1 Easy Method to Make Your First Dollar Online

Amazon Affiliate: How to Make Your First Dollar

For someone attempting to making money online, the first sale is a big deal. That first dollar doesn’t make you rich, but it serves as a proof of concept that affiliate marketing works. With this in mind – I’m going to show you an easy method to make your first dollar online.

The goal of this post is to teach you, regardless of skill level how to make your first dollar as quickly as possible. This won’t make you rich – but my hope is that it may serve as a spark to help keep you going on your quest.

Because let’s be honest, affiliate marketing is confusing as hell when you’re new. And getting a quick win can be the difference between giving up and continuing on.

To the advanced affiliates: If you’re an advanced affiliate marketer this post is going to be really boring – but think back to the day you made your first dollar and how it felt to crack the code. For me – that day was a life-changing event.

My First Affiliate Sale

Origami DollarWhen I started out I took a 30 day online course (no longer exists) that basically taught me how to write articles on free blog sites and get listed in the search engines.

The idea was that when people searched for products online, my site would show up, they’d click a link, buy something and I’d get a cut.

The concept was simple enough – but putting it all together was a lot of work. I did it in my spare time and at night. I invested every hour I could trying to make something work.

After several weeks of writing and posting I still hadn’t made a cent. But I didn’t care. I wrote articles day and night and posted them to multiple sites in different niches.

Big Fat ZeroEvery morning I woke up and logged into my affiliate network account to see if I’d made any sales overnight. And every time I saw the same thing. A few clicks had come in, which was great… but there were never any sales.

So on this particular morning when I logged in and checked things out – I was expecting to see nothing but a big, fat zero.

But this morning the “Revenue” column had a number in it.

I had to blink my eyes and look again. It said I’d earned a commission of $18.00. I was shocked. I refreshed the screen. Yep, it was really there. Somehow I’d made $18 that night in my sleep.

I felt like I’d won the lottery.

That $18 meant I had done it. It wasn’t nearly enough money to justify the weeks of work I’d put in – but it was proof that affiliate marketing worked. And that was all I needed.

Affiliate Marketing MoneyI became a posting machine. I closed all but one blog and wrote 10 posts a day. Sales starting coming in faster and faster. Each sale drove me to work harder.

Soon I had a steady stream of commission checks coming in every month. Within a year I quit my job, moved to California and used every cent I’d saved to switch to paid traffic. (I saved every dollar I made)

I’ve had a lot of big wins since that time. But that first sale was the most important.

That was the best $18 I ever made in my life.

Now It’s Your Turn

Now – it’s your turn to make your first $1 as an affiliate. And if you do what I tell you to do, it should take less than 24 hours to be up and running.

If the information here seems like more than you can take on today – remember you don’t have to do it all at once. If you’re short on free time – try doing one thing per day. If you can invest even an hour a day you could implement the entire system this week.

The steps are all here. The plan is laid out. It’s up to you to take action and make them happen.

Now let’s get started.

The Amazon Affiliate Program

Amazon Associate Program

Here’s how it works. Amazon has a zillion products for sale on their website. They want customers. So if you send someone to their website and that person buys something they will pay you a portion of the sale as a way to say “Thanks”.

The payment you receive is called a commission – and is paid to you by either check, direct deposit or they’ll give it to you as an Amazon gift card.

How Much Will You Make?

The Amazon program pays anywhere from 4% – 8% of each sale you send. That’s a smaller commission that you’d get from some other types of affiliate offers but it’s something and it’s an easy way to earn some extra cash.

Remember, we’re not looking to get rich, we simply want to get that first commission in the bag.

The Concept

  • You will register with the Amazon Associate program and become an affiliate
  • Amazon will give you a special link and banner with your affiliate ID in it
  • Your people will click on this banner before they visit Amazon’s website
  • They buy stuff on Amazon, you get paid a commission

I see a lot of websites doing this right now. They ask their users to click an Amazon banner before shopping  on Amazon as a way to show their support for the site. This concept is great and can be used in many different ways.

Getting Started

There are 4 steps to get you set up. So get focused and let’s make it happen.

  1. Setup a free website on WordPress.com
  2. Sign up for an Amazon affiliate account
  3. Get your banner and links
  4. Distribute the link to your website visitors, family or friends

If you’re experienced in online stuff that’s all you need to know. For everyone else – I’ve detailed each of the three steps below.

How to Get A Free Site at WordPress.com

Wordpress website

Amazon requires that affiliates have their own website. They will ask you for your url during the sign up process. So we’re going to head over to wordpress.com and get a free one. Their set up process is super simple.

  1. Go to WordPress.com
  2. Sign up for an account
  3. Choose a name for your site and url
  4. Write a 500 word post on something you’re interested in and post it
  5. Don’t get hung up on what to write about – it can be anything

Be sure to write a post on your site. I believe Amazon takes a look at each new affiliate’s website before approval and you don’t want them to come to your site and find nothing but a blank page.

Have fun with it, write about anything you want (this is great practice for future writing). Do your best to make it look professional and worthy of being accepted into the program.

Other free web hosts:

Some free web hosts don’t like it when people post affiliate links. So please don’t post a thousand links on every page of your WordPress.com website. Just post the one banner and you should be fine. But just in case, here are a few other free options.

Ok – now that you’re website is ready to go you’re going to head over to Amazon and apply to be an affiliate.

How To Sign Up As An Amazon Affiliate

Amazon Associates Homepage


  • If you do not currently have an Amazon shopping account you will need to create one.
  • The registration process is kinda long
  • They will ask you for your personal, tax and banking information so that you can get paid
  • They will ask for your website url and the topics your website covers

When your Amazon Associate account is created the next step is getting your affiliate banner.

How to Get Your Affiliate Banner

Once you’re registered and logged into the Amazon website you have immediate access to all of the products that Amazon has to offer. If you can think of it, it’s in there. So keep that in mind when you’re writing your blog posts on your WordPress.com website.

If you decide you like writing articles adding a link can be a way to make a small commission if someone happens to come across your site and likes what you have to say.

For now – all we’re going to worry about is grabbing an Amazon homepage banner that you’ll put on your website later.

Amazon Associates 1

Step 1: Click the “Links & Banners” button at the top left.

Amazon Associates 2

Step 2: Click one of the banners in the second set, as seen in the image above.

Amazon Associates 2

Step 3: Click the text link “Amazon Homepage”

Amazon Associates 3

Step 4: Click “Highlight HTML” to save the code that is under the brown 300×250 ad. Save this code (copy and paste) into a text file or email it to yourself because you will need it later.

How to Post Your Banner Online

The final step is posting the banner to your WordPress.com website that you setup earlier. You will simply copy the code and then paste it into an article, blog post or onto the side bar of the WordPress site.

Be sure to put it in a place that can be easily seen by your visitors. You don’t want them to have to search for it.

Some people put it on the homepage or create a special page for it like yoursite.wordpress.com/amazonbanner. It’s up to you. Just make sure it’s available somewhere online.

Final Step: Share Your Website

share your siteNow, share your website with your friends, family and Facebook buddies. Share your banner with anyone you know who shops on Amazon.com.

Let them know that they can support you by clicking your banner before shopping on Amazon. They’ll shop as normal and you’ll get paid a small commission.

What to Expect

Like I said in the beginning – your Amazon commissions aren’t going to be huge. So don’t expect to get rich overnight. Think of this as learning to ride a bike.

  1. First you start out by riding with training wheels
  2. Next you graduate to two wheels
  3. And one day you may find yourself racing down a mountain at 60 miles per hour, covered in mud on the ride of your life.

This exercise is simply a way to make your first $1 and show you how the affiliate marketing system works from start to finish.

Time Table

Commissions won’t show up immediately. I believe they wait to post commissions until  the items that were purchased have actually shipped – which can take 24-48 hours or so. So be patient and (hopefully) that first dollar will appear in your account before you know it.

The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead - Affiliate MarketingTo be honest with you, being an Amazon affiliate is not the best long term plan… this is just an easy way to examine the process and see if you like it overall.

If affiliate marketing seems like something you’re interested in pursuing further – take some time and come up with a real, long term plan.

There are a hundred ways to make money online and many different directions you can go.

  • Create your own digital books and sell them online
  • Work with affiliate networks that pay higher commissions
  • Create a review site and review products until your fingers fall off
  • Become a blogger and write about your passions
  • Start a YouTube channel and try to get a million subscribers

The list goes on and on. The industry is gigantic and is growing every day.

In Conclusion

A large majority of the people that try to make money on the internet quit before they ever make their first sale. By follow the instructions in this post you’ll get to experience that important part of the process – getting that first dollar in your account.

  • Half of the people that read this will not take action.
  • For some this will be nothing more than a fun way to make a few dollars
  • For the entrepreneurs this could be the spark that sends you on a life-long journey

And if you’re the “spark” kind. I’ll see you out there.

As always, if you have questions post them in the comments

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  • Jonathan Pierce

    hey malan, thought this was excellent. An article like this makes me realize how much I don’t know about how I could be making money probably even with some of the websites I already have up. Probably would be safe to say, you’ve got a follower for content like this. Thanks for taking the time to share this.

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Thanks Jonathan – that’s what this post is all about – getting a taste of how it works and realizing how much opportunity is out there.

      This is the fastest track to monetizing your existing sites. And then you can build from there.

  • Elizabeth Malan

    This is so great, thank you Malan!! I posted the banner link on to my new WordPress page (just as an entry) but I don’t see the banner. I also put it on my Facebook page. Are we supposed to actually see the banner? Maybe it takes a little awhile to load?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Hey Elizabeth – Congrats on getting set up! Couple of things.

      I don’t think you can post the banner directly to FB but you can:
      1. Post a link to your WordPress page that has the banner
      2. Right click on the banner image in Amazon and choose “Copy Link Address” and paste that link into Facebook. I just tried it and it works.

      And yes, the banner should show up immediately on WordPress if done right.
      If you want me to take a look:
      1. Go to my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/malandarrasdotcom

      2. Click Like
      3. Send me your WordPress url and I’ll check it out


  • Nathon James Sheltman


    I live in one of those states but I want to try Amazon?

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Nathon – yes it appears Amazon has killed the program in a few states that tried to tax them to death.

      A quick google search pulled up this overview from 2011 that is still relevant. http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/amazon-affiliate-alternative/

      Several other, large online shopping sites have affiliate programs available for you. Walmart, Target, etc.

      *I can’t vouch for any of the links in the comments, so be careful signing up for links posted by random users.

  • http://www.a4d.com/ Jason AKatiff

    Saw a speaker this weekend at the T&C conference. He had a formula for opportunities. As you and I both know most of us in this industry have opportunities show up every day. So it’s hard to stay focused. His strategy was to finish what he was doing, but write down the idea on a notepad and keep on going.

    Then once that idea was complete he’d go and review the good ideas he’d collected while he was focused. The way he chose what idea to go with was which was the fastest to make the first $. He said he did this because if he didn’t he’d get frustrated.

    So with that said if you’re new to this business I’d HIGHLY suggest you make sure you get to that first dollar as quick as possible. Because momentum will only build from there.

    Happy Hunting!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Right on. I do that to a degree. I’ll launch several campaigns at once and then see which makes money first. Then I’ll pause all but that one campaign and start there.

      I call it getting a quick win.

      So now – instead of suggesting someone starts out on a major campaign with big potential. (that could take weeks to get profitable) I give em this so they can make a commission on day #1.

      *Plus – if someone asks me for help and they can’t follow the instructions in this post – I know that they’re going to be extremely hard to help. 😉

      • Matthew Geer

        Do you still build websites/blogs, Malan (on your own hosting, of course)? Or do you solely focus on paid traffic?

        • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

          Matthew – paid traffic now.

          I’d never recommend someone build on free platforms like I did in the beginning. You can spend massive hours putting content on the free sites and if they change their TOS they can just kill your pages and account, content and all. That was a big lesson. Always own your content.

          • Matthew Geer

            Thanks. I ask because some guys tout the need to build ‘assets,’ whether it’s websites, email marketing, etc. Good to know that some guys just focus on paid traffic (think Charles Ngo mentioned not building assets, too).

            I agree about the free platform thing, too. I have a couple of pages (or had) on Squidoo that I used at one point for links / extra exposure. It was well written (IMO – I’m a FT freelance writer), but for whatever reason they tanked the page. I’m glad I/we didn’t spend too much time creating pages.

          • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

            There are several ways to make money. 99% of the big affiliates that I know do paid traffic. Building assets is really just a different mentality.

            Instead of making weekly/monthly profits you build a monster website with the end goal of either selling your own products, building a brand, selling ad space or selling it to a larger company for a huge payday. 😉

  • Kang

    My first $60 online was made after I accidentally spent more than $200 on a Clickbank campaign. So yeah I lost money on my first revenue but boy, was that sweet!

    And by the way.

    You just gave me an awesome idea for a project I was going to start; I have a great idea for an ecommerce store, got an awesome domain name, and am plucking my hair out over how I should proceed with the product sourcing portion until you gave me the ultimate proof-of-concept solution that was right in front of me all this time: Amazon!

    • http://malandarras.com/ Malan Darras

      Kang, I bet you were excited about that $60 before you realized you’d spend $200 haha, that’s how it goes sometimes.

      Good luck on the e-commerce project. – Malan

  • CoreyTat

    Hi Malan, this was an awesome article. I am just starting out in my online entrepreneurial experience. I’m a shopper on amazon and didn’t even consider becoming an affiliate. I can’t wait to try this out and make my very first dollar online. Thanks again you rock!