How Much Does It Cost To Start Affiliate Marketing? (Hint: Nothing)

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What makes affiliate marketing ideal to start building an online income is that is costs very little. The internet is full of cheap (or free) courses to learn the basics, free hosting. You can literally start building from the bottom up. As your business grows and start earning an income, you can reinvest it to ensure a steady growth of your venture.

It is wise to have a budget though before you start, so I have priced up everything you need for launching your affiliate marketing business.

Which is actually not a lot. So, what tools / resources do you need as minimum to start affiliate marketing?

A laptop or a PC with internet connection

I know it is quite obvious, however some people I heard of, use their smartphone. It is doable, but if you’d like to create something that lasts ie a wordpress based website then you do need a workstation. For the sake of this calculation let’s presume that you have access to a PC or a laptop and it does not cost you anything.

An email address

Again, quite obvious. The only thing I’d like to add is that you probably better off creating a new email address for business purposes. Any free email provider will do, google, yahoomail, whatever.


Strictly speaking, you don’t NEED training, you can always go and figure out everything yourself. But a decent training course can drastically shorten the time till you see some results (ie money), and if they are FREE, well, you have nothing to lose.

On the other hand, there are only a few training courses that are free and are not a complete waste of time. While a lot of information can be found on Youtube, when you start, you need a structured training that leads you step by step, and filters out any unnecessary noise.

Related post: Where can you learn affiliate marketing for free?

You can’t go wrong with Wealthy Affiliate’s free 10-lesson training. It is well written, takes you through the process of understanding affiliate marketing step-by-step. It teaches you how to create content for affiliate marketing, how to find your niche etc..

You can access another 9 modules of structured training and a plethora of other training material created by other affiliate marketers if you become a member (50% discount if you register through the link under Resources)

But for the basics that you need RIGHT NOW to start your business, it does not cost a dime, and you can sort out the next point as well: it comes with two websites on a free domain, without ads or any limitations in terms of traffic etc.

Website Hosting

Otherwise you would have to budget for hosting. There are many options to build a free website either on WordPress or on other platforms such as Wix or Weebly, or Squarespace. But they don’t come with a training, and as your business grows and you need more options to customise, they won’t be the cheapest either.

Website Domain

Although it is not absolutely necessary at this stage, shortly after you start filling up your website with content you will need a Domain. Having your own domain has several benefits, one is that proper domains rank better on Google. Nonetheless, real people, when can’t decide if they should click on a link or not, prefer proper domains to free domains.

So how much money do you need to start affiliate marketing?

So this is a bit of a DIY comparison, comparing apples to oranges. The big difference in price is obviously the training. Let me show you.

Option 1 – WA 1st Month 2nd Month Thereafter
Training Free $19 (or Free) $30 (or Free)
Webhosting Free Free for 2 or included in the price of the training up to 25 websites
Domain $1.1 $15 for the year
Total Free $19 (or $1.1) $30 (or $1.1)

So just for the sake of this example, you can start a completely Free training. You can either stay on a sub-domain ( and start building your content, or buy a domain straight away. The yearly cost of a .com domain name is around $15 paid in full for the year, so technically, you need $15 in your pocket…but it’s like $1.1 a month.

The yearly cost for the 1st year is $15 without premium training, or $375 with premium training for one website.

If you upgrade your training, it will allow you to have 25 websites hosted for the same $30 monthly cost.

If you don’t upgrade your training and you are happy with the free modules, you can buy your hosting and domain elsewhere too. The cheapest option is 1&1 IONOS who are a domain registrar and webhosting provider. Their WordPress hosting package has a sale price of $1.25 for 6 months, and 1 domain is included FOREVER (so it does not revert back to the ‘normal price’ after a year).

Option 2 – 1&1 1st Month 2nd Month Thereafter
Training Free —-
Webhosting $1.25 $1.25 for 6 months, $8 thereafter
Domain Included in hosting Lifetime domain included in hosting.
Total $1.25 $1.25 $1.25 / $8

The yearly cost of running 1 website is $55.5, excluding premium training. With the same premium training, the yearly cost would be $425.5.

Another option is the very popular Namecheap. You can start your WordPress hosting on a free domain for as little as $1 for the 1st month, only $4 thereafter for the cheapest package (which is absolutely fine for the first year). The cost of a domain name varies, a .com domain name can be purchased from $10 for the whole year.

Option 3 – Namecheap 1st Month 2nd Month Thereafter
Training Free —- —-
Webhosting $1 $4
Domain N/a $10 for the year
Total $1 $4 $4

So on a yearly basis you pay $55 or so, depending on the price of your domain name.

Affiliate Marketing Costs Peanuts To Start

So you can start affiliate marketing for FREE, but if you take it seriously, you’d better have $150-$170 to invest in your training.

If you go down the route of completing the training, $150 is very reasonable given that you are laying down the foundations of your financial freedom.

Now depending on your niche and the amount of work you commit to do, you may be able to start monetising your website within 3-6 months of starting your website. Without training it may take longer (or never) so it’s a bit of a gamble. But we are talking about a cost of a meal roughly, so in my opinion the emphasis is on how quickly you can have a return on your investment.

Related post: How Much Can You Earn in Your First Year of Affiliate Marketing? (Real-life Example)

If you expect results, you must commit to learn the know-how and publish high quality content consistently, so that Google indexes your site and webpages, and shows them on the search result page. It takes time for Google to love your website and to send organic traffic your way but creating quality and quantity (in terms of content) will bring in the results. To this day, this is the only proven method that has made many people financially independent.

Related post: How To Get On Google Page One – Create Content That Ranks

Related post: 7 Reasons Why People Don’t Visit Your Website (And How To Fix Them)

Don’t expect to become rich overnight, this is a long-term process. But around the 6th month (average) you may be able to at least earn back the cost of hosting and training.

So overall, in your first 6 months, you have invested around $150-$200 so far. Keep on working, and within a year it is not unexpected to earn $2-300 a month just with your first website.

What about a 2nd website, and a 3rd?

The beautiful thing about online marketing is that it is like gardening. You plant a seed and you let it grow. And that you can plant many seeds…

So while you are waiting for Google to send traffic towards your 1st website, and you keep adding content consistently, there is nothing stopping you from creating more websites.

How much would it cost you? Well, you have paid for training already, you have paid for website hosting already, so it literally is $15 per year for a new domain name. And 6-8-12 months later, the income from this site will add on to the earnings made by the 1st site.

If you go with other webhosts, that’s fine too. The cost will be slightly higher, but in the grand scheme of things that little difference won’t be a big deal.

Gradually, these ‘weak’ sources of income will stack up nicely. If you have planted 4-5 seeds, and you are patient enough to nurture them and let them grow, by the end of your second year as an affiliate marketer you have every chance to earn a full-time income.

There is no other form of business that I know of – online or offline – that requires so little investment (in terms of money) yet it has the potential to earn you an uncapped income passively or semi-passively.

If you are smart though, and think long-term, you keep re-investing the income to further develop yourself. A copywriting course, advanced SEO etc. the options are endless to improve yourself, your website, increase conversion and your income.

Affiliate Marketing costs very little to start. You can start affiliate marketing with almost no money. I have priced everything you need to start earning money online. You'll be surprised...
Surprised? Affiliate marketing costs very little to start…Your biggest investment is your time and effort.