How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing

How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing

(Last Updated On: 29th January 2019)

Before I answer the question  How much does it cost to start affiliate marketing?, let’s find out what Affiliate Marketing really is.

Not sure if you remember the old door to door salesmen, who used to knock on the front door and leave a catalogue to browse through, then would return a few days or a week later to pick up the catalogue and hopefully any orders that you may have for him.
Very similar to Affiliate Marketing, except this type of browse and sales are done on the internet.
So let’s say for argument sake that you have a passion and a deep knowledge for Dogs. Your “catalogue” would be a website all about “Dogs”.
Now you may be thinking, “Well there’s not a lot you can write about a dog”, but there is, how to train a dog, how to feed a dog, how to care for a dog, accessories for dogs.
If you think hard and long there is a ton of stuff that you could write about and each article you write is a keyword. (Remeber that word, it is going to be important).
Ok, so away you go and write a 500/600 word article about “How to train your dog to sit”.
If you think it may be difficult to write 500 words on this subject. take a look at this website, and you will understand how easy it can be.

Now you have the first page of your “catalogue” written you may be wondering how you are going to make money from it.
This is where Affiliate Marketing comes into play.
Just type into your search bar “Pets Affiliate Programs”, and up will pop a ton of sites all willing and able to offer you a commission to sell their goods on your website.
So what are you doing? you are building a website, (more on that later) writing articles on different aspects of your chosen topic and then leading your readers to specific goods that they can buy from your Affiliate links, so earning you a commission.
That’s what Affiliate Marketing is all about.

How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing

Initially very little.
But having said that it is very wise to think of Affiliate Marketing as a business and businesses need a certain amount of capital spent on them.

But let’s start basic.
The first and obvious thing you need is a computer and Internet connection, but as you are here reading this, then I have got to assume that those two items are taken care off.

To produce your “catalogue” you are going to need a Website, again you can find plenty of sites that offer website building for as little as $3-$4 a month.
Then once you have your website in place you need to obtain a Domain Name.
This is the internet address that your website sits on, and they can be purchased for as little as $4 a year, and then you need a hosting company that looks after all your files etc within the internet.
The cost of that is going to be around $6-$7 per month.
Basically, that is it, so the good news is, for around $10 per month you can be up and running with your very own Affiliate Marketing business.
The bad news is that I’m afraid you really won’t be making a very profitable business if you think that Affiliate Marketing is just about building a website and adding some Affiliate links to it.
How are you going to get customers? Without customers, you have no business.
Your customers are people that surf the net wanting information on what you have to offer.
There are ways and means of attracting these surfers to your site, but it takes education.

The internet is a cut and thrust operation where only a few survive, and to be amongst the chosen few it is essential you get your work up to at least half way down page 2 of the search engines.
Very few people go beyond page 2 of any of the search engines, but page one is the pinnacle you should be aiming for.
To make your life a lot easier and improve your chances of success, there are going to be a few extras that really would need your attention.

Keyword Research Tool.

This is going to be an essential part of your armoury in achieving a successful Affiliate Marketing business, and therefore needs to be assigned to your monthly budget.
Previously I mentioned remembering the word “Keyword”.
A Keyword is going to be the word or words that you choose to headline your articles, and what is going to get your article onto the first page of the search engines.
This will ultimately bring Traffic(Visitors) to your site.

It is the phrase that surfers type into the search bar to find the answers they are looking for, for their query.
So now you may be thinking “How the hell do I know what people type to find what they are looking for”.
That is where a good Keyword Research Tool comes into its own.

Jaaxy Keyword Tool
Above is a screenshot of the results that a good keyword will give you for “How to train a dog”.
You see that there are 336 searches each month for that phrase and by getting your article onto page 1 you would expect to get at least 58 visitors to your site, plus the fact that there are only another 76 websites competing for that keyword.
A good Keyword Tool is going to give you all the information needed to guide you into using the correct words or phrase to give your article the best chance to get onto page 1 of the search engine.

Cost: starting at $19 per month.

So what you are looking for is the most amount of Traffic with the least amount of Competition.
Keyword Research Tools come in various shapes and sizes from Free to use (Basic information, but adequate for a beginner) up to $99 per month for an all in one tool that is going to give you all the information on keyword research and how your keywords are performing in the search engines.


Relying on Organic Traffic (Visitors from the search engines) can be a slow and painful exercise, so to boost your exposure you should be considering Advertising.
Online advertising is predominantly used to direct people to your website, just creating a website or blog doesn’t guarantee exposure.
There are different methods that you can consider when it comes to getting your message across.

  • pay-per-click (PPC)
  • social media ads
  • banner ads
  • SEO

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a very effective strategy for getting interested people to click on your advert.
This is because they are actually “interested” in what you have got to offer, therefore this is going to be a sensible way of spending your budget.
PPC does exactly what it says on the tin, you pay each time someone clicks on your advert, and the cost can be anything from a few cents a day up to a few $$ a day.
Planning a daily budget is crucial because this type of advertising is very competitive, and it would be so easy to get carried away if you are not sure what you are doing.
It would be sensible to start any campaign with a daily budget of say $5, meaning that if you set your cost per click at $0.10cents you will be getting 50 clicks a day.

Cost: You set your own budget but starting at $35 a month

Social Media

Social media is another very lucrative way of advertising your business. Again working on the PPC format, the difference here is that using social media sites for advertisement purposes is that you can use demographic information of people to narrow down your target audience.

Cost: as above.

Banners and Display Advertising

Banner Ads

Banner ads or Display advertisings are small squares or rectangular ads that are placed on websites and depending on your budget the more you pay the better the website you can get your ad on.
There are two parts of Banner ads to consider when calculating the true cost, CPM (Click per Impression) and CTR (Click through rate)
You can pay as little as $.50 cents per impression or as much as $50 per impression and in some case even more.
Banner ad agencies will sell you ad space in multiples of 1000, so the cheaper range is going to cost you $.50 cents for every 1000 times your ad shows up on a website.
But the true cost should be calculated on the CTR, that is how many visitors actually click on your ad.
If you have a CPM of 10,000 at a cost of  $5 and a CTR of say 3% then the actual cost to you is going to be $.15 cents per visitor.

Cost: $35 per month.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Totally free advertising but probably the hardest form to actually achieve results.
When I say free advertising I mean that you are getting your site in front of thousands upon thousands of viewers through hard work and perseverance.
Although the search engines have pages and pages of SERPs(Search Engine Results Pages) in actual fact it is only the first page that will have any significance in your achievement.
It is very unlikely that a surfer will go beyond page 1 in the SERPs and in fact around 36% will click on the first result and only around 2% on the last result, that being the 10th result on page 1.
So your objective is to get as high up as possible on page 1 to get your free advertising.
SEO is going to be a very important part of your budget for achieving success.

Cost: Free but with hard work and dedication.

Email Marketing

email-marketingAnother very important aspect of marketing your work in Email marketing and you should seriously consider adding this to your budget.
Building your list is going to be a top priority and although there are free auto-responders, in my opinion, a paid platform is going to be your better choice.
Aweber is among the top auto-responders on the market and they are going to charge you $19 per month depending on the number of subscribers you manage to secure. They do give you a free 30-day subscription to try them out, which is very helpful.

Cost: Starting at free to $19 per month. 




This is very much a personal thing as to whether you will be happy with free images or you really want to go all professional and buy stock photos.
The reason I am including Images into your budget is that there are strict copyright laws that forbid the use of just any image you will find on the Internet.
Using an image that has a copyright tag can and will land you in a lot of trouble if you get caught.
There are free images to use platforms, although the quality may not be as pure as paid sites.
Buying images can start as low as $1 per download.

Cost: from free to depending on how many images you buy.


I am just throwing this one in for your future use.
As time goes by you are going to find that your time is going to be more valuable than creating posts each and every day, so getting an experienced writer to help you out here is going to be a godsend. This is just something you may want to consider in the future.
Outsourcing your work will depend on the agency you use but can cost by the word or by the hour.

Cost: Minimum $5 up to $400 per month.

Google Analytics

Thankfully this is not going to add anything to your budget as it is a free tool that Google gives you to keep a close eye on how your website is moving along.
It is free, so make use of it and add it to your project.

Cost: Free


To really make a serious attempt at being successful in Affiliate Marketing you will never stop learning.
Getting a tried and tested training module to help you through the jungle that is Online Business, I recommend you take a look at Wealthy Affiliate.
This training platform will guide you through the most complex of tasks you are going to come up against in a very easy to follow set of lessons, from ground zero to achieving total success.

Cost: Starting free, Premium Membership $49 per month.

With the premium membership, you can factor in, free keyword tool, free hosting, in fact, the premium membership at Wealthy Affiliate is in a league of its own.

So there you have it, How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing? basically very little.
Although to be really serious about building your own Affiliate Marketing business is dependent on the time, the effort you set aside for your long-term project and using the right tools to achieve the right results.


Affiliate Marketing runs parallel to any online business, there is no guarantee that you are going to get rich from it, but, giving your time, your hard work and investment into some of the above extras will make it all worthwhile.



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20 thoughts on “How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing”

  1. Hello Gordon,

    I think the cost of starting an online business is really low, especially when compared to an off-line business. 

    A very important reason to choose affiliate marketing that covers different areas that you point out. 

    Wealthy Affiliate has an excellent education and tools that will help you achieve your main desire, generate extra income. Thanks for sharing!.



    • Hi Claudio,
      yes I totally agree that starting an online Business is so much more affordable than an off line business and without all the stresses that go with a bricks and mortar business.
      Having the added bonus of a superb training system that Wealthy Affiliate has put in place makes it all the more realistic to be able to achieve success in the online world.
      Thanks very much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts, very much appreciated.

  2. Affiliate marketing sounds like magic, I’d very much like a piece of that. But in all honesty the keyword part of it really overwhelms me, not sure if I could really master that even with a tool. I have read some articles here and there and it seems like only specialists can do proper keyword research and SEO. To me it’s a foreign language really.

    • Hi Linda,  thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts.
      It is like any thing new that you would take on, it takes time to understand the concept. When I first started out 4 years ago I didn’t even know what a Keyword was, but with the training I have received I wouldn’t say I am 100% as perfection is a long hard road, but I do know enough to make sure my work gets out into the big wide internet world.
      I was a complete novice when I started not even knowing the difference between a page and a post but now it really does become second nature.
      Even foreign languages are do-able.
      If you need a helping hand with Keywords  just give me a shout and I am willing to help you out.

      Good luck and thanks for stopping by. 

  3. Affliate marketing is an opportunity to make money on one Having the right knowledge is important to success in this business. The is not too expensive and if it’s done properly there is profit to be gained. I think advertising is key and you have nicely covered the effective advertising method. Personally I like social media but all of them are effective and affordable. 

    To make money, one has to spend money, investing in advertisements and other aspects that you mentioned such as training, imaging, outsourcing etc. will only add to the success of an online business.

    I have decided to start using google analytics. Thanks for sharing, this post was really helpful.

    Great read.

    • Hello Brenda,

      Yes you have to speculate to accumulate and the fastest way of getting your voice heard in the online world is by advertising. Although SEO is the best free way of getting noticed, it does take a length of time to establish an authority.
      Google Analytics is going to be such a benefit for you in tracking how your site is performing.
      Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hello GDODD. Thank you for sharing with us how much it costs to start an online business. It actually costs a lot of money to start an online business. Even with the money, one can easily get the Wrong Training. With Weathy Affiliate, everyone is Guaranteed success. I’m happy to be a part of this family. 🙂

    • Hi BEazzy,

      thanks for stopping by.
      I’m not sure that starting an Online Business costs that much especially if you compare it to an off line business, but I do take your point to some just the $49 a month for all the training acquired from Wealthy Affiliate is a lot of money. but success is not guaranteed. What is guaranteed is that you will get everything you need to succeed but the hard work is down to the individual to make sure they do succeed.

      Thanks very much for your comment and all the best for the future.

  5. Wow so much to learn about affiliate marketing, the money is very enticing but the work one has to put into it is serious. I like the way you have explained about the Keyword tool, it answers why some particular sites appear on page 1 while others are always in the last pages that no one clicks on.

    It all start with a website, then you set up various strategies to get this people to visit your website. I have checked out the Wealthy Affiliate link, it seems to provide so many great opportunities. Have you used it, and what can one accomplish with Wealthy Affiliate?

    • Hello Anita,
      yes Affiliate Marketing can be very rewarding given the right tuition and then your own commitment.
      I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate and have had the honour of belonging to this amazing site for 4 years.
      With Wealthy Affiliate you can achieve what ever you want, that is what they teach, what they don’t teach is your own commitment and hard work that part is completely down to you. If you are prepared to give it your all and follow the training to the T there is no better place to learn Affiliate Marketing.
      Good Luck and thank you for stopping by.

  6. Starting a brick-and-mortar business would cost thousands – usually hundreds of thousands of dollars! I just read this about McDonald’s: “To open a McDonald’s franchise, however, requires a total investment of $1-$2.2 million, with liquid capital available of $750,000. The franchise fee is $45,000.” Wow!! 

    So, by comparison, starting an online affiliate marketing business costs so little. And yet, I personally think the benefits are so much better than running a franchise. I mean, you don’t have to worry about employees or management or inventory. You get to work from home, set your own schedule, write about things you like… 

    How important do you think training is in this business? Can someone go on YouTube and learn everything they need to know to be successful?

    • Thanks for your input Christina,

      totally agree with you about starting a bricks and mortar business, there is no comparison in costs when starting out. 
      I would say that there is probably everything you need on youtube to get started and posible run an online business, but what do you do when you come up against a question that isn’t covered on the video you are watching, you have to go searching for another video to answer that question and so and so on.
      The great thing about having a platform that teaches you everything under one roof is that you have all those extra questions answered ad hoc. 
      To me worth its weight in gold.

      Thank you so much for stopping by

  7. Great to look at how well you tabled what one needs to have some level of success and I do agree with you most come with time but the best is to start and with a long time goal in mind when it comes to affiliate marketing, I look at it as a big door that will lead to many others amazing doors and eventually produce a break for me.

    I am just enjoying every moment and thank you for, points you have given and I can assure you I am going to go through each one of them and learn then grow.  Great article with amazing information.

    • Hi Cinderella,

      thank you for stopping by, so pleased that you found points that are going to help you on your journey.
      It can be a long hard struggle to get to that promised land but you have obviously got deterination that is going to see you through. (You shall go to the ball)😀
      Thank you so much for your  comment.

  8. Hey! Thanks for this guide! I just started dabbling in this online marketing thing, because I’m a single mom and want more time for my 2-year old son.

    This guide was really helpful in explaining the more advanced concepts for me, like PPC and advertising in general. I also gained useful info out of your email marketing, as people always seem to tell me that I need to have an emaillist…

    I would be very interested in learning more about advertising. Do you have any other articles about that? For example about Facebook ads?


    • Thank you so much for stopping by Laura and I am pleased this guide ws of some use to you.Here at Wealthy Affiliate we are so lucky to have a vast catalogue of useful information and for your purpose this video from Jay will help you in you quest to learn about Facebook Ads.

      Thanks again for your comment

  9. Thank you for such a great post on how much does it cost to start affiliate marketing.Many people are trying to make online money through affiliate marketing which make this business competitive. To succeed we need to put much effort and mostly money to get what we want.

    What is important is to get a well designed platform which will help in training and other tools to make the business successful. I have chosen Wealthy Affiliate because it helps people with trainings which is helpful and its community is helpful too. So, as any other business, affiliate marketing will bring fruits depends on how hard we work on it.

    • Hey Julienne, thanks for browsing through my post.
      Thankfully we are blessed with probably the most comprehensive teaching platform there is and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to be successful.

      Thanks for stopping by

  10. Affiliate marketing has the great advantage of having almost zero cost to begin with. But the great downside is that it needs time to get any results. I am not mentioning hard work because any work needs hard work in order to succeed. But in order to create an authority website it needs at least one year of hard work in order to start seeing the first results. Of course time may vary but in my opinion 1 year is the absolute minimum someone should invest if someone decides to start today.

    • Hi Stratos,

      totally agree with you, AM doesn’t have to cost a great deal to get started, and your time frame is spot on, but during that year there are going to be investments to be made to reach those goals.
      Thank you very much for your much appreciated comment.

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