Biggest Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

9 Huge Affiliate Marketing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Affiliate marketing is not only an awesome way to make big money online, it's fun! What other job can you think of that allows you to do what you want, work from wherever you want and make money while you sleep?

I can't even think of one!

That being said, many affiliate marketers make some common mistakes that severely hinder their chances of making their business a huge success.

These mistakes are easy to avoid if you are aware of them and by doing so will help your online business grow and see massive success!

The Affiliate Marketing Promise

People get into affiliate marketing for a number of different reasons. The promise of totally insane online riches, the ability to make money while they sleep or perhaps they're just looking for some extra monthly spending money.

Affiliate Marketing Riches

Regardless of the reasons, the same mistakes are being made across all types of people and all types of online businesses. 

So take a look at the list of the most common mistakes below and then reflect on your own business to see if you are committing of any of these business hindering activities. Knowing what to be aware of and what to avoid is going to help launch your efforts to the next level!

1. Trying To Do Too Much At Once

When starting an online business for the first time, there's a ton of stuff to learn. And the more you learn, the more you discover that there are a ton of ways to be successful.

The problem is, most people try to do too much at once. The choose their niche and build their lead magnets and sales funnels around the affiliate products they are promoting. 

Affiliate Marketing Overload

That part is perfect.

But then they discover they need to drive more traffic to their landing pages so they start running paid ads on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Then they find out that YouTube is an awesome marketing channel so they add that to their marketing strategy and feel like they need to start making videos to promote their business.

If they don't already have the necessary equipment, they run out and purchase a good SDLR camera, microphones, lighting accessories and editing software. 

And of course there is the SEO method of driving traffic. But in order to see the best results, they learn that they need to publish high-quality and original content often. They also learn that keyword research is huge when it comes to optimizing page rankings, so they learn to choose their content choices carefully.

Are you getting the point yet? It can be totally overwhelming!

All of the methods mentioned above are fantastic ways to promote your business and should be part of your marketing strategy. Eventually.

But trying to do all of these things at once is a sure way to kill your progress. It's virtually impossible to execute all of these methods at once and if you attempt to do so, your efforts will be mediocre at best.

Recommendation: Focus On One Thing At A Time

The right thing to do is focus on one thing at a time. Choose a social media platform to promote your business with and become an expert on that platform before moving on. 

Or choose YouTube and use that as your single promotion source until you've mastered that platform and built a channel that is seeing results.

It doesn't matter what method you choose. Just make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew before moving to another promotion source.

2. Trying To Be Perfect

There's an old saying that states, 'When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target.'

In other words, trying to be perfect will put you into a situation where you'll never cross the finish line. You put all your available time and effort trying to achieve something that can't be achieved.

Don't Try To Be Perfect

If you've been doing affiliate marketing for any amount of time you know how demanding it can be on your time. We all need to find ways to be more productive with the number of hours we have in a day to work on our business. 

So trying to be perfect right out of the gate with every new sales funnel or landing page or website you build is a guaranteed way to kill (or even end) your progress.

Recommendation: Get It Done Now, Improve Later

The best remedy for this is to simply get done what you need to get done and then go back and improve upon your efforts later.

Since perfect can never really be achieved, why even attempt to get there? There are so many areas where your business needs your attention that you just cannot afford to be spending too much time on one aspect of it.

So get it done, move on to the next task and come back later with continuous improvement.

Pro Tip

Google loves high-quality content that is original, engaging and valuable to their readers. Blog content that is at least 2,000 - 2,500 words long will rank better than posts that are 800 - 1,000 words in length.


There are many times when I am not able to achieve my goal of 2,000 words or more for a particular article I'm writing. That's perfectly fine. I simply post it and add more later when I think of additional value that can be added.

3. Not Having A Plan

I don't know how many times I've spoken with other online business owners about their business plan and they say, what? A business plan? What do you mean by that?

Maybe it's because I have an engineering background but for me, not having a plan to follow is a sure way to fail. How can you measure success if you haven't set clear and measurable criteria of what success is? 

Affiliate Marketing Business Plan

You cannot just have a mindset of I've achieved success when my business makes $10,000 per month. That's the blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while approach and this is not the way to go about establishing a successful online business!

In a recent article I published, I discuss the critical importance of having some type of business plan in place before you start building your business and why it is instrumental to your success. 

You do not need a 54 page document that reviews every detail of your business, but you do need some type of plan to follow. You need to have an idea of what I call your why, how and who if you want to have any hope of building and sustaining a successful online income stream.

Recommendation: Create A General Business Plan

A business plan is one of the most valuable tools you can utilize in order to help you meet your goals. It gives your business direction, defines your objectives and maps out the specific strategies you'll use to achieve your goals.

This means you can focus your time and energy on the important things you need to do rather than blinding applying your efforts towards your business and hoping you somehow hit the target.

4. Not Having Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest reasons why people fail at affiliate marketing is because when they don't start seeing results after 2 or 3 weeks, they quit! 

This blows my mind! 

Unrealistic Expectations

Making money online is not difficult. And making money with affiliate marketing is the absolute best way to make a full-time income online. But if you don't already know this, let me make it perfectly clear... it takes time and effort to build a successful online business!

There is no such thing as a 'get rich quick' program. If there was we would all be retired and living on a remote island somewhere in the Caribbean.

But the promise of affiliate marketing is that it will give you a lifestyle beyond your wildest dreams if you are willing to put the necessary time and effort into it. If you're expecting to quit your job a month after starting your online business, then you need to readjust your mindset now. Because that's just not how this business works. 

Recommendation: Be Prepared To Work Hard

Some people will be ultra-successful with affiliate marketing and others will fail. So what's the difference between those that make it and those that don't?

The difference is attitude and expectations. The ultra-successful people know that it takes hard work and commitment in order to achieve success. Since they understand this, they don't mind doing whatever it takes to accomplish their goals. They do not make excuses. They simply find a way to make it happen.

Here's some excellent insight into why some people are super successful with affiliate marketing and what they do that others don't.

5. Not Learning How Affiliate Marketing Works

Even the most experienced and successful online business owners are always trying to learn new things. They learn from others that have achieved a high-level of success and they are always looking for ways to innovate and improve what they do.

Many affiliate marketers (especially newbies) think the road to riches is signing up for an affiliate product link and pasting it all over their website. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there's a bit more to it than that!

Training Plan

Get training and educate yourself to help drive your success!

In order to succeed in this business and any business for that matter is to educate yourself. You need to learn every aspect of affiliate marketing so you can understand the best way to design and run your business.

You can create your online business in a number of different ways, so you need to decide on a method that works best for you.

There are many online training programs that you can (and should) be taking advantage of now. I'm not a big fan of simply purchasing an online course because they can become outdated very quickly.

You want to find a training platform that is current, provides support and allows you to seek help when you need it. 

Two of the best that I've ever seen are the training and support platforms available at Wealthy Affiliate and Affilorama. They are responsible for making tens of thousands of students very wealthy with affiliate marketing. 

That being said, the the real biggest mistake most people make is starting some training and then quitting because they think they understand enough of what they need to do. 

This is a catastrophic mindset and a sure way to crash and burn your online business! 

We make a living online in the world of technology. Things change everyday. The methods and techniques that worked to drive traffic to your site 6 months ago may not be relevant today.

So make sure you find a training platform and community that provides you with the resources you need and keeps you up to date with the latest and greatest ways to drive towards success. 

Recommendation: Educate Yourself and Get Good Training

If you wanted to learn how to fly an airplane, would you stop after lesson 1? If you do, I promise you I will not be getting on board with you!

Seriously, training and education are the most important influencing factors that will be responsible for your success or failure. Even if the training seems mundane or boring at times, do it! Don't quit in the middle because you think you get it. 

And always make sure you try to learn something new every day. That's what the top 1% do so why wouldn't you do it as well?

6. Being Lazy

Affiliate marketing takes a lot of hard work and effort. You need to get yourself on a consistent schedule and stick to it!

If you are planning on creating a new landing page by next Wednesday, do everything in your power to complete it by then. If you are doing a new product review on your site, don't just say to yourself, 'I'll get it done sometime this week.'

Don't make excuses. Just get it done!

Don't Be Lazy!

Being disciplined is one of the best things you can do for your online business. Making a commitment to add 4 new blog posts per week and only doing 1 is not how you're going to sustain your longevity in the affiliate marketing world.

If 4 new posts per week is too much for you to handle, scale it back to 2 or 3. Just make sure you get yourself on a regular schedule of adding positive contributions to your business and then stick to it! 

Success in this business does not happen by going about things haphazardly and just hoping that things will work. There is a proven formula and road map to success and it must be followed if you want to achieve success in the online world!

Recommendation: Create a Schedule and Stick to It!

The world's most successful people got there by being disciplined and by holding themselves accountable for their actions.

These include the top affiliate marketers as well as other people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

They didn't get to where they are by being lazy or by procrastinating! They worked hard and dedicated themselves to their passion and removed all excuses that got in their way.

A common characteristics among the most successful people in the world is that they are organized, consistent and live by a schedule. If it's good practice for them, it should be a good practice for you (and all of us) to emulate as well!

7. Not Finding Ways to Make Life Easier

My Dad used to always tell me, 'any job is easy if you have the right tools.'

Truer words could not have been spoken! You cannot build a house with a screwdriver alone. You need a hammer, a table saw, a tape measure and about 300 other tools! But if you have all of the tools you need, the task at hand can be accomplished without too much difficulty.

There's a Right Way and a Wrong Way

When I first started my online business, I built my first website with WordPress and used the WP editor. It took me just over 2 months to get something that I thought was acceptable enough to publish.

Then I discovered that there are some tools that could make my life so much easier. As an example, when I discovered the suite of tools provided by Thrive Themes, it was a game changer for me.

My landing page building time went from hours (or even days) to minutes. My sales funnel creation time was the same. And now I can build complete, conversion focused websites in hours, not weeks or months!

This is not a plug for Thrive Themes, but rather to make you aware and urge you to find ways to make your life easier. If you want more information about what Thrive Themes is and how it can help you, check out my full Thrive Themes Review HERE.

There are many good page builders on the market. Others that I would recommend are Elementor, Divi and Beaver Builder.

Why am I recommending these particular page builders? Because I've personally used each one of them. Although I have my own personal preference, you really can't go wrong with any of the page building solutions I've recommended here. I strongly suggest you check them out and take a serious look at adding at least one of them to your toolbox.

Recommendation: Use Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Just like my Dad always told me, having the right tools for a particular job makes the job easy. Why spend months building your awesome looking website or new landing pages when you could do it a couple of days or a matter of minutes? 

We need to build lead magnets and sales funnels quickly in order to grow our business. We need to consistently publish original and engaging content to our blog pages.

The name of the game is speed so if you're struggling to get things done in a timely manner, use some additional tools that will make your life easier! Trust me, you'll be glad you did!

8. Chasing The Money, Not Providing Solutions

One of the biggest mistakes I see from affiliate marketers is how they go about choosing their niche or products they decide to promote. More often than not, they chase the money and go after the ones that have the biggest commission payout.

Makes sense, right?

In this case, it doesn't.

Choosing affiliate products to promote solely on the reason that they have huge commission payouts will most likely drive your business into the ground unless you are an authority of the products or have a very strong desire to be in that niche.

Stop Chasing the Money!

Chasing the money is never a good idea. After all, we make money by helping people find solutions to their problems. If we are good at it, we will certainly see sales conversions and the money will start to flow in.

If we are very good at it and way better than our competition, the affiliate marketing promise kicks in and you'll see an income stream like you;ve never seen in your life!

I am passionate about online marketing and helping people learn how to make a living from affiliate marketing. I love teaching and I love helping others achieve success and avoid the silly mistakes that deflate their energy and causes them to give up. This is why I chose this field as my primary niche.

If I would have chosen skin care and beauty products as my niche, how long do you think I would have stayed in business? I promise you, not very long!

Although I appreciate the benefits of these products when my wife puts them on her face, I have absolutely zero interest (and knowledge) in ever wanting to promote skin care or beauty products!

Regardless of how much the company pays in affiliate commissions, this is a field that I have no interest in.

But this is how many affiliate marketers decide on their niche and the products they end up promoting. And this is also the reason why most of them fail!

Recommendation: Choose a Niche and Products That You Love

Even with all of the knowledge and experience I have in affiliate marketing, I would never be successful in the skin care and beauty products niche. My heart would never be in to it the way it needs to be in order to see real success.

I am pumped up every day about my business! I can't wait to add content to my site, make improvements to existing content and learn new ways to share with people about making money online! 

Because of the drive and passion I have for affiliate marketing, I am able to put as many hours as necessary into growing my business. And as a result, the money takes care of itself.

Why? Because I am able to help others who are seeking a way to quit their jobs and make a living online. And by doing so, I get to interact with folks who are open minded and want to learn more about this awesome business model.

When they start making money because they followed my advice, it is a win-win for both of us! And this my friends, is the reason I wake up every morning and look forward to doing what I do!

9. They Give Up Too Soon

Without question, this is by far the single-most biggest mistake all would be online entrepreneurs make. They quit! And in many cases, they were very close to making things happen and being successful!

I worked with a student a few months ago who decided that this business was not for her and that she was going to walk away and pack things in. I took a look at the way she was doing things,  reviewed her website and made a few suggestions that I saw as the reasons why she wasn't getting the results she desired. 

She decided to take my advice and give things one more go. Within a matter of weeks she made her first affiliate sale! And soon after that, she made another and another and now she is starting to make a pretty solid and regular online income!

Never Give Up!

Don't ever quit! You'll never realize how close your were!

She had no idea how close she was to making things happen and actually seeing results! All I had to do was make a couple of simple modifications to her website and the way she was presenting her content in her product reviews. She was almost there on her own, but simply needed a little nudge to push her over the hump.

This is why I strongly urge you to make sure you have a support mechanism in place for your business. Having somewhere to go to ask questions or solicit help & feedback is extremely valuable and can be the difference between being stagnant and chasing your tail or getting over the barriers that have been holding you back!

Recommendation: Don't Give Up and NEVER Quit!

Sometimes people don't realize how close they are to realizing their dreams. When things get tough or when they aren't seeing the results they expect to see, they quit!

This my friends is the worst thing you can do! 

If things aren't going the way you want them to, do something different. Make a change of plans and change your mindset.

You need to embrace the mindset of Thomas Edison who said, 'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.'

Most people are not successful when trying something new for the first time. So why would you expect that you would nail the perfect plan right out of the gate? 

Every successful person has failed at one point in their life, and most of them have failed hundreds of times. But they never gave up. They never quit. They learned from their mistakes, made a change of plans and moved on.

They also sought out the advice of others and asked for help. This is exactly what I recommend you do and it's something I do every single day at the Wealthy Affiliate Community. People are there to help and guide you in the right directions. 

If you feel like quitting, don't. Get help, ask questions and look for a better way of doing things. Otherwise, you may never realize how close you were to finding the holy grail!

Final Thoughts

Affiliate marketing is an awesome way to make a living! It's fun, provides total freedom and autonomy and allows us to do things we love doing.

But it does require hard work and total commitment if you want to reach the holy land. So doing your best to eliminate mistakes and making your life as easy as possible is going to be a huge contributor towards minimizing your work efforts and ultimately achieving your goals. 

The promised land is out there, you just need to make your path towards finding it.

Surround yourself with people who have already been there and done that. Find people who are interested in your success and want to help you. Seek answers to your questions. Ask for feedback on your efforts when you get stuck.

But most of all, don't quit! EVER!

I hope the information in this article has been useful and helpful to you. I felt compelled to share this information because I have been guilty of committing every one of these mistakes at one point during my affiliate marketing journey. 

So trust me, you are not alone if you are experiencing feelings of frustration and despair! Good things will come to those continue to learn, commit and work hard!

What are some of the biggest mistakes you've made during your own affiliate marketing journey? I'd love to hear them and as always, I welcome your feedback on this article!

About the Author jman2020

Digital marketing has been a passion of mine for over 12 years. I am a successful online business owner and I have my own digital marketing agency. I love helping people learn just how amazing the world of affiliate marketing can be and I'm committed to helping folks make money online while avoiding the mistakes I made along the way.

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