What is affiliate marketing? Ultimate 2021 guide for beginners

What is affiliate marketing? Ultimate 2021 guide for beginners

Tips for affiliate marketers

This article helps new affiliate marketers to understand how they can develop their capabilities. It offers top tips on the different types of affiliate website that you can create, how you make money through commissions and can drive traffic through promotions. Lastly we provide our top tips on the tools available through RevGlue to help you create these new capabilities quickly and easily.


Affiliate marketing for beginners.


What is affiliate marketing?

So, what is affiliate marketing? Well, in simple terms, it’s the practice of recommending a product or service from your website. A customer visits your site and then clicks on a product link to visit a retail merchant site where they purchase that product. The retailer knows that you are the affiliate that has directed the customer to their site via a cookie left on the buyers PC. Once a sale is made then you as the affiliate earns a commission on that sale.

There are four parties involved in this transaction:


Affiliate marketing for beginners.


Affiliates are individuals, companies or group of people with an affiliate website. The core capability of affiliates is to have traffic on their website and that send potential customers to the retailer website.



A customer may search for a product through several different methods - on a search engine such as Google or though other online marketing channels such as social media. The results they find could be a mix of retailer websites, content websites, price comparison and/or the affiliate websites.



The retailer online store is the entity which is actually selling the product. The journey of a potential customer could begin from a search engine and then go through several intermediary stages – the important thing for affiliates is to be the last click before reaching the retailer site so that their cookie is the freshest!


Affiliate Network

The Affiliate network is the technology hub between the affiliate and the retailer. They provide the affiliate with access to multiple retailers through a common set of tools for tracking sales, lead management and commission payment handling. Likewise for the retailer, the affiliate network offers benefits in campaign management offering thousands of affiliates at one location. The tracking, de-duping, payments due to affiliates are all managed by the affiliate network.


What are the most popular types of Affiliate websites?

There are many different types of affiliate websites that all compete to be the last click before a customer reaches the retailer:

  • Shopping Comparison websites such as Comparepanda.co.uk
  • Loyalty, cashback and reward websites such as Quidco.com
  • Discount Coupon websites such as RevCoupons  
  • Content and Review websites such as Reviews UK
  • Group Deal aggregation websites
  • Mobile Comparison and other services comparison websites such as RevMobiles
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) affiliates who generate traffic via paid search campaigns
  • Product feed niche websites for different product types and services


As a result the affiliates mix could include content websites, email newsletter companies, search engine professionals, individuals with websites, blogs or forum, cashback or voucher websites, RSS engines, article directories, widgets, content writers - who all offer a whole diverse range of different capabilities.


How do affiliates earn commission?

Whilst there are several different types of affiliate campaign, by far and away the most popular commission type is CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). These campaigns reward affiliates when a confirmed sale or acquisition is completed i.e. purchasing a product instantly from the retailer website, or within the cookie time period. The commission rate is typically a percentage of the product purchase value although it could be capped to a fixed upper amount.

Some merchants also reward lead generation as the research phase of the buying journey is important in Business to Business (B2B) sales. Hybrid campaigns can result which offer a combination of click and lead commissions. For example a PVC roofing retailer may setup their affiliate campaign to offer 5p for each click to the retail site and then £2 for a unique lead where the customer fills out their contact details plus a percentage on successful orders at a later date when a salesman provides a quote which the customer agrees to purchase. Whilst this type of business arrangement can be very effective, it is actually the case that hybrid campaigns are very rare to find on the affiliate networks.


What are the best Affiliate promotional materials?

Based on the affiliate website types mentioned above, the retailers provide a variety of different promotional material to affiliates to use on their websites:

  • Static Links & Deep links for each page dynamically obtained and altered at the network level
  • Interactive banners in gif, jpg and flash format
  • Interactive tools in JavaScript or Flash format that contains product images and prices
  • Store information, returns information and contents
  • Product Feeds that is raw data provided in a variety of different technical formats (csv, xml or APIs) which contains all product details such as price, name, description, RRP, price, delivery etc. required to setup price comparison websites
  • Discount voucher codes specifically made available via the affiliate networks


What type of site should an affiliate offer?

This is where RevGlue can help.

Our tools provide all the data, plug-ins, templates and stats that you need to create any type of affiliate website, quickly and easily.

We have teamed with the top UK affiliate networks. All our data sources offer 100% of affiliate network commissions so that you get the best deals from each of your affiliate networks.

We have the most comprehensive set of data types on the market meaning that you can setup new affiliate capabilities across any of the following:

  • Stores - Setup UK shopping directory with leading 5000 ecommerce stores
  • Coupons - Get latest discount coupons and offers and setup your coupons website or apps.
  • Cashback - create UK cashback website or app with structured cashback data set.
  • Banners - populate latest banners in your websites and apps with affiliate deeplinks.
  • Daily Deals - setup daily deals website with discounted deals data obtained from UK retailers.
  • Mobile Compare - setup dynamic mobile comparison website with advance data structure.
  • Broadband & TV- create a UK broadband, tv and phones comparison website or app in minutes.
  • Product Feeds – setup niche product websites using product feeds available from all leading UK stores


All data sets are available absolutely free for the first 30 days. You can cancel it at anytime and there are no long term contracts at RevGlue. Pay only £60 per data set after the trial of any data set is over.

Once you have access to the data set you wish to work on. You will be sourcing a designer and a developer to setup your affiliate website. RevGlue provides Free WordPress plugins for each data set so you can quickly setup your affiliate websites such as a cashback website, coupons or mobile comparison website. Browse and download all RevGlue plugins here.

Finally, try RevGlue unique and responsive WordPress templates for your affiliate projects. Each template cost only £99 and you will get fully compatible and responsive files for your WordPress affiliate website.

And then you can exploit all the retailer promotional material available using our RevAds tool to create dynamic ads for your website or mobile apps with flexible sizes, fresh contents and full styling options.

So whether you are a seasoned affiliate looking to add a new capability or a publisher just starting out, there is a whole world of opportunity waiting to be discovered. Take that first step and sign up to a free RevGlue account today.





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