There are some things that are confusing to a newbie such as "affiliate tracking" that isn't clearly explained, but (I'm old school) I have noticed that it is typical of writers in this day and age to assume that the readers understand most everything the author is talking about. Even when I took web design classes at a local college the instructors assume ALL students are millenials (I'm a gen X) and will not explain in more detail unless asked.
One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals. 

Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
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.

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...


1. To become an affiliate marketer, you should strongly consider focusing on recurring revenue; this means that the flow of income can be routinely predictable from month to month instead of sporadic and in small and short bursts spread over several months. Recurring revenue, or residual income, is money that is continuously earned while no work is currently and presently being accomplished. All of the time has already been invested; this is good when trying to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to being able to maintain a steady income.
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.
For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!

Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.


In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.

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.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.
Review sites continue to be an impressive way to make affiliate commission. This review site doesn’t even niche down, their tag line is “Discover the Best of Everything”. From my initial review, they continue the streak of long content to rank high in Google. In doing this, they list multiple items really pushing their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on picks. All conveniently with their own price tags linking to Amazon. With only 152 thousand monthly visitors, it’s not as much as other sites, but they continue to push out new content and gain new Facebook users. Anyone with a blog knows, it’s hard to get Facebook users, so they’re doing something right.
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.
There are some things that are confusing to a newbie such as "affiliate tracking" that isn't clearly explained, but (I'm old school) I have noticed that it is typical of writers in this day and age to assume that the readers understand most everything the author is talking about. Even when I took web design classes at a local college the instructors assume ALL students are millenials (I'm a gen X) and will not explain in more detail unless asked.

Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
Deciding on your niche is the most important part to any affiliate marketer. If you set up a website in the wrong niche, then you may get a lot of traffic, but you will never actually end up getting any sales as you might have chosen a keyword that people only want to get free information, for example “affiliate marketing free” rather than “affiliate marketing fast”
A U.K. based dating affiliate network that operates a number of mainstream and niche dating sites, including Cupid.com, Flirt.com, BoomerDating.com and PlanetSappho.com. You can promote any of these sites based upon the needs of your audience, and with so many sites to choose from, it’s pretty easy for most affiliates to find at least one or two that are a good fit. Commission rates at Cupid plc can be impressive, too, with $15 paid just for free sign ups, and up to 90 percent commission paid on paid memberships.
hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?

Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.
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).
JVZoo works exclusively with digital products, primarily e-commerce, online courses, and internet marketing offers. Because there are no limits placed on the number of links, buy buttons, or calls to action on a website, JVZoo can sometimes be somewhat low quality both in terms of offers as well as products. Nonetheless, it has proven itself to be a fierce competitor to companies like ClickBank.
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.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
By quite a large margin Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program out there, with products from more than 1.5 million sellers. Amazon has the most easy-to-use technology of all the affiliate programs I will be reviewing today. Beginners to affiliate marketing with even the most limited technical expertise will have no problems in getting up and running with the Amazon associates program, while more experienced marketers can create custom tools and websites with the APIs and advanced implementations available to them. The great thing about Amazon is that anything from kids toys to laptops can generate sales if they are purchased through any Amazon affiliate link.
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.

With a well-known ‘An Hour a Day’ format, this book guides its readers step-by-step on how to practically research, promote, manage and optimize a successful affiliate marketing campaign. It also explains social media tools such as how to deal with coupons, widgets and other multimedia stuff. From determining payment schedules to communicating through appropriate means, this is a quality do-it-yourself guide for its readers. 

Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
Another brand who has mastered the art of referral is Uber. Each user is given their own referral program, which gives not only the current user but also the newly-referred customer, a free trip. Because of this Uber take the cake in ride-sharing apps and services. Other similar services have adopted such programs and have also seen a large increase in users.

On your path to become an affiliate marketer, it isn’t always going to be an easy job. A lot of time and hard work must be dedicated to promoting relevant offers and helping the targeted audience. Some of the pros, however, are never having to create products, just drive the traffic to someone else’s products and earn money while not worrying about any customer support. 

In theory? Sure. But actually, probably not. Think about it: how often after reading a fellow blogger’s book review do you immediately purchase that title? Not all that often, right? Even if you love their review, you’re probably going to read several reviews before making a purchase, or else you’ll keep the title in mind for the next time you’re at the library or bookshop.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content. 

When you’re looking at affiliate sites like this one (and, indeed, when you’re planning your own affiliate site) ask yourself what the affiliate is trying to make you do (or what you want your own visitor to do). Question what desired action the affiliate is pushing for: do they want you to read their articles? Sign up for their newsletter? Click on their ads? You’ll often find yourself being gently directed towards a certain action in one way or another. This will be what the affiliate determines to be the course that will eventually get him or her the most money!
Unfortunately, the 2Checkout dashboard is a bit limited in scope, making it difficult to get any metrics on conversion rates or even sorting by commission payouts. The workaround is to go to the Avangate store, which does list their best-selling products, and then search for these on the affiliate dashboard. That being said, 2Checkout does offer products from more than 4,000 different vendors, making it the leading affiliate network for software and digital products.
Among those sites, I still found 50em.com to be one of the most superficial ones. As some would say, working as an affiliate is similar to that of an employee, in that if the company discontinues the products, or stop the affiliate programs, the money would stop coming in as well. The hypertarget focus of 50em.com is well appreciated and a great lesson though.
Hi Jamie! Thank you for the great information. I just learned about affiliate marketing last week. The source however, is an older couple who work for World Wide Dreams Builders (WWDB). So, basically Amway. After researching a bit. I have no interest in WWDB and. (It sounds like years of recruiting people with minimal payout) Though, I am highly intrigued by e-commerce and affiliate marketing. Before your post the company I recognized was Amazon. Can you please tell me if that will be the best 1st step. I am currently an unemployed student Veteran. So plan to fully emerge into this business regime and would greatly appreciate your advice on this!!!
A service like Wealthy Affiliate acan help you find a good affiliate marketing program for your niche, but even if you just head over to ClickBank.com and set up a free account, you’ll see that there are literally thousands of possible affiliate programs and items that you can choose just on that one single platform, and as such you have all the variety you could ever need.
OutdoorGearLab.com is another Amazon Affiliate monster.  They get tons of traffic and target many different buyer-intent keywords for purchases that are largely made online.  They are more niched down (which I think is a good thing) than a web property like TheWireCutter.com.  I would never suggest anyone go out and create another WireCutter because if you are just starting out, you will not have the required budget to compete as in-depth as they do.

One of the biggest challenges that new affiliate marketers face is coming up with a solid business idea. In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau gives you plenty of ideas that should give you inspiration. He's interviewed over 1500 entrepreneurs that have built successful businesses starting with a $100 or less. From this group, he's focused in on 50 of the most interesting examples you can learn from. He shares their most valuable lessons and goes into the specifics so that you can apply them to your business.

An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.
He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.

They write reviews of every kind of longboards. Then they have links to Amazon on each article. When a visitor clicks the link and buys a longboard (or anything else on Amazon), the site owners earns a commission. We can honestly say that LongBoardReviews.net is a classical Amazon affiliate site. Notice that you don’t need to own all longboards to write reviews. You can follow my tips to make it successful and honest.
Put your favorite products front and center. The Points Guy as a “Top Cards” section in the main navigational menu that simply lists the top travel credit cards. It doesn’t bring in as much traffic as some of the other content, but it does okay, it’s an easy place for people to find the most important products for people interested in this sort of thing.

It’s really simple and plain websites like this that make me happy! If something this plain can bring in so many visitors, than someone creative and design oriented like me can do better, right? CarSeatAnswers focuses on keywords like “Car Seat Answers” and “Car Seat Guide” and “Which Seat is Safest for a Baby’s Car Seat” then writes 700-1,000 word articles with no photos except for the Amazon Products sold throughout the article. This is one of the simplest example, but it still brings in visitors even with a small amount of domain authority. It gives you hope though, that you can easily create a successful website, right?
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.
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.
The next place you want to look is Clickbank.com. You’re not actually going to try to find specific products to promote quite yet, but this is a great place to go to see whether or not the niche that you’ve found can be monetized with affiliate offers. Clickbank is just one way to monetize your site with affiliate offers, but it’s a good place to look because it’s very popular. Head over to Clickbank.com, then click on the Marketplace button at the top, and then you can search. You can either look at a category that fits under whatever niche you’re looking at. Travel actually has a category, so you click on that. If you don’t find a category in the sidebar that fits well with your niche, you can actually just search for it using a keyword at the top where it says Find Products. Then when you do that or you choose a category from the sidebar, you want to take a look at some of the offers and see how popular they are.

I know someone who created an Amazon affiliate site back in 2008. The site was making around $5,000/month when the owner decided to sell the site through Flippa. It was sold for $109,000 on June 2013. For some reason, the site has been down for several months now and I have no idea what the new owners are thinking. The domain was about iPhone reviews. 

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).
These figures demonstrate that Harsh has fully optimised his site for affiliate marketing. It also shows that when you’re first starting out with an affiliate marketing website, you can focus on just that. You don’t need to worry about monetising your website through any other means just yet. After you start generating a decent income from affiliate marketing then you can look at introducing other ways of making money.

Keeping tabs on what worked and what didn’t will help you decide not only how to strategize in the future, but which brands or vendors to continue doing business with. In the same way freelancers keep books and records of which publishers or editors they enjoyed working with, affiliates have the independence to reroute later on if they don’t end up enjoying certain brands or products.


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Whereas health, finances, and romance are affiliate-friendly niches because they touch our daily lives, you can also be successful if you target popular hobbies. Sports are a good candidate, because many of them extend beyond state and national borders, giving you a massive audience from the outset. However, be careful to choose hobby-oriented sports instead of big-time spectator sports like football and basketball.
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.
Find a program — As we discussed earlier, many affiliate marketers find their merchants, vendors, or brands through affiliate programs. It’s important you determine your niche prior to finding a program, as some programs are geared toward certain types of products. If you’re interested in a particular affiliate program, look into what kinds of products it offers and whether it has any data on the success of its affiliates.
If affiliate marketing on your book blog is your strategy to get rich quick, you, my friend, are in for a rude awakening. In my early days of blogging, I once received a cheque from Amazon for something like 42 cents. Not even kidding. (I still have it somewhere, and when I’m back in Perth next week, I’ll find it and post a pic.) Since then, both Lectito and my readership have grown, and I’ve built up a reasonable archive of posts that contain affiliate links. A year and a bit after starting Lectito, I’m making about $20 a month from affiliate marketing, and that’s mostly because a few of the links have higher commissions attached. I know:

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
You can choose multiple products to promote. There's no hard number -- but when you only have a little bit of traffic, you're best focusing on 1-3 products. As your traffic grows and you get more customers and more email subscribers, you can diversify more. It really depends on how your offers are received. So when you add new products, keep checking your analytics.

I have far better luck when I incorporate affiliate links into the body of a post. For example, if I’m writing about editing tips, I’ll mention that I use Grammarly and include a link like this one so that readers can try it out for themselves. However, you don’t want to be too spammy about this, which is why I think it helps to focus on products that you know and use and think will be of value to your readers.
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess…. 

That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
That’s the reason for their explosive growth in terms of content and links, they already started with several thousands articles which existed on the web for years and already had a great link profile. And they are backed by a huge media conglomerate, they are not by any means a small team since they have access to the about.com contributors that provide the articles, as there are over 50,000 articles on the website.
The Market Health Affiliate Program allows you to market and promote the world’s leading health and beauty offers online. We offer the highest paying affiliate program and best tracking software in our industry. If you have a web site and are interested in making money off the explosive sales in the health and beauty industry, then MarketHealth.com is perfect for you. Offers include products in the health, beauty, supplement, weight loss, and skin care industries.

The Wirecutter.com and TheSweetHome.com were sold a couple years back to the New York Times.  They were both Amazon Affiliate sites, and that's where most of their revenue came from then, and still comes from today.  When the sites were purchased, TheSweetHome.com was redirected to TheWireCutter.com as both sites had very similar content structures.  The WireCutter dominates organic search results for a lot of buyer-intent keywords, and is also a “verified expert reviewer” by Amazon.  The site gets huge amounts of organic traffic, and has gained massively in popularity and search positioning once it was purchase by the New York Times.  
I'd say the content on this site is a little less “in-depth” when comparing it to LearnHowToBecome.org, but the content is still very good (hence the reason a 600 word article is ranking well for a high volume keyword).  While it's difficult to judge based on traffic estimates, I would make a guess that LawyerEdu.org is making over $10k per month based on lead sales.  If you remember, CPA/Lead sale programs can yield up to $50 or more per lead, and some professions and/or schools pay even more for them.  Overall this site doesn't have a ton of content, but the content it does have is super informative and hyper focused on one line of work.  It also has an excellent link profile, which is another reason it's ranking well.

Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 


SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.
In theory? Sure. But actually, probably not. Think about it: how often after reading a fellow blogger’s book review do you immediately purchase that title? Not all that often, right? Even if you love their review, you’re probably going to read several reviews before making a purchase, or else you’ll keep the title in mind for the next time you’re at the library or bookshop.
It can mean sharing it on your social media profiles. It can mean including a few articles or video in your weekly newsletter that relate to your products. It can mean going on internet forums and replying to individuals whose questions you know how to answer. It can mean writing a guest post that gets your name and website name onto another person’s site, expanding your reach to their network as well.
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