Cost of Affiliate Marketing Business in 2024

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Starting with No Budget: Starting an affiliate marketing business with zero budget is feasible. YouTube is a cost-effective option.
YouTube as a Starting Point: YouTube is a budget-friendly choice for beginners. Use basic tools initially and invest in thumbnails as your channel grows.
Social Media Limitations: Instagram, Facebook, and X have limitations for affiliate marketing due to their non-search nature.
Essential Blog Investments: For bloggers, invest in a custom domain, shared hosting, a suitable WordPress theme, a professional logo, and quality images. Use budget-friendly options like Namecheap for domains and Pexels for images.
Time vs. Money Investment: To save time, consider buying pre-built websites or outsourcing content creation. Maintain authenticity and quality.

Starting Affiliate Marketing with No Budget: Feasible or Folly?

Is starting an affiliate marketing business with $0 possible? Yes, it is.

But is it advisable? That’s for you to decide.

You can launch and maintain a YouTube channel without any expenses. I’ll delve deeper into this later.

However, if you’re leaning towards a website, I’d caution against using free options.

A free website on “” comes with drawbacks. will display their ads, from which you won’t earn revenue.

Plus, the “” domain may diminish your brand’s credibility.

People are more likely to trust “” over “” even with identical content. The latter may seem less professional or even spammy to some.

Additionally, you can’t use WordPress plugins on a free plan, which are a significant advantage of WordPress.

And importantly, with a free domain, you don’t truly own your website.

My advice: Always register your domain separately to ensure complete ownership and control.

Budgeting for a YouTube-Based Affiliate Marketing Business

Starting an affiliate marketing business on YouTube without spending money is entirely feasible.

You might even use free Wi-Fi to upload videos, keeping costs at zero.

In the beginning, it’s practical to avoid expenses. Even if it means using your phone for videos, and having less-than-professional editing and thumbnails.

This initial phase is more about learning and improving your craft.

After creating several videos and understanding the process, you might consider small investments.

A good starting point is hiring someone on Fiverr for thumbnails. Once you find a style you like, you can emulate it to create a consistent brand image.

As your YouTube channel grows and video creation becomes routine, think about expanding your business.

Starting a podcast by repurposing your video content or launching a website are logical next steps.

When you have some disposable income, there are strategic ways to invest in your business, which I’ll cover later.

Starting Your Affiliate Marketing Business on Instagram, Facebook, or X: A Cautionary Approach

Starting an affiliate marketing business solely on Instagram, Facebook, or X, despite being free, has significant drawbacks.

These platforms, unlike Google or YouTube, aren’t search engines.

For example, a YouTube video can continuously drive traffic to your affiliate offers over years, whereas an X post becomes almost invisible shortly after posting.

People generally don’t use these platforms to seek solutions to their problems.

Additionally, while affiliate links aren’t prohibited on these sites, they are often viewed unfavorably.

Users are reluctant to leave these platforms via external links, as their primary intent isn’t to shop or find solutions.

Social media does facilitate sales, but it’s not ideally suited for affiliate marketing’s mechanisms.

Persistence and adapting strategies to the specific platform can yield results, like using Instagram for visually appealing products.

However, platforms like YouTube, being a massive search engine, are more effective for affiliate marketing.

Leveraging Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Quora for Affiliate Marketing

Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Quora offer greater potential for affiliate marketing than the previously mentioned platforms.

Pinterest stands out as the largest picture-based search engine. A significant percentage of its users look for products, and many have substantial household incomes, making it a potent tool for affiliate marketing.

Creating Pins linked to your content not only drives traffic but also enhances your website’s authority.

LinkedIn excels in its organic reach. Unlike Facebook, which limits reach to promote paid ads, LinkedIn currently shares your content with a larger portion of your network, providing a wider audience without paid promotion.

Quora operates differently, being a question-and-answer platform. It’s a place where people look for solutions to problems—an ideal setting for affiliate marketing.

Though direct affiliate linking is banned on Quora, providing valuable answers and occasionally referencing your content can establish you as an authority and build trust with potential customers.

The key is to offer genuine value, and mention your related content, like a gardening blog when answering relevant questions.

Building trust is essential, as people tend to buy from sources they trust.

Sensible Spending Plan for Your First Year in Affiliate Marketing

This guide is tailored for those venturing into affiliate marketing through blogging, a highly recommended approach.

I’ll outline the minimum essentials to establish a solid foundation for your affiliate marketing business.

1. Domain: The Foundation of Professionalism

Having your own custom domain significantly boosts your business’s professionalism.

While many hosting services offer domain purchase as part of their plans, sometimes even for free, it’s crucial to register your domain independently. This ensures you have full ownership, making it easier to switch hosts if needed in the future.

I recommend a reliable service like Namecheap, established since 2000 with millions of domains registered through them.

Consider investing in Domain Privacy for an additional $7-15 annually. This service, offered by most domain registrars, keeps your personal contact information off the Whois registry, substituting it with the registrar’s details. It’s a small price to pay to avoid unwanted sales pitches.

2. Shared Website Hosting: Affordable and Efficient

For those just starting, shared website hosting is cost-effective, typically ranging from $3-5 per month. There’s no need for advanced features in your first year; basic plans are adequate.

I use and recommend A2hosting. Their basic plan is around $3 monthly.

For slightly larger budgets, WPX is a fantastic hosting option.

You can always upgrade to more advanced features or dedicated hosting in subsequent years.

A notable plus with A2hosting is their excellent support team, which is always reassuring.

3. Choosing the Right WordPress Theme

With thousands of WordPress themes available, selecting the right one is crucial.

While I won’t recommend a specific theme due to varying website needs and subjective tastes, it’s important to choose wisely.

Look for themes that are fast, reliable, mobile-friendly, and suit your niche.

Despite being selective, you’ll still find plenty of excellent options.

For example, I use a theme called Squared from Thrive Themes, but more on that later.

4. The Importance of a Logo and Images

A professional-looking logo significantly enhances your brand’s appearance.

Companies invest heavily in logo design for good reason.

If budget is a concern, platforms like Fiverr offer logo design services ranging from $25-125.

Eventually, investing in a decent logo is essential.

However, images for your articles are an immediate necessity.

Articles with text alone are less engaging and can negatively impact SEO.

Relying solely on text makes it difficult to retain audience attention.

While stock photos from services like Shutterstock can be expensive, there are cost-effective solutions.

Royalty-free sites like Pexels offer a more budget-friendly alternative, albeit with a smaller selection than paid services.

Taking your own photos is another viable option.

With the high-quality cameras in modern smartphones, creating your own images adds authenticity and authority, especially in niches like gardening where personal touch matters.

However, I understand that DIY photography isn’t always feasible.

When possible, save money and enhance authenticity by using your own photos.

Additionally, tools like Canva can be invaluable for creating graphics.

Canva offers a mix of free and paid assets, which I frequently use for my needs.

5. Email Autoresponder – Eventually

Determining the right time to pay for an email autoresponder hinges on a few key factors.

Primarily, you should have an established website with consistent traffic and an info product to offer in exchange for email subscriptions.

Simply put, you need a solid audience base and a compelling offer. People won’t share their emails without a good reason.

Now, regarding the cost of autoresponders.

Autoresponders’ fees are based on your email list size; larger lists mean higher costs.

Prices usually start between $15-50 per month, escalating as your list expands.

Mailchimp, however, offers a free tier for lists under 2000 subscribers. Beyond this, paid plans apply.

Mailchimp’s free plan does come with significant limitations.

My view is that opting for Mailchimp solely for its free tier might not be the best choice.

Consider investing in an autoresponder when your site attracts thousands of monthly views and you have a clear strategy for email list monetization. At this stage, the cost becomes more manageable.

Besides Mailchimp, there are other reputable autoresponder services like Aweber – a choice I’m using for this site. It’s competitively priced and proven reliable.

Spending Strategies to Accelerate Your Affiliate Marketing Business

Affiliate marketing requires significant time investment, a luxury not everyone has.

For those short on time but keen on entering this field, there are ways to speed up the process, albeit with a higher financial investment.

Buying a Pre-Built Affiliate Marketing Website

A testament to the demand for time-saving solutions in affiliate marketing is the existence of companies selling pre-built websites.

These are akin to furnished apartments: ready-made affiliate sites in profitable niches, complete with content.

Human Proof Designs is one example, offering various pricing plans.

Is this advisable for beginners? It depends.

Yes, if investing $2,000-$4,000 isn’t a financial strain. You’ll still need to maintain and update the site, and learning affiliate marketing fundamentals is non-negotiable.

No, if this expenditure is even remotely concerning. In this case, it’s better to build your business gradually, gaining valuable experience and satisfaction along the way.

Outsourcing Content Creation

Content creation is the most time-consuming aspect of affiliate marketing.

For those with a budget, outsourcing content creation is a viable option.

Platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, or Textbroker offer access to freelance writers.

However, if you’re building a personal brand, it’s crucial to maintain your unique voice.

Outsourcing can help, but personal editing is essential to ensure consistency and meet the evolving criteria of Google’s algorithm.

Abrupt changes in style can disorient your audience.

For review-type sites, outsourcing is more feasible.

The focus here is on solving problems, not on personal writing flair.

Yet, maintaining high-quality standards is still crucial for credibility and reader engagement.