How To Use Affiliate Links (A Guide For Beginner Affiliates)

Without a doubt; affiliate marketing is one of the best ways anyone can start an online business.

As I am sure you know already, the opportunities with this business model are endless, but sadly; very few people ever find success with affiliate marketing.

Today I am going to show you how to use affiliate links in a safe, powerful & profitable way thus guaranteeing you have the highest possible chance of success with affiliate marketing.

I see many beginners get confused by what affiliate links are and how to use them properly so; I am sure this guide will be helpful to many newcomers to affiliate marketing.

In this guide, you will be learning:

  • How to use affiliate links (of course)
  • What affiliate links are (and what they do)
  • How to find affiliate links
  • How to add them to your website
  • The best places to insert affiliate links
  • How to make money with affiliate links and
  • A whole lot more so be sure to read this entire guide.

Let’s get started…

What Are Affiliate Links?

Affiliate links are unique tracking links that would be created for you (and only you) through an affiliate program that allows you to profit (in the form of affiliate commissions) whenever you send a sale.

They work the same with every affiliate program, but as an example; let’s just say you have decided to become an affiliate for

When you become a member of the Amazon Associates program, a unique affiliate/tracking link is created for you that you can then share online with the hopes of getting people to visit Amazon.

If someone visited Amazon using your link and decided to purchase something, that sale will be traced back to you (thanks to your unique Amazon affiliate link) and you will then receive an affiliate commission from the purchase.

Of course, it’s very important that you only use the affiliate links provided to you by the affiliate program as otherwise, you won’t be credited for the sale.

What Do Affiliate Links Look Like?

One thing you should know about affiliate links is that they look very different from a typical (normal) link you’ve come expect – some would even say “affiliate links are ugly“, and I’d agree.

Since there’s the tracking code (which is responsible for crediting a purchase to you) affiliate links are littered with long lines of numbers & random letters.

To give you an example;

Here’s how my Amazon affiliate link looks like:

That’s one ugly looking link isn’t?

While you can most definitely use that link as it is (which I will explain how soon), it’s a recommended practice that you cloak your affiliate links, in other words; you can make your affiliate links pretty.

To make them pretty, there’s a great plugin you can use which is called – I kid you notPrettyLinks.

How To Cloak An Affiliate Link With PrettyLinks

All you need to do to cloak your affiliate links is to simply download the PrettyLinks plugin on your WordPress website and then create a 301 redirect.

I will share a video with you down below so you can see how it is, but here’s how easy it is:

How to cloak an affiliate link with prettylinks

Step 01: Set the Redirection to 301 Permanent:

This will ensure your cloaked affiliate link keeps on working “forever”.

Step 02: Insert The “Ugly Affiliate Link” in Target URL:

Just copy paste the link from the affiliate program as it is and paste it in the target URL field.

Step 03: Create Your Pretty Link

You then need to come up with a pretty link for your ugly link.

In this case, I used /my-amazon-affiliate-link.

This means that I can now use and it will then redirect to the “ugly” affiliate link when a visitor clicks it.

Makes sense?

Here’s a video on how to do that:

Should You Cloak Affiliate Links?

As I said; it’s not a MUST to do this (the link still works and you still will be credit for the sale), but;

You should do this since it’s much more presentable to people (those who are not hip to how affiliate links work will see the raw link and think it’s going to lead them to some weird, spammy & virus-ridden website).

Makes sense so far? Let’s carry on.

Where To Find Affiliate Links

Now that you know what affiliate links are and how to make them a little bit easier on the eye; let’s see where to find affiliate links!

You can find them in your chosen affiliate program.

Every affiliate program you decide to join will automatically create a unique affiliate link that is only available to you.

As long as you use that link which is provided, all is well.

Every affiliate program provides this, but I can’t exactly show you where to find them inside an affiliate program as most have a different backend system.

However; it will be made apparent and it will clearly state that this is your affiliate/tracking/referral link.

(*Any of those 3 words pretty much mean “affiliate link”).

To help you get started, I am going to link you a few guides from the major affiliate programs you’d probably be using that will show you how/where to find your affiliate link:

If you’re using another affiliate program/network not listed above and you are having trouble finding your affiliate link, a simple Google search or a browse through their FAQs section will quickly show you how and where to find them.

How To Use Affiliate Links

There are plenty of ways you can “share” your affiliate link, and down below I’ll give you a detailed explanation on the best ways to use them, however;

It’s always best to use affiliate links only on your website.

While I do not recommend this as a long-term strategy, you can even get away with posting your affiliate links on social media platforms, however;

This is typically frowned upon and you can quickly get banned or removed if you abuse it too much.

Thus; creating your own website where you’re free to use affiliate links “as you please” is always the better option (more on this later).

How To Add Affiliate Links To Your Blog Posts

As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, in order to be able to make money with affiliate marketing you really do need to have your own website.

While you can still share your affiliate links (for free) on social media; that is not the best way to go about making money as an affiliate.

Plus; creating and running your own affiliate website is easy and cheap to do. You can get a good-enough hosting package from BlueHost for just $3.95 a month (or you can continue reading this guide & I will show you how to get free hosting as well).

So yeah; a website is a must!

Here’s how to add an affiliate link on WordPress:

& how to add an affiliate on Blogger:

Let’s now see…

Where & How To Use Affiliate Links On Your Website

So, you’ve got your affiliate link in had and it’s been prettied up; what comes next?

Now it’s time to make some money!

What are the best ways you can use affiliate links to get people to click on them so you can earn affiliate commissions?

Great question!

Here are the 6 methods I use to share my affiliate links on my website:

Sidebar Banner Ads:

adding affiliate links to your sidebar

I’m going to give banner ads an honorary mention since yes; having your affiliate link in the sidebar of your content definitely does work but;

I’m really not a fan of placing banners in my sidebar (as you can probably see if you’re on a desktop, I don’t even have a sidebar on this website).

The reason for this is that I don’t like having affiliate links on every page on my website.

While there’s no real proof that affiliate links hurt SEO (more on this later), I find it semi-offputting to have a site filled with affiliate links on every page.

If you can avoid doing this, it’s better. There are many other (better) ways you can use affiliate links:

Product Reviews:

This is where I generally use my affiliate links.

Creating products review websites is a good way to make money with affiliate marketing and while I while not go into much detail about that here; I do have a great guide to show you how to make money with a review website.

The reason I like placing my affiliate links in product reviews is that the reader’s intent to buy is definitely present there so it’d actually be a disservice if I do not provide him/her where to buy said product.

Contextual Links:

Another great way to pepper in affiliate links on your website (when it makes sense) is by linking from blog posts that are getting a pretty decent amount of traffic.

When I have a page that is getting at least 30+ visits a day, even if it’s not a product review, I do like to add a few affiliate links if I happen to mention a product in there.

Ideally; you would want to link to the product review but if you don’t have one, it’s best not to lose potential earnings with a high-traffic piece of content.

Your “Resource” Page:

Many affiliate marketers also like to insert affiliate links into their Resource Page which yes; is a great idea.

A resource page is where you list all the tools/products that you want to promote and since these products tend to link to the download/purchase page; it’s a good idea to have an affiliate link present on there.

My resource page can be found here if you’d like to see an example of this

Bonus: Email Marketing

This is not exactly “on your website” but yeah; email marketing is the best, safest and most profitable way to use affiliate links.

Of course, you should not spam your list with affiliate links all the time; but when done right, an affiliate link in a well-crafted email is a sure fire way to make a lot of money quickly.

Here’s a great beginner’s guide on how to use affiliate links with email marketing.

How To Promote Your Affiliate Links (To Make Money)

how to promote your affiliate links to make money

So you got your affiliate links (somewhere) on your website; now how do you make money!?

Well, the next (and final step) to make money with your affiliate links is to drive traffic to the pages that have your affiliate links.

For affiliate marketing websites, it’s always best to use SEO to promote your website and get visitors.

I won’t go into depth here about SEO as that is a very deep topic to talk about, but if you’re a beginner affiliate who is just getting started;

I highly suggest you check out my “Affiliate SEO Mastery” course.

Even social media is a good idea; I use Pinterest a lot for my smaller niche websites and the traffic I get from there definitely does work.

You can see my guide on Pinterest affiliate marketing here.

Affiliate Links FAQs + (Some Dos & Don’ts)

what you need to know about affiliate links

Q: How Many Affiliate Links Should You Use Per Blog Post?

Ideally, you would want to stick to around 1 affiliate link per 1000 words.

Do not overuse affiliate links as it’s not something that works well for SEO (it annoys people as well).

Q: Do Affiliate Links Hurt SEO?

While Google has never confirmed that they hate affiliate links, it sure seems like it.

This is why I suggest you keep your use of affiliate link to the minimum (only have them on resource pages and reviews as mentioned above).

Q: Should You Mark Affiliate Links As Do-Follow?

SEO techies would understand what “do-follow” and “no-follow” links are but if you don’t fret not because they do not affect your SEO rankings in any way (although not everyone seems to agree on this).

Q: Should You Disclose Affiliate Links To Readers?

Another common piece of advice that you’ll hear often is to leave a little affiliate-disclaimer somewhere on the page making it clear for people that if they click on your links, you may earn some commissions.

While I see no harm in adding this, I do have sites which do not have an affiliate disclaimer and I’ve never had any issues.

Q: Should You Accept Affiliate Links On Guest Posts?

When your blog starts to grow and it gains Google’s trust, you’ll find that you will be getting emails from a lot of “outreach people” asking if they can guest post on your site.

They do this so they could get a backlink from you and thus pass on a little bit of the trust you have built with your website to theirs.

While a genuine guest post is harmless to accept; never ever accept a guest post with an affiliate link.

Q: Can Affiliate Links Be Stolen?

I remember a bit of a Y2K situation at one point in time in the affiliate marketing world and people were going crazy thinking affiliate links can be stolen.

This is just crazy talk and no; affiliate links cannot be stolen (unless they get access to your affiliate program backend of course).

Do You Understand Affiliate Links Better Now?

Thank you for stopping by my website and reading my guide.

I hope this post has shown you exactly how to use affiliate links safely and properly to help you make (more) money with your affiliate marketing business.

Since you made it this far, I’d like to extend an invitation to try out one of the best affiliate marketing training course I have ever seen and that is; Wealthy Affiliate.

You will get all you need to know to start your own affiliate marketing business and a selection of free tools and features to help you succeed (including free hosting for all your websites).

You can check out my Wealthy Affiliate review for more details about that. For a limited time; I’m also offering a $97 bonus to all those who join.

Thanks again and good luck with your affiliate links!

Talk soon.