5 Critical Mistakes to Avoid in Affiliate Marketing

Today, I will tell you the five critical mistakes to avoid in affiliate marketing. These are mistakes newbies and experienced marketers make that lead to business failure.

Avoiding these critical mistakes applies to anyone starting an online business.

Critical Mistakes Introduction

First of all, I have been marketing online ​for a number of years and am a full-time affiliate marketer. The one constant during my time online is "change." Technology changes as do marketing strategies. For example, sending Unsolicited Commercial Email (spam) was a typical, acceptable business method. But, it got out of control by unscrupulous marketers sending emails by the millions. Now we have some regulation and double opt-in email marketing.

I ​was a​ Wealthy Affiliate member for three years ending my membership late 2019. So, I have viewed many member websites and commented on blog posts and articles.I have seen a number of members make critical mistakes impacting their business.

Choosing the Make-Money-Online Niche

Wealthy Affiliate offers two basic training courses called Online Entrepreneur Certification and Affiliate Bootcamp.

The Online Entrepreneur Certification (OEC) course teaches how to choose the subject, build a website, and make money. The course teaches how to identify the right niche based on selected factors. The emphasis is on niches other than make-money-online. The Affiliate Bootcamp course covers MMO.

Affiliate Bootcamp teaches members how to promote Wealthy Affiliate as a business opportunity. Like multi-level-marketing (MLM), the focus is on recruiting new Wealthy Affiliate members.

wealthy affiliate bootcamp training

I always recommended members complete the OEC training first. Once they have their site working, then do the Affiliate Bootcamp training. But, only if they want to promote the Wealthy Affiliate business opportunity.

Promoting a business opportunity as a newbie may not be advantageous to the new entrepreneur. But, it is to Wealthy Affiliates' advantage for members to promote ​its business.

The MMO niche is highly competitive. Wealthy Affiliate members compete against highly skilled and experienced marketers and scammers. Scammers promote get-rich-schemes and worthless business opportunities promising unrealistic expectations.

These are the reasons why choosing the MMO niche is the #1 worst choice among critical mistakes.

Writing Fake Reviews

Part of the Wealthy Affiliate training includes the strategy of writing product reviews. Unfortunately, a few members go to the extreme ​of writing fake reviews.

The intent is to make a competing product look bad and then offer a better solution. This "bait and switch" tactic is unethical causing pushback from Wealthy Affiliate competitors. The pushback included a study by a competitor.

There is no Wealthy Affiliate training or suggestion to write fake reviews. Not only is it unethical, but it also leaves the writer subject to libel.

I use or have tried most of the products or services I review and recommend. Otherwise, it is time-consuming to research a product and add value to a review.

You must first become an expert on the subject. This is true regardless of the product or service you’re promoting.
~ Joseph Sugarman, Legendary Copywriter

Fake reviews are also poor quality content.

Writing Poor Quality Content

I ​read hundreds of Wealthy Affiliate member blog posts and articles. The WA comment system encourages members to request and offer comments. Members earn credits by reading and commenting on other websites. In turn, members use the credits to request comments on their content.

So, I have read a variety of posts with a vast range of quality from outstanding to not worth reading. It is also easy to see which websites have a better chance of succeeding.

Based on what I have seen, I conclude that most newbies:

  • Do not have a content marketing plan or strategy
  • Write random content
  • Focus on writing product reviews

Weak content planning appears to be a weakness of the Wealthy Affiliate training. The Content Marketing Institute and Hubspot Marketing have lot of planning and strategy information.

I have been guilty of writing random content. As a result, I created this website focused on organizing the material. My first main topic is the Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing. My next main topic related to affiliate marketing ​is email marketing. With 20+ years of experience with email marketing, I have plenty to say.

There are many great product review sites already. If you must go down that road, then study the great sites. Otherwise, focus on informational content because site visitors can spot fake reviews. 

Not Having a Business Plan

Many newbies make the critical mistake of not having a business plan and budget. A plan and budget are essential to achieving business goals.

It is one thing to have dreams about the future or achieving success. Yet, it takes creating goals and deadlines to achieve the desired success. Otherwise, prosperity and failure become uncontrollable random events.

Business plans help define goals, manage expectations, and identify the need for action. Furthermore, business budgets help identify required business resources and control expenses. Controlling expenses helps determine profitability.

I have seen too many people start affiliate marketing with an unrealistic timeline of making money. Part of the problem is the get-rich-overnight scams that convince people it is easy to make money. Too many dodgy programs promote the "we do all the work for you" idea, or it is easy, anyone can do it. Pay $37 or some other low dollar value.

Part of a business plan is what I call "economic reality."

Projecting financial results (profit and loss as well as break even points) is part of a business plan . Financial projections will give you an estimate of how many sales needed to break even.

The economic reality is determining how many visitors to your website needs. Traffic volume should generate enough sales and commissions to cover expenses.

For more information about business planning, I recommend SCORE. SCORE is the nation's largest network of volunteer business mentors, and free resources. I downloaded their free planning materials to help me write my business plan.

Relying on Organic Traffic Only

Wealthy Affiliate teaches and promotes content development. Content focuses on keywords to generate website visitors from search engines like Google. Members develop content using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to attract website visitors.

Other traffic generating methods include:

  • Display advertising - includes Pay-per-Click
  • Online classified advertising - eBay for example
  • Social media marketing - includes content marketing
  • Mobile advertising - text message ads, web pages
  • Email marketing

However, Wealthy Affiliate focuses on organic traffic mostly. WA could say more about the five other traffic generation methods.

Most people focus on the slogan, "content is king." No doubt if you have been researching how to make money online, you have seen this statement a few times.


It is NOT true.

Another affiliate marketing training program called ClickTrackProfit does not promote the idea a website is necessary for successful affiliate marketing. Their focus is on building your email list and building your brand.

Valid content promotion is key to getting people to read your content.

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That is why social media, email marketing, and off-site SEO are essential for generating traffic. Derek Halpern, Neil Patel, and other experts recommend the 80/20 rule. The rule is 80% promotion and 20% content development.

Avoiding Critical Mistakes in Affiliate Marketing Summary

I made lots of marketing mistakes over the years. And have seen many others do the same.

When you write fake reviews and poor quality content, people catch on. So they will decide whether to trust your recommendations. Trust impacts the buy decision and your profitability.

A business plan will help you avoid the make-money-online niche. And a plan can reduce frustration trying to compete with more experienced marketers. A plan will also help you avoid the desire to chase the next best money-making program or scam that comes along.

If you have any questions or comments about the critical mistakes, please fill in and submit the form below. I love feedback.

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