How I Made My First Affiliate Sale

Affiliate marketing can be frustrating.

Especially when you’re starting out as a new blogger. I remember jumping for joy the day I made my first affiliate sale (a whopping $1.00) thinking I finally figured out the key to monetizing my blog!

Although $1.00 will get me little more than a candy bar, that first sale helped me realize that making money through affiliate marketing was a definite possibility…not just something you read about from seasoned blogging pros on Pinterest.

Just to make sure we’re both on the same page, affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. You want to be sure that you’re sharing products you believe in. Your readers trust you – don’t trick people into clicking on affiliate links or spam your readers with a tacky sales pitch.

If you think that affiliate marketing sounds right for you, think about what products you’d like to promote. To be honest, your options are wide open – especially if you’re approved for affiliate marketing with a large company, like Amazon. Although Amazon offers almost every product under the sun, it can be challenging for a new blogger with low traffic as they just don’t pay high commission. If you’re just starting out, focus on high paying affiliate programs of which you can provide personal, detailed opinions. Build your readers’ trust by sharing high quality products you know they will appreciate.

*Disclaimer: this post contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission off of any sale made at no extra cost to you.


Major Affiliate Networks


I find the easiest way to join affiliate programs is through major affiliate networks – many merchants offer automatic acceptance when you sign up! The number one network I recommend personally is ShareaSale. It is completely FREE and you can apply for hundreds of programs that fit your blogging niche. It is through ShareaSale that I made my first affiliate sale (maybe I should think about framing that $1.00).  Simply click the photo below to sign up.

Once your application is complete, you can search for merchants that you feel good about promoting to your readers. One reason I love using Shareasale (above other major affiliate networks) is the ease in which you can include graphics and banners in your post. Many merchants offer pre-made images for you to simply place throughout your blog. When readers click on your affiliate link, the web browser briefly brings them to ShareaSale, where they receive a tracking cookie. This cookie helps identify your affiliate link and give you credit for any purchases made. Depending on the merchant, some cookies last longer than others. For example, Amazon cookies expire after 24 hours, whereas Teatulia cookies last for 30 days.


Another great affiliate network to join is AWIN. They operate in the same manner as ShareaSale (actually, ShareaSale is a division of AWIN) but they offer more exclusive affiliate opportunities and higher paying programs. The main reason I joined AWIN was to become an Etsy affiliate. I am a huge fan of Etsy and purchase their products on a regular basis – I love to share my favorite items on Pinterest using my affiliate link. Unlike ShareaSale, AWIN costs you $5.00 to join. However, if your application is approved, that $5.00 is refunded to your account. Click the photo below to join. 


Personally, I find ShareaSale a bit more user friendly that AWIN. That being said, it was fairly easy to get used to and I definitely recommend you give it a shot. 

You may also like: Pinterest Ninja | Drive Tons of Traffic to Your Site
You may also like: 6 Tips for a Money-Making Blog


Unless you’ve been blogging from under a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard of Tailwind. I am a huge fan of manually pinning, so I only jumped on the Tailwind bandwagon a month ago. But, I wish I’d done it much sooner. Since joining Tailwind, my Pinterest stats have taken off. My Pinterest followers have doubled and continue to rise steadily. I know there is much more I need to master before I can give advice on using Tailwind, but I can share some awesome affiliate opportunities. Click the link below to sign up

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 5.49.23 PM

Tailwind offers a 15% commission on each sale you refer. This means you make $2.25 per month for those who sign up for a $15/month plan or a one time payment of $18 for those who sign up for the $120 annual plan. If you’re ready to give Tailwind a try, use my $15 credit to sign up! 


PicMonkey is an amazing resource for bloggers trying grow traffic via Pinterest. This site has everything you need to make beautiful, eye-catching pins. Their photo editing software is awesome and you can create super long pins that will stand out in a Pinterest feed. It is easy to use and they offer a FREE trial that many users choose to upgrade. Although you won’t receive commission if someone clicks on your link initially, you will receive commission on the cost of the upgrade (as long as it is upgraded within your cookie’s lifespan). Somewhere around 40% of free products are upgraded for premium content, so although this may not bring in a ton of affiliate sales at first, there is great potential! 

You might be asking how you make sales with a product like PicMonkey? Be creative with your readers! Share how to create amazing pins using PicMonkey. Write a post on how PicMonkey has helped you create super long, visually appealing pins that are gaining momentum. Share a hyperlink to PicMonkey under one of your pins with something like, “Love this pin? It was made with PicMonkey! Try it for FREE.” 

Turn to Pinterest

Pinterest is at the core of my affiliate marketing success. Pinterest is a search engine with photos. If you want affiliate links to work on Pinterest, you can’t just pin haphazardly and expect the cash to start rolling in. 

Start by pinning images provided by your affiliate merchants. If you’re pinning directly from the affiliate website, be sure to edit the pin and add your affiliate link. Don’t forget this step! You won’t get credit for any click-throughs if you don’t add your personal affiliate link. 

Marker Icon Edit Pin

Change Pin Website.jpg

If you prefer, you can also create your own graphics! I tend to go this route because you can make custom pins that stand out against other affiliates. Here are a few examples of my custom affiliate pins. 

Pinterest Ninja Pin

21 Day Detox Ebook Bundle

There are two ways to use Pinterest to generate affiliate sales.

  1. You can link the pins directly to your affiliate website. This is good for products that tend to sell themselves…think of clothing, accessories, etc.
  2. You can link the pins back to a blog post where you share how much you love the product. Your pins will lead readers back to your site and you can talk about the affiliate products you know and love. I find this tends to be a bit more profitable, especially if you share products you know and trust. 

Don’t forget to add keywords in the pin descriptions. You can even add hashtags! For a while, adding hashtags was considered a Pinterest faux pas. But, that is no longer the case! Adding descriptive keywords will improve the visibility of your pins and may get you a few new followers. Struggling to come up with key words? Type your pin description into the search bar and see what Pinterest suggests. Add a few of these keywords to your pin description and re-pin across your relevant group boards. 

Make sure to disclose each affiliate pin you add to Pinterest. Failing to do so could get you into some legal trouble. 

If you are just starting your Pinterest account, or new to Pinterest as a blogger trying to earn some extra cash, I highly suggest reading Megan Johnson’s eBook, Pinterest Ninja. When I first started blogging, I had no idea that Pinterest required a strategy. I was spending hours a day pinning, hoping that some unsuspecting pinners would simply happen upon my images. I look back and can’t believe I wasted so much of my time! Click here to read more about why I LOVE this tool so much.


Ok – I know that was a lot of information!

But I want you to see that affiliate marketing is for everyone, not just those scary super bloggers running the Pinterest world. If you’re serious about affiliate marketing, there are two more products I’d like to share with you. Both of these resources are aimed helping you MAKE MORE MONEY through affiliate marketing. 

When I look back at my first few months of affiliate marketing on Pinterest, I can’t believe I wasted so much of my time. I was spending hours online, pinning and pinning (and pinning) to try and share my affiliate links with those who might be interested. After a month, I had made NO SALES. I knew I was doing something wrong, but I just couldn’t figure out what.

As the frustration set in, I started to do some research. And, I came across some really great products. I decided to invest in my blog and I purchased a few eBooks that seemed to be promising. This was the turning point from making absolutely no money blogging to making CONSISTENT affiliate sales and passive income each month.

Click here to read more about the blogging tools and resources I love.

The first eBook I want to share is by Elise from House of Brazen. This eBook is unique in that it focuses solely on affiliate marketing on Pinterest. You don’t need a blog to implement her strategies, just a business Pinterest account. I like this eBook because Elise gives you her EXACT STRATEGY for using Pinterest to drive affiliate sales…not just blog page views. She also shows you, step-by-step, how to design the perfect, high-converting pins to maximize sales.  Plus, when you download her eBook, you can actually become an affiliate for House of Brazen!

Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours

The second eBook I want to share is the Affiliate Action Plan eBook by Gemma from SeasideSundays. This was the first affiliate marketing eBook I purchased, and I credit a lot of my success to it’s step-by-step guide in getting started. This eBook is the cheaper of the two, so it is a good resource for those of you who don’t have a lot of extra money to invest at this point in the game. It is also geared more towards bloggers, which I found particularly helpful!

Although there was a lot I learned through my own trial-and-error, this eBook was essential in becoming successful. If you are serious about affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you purchase this eBook and read it carefully. Gemma is an affiliate master with a long history of sales experience. She offers insider tips and tricks of the trade for those of us without a “salesy” background. You will not be disappointed! 

Affiliate Action Plan

What is the bottom line?

Affiliate marketing is NOT a get rich quick scheme. There is no magic formula for instantly turning a few pins into millions of dollars. But, if you’re serious about affiliate marketing or making money from blogging, you NEED a solid strategy for success.

Turn Page Views into Affiliate Sales


Are you a new blogger looking for a place to start?

I’ll be the first to admit it: when I first started blogging, I had no idea where to begin! I spent hours online trying to learn as much as I could. And, let me tell you what…I wasted so much of my time! So, let me save you the trouble and recommend an amazing eBook called Blog Pretty by Vanessa Gollasch of Blog Pixie. Vanessa is a seasoned blogger with enormous success. She wrote this eBook for those of you who need a little blogging guidance. I love this book! Click on the photo below to read my review of this eBook and see all of what it has to offer.

Turn your hobby into a professional, money-making blog!

13 thoughts on “How I Made My First Affiliate Sale

  1. Hi. Today received notification that Etsy Affiliate links will no longer work on Pinterest. I asked the situation ref if links will become dead ets, and Etsy said it’s Pinterest new policy not Etsy. So I guess this means Pinterest stopping affiliate links again to all Affiliate programmes. Have you heard this? Do you know if Pinterest are going to allow any affiliate links at all, or stopping all again?

    1. Hi Fiona! Yes, unfortunately Etsy Affiliate links will no longer work on social media platforms, like Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr. This is a change for Etsy Affiliate Programs, not Pinterest. This makes me think that Pinterest is not removing all affiliate links. Thanks!

  2. very interesting, making your first affiliate sale is something very special, i remember mine was from clickbank, i smilled the whole day when i realized that i made a sale

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