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.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.
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.
This is an interesting style review website that reads more like a magazine than a review site. This definitely helps give it some more credit than throwing a up a bunch of products and hoping people read them. It’s interesting that it takes a different approach, rather than writing long content, it focuses on a clean layout and video reviews to show people the product they’re testing, racking in 2.3 million monthly viewers. This is incredibly valuable for people willing to buy, but want to see the product in a video demo before purchasing. Now compare this site to what the site looked like in 2008 (here).
first off, show visitors that you have a great site by getting a better theme! You did not get a penalty because of affiliate content, nor have I ever heard of, however, I have heard of sites in the past getting penalty for having do follow links to affiliate programs such as amazon, remember, google does not like you giving credit to a site in exchange for receiving paid compensation, so ask yourself, are your external links nofollow? this may also include any buttons/graphics that link to affiliate sites that do not have a no follow attribute, not going to go to much into this, so I am going to assume your content is ok, if it is, then you need to check your link portfolio; maybe you have too many low quality links and/or you may have over-optimized anchor/text in your link building efforts; bad links, over optimization are common link issues that could cause your site to get a penalty, as it is not about what you are writing about, if all else fails, then hire seo consultant for an entire site autdit, they will go through your site tooth and nail, and see why you have lost your rankings. good luck.

From what I’ve observed, most of the “programs” you’ve listed are networks, and most of them support dozens, hundreds, even thousands of merchants – in a huge variety of niches. Amazon is not technically a network, unless you factor in the presence of about a dozen entities like Zappos, Woot, Endless and the like. With very few exceptions, networks are diversified. Performance-Based.com focuses on eco and green merchants. Some support a particular locale – European merchants, for example.
How To Start 3 Different Online Businesses With Just 1 Idea: Sell Products, Start a Blog & Create Passive Income (Making Money Online, Entrepreneurship & small business, business marketing), this book provides readers with a great concept. Creating 1 business can offer you three different income streams. Online you can do 3 things to make money; sell products, sell services, and collect commissions. If you are smart you will capitalize on all 3. This book will show you how to do that for $9.99.

Internet marketing itself is a special niche where your expertise with specific skills (e.g. sales copy, getting website traffic, search engine optimization, etc.) can make you money. If you start a successful online business in any of these markets you can always create a side business showing others how to do it as well. It can also be a niche where your reputation allows you to market high-ticket items yourself of as an affiliate - in other words, you can still brand yourself or your business as an affiliate marketer.


This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
Ah, I see now, I was totally confusing the “competition” in Adwords with the low competition you talk about in your LongTail handbook. I actually used it as part of my screening criteria…oops. So I was looking for >1000 local searches, >$1.00 and Low Competition. I think I understand now to ignore the Competition column in the Adwords tool when searching for keywords. Thanks, guys!
Thanks for a nice job. I am currently promoting some of the affiliate programs listed here and making a few dollars from them. But I must say that making money from affiliate programs is not rocket science; it requires hard work and perseverance. Affiliate marketing keeps evolving daily and any serious affiliate should be ready to change tactics and invest time and money in order to beat the competition.
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).
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%.
Adam Riemer is an Affiliate Veteran and leading Outsourced Affiliate Manager.  He builds content sites as an Affiliate and the programs he manages only works with content sites and value adding partners.  His company is known for removing adware, trademark bidders and coupon sites that poach from merchants and other Affiliates by ranking for url + coupons and then growing a value adding program ethically and responsibly. Follow Adam on Twitter at @rollerblader.

Shopify has three different account types as well as standalone third-party products like themes and apps. Commissions are paid for sales of any of these products, including users who sign up for a 14-day free trial and then convert to a paid account. Shopify also has a wide range of blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials that can be linked to with the standard commission paid on any sales that are generated.
Lets face it, when you start something new for business (anything!) there is always a lot to take on board. And if you’re like me, you really look at every angle so that when you do launch something it has the absolute best opportunity to succeed. Finding your niche and getting to the point of finding niche market keywords isn’t any different. Trust me.
This was one of the first Amazon Affiliate Website Examples I ever came across. I thought it was incredibly simple, before I saw some other websites that were even worse. A lot of it is what you would expect. A wordy homepage with a couple of pages in the menu bar that all resemble more keyword targeting than actual helpful navigation. I keep wondering if they actually reviewed all those different kitchen sinks, because that would be a lot of work installing and disassembling numerous sinks to see how they work. Likely not, their “About Us” page just says a “Mother of two” which tells me as the reader, if you’re not putting your name on this, your reviews are probably just as generic. Usually if an “About” page doesn’t list a name or company, I assume that the website is just as generic.

I think that more so depends on the amount of time you have to spend. You can definitely be an influencer on multiple topics, assuming you have that kind of time to spend. I am what most would consider an influencer in SEO and affiliate marketing. For seven years, I also owned several mobile themed sites and was considered an influencer on both BlackBerry phones and prepaid phones. It’s possible, but it takes work. I also had hired writers at the time and this was before social. It takes so damn much to be an influencer these days, that if you’re doing it solo, doing it for two unrelated topics would be quite the task. :)
I just came across this post while researching some information on building out a couple of sites. I really appreciate you taking the time to look at different ways to earn. It’s tough sometimes to stay focused on one thing at at time, when there are so many ways to go about making a living online. These 5 sites show that you can be diversified in how you earn, but you have to focus on your niche and it’t content first and foremost.

I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
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]
Becoming a part of an affiliate network is an excellent strategy for bloggers looking to up their current income or even just to begin actually making money from their blog. There are several options when it comes to affiliate marketing as well as strategies for making affiliate marketing work for you. Below I will teach you what is affiliate marketing, examples of affiliate marketing in blogging, affiliate strategies and some of the top affiliate networks to join.
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 just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.

Maybe you have already done this, but if you haven’t, you should first make a list of your top 10 topical interests and passion areas. Starting an online business isn’t easy and more than likely early on it is going to test you. Especially if you are a first time online business owner, it is important to work in an area you care about. If you don’t, the odds of you quitting will greatly increase. You may not find the absolute perfect fit, but if you are passionate about some aspect of running the business, you are more than likely stick with it. If you don’t care about the chosen topic, you probably will not find the drive within yourself to persevere.


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. 

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.


Shopify has three different account types as well as standalone third-party products like themes and apps. Commissions are paid for sales of any of these products, including users who sign up for a 14-day free trial and then convert to a paid account. Shopify also has a wide range of blog posts, webinars, and video tutorials that can be linked to with the standard commission paid on any sales that are generated.

Hi Lorna! That can definitely work. Mark Ling actually got his start promoting World of Warcraft products, if memory serves me. However, it's worth noting that his success was based on spending a lot of time on marketing rather than playing the game--things like offering the one-on-one help (at least without getting something in return, like having them subscribe to your list or make a purchase) may end up eating so much of your time that your sales can't take off. But it's definitely a niche worth trying if you have tons of knowledge and passion and there are plenty of products. :-)
How To Start 3 Different Online Businesses With Just 1 Idea: Sell Products, Start a Blog & Create Passive Income (Making Money Online, Entrepreneurship & small business, business marketing), this book provides readers with a great concept. Creating 1 business can offer you three different income streams. Online you can do 3 things to make money; sell products, sell services, and collect commissions. If you are smart you will capitalize on all 3. This book will show you how to do that for $9.99.
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).
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
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.

Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich


Truth be told, many marketers don’t give affiliate marketing the respect and attention it deserves. This is partially because many marketers believe it’s synonymous with referral marketing, which is something they’re likely already doing. But the two terms are not interchangeable, and the differences are better understood once you learn how affiliate marketing programs work.

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).
This site is an example of what many sites are doing these days.  They are “niched down” into brackets of certain products, and creating an online multimedia experience in the form of an online magazine style site.  There's lots of large pictures, some videos, and it looks like a true media property.  Chances are that you'd need to hire a designer to get a similar look and feel for your own website if you were to attempt it.  From a revenue perspective, this site is more than likely doing more than six figures in total revenue if I had to take a guess, just based on their organic traffic numbers.
And if you don't have time that's up to you. Building a business and making money takes time and effort and knowledge and skill. Some of that you might have right now some of it you might have to learn. But if you won't commit the time then you can't have all or any of it and that means you can't expect hard working people to hand over their hard eanred cash to you.
Click the "get started now" button and let’s get started! (see above). Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. (Normally, if you are just starting out I recommend the basic plan but, if you are really serious about this and want more resources & power go with their Prime or Pro plan). Keep in mind, you can always upgrade your plan as you grow.
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.
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.
Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
The easiest thing to do is to sign up for an affiliate marketing network like Commission Junction. They provide a marketplace where your affiliate program will be advertised to other affiliate marketers. They also provide the tracking software for your affiliates so you don’t have to build your own tracking system. In some ways this is better because it takes care of the trust issues. Affiliates are always suspicious of whether or not they’re getting credited for the sales they generate. By having an intermediary take care of transaction tracking and payments, the fear of being cheated is alleviated. 

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.
We've partnered with The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. FLYTE teaches that we are more alike than we realize. By bridging the gap between fear and understanding, FLYTE empowers future generations by connecting them to the world.

This is real informatic information. I found this one real meaningful, wow! you truly showing the way affiliate works. I agree ad monetize can be passive income theme while affiliate can be our primary hope…I read so many articles but feels like something is hidden..but found this one real insidefull. This is showing us how our 100 bug can be harvested from from small sources. Because newbies might want to give up blogging as they are not going to earn because they thought it’s one shot income source. Thanks Sean it will really encourage every new entrepreneurs.


For example, if I talk about how cool a product is, and then you find out that I’m an affiliate for them, wouldn’t you as a conscientious observer become skeptical as to whether my information is biased, if perhaps I’m only saying how cool something is because I can get paid for it? Wouldn’t that make you question my integrity with other things I say as well?
Ready to become a future “side hustle millionaire” in online marketing, Andy and Andrew? It’s an unwritten rule that you’ll have to be mentally sharp. Achieving that goal requires you to lose weight, take vitamins, eat right, and do the transformation work as an aspiring affiliate marketer. Internet marketing is getting ready to be your full-time job and you have to be mentally prepared. Get started now on your weight loss and in the future “online millionaire mindset.” 🙂 

Finding a niche is one of the most daunting steps in an affiliate marketer’s journey. But it’s a step that can’t be overlooked or rushed through. Finding the right niche is the key to tapping into a strong buyer’s market that’s not saturated with competition. This video will walk you through several proven strategies to help you identify a niche that you can compete in (and win!).

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.
The second reason – and one that’s just as important – is that finding good niches for affiliate marketing lets you build your brand identity. If you become an affiliate marketer that tries to market everything from guitars to basketballs to barbecue sauce, you have no real identity. Finding a niche and focusing on it lets you become ‘the guitar girl’ or ‘the grilling guy’. It allows you to build a brand, a reputation, and a following. This in turn helps you get the most from your efforts at affiliate marketing.
Totally agree with your opinion on affiliate marketing. I’m in the same space myself and can tell you what it feels like to earn $1000 commissions while literally sitting on the sofa watching TV. It is absolutely mind-blowing. High-ticket commissions are what sets apart the affiliate marketers that scale their business up to six or even seven figures to the ones that only make a few thousand a month. I run a website based on digital marketing an entrepreneurship. You should check out our affiliate program – it is guaranteed to blow your mind. 🙂
Finding an affiliate program does not have to be as difficult as it sounds. In just a little bit, we’re going to discuss a few of the best affiliate marketing programs as deemed by popular use. A few general ideas to remember, however, are to look at a multitude of options and read testimonials on other individuals’ experiences. As affiliate marketers, you’re all similarly motivated, and listening to what other affiliates have to say about a program or network can help deter you from an unsuccessful or even fraudulent situation.
×