To refresh your knowledge you might remember that context ads earn you money for each person who visits your site and clicks on the ads. The ad network automatically generates the ads and you insert them into your site just by copying a small piece of code. The biggest context ad network is Google AdSense, so a lot of people (including us!) will use the word "AdSense" when they're really talking about "context ads" in general.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money on the Internet. You don’t need any great technical skills to make a start, and it’s a business you can scale over time. Initially you’ll be selling other peoples’ products, but eventually you can develop your own ebooks and training courses for even greater profits. One of the questions I get asked all the time about affiliate marketing is what are the best niches to work in. Before I can answer that I have to clarify what exactly I mean by a niche in Internet marketing.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
These are some of the best books on affiliate marketing. Each one of these books have something to offer in regards to building your affiliate marketing business. They walk you through the basics of the affiliate business model, provide strategies on how to use various strategies like SEO and social media, and teach you how to think like an entrepreneur.
Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steadier revenue stream for your website. 
You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.
A niche is a segment of a market you can identify and target. As a rule of thumb, there will be less competition if you choose a narrow niche. Chances are the best domain names are already taken for the most popular niches, and generating traffic will be harder. For example, competition is intense in the diet and fitness niche, and you’ll have to work really hard to rank well in search engines and attract volumes of traffic. However, there are thousands of narrower niches in these fields where you’ll be able to make good money as an affiliate marketer. Examples would include paleo diets, fitness for the over 60s and losing weight after pregnancy.

Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products.  This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com.  Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product.  If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent.  Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article).  If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.

This doesn’t mean you only sell one product. This means you build out a brand by selling varying yet adjacent products. Over time, your consumer network might consider you a go-to for which type of vacuum they should buy. Additionally, some industries pay more than others. Especially if the product is a harder sell, affiliates may get a higher cut than they would for a product in higher demand.
How To Start 3 Different Online Businesses With Just 1 Idea: Sell Products, Start a Blog & Create Passive Income (Making Money Online, Entrepreneurship & small business, business marketing), this book provides readers with a great concept. Creating 1 business can offer you three different income streams. Online you can do 3 things to make money; sell products, sell services, and collect commissions. If you are smart you will capitalize on all 3. This book will show you how to do that for $9.99.
With possibly the most transparent affiliate network online, we give affiliates access to stats no other program dare, including earning data, conversion stats, demographic information and seasonality trends. With ethics and consumer protection being high on the agenda, you can rest assured when working with MoreNiche you are working with an honest, trustworthy and transparent company.
Here’s the deal – in our chosen example of ‘how to kiteboard’, there were just over 96,000 websites that popped up in a simple Google search on the keyword. Plus – I hit the refresh button 10-times and the only two PPC ad’s for the same keyword were the only two ad’s that were shown on each attempt. Meaning, there is very little ‘paid for’ competition.

When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.
There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.

In addition, we spent thousands of hours interviewing hundreds of today's most successful affiliate marketing masters. This book is a compilation of their secrets and proven successful ideas. Additionally, we give you hundreds of tips and tricks to ensure your website is optimized for maximum search engine effectiveness, which will drive business to your Web site and increase sales and profits. You will find actual case studies from companies who have used our techniques and achieved unprecedented success. If you are interested in learning hundreds of hints, tricks, and secrets on how to implement affiliate marketing, optimizing your website for maximum search engine effectiveness, developing a cost-effective marketing campaign, and ultimately earning enormous profits, this book is for you.
Affiliate marketing has now invaded Hollywood? We know it invaded US politics in Washington as some politicians (current and retired) are silent affiliate marketers or in MLM. Maybe we can look forward to hearing in the next few years about more celebrities going from actors and actresses to home-based affiliate marketers. Wouldn’t that be something?

Another way to check whether or not your niche is something that you can promote affiliate offers on is actually to look at Google AdWords and check out the cost-per-click for keywords related to the niche that you might want to enter. Head over to Google AdWords, log in, and under Tools and Analysis, choose Keyword Planner. You want to click on Search For New Keyword Ad Group Ideas and enter a few keywords related to your niche: Travel, traveling, things like that. Click on Get Ideas, then click on Keyword Ideas and pay attention to the suggested bid. The suggested bid is basically how much an AdWords advertiser pays for one click in AdWords for people searching for this particular keyword.
LinkConnector is something of a mixed bag, so it’s probably best for experienced affiliates who have become disillusioned with other networks and are looking to expand. LinkConnector’s bizarre mix of high-quality products and a low-quality dashboard make it hard to truly assess its viability, but their exclusive deals with some vendors can make it a true home run for publishers working in certain niches.
Designing and developing your blog / niche site – When it comes to themes and designing your blog/website, if you want to go big, and get real pro right out of the gate, I suggest you look into the Rainmaker Platform, which is what THIS website is built with. To keep things a little more simple, once you’ve got started with Bluehost, you can visit StudioPress to get your site looking pretty.
Paid traffic refers to media buyers who purchase traffic from an existing site or ad network and attempts more or less an arbitrage play. The value add for the media buyers in this equation is the initial creative and also any additional pre-sell landing pages that will increase the conversion rate. If the revenue generated is greater than what you paid in traffic costs, then you're ROI positive.

I’ve actually never even considered affiliate marketing for my blog… You’ve definitely given me some things to think about. I definitely think My blog should be more established (more traffic, followers, etc) before I would want to make that kind of charge… I’m still learning so much, I don’t want to overdo it by taking my blog to another level. Plus since my traffic isn’t super high, it wouldn’t be beneficial to me just yet. Great info Margot!
If you are searching for a perfect book for affiliate this one is a great solution for you as it contains proven steps and strategies on how to earn your first $1000 in passive income from the comfort of your home using affiliate marketing. It is full of fresh ideas, step-by-step instructions and screenshots, so even a complete beginner can take advantage of this information and start to make money from home and build a successful online business. 

If you return to the affiliate's program review page you'll see that further down the page the affiliate lists products that don't get the five-star seal of approval. He also provides links to reviews of these "not recommended" products which explain why they're not recommended. Reading his reviews, it does indeed sound like he knows what he's talking about - his reviews are credible and seem unbiased. Most of them don't seem to have affiliate programs, and he hasn't bothered to link to them through affiliate links.
Find your circles. Let’s say that you’re interested in crafts. It’s not a huge niche globally speaking, but those who are crafty likely love to connect with other crafters and see the latest and greatest products. Connect with circles in social media groups, forums, and so on. Build up your identity there and you’ll be able to see what is getting attention.
Luke Kling is Director of Marketing at PeerFly.com and have been working in affiliate management for about 9 years now. Luke is also a developer and blogger. You can find his blog at LukePeerFly.com, an affiliate news aggregate (great source for newbies) at  http://affposts.com, and his most recent product to help you build and grow Facebook Pages at http://fptraffic.com. Follow Luke on Twitter at @LukePeerFly.
Niche — Unless you’re Amazon, people don’t come to your site looking to buy both weed-wackers and moisturizing cream. Most websites have their products narrowed down to a specific genre, such as fashion, health, petcare, etc. If you’re wanting to go into affiliate marketing, your first plan of action is to determine what you’re selling. This step comes first because so many subsequent decisions depend on this answer. The type of website you make, the type of audience with which you engage, all of these are heavily influenced by your niche. If you’re having trouble deciding where to focus, do some introspective thinking to determine what you’re passionate about.
I have highlighted with red boxes how they are monetizing the site.  First I will point out how professional the site looks – it has a custom logo and a very clean look and feel to the site.  This helps build trust right away.  Secondly, I like how they have the salary data that searchers are looking for right away on top.  Then they have the adsense ads immediately following (still above the fold).
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
Products are now put in a category. The commission will be based on the category each product has been placed in whether or not the category is correct. For instance, I had a sale for a child riding toy tractor. Instead of it being in toys category which would have only earned me 3%, it was actually placed in lawn and garden category which I then actually earned 8% instead.

If you are new to building niche websites (or even if you are more experienced), you are probably interested in seeing some specific examples of successful niche websites – even if it's just to get some proof that you can still make a living online.  Well, that is what I am going to review today – 22 updated examples of sites that are crushing it in monthly traffic.  Now just to be clear – THESE ARE NOT MY WEBSITES! I don't know who owns all of these websites or how much money they make. However, I am going to explain what I think they have done right and why I think they are most likely doing well as far as income is concerned.
One way to do that is to open company in a state that is accepted in Amazon affiliate program. I would suggest Delaware LLC company because is simple to open (little to no restrictions to non-residents) and not expensive to run. Maybe you start building site and once you get some traffic, you open company and setup amazon account. In the worst case scenario, you can still sell the site and earn some money that way.
This is the really fun part when it comes to finding your niche! You get to play around here, and search for niche ideas, which is super-easy with Google’s External Keyword Tool. This is a free tool that allows you to find out both local and global search volumes for certain keywords, related keywords, as well as the competitiveness of those keywords, too.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]

Just like I've been able to create several profitable websites, this site is a really good example of what's working right now in SEO.  The site is full of useful content, and most of the newer content is pretty long-form (meaning over 2,000 words per article).  They publish quite a bit, and this team is known to have their processes down really well between their writers, editors, VAs, and other parts of their team.  This is a tough niche to crack, but these guys have done a great job showcasing how to build a profitable authority site from A-Z.
This website started in 2000 as a review website which helped consumers by reviewing different products and offering the consumer the chance to purchase the product. These have become a very popular way for bloggers to create Amazon affiliate websites. It’s a great way to feature products and a good review can be very motivating for someone to purchase.
Nearly everyone knows that some 25% of all online sales, and for many book titles 50% or more of their sales [source] happen on Amazon.com. Amazon also ranks books by sales, and I thought it’d be interesting to go to the e-tail giant’s website, and see what are the top five books on affiliate marketing. If we go there, choose “Book” as category, and search for “affiliate marketing”:
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
Nearly everyone knows that some 25% of all online sales, and for many book titles 50% or more of their sales [source] happen on Amazon.com. Amazon also ranks books by sales, and I thought it’d be interesting to go to the e-tail giant’s website, and see what are the top five books on affiliate marketing. If we go there, choose “Book” as category, and search for “affiliate marketing”:
We are dedicated to providing the tools and information that are needed to become an affiliate marketer while simplifying the process and speaking in terms everyone can understand. Money is never the top priority; building relationships and trust are two of the most important aspects of any marketing campaign. Without the consumers and the companies that make these products, there would be nothing to market. Nothing to promote. Our goal is to accelerate an affiliate marketer’s success and enable them to see the positive and rewarding results that can come from a career in online marketing.
Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money on the Internet. You don’t need any great technical skills to make a start, and it’s a business you can scale over time. Initially you’ll be selling other peoples’ products, but eventually you can develop your own ebooks and training courses for even greater profits. One of the questions I get asked all the time about affiliate marketing is what are the best niches to work in. Before I can answer that I have to clarify what exactly I mean by a niche in Internet marketing. 

Over the past 9 years I've tried A LOT of different niches with affiliate marketing, but I have had by far the most fun and most success promoting things I am interested in. You will have a much easier time creating content and connecting with your audience if you are working with a niche that you enjoy. No matter what the niche you will probably be excited to get working at first, but as time goes on you won't have that same excitement unless you are working within a niche you really like.
I’ll talk about adding advertising to your book blog in the next post in this series (hey, there’s no reason to limit yourself to one source of income!), but, in the meantime, you may want to check out How You Can Make Money Promoting My Ebooks (and other people’s too), a post I did a couple of months ago. It talks more about Smashwords, in particular, and how to find authors offering high affiliate percentages over there.

In the popular ‘An Hour a Day format’, this guide features a detailed, real-world, task-based approach to developing, launching, and managing a successful affiliate marketing program. It explores market research, determining payment models and reporting guidelines, recruiting affiliates, crafting appropriate communications, and much more. Affiliate marketing programs help boost marketing efforts without incurring excessive costs. This ‘Hour a Day guide’ provides everything merchants, business owners, and those charged with managing an affiliate program need to know.
With website builders, you get what you pay for. While they have plenty of free templates, more professional-looking websites will always cost more money. However, this investment could be worth it, especially as a website is one of the few startup costs for affiliate marketers. The social media profiles you develop are dependent on your niche and target market.
When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.
I know this from experience. Three years ago I was a struggling affiliate marketer, bouncing from offer to offer (playing a game of what I call “affiliate pinball”). Today I make a full-time income from diverse passive income streams: sales of affiliate products, sales of my own products, and Adsense revenue (my Adsense revenue alone topped $2,000 last month). And it’s all because I focus on serving the needs of a niche audience.
Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).

SellHealth — SellHealth is a health affiliate network. It’s free for affiliates to join, should their applications be accepted. All of SellHealth’s sales are made through company-owned websites, meaning affiliates don’t need to facilitate sales on their own sites. This eliminates the possibility of error and increases consumer trust, as they are sent to a legitimate brand site to complete their purchases. 

JVZoo lets you both host and create landing pages on their own website, so it’s far better suited for professional marketers who want to flood the internet with offers, many of them for courses to make money. You don’t need your own website to participate in JVZoo, but you will need to know how to drive traffic to a landing or squeeze page in order to profit from being a JVZoo affiliate.
A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer? The answer is complicated. The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently. The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
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