Product promotion — Lastly, we come to what you’re really here for: the opportunity to partner with organizations in selling their products for a portion of the profits. A lot of what we’ve mentioned previously will come into play when deciding exactly how to promote products. You should continue to consider your niche, audience, and goals when choosing how to promote products. You could take the route of being a real product user who reviews items on your site. People tend to trust individuals more than they do brands, and using your site as a sort of product review resource could appeal to the masses.


Which affiliate marketing program or network you sign up for, whether as a merchant or an affiliate, will have a huge impact on the success of your sales. Some programs are niche and cater largely to a certain industry, such as technology/software or retail sales. Some programs don’t pay as well as others and will, consequently, result in lower income for affiliates over time. Some programs take a larger cut of profit than others, leaving affiliates with less income. Some networks just don’t have the same features as others and can leave merchants and affiliates with fewer resources.
When you’re in the Top 100, they’re going to be more general. Google and YouTube appeal to just about everybody. As you get further down the list, and especially when you get to the second or third page, you’ll notice that they become more and more a niche and they start appealing to certain groups. Fandango is about movies. E! Online is about entertainment. Poll Daddy is a place for polls. Drudge Report is about politics. As you go down the list, you can find more and more niche sites and that’s a place that you can go to get inspiration for your niche. Obviously like I said, you’re not going to copy these sites because these are massive multimillion dollar sites. What they help you do is come up with topic ideas.
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.
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!

The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
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).

Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing – An easy to follow online course that teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It’s written by Michelle Schroder who makes $100K+ a month from her blog. A genuine super affiliate that shares her success stories and affiliate marketing techniques with her community both on her private Facebook group and on her blog.
That’s all there is to finding a niche for affiliate marketing. As you can see, this step does take quite a bit of time. It’s really important, because once you decide a niche, you’re going to be putting a lot of work into that site. It makes sense to make sure that you find a niche that has sufficient demand and that you can easily monetize. Thanks for watching this video. I’ll see you in the next one.
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).
When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.
Thank you so much! You've been an inspiration throughout. The way you wrote about TIWIB, and how they drive insane traffic from social media is mind blowing. I am amazed that even going viral on a social site like pinterest for one day can build our brand identity huge. Am I correct? Now I need to get going with my first affiliate site, come up with a unique idea and learn how to drive traffic from each source. I feel Adsense is not so rewarding.
The other competition, the one we want low, is the competition of the top 10 sites ranking in Google for that keyword. When we say low SERP Competition, it menas we are addressing the strength of the top 10 and thats made up of a series of factors which Spencer mentioned will be addressed in detail in future posts. But to name a few: Title, backlinks to page, and number of links to the ranking page. Hope that helps 🙂
LabradorTrainingHQ.com is a site that I came across when doing some competitive research for Perrin's affiliate site.  They compete for some of the same keywords, and it appears that they are monetized by the same methods (Amazon Affiliates and an Affiliate Program with Chewy.com).  This site gets more traffic than HerePup.com, but it's still another example of a smaller website doing very well.  This is a WordPress site, with a generic template/theme and (there are free themes that look just as good) it's more in the form of a Blog than an actual media property.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Find your affiliates and affiliate programs in all the right places --As humans, many of us hope to inherently trust one another. We’d like to believe that someone’s word is good. That a check will cash. That we’ll again see the man who said he’d pay us tomorrow. If you’ve spent even a smidgeon of time working as a freelancer, you know this isn’t always the case. People pay late, if at all. You turn in work, and the source contests it. In order to avoid disappointment and fraud, make sure you are using a legitimate network to find both merchants and affiliates.
To refresh your knowledge you might remember that context ads earn you money for each person who visits your site and clicks on the ads. The ad network automatically generates the ads and you insert them into your site just by copying a small piece of code. The biggest context ad network is Google AdSense, so a lot of people (including us!) will use the word "AdSense" when they're really talking about "context ads" in general.

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).
Let's take your info regarding the Yoga niche - I am thinking of making a main Word Press page myself and then build individual pages using software mentioned on your blog called "speedxxx" (can't remember full name 555) These pages can be quickly constructed and easily linked to each other via contextual links. Obviously making sure each page-product are closely related plus the normal traffic generation techniques, do you think this is a viable way to build an authority site Stuart and also overcome this idea that some Amazon products sell whereas some don't?

Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[37]
Designing and developing your blog / niche site – When it comes to themes and designing your blog/website, if you want to go big, and get real pro right out of the gate, I suggest you look into the Rainmaker Platform, which is what THIS website is built with. To keep things a little more simple, once you’ve got started with Bluehost, you can visit StudioPress to get your site looking pretty.
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
Which affiliate marketing program or network you sign up for, whether as a merchant or an affiliate, will have a huge impact on the success of your sales. Some programs are niche and cater largely to a certain industry, such as technology/software or retail sales. Some programs don’t pay as well as others and will, consequently, result in lower income for affiliates over time. Some programs take a larger cut of profit than others, leaving affiliates with less income. Some networks just don’t have the same features as others and can leave merchants and affiliates with fewer resources.
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.
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
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.  
Plus, consumers are more likely to rely on a trusted source for brand information than they are an advertisement. In the current state of influencers and rampant review sites, we’re looking to real people’s opinions more than we are static advertisements or TV commercials. With your affiliates comes the trust of networks they’ve previously established.
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.
.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.
The other competition, the one we want low, is the competition of the top 10 sites ranking in Google for that keyword. When we say low SERP Competition, it menas we are addressing the strength of the top 10 and thats made up of a series of factors which Spencer mentioned will be addressed in detail in future posts. But to name a few: Title, backlinks to page, and number of links to the ranking page. Hope that helps 🙂
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.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
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.
Nearly everyone knows that some 25% of all online sales, and for many book titles 50% or more of their sales [source] happen on Amazon.com. Amazon also ranks books by sales, and I thought it’d be interesting to go to the e-tail giant’s website, and see what are the top five books on affiliate marketing. If we go there, choose “Book” as category, and search for “affiliate marketing”:
SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.
One thing alot of ppl don’t know is that their small blog and writing about things that are passionate to their heart can yield them healthy affiliate income vs what they’re earning on the day job now in as little as 2 years. The key to success in affiliate marketing if you’re generating income via a content-based WordPress blog or static HTML website is to frequently update it with “lots and lots of content” Transformational content marketing in a specific niche is possible for anyone who has 0% experience writing online.
This is an Amazon Affilaite Website that has really niched down into specifically, as the name implies, kids tablets with Wifi. These are high priced items that produce high commissions in a huge market, children. What is the best tablet for kids? Do you give them an ipad? What if it breaks? Is there a cheaper option? These are all questions that this site helps with. It runs like a blog, but with a relatively simple design. It’s hard to tell if they have produced much new content because they don’t include dates with their blog posts. However this site is just one blog, with three additional pages for “Best Tablets for Kids”, “Kids Tablet Reviews” and “Kids Tablet Comparisons” all of which are likely keyword researched names. It’s likely the niched down keyword research to bring in the traffic, because the content while good, is relatively short with 300-500 words per post.

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.
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 network is, again, contested by some as to whether it’s truly a part of the affiliate marketing conglomerate. But for good measure, we’ll discuss it. The network is essentially the middle man used to manage this exchange. The network helps accomplish such tasks as payment processing, tracking technology, reporting solutions, and can serve as a repository of available affiliates.
Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
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!
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
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Over the course of 6 months I’ve made $1300 with Amazon Affiliates alone with the majority of that coming from about 15 different posts. Each month I am seeing a steady and slow increase in my affiliate earnings as I continue to create content that recommends helpful products, even when my traffic is lower. My DA is at 39 and I average about 100,000 page views every month.
I'm not saying that as a recipe blog owner that you need to keep up with what the Food Network is doing. But, you do need to understand that pictures are required if you want to have success in that niche. Looking at all of the popular indie blogs on the topic will make that clear. Are you willing to MAKE the recipes you'll be blogging about and take pictures of them? Are you ready to invest in a good camera and spend time reading tutorials learning how to take better pictures? Every niche you look into will have a “minimum” formula across the successful indie blogs within them. Make sure you're willing to meet it. If not, you're going into the niche without the ability to truly compete and wasting your time.

Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.
In the popular ‘An Hour a Day format’, this guide features a detailed, real-world, task-based approach to developing, launching, and managing a successful affiliate marketing program. It explores market research, determining payment models and reporting guidelines, recruiting affiliates, crafting appropriate communications, and much more. Affiliate marketing programs help boost marketing efforts without incurring excessive costs. This ‘Hour a Day guide’ provides everything merchants, business owners, and those charged with managing an affiliate program need to know.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
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.
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