16 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid in 2022
If you’re a beginner just starting out, trying to make money online, make sure that you avoid doing these affiliate marketing mistakes.
Affiliate marketing is great, almost 70% of my entire online business is based on affiliate marketing, the other 30% is arbitrage and other things.
I know for a fact that many affiliate marketers are doing mistakes, including me, even after all these years of doing it.
For example, sometimes I get distracted and I maybe forget to add a macro to a paid traffic campaign URL, I usually catch the error before having it impact my overall revenue.
And that’s the important thing here, you need to catch your affiliate marketing mistakes quickly and solve them before they can negatively impact your earning potential.
Alright… Let me show you now:
The Top Affiliate Marketing Mistakes that Newbies are Doing
In no particular order, I just wrote these as they came to me, but I believe they are all equally important, and not catching even one of these affiliate marketing mistakes early in your process, your earnings will suffer.
1. Choosing the wrong niche
Ok, so I think this one is quite clear from the start. You messed up and didn’t do your niche research properly and now you’re stuck.
You don’t know what to write anymore, and your content is not getting any traffic, plus the products you’re promoting are barely selling.
The niche that you thought was amazing has almost no search results, and because you didn’t bother to do the research, all the content you have written gets barely any traffic.
Another problem is that some people (myself included) don’t like or know how to write content for a topic that they don’t know anything about.
This is a huge problem especially if you’re doing affiliate marketing relying on free SEO traffic (more on that later).
So first step in your affiliate marketing journey is to go ahead and read my other post on How to find your niche.
2. Not staying focused
I know this one all too well. I even talked about it in my affiliate marketing guide. This one is such a pain in the ass that I think can be one of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that you can make.
It basically boils down to this:
Let’s say you start a new niche website and let’s assume that your new niche website is all about “Dog Training”.
Now, you write content on your site constantly, you add affiliate marketing products all over the place, and yet… you get 0 affiliate sales.
What is happening?
Why isn’t your amazing website getting any traffic and any sales? You worked so hard to design the site and create content.
You got nothing in return.
So what would a beginner to making money online and affiliate marketing do?
They would hop to another niche, create another website, write another content for a different topic, put up all the affiliate marketing products that you can find… and again you’re stuck with no results…
They repeat this cycle over and over again, buying more ebooks and courses on how to “make money online“, yet they never dedicate enough time for just one of those methods to come to fruition.
This was my problem for 2-3 years when I started out, and as soon that I realized that:
The PROBLEM WAS ME.
I immediately stopped quitting every new project that I would start and just laser-focused on one of them until they made me money.
And trust me, after a while, I turned around every website that I have started and made them profitable, one by one of course.
So yeah, if you start with something, keep going at it, because not staying focused on just one thing will hurt your affiliate marketing business.
3. Trying to copy others 100%
Oh, this one is pretty simple yet also one of the most annoying affiliate marketing mistakes that I see newbs doing every time.
They try and copy others… ALL THE TIME
From the niche to the website design, ad layouts, products that they promote, and sometimes even the whole content, not even carrying about copyright. LOL.
Listen, there’s a reason why I never talk about the sites that I have on this blog, I know for a fact that a big number of my readers will try and replicate my sites hoping that they would succeed in making money with affiliate marketing.
It’s not going to happen, you’re not going to get rich overnight by copying someone’s else niche and content in its entirety.
Plus, if everyone on reading my blog were to suddenly copy the ideas and the niche of one of my websites, and 1000 of you do it… how will that play out for all of us?
Either none of us will make amazing money from it, or my site will more than likely outrank and outperform yours simply because I’ve been working on it longer than you.
Does that make sense?
You have to LEARN and understand how and why some affiliate marketers are doing things the way they are doing on their affiliate websites. But you never just straight up copy everything.
Take out the best tactics that someone does for their affiliate marketing website, and apply the same tactics to your own niche and website.
That’s how you do it.
You gather the best ideas and techniques from everyone and combine them all to create a super affiliate website, but in your own niche and in your own way, without copying anyone’s content, images, links, etc…
4. Going after insanely competitive keywords
Don’t go after the highest most competitive keywords online. Unless you know what you’re doing and are prepared to either:
- Spend a lot of time writing and optimizing great content
- Pay for traffic
This is another common affiliate marketing mistake, you’re just starting out, maybe you don’t even know the affiliate marketing fundamentals, yet you’re trying to rank an affiliate website rank with the keyword: “lose weight”?
I’m sorry, but that’s never going to happen…
There’s too many bigger fish swimming around that keyword, writing content, and optimizing their websites for AGES…
You should go after long-tail keywords, that have lower searches and lower competition, and try to write content around those keywords if you want free traffic from google.
If not, well… you can just pay for traffic then, that also works.
Check out Semrush and Ubersuggest to do your keyword research.
5. Promoting trash products
You can have the best affiliate marketing out there, with premium quality content on it, and even receive a lot of traffic from the search engines.
If you’re promoting trash products… your earnings will be trash also.
It’s as simple as that. Some products are outright a SCAM. “Take this magic pill and you will lose half your body weight in 2 days”
Alright that’s a bit exaggerated I agree, but you know what I’m talking about, these products are out there.
Not only scam products are trash.
You can also have legit products that are trash simply because their landing page sucks, or they use outdated design, payment software, etc.
In affiliate marketplaces such as Clickbank or CJ.com, you will find thousands of products to promote, knowing how to find a really good product for you to promote is going to be tough.
You want to always try and analyze a product before you start promoting it:
- Look at the name of the product
- Look at the product image
- Inspect the website
- Who are the creators and owners of the product? Are they trustworthy?
- Are there any legit reviews about that affiliate product or service online on sites like TrustPilot?
- Is the website loading fast?
- Does the product have a high amount of refunds?
- Is there a good amount of affiliates promoting it?
I go as far as checking the whois also, the date that the company was founded, if there even is a company behind the product, etc.
My point is, don’t just willy nilly pick up a product and plaster your website with banners and links promoting it, do your research first, and try to find the best possible products and services to promote. Always.
6. Dreaming of getting rich quick
Ok, this one will hurt a little… but I have to do it, and I have to say it.
You won’t get rich overnight.
Not even in a week or a month, sometimes not even in a year, especially if you’re just starting out. Sure there are exceptions to the rule, but in most cases, this simply doesn’t happen.
This is one of those affiliate marketing mistakes that beginners do without realizing it, they get fed only ebooks and courses promoting the rich lifestyle, they see only fast cars, big yachts, and mansions, they buy those products thinking it will happen to them too, and QUICK.
But that almost never works.
Most of those supercars, boats, and villas, are rented. You know that right? Most of the people you see in those videos are paid actors, to act as experts and gurus. I hope you knew that, if not, then well now you know.
In this business, you will have to put in work and a lot of it.
I sometimes have 12 hours workdays, even push it to 16 if the things that I’m trying to do requires it.
Sure, that rarely happens… but the point still stands… don’t think that if you’re making money online you’re suddenly going to make it happen quickly without putting in all the work.
You need time for Google to index and rank your site, you need time to learn how to pick up the best niches and products, you also need a lot of time to understand how to write good content and also how to promote your website.
You can’t force all of that to happen in an instant.
7. Putting all your eggs into one basket
Don’t just promote one single affiliate marketing product from one affiliate network.
Sign up for multiple affiliate networks, and try different other products.
The same applies to almost everything else that’s involved with internet and affiliate marketing, another example would be to never rely on just 1 source of traffic (paid or free).
You need to have backups in place for every situation. Oh yeah, make sure you also backup your website on a regular basis.
8. Relying on free SEO traffic
Free organic traffic from Google or Bing is awesome. I get that. But sometimes, especially at the beginning, you might not be able to rank for certain keywords and niches.
Google updates its ranking algorithm almost daily, and they have hundreds or even thousands of criteria that they use to rank a website.
It’s insane to put your entire affiliate marketing business in the hands of Google.
With one quick update, millions of websites will lose their rankings and end up at the bottom of the web.
And it happens more than you think. Even legit websites are getting hit sometimes, not only the black-hatters.
It’s also good to get paid traffic to a new website because Google will also take that into account (they see users coming to your site, they think your site is good, so they rank you higher). You will also make money faster.
Read about my Top Cheap Website Traffic that you can use right away, without having to rely on free traffic and SEO.
9. Thinking that you are an expert
They say that someone becomes an expert in their field after doing it for over 10,000 hours. How close are you to that number?
Don’t think that if you know how to rank after a keyword in Google and that you got some traffic and sales you’re immediately an expert.
This sounds harsh, but… you need time to understand and learn every aspect of affiliate marketing and also online marketing as a whole.
The best online marketers learn, improve, and adapt constantly.
Exactly like doctors, their learning doesn’t stop the moment they get out of university.
Online marketing is the same. You have to always learn and adapt, with ever Google update, with every new rule that comes into place from your favorite ad network, or affiliate platform, etc.
Always strive to improve and scale up your affiliate marketing business, by learning about the industry and testing things every chance you get.
Otherwise, if you think that you’re the best, you won’t improve or learn new things and even neglect important things that you need to do in order to become successful, so you will ultimately fail.
Never stop learning.
10. Ignoring SEO
I’m a big advocate of paid traffic. But you can’t just ignore SEO. That’s just silly.
Of course, as I said previously don’t rely only on organic traffic, but to not care about SEO at all is not a good way of doing things. Even if you pay for traffic.
Make sure that all your websites and blog posts have at least basic SEO done to them before you start sending paid traffic. Read and learn about On-Page SEO for starters, and make use of the SEO plugins.
Related Article: 14 Best WordPress Plugins For Affiliate Marketing
11. Not knowing what you’re promoting
This is kinda similar to the Trash products point I made above. The difference is that, even if you don’t promote a trash product, you might still not get affiliate sales.
Most of the time the affiliate product doesn’t match the content of the site. This is another one of those affiliate marketing mistakes that I see all the time.
I’ve seen auto blogs (yes, for some reason these are still a thing), copying content from general lifestyle and health blogs, yet their affiliate banners were for GoDaddy and how to build a website. Like, what?
Sure sometimes it might work and you might get a few sales, but it’s not the norm. Usually, you want to have affiliate products, banners, and links closely related to the content that you have.
So for the above example, it would make much more sense to promote lifestyle and health products instead of GoDaddy.
12. Ignoring website speed
Your website speed might not seem important to you, but it’s another top affiliate marketing mistakes that newbies do. The time it takes for your website to load for your users is extremely important, in so many ways.
It can cost you a lead, an adsense click, a sale, and even your Google rankings.
Yes, Google said it many times that they care about your website’s speed and how fast it loads for your traffic.
People are usually exiting websites that take more than 3 seconds to load (especially on mobile).
So go to a website like GTmetrix and Pingdom and test your website’s speed and if it’s on the red, try to improve it ASAP, by following the tips you will see on the results screen.
13. Publishing low-quality content
I’m going to keep this one pretty simple and straight to the point.
Create Great Content
- Don’t EVER copy/paste articles from other websites
- Use media when appropriate in all your content (images and video)
- Format your content to look nice on screen, don’t do long paragraphs without breaks in between
- Count the words. Make sure every article you post has at least 500 words, these days though I feel that number is up to 800, so try and write more.
- Create guides, and lists if you’re stuck and don’t know what to write about
- Invite users tog I’ve your feedback on your content to know where to improve
- If you’re having writer’s or blogger’s block, go and spy your competition and see what they are talking about, but don’t copy their articles, create your own, around the same idea.
There’s more to talk about, but in general, these are the important ones, so yeah if you want to rank in Google and also have an engaged and interested audience on your website, follow these content tips.
14. Prioritizing selling over helping
While that might sound a bit dumb, trust me it’s true. I know you want to make money right away, by doing everything you can in your affiliate marketing journey.
But sometimes…you might overlook what’s more important here…
Providing value and helping your audience.
These people all came to you because they have a certain need, whether it is a review for a product that they are not unsure about, or to treat some terrible illness, you want to make sure that your content helps them first, and makes you money after.
A happy audience means that you will have returning visitors to your site all the time, they will also tell their family members and friends about you, so even more traffic. They might leave your site amazing reviews that show up on Google, which is also great.
This all translates to more earnings for you. It’s simple really if they don’t find value in your articles or videos, they will just go to some other site or video to get the advice and help that they need, so you lose affiliate commissions every time that happens.
Also, don’t forget that Google has a new policy against YMYL sites (Your money or your life websites), so they will put your site lower in the search results if you don’t provide any real value and instead of trying to get money right away by scaring visitors.
15. Not investing in your business
Don’t be afraid to spend money on tools to make your affiliate marketing business run smoothly and efficiently.
Yes, it’s tough at first…
Even having to pay for a domain name and a hosting server can stop someone from starting out and pursuing affiliate marketing.
When you’re a beginner this is not really a big affiliate marketing mistake, but when you earn some money and you try to scale up, sometimes it’s needed to pay for things to make everything easier.
- Read my how to start a blog guide instead of paying others to make one for you.
- If you don’t know how to code buy the theme and plugins that you need
- If you don’t like to write, outsource that to freelancers
- if you don’t like to wait for free traffic, pay for paid traffic
- the list can go on and on…
The biggest NO-NO that you can do is to use nulled plugins and themes when you’re starting out. Just don’t do that. If you can’t afford them look for free alternatives.
Don’t use nulled software from shady websites and try to use them to run a legit business. Almost all those nulled items have malicious malware code inside, that someone can use to attack your website and gain access to everything simply running your whole affiliate business.
“Scared money don’t make no money”. At least that’s what some of the rappers are shouting in their songs, I’ll have to agree with them on that one though.
16. Not TRACKING everything
Affiliate marketing is a numbers game, I’ve said it before and I will always say this. If you pay for traffic you need to track all your campaigns correctly using an affiliate tracker like RedTrack (aff. link).
If you’re doing SEO, you need to track your rankings and also your competition to see how your website ranks and how you can improve it to get even more traffic.
Not gathering all the data that you can is one of the biggest affiliate marketing mistakes that I can think of.
I know I said earlier that all of these mistakes are equal, but I think if I had to choose one that’s the biggest of them all, this one would be it.
Track everything that you can.
How do you think that Facebook makes all its money? From you, you are their data, they track everything you do and everything you like not only on their website but across the whole web.
They then sell that data to affiliate marketers or advertisers like me, who use it to find the exact audience that I want with pin-point accuracy, for the products and services that I’m promoting.
Without tracking your paid traffic campaigns you won’t know what keywords or publishers IDs to block, or what landing page converts best or what GEO brings you more money.
Not tracking your SEO rankings and your competition with tools like Semrush, will not give you the advantage that you need in order to increase your organic traffic.
Failing to understand your own website’s audience and what posts are performing better than others in terms of shares, time spent on site, etc, will also not help you to better market products and services that cater exactly to your traffic.
Affiliate Marketing Mistakes: Conclusion
There you have it, 16 affiliate marketing mistakes that I highly recommend you to try and avoid as much as you possibly can. Every one of them can negatively impact your earning potential, so why take the chance?
Don’t look for shortcuts, it’s almost never worth it. Like everything in life, in order to pull of a successful affiliate marketing business, you will have to give it your best, always try to learn from your mistakes and improve, and never losing focus.
I hope this article helped you out, let me know in the comments if you know of more affiliate marketing mistakes that I should include that I forgot.
Thank you for your tips ,I have noted a number of great points I think is the reason why I have spent more than what I have earned.
I think procrastination is the 17th point because,with a lot that need to be done as you mentioned, delays in taking action or not taking action at all will also a major draw back that will cause affiliate marketers to fail.
When you read a lot and learn something you must obviously apply it to your business for your own benefit without further delays.
Thank you again will check your link about how to start a blog first thing tomorrow morning-yet another delay
Hi Mathew, indeeed procrastination is a killer for your business. That’s why I’ve created this simple and free pomodoro timer. So that I can better manage my time when I really need to get shit done.
Good luck with everything,
Over the years in our affiliate marketing business by FAR, the biggest mistakes we see from others is the consistent promoting of bad… Just plain bad products, services, etc…
The better the products and services promoted = longer customer retention = which is the god metric of profit generation!
That’s right John, product/service quality has a lot of impact, but also the customer support from the vendor has to be top.
a good read