Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 
The most popular gadgets at the moment always seem to revolve around the mobile phone. Even though a gadget may be trending today, then gone the following month – another invention always pops up to take its place. Manufacturing companies are always looking for ways to improve current designs or come up with completely new ideas to make our lives that much better.
Nick Loper is a veteran affiliate marketer, author, and a lifelong student in the game of business.  His latest role is as Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, a growing community of part-time business owners. Need a leg-up in getting your biz off the ground but short on time? Grab Nick’s free "Cliff’s Notes"-style guide to the world’s best business books here. Follow Nick on Twitter at @nloper.
However, unlike Google AdSense or WordAds, you get to choose which brands you partner with and what specific products you link to. For example, many book bloggers (myself included) incorporate affiliate links for a title when they review a book. If someone chooses to purchase that title after reading the review, the blogger gets a small percentage of that sale. It also means bloggers have complete control over the products they endorse, which takes some of the smarminess out of advertising. For example, here on Lectito, I only include affiliate links for products I use and love.
Thanks for this guide, it is very helpful. I was wondering if you could help me with one query. I am taking your gravity advice into consideration, filtering to a range of 5-25; however, I find that this excludes almost every product in most of the criteria I am interested in. Is this likely to change at any point; I assume the gravity is updated regularly?
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:
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!
The best review sites (like BestReviews.com buy them all independently and test them without bias) but anyway, you could always review products you already own and use (recommended) or just not focus on product reviews at all, it's just one of 1000's of ways to make money as you should be able to see from the post that shares endless examples of ways people make money other than reviewing products.
Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum.  They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche.  The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts.  Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers.  While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
I started out with checking the potential of affiliate offers in affiliate networks. I checked search volumes and competition using Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google search results. If there wasn't a lot of competition, I'd set up my site. Most of my early niche affiliate sites were in the fashion market promoting physical products like women's winter boots for example.

A few years ago I didn’t know anything about making money with affiliate marketing but a guy showed me on his website that I could make money by promoting products on Amazon and I was astonished. Then I found the Wealthy Affiliate training that taught me step-by-step how I could make money with affiliate marketing as well. I’m glad I started the training and took action because it changed my life. Now I can travel around the world while making money online. I would be more than happy to help you as well. I love to see when people succeed. 

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.

FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.


Generally speaking, we recommend keeping your site focused on one niche. Otherwise you'll confuse your readers and hurt your brand. You're better off with separate sites for separate categories The exception to this might be if you promoted SEO/web hosting/other digital products that would aid people from your primary niche (say, dog training for example) who want to build their own businesses using affiliate marketing. There needs to be some sort of clear connection about how the products and niches relate.
This site will not get penalized because they are within Google Adsense guidelines for number of ads. You are allowed 3 block ad units (this site has 2 at the top and one in the sidebar). You are ALSO allowed 2 link units (in addition to the 3 ad units) – for a total of 5 adsense units total. The link unit on this site is at the top where a regular navigation bar goes. So in reality, this site could actually have 1 more link unit on their site that is not shown in this screenshot. Hope that helps.
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
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]

In this example, a blogger might put this link on their blog to try to get their readers to click through to your “blue widget” page and hopefully buy something. If the visitor who clicks on this link actually buys something, affiliate tracking software will automatically (usually – depends on what system you are using) pay your affiliate a percentage of the sale.
Second, he's able to attract people who are searching for those particular products in the search engines. If they search for those products they might end up on one of his review pages, where they would read his negative review of the product.  The affiliate hopes to make the customer reconsider their decision to buy the product and question what alternatives are available. In fact the affiliate has (quite cleverly) anticipated this response, and placed a number of his high-earning "five star" recommended products at the bottom of the page. Readers of the review can click through to his favorable reviews of these products, or simply go through to the merchant site directly
Should you attempt to get into the Financial niche?  Personally, this isn't a niche that I would consider.  Financial niches are extremely competitive, and while they are very lucrative if your site ranks, it's going to cost a lot more time and money to get your site in a place where you are making a consistent income.  With that being said, if you are a certified financial expert, or you already have a social media following for financial topics, it may be “easier” to start a site, get backlinks and hit the ground running.  If you are strictly going to start a website about student loans, or buying a house – expect there to be lots of competition.  I have no doubts that NerdWallet is making over 7 figures per month.
On the other hand, the more appealing your niche is, the harder it is to break into. If you go too competitive, you’ll never carve out your space. This is why I abandoned my shoe niche! To continue our cooking example, a quick Google search tells me there are thousands of cooking blogs out there. I would need to identify a more specific cooking niche to stand out. It’s also easier to find your audience if you write for a niche that’s not so well-known. That way, you can rise through the ranks faster with less effort.
So this is a niche I guess. This is an interesting example of a site built around a high price item that I could see people willing to buy online rather than a store. This doesn’t leave a lot of room to expand into other hot tub areas, but if your focus is “inflatable hot tubs” then go for it. I can’t imagine they update it too often, the last time seems to be August 2015, but what’s new in the world of inflatable hot tubs?
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.
Because of the budget they have, this site has the capacity to purchase products and pay independent reviewers to review each product and take pictures for their article.  Many of their articles are extensively researched, and it's not uncommon to see some of their articles with more than 7,000 words on a topic.  This is one of the biggest examples of a successful Amazon niche website, and based on the estimated traffic, they are more than likely earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per month, if not millions – a far cry from my recent FBA venture and business sale.
.I’m a pregnant stay home mum looking for how to earn extra money.I have tried to start a blog but it seems not to pay as I expected. So I met this guy that wants me to market his packaging,archive box and printing company and to pay me per comission.So needed to educate myself and find this post.its amazing how you are able to put all this I one post.very educative.
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.

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?
Some bloggers are uncomfortable with the idea of including advertising on their site, especially if that advertising doesn’t bring a significant return, and affiliate marketing isn’t for them. However, even if you’re comfortable with including advertising on your site, for the vast majority of book bloggers, affiliate marketing is never going to be a large, reliable source of revenue. As in, the chances of being able to quit your day job and live off your earnings are slim to none. However, if you have the attitude that you might receive the occasional small bonus in your bank account, then go for it! Your earnings might even get you a lil’ somethin’ special next time you visit the bookshop.
GOOD - Affiliate Links to all products are in the description of the video. TechDeals often refers to their video description links, pointing users in the direction of where they can get their hands on the products. He even uses NewEgg Affiliate, to give users a price comparison between the same product- but still earning a commission on either site.
Our program is built to provide our affiliate partners with an easy way to find and track their CMI and CMI event promotional efforts. It’s free to join and easy to get started. To start earning $100 on sales you refer, join the program through the link below. Add our links and banners to your website, social media channels, emails and newsletters to start spreading the word about events and valuable content marketing products. CMI gives you the assets – all you need to do is share with your community.
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.
Affiliate marketing is actually really simple; you promote, or even just mention someone else’s product. Then someone comes along, clicks the link you provide, buys the product, and you get a commission on the sale, which is sometimes as high as 75% of the price of the product! Affiliate marketing can be a powerful tool to make large amounts of money, without doing a lot of work. However, while affiliate marketing is an easy concept, you need to know what you are doing. There are specific, proven strategies and steps that you must follow in order to build a successful affiliate marketing business online. Lots of people try affiliate marketing for the first time and fail, because they don’t have the roadmap to follow.

I’ll talk about adding advertising to your book blog in the next post in this series (hey, there’s no reason to limit yourself to one source of income!), but, in the meantime, you may want to check out How You Can Make Money Promoting My Ebooks (and other people’s too), a post I did a couple of months ago. It talks more about Smashwords, in particular, and how to find authors offering high affiliate percentages over there.


It's easy! After you've registered as an Affiliate, you'll place code in the pages of your web site to display text or banner links (it's your choice!) to Booksamillion.com. The links will contain an account code unique to you to ensure that you get credit for sales that are generated by your site. When a visitor clicks a link and makes a purchase on our site, Commission Junction tracks your code and calculates your commission.
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. 

Let's pretend you love to cook and want to create a recipe blog. “Recipes” is a very competitive arena to build a brand new brand in. So you may want to narrow the focus a bit and choose a specific recipe style – low carb recipes, Paleo recipes, recipes portioned for one (AKA single people living alone), low-fat recipes, dessert recipes, holiday recipes, etc. Almost every broad niche has multiple sub-sects within it that may hold an opportunity for you. That said, I'd ensure the domain and brand you go with have the ability to expand into wider content and monetization opportunities as your brand grows.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
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. 

TechRadar is a huge website devoted to reviewing the latest technology trends. The site has dedicated review sections for literally every kind of piece of technology you can image, including consoles, smart phones, tablets and laptops. They also product very informative articles about different items, helping you make a valid choice when choosing a product. 

Affiliates work to introduce their visitors to the merchant’s brand. They might write a post about a new product or promotion on the merchant’s site, feature banner ads on their site that drive people to the merchant’s site, or offer visitors a special coupon code. If people come from that affiliate’s site and make a purchase, that affiliate gets paid.
For example, we have Trip Advisor at the 140th spot. What you’d want to do is say, “What about travel? Is that a niche I might explore?” and then follow the next steps I’m going to show you. The next thing you want to do, once you have an idea, is head over to Quora.com, which is a crowdsource question/answer site. You want to put ‘travel’ into the search field. Then look at some of the top questions that come up in Quora search results. The reason you’re doing this is you’re taking the broad niche of travel and finding smaller niches that you can create sites around, and then monetize with affiliate offers. For example, we have this question here by Sameer: What are the best travel hacks? That’s a niche right there, travel hacks. Instead of covering all of travel, you can cover things like frequent flier miles, how to travel on the cheap, things like that. We also look at this question here: What are the most surreal places one can ever visit? You could focus on surreal destinations. Is India a good travel destination? You could have a blog or a site that covers traveling in India. These are just ways that you can brainstorm different niches under this greater niche.
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.
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!
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.
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!
The site has a lot of links, and the long form content that the site showcases is one of the reasons why it ranks so well.  Most of the content on the site is extremely focused, and very informative.  It's pretty typical that an article on this site is over 2,000 words.  While longer content doesn't always mean better, Google does base some of its ranking factors on how much content is on the page that covers the topic in its entirety.  The more in-depth the article, the more likely the user is to find the answer they were looking for, which is why this website has so many articles that rank very well.  Each article is very complete and provides great information on the topic.  If I had to guess, the site is probably making over $20k per month based on traffic estimates.
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