23 Affiliate Mistakes Newbie Affiliates Should Avoid

What are the most common affiliate mistakes which newbie affiliate marketers make? When I started out as an affiliate marketer, I didn’t have a clue! I was all fired up with making money online and believed all the hype I was sold. I ran into building a number of sites very quickly, with high hopes it was going to make me rich! Little didi I know the pitfalls of such stupidity! Here’s my list of major affilaite marketing mistakes to avoid: 23 affilaite mistakes newbie affiliates should avoid!

23 Affiliate Mistakes Newbie Affiliates Should Avoid

  1. Wise men say – Only fools rush in


affiliate mistakes

All enthusiasm and no intelligence makes for poor results as an affiliate marketer. It’s a big source of affiliate mistakes for newbie affilaite marketers. There’s plenty of courses which feed into this out there and I’ve tried many of them. As I transitioned from ebay (see how to start a profitable ebay business) into affiliate marketing, I immediately saw to benefits of the automation involved. Sending people through sales pages down an autoresponder to products and services seemed like a magical means to an autopilot money making system!

However, the truth was a lot of struggle and pain! I started my online venture after watching a series of online videos on a course I did and I was taught to build websites to rank on Google. After building site after site, throwing a lot of mud on the wall I hoped some would stick. None did! In fact it was the biggest waste of time and none of my websites ranked or made any money.

Affiliate Mistake # 2 – Jumping from one shiny object to another.

affiliate marketing mistakes

So my first attempt didn’t work. I soon found another ‘guru’ to throw my money at though. Each time an email hit my inbox promising the moon on a stick I bought it! I went through several ‘systems’ trying to earn money from the internet. The first couple were concerned with ranking sites on Google. A much harder possibility than was the case 20 years ago. Now, more than ever content is king. I didn’t know a thing about what I was blogging about either, which I’m sure Google was only too aware of!

No sooner had I started down a path when another ‘shiny object’ arrived. A new ‘system’ which promised twice the money for half the cash! Don’t buy into the lie that an online business is easy. It isn’t. Sure you can leverage the internet and create multiple sales from your website and email campaigns. But you still need to do the hard work upfront. That’s what the guru’s don’t tell you. Better to stick to a direction online which you believe in, offers value and has proven methods for the long term, not just for the ‘easy win’. Beware of one of the biggest affiliate mistakes – shiny object syndrome!

Creating Bad Content

affiliate mistakes

Here’s one of the many affiliate mistakes I definitely made, more than once. In the first instance it’s important to get going as an affilaite though. And sometimes that’s a matter of creating content, any content, no matter what it looks like. It means you can get going and feel like you are doing something. However, that doesn’t mean pretending you know something when you don’t. Sure everyone knows something about their own experience. It’s easy to blog from your own experience and no one can take that away from you.

Once you get going, you need to create content which people want, and want to share. Otherwise you won’t get anywhere with your online business. Nowadays you need to be creating content of 1000 words or more to stand out. his number is only going to increase too. I use an SEO plugin to help boost my content’s organic reach on Google. I choose long tail keywords which have a better chance of ranking on Google, too. See niche blogging for profit for more on this. Then I sit back and wait for Google to rank my content on its search engines… only kidding!

Affiliate Mistake Number 4- Not Promoting Your Content

affiliate mistakes

Even if your content is the best in the world, you use a good SEO plugin, write over 1000 words and choose the least competitive keywords in your niche, Google can still put someone else’s content above yours. Other sites often have an advantage over yours by being years old, having thousands of back links to them or have a larger domain authority than yours.

Low competing keywords also mean less traffic, even if you rank top. So sharing and promoting your content should be obvious. Affiliate mistakes like not sharing your content are up there in the top ranking mistakes. But if you don’t know you don’t know. I didn’t know either. For me, it was a big mistake and it cost me dearly. I thought everyone could see my website and they’d all be looking out for it too! That leads me to affilaite mistake number 5!

#5 – Assuming people Are Searching For You

affiliate mistakes

It took me a long while to realise that no-one really cares about your little website! I first thought when I threw a crap affilaite website up on the international web, everyone could see it immediately. I thought it would hit international fame and I’d be an instant success! Such a fool I was! I thought my popularity was such that people far and wide would simply share my amazing content and I’d hit the big time! One of my first sites was one on pasta cooking! I knew nothing about the topic at all. Nor was I interested! I was only interested in selling an affiliate product through my site. Needless to say I sold none! People aren’t looking for your site on Google. They are looking for answers to solves their own problems. Answer their problems with your products and you are half way there!

#6 Not Combining Your Interest Or Working On Your Passions

affiliate mistakes

Working on an online business takes time. It’s exciting at first and you think about making an online sale and how wonderful that will be. As time wear on, you discover the pitfalls. If you’re working on a website creating content in which you have no interest, sooner or later you will fail! That’s because you can’t sustain ‘faking it’ for very long. My pasta site failed, my mushroom harvesting site failed and my car rental site failed. I also did many more including one on shed plans, one on telephone id and one on how to learn the piano!

My interest in each of the topics I had chosen was zero! I wasn’t working on something I was passionate about. It was the model I was attempting to use which I loved, but I wasn’t interested in the topic I was sharing. This gets tiresome very quicky. The method I was following taught this strategy. It taught that I could ‘throw’ up a few small websites and continue to earn from them without doing anything more. But it didn’t work. It might have been a good stratgey 20 years ago, but my attempt failed miserably.


In addition to burning out quickly through lack of interest, you are competing with other websites who are much more focused on the topic. My mushroom site was once top of google. It fell down as my interest dwindled but also as other sites which were far more focused on the topic (and more qualified to write on the topic) continued blogging and sharing their knowledge.

Affiliate Mistake #7 - Expecting Google to Rank Your Articles

affliate mistakes

Write good content. Google loves quality content. It also uses a number of factors to rank content. Your visitors will let Google know what they think by the time spent on your page. Social media will let Google know too by the number of shares you get. It’s not possible to ‘trick’ Google any more. Your best bet to rank is by creating unique, awesome content (like this!) so that all the signals which Google uses will light up and give you the best chance of ranking.

That being said, don’t sit back and wait, expecting Google to rank your article and the buyer to come! Google might have a better article somewhere in the millions of websites floating around the internet. Don’t waste time waiting to get ranked. Concentrate instead on creating the best content you can and then promoting it. Promoting your content should be given the same attention as writing it! I made this mistake time after time and I though my content wasn’t worthy unless Google ranked it. Don’t be ‘shy’ at marketing  your content.

Social Signals

By sharing your content it also signals to Google how popular it is. Even if you never get ranked, you can still gain valuable readership just by sharing and marketing. Viral content gets thousands of views. Google now also has to use social media sharing as a significant signal to how it ranks its content.

Affiliate Newbie Mistake #9 - Writing The Wrong Content For The Product

affiliate mistakes

This is another easy mistake to make. Not all content will bring the right visitors to your website. The right visitors are those which desperately need your product. Unless your content targets these people specifically, you are going to get a lot of tyre kickers on your website. Only a small percentage of your visitors will purchase a product from you. But if your articles target your audience well for the affilaite products you have chosen, you will have a much higher percentage of sales.

To help you write the best content for your market ask yourself some pertinent questions:

  • What problems do my products solve?
  • Why is my product the best solution for this?
  • How does my product help people?
  • Which people desperately need my product and how can I find them?

Write content based around answering these questions and those of your target audience.

Affiliate Mistake Number 10 – Giving Up Too Easily

affiliate mistakes

For most this would have been enough to throw in the towel a long time ago! Sadly I’m far too stubborn for my own good. I kept in mind the fact that once a website starts earning money, it’s much easier to build on it. Plus for those who stick at affiliate marketing, there’s great rewards. For someone with a huge website and a mssive following, they don’t need to work for anyone else ever again! This is the thought which kept me going. Every roadblock taught me something new, too. I was finding out why things didn’t work all the time. I thought that must mean I was getting closer!

I definitely thought that affilaite marketing was going to be easier than it was. Little did I expect what lay ahead when I started out. Giving up too easily is probably the biggest affilaite mistake and there will be thousands of affiliate who decide it’s not for them. However, if you’re thinking of giving up at some point remember, you don’t know how close you might be. Giving up means you have failed. If you never give up, and continue to learn, you will never fail! This leads nicely to the next affilaite mistake: not continuing to learn.

Affiliate Mistake Number 11 – Not Continuing To Learn

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It’s easy to get caught up in some small element of affilaite marketing and go into a ‘black hole’. This is especially intriguing if you have had some level of success already. You think you’ve ‘craked it’ but really you just had one small success. Small successes should be cherished and lead to much larger ones. With a small success you have generated some tangible results. You just need to ‘copy and paste’ to keep generating similar results.

However, the top affilaite marketers always continue to learn. There’s always more. More software, a change in Google’s algorithm, more targeted advertising techniques. After getting stuck in article writing for a long time I put myself on a marketing course which focused on paid advertising. It changed my outlook and led to me writing my ebook The Ultimate Guide To Online Marketing. I found some new amazing tools I didn’t previously know about like retargeting and Facebook’s lookalike audiences.

As soon as you think you know it all you stop learning. Keep the beginners mind and enjoy learning. That way for each ‘roadblock’ to your online success you will consider it a learning exercise rather than a ‘failure’.

Access a training and education platform here if you haven’t started or are struggling with your internet business.

Number 12 – Resting on your laurels

affiliate mistakes

Another affiliate mistake is to rest on your laurels. Sitting back and  thinking you have ‘arrived’ when you really haven’t is a big mistake. There’s always more with affilaite marketing. A small sale in the early days is big news. But it won’t guarantee your future. You need to keep at it. Keep learning and implementing new knowledge. Keep the momentum up. Focus on your goals, not your results. Don’t look for results, look at your daily activity. Keep going and results will come, if you continue to keep working. 

Working hard and smart are not the same thing. If you have been doing the same activity for a long time and don’t see any tangible results, it’s time for something new. Blogging, for example, is something I have done for a long time.  Until I stopped and looked at my results, I wouldn’t have started researching and learning again. I was ‘stuck’ in this activity but it wasn’t moving my online business forwards.

Affiliate Marketing Mistake Number 13 – Being a busy fool

The ‘Busy fool’ keeps doing the same activities but never makes any money. It’s easy to be a busy fool online. You can choose what you do and when you do it. This kind of freedom is a ‘double edged sword’. If you don’t choose the right money producing activities to spend your time on, you can waste a lot of time browsing social media, creating content which never gets seen and doingvarious other pointless activities.

Make sure you follow a strategy which works, and take daily steps towards realising a profitable online business. This means being harse with yourself by setting daily, weekly and monthly goals. Your financial goals need to line up with your daily activities. Are you doing things on a daily basis to build a profitable online business? Or are you wasting time being ineffective to avoid the important? This is one of the main affilaite mistakes which lead to a failed affilaite business. Doing the right small activities day after day brings the best results. However, if those activities are ineffective, you won’t build a profitable business. Remember pareto’s principle?

Affiliate Mistakes Number 14 – Giving Up The Day Job

affiliate mistakes

It can be tempting to give up the day job after only a measly small win online. Unless your affiliate income is above that of your day job, it’s a good idea to keep hold of it. With affilaite marketing you can have one fantastic month followed by a drought.

As your income evaporates from your steady job, you could find your affilaite income suddenly drops. This adds more pressure to make it work and this can lead to dispondency and dispair! It also means you don’t have the cash to scale up your business too. By relying on your affiliate income you can’t put it back into the business to grow it. Wait until you’re earning more from your affiliate business, month after month, before your quit your job.

Affiliate Mistakes – Number 14 – Doing Only Your Favourite Things

Wouldn’t life be wonderful if we could only do what we loved all the time! Turn that idea into a job and you will think twice! Doing what you love for a living is a great thing, though. However, you also need to make sure it pays, especially when starting an internet business. If you only focus on your most preferred activities, you might find you have a hobby rather than a business. An a very expensive hobby at that! Use your passion for something which works at making money. This could be article marketing, blogging or creating video.

Which ever activity most suits you is probably where your strengths lie. However, you still need to make it pay, whatever it is. If you’ve been doing it for a while and have no tangible results it might be time to ‘tweek’ your activities and look into why it’s not working. Blogging takes time to generate traffic for example. You can speed it up by guest writing, blog commenting and back linking to your content. Share, share and share your content. Use social media to get your content out there. Don’t focus only on the writing, make it pay too!

Affiliate Mistakes Number 15 – Letting Despondency Get The Better of You

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With any business you will let your guard down a begin to feel it’s all for nothing! At times like these it’s worth going back to the reasons why you started an internet business in the first place. Take time off, don’t quit. One of the best things about an internet based business is that it’s very forgiving. You can always take a week off and start again. If you’re trying to work and can’t for some reason, change your mental state by changing your environment, taking a break or taking some exercise.

One of the draw backs with an internet business is for many people they are attempting to do it by themselves. Join a community where you can actually meet people and share information.  One of the hardest things about being an affiliate marketer is the thought that all your friends and relatives are against you on it! This leads to affiliate mistakes number 16 – Don’t tell people what you’re doing!

Affiliate Mistakes Number 16 – Letting on What You’re Doing

Here’s a lesson I have learned the hard way. For each person I have either shared my interest with or tried to ‘sell’ affilaite marketing to, a small part of me died along the way! Of course some people are open to the idea of affilaite marketing. It’s growing in popularity and awareness. Many people now make their living from affilaite marketing too.

But there is a sector of society which is threatened by anything other than the status quo. For these people, letting them know you’re attempting to build your own online business poses as a threat. Sometimes they are well meaning too and don’t want you to get scammed! But each time I have shared or tried to reach out to someone who knows nothing of affiliate marketing, I have lost some of my enthusiasm. So, before letting on to your well meaning friends and relatives ask yourself:

  • Do they know anything about affiliate marketing?
  • Do they have similar life goals to you?

If the anwers to these questions is no, avoid sharing details of what you are doing unless you are already well on your way to making a full time living from affiliate marketing. It could quench your fire and you might end up believing them! See why your friends and family don’t want you to succeed! Keeping up the motivation sometimes means not falling into the trap of trying to share everything you do.

Affiliate Mistakes Number 17 – Not Taking Time Out

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Not taking time out of anything will eventually result in burnout. It’s another important one of many affiliate mistakes to avoid. You need to regularly take breaks from your business to recharge your batteries, rest and recouperate. If you don’t you will eventually become less and less effective at your business. This is just as true for newbie affilaite marketers as it is for any business person. So relax and double your productivity, studies show that it works! Take regular breaks too and you’ll be more productive in your affilaite business. Go at it hard for long enough without a break and eventually you’ll come to an abrupt stop. Working harder doesn’t necessarily mean working smarter.

#18 – Letting Your Affiliate Business Consume You

Here’s a good one and definitely one of the affiliate mistakes I have made. Allowing your business to become the ‘be all end all’ of your existance is a huge mistake. Many business minded folk profess to this in their end years saying they wish they had spent their time differently – on family, friends and enjoyable activities.

Or they say they got the work/life balance wrong. Without money though life can be very limited. However, without fun, and relationships it can be pretty dull. Work on your business and let if bring you a happier life. But don’t let it control you, become your identity, control your self worth (or self image). Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Keep a nice work life balance and focus on what’s important outside your business too.

#19 Not Changing Your Self Image

Remember that you’re not your business. Your business exists only to earn you money so that you can enjoy life more fully. Your business cannot grow beyond your self image. You must change your self image for things to change. A perpetual negative self image only creates more of itself.

So self image is an important part of building a business. Read psycho-cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Why should your self image limit your business? Your self image is how you see yourself inside your mind. It has a major controlling part in everything you create in your life. It explains why lottery winners lose all their money and why behavior doesn’t change much in most people.

It can also explain why someone might struggle with an affilaite business, and why they might attempt it in the first place. This might sound a little deep but Maxwell Maltz discovered why, after some plastic surgeries he had performed, some people still felt inadequate. He discovered far greater changes were possible simply by changing the person’s self image. In some instances plastic surgey wasn’t desired once the self image was changed. If you’re strugging with an affilaite business, self image could be a major reason.

#20 – Not Working On Yourself

The glass ceiling of your affilaite business is always you. That’s why the cardinal sin of any business owner is to not develop the owner (yourself). Stop working in your business and start working on your business. That means developing yourself to be a better business owner. Do you regularly attend training events? Do you mix with like minded business associates? One of the affiliate mistakes to avoid is to get too comfortable and believe you already know it all. Stopping learning and working on yourself is the fastest route to mediocrity.

Do you regularly read about your industry and improve yourself? Many business owners get into the postiion of an owner so they can be in charge. However, this can often mean they fail at their business because they fail to continue learning and developing themselves. With an affiliate business it can be difficult to connect with other people in your industry. That’s why Jay Kubessek and Stuart Ross created the SFM community – so it’s members could benefit from other people and a social community to ‘plug’ into.

Affiliate Mistakes #21 Not Building A List

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List building has to be the best way to build an online business. I tried to earn from Google’s Adsense program with one particular online income method. This method didn’t require building a list. however, it did mean I had to generate thousands of daily visits to my website. Needless to say I didn’t make it work! It was built on the free traffic method of getting traffic directly from Google. Building a list of subscribers is a much better way to profit online for a couple of reasons:

  • Generating traffic is hard; you either need to create tonnes of good content and/ or
  • Use paid traffic – which is of course expensive!

Building your own list o subscribers means you can be in charge of your own traffic once you have it. You don’t need to rely on content, Google,social media or paid advertising. Get your own list, a range of affilaite products and a ‘plug and play’ website here.

Affiliate Mistakes #22 – Expecting Easy Money

It is true that you can earn quickly with affiliate marketing. I had a few early successes. However, to make affiliate marketing a viable and long term profitable business is a different story altogether. To earn continually with your affiliate marketing business means putting in some hard graft over the long term. You also need to implement the right business strategy and do the right activities to make it work fro the long term. Expecting easy money from your affilaite business without doing what is required, can easily result in giving up. You need to learn properly by getting the right training, then implement that training and keep doing it!

Affiliate Mistakes #23 – Not Getting The Right Training From The Start

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Choosing a training provider isn’t easy. There’s a tonne of conflicting information out there and loads of people reasy to take your cash. However, unless you do get the right training you’re stuck on your own. As someone who attempted affilaite marketing alone for years I wouldn’t recommend it. Get an affiliate marketing mentor.

Affiliate Marketing Mistakes – # 24 Not Using The Right Business Model

Work as hard as you like with the wrong business model and you can still only have a modest success. It’s another of many affiliate mistakes to avoid. Make sure you have the right business model from the start. It can save you a lot of wasted time online trying and failing to sell low ticket affiliate products. Small ticket items can earn you a small commission. But subscription products can offer you an income from each sale. High ticket items can earn you larger commissions. Choosing products which reward you for up-sells can mean the difference between a few small commissions and ongoing commissions which are closed on your behalf by a built in sales team.

Learn how to build an affiliate business from scratch with subscription products, high ticket sales and a community on people on hand to help and support. Sign up for the free video series here. Can you think of any more affiliate mistakes? Please share in the comments below.