself

be you

Before I end off, I just want to share one more important tip with you and that is BE YOURSELF.

There’s really nothing to be ashamed of as an affiliate marketer. There’s also nothing to be embarrassed to ask for help.

Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. The only way for all of us to benefit is to be willing to help others and also don’t be afraid to ask for help!

When you’re writing content or helping others, be authentic, be sincere, and BE YOURSELF. The more you help, the more you gain. You can see that in my success example above. This is for sure and I firmly believe in that. I hope you do as well.


The purpose of this post is to pinpoint the exact mistakes people are making in affiliate marketing and how you can improve them.

If you’re guilty of any mistakes, don’t be discouraged. Like I’ve said, it’s normal. What’s more important for us is to learn from our mistakes and improve on it.

I wish you all the best for you affiliate marketing journey and look forward to your success 🙂

Also Read: How to create a Blog


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