Affiliate marketing should be viewed as a long term business, so give careful thought to your affiliate marketing niche before you start developing a website and building a mailing list. The subject should be something you enjoy and have some interest in, or running the business could become a chore. Remember that the goal is to make money, so avoid any ‘vanity projects’ where there are little or no profits to be made.
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.

This is an Amazon Affilaite Website that has really niched down into specifically, as the name implies, kids tablets with Wifi. These are high priced items that produce high commissions in a huge market, children. What is the best tablet for kids? Do you give them an ipad? What if it breaks? Is there a cheaper option? These are all questions that this site helps with. It runs like a blog, but with a relatively simple design. It’s hard to tell if they have produced much new content because they don’t include dates with their blog posts. However this site is just one blog, with three additional pages for “Best Tablets for Kids”, “Kids Tablet Reviews” and “Kids Tablet Comparisons” all of which are likely keyword researched names. It’s likely the niched down keyword research to bring in the traffic, because the content while good, is relatively short with 300-500 words per post.

I have one affiliate website that I recently launched. SEO hasn't been done yet other than basic stuff. What I need is an expert to look at it and tell me whether I'm on track or need major changes. I don't know if you guys do that here or know of someone who does. (free or for a fee) The site is http://saveongolf.net . It's a site using datafeeds for golf equipment.
Product promotion — Lastly, we come to what you’re really here for: the opportunity to partner with organizations in selling their products for a portion of the profits. A lot of what we’ve mentioned previously will come into play when deciding exactly how to promote products. You should continue to consider your niche, audience, and goals when choosing how to promote products. You could take the route of being a real product user who reviews items on your site. People tend to trust individuals more than they do brands, and using your site as a sort of product review resource could appeal to the masses.
There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
In short, stick to the basics (proven evergreen markets) because demand is forever in those niches.  Stick to hobbies and extracurricular activities that give immeasurable pleasure to people – upper-income people in particular. Finally as a last resort, and if you are willing to learn and think “outside the box”, look for the biggest payouts available and become the niche expert that draws in sales like a magnet!
Yaro Starak is the founder and writer of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com. Since 2005 through this blog, his email newsletter and in training programs under the EJ Insider Membership, Yaro has taught thousands of people how to make a full time income from blogging part time, how to buy and sell blogs and websites, and how to successfully launch an information product business. Follow Yaro on Twitter at @YaroStarak.
Thanks for another great post. Would mind elaborating just a little on, “you also need to be willing to publicly associate yourself with that niche…”. Should every affiliate site therefore have the author’s name and bio on an About page? What if the author is unknown in that field? Is it just a trust issue, that putting your name somewhere on the site gives people comfort that there is a real person on the other side?

It is great to meet you Doug. I like your style. Doug I am a very simple person. I am not looking to make a great deal of money, just some to supplement my retirement income. I have become involved with Wealthy Affiliate which I feel is a very good training site. But I find any training they provide I can also find on google. My major problem is that I get wrapped up in the social network where I have done very well with ranking, but there is no monetary advantage to this. I have begun to dig into your training and I am wondering this. We use WP at WA. I am only interested in building a decent amazon business. I spend $49 dollars a month for WA with the training. This includes being able to produce 25 website. Would I be better off hosting elsewhere and build my sites? I know I can make this work. I just need to find the right formula. I know you are a busy person so I am hoping that you will take the time to point me in the right direction.
There's no max volume, but you do need to consider the competition. Generally keywords with very high search volumes are very general keywords and the giants of the internet (Wikipedia, WikiHow, domains with the primary keyword, etc) dominate, and so trying to rank for it would be very, very difficult if not nigh impossible. However, if you find no one else is properly optimizing for that keyword and it has monetization potential, go for it! Just make sure you understand how that keyword fits into your overall strategy. Don't optimize for it simply because of volume.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum.  They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche.  The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts.  Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers.  While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
What do you think you could honestly sell customers in the hopes that it would improve their day-to-day? For example, maybe you renovate homes and are always looking for the highest-quality paints or most eco-friendly cleaning solutions for bathrooms and kitchens. If you’re already knowledgeable about a market and have interest in it, that’s a great place to start.
Once you've protected your prospecting pool, maximize your affiliate program by working with the best and leaving the rest. As the old 80/20 adage implies, most of your revenue will come from a very small percentage of your affiliates. Because it can be time-consuming to manage a larger affiliate network, consider selecting only a few companies initially, and interview them before signing them on. Affiliates are an extension of your sales force and represent your online brand, so choose partners carefully.
LearnHowToBecome.org is an education website that provides information to prospective students.  They have a lot of great content and cover just about every type of education field you can think of when it comes to finding out the best college path in a given profession.  A quick look at backlinks shows that they have tons of major educational institutions that they work with, which is a significant portion of their backlinking strategy.  The content is top notch, and the website is specifically designed to keep the users interacting with the comparison grids and searching through the best possible schools for their given topic.
You will notice that this site does try to make some money with Adsense, but the banner ad at the top is an affiliate ad (through Commission Junction) for Fastweb.  I just logged into CJ.com to see how much FastWeb pays – its looks like only $0.80 per lead – OUCH!  This is really low.  This website owner also trys to promote fastweb in the articles – but no Adsense.  I think they should be focusing more heavily on Adsense within the content of their articles to increase their income.  My guess is that this site earns almost $.80 on average per Adsense click (which is MUCH easier to get than a lead).
With that being said, the traffic that this site earns for having so few posts is extremely impressive.  There have been a number of other websites that have attempted to achieve the same success with the same tactics, but haven't had the same results that 10beasts.com has had with regards to rankings.  While it's tough to estimate the income, I'd guess it was in the 30K to 50K per month range because of all the traffic the primary articles receive.  They are highly purchased items online (gaming mice and wireless routers), making this an extremely profitable affiliate site.  While I may not recommend trying to get links via scholarship links, there's no doubt that Google has ranked this site very well due to those links.  The content is not as good as some other in-depth articles, but they are very tuned in to the specific keywords they are trying to rank for.

It's easy! After you've registered as an Affiliate, you'll place code in the pages of your web site to display text or banner links (it's your choice!) to Booksamillion.com. The links will contain an account code unique to you to ensure that you get credit for sales that are generated by your site. When a visitor clicks a link and makes a purchase on our site, Commission Junction tracks your code and calculates your commission.
Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
This is a superb site, and I think well needed for those that are very interested in affiliate marketing to make money online. The site presented very professionally and laid out. I would venture to say though that if I were a beginner looking for how to do and be successful with an affiliate site. I think I would be a little overwhelmed. And while I understand if I were looking I would be searching all the details, so from the site, I would contact the author for a question. If this was the aim, then its well executed.

GOOD - Affiliate Links to all products are in the description of the video. TechDeals often refers to their video description links, pointing users in the direction of where they can get their hands on the products. He even uses NewEgg Affiliate, to give users a price comparison between the same product- but still earning a commission on either site.
Which affiliate marketing program or network you sign up for, whether as a merchant or an affiliate, will have a huge impact on the success of your sales. Some programs are niche and cater largely to a certain industry, such as technology/software or retail sales. Some programs don’t pay as well as others and will, consequently, result in lower income for affiliates over time. Some programs take a larger cut of profit than others, leaving affiliates with less income. Some networks just don’t have the same features as others and can leave merchants and affiliates with fewer resources.
Now is your chance to team up with The Home Depot and share in the continued growth of the most successful nationally-known home improvement retailer. By joining our affiliate program, you can start earning a profit on every qualified sale you refer to homedepot.com. It is a simple process, and the more customers you have purchase - the more you earn!
Bruce C. Brown is an award-winning author of more than ten books as well as an active duty Coast Guard officer, where he has served in a variety of assignments for more than 26 years. Bruce is married to Vonda and has three sons: Dalton, Jordan, and Colton. His previous works include: He holds degrees from Charter Oak State College and the University of Phoenix. He currently resides in North Carolina.
The presence of strong competition can be a good thing. It can actually show you that you have found a popular and profitable niche. However, it is also important that you do a thorough analysis of your competition’s websites. You may want to create a spreadsheet and log all of the competing websites you can find. You will then need figure out whether or not there is an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. Are you able to rank with your keywords? Is it possible to differentiate yourself and create a unique offer for your potential customers? Here are several signs to look for that help you to decide whether or not you can enter a niche and be successful. That is even if there may already be other sites serving that particular niche.
This site will not get penalized because they are within Google Adsense guidelines for number of ads. You are allowed 3 block ad units (this site has 2 at the top and one in the sidebar). You are ALSO allowed 2 link units (in addition to the 3 ad units) – for a total of 5 adsense units total. The link unit on this site is at the top where a regular navigation bar goes. So in reality, this site could actually have 1 more link unit on their site that is not shown in this screenshot. Hope that helps.
A relative newcomer that was only founded in 2014, ConvertKit has taken the world of email marketing by storm. According to the company, they now have nearly 20,000 active customers of their email services. Their affiliate program works by paying existing customers a lifetime 30 percent commission for referrals that subsequently become ConvertKit customers or who sign up for ConvertKit webinars and other digital products. 

Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[37] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[38]
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[30] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.

From just the one keyword, this websites is probably getting close to 20k hits per month.  I am sure they are generating just as much traffic from various other keywords as well.  When all is said and done, this website could easily be a $10k per month site.  Its hard to say – that prediction could be way high or even way low.  But I would not be surprised if this site is pulling in $10k or more per month.
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.
I found a good potential niche relating to a game that I've been playing for several years. It has several products in clickbank so far with good gravity and I also have tons of experience in this particular game, as I used to have one of the top characters in both PVP and gold (until my character was hacked) I recently started over with a new account and new character, but since I've recently changed my school schedule to part time, I'll have the time to rebuild to where I was before (and beyond) and am able to create a site dedicated to teaching new players the basics and could potentially integrate some paid game guides and membership sites into my site. Is this a good plan, since it's highly searched for (hundreds of thousands of monthly searches for terms I would be using), slightly high competition, but I have some SEO experience being a marketing student and network marketer already, and something that I'm highly interested in and active on almost daily ( the only time I don't play daily is if I'm sick or have a heavy homework load)? I would also be linking to my character to allow fellow players to friend me and be willing to team with new players on occasion to help them out one on one with more difficult in-game tasks such as group quests, once my character reaches max level again.

Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
This is one the cleanest designs I’ve seen of an Amazon Affiliate Website. It has a very professional look for a review website, but they don’t overcrowd you with product reviews right off. This site really sets itself apart with their actual videos and reviews inside of their test center. You know these testers are actually testing the product rather than copying a review from another site or making things up. It’s so legit that I will likely be back to this site for future reviews for my purchases. It really gains your trust with the photos and videos even though you know they are making money through the affiliate commissions. Plus they buy all the products themselves and never accept any products from the manufacturer to maintain objectivity, but when you bring in 3.1 million visitors per month, you can buy a few items to review.
While I'd still recommend that you go after a niche that has the potential to be the most profitable, you also need to be willing to publicly associate yourself with that niche and do whatever it takes to bring value add. You will need to become an authority – to fill some void or need – in that niche. Choose a topic you can push through The Dip on without losing interest. And typically, that means choosing a niche that surrounds a topic you truly enjoy. What are your current hobbies? What topic would you love to learn more about and immerse yourself in?
Now Tom's Hardware publishes their own reviews, and on top of their display ad revenue, they are making a significant portion of money from Amazon Affiliate links.  The site is already well known for reliable content about Personal Computing, so it made sense to turn up the content generation to attract more organic search volume.  It would be tough to estimate monthly revenue for this site, but it's highly likely that it generates 7 figures per month. 
If you've been following me for a while, you probably know that nowadays, everything is about quality – not just from the website, but also the quality of the actual page on the site as well.  You are unlikely to rank well for a competitive keyword with a 1500 word article and lots of links.  Most articles need to be in-depth, and answer every question the user might have about the topic.
SimilarWeb tells us that visitors go to less 2 pages per visit. So, you can see the difference in TWC versus Outdoor Gear Lab. The products are less targeted so maybe visitors are more interested in buying something specific, not window shopping. The reviews are generally long and visitors are skimming a lot because the average time on the site is about 90 seconds.

Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
I’ve had a passion for photography and cameras since I was a kid, and this was an obvious area for me to build a business in. One of the core activities of affiliate marketing is creating and distributing content, and I can write about photography with a high level of expertise and enthusiasm. You may choose to outsource content creation, and you don’t have to know anything about your niche if you’re prepared to do this. You can also research subjects you aren’t familiar with, but this can be time- consuming and boring. Personally I like to be in control of things and work with subjects I find interesting.
The site has lots “the best” -articles. For example, The Best Fish Oil For Dogs (5 Highly Effective Products). Then they have listed 5 different fish oils for dogs and the reader can click their link to buy them. Another example is, “How To Crate Train A Puppy (Plus 5 Excellent Crate Options).” They seem to monetize with Chewy.com affiliate program. Chewy.com is an eCommerce for pet products.
FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
Product promotion — Lastly, we come to what you’re really here for: the opportunity to partner with organizations in selling their products for a portion of the profits. A lot of what we’ve mentioned previously will come into play when deciding exactly how to promote products. You should continue to consider your niche, audience, and goals when choosing how to promote products. You could take the route of being a real product user who reviews items on your site. People tend to trust individuals more than they do brands, and using your site as a sort of product review resource could appeal to the masses.
The football snack helmet website is so simple, so short and sweet, yet it works! I can now see that sometimes, just taking a simple idea, and focusing completely on it, not complicating it will work. You have the wheels spinning in my head. Kids tablets are very popular these days, you see kids with them everywhere to keep them busy while waiting, etc. The site is perfect, steers the parents to information about them, and helps with the buying choice. Another great example!
You understand in an instant what the site is all about and you’re also not overwhelmed with options. Some blogs put way too much content and navigation can almost feel like an IQ test. But with Baby Gear Labs, you have reviews, how-to’s and some basic essentials. This means they cover all kinds of audience; whether it’s people who really want to dig deep into their choices, or those who just want a simple solution.
As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (e.g. fly fishing) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches. Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. This way you'll be able to know which products your audience are responding to and which ones aren't generating any profits for your business. This is especially important if you are investing into paid advertising to drive traffic and promote products as an affiliate...
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
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