10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid

Hey there sea changers and welcome back. Recently I wrote about some tips for success in the world of affiliate marketing. Today I am going to cover the other side of the fence and outline 10 affiliate marketing errors to avoid. This may sound negative, but as I keep banging on about, affiliate marketing success is definitely a long game and I would hate for you to waste time and lose momentum. Added to that, the mistakes I have listed here are ones that many affiliate marketers (yours truly included) tend to make without really realising that they have done so.

Some of these are made with new sites, others tend to drift in once it has matured a little however regardless, they are all something to keep an eye on at all times. So as usual, grab a notebook, a nice drink and let’s have a look…

1. Impatience

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - patience

In all honesty, I should have named this one ‘Falling for all of the – “I made $1000 in my first 2 days” ‘ – ads and scams that litter the online world. I have said it before and I will say it again, affiliate marketing takes time and patience. You need to consistently be adding quality, helpful and useful information in order to improve search engine rankings and drive traffic to your website.

The trouble is, many an affiliate marketer will do this for a few months and then get disheartened when their site doesn’t rank and/or they don’t make any sales. This is a natural reaction but one that must be overcome if you are to be successful. At the end of the day, patience is key!

2. Starting with more than one website

This one sort of runs on from error number 1 above in that many of us get disheartened with our first site and start a second one that we think might work better. Or, our first site finally starts to take off so we create a second one to continue the momentum. The problem here is that if your first site is not completely mature, then a second just means that you are splitting your time between the two which in the end slows them both down.

This is certainly not to say that in time you cannot or should not start another site – many successful affiliate marketers do. But before you do, just make ask yourself if you have steps in place to allow your first sites to tick along whilst you work on your second. This usually means outsourcing the critical functions of your initial site such as:

Oh, and just keep in mind that these things cost money so if your first site is not generating revenue, then I would take that as a sign to maintain the rage so to speak before spending money to outsource and start a second site.

Note: This is not to say that you can’t start a website and then realise that it really is not as viable as you thought. If this is the case, you absolutely can consider whether starting a new site is a better option. In this case, you would ‘drop’ the first site and channel all of your energies at the second.

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - two websites

3. Joining Too Many Affiliate Programs

As you start your site, you will obviously be looking for affiliate programs that can give you access to product links to refer your readers to. A common error here is that in our haste to make sales, we can fall into the trap of accepting and loading links to every program we can get our hands on. This causes us problems in a number of ways including:

  • We don’t spend enough time vetting the programs or products meaning we risk our reputation on poor quality, inferior products.
  • We don’t discount programs that pay low commissions meaning we spend a lot of time promoting a product for little return.
  • The products we are promoting don’t exactly match our niche making our site jumpy and hard to follow.
  • Too many products make it hard to monitor which are selling well and which are not.

To avoid this issue, be choosy with the programs you choose and look for ones that:

  • Fit your brand.
  • Fit your niche.
  • Have decent payment conditions and commissions?
  • Have Cross and Upsell opportunities.
  • Have access to high ticket items.
  • You have a good knowledge about.

4. Selling not solving

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - solveI have said it before and I will say it again, if you are not solving a problem for your readers then you are not going to succeed as an affiliate marketer. It is all too easy to get sucked into the sale side of things instead of helping your visitors solve problems – which is why they have undertaken their search in the first place. My rule of thumb is that a reader should be able to find a solution to a problem within each post even of they don’t purchase anything.

I know this sounds like it goes against what we are trying to achieve as an affiliate marketer but think about how you purchase in a traditional bricks and mortar shoe store. Would you be more inclined to buy off of a salesperson who explained all the things to look for in a running shoe or one that just tried to give you a pair or shoes and heard you towards the cash register?

Readers want to know the benefits they are going to get from the product you are discussing, not how much it is and where to buy it – well they probably want to know that, but not straight away…

5. Not enough checking

Spelling mistakes, broken links and poor grammar etc. are unfortunately all too common mistakes made by affiliate marketers old and new. Check your website and posts constantly to make sure that you have them under control. These things will happen of course, especially if you are working hard to continuously release new posts and information in order to assist your readers and increase rankings.

One error on a page, whilst not ideal, is usually overlooked, but if your site is full of them then you will lose readers by the truckload. Check your posts, spell check, spell check again and then spell check some more. Run a broken link checker to make sure that all of your links are active and working – I mean if your affiliate links are broken then you are just leaving money on the table.

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6. Drifting from your niche

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - driftThis is another error that you can make without really even realising that you have done it. In some cases, if you have not clearly identified your niche from the very beginning you can drift from it quite easily. In other cases, it can happen for the following reasons:

  • Choosing inappropriate products/affiliate programs.
  • Going for products that have extra high commissions.
  • Getting distracted by shiny objects that you think are cool – even if they are not in your niche.
  • Getting caught up in cross selling opportunities.

Another common cause of this problem is getting caught up in ‘shoulder niches’. For example, you might have a site that deals with weight loss. You write a post on Keto diets as a means of losing weight (which is a shoulder niche) which you then compare to Paleo (comparisons are great tools for affiliate marketing). The problem arises here however if you end up going down the diet path then and not stay within weight loss. In the end, all that happens is that visitors to your site may have trouble distinguishing whether you are a weight loss site or a diet/recipe site.

7. Not writing naturally

The trouble with affiliate marketing, or any online business for that matter, is that newbies are bombarded with SEO requirements such as keywords, tags and meta descriptions and told that they must include them within their posts. This can at times however lead to unnatural writing as we try and make the search engines happy and forget about our readers.

The best advice I can give you here is along the same lines as writing to solve the problem and not the sale. You must write in a natural and conversational tone that resonates with your readers. And funnily enough, search engines will be much kinder on you if you write in a manner that keeps readers on your page rather than a page that appears false due to it being packed with keywords. By all means incorporate your keywords into your title and within the first paragraph, but for the rest, keep it real baby!!

8. Ignoring SEO

Now that I have told you to write naturally, I am going to muddy the waters (just a little) and highlight another common affiliate marketing mistake which is neglecting SEO. Now I accept that this can be a tricky one as there is so much to learn and consider when it comes to SEO however in this instance, I am talking about the basic processes that can be undertaken for each post in order to give yourself the best possible chance of ranking on search engine results pages.

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - rank

These things include (and some we have covered already):

  • Write at least 1000 words.
  • Write naturally and SPELL CHECK.
  • Use good keywords (included naturally in the title and within first paragraph).
  • Include a Meta Title and Meta Description.
  • Use your keywords in the title and alt text of all images.
  • Include a video with relevant keywords in title and description.
  • Request indexing via Google Search Console and Bing webmaster tools.

9. Too much social media

Social media plays a critical part in any affiliate marketing campaign in that it is perfect for promoting your posts and driving traffic to your website. The use of social media for this purpose is not the error that is commonly made, rather trying to utilise every social media platform that exists out there to promote your material. Using too many platforms can cause the same issues as we discussed above in regards to trying to run more than one website at once. You simply do not have the time to manage all of them effectively.

The other concern here also is that if you are trying to use too many platforms, then you could be wasting time on areas where your target audience doesn’t venture. So, in order to avoid this error, try and answer the following:

  • Who are your audience and what are you trying to do with them (your objectives)?
  • What social media platforms do your audience use?
  • Which of these platforms do you know how to use?
  • Which of these platforms are best for what you are trying to achieve?
  • How much time do you have to commit to your campaign?
  • Can these platforms be adapted to match your brand?

10. Not getting help

10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid - helpOne of the great things about starting an online business is that you are not the first to try it. In fact there are thousands of people who have succeeded and continue to make great money doing it. On the flip side however is for every person that has been successful, there are probably at least 5 more that have not. Most are for the reasons outlined in error number 1 above – i.e. impatience – for many others, it is simply because they didn’t try and get any help. At the end of the day, why reinvent the wheel when you can mirror and copy the strategies and processes of others.

Never be afraid to seek out help and assistance and trust me when I say that one simple question in the right forum can save you weeks of effort and wasted time. Here are some ways that you can get assistance in an online world:


  • Website posts – post (such as this one) which (hopefully) give good solid information in regards to building your business.
  • Online webinars/videos – watch people explain and do the steps that you are unsure about.
  • Social media forums – speak to like-minded people and pick the brains of experts.
  • Free membership platforms – platforms where you get training and access to ask questions – FIMP is a good one. I built my websites with the assistance of Wealthy Affiliate.
  • Podcasts – there are thousands of podcasts out there covering the online business industry – most are free.


  • Online coaching – this is a burgeoning industry with plenty of good options to choose from – Just be careful that you are picking the right people – look for testimonials.
  • Mentoring – If you can find the right person, and can afford it, a personal mentor can move you forward in leaps and bounds.

Regardless of the option you choose, always be open to learning more, listening to tips, shortcuts and recommendations. Again, you will be pleasantly surprised how fast you can gain momentum with the right advice.

Note: When I say to copy the work of others, I mean their strategies, ideas and tool selections only. DO NOT copy or simply plagiarize their content. This is unethical and trust me, the search engines will find out and punish your site rankings accordingly – not to mention the damage to the reputation of your site.


So there you have it, 10 common errors that affiliate marketers make. As I have said, these are the common ones that are made by those newer to the affiliate marketing world however ones that need to be monitored so that they don’t sneak into your processes unnoticed. Are there any others you have made? How did you identify them and what did you do to alleviate them? Comment below and I will add them to the list.

Do you want further assistance with your online business or need help to build your own website?

Are you looking for a comprehensive training platform that can give you step by step training, 24/7 support, tools to develop and host your very own website, ongoing assistance with SEO and social media and access to some of the best affiliate marketing minds on the planet? If so click on the following link to read more about Wealthy Affiliate.

Until next time

Have fun


Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.


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Hey there, my name is Paul and I am the owner and founder of Make That Sea Change.  I spent 30 years in a cubicle working the 9 to 5 grind and just wanted to live at the beach.  I was lucky enough to achieve that with the help of my wife and our new Pilates studio.

Then I decided to help fund my new sea change with some affiliate marketing.  I joined Wealthy Affiliate, and as they say, the rest is history.

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9 thoughts on “10 Affiliate Marketing Errors to Avoid”

  1. There, it’s bookmarked so I can definitely go back in case I need something to remind me of the integral points of your article. As a newbie, I really don’t know what else I could think of to improve my ways in affiliate marketing. Of course I am getting a lot of help from WA community but this one is what I basically need. 

    Had i not read about this, I was actually thinking of joining limitless affiliate programs that I thought’s gonna make a more profitable strategy. It’s clear to me now that it’s going to be hard to monitor the products you are suggesting if you dwell on this thinking. 

    If I am not supposed to use different social media in promoting my website, do you think only one will do? I have a somewhat big community on facebook and that’s where I am planning to introduce my website. Thank you for these really helpful tips. I know I’m going to improve a lot better with my website. 

    • Hey Missus B,

      Glad you enjoyed my post.  It is not that you must only use a single socail media platform rather just using the ones that are suitable to you and your niche.  If you have a good facebook following then introducing your website there is a must – the fact that it is so big will then allow you to expand a little if your followers or target market a prevalent on another platform as well.  My point was to use what works and is relevant, not just use all of them for the sake of it.

      Hope this is clear and thanks for the question – I will make sure I reword my post accordingy


  2. Hi Paul,  

    Thank you for your very informative and thorough post.  Being that I am a novice in the AM world, a lot of the points that you highlighted resonated with me.  

    Patience:  As you stated again and again, this is key.  Be focused on creating relevant content…the money part, if you have the proper content, should come later.  

    I agree that when starting out, the best way is to concentrate on one website.  You want to be devoting all of your time and energy on making your one website stellar.  As you said, there will always be opportunities to add more websites after your initial one is mature and is generating revenue.  

    Choosing your affiliate programs wisely:  I couldn’t agree more.  For me, it is an immediate turn-off to see a website filled with affiliate links. It sends to me the message that the owner is more concerned about making a sale than imparting some knowledge on me.  Personally, when I get to this stage, I want to keep the affiliate programs on my website at a bare minimum – and place them very discreetly.  

    Spelling, grammar checking:  This one I couldn’t agree with you more on.  I have seen many websites that have numerous spelling and grammatical errors.  Granted, not all of us are expert writers, but it doesn’t take but a few minutes to run the spelling checker.  By leaving the spelling errors as they are, it implies that you don’t really care about the content that you are creating – or, that you are not very detailed.  In either instance, many readers are not going to want to part with their hard-earned money on a website that doesn’t do due diligence here.  

    Thanks again for the insights and all the best to you. 

  3. Good Morning Paul,

    I really like your list of 10 things to avoid and yes, I made some of those mistakes. Luckily I am a patient person so I am still hanging on after 2 and a half year.

    Oh, your number 2. I did start with 2 websites straight from the beginning. My hobbies did not fit on one. Now they neither fit on 2 so I had to make many categories to accommodate them. It was and is a lot of hay on my fork but I stuck with it. They grew together as they are being treated like one big one. 

    One is health-related and the other one on the environment, they sometimes overlap. Still, I am happy with what I have created.

    I think my affiliate Programs fit well. My sites do not focus on selling more on spreading important news.

    I rotate my posts and I check everything from head to toe before asking for comments.

    I normally write as I speak trying to imagine having my reader sitting in front of me. It, of course, depends on the topic I write about as it sometimes may get a little technical so then it is more difficult to keep a nice flow, like talking about air pollution or similar.

    Your number 8 is a good reminder. I normally include 1 good video in nearly all my posts but relevant keywords in title and description?

    I have Pinterest and recently started with FB and that will be my maximum. Yes, help is so important. For me, the technical part of having a website is not my forte but Wealthy Affiliate and my better half are by my side so I manage.

    Regards, Taetske

    • Hi Taetske,

      So glad you enjoyed the post – With YouTube – It is the second largest search engine on the internet so when you upload a video, make sure your keywords appear in the video title, description and as the first tag as you would your website posts. Just adds another dimenstion to your SEO and if you search your keywords in Google, your videos will start to appear as well.

      Hope this has answered your question


  4. Wow You have just made me go back and check my posts and re-read them, and it’s crazy, even though I was sure  I checked them thoroughly, I found there were more correction I needed to make!  So I definitely agree that writing a post that is clear and concise, with correct spelling and such, makes it much easier for the reader and I’m sure keep them reading your post and on stay on your site for a longer period of time.  So there are actually two niches I am passionate about – making money online and helping others in that spectrum and promoting my book on the apocalypse.  The making money online niche, I started my website with and did several posts and had some pretty spectacular responses with it; however I felt I was losing site of one of the main reasons I wanted to be involved with affiliate marketing and that was to promote my book.  So I created a second website based on talking about the apocalypse, other folks interpretations of the apocalypse and intertwine promoting my book within these posts.  I still want to try to write posts for both as I really am passionate about both, but you make such a good point in your article, that I am left wondering which one should I concentrate for now and in time work on the other?   The site associated with the make money online niche has the most posts and reaction on, and I just started the second website associated with the apocalypse and promoting my book.  Do you have any suggestions? Should I concentrate on my website on make money online first, as it has the most progression, or should I now concentrate on both, so one isn’t “dust in the wind?”  One last question, you mention giving a meta title and a  meta description, is that just for the website? or should I be putting that in for each post?

    Thank You again for this very informative post.  I have bookmarked your website and post because I will definitely be going over again,  the information you have given here.

    Robert Warneck

    • Hey Robert

      Great question – I actually did some research and most suggested to work on the one that is going to make you money first, then once it does you can outsource the writing and concentrate on the other one.

      That makes sense to me as we are here to make money but my only caveat would be that if your ‘gut’ tells you to choose one over the other, or there is one that you just love writing about then go with that one.  If you have passion for it then that will drive you to success in my opinion as well.

      And for SEO, you should be putting meta title and meta description in every post – in wordpress you will need an SEO plugin which will then add these fields to the editor for you to complete.  Both should include your keywords somewhere within them.

      Hope this helps but please do not hesitate to respond if you have any more questions.


  5. Good Morning Paul,

    Thank you for your reply. Do I understand correctly that a YouTube video should be treated as a photo, with Alt text, description and all? If yes, I have missed out on that. When you upload a photo on your Media File it is easy enough but when I upload a video I have not seen where you do that?

    Regards, Taetske

    • Hi Taetske,

      You do all that within YouTube itself when you upload the video. The keywords go in the video title and in the description. You also have a tag section there where the keywords are the first tag you enter.

      Hope this helps



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