The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

The pros and cons of affiliate marketing have been well documented by those who have been quite successful at mastering this skill. Making money from affiliate marketing is something that is not as difficult as people think.

Not only can affiliate programs earn you some great extra money, but a large number of people have been able to quit their jobs and are earning  a full-time income from home.

The process of actually seeing some of your first comissions does not have a simple “how-to guide”, or a “quick start guide” as some of the ill-informed may lead you to believe.

Success with affiliate marketing often comes with consistency. By using a system that is proving successful and by making sure that you are performing these methods accurately, you can begin to see regular earnings.

The system I use and is in use by hundreds of other successful affiliate marketers is Wealthy Affiliate.

Facing Realities in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing isn’t a system where you can start making money from home quickly or easily in the beginning, as some online scam artists or misinformed newbies will have you believe.

There are many so-called “online gurus” that say you could be pulling in a six-figure income or getting rich quick, but this does not happen the way many portray it on the internet.

The idea of creating an affiliate site and watching it print money “quickly” or “easily” is just not a reality. It just isn’t true.

Affiliate marketing is a real home based business. There are a number of people in the market that have been extremely successful at their home ventures and better able to pull in six and seven figures.

There are many other affiliate marketers that are able to earn a reasonable four and five figure income and then there’s a lot of affiliate marketers that have made very little or never made anything, got discouraged and quit.

The problem with most people who try to make money online and fail at it comes down to these three factors:

  • They fail to treat online marketing as a REAL business
  • They underestimate the amount of time required to start generating revenue
  • The platform they’re using is not teaching the proper way to build an online business

Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

If you’re have a desire to get into affiliate marketing so you can make money online, it can be a viable income option, but it ultimately comes down to whether or not you can make affiliate marketing systems work for you.

Ask yourself: Am I willing to do the hard work that’s required to make my online business work?

The system that I use, and hundreds of others use to create a consistent online income, is Wealthy Affiliate.

Over the past 12 years, the Wealthy Affiliate platform has helped thousands of entrepreneurs to become really successful affiliate marketers to the point where their affiliate earnings has become their main source of income.

As we dig a little deeper, here are some advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing as a business:

The Big Advantages

  • Affiliate marketing has always been a proven home business option.
  • It has a super low cost to get started in many affiliate programs are completely free to join. This means you can create a business for almost no cost.
  • You can work from home to add an income stream and do away with your commute.
  • There are many streams of income in affiliate marketing from blogging/promoting, to coaching other people with your skills, offering information e-books and helping people create websites/content.
  • Some affiliate marketing strategies include passive income where your viral content will help you with consistent earnings.
  • You can work anywhere and at any time as long as you have access to the Internet.
  • There is no need to traditionally stock or ship products or handle customer service. You are just going to be marketing products.

Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing

  • It can be challenging to put yourself in a routine of working from home. You need set hours, especially in the beginning of your business.
  • It often takes weeks or even months to generate the traffic that you need to start earning an income.
  • Choosing the wrong affiliate can ruin your credibility as a business and potentially put you at a deficit.
  • Competition is high and affiliate hijacking is common with some affiliate strategies. Your content could be making someone else money.
  • Zero control over the brands that you promote. You could end up promoting a business or product that falls strongly in public opinion due to a controversy. This could damage your income.
  • There is risk and reward that comes with taking on any new affiliate. Some new affiliates may give you great commissions but take a long time to pay because they are in the early stages of their program. More established affiliates have higher competition.
  • Tracking analytics can be a struggle as the customer sales page belongs to the merchant. It’s difficult to know which sales you are making on product and what you can be re-marketing for sale.

How to Generate Success in Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing may seem like a very attractive business opportunity because it doesn’t require too much money you actually get started.

You don’t have to worry about product inventory or extensive customer service and you usually get paid from established affiliates by helping them make sales.

The overall concept of affiliate marketing isn’t hard, you just need to have the right tools in place and work hard to establish yourself as an online presence.

It requires proper planning and an ongoing effort in creating new content for your websites or blogs to build an income.

Unlike other services, Wealthy Affiliate does not promise that you’ll make millions, and they don’t promise overnight results. Instead, they offer real guidance and help you build your own affiliate marketing websites from scratch.

Below are some suggestions that successful online marketers have found that REALLY WORK, suggestions that are taught and elaborated on in detail in the training modules of Wealthy Affiliate:

Read as much as you can. Learning about affiliate marketing and how other affiliate marketers have had success can be a big help.

Choose products you want to be associated with. Choosing only quality affiliate products and services will help you to feel better about your business.

If you can promote products you love already, you can also have an inside edge on your competition in marketing.

Know your affiliate program. Research any program in depth to understand the methods that you are used for payment, when you can expect payment and the ways that you can earn through that affiliate program.

Failing to read a contract could have you getting paid on a six-month basis or only when you meet a certain payment threshold.

Start blogging early on: if you can start an informational blog and begin directing traffic early on, this can work as a platform for you promote affiliate products.

Focus on your niche. If you’re already promoting a few products, consider branching off in the same niche. For example, if you’re already promoting kids toys, you could consider dropping in a few affiliate posts for video games as part of your content.

Track the analytics you can track. Using analytics monitoring like Google AdSense will help you to monitor the ongoing success of your affiliate programs.

If you are running several affiliate programs, you need to work at tracking your conversion rates, traffic and more.

You CAN Be Successful with Wealthy Affiliate

If you are going to be starting an affiliate marketing business, you need to work at learning everything that you can that is involved with making your business a complete success. If you do decide to start an affiliate marketing business you are going to need to continuously learn, build and grow.

Just remember, the process of affiliate marketing is not a quick or easy way to make money and it requires hard work and perseverance not just at the beginning, but over a 12 to 24 month period. (YES – It can take that long to replace your income through affiliate marketing!)

I find that Wealthy Affiliate meets all the needs stated in this article. If you want to test out the platform before you make a commitment, you can sign up for their 7-day FREE trial, no credit card required.

Signing up for the 7-day free trial will allow you to try out Wealthy Affiliate to see for yourself how it can benefit YOU and your business.

The overall chances for making money through affiliate marketing are pretty favorable when compared to other home based businesses.

Ultimately the success that you have depends on your ability to FOCUS on your goals and get the necessary work done that allow you to make a life-changing income.

Talk Soon,


18 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing”

  1. Hi Howard

    I know what you are talking about being consistency but you need to be consistency in the right way and in this business, it is not always easy to do.

    And this business is not a get rich system and I do agree with that. It takes a lot of determination and time to make it in this business.

    Out of the three factors that you say is the reason for failure in this business for me it underestimates the amount of time to start generating revenue.

    Right on for Advantages and Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing, everyone needs to write them down and look at them every day.

    If I wasn’t already a member of Wealth Affiliate after reading your review Howard I would sign up to Wealth Affiliate it was a Good Job well done.

    Zedrick Garrison

    • Hey Zedrick,

      Thank you for the kind words! 

      If you give people the actual facts up front, they can decide for themselves what path to take. Anything worthwhile in this world is going to take time, patience, and a ton of hard work. To reach your income goals is entirely possible with Wealthy Affiliate. Too many people have done it!

      You can do this as well!

      Talk Soon, 


  2. Thank you so much for an informative post about affiliate marketing. I agree with you success with affiliate marketing comes with investing time and doing it consistently.
    You have reassured me. I am also into affiliate marketing and was about to give up. I will remain steadfast and continuously work towards my goals. I find the idea of being able to quit my full-time job exciting and liberating.

    • Hey ZEGU,


      You can do this!

      It’s normal to feel like you want to give up…I’ve been there many times, trust me!

      Just KEEP MOVING FORWARD and reach out to the Wealthy Affiliate community if you feel your efforts to build your business starting to slip.

      Thank you for your reply!

      Talk Soon,


  3. Currently, I am contemplating between doing drop-shipping and affiliate marketing. I like the idea of selling something tangible but the task to set up an eCommerce site is quite enormous for a beginner like me.

    Affiliate marketing seems like an easier choice, except that I am not used to blogging so that’s another learning curve to face. Thanks for sharing this article. It gives me some food for thoughts.

    • Hey Cathy,

      I wish I could tell you affiliate marketing is an easier choice than drop-shipping, but it’s not.

      The way Wealthy Affiliate teaches you to build a affiliate marketing business, you have to write a lot of content. Now, for many who have signed up on Wealthy Affiliate, they’ve found out that they have to do a lot of writing.

      Building your business the Wealthy Affiliate way will give you long term success, which is much, much better. Your blog posts will bring in traffic for years and years. When you keep adding blog posts, your traffic increases and thus your profit increases. 

      My suggestion is to try out Wealthy Affiliate free for 7-days and set up a free website and try writing a blog post or two. You may find just have many others have on WA that writing content for a blog post is not as difficult as we’ve made it out to be!

      All the best to you and your business,

      Talk Soon,


  4. Thanks for the thorough article on the pros and cons of affiliate marketing. Being an affiliate marketer is tough and takes a lot of diligence and perseverance! You have to be determined and to make the time that is required.

    Like you said, it could take weeks or several months to start to be successful online. But you can’t give up. Keep moving forward. I’m just getting started, but I will keep plugging along!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Hey Jen S,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      If you ever hope to accomplish anything worthwhile, you cannot give up! 

      I know for myself I try to keep this thought in mind: Quitting is a dangerous road to go down because it sets not only a pattern but a precedent for the future. Not only will you begin to see yourself as a quitter but those around you will view you as a quitter as well. 

      Keep persevering with you business! I’m sure you will do well!

      Talk Soon,


  5. Hi Howard,

    a great list of pros and cons. I think the freedom of having an affiliate business by far outweighs the cons:-)

    But very good list of the cons, as these a definitely important to consider to secure a sustainable online business. Especially the advise about choosing the products you promote carefully I find is important.

    I see to often people are just promoting what they get the highest commission for and do not care about the quality. This is not only bad for their own trust and long-term business, but for the overall reputation of internet marketing.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • Hey Michael,

      You are so right my friend, the freedom of having an affiliate marketing business that is profitable is definitely worth the sacrifice.

      When people are only concerned about promoting products with the highest commission, people see through that. When fake marketers put up blogs and websites that are only concerned with making sales, people see through that.

      What people want is actionable content that addresses their issues. If you become good at writing relevant content, the money will follow.

      Thanks for the read!

      Talk Soon,


  6. Thanks for writing such a great article on affiliate marketing. I really appreciate your ‘cons’ list and the understanding that it’s not a get rich quick scheme but something you have to work at. I’m new to affiliate marketing and it can be a little overwhelming sometimes.

    I do have a question for you. When you first started at wealthy affiliate how long did it take for you to start making money?

    • Hey Jon,

      It took a while. Really, it was close to a year before I started to see money coming in. However, it may not take a year for you; or it may take longer than a year. It totally depends on the amount of time and work you put into your business.

      I approached affiliate marketing with a sence of urgency. There were a lot of things in my life I needed to change. So The motivation and determination was there. I hope you have the same sense of urgency.

      Talk Soon,


  7. Starting from scratch in any new work situation can be pretty daunting, especially if your going into something completly new.
    Taking small steps and being patient and not getting overwhelmed helps a lot.
    You really get out what you put in with this business model and once you get that first dollar it really is a great feeling.

    • Hey Vaughn,

      You’ve made a great point. Newbies tend to suffer from overwhelm and information overload. You have to be determined and you have to be focused.

      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Talk Soon,


  8. Hey i really enjoyed this article, it was very informative and gave good tips. I do really like Wealthy Affiliate and i do think its the best place to get the best affiliate marketing training. I am always trying to learn more, i even ventured off and wrote my first ebook and i have plans to write an even better ebook that could help people with growing an online business. Keep it up!

    • Hey Justin,

      Much success with your ebook! Continue your forward progress and thank you for your kind words.

      Talk Soon,


  9. Hello Howard,
    I am new in this field and i have just created my website. It is a very debatable topic that is affiliate marketing worth it or not. As I am new in online business, it is a matter of concern for me, I want to learn more.
    Can you tell me which is better – affiliate marketing or pay per click?

    • Helo Hari,

      Here is my honest opinion: Stick with Wealthy Affiliate. You will learn the correct way to build an online business. Follow the program as instructed. If you try to do this on your own, you will waist a lot of time and money along with becoming extremely frustrated.

      Stick with Wealthy Affiliate.

      Talk Soon,


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