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.
As a result of their rapid growth, they've also got a stellar link profile.  It's a situation where because they rank well, they get more links, and the more links they get, the better all of their articles rank.  There are a number of reasons why this site has taken off, but overall it's an excellent site that has built a strong foundation on nothing but organic traffic.  I have no idea what strategy they used initially to get links and start getting the exposure that they did, but the growth that this site has experienced is extremely impressive to say the least.  I'd estimate their traffic figures to be between six and seven figures on a monthly basis.
Hi Jay. Love the examples of profit making websites! For anyone who has been banging their head against a wall trying to make a few bucks, these sites show exactly how it’s done which is crucial when you are starting out. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed checking out lots of other sites that may look great but may not necessarily be making money. I also get those Amazon emails all the time. I think I’ll take a closer look and see if I can find a new niche! 

In conclusion, I have covered 4 niche websites that I think are targeting keywords that have great search volume and high CPCs.  I discussed the pros and cons of the layouts of the websites to give you an idea of how I think a niche site should be monetized.  Remember, I did NOT go into whether or not anyone should be targeting these keywords as I did not really look at the competition levels.  My guess is that these keywords would be too competitive for me to go after.  I will discuss competition, and how to analyze the Google competition in detail in future posts.
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.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
Affiliate marketing is a highly profitable online advertising method in which website merchants pay independent third parties to promote the products or services of an advertiser on their Web site. In other words, affiliate marketing involves posting a company s banner on your Web site or blog and attempting to send visitors to their Web site. If someone clicks on that banner or goes to that site and buys something, you will be paid a commission. While some affiliates pay only when a sale is made, some selling big ticket items like cars, credit cards, travel, and so forth have modified the model and pay for qualified leads. Affiliate marketing is now viewed as a key component of a company's online marketing strategy.

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

Affiliate networks administer programs for individual merchants, handling all the work involved, while generally providing tracking and reporting capabilities to their affiliates to help them keep tabs on their revenues and determine which products or services are producing the best returns. These tools can be helpful to an affiliate in fine-tuning the line of products she decides to promote on her site and, ideally, increasing revenues as a result.


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. 
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.

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.


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.
Just imagine how much you could start investing if you owned or two of these niche sites. The thing is, it’s completely do-able. I have the skills (most people do) to create something like this. I am so freaking pumped to start my next niche website! I’m using these lessons learned to start my keyword research now. I’ll follow up on my progress in the upcoming blog posts. I really hope this helps you as much as it did me. It’s really inspirational to see how others are making additional income online with niche websites!
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.
With 2.1 million organic search hits per month, this site rivals some of the bigger media publications in the health and fitness niche.  They also appear to a broad mass of individuals instead of just bodybuilders or professional weightlifters.  Greatist.com articles feature content on food, basic fitness, strength training, marathons and more.  It's not as niched down as other health sites, but it doesn't pretend to be an expert in a specific niche.  Rather, they recruit experts in the industry to write for them about specific topics.  The sheer traffic volume alone that Greatist.com takes on each month leads me to estimate that this website is probably doing multiple six figures per month alone in display ad revenue.
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
An affiliate agreement is when a company or an individual agrees to pay you for successful referrals. For example, Amazon has a massive affiliates program where they pay you a percentage of the sales you generate using their affiliate links. Affiliate marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, we’re able to offer our own Blogging Mentorship Program for free because Bluehost sends us money for every customer we refer.
Writing good advertising sales copy (copywriting) is the other important skill for internet marketers. The good news is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, many vendors will provide you with copy to use for your blog posts, websites ads, etc. They'll give you the emails to send, the banner ads to display, and even posts you can use on social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Oh! I’ll add this – if your individual site or blog is applicable, All Posters has an outstanding affiliate program. I get healthy payments from them each month. They have more than just posters – they have art prints, wall murals, t-shirts, wall decals, etc. A lot more people order these online than you’d imagine. I wouldn’t give them up for anything.
This “free course” offer is a variation of what we saw in the last site: it’s a newsletter signup box. By offering people something concrete (the "FREE Texting Mini Course"), as opposed to something vague (for instance “our informative newsletter”), you essentially reduce people’s anxiety about signing up for something. This is why you’ll see so many “mini-courses” littered around the Internet - not only is it a mini-course as opposed to a newsletter, but the visitor only needs to commit to a small number of lessons, as opposed to a potentially unending subscription. By lowering the perceived commitment involved in signing up for something you’ll find that people are more willing to give you their email address.

Developing and monetizing microsites can also garner a serious amount of sales. These sites are advertised within a partner site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine. They are distinct and separate from the organization’s main site. By offering more focused, relevant content to a specific audience, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
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.
TheAthleticBuild.com is a website that's covers a number of different fitness topics. It's probably safe to say that most of their content is geared towards men, and most of their revenue comes from either Amazon or their affiliate programs.  Based on the looks of the site, they have a few supplement reviews that are probably affiliate programs where they get paid a portion of each sale that a buyer makes.  Some of these affiliate programs have higher returns than other programs, but there are some right vs. wrong decisions you'll have to work through yourself if you are endorsing certain types of nutritional products, especially if you don't take them yourself.
I’ve already tried and discarded some of these on the list. Others I haven`’t heard of, so I’ll look into them. I’ve been with Amazon for about 3 years now, but am still to get a payment. I got a message from them only today saying I didn’t make enough (even with the bits and pieces that have been collecting in my account over the years) to be paid this month either…
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[14] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[9]

Some of the big sites are staggeringly HUGE. Many of the sites are mostly monetized through Amazon Associates, but they might also have other affiliate offers. For example, Home Depot or NewEgg have affiliate programs that these sites can work with. Several of the sites listed are going to be making profits in the multiple SEVEN FIGURES and more. It sounds like a crazy claim, but when see some of the sites and understand the size, scope, and the staff that supports the sites, you’ll agree.
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.
This book is a new entrant in our top 10 book list. The book teaches you to learn making money with affiliate marketing and become a successful marketer from scratch. You’ll learn how to create content and drive traffic using free and paid methods. The new book is the No. 1 bestseller on the topic while I was updating this page. A recommended read!
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!
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:
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.
As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.
10Beasts.com has been a successful affiliate site for the last couple years.  It's been somewhat of a “hot debate” in the internet marketing industry.  The website actually has very little content when compared to some other authority sites.  It has under 20 pages of actual content, but it's believed that because of the strong linking profile, that Google favored the site's content.  It's an extremely unusual site, as most of the link profile consists of scholarship links, which many marketers believe is an overused link building tactic that's ripe for a Google penalty.
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