5 Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

In this article,  we review the five blunders we see most often. Many of these are lessons we learned the hard way. As a result, we missed early opportunities to maximize our income online. 

For clarity, we assume that you are incorporating affiliate links inside blog posts. However, these mistakes apply to all types of content – whether text, audio, or video.

Mistake #1: Random Links

Your audience depends on you to create the connection between your content and the affiliate product you link to. You cannot enter a random link in the middle of a paragraph and expect them to click. A couple of people might. But most won’t. They will move past the link.

Let’s see how this works with an example. 

Imagine you’re writing a parenting blog post. In it, you’re talking about games to play at the park with your kids. In the middle of your post, you mention that you block off your stairs with a baby gate, so your kids can’t get downstairs to the door and go to the park by themselves. Then you include an Amazon affiliate link on the words “baby gate.”

The problem is: people aren’t reading this article to learn about baby gates. They’re reading it to learn about some fun games they can play at the park. Including an affiliate link for a baby gate in a post about park games is too big a stretch. People won’t click. And you may end up annoying your audience by stuffing your post with unnecessary links.

You can’t use random affiliate links and hope to make money. You must be intentional.

This means staying on topic in each piece of content you publish. Paint the connection between the affiliate product and what you’re writing about. Make your readers say, “I have to know more about this awesome thing!” Make them want to click on the link.

Let’s go back to the park games example. Instead of linking to a baby gate because it is a loosely-related topic, think about what products you use at the park. Are there juice boxes you love to bring and drink as you build memories? Are there specific balls or other outdoor toys that hold up well to two-year-old boys?

Tie everything together for your readers. You will be amazed at how much more often you get clicks, sales, and happy readers.

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Mistake #2: Only Using a Single Link

Your followers are not all the same. What sticks out to one person will be ignored by another. So you can’t use a single link and hope to reach everyone. Instead, link to the affiliate product or service in multiple places and in a variety of ways.

Within a blog post, you can use keywords for some links. Then spell out the name of the product on others. You may also include a picture that has a link on it.

If you are creating a piece of content about a particular affiliate product, mention it at least three times: once at the beginning, then in the middle, and finally at the end. For longer content you can use more than three links.

And change it up. Do a brief mention. Provide some details. See what works for your audience. Don’t be afraid to experiment when it comes to affiliate marketing. What works for one person may not work for you. It’s your job to test all the options and create your own secret sauce.

Mistake #3: Avoiding the Hard Sell

We see this all the time in the online world. Newbies are always afraid to sell. This is a big mistake. Your readers want you to tell them about products and services you use and love. If you’re coming from the heart and sharing valuable content, do not be afraid to end with a hard sell.

Be specific in your call to action and ask the reader to click and buy. If you don’t ask, you won’t make sales. Not every reader will follow through. But some people will.

Of course, not every post on your site warrants a hard sale for an affiliate product. You may also want to grow your email list, promote your own products (if you have any), and grow your social media following. But when you have worked hard to create a post centered around an affiliate product, don’t miss the opportunity to ask for the sale.

You are not a sleazy salesman. You are a blogger who provides amazing content. You help solve a problem or provide entertainment. And before the reader clicks away, you are asking them to check something out or make a purchase. You want them to do something after consuming the content you provide.

Your call to action is an important piece of the affiliate marketing puzzle. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking it.

Mistake #4: Creating Content Without a Monetization Strategy

Why are you publishing that blog post? What is your goal?

It’s noble to solve your readers’ problems and give them answers so they enjoy better lives. But providing free content doesn’t pay the bills. Before you create your next piece of content, ask yourself:

What is the point of this post? How can I monetize it?

If you are just getting started as a blogger, your main goal may be to grow your email list. In which case, most of your posts will be focused around asking readers to subscribe to your newsletter. But even when starting out, you can alternate your content. Have an affiliate-style post one week. Then the next week, publish an article with a call to action that grows your email list.

Adopting a sales mindset can be challenging. You may be reluctant to sell. Perhaps you dream of writing solid articles that your readers love. And you believe that if you do this, people will buy affiliate products whenever you ask them. What happens in reality? If you adopt this approach, you will spend hours creating content and never see a return.

People want quick wins. Your audience wants to see what they came for on your site and move on to something else in their busy schedule. Most readers won’t spend hours reading every blog post, amazed at all the value you create. This means you need a monetization strategy. If you don’t have a plan for your next article, then don’t publish it.

We speak from experience – it is a lot of work to go back and update your old posts. It can be done. But it’s something that most people put off because it’s so time consuming. Start with a plan in mind. Make sure every piece of content you post can generate income for you. This can be directly (for example, with affiliate links) or indirectly (for example, by asking people to join your email list so that you can share opportunities with them at a later date).

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Mistake #5: Not Getting Personal

We start this section off with a word of caution. Oversharing is a thing. And that’s not what you want to do on your website. But it does pay to be a little personal. The internet is a busy place, and no matter what niche you are in, there’s plenty of competition. The easiest way to build an engaged audience and stand out from the crowd is by sharing your unique personality.

Let your readers see you using the items you promote. Show pictures of your kids enjoying a product or of yourself holding it. Your audience trusts you. They want to see that you practice what you preach. They also want to know the cons, as well as the pros.

Remember the tent example in Chapter Three? The fancy tent wound up being a tarp with a couple of sticks. Now imagine that this was the best tent in the world. If your readers see a photograph of you enjoying this product, they’re more likely to make a purchase. They would be able to see it in action.

Sharing candid shots adds a level of trust and genuineness to your content. It’s a good thing. We realize that many people prefer to hide online. We’re both introverts too. But we’ve discovered the importance of getting personal with our audiences. 

Be willing to share selfies and real pictures of the products you promote. Tell stories about your family. Give your readers a peak behind the scenes of your business and home life. This will increase your affiliate income.

What Are The Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes?

When affiliate marketing, you want to avoid:

  1. Random links that aren’t clearly connected to your content. 
  2. Only using a single affiliate link in a post.
  3. Leaving the hard sale off the table.
  4. Creating your content without a monetization strategy.
  5. Not getting personal.


Beginners in affiliate marketing make the most obvious mistakes in affiliate marketing due to their inexperience and lack of knowledge, which often leads to great human and financial losses.

Therefore, to avoid these mistakes, you should learn from experienced professionals and do your best in this profession.

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When you join Wealthy Affiliate, you can get access to the first-class web hosting service, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software to help you build an online business step-by-step.

You can register a free account with Wealthy Affiliate, which enables you to get started with affiliate marketing right away without paying a penny.

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