Affiliate Links Ultimate Guide

Affiliate Links fill the internet. You likely see them every day. Little underlined bits of texts on news stories, blog posts, and even in your email. You might hover your mouse over these links and see some crazy address that doesn’t seem to make sense. Chances are very high that this is an affiliate link.

What is an Affiliate

An affiliate is a person (or blog or website) that has an association with a product, service, or company. They promote that product, service, or company by adding links in their website to the partner company. In return for driving traffic to their affiliate partner, the affiliate is awarded a small percentage of any sale made once the visitor makes a purchase.

What Are affiliate links?

In order to uniquely identify an affiliate marketer, and keep track of his or her commissions earned, an affiliate link is a unique piece of code that helps track user interaction. These links contain embedded information such as:

  • Where the click came from
  • The affiliate identifier of the person/website/blog that is responsible for the link
  • Perhaps a date/time stamp related to a cookie, also used for tracking.

Example of an affiliate link

Here is an example of an affiliate link. Hover your mouse over this text. You should see something like this at the bottom corner of your browser window:

Well, this is an affiliate link. It will take you to a free book offer for a fantastic book to teach you how to make money online (really, great book, click the link and get a free copy). A part of that link is a unique ID for the affiliate so they can be credited for any sales made, and there is also a ton of other added information in there that really isn’t important to this discussion. It’s all, really, just added analytics data.

Link Tracker Links

Sometimes an affiliate marketer might use a link tracking service to convert a long affiliate link like the one above into something that is a bit more human readable. Here’s another example with this link, that offers users a class on how to learn to do ClickBank Affiliate Marketing. Again, hover over it and you should see this url in the bottom of your browser:

This is a link. is a URL shortener that also provides some analytics data for their users. For example, when you click this link, records the date of the click and keeps track of how many times the link was clicked.

This is important for affiliate marketers because they will often use the same offer but will promote it via different methods. For example, they may have a great training class offer. They want to promote it on their website, through an email list, and on Facebook. Using 3 different tracking links, all pointing to the same destination page, they now have some added information above and beyond what they may get with Google Analytics, to determine if they are getting a better customer response from Avenue A vs. Avenue B or C.

Example affiliate links tracker data

Here is an example of some affiliate link tracking data gathered from a link I promoted in December using If the picture is too small, you can click it to open up a full size image.

affiliate links sample data

Can I make money online with affiliate links?

Absolutely. If you have a blog or website that has steady visitors, you can easily find affiliate products to promote your online business. there are many, many affiliate networks covering hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of products and services you can promote.

Some of the best affiliate programs

This blog post from Affiliate Must Have Tools covers a large list, with pros and cons, of some of the best affiliate programs out there. These affiliate networks give you a lot to choose from in terms of product options. A quick recap for you of what you’ll find in that article is below:

Amazon Associates

  • Huge selection, tons of products
  • Well known
  • A little bit of a hassle to set up but has great reporting


  • One of the biggest affiliate networks
  • Decent variety of products
  • Digital products
  • Good reporting and payouts


  • Lots of online products
  • Affiliate Marketing products
  • Making money online products


  • High end, and quality, products
  • Lots of software and e-commerce offerings, in fact, it seems exclusively focused on digital products
  • Cloud based
  • More than 4000 global businesses available


  • Well established affiliate network
  • Easy to use and a simple sign-up process
  • Includes


  • Thousands of merchants that only allow affiliates through this platform
  • Very easy to use
  • Great selection and reporting
  • If you like sports products, they have Fanatics and


  • An affiliate networks good for those just starting out
  • Lots of categories and seller products to connect with


  • Similar products and offering styles to JVZoo
  • If you have products to sell, they can help you build a funnel
  • Simple approval process and popular product rating system and reports

Commission Junction

  • Easy to use affiliate network
  • Good Reports
  • Very large so there is a lot to choose from
  • Estimation tool used for earnings per click

Learn More About Affiliate Links

If you would like to learn more about affiliate links, affiliate companies, and affiliate marketing as a whole, consider joining as a member. We offer exclusive training, and over-the-shoulder video training for premium members, of how to start your affiliate marketing business. You can even sign up a free member to try some things out below!