When people think of affiliate marketing, they instantly believe it will cost hundreds of $'s to get started and that it's a really expensive way of trying to earn a passive income online, but that's not 100% true.
Today we are going to look at a few ways to get started for free, as well as helping you find free tools and apps to make your life easier. It's worth keeping in mind that some of these tactics are better for short term solutions until you can find $100 or so to buy a domain, or grab some hosting.
This article will show you how to get started with affiliate marketing for free, without the fluff or crap you may find elsewhere.
Option 1 - Start Your Own Website
Affiliate marketing does not need to cost a lot of money to get started, and that's one of the reason so many people get into it. By far the easiest, and cheapest form of marketing, is blogging.
Now, blogging gets a lot of bad rap because it can take a while to get going, people see it as difficult or strenuous, but when compared to other forms, it can be low cost.
In this article, we will also look at covering a few other aspects possibilities to help with get started with affiliate marketing for free.
How To Get Free Hosting (Getting Started)
So one of the biggest costs for a new bloggers, is the hosting and that's one of the main things that put people off. Even with a decent, cheap hosting provider, it will set you back around $90 for a 3 year deal with them. Which, again can sometimes feel like a large chunk of change for people.
But there is another way of getting hosting, for up to 2 websites (both running on the popular CMS WordPress) for free, it does require you to sign up and provide an email, but you don't have to add credit card details.
As part of Wealthy Affiliates free membership, they allow for 2 free website slots, though they have recently changed what they offer, so you do need to use their subdomain.
This is a great way to get started, so even if you can't afford your own hosting or your own domain name etc yet, you still have a place to start building your new website for the future.
Additional free Blogging & SEO training
The best part, is that this site also offers affiliate marketing training, on top of the 2 free website hosting slots.
So you get a double amount of awesome, for free.
Now, you can upgrade to their premium membership, but if you only need the hosting, then there is no need! (Though their content is pretty good). Of course, I would say that the 5 Day Blog Builder course is a little better, but I may be biased on that particular point.
Free Website Builder
Congratulations, you have decided on a niche, or maybe a high level niche, such as Guitar Lessons. Now you need to get yourself the website set up and also a way of building awesome looking posts and pages.
This one goes without saying these days, WordPress actually comes with it's own builder, allowing a more drag and drop style builder to help make it easier to layout your pages and posts.
Now it is a little limited and it will never be as good as something like Thrive Architect or even Elementor. Personally I never got on with Elementor and found their plugin a little clunky, but you can get it for free (limited version).
As part of the WA program, they give you access too a program called SiteRubix, this essentially allows you to create the WordPress site, with a theme and some plugins installed already.
This means you can get started with your affiliate marketing dream without having to worry about setting this whole thing up from scratch.
Option 2 - How To Start Crafting Articles & Earning Commissions
If you don't want to start your own website, and instead prefer to simply write articles on other sites, then there are a number of places that can be leveraged to start earning commissions fairly quickly.
But, be warned, you do need to be sensible.
Medium is an article website, designed to allow people to write content, share it in their own spaces and to talk about certain topics. Which means you can write your articles and keep them on Medium. Each article is authored to you, so people can follow you and the content you create.
The articles do allow for links to be added, which can be affiliate links, though Medium does seem to get quite shirty with links, so I would recommend using a shorter such as Bit.ly to 'disguise' the links, if you are going to add any.
I would also be very sparing with the links you do add, and ensure that the content and articles that you create are in-depth and decent!
Option 3 - Creating Videos
Now, this doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a new laptop, or webcam (though you can pick up a pretty decent webcam for under $35). You can create videos using OBS Screen Capture and any old laptop or computer.
Creating how to guides, talking about products or services, or making a video about just about anything will get the ball rolling, it doesn't have to be crazy.
If you decide to get into the online courses niche or something like that, you can usually ask course owners for review access, or limited access to get an idea about the course.
Once you have created a number of videos and earned a few commissions, you can look at upgrading your equipment, or buying the products you review.
Option 4 - Social Media
For many social media is just a place to chat to friends, or scroll forever, but it can be a goldmine in ideas and ways to make money.
Seriously, the algorithm on TiKTok is crazy these days, and you have huge opportunities to go 'viral' and get your videos seen by thousands, or eve hundreds of thousands.
Put out fun, informative content from your phone, and you could start generating leads as quickly as the same day, it can be crazy. I am trying to keep this article focused on free stuff, but the TiKTok guide from Legendary Marketer is decent and costs $1.
It requires consistent uploading, fresh ideas and standing out from the crowd, but it can be worth it!
An option that I leveraged a lot over the last 18+ months, I decided to go down the 'helpful' route on Facebook and use my 'clout' from being that guy to build a mini following.
It can be a difficult one to crack, as a lot of people are trying to do organic marketing these days, but few seem to be able to pull it off. They use automated comment bots, or throw out generic, boring content that people could not care less about.
But if you actually take the time to help people, provide feedback or give help in groups, you can take that and build your own authority from that.
Take a look at the shout out above from one of ClickFunnels most prestigious affiliates, even taking the time to comment about the BlogFocused training (even though he has his own training!).
Getting boosts like that can really help with your own standing in the community.
Instagram & Pinterest.
Certain niches work really well with image based social media platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest. Especially fitness or food.
Take a few days to find, or create images (see below for ideas) that relate to your chose niche. Then create a new account that focuses the content on that niche.
Within your bio you can add an affiliate link, meaning if anyone goes to follow you or wants to learn more about the account that they have started to enjoy they can see a link to a potential 'cool thing'.
As with any kind of social media, it can take a while to build up and get picked up by algorithms, but don't let that stop you.
Free Tools To Help You
Free Keyword Research Tools
Depending on the route you have taken, you may need the ability to research keywords for your content. There are a few free keyword research tools, though most of them suck to be fair.
The obvious one is Google keyword planner which allows you too start understanding different keywords and the different longtails that may come out of simple keywords.
The one thing it doesn't do, is analyse other sites, which I personally feel is massively needed if you want to succeed with running a blog, as it allows you to understand what other blogs are successfully ranking for, and allows you to make plans to rank as well!
The other keyword tool is Keywords Everywhere - It's a free plugin that works alongside your standard Google searches and is great as an alternative to google keyword planners. The good thing about it is that it also provides related keywords and other options that people search for.
You can see from the image that there are roughly 201k searches each month for Google Keyword Planner, and there are also 12k searches a month for 'keyword research tools' - Guess what my next post will be about!
If you are willing to spend a little per month, then you can pick up tools such as KeySearch. It allows you to analyse competitors, track your keyword rankings and also research potential short tail or long tail keywords. It does mean that you are spending around $15 - $20 a month for the privilege, so it might be one to look at after you start making some cash!
Free Email Provider
No matter the route, being able to capture an email or at least send people follow up emails related to products is useful.
Aweber offer you the ability to capture 500 leads, for free. Which means you can start building up your email list, without needing to spend a penny.
This can be hooked up to a number of funnel builders such as ClickFunnels or Thrive Architect.
Free Funnel or Landing Page Builder
A tool that can be amazingly useful for those doing Social Media, YouTube or even the blogging side of things, is a funnel or landing page builder.
Currently GrooveFunnels is pretty much the only one that is free to use, and can at least build some kind of landing page, or funnel. They do also include an email responder, so if you didn't want to use Aweber, you can simply use GrooveFunnels instead for everything.
Free Images & Graphic Apps
You will be surprised how often you will need images or graphics to fill your website.
One of the best places to get stock photos is PixaBay. Hands down one of the best sites, you can get a lot of them for free, but you can also donate money to creators if you feel they deserve it (I encourage it!)
If you are looking for icons to fill your blog, then one of the most popular sites to visit is IconFinder, they offer hundreds of free icons, as well as paid ones.
Finally, if you are the arty type, or you are a dab hand with doing a few graphics, then I recommend checking Canva. They allow you to create social media logos, headers, ebook covers, coupons and so much more.
I use Canva on a daily basis to help create Instagram images for both my feed and my stories as I can quickly upload images with a pre-done watermark that look professional and clean. When people share my stories with friends it's easily to see that it has come from one of my accounts.
How To Get Started With Affiliate Marketing For Free - Conclusion
And that's it, a number of different ways to get started with affiliate marketing for free. So many people believe it's not possible, or that it will take too long, but at the end of the day, that's just a broken, shit mindset.
I would rather it took me 2 months of grinding to make a commission without needing to spend anything, than spending $$$$'s trying to make a commission, especially if I am not sure what I am doing.
If you have other ways of getting started, drop them below.
I started this blog around 2017, after realising that I wanted to let people know about all the different ways someone could make money online. From DropShipping, Affiliate Marketing, Network Marketing and more.
This blog has now grown to review and explain a variety of different tools and platforms, in the bid to help you.
This blog contains affiliate links, and I will get a commission for purchases made through these links. It doesn’t change anything for you and will on occasion save you money! Enjoy, James,