13 Affiliate Marketing Mistakes We Must Avoid – and How to Fix them

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Affiliate marketing is one of those things that are easy to pick up but difficult to master. With its many subtleties and nuances, almost all beginners make one or more mistakes while riding the affiliate marketing learning curve.

As with anything, one of the best ways to learn something is to learn from others (or your own) mistakes – affiliate marketing is no different. Read on to learn about thirteen of the most common errors and solutions in affiliate marketing.

1. Assuming That You Will Make Money Quickly And Effortlessly

One of the most prominent misconceptions about affiliate marketing is the promise to ‘get rich quick’ without having to put it a lot of work or time. As a result, people are often left discouraged and dissatisfied by the results of their affiliate marketing ‘efforts,’ having their ‘get rich quick’ fantasy squashed by the reality of affiliate marketing – that it requires a lot of hard and intensive work to generate success. 

Hard and intensive work

The amount of work and effort you put into affiliate marketing is a good predictor of the number of rewards that you can get out of it. It takes much practice to promote your website, build up traffic, and get click-throughs. If you’re unwilling to commit the time and energy it takes to do these tasks successfully; then you shouldn’t expect any significant ‘fruits’ from your labor. 


2. Thinking That People Will Automatically Appear, Visit and Click On your Site

One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes is to have an ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality and are often left perplexed and disheartened when they find out that little to no people are visiting their website. 

If we can liken the internet to a beach, your website is a grain of sand amidst millions of other sites. It is impractical to sit there and hope that someone will sift through the proverbial sand and eventually chance upon your website – you’ve got to be proactive and look for prospects!  

Being proactive and looking for the right prospects

Bringing your audience to you is fundamental to your success as an affiliate marketer. Engaging in link building, social media marketing, and optimizing your website for search engines (SEO) are highly effective methods for proactively finding prospects. By utilizing these techniques, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling and have people noticing your site and clicking on your affiliate links.


3. Over-Selling or Under-Selling

While we understand that you want to make money through affiliate marketing, we recommend that you don’t get pushy about it. People want to read about something informative that brings value, not a sales pitch. 

On the flip side, don’t under-sell either – you’re here to make money. Strike a balance between over-selling and under-selling by finding a sweet spot through the smart and strategic distribution of ad placement(s). 

Smart-selling by distributing ads in the right places

When creating content, you must prioritize how it helps people first and foremost. If your content is helpful and valuable, then it sells itself without the need for you to inject too many ads or sales pitches. Generally speaking, you’ll want to ensure that the placement of your ad feels natural and not forced. You can achieve this by structuring your content into a ‘help first, sell after’ format.


4. Neglecting Your Campaign’s Results 

Many people leave the running of their campaigns to guesswork and feelings either because they don’t appreciate (or understand) the importance of metrics or simply because they are unaware of them. It begs the question – how can you be aware of how well or poorly your campaign is running if you are not paying actual attention to your campaign’s performance? 

Paying attention to your KPIs and metrics

Observing your KPIs such as click-through rate, bounce rate, time spent on the page, conversion rates, provides a factual oversight of how well your campaign is doing. It will eliminate most of the guesswork involved in managing your campaign and allow you to make more informed and data-backed decisions. Be sure to study each metric carefully, ensuring that you fully understand what it signifies.

5. Letting Your Competitors Be an Enigma For You

Not checking out your competitors is one of the most natural things to avoid in affiliate marketing. While affiliate marketing isn’t as competitive as other ways of making money online, e.g., Dropshipping, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check out your competition. 

Since there will be many different people and businesses doing the same thing as you, you might as well use them as a resource – learn from them and their experiences, take that knowledge and improve yourself with it!

Know the good, the bad, the ugly and the interesting of your closest competitors

When observing your competitors, you’ll want to learn as much as you can. Figure out what makes them successful/unsuccessful, what works for them? What kind of value are they providing? What makes them unique? 

If you can learn from the mistakes and successes of your closest competitors, you’ll be able to drastically reduce the ‘learn through trial and error’ phrase and fast-track your way to success.

6. Including Everybody in Your Business Model

Sometimes in the excitement of partnering with affiliates, you may neglect to screen them (or do it half-heartedly). However, putting that much trust in your affiliates right away may come back to bite you when you find out that your new affiliate partner is less than reputable or a flat-out criminal. 

The negative impact that this will have with your audience will likely tarnish your reputation and make people less likely to trust you and your content, resulting in fewer click-throughs and commission. 

Being selective about your partners

When partnering with an affiliate, you have to learn their brand and offer. However, it is essential to set some time aside to learn about the reputation, values, and public relations of the affiliates you plan to make your partner. Sure, this means additional time and effort spend for you, but with doing so, you can rest easy knowing that your affiliate won’t harm your reputation.


7.  Publishing Anything Unrelated with Your Niche/Business

After working hard to bring in traffic to their sites, many affiliate marketers have issues keeping that traffic because they litter their website with content that is irrelevant to their niche(s). Users come to your site under the impression and expectation that you will meet their needs. 

When they find out that the content isn’t relevant to their needs, they go elsewhere. To prevent this from happening, you should fill your site with appropriate and high-quality content – fulfill their needs! 

Providing quality and pertinent content

When producing content, you want to ensure that it is highly relevant to what your audience is seeking – your content should be on-topic and niche specific. Furthermore, ensure that your content provides much value. 

Tips for this are to answer questions asked, solve problems, respond to comments. After all, your users chose your website over that of your competitors, so you might as well give them something worthwhile.


8. Having the Wrong Idea of What You’re Promoting

One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes is to give the affiliate the wrong or only half of the information about their product or service. Consequently, the marketer produces misinformation all because they didn’t do their due diligence. 

Giving misinformation looks particularly bad because you’re supposed to present content from a position of authority and knowledge. Furthermore, you may strain your relationship with your affiliate. 

Fully understanding your partners and their products

Due to your due diligence, take your time to fully understand your partner and their products and services that they offer. Be sure to ask plenty of questions if you are unsure about any aspect of what you’re promoting. Remember, it is your job to present accurate and valuable content, so a strong understanding of what you’re developing is essential to doing this.


9. Being Overconfident About Your Marketing Knowledge

When you think you know everything there is to know about something, you tend to no longer feel the need to continue learning about it. After all, if there’s nothing else to learn, there’s no point in continuing to learn, right? Wrong! The world of content marketing is in a constant state of flux; what works now might not work next year. New and improved platforms and best practices may emerge, the latest trends may develop as the world changes. Don’t let yourself become obsolete, keep learning. 

Being smart enough to refresh your knowledge, and learn new strategies

As the world of content marketing changes, keep yourself up to date with the latest strategies, best practices, and trends. There are plenty of blogs, forums to fill you in with the newest information. There is also a never-ending string of new courses popping up on the internet to help you learn new technologies and platforms. It also pays to revisit things you have already learned to ensure that you don’t forget them.


10. Focusing on Quantity Over Quality 

There is a misconception amongst new affiliate marketers that the more products they write about, the more click-throughs they will get. This ‘jack of all trades’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to affiliate marketing. Ideally, you want to narrow your focus and position yourself as a knowledgeable authority on a specific set of products or services.  

Focus on promoting a few niche-specific products

If you have a lot of valuable and informative content on a specific set of products, you’ll be able to cater to your audience’s needs more effectively. Your audience will be more likely to value your information and hold you in higher esteem, which will lead to more excellent click through rates.


11. Neglecting SEO 

One of the most important things to avoid in affiliate marketing is ignoring SEO, the result of which is that they get little to no traffic. Sure, there are other sources of traffic, but organic traffic from search engines is your best long-term source. Some of the most critical aspects that people neglect are: 

  • Not employing long-tail words

Don’t make the tempting mistake of using short-tail keywords. Short keywords are highly competitive and oversaturated with the competition. You’re better off using long-tail keywords to get better ranks because they are more specific and, therefore, less competitive and more comfortable to target.


  • Ranking for low and medium volume search keywords

While it may be tempting to rank for low and medium volume keywords due to their lack of competition, these types of keywords also produce a lot less traffic. When searching for keywords, aim to create a balance between low, medium, and high-volume keywords to get an optimal amount of traffic over time.


  • Neglecting page speed and performance

Page speed is another important ranking factor that many affiliate marketers overlook. To improve your page speed, try using a caching plugin, implement lazy loading for images, minify your CSS and JavaScript files, and compress your images. You can use plugins like WP Rocket to solve all of the above!


  • Only using one form of traffic

It’s a mistake to put all your eggs in one basket – you shouldn’t solely rely on organic traffic. There are plenty of other avenues for traffic out there, such as google ads, referral marketing, social media marketing, and more. Not only will you get more traffic by diversifying your streams, but your traffic will also be more consistent over time.


  • Over-optimization

Affiliate markets that are new to SEO make the mistake of over-optimizing their website often. They tend to stuff their content full of keywords and spammy links under the impression that it will help them rank better. While this may have worked in the past, it is now a quick route to SEO suicide! Use a plugin like Yoast SEO to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.


12. Promoting Scamming Products 

One of the most vital affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid is promoting scamming products. It comes without saying that this is the quickest way of tarnishing your reputation and ending your career as an affiliate marketer. Your audience will quickly lose trust and confidence in you. There is also a chance you will face legal penalties. It is vitally important that you check your affiliate’s reputation before partnering up with them and promoting their products/services. 

Tips for checking reputation BEFORE giving the green light:


  • Find product reviews to ensure that the product/service is authentic

Scour the internet for product reviews. It is vital to determine if the quality of promoted products match with what your affiliate claims it to be. You also want to check for any controversies that may surround products/services he or she has promoted. Lastly, you want to check to make sure the advertised products are legitimate.  


  • Check business reviews to ensure that your prospective affiliate is reputable

You can use google business reviews or reviews found on forums such as Quora to gain an understanding of the affiliate, just be sure to check multiple sources to build an unbiased and more well-rounded impression of your prospect.


  • When in doubt, opt-out!

If you have followed the above tips and still feel like there is something ‘off’ with the prospective affiliate, you’re better off to opt-out of building a partnership with them. Better to be safe than sorry, and there is plenty of more fish in the sea!


13. Spamming Affiliate Links

Many new affiliate marketers make the mistake of spamming affiliate links thinking that it will increase their chances of getting successful click-throughs from their traffic. Not only is this counterproductive, but it’s also annoying. 

From the audience’s perspective, when they see a blog post that looks like spam, they can deduce that the author’s intentions are less about helping them than it is to push a product or service. 

Avoid pushing your campaigns to much 

Gain the trust of your audience by drastically reducing the number of spam links in your blog post. The golden rule of affiliate marketing is to help first and sell later. Doing so means that you should position your affiliate link only after you have provided valuable and helpful information. 

Content that is useful and fulfills the needs of your audience will sell itself without the need for the excessive placing of links.



As you can see, common mistakes and solutions in affiliate marketing center around misconceptions, carelessness, a lack of oversight, greed, impatience, and a lack of knowledge on digital marketing topics such as SEO.

If you take the time to absorb the information given and refer back to it next time you work on affiliate marketing. You will be able to avoid significant speedbumps and ride the fast track to success!

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