Affiliate marketing has quickly become an integral platform for merchandisers and service companies worldwide. In fact, it's estimated that up to 16 percent of all web sales are directly generated through affiliate advertising — a figure that's only projected to increase in the future. [source]
With new products and services released every day, there's no better time to become an affiliate marketer. So how do you get your foot in the door of this profitable venture when just starting out?
Well, the best way to learn the ropes is by dedicating yourself to a reputable training program! In this post, you'll discover eight of the best affiliate marketing training courses to set you on your way. Let's get going...
WHAT IS AFFILIATE MARKETING?
If you've been online for any length of time, you've most certainly scoured the web and clicked a banner advertisement or checked out a promotional link on an article. Well, that's basically affiliate marketing in a nutshell. It's when an online retailer pays you a commission for referral traffic per click or a percentage of a sale generated from clicks.
This sort of promotion can be found everywhere, from blogs that generate revenue from third-party advertisements, to popular social media sites that use pay-per-click marketing to incentivize creative and engaging content to subscribers.
Even major search engines like Google rely heavily on paid advertising campaigns where website owners pay for traffic and higher rankings based on certain searched for keywords.
Many companies, both big and small, offer affiliate programs for people like us to promote their products and services. More often than not, all you need to get approved by these companies is a reputable website with a reliable source of traffic. Once accepted into a program, you're able to start your marketing efforts.
THE BENEFITS OF AFFILIATE MARKETING
When we look for ways to make money online it can seem overwhelming to say the least. So why choose affiliate marketing over other popular online business models like dropshipping?
Well, for one thing, you don't have to worry about selling a product, managing shipments, dealing with customer service, or jumping through hoops to undercut prices like you would as a dropshipper.
I actually tried my hand at dropshipping a few years ago when I built an online store selling clocks on the Shopify platform. Taking the blame from disgruntled customers for backorders and shipment damage wasn't fun, to say the least. After six months, I closed shop never to return again.
You'll never have this problem as an affiliate marketer as the sponsor is solely responsible for handling logistics. All you have to do is drive traffic to the sponsor's website, generate sales, and receive a cut of it.
Depending on the offer, affiliate commission rates for a product can often be lower than selling the same product as a dropshipper, sometimes significantly so. That said, affiliate marketing is much less of a headache, and that counts for a lot!
Affiliate marketing is also much more hands-off than dropshipping and other eCommerce-based businesses. Once your website is properly set up with good content and rankings, you have the potential to make money at any time of day with very minimal involvement. It's as close to passive income as you can get on the web (everyone's favorite phrase, right?)
Contrast this with freelancing on sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork.com, which is the ultimate form of trading hours for dollars. Don't get me wrong, freelancing is a perfectly legitimate way to make money online, but is it a good long-term strategy for most? I doubt it, especially considering the high burnout rate due to overwork and perpetually being in feast or famine mode.
And when you compare affiliate marketing to filling out surveys online for pennies on the dollar or completing mind-numbing tasks on MTurk.com or TaskRabbit.com, there's no question that it's a far better strategy to make money over the long term.
So, with that said, how do you get started as an affiliate marketer when you have no experience, especially when there's so much to learn?...
THE SINGLE BEST TIP TO LEARN AFFILIATE MARKETING THE RIGHT WAY
Whether it's understanding how to generate traffic, writing engaging content for prospective buyers, or optimizing your site for search engine traffic, affiliate marketing involves many moving parts. How do you get a handle on all that?
Sure, you could pick up bits and pieces through blog posts and YouTube videos, but those sources may be unreliable, outdated, and often conflicting. A better strategy for someone new to affiliate marketing is to stick with one proper training and educational course to see you through from beginning to end.
By learning from one reliable source instead of cherry-picking information from myriad sources, you stand a much greater chance of success as an affiliate marketer. The eight courses outlined below can all help you achieve this goal, but some are better than others, as you'll soon see...
8 BEST AFFILIATE MARKETING TRAINING COURSES
Here's a quick snapshot of how each of the reviewed programs below stack up against one another:
[Scroll the following table horizontally...]
Is it easy to get help?
Private coaching available?
Can you contact the owners?
Is there a live chat?
Is there step-by-step training?
Are free websites included?
Is web hosting included?
Do they offer a domain platform?
Can you try for free?
Is there a keyword research tool?
Is there an affiliate program?
My overall rating
So, I thought I'd start this list with my top recommendation for learning affiliate marketing, and that honor goes to Wealthy Affiliate. I've been a member of this thriving training platform and community for several years now and have no intention of leaving. Why? Because it continues to provide me great value in more ways than one (more on that in a moment).
Created in 2005 by Kyle Loudoun and Carson Lim, Wealthy Affiliate has helped over 1.5 internet solopreneurs during that time and has no signs of ever letting up.
The training focuses on helping you build an online affiliate business centered around topics you're passionate or at least curious about. By concentrating on areas that peak your interest, you stand a much better chance of reaching your financial goals over the long term.
Every aspect of the learning experience is designed with the newbie in mind. From step-by-step guided video/written tutorials and weekly hour-long live training sessions on various topics to 24/7 real-time chat with community members and near-instant feedback and answers to member's questions.
Not only does Wealthy Affiliate offer world-class, continually-updated training, it also provides you with just about everything you need to get your affiliate marketing business off the ground:
Affordable in-house domain registration? Check.
Fast and secure web hosting? Check.
Quick and easy system to create websites in mere seconds? Check.
Simple way to manage and track websites? Check.
Super intuitive keyword research tool? Check.
Plus many other priceless tools and features.
Better still, every Wealthy Affiliate tool seamlessly integrates across platforms. In short, Wealthy Affiliate is a complete one-stop-shop, miles ahead of any other affiliate marketing training course selling today (as good as the ones listed below are).
In fact, the only real downside to Wealthy Affiliate is that you can get easily distracted by all the blog posts, live chats, and other activity so you have to stay focused in order to get the most out of the program.
In case you get stuck, Wealthy Affiliate also offers quality support with great response time.
Wealthy Affiliate is free to join and offers a 7-day free trial period for Starter members. Thereafter, the cost is $49 per month or $359 per year, which grants you access to all their tools and training.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Founded in 2006 by Simon Slade and Mark Ling, with headquarters based in Christchurch, New Zealand, Affilorama boosts around 300,000 members across the globe.
While not as in-depth as other training courses in this list, the program offers helpful online lessons along with plenty of recorded video tutorials with downloadable scripts. The training is presented in a way that would suit someone who isn't necessarily tech-inclined.
You'll find a ton of informational blog-style posts to help you grasp the concepts of affiliate marketing. That said, some of Affilorama's recommended techniques and strategies are a bit outdated in places.
Apart from AffilioBlueprint — Affilorama's main program that teaches you how to get started as an affiliate marketer — they also offer other resources and tools. For example, you can easily check your web stats, rankings and keywords using AffiloTools and have their professional team design custom-made websites for you with content included using AffiloJetpack (reserved only for five-package deals, which cost $997).
Chat is integrated into their member's area and you can find basic help directly on their main pages. If you ever run into problems, Affilorama includes a support number to speak with someone over the phone.
Affiliorama offers much of their training for free, including all their AffiloTools. The full AffiloBlueprint system, however, costs $190 for the entire course, which also grants you one year of web hosting for one website. You could also opt for their Pathway-to-Passive beginner's course for $37, just to test the waters.
Affilorama has a convenient public forum where you can read reviews and success stories. That said, it's not terribly active.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Originally an eBook publishing company based in Montreal, Canada, Ken Envoy started Site Sell in 1997, which many years later evolved into Solo Build It! (SBI!) featuring 130,000 members.
Its main training, the Action Guide, is a 10-day course that provides you with step-by-step training to get your affiliate business off the ground.
One area where SBI! especially shines is in the tools department, where a whopping 85 site building tools are available to address every possible need. Some of these tools include a domain name registrar, site builder, site templates, site hosting, keyword research, social media, email management, plus many many more.
In other words, SBI! is a one-stop shop like Wealthy Affiliate, where everything's right there at your disposal. But don't worry, you won't need to learn all these tools at once. Solo Build It! does a good job at directing you each step of the way.
Unlike some training programs that offer free basic training or complete training with access to tools during a free trial period, Solo Build It! requires an upfront payment that costs $29.99/month or $299/year. But they allow you 90 days to test everything out and offer a full money back guarantee in case you're dissatisfied.
One thing to keep in mind is that SBI! uses their own proprietary site-building platform instead of WordPress, which can be a bit of a nuisance should you ever decide to transfer your site. Also, you're only permitted to create one site per membership unlike some of the other training courses.
SBI! has an online 24/7 support staff and customer service hotline if you need any questions answered. Their forum, however, isn't too active.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Voted as the #1 internet marketing coaching program for three consecutive years, Chris Farrell Membership (CFM) has been around since 2008 and continues as a great way for affiliate marketers to get their start.
Unlike other courses mentioned in this list, this program primarily focuses on email list building strategies and how to effectively market to your list. To this end, you'll learn how to create your own eBook, how to use WordPress to build landing pages and the basics of monetizing a website.
CFM training is in the form of easily digestible video guides (usually around 10 minutes long), written lessons, and a 21-day blueprint to follow.
The program doesn't offer much in way of proprietary tools, instead, you'll be directed to several third-party merchants to help get you started (e.g., registering a domain, setting up web hosting, etc.) Thus, you'll need to factor this into your budget along with the cost of the program itself.
Chris Farrell Membership costs $4.97 for the first seven days and $37 per month thereafter (no free trial). There's also an option of paying $297 for annual membership. After buying the flagship program, you'll come across several upsells, most notably the Mentor Me personal coaching option for $997. CFM offers a 30-day money back guarantee should you decide it's not for you.
Support is decent, especially for premium members who decide to upgrade for personal coaching. Unfortunately, there's no real active community support among affiliates, but you'll find a helpful, yet somewhat quiet, forum about general topics.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Dom Wells, the owner and founder of Human Proof Designs (HPD), started the company in 2012 to help newbies get their affiliate marketing business going with as few hassles as possible. How so?
Well, many inexperienced affiliate marketers have a hard time choosing a profitable niche, conducting keyword research, writing SEO-optimized content, and even taking those initial steps like registering a domain name, setting up web hosting, and installing a WordPress theme and plugins.
Human Proof Designs takes ALL that trouble off your hands by selling you pre-made websites designed by their team of experts. This service alone makes them a unique entry in this list of best affiliate marketing programs. Of course, HPD doesn't just leave you high and dry after building and selling you a pre-made website. Nope, you'll never have to worry about what next steps to take...
For starters, HPD offers a jam-packed 7-part video course that teaches you how to make money with Amazon affiliate sites and affiliate marketing in general. This will help you get up to speed once your pre-made website transfers over to you.
Also, you have the option to hire HPD for additional services like article writing (monthly article subscription, article packs, eBooks etc.), keyword research, and/or link building.
In other words, customer support and one-on-one maintenance is the backbone of this company, providing excellent service to clients who purchase web design and management packages through them.
Now, with all that said, you could still argue that taking the DIY approach is better than having Human Proof Designs do everything for you. After all, if you plan to be in this game for the long haul, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the entire process to better understand how all these pieces fit together. But I get it, sometimes you just want to cut to the front of the line and deal with all that other stuff later, right?
Starter pre-made websites cost $499, which includes site design, themes, plugins, domain name, content, keyword research, and access to a private Facebook group. Premium pre-made websites cost $799 and include everything Starter websites offer plus more content, registered social media accounts, and a personalized logo.
You also have the option to buy custom-made niche sites ranging from $998-$1298, and $1497 for "aged" sites, which are sites that are at least 6 months old, and thus more established and trustworthy in Google's eyes.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Fizzle's CEO, Corbett Barr, co-founded this company with Chase Reeves and Caleb Wojcik in 2012 after 10 years of internet marketing experience working with startups. Their mission is to help aspiring solopreneurs set up thriving businesses online, including affiliate marketers.
Unlike other courses in this list, Fizzle doesn't solely teach affiliate marketing. Instead, they offer bite-size video tutorials (2-10 minutes each) on a whole range of topics, including podcasting, list building, video creation, and many more.
Each topic is taught by an industry leader and they even have affiliate extraordinaire, Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com fame, to teach their affiliate marketing course.
Fizzle's training breaks down into three primary phases: creating a solid business idea, setting up and making money from your business, and strategies to help build your business and take it to the next stage. Each expertly-taught course follows this precise "roadmap."
Besides well-organized courses, Fizzle offers weekly live group chat sessions and an optional mastermind group with similar business owners. They also have a fairly active forum, though not on the level of Wealthy Affiliate.
Keep in mind that Fizzle is strictly a training program; they offer no tools for site building, site hosting, keyword research, or anything else. Thus, customer support isn't as much of a concern as some of these other programs, but you can always email their team with any questions or concerns you have.
Fizzle offers a free one-month trial, which thereafter costs $39 per month or $348 per year.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Drawing from 19 years of cumulative experience as successful internet marketers for Fortune 500 companies as well as running several of their own 6 and 7-figure affiliate site businesses, Gael Breton and Mark Webster released their beginner's course to affiliate marketing, The Authority Site System (TASS), in 2016.
Apart from Wealthy Affiliate, I have the most amount of experience with this program as I spent over a year building a site using the methods Gael and Mark teach in this course. Has it worked? Yeah, but not as much as I'd hoped (my sleep-related affiliate site currently earns me $300 per month instead of my original goal of $1000 per month by this time). To be clear, the training is fantastic, I just happened to make some costly mistakes along the way.
TASS training consists of 5 modules, which includes 75 super high-quality videos and over 40,000 words of content. Topics include: understanding the basics of online marketing, how to conduct niche and keyword research, how to build and optimize your site, how to create and optimize commercial and informational content, and how to build quality backlinks (no Private Blog Networks or other shady tactics taught).
One feature that makes this program stand out from others is its case study, where you can watch Gael and Mark build an Amazon affiliate site from scratch while you simultaneously build yours.
The Authority Site System doesn't include software tools but does come with unique templates for niche research and email outreach for link building, as well as Trello boards for project management. TASS members also have access to a fairly active Facegroup group to posts questions and comments as well as communicate with other members. But being Facebook, it's not as easy to track threads as you'd find in a typical forum.
TASS has a one-time payment of $997. Yeah, it's expensive, but then again, most world-class training is. They do, however, offer a payment plan and occasionally offer discounts throughout the year. And if for whatever reason you decide The Authority Site System isn't for you, you can always take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee.
Overall Rating: 9/10
8. Project 24
Formerly known as Niche Site School, Project 24 is the updated and revised training program created by the team of Ricky Kesler and Jim Harmer with the end-goal of replacing your full-time income within 24 months (hence, the name Project 24).
As repeatedly shown on their internet marketing blog as well as their popular YouTube channel, Ricky and Jim have created a slew of super-profitable affiliate sites over the years using the exact same 60-step action plan taught in the course.
The training itself consists of well-thought-out, no-fluff videos specifically focused on teaching you how to create profitable affiliate blog sites and properly maintain them.
The cost of the annual subscription, $349 for the first year and $199 for each consecutive year, also includes 4 courses on ways to keep your site viewers engaged with relevant content and membership to the online Project 24 community. Keep in mind that the course doesn't include any tools.
In case you have questions or concerns, you can contact the Project 24 team through email or via the community forum. In addition, Ricky and Jim offer private coaching at an extra cost to help you with specific details about your website.
Not only are these guys likable, the stuff they teach is solid.
Overall Rating: 8/10
WHICH AFFILIATE MARKETING COURSE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
All these programs have redeeming qualities, but even after being in the business for several years, I still haven't found an affiliate marketing training course and community on the level of Wealthy Affiliate.
Out of all the programs reviewed, they still have the most well-rounded mix of educational resources, professional tools and services, and active community without any real downsides. Plus, they offer the most long-term value at a reasonable price.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN!
What are your thoughts about my choices for the best affiliate marketing training courses? Have you tried any of them? If so, what was your experience like? Can you think of any great courses I've overlooked? Leave your comments below!