How Much Does Affiliate Marketing Really Cost?

Man with empty pocketsSo you’ve decided you want to become an affiliate marketer and make lots of money online? Nice!

Even though this post has great information, affiliate marketing is probably one of the hardest ways to make money.

I spent years doing affiliate marketing and am extremely versed in the endeavor you are seeking.

That is why, my partner and I have moved away from affiliate marketing and built a 6 figure business business using something called Local Lead Generation.

Check out why it was an easy decision to make the switch and why you should consider doing the same.

If you still want to learn more about affiliate marketing, then read on my friend, but don’t forget I warned you.

So you start doing a little research and you get bombarded with thousands of tools and resources that you need to have to be successful.

Domains, website hosting, article writing services, article submission services, backlinking tools, and the list goes on.

So what do you really need to get started? More importantly, how much will it really cost for you to get started as an internet marketer and really make money online?

Well let me be honest. It is not that common to make money in affiliate marketing without spending a little money. But let’s talk about this for a moment.

My biggest frustration is listening to folks who tell me they want to be successful affiliate marketers, work from home, make good money, but then don’t want to invest in themselves or their business to make this happen!

My way of thinking is if there is something I really want to achieve in life, personally or professionally, I will go out of my way to achieve those goals or dreams.

Now does that mean I have to spend a ton of money to do that? No not at all! I will definitely look to save money where I can, but that will never overshadow my desire to achieve my goal.

With that being said, you do not have to spend a lot of money to start seeing your first success with affiliate marketing.

In fact, I will show you a way at the end of this post that you can use to get started for almost nothing to start earning money online.

Let’s take a look!

Note: I don’t mention anything in here about affiliate marketing training. I do recommend you invest in a good course like Bring The Fresh, which you can get a look at for 7 days for only $7. Here is a detailed Bring the Fresh review I created.

Basic Costs

I want to first cover some of the basic costs you will have if you do basic affiliate marketing. This is the method of affiliate marketing I cover in my Free affiliate marketing training course.

Domain: Most affiliate marketing is done using a website. To have a trustworthy looking (and search engine friendly) website you will need to get yourself a .com, .net, or .org domain. Luckily this will cost you only around $9 if you use Namecheap like I do.

Hosting: If you want to have a website for your domain, you will need website hosting. I use Bluehost for all of my website hosting. I usually just do 1 year at a time, which costs me about $83. They advertise it at $6.90 a month, however you have to pay it all at once. But once you pay, you can add as many domains as you want on to the same hosting account for free.

Some people use HostGator, which you can actually pay a month at a time for $7.96 a month (Baby Plan). Worth it if you don’t have the money to front for a full year at once.

Everything else can be done for free, you just have to understand it will take a little bit of work on your part!

Your keyword research can be done using Google Keyword Tool, or browser plugins like SEOquake.

You can install WordPress with 1-click from either hosting company you choose above, and use a free theme for your website. You can then fill it up with content you personally write, and it is completely free to promote products as an affiliate.

For backlinking to your site you can use free article directories like Ezine and Go Articles, submit videos to video sites like YouTube and DailyMotion, and submit free press releases that all link back to your blog.

Total you will have spent $90 for the entire year. That is really it. Not as bad you thought?

Considering your site can bring you anywhere from $100 to $1,000 a month or more, that is not such a bad return on investment!

Next I will talk about a few extras I like to use to make life a little easier, and allow me to create affiliate sites much more quickly.

The Extras

These are a few of the tools and resources I use that are definitely not necessary, they just make life a little easier! Don’t think you need these tools to be successful, they just help speed up the process.

Keyword Research: Market Samurai is still one of my favorite ways to find great keywords. I show you how I use Market Samurai in my free training 7 Steps To Affiliate Success. It will cost you a one-time fee of $97 to get it.

WordPress Themes: I currently use Socrates for 99% of my affiliate sites. The theme is easy to work with and customize, and includes headers, spots for affiliate banners, and a built-in contact form. Socrates will cost you a one-time fee of $55, and that is for unlimited use on as many domains as you want.

I also use the Genesis theme when I need a little more professional looking website. Genesis will cost you $59.95, and that also is to use on as many domains as you want.

Content Creation: As I mentioned in my detailed iWriter review, I am getting 99% of my content from this article writing service at the moment. Very easy to use, and you will pay about $5.50 for a well-written 500 word article.

I also sometimes use Fiverr for content, videos, press releases, or to have design work done. Of course, it will cost you $5 a gig.

Content Distribution: Currently I am using Unique Article Wizard and Submit Your Article for article submissions. I am primarily using them to link to Web 2.0 properties, videos, and press releases that all link back to my affiliate site.

UAW will cost you $67 a month, and although I have a monthly subscription for SYA, you can do a one-time submission for only $2.

So you can see there are some extra, but not necessary, costs associated with building affiliate sites. Now let me give you what I would suggest as a minimum start-up, and then tell you how to start affiliate marketing for free!

Cost Efficient Affiliate Marketing

First Month = Namecheap Domain $9.99 + HostGator Hosting $7.96 + 3 articles on iWriter $16.50 = ~$34

Second Month = 3 articles on iWriter $16.50 + SYA submission $2 + HostGator Hosting $7.96 = ~ $26

From there on you will only be paying $7.96 for your hosting. You will be able to use this same hosting for any future domains you buy.

So really you will only pay another $9.99 for a domain, $33 for content, and $2 for article submissions for future websites.

So now let’s see how you can do all of your affiliate marketing for free!

Free Affiliate Marketing Method

If you’re just starting out, or simply want to dip your toes in the water, you can completely eliminate the basic costs of a domain and hosting by using Web 2.0 properties.

You can build a completely free website using, Squidoo, Tumblr, Blogger, and many others.

You simply go and sign up for a free account, choose your domain, and you now have a blog up and running! The only downside is you will have the site name in your domain (Ex: But if money is an issue, it is a trade-off for not having to spend money on a domain or hosting.

From there you simply follow the process I laid out in the Basic Costs section above.

How Much Do You Want To Invest In A New Life?

It is not too often you see people lay out the ‘real’ costs of internet marketing. It can get quite expensive when you use a lot of tools and resources, especially when you may not see your first money come in until 30 to 60 days after you’ve built your site.

Don’t be fooled by quick internet riches, a successful affiliate marketing business takes time to build up just like any other business.

Start with a budget that works for you, and don’t over-commit yourself thinking you will make money in just a few weeks.

The important thing is to never give up. You must have patience, and know anything worth anything takes time to grow!

About Brad Travers

Hi, I'm Brad. I am a successful internet marketer and life ninja that enjoys writing about affiliate marketing, eCom, traffic, and all things IM! :)


  1. Very nice article. It’s not cheap to start but what is $50 a month when you’re earning your goal of $5k and up? I also think spending cash creates a bigger investment which means more incentive to make it work… When you’ve spent nothing and end up getting bad results in the beginning quitting becomes a lot more tempting.

  2. Sunil s Parit says:

    sir, thank you very much that you haven me good information about affiliate marketer as said that first we start with less amount then we can see after 30 60 days what is our earning , sir i am unable make my website i dont know that how to start please guide me that i can manage my free website thank you

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