How long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?

I really don’t want to burst your bubble but if you are thinking this is a get-rich-quick scheme or scam you are wrong. This is a question most people ask when they start and quite rightly you need to know.

So how long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?

I suppose everyone’s definition of a successful affiliate marketer is a little different. For me, I will consider myself to be successful when I have completely replaced my full-time income with my online businesses and they are working basically on auto-pilot with a bit of ongoing input from me.

Affiliate marketing is a way to build a long-term business that will pay you handsomely in passive income for many years to come BUT you have to put in the effort at the start to build your site and generate traffic.

Realistically I suggest you dedicate 12 months to building up your authority and adding content to your website before you make a judgment about whether you can be successful at affiliate marketing.

As we like to say “this is a marathon, not a sprint”.

You are building a legitimate, profitable business and learning a new career; and while you will see increases in traffic and those all important sales before that, to really start seeing the fruits of your labour you need time.

Now don’t be concerned we will run through how you can speed up the process, but just know you are not going to make $1,000 per week starting next week.

Why does it take so long?

You need to produce quality content and a lot of it – this takes time. The search engines are your ticket to free amounts of traffic and this will be ongoing if you spend the time to write top quality content for all your blogs right from the word go.

Scales showing time vs moneyI am not going to wade into paid advertising for your site at this point. If you are like me you need to make money not spend it, and you can build your business without spending large amounts on Facebook advertising or the like. You can get free traffic, called organic traffic, but it takes a little longer.

In a nutshell you need to be producing blogs of at least 1000 words each and you need at least 100 of them on your website to be considered an authority site.

If you need some tips on how to write quality content I have you covered.
Check out both my recent blogs here – Writing Quality Content Made Easy and Tips for Blogging Beginners.

As you can now see this will take some time. How much time depends on you.

Can you give 8 hours a day to your business or do you work full-time at the moment? Do you have family or other commitments that will reduce the amount of time you have to work on your business?

These are areas you need to be realistic about when you consider how long it will take for you to be successful.

As well as that you need to space out your content, upload it regularly and give the search engines time to see and recognise your content as having value.

Search Engines and How to Win Them Over

Search engines are fickle things, they need to know what they are recommending to their searchers is quality information. They don’t know this until you have produced a reasonable amount of content, so they have something to gauge you on.

Now this doesn’t mean you can copy someone else’s work and plonk it on your site, upload a heap of blogs at once and call it done.

There are several problems with this method and why it not only won’t speed things up, but it will probably result in your site crashing and burning.

Duplicate Content

Google does not like duplicate content. And don’t be fooled into thinking they won’t know it is copied and pasted because they do.

On the platform I use we have an area called Site Content to write all our blogs. This has a built-in duplicate content checker. But there are many free tools on the market that you can use if you are not a member. I like Grammarly for my spelling and grammar checks and they also have a free plagiarism checker – you can take it for a test run by clicking here.

The Google algorithms are very advanced and change rapidly to cope with the ever-changing way we are using the internet. Google’s main aim is to provide the very best search results for you when you type something into that little search box.

They want you, the user, to click on the articles, find wonderful new and unique content and be satisfied.

SEO image with cogsOtherwise, you might just go off and use someone else’s search engine – Bing or Yahoo anyone!

So while we know not much on the internet is actually brand new, never been thought of before content, your blogs should be written in your style which will make them unique.

You can see from this article, none of the information I am providing you is new, I didn’t invent this stuff, but I am telling you in my own unique way. I am not copying anyone else’s work and so Google will see this as new content – no duplication.

Pretty much anything which is seen as duplicate content will drop your blog down the search results. You need to be on page 1 and the sooner the better. If your article is relegated to Page 20 you won’t get traffic and you won’t get sales and it will take you a loooong time to be a successful affiliate marketer.

Don’t duplicate content and you will speed up the process.

Quality Content & Lots Of It

Your posts need to be at least 1000 words long. Again don’t think you can save time by smashing out a 200 – 300 word blog and get it up on your site and say great I’ve finished another blog today.

[bctt tweet=”None of the search engines will rank posts with only a few hundred words. Why? Because they don’t see the article as having any value. How can you adequately explain a topic in less than 300 words?” username=”TheRatRaceEscap”]

Worse still if you want to add affiliate links into that content, the search engines will see it as spam with only that many words. I recommend no more than one affiliate link to 500 words of content. This amount seems to fly under the radar with the search engines.

heads with question marks flying back and forth

So you can see it is worth spending quality time on your content, put some thought into each one and really fill out the article with interesting information and make it worth your readers time and attention to read it.

Lengthy content if engaging will also keep visitors on your site longer and reduce your bounce rate. Bounce rate is when someone visits your page but doesn’t interact with the rest of your site, so they don’t click over to any other posts, leave a comment or in any way engage with your site. They come, they might read for a bit, the bounce rate tracks how long, and then they go again.

Having people stay on your site longer and engage is another thing the search engines know about and like. It proves you have great content. When they see this your blogs will rank higher faster and you will get more traffic, more sales and more success.

You can outsource your content and have others write it, but obviously then you need to pay. I am not going to suggest this route because generally we are in this business to make money not spend it. Once your site(s) are paying their way and you have some surplus income you might then decide to outsource and take a bit of a breather.

Do just make sure you find good writers, there is no point paying someone if the quality isn’t there. This will reduce the viability of your website by posting low-quality blogs that no-one reads.

Consistent Release Of Content

Regular blogging is a must when it comes to speeding up the process. Once again the search engines want to see a lot of blogs from you, but they want to see them regularly.

“How many blogs do I need to write a week then Heidi” you may be asking? I suggest 3 – 4 a week, but if you are working this as your sole business and have the time then a blog every day will certainly speed up the process.

Numbers 1 - 9 in coloured pencil

Most of you will still be working another job, as I am, so I have after hours and weekends only to blog. And while the process of writing does get easier with time, initially it might take you 4 – 6 hours to construct a blog, do the required research, actually write it, add the images, get it SEO ready and then post it and do your social media updates.

I can get a blog done in about 2 hours these days, assuming I haven’t had to do a lot of research.

If you can only get one or two done a week, that’s fine as well. Just be aware that this will slow down your progress.

It has been suggested to me that your site would not be considered an authority site until you reach at least 100 blogs. So have a think about how long it will take you to write 100 blogs and make that a goal?

Up till then you are moving your way up the ladder with each blog you post to your site. The search engines will rank content from authority sites faster and higher than those that only have one or two blogs.

It’s just the way it is and it all takes time to build.

Social Media

Social media is a fantastic resource for speeding up the affiliate marketers success.

Rather than wait for visitors to come to your site you effectively shop it around and get it in front of as many people as you can. Every time I finish a blog I post it on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. I also currently use Google + but it is set to be closed down in April 2019 so I am also posting on my YouTube channel as an alternative.

As an affiliate marketer you need to be a little careful about how many social posts you do each day. All the social media platforms are hot on spam, and even though your content quite obviously isn’t spam, if you post the same thing in a heap of different groups on Facebook within a short period you run the risk of being banned and your account shut down completely. Not Good!

Social media icons as Polaroid photos and pinsSo make a plan and schedule your social media posts for each day. This again keeps content going up consistently but doesn’t trigger any major red flags.

The other thing social media platforms don’t like is straight affiliate marketing links. So don’t post your direct affiliate link to a product on Amazon say (I think that is against their terms of service anyway) because all the social media platforms will see it and slam you.

There is again no real way to shortcut the system other than to write good quality blogs and post those links to your social media pages.

While Google + is still alive it should always be included in your social media profile. Obviously because it is Google who owns it, they can cross-check and see that you are active and posting content which is getting Plus 1’s and being shared. They love that.

Google plus icon

Once they shut down Google + if you have a YouTube channel (even if you don’t post many videos) there is a Discussion tab on your channel, you can post your blog links there as YouTube is also owned by Google. Now while you may not get many views or likes, it will still help with SEO.

On the other social media platforms you are looking for social engagement as well. So don’t just post your blog URL and disappear. You need to engage with others, comment on their posts, reshare or retweet when appropriate.

The more followers you can cultivate the more engagement you will get and the more people clicking on your website content the better.

One word of advice on Social media though. It can also be a big time-wasting trap so don’t be sucked into spending hours and hours, looking around and generally chatting. Do that when you aren’t working, but minimise your time and write great quality content instead of wasting your life on Pinterest.

I will do another post just on social media and how to get the most out of it shortly but do know that by using it you will speed up the time it takes for your website to start making money.

What will you be doing anyway?

So how long does it take to be a successful affiliate marketer?

Well that depends on your definition of success and the amount of time and effort you are willing to put into creating the type and amount of content I have mentioned above.

But ask yourself what will you be doing anyway over the next 12 months?
Going along as you always have, wishing things would change?
Or getting started now and spending the next year doing the groundwork that will change your life?

I have seen colleagues take as little as a few months to their first sale. For my niche site it was during the third month when I made my first sale. For this site it was within 10 days, but that is out of the ordinary and shouldn’t be expected.

How long until you are making consistent sales and seeing huge amounts of traffic?

If you follow my guidelines, apply yourself to your site and treat it like a new business, and work on it a little every day then I’d say give yourself 12 months before you make a decision as to whether affiliate marketing is for you and you can be successful at it.

Too many people give up when they are right on the cusp of making a breakthrough with traffic which will then result in the sales we want.

If you want to kick-start your affiliate marketing business and get all the training and experience you need to speed up the process clicking on the button below to view my Ultimate How To Guide.

Inside are links to build your website and lessons on how to make money online and it’s all FREE using the #1 affiliate marketing platform on the internet.

As always if you have any questions or would like more information about how long it takes to build a money making website or how long does it takes to be a successful affiliate marketer please put them in the comment box below. I love to chat.

My best wishes to you on your journey and if I can help out at all please let me know.

See you at the top sign off in yellow

About the Author


It doesn’t matter where you are starting from, what you currently have or don’t have, if you too feel like there is more to life than what you are currently experiencing and you want to take charge and create a better life for yourself (and your family) then join me and we will do this together.

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  1. Thank you for your advice and information on how to be a successful affiliate marketer.

    I agree with you that write quality content with at least 1000 words and write consistently will rank better in Google. In order to achieve this we must have a content writing schedule. Having a writing schedule we will know how long we need to write 100 post, for our website to be considered as an authority site.

    You have shared many helpful information. Thank you.

    1. Great point Christine about the 100 posts to be considered an authority site. I think this figure has come about as so many people new to affiliate marketing need a definite number to work towards. It can certainly be a lot less depending on your niche but I do not wish to give the impression that you can set up your site, write 5 blogs and you’ll be rolling in cash.

      It just doesn’t work that way as you obviously know. And they need to be quality blogs with some good keyword research and engaging, informative content so they rank nice and high with Uncle Google.

  2. Yes, building an income producing site takes a long time, that’s for sure. There’s so much out there painting a pretty picture of instant riches via affiliate marketing. The easy part is setting up a website and writing blogs. The most difficult and time consuming task is generating consistent traffic. Paid traffic is too pricey and organic traffic takes forever! 

    1. Thanks for stopping by for a read Annette. I am a big fan of organic traffic over paid particularly for those starting out. I know when I started I simply couldn’t afford to do paid advertising but you don’t have to to be successful either.

      Any traffic you get organically is more likely to become consistent and permanent. Yes it does take longer, but you also don’t see the spikes in traffic and then back to nothing. It’s a slow steady hill climb and with enough patience it’s a thing to be very proud of.

      Good SEO I believe will always win out over the longer term and sets your business up to be more robust and less likely to crash once paid advertising ends.

      My best wishes to you on your ongoing success.

  3. I have my own website too and I affiliate for Earphones. I was really mad that I didn’t earn any revenue and it’s been three months. This article just made me realize that I have to be patience. This article really motivated me and inspired me. Thank you so much for writing this article and sharing it with us.

    1. Hi Sujandar I feel your pain, I was exactly the same when I started. I couldn’t understand if I was doing something wrong, why wasn’t I getting an avalanche of sales and traffic. Thankfully because I have access to other knowledgeable and experienced marketers they assured me it was just a matter of time and to stop stressing.

      And they were right.

      Hang in there, don’t get mad, write more blogs and make your site the very best earphone niche site ever. I wish you every success in your future.

  4. Great info, Heidi, it’s a bit of a shocker to realize you have to write soooo many posts to ultimately get high page rankings, i think i could do it, i’m just wondering how will i come up with enough things to write about, for a new blog post every day, or even 4 x a week. I will look forward to your sharing info on how to best do social media as i am still learning that. thanks!

    1. Hi Zardozmania I think the key is to choose a niche you are really passionate about. I know with both my sites everyday something comes to mind I would like to share with you guys. 

      Because I am working in the make money online niche and also studying to improve my knowledge every day when I learn something new I think “oh that’s great, people need to know about that or that could help someone if they knew this information” and then I write about my experience and try to provide value with my spin on it to you.

      Or if I am having a problem I think well possibly others are having the same issue and I try to find out how to fix it and then share that here.

      My other niche is new horse owners, I have two horses of my own, so I share my experiences as they happen and also current news again with my thoughts on it.

      I can recommend some fantastic training you should check out right now on social media by WA’s online trainer Jay – you can view the webinar by clicking here.

  5. Thanks a million for connecting on Wealthy Affiliate. Your websites are a true eye-opener for an old guy who has hung around WA for the past 2 1/2 years. You have brought clarity to a number of issues I am facing. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment Roger.

      It can be a bumpy old road to success with affiliate marketing, but I think it is so heartening to see everyday people making huge sums of money with their online businesses. Onwards & Upwards to us both.

  6. This is some great advice, and It’s nice to have that 100 post goal to work for. It looks like I still have a long way to go but it should be a fun and educational journy at least!

  7. What timing. I was recently wanting to know how Google defines content and now I just read it. That’s a lot of pages. Good to know so that one can aim to build quality content.

    1. Thanks for stopping by for a read Tina. I can’t say I ever really thought about how Google decides what comes up on my searches before I started affiliate marketing, not exactly something your everyday person thinks about I guess. I think a steady consistent pace is what will get you there with your content creation.

      I know people at WA that write one or two posts a day! I also work full time so I’m happy with 3 or 4 a week. It all contributes to the end goal.

  8. Great review and very true that it can take a lot of time to grow the online business. Also a very good insight into what google and social media does and doesn’t like. Thank you

    1. It is something I have learnt early on you need to keep on the good side of Google and the various social media platforms. They can really make or break the success of a site.

      This business we have chosen does take time that’s for sure, but still so much quicker and less outlay than a bricks and mortar business. Best wishes on your site’s success Helen.

  9. Great Post Heidi! I love that you are giving people realistic expectations in regards to affiliate marketing. It takes time to do the work, get traffic and convert to sales. Some are quicker than others. The secret is to never quit.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Wendy. I think what you said is so true too it will take a different amount of time for everyone, and slower is not necessarily wrong, we all just need to be realistic and move at our own pace.

      It’s hard not to get impatient but understanding right from the word go that it will take some time and effort I hope will save someone some heartache later down the track.

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