Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
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.
Taking the financial analysis a stage further, think about the potential profits you can make from each affiliate sale. You’ll have to sell hundreds of low priced items to make a reasonable return, and it may be better to promote premium products where one sale could generate hundreds of dollars. For example, an ebook on cat breeding tips might generate five dollars in commission for each sale. An ebook detailing a profitable gambling system might sell for ten times more and net you much higher commissions.
Tradedoubler — Tradedoubler markets a number of solutions for both advertisers and publishers. For advertisers, it has TD Convert, TD Connect, and TD Engage. TD Convert is its platform for affiliate marketing. It says advertisers only pay when they see results, which are typically measured as sales or leads. It also claims to have 2,000 advertisers on-site waiting to partner with eager affiliates.
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.
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.
Clicking on the product name takes you directly to the merchant's page through the affiliate's link. (Incidentally, you may notice this affiliate has stopped most of his affiliate links being displayed in the status bar when you hover over them, by using a small piece of JavaScript. This makes the link more attractive to nervous clickers who might be scared away by the complicated looking URL and also helps to prevent link hijacking.)
I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.

When you join the Content Marketing Institute Affiliate Program, you will gain access to text links and creative banners that you can share online. Every time a user clicks on your links or banners, they will be taken to the corresponding CMI landing page – for Content Marketing World, Intelligent Content Conference or Content Marketing Institute, and we can track that traffic. If a user makes a purchase, such as registering for a Content Marketing Institute event, you will earn a commission on that sale.

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.


7. Using above methods, create a spreadsheet - or have a list somewhere you can track the communication between you and potential affiliates. This way if you never get a response after the first time, you can try to contact them again after a few weeks. Generally, this process may take a couple of months to get a response because many contacts are busy and they will not see your emails the first couple of times.
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Number of estimated visitors: This data is just an estimate. I used the SEMRush Report and Similar Web for this stat. The estimated numbers of visitors varies A LOT. Take these numbers with a grain of salt. This post isn’t about the accuracy of the estimates or how SEMRush or Similar Web make the estimates. The estimates can give you a general idea about the scope and magnitude of the traffic, NOT the exact number.
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.
I read this title and expected an awesome community of runners sharing their glory stories of braving the snow and rain to log in miles. Instead I’m directed to a boring treadmill site. This site is about 5 pages and a couple of additional pages for reviews for treadmills. The reviews are the only pages with any kind of lengthy content and those are still only around 800 words. The main redeeming quality about this site, is they are focusing on high price items so even a single sale of a treadmill is a nice commission. This is another example of a website you could make in a weekend. It’s motivating though because you know you can do better, right?

Interesting anecdote: On one of our “authority sites”…right now, we’ve gone the way of NOT placing ads on the home page, actually. We have images/categories on the first page that people click through to get to the content. Because of this we have an EXTREMELY low bounce rate…everyone who comes to the site (via the primary or exact match KW) has to make another click to get to the area they really want, which will contain ads. I think eventually we’ll blend in just a FEW ad placements above the fold on the main page.

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.


Carly also published an all-encompassing Pinterest Strategies eBook for bloggers who wish to see big results and gain traffic from Pinterest. Affiliate marketing will only work when you have some traffic to your blog. So if you have yet to cross that threshold, I highly recommend Carly’s affordable resource. She used this strategy to grow her blog traffic to 200,000 visitors per month from Pinterest alone!
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.

As all paths on the site eventually lead to reviews and affiliate links, most people will end up reading the reviews and click through to the recommended products. What this affiliate is saying is that if you happen to arrive at one of the content pages because it appeared in the search engines, fine - he can promote to you there - but the page that converts to sales best is the review.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
The following affiliate marketing examples come from five different bloggers who are in different stages of their blogging experiences. The dollar amounts shared do not represent their total incomes, but rather a portion of their affiliate marketing income only. All of these bloggers make significantly more than the amounts shown. Yes, it’s possible to make money blogging!

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.
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.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense. 

Reviews traditionally do a great job of converting (turning clicks on links into sales on the other end) for you. If you’re going to do a review, you’ll want to include at least one affiliate link to the book in the post. Unless you’re participating in an author’s blog tour or some such, you may want to avoid linking to the author’s various sites and social media pages. It’s up to you, but the fewer things in the post there are to click, the more likely people will click your affiliate links (you can always link to favorite authors in a blogroll list over on your menu).
There are lots of affiliate site owners online, but very few of them can make a substantial monthly income from their business. This is due to lack of marketing skills and their personal experiences. Placing just a few affiliate links or banners in their sites can’t make a good money. Follow the expert ideas from the following best books for affiliate marketing and start maximizing your online income quickly. I have selected the 10 best books  for 2018 to successfully set up your  successful affiliate business or to improve it if you have already existing one.
Now you should have a pretty good idea of what niche you are going to get involved with. It is possible that you haven’t narrowed the list down to a single topic area, but you probably have found a few ideas that you feel real good about. Now at this point, it’s important to get an idea of how much money you can potentially make in your chosen niche. ClickBank is a great place to go to that search. First you browse top products in your category. If you don’t find any offers, that is not a good sign. It could mean that no one has been able to monetize that niche.
I just received this book in the mail not too long ago, and although I haven't been able to put it down I find the organization a little confusing. I am very new to affiliate marketing. I mean, I know how to use HTML, blog, etc but I am no techie. I can follow directions without a problem, but what I find confusing about the book is that the author goes back and forth with information for individuals who want to become affiliates (and sell other people's products) and individuals who have products to sell (who are considering enlisting affiliates to sell for them) and for a newbie it gets confusing. I admit that even when I was trying to figure out if I should buy the book I couldn't really figure out who it was for. I would rather deal with one side or the other at a time in one book, but not both.
SimilarWeb tells us that visitors go to over 3.75 pages per visit which is a lot. But “outdoor people” are obsessive and they love gear. I know this because I am one! If you start checking out one product, you’ll see another interesting product and so on… And, people spend a decent amount of time on the site. All that leads to a bounce rate under 50%.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
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.
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.
If I'm building a site with the intention for it to become a brand, I will detail out a minimum of 60 flagship post ideas before I even get started. Flagship content is your amazing content. It's not your everyday posts. It's content targeted at the exact topics your potential user base is searching for and that goes above and beyond in delivering them information on it.

So, this site has picked what appears to be a good keyword, but could probably be monetized better.  In fact, they could probably generate education leads or something that pays more than Fastweb.  I think there is nothing wrong with turning this into a niche lead generation site, but the site is under-utilizing its potential right now in my opinion.
Lemuel: The number of searches does not determine how difficult the competition is for a keyword. So, there is no “ideal” number of exact match searches. Competition levels are determined by the top 10 sites that are ranking in Google for that keyword. So, you want to find a keyword that has as high a search volume as possible while still having low competition levels in Google.
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?

In reality, the percentage of people who are likely to click an affiliate link after reading a book review is pretty low. I put it around 1–3%. But let’s be generous and say 5%. Of that 5%, not all of them will make a purchase. In fact, in my experience, most don’t. For me, it hovers around 30–40%. Then take into account that, on average, you’re likely to fetch a commission of 4–6% of your reader’s total purchase, i.e. less than a dollar per book. It doesn’t take a maths genius to deduce that to make good money from affiliate marketing, you need a lot of engaged readers. Like, a lot a lot.
We have a great article lined up for you today. There are many of you who are just getting into affiliate marketing and are in search for the most profitable niches out there. Understandably, this list will always change from season to season to accommodate market trends. However, based on our collective analysis of yearly trends – we were able to compile a list of affiliate niches that continue to perform exceptionally well, year after year.
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.

Number of estimated visitors: This data is just an estimate. I used the SEMRush Report and Similar Web for this stat. The estimated numbers of visitors varies A LOT. Take these numbers with a grain of salt. This post isn’t about the accuracy of the estimates or how SEMRush or Similar Web make the estimates. The estimates can give you a general idea about the scope and magnitude of the traffic, NOT the exact number.
I feel like if you have 98% only affiliate content and no other valuable content it’s more likely to be penalized. I was following a lot of competitor sites in Ahrefs and noticed all the ones that tanked had only thin affiliate content and no non-affiliate content. For some reason I thought FixYourSkin was yours but I was wrong. That site went down like crazy and lost their traffic by half. I saw them trying to recover by adding more quality content but it doesn’t seem to help for them and it’s not helping me either.
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).
When it comes to ranking well in Google, generally Google will give your site preferential treatment on certain topics, once it's figured out what your website is about. Sites that cover such a broad variety of topics don't tend to rank as well as sites that are niched down, unless you have an amazing backlink profile and a really big budget.  Since TheWireCutter is owned by New York Times, they have the budget to test new products, and have the authority to get linked to by any other web properties owned by the New York Times.  If you niche down to a specific audience, it's far more likely that Google will favor your content over a larger site when it comes to that audience.  OutdoorGearLab.com has done exactly that by only focusing on outdoor gear reviews.  I am guessing that they also have a large budget, and have built a very successful affiliate business as a result.  Plus it's a great looking site with lots of excellent information.  
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.
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