Online Affiliate Programs – Are they Profitable?

Published: Oct 29, 2022 | Updated: Feb 20, 2023
Written by: Marce Ferreira

Online Affiliate Programs - Are they Profitable?

Online product or service affiliate programs (also called affiliate marketing programs) are a popular way for bloggers and websites to make extra money. To step in or join an affiliate program you first need to become an affiliate partner. To become a partner you will need to register and get accepted.

After acceptance you basically start with attracting Internet traffic to your own website (or Facebook, Instagram, or whatever other digital presence), and subsequently lead visitors (through so-called affiliate links) to other websites that sell something (the websites of the companies you became an affiliate partner of). If the visitor then buys a product or service on that other website, you earn a commission.

Perhaps it all sounds pretty easy, but it really isn’t. First of all, you will generally earn only between 5% and 15% of the sales price, that is, if a product sells for USD$ 50, you will receive between USD$ 2.50 and USD$ 7.50 per sales. Moreover, commission percentages may suddenly change (at the whim of the seller), sometimes very drastically, so it’s always a risk to count on a certain monthly income.

In any case, you will need a lot of sales to make some serious money out of an affiliate program. Of course, costly products, such as an automatic massage chair (for instance a chair that costs USD$ 1,500) will give you a much higher commission. Then again, it’s also a much more competitive market, because everyone in the affiliate business wants to be an affiliate partner of companies that sell high-demand, high-priced products or services.

Then, secondly, it’s not simple to get high-volume traffic to your website or any other Internet medium. You will need to be an influencer or authority, or publish a continuous stream of well written articles (often review-like articles) optimized for Internet search engines. It costs time, often years, to gain an authoritative Internet presence. Moreover, you will need to know a lot about the products or services you write about.

But, you could also start more modestly by just focusing on your existing clients. For instance, if you are a Yoga teacher you could become an affiliate partner of a company that sells Yoga mats and props. Then, you write articles about different types of Yoga mats, the pros and cons, and such, and publish those on your website or social media channels.

In this scenario, your website and social media are typically visited by your clients and followers (that is, the people who trust you), and it might encourage them to buy a Yoga mat through your affiliate link. It could be a start to earn a bit extra on the side while you develop this activity into a more substantial income generator.

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