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HerePup.com is another public case study that was released by one of my former employees, Perrin.  Perrin is no stranger to affiliate sites, as he was the public case study for Niche Site Project 2, and built an authority site in the shaving niche.  This site was one he started building while he was still working for me, and the traffic took off.  The site was performing very well for him for quite some time, when he decided to sell the site to several outside investors.  
Good article! I think there are a lot of hopeful “wannabes” who want to get everything without doing the work. You don’t have to have 10+ years of experience or be the all-knowing guru at the top of the mountain, but you do have to be willing to invest in the effort that is required to be successful. However, I have made good headway into a number of niches by going against the grain. If they say you should post a lot on your current activity, I don’t. I tell my audience why I don’t, I make sure that they understand that I am different. Sometimes, however, to establish trust and rapport with your audience, you do need to offer some kinds of proof or authority. Its very difficult to fake these and its better if you know something about what you’re doing. Once you have more experience, it becomes easier to enter a niche and position yourself as an expert. It’s funny but you tend to get smarter and absorb more information as you move up in the internet marketing world. Thanks for the great information!
While there are plenty of websites out there that are doing extremely well, here is a list of 22 websites that I've pulled together for you that I either know are doing very well, or I suspect they are doing very well based on traffic.  I am not sure what tactics they are utilizing to achieve the heavy amounts of traffic they receive, but I can tell that they get lots of traffic and with that traffic, a good amount of monthly recurring income.  Let's dive in with 22 examples in no particular order.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
I stumbled upon this niche by way of Amazon’s daily emails that are sent when you purchase from Amazon. Inside those emails, there are product recommendations based on your searches within their site and one of those suggestions were these snack helmets. After some initial research (keyword, domain, niche passion etc.), I decided to go after this niche and build the website.
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.
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.

VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.
Here’s the deal – in our chosen example of ‘how to kiteboard’, there were just over 96,000 websites that popped up in a simple Google search on the keyword. Plus – I hit the refresh button 10-times and the only two PPC ad’s for the same keyword were the only two ad’s that were shown on each attempt. Meaning, there is very little ‘paid for’ competition.

Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser's website.


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.
A niche is a segment of a market you can identify and target. As a rule of thumb, there will be less competition if you choose a narrow niche. Chances are the best domain names are already taken for the most popular niches, and generating traffic will be harder. For example, competition is intense in the diet and fitness niche, and you’ll have to work really hard to rank well in search engines and attract volumes of traffic. However, there are thousands of narrower niches in these fields where you’ll be able to make good money as an affiliate marketer. Examples would include paleo diets, fitness for the over 60s and losing weight after pregnancy.
We don't really have any dedicated Amazon Affiliates training program. It's a little bit different than the sort of affiliate marketing training we normally provide, because we usually focus on just a few key products in specific niches, not the many, many items available through Amazon. Setting up your site will be similar in many ways, at least on the technical side of things. How you approach content and your overall marketing strategy may be different, though.
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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.
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.
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.

MaxBounty works exclusively with digital products, usually about giving one’s email or signing up for a newsletter. MaxBounty has CPA, Pay-per-call, and CPL campaigns that you can choose from. MaxBounty is involved in a large number of verticals, including market research, real estate, social games, finance, dating, and diet, but is primarily designed for marketers seeking to acquire new leads.


Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]
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.
Another brand who has mastered the art of referral is Uber. Each user is given their own referral program, which gives not only the current user but also the newly-referred customer, a free trip. Because of this Uber take the cake in ride-sharing apps and services. Other similar services have adopted such programs and have also seen a large increase in users.
Thanks Doug Cunnington for the nice list. I am going to create my first niche site. As I am a WordPress developer, I will create a custom theme for my niche site. I checked all the above links. I think all are the same type of niche sites. The difference is less upon them. Actually, I am searching for an extraordinary, uncommon site. From where I can get an idea. Can you please suggest me any website that you think is different from common niche site? Who are following a different strategy than general niche site. Thanks again for everything.
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!
What do you think about when you hear the phrase, “most profitable niches“? Surely you’re thinking about products with a high-value price tag, right? So that’s why we have included the category, expensive hobbies in our list, and not just any hobbies in general. These are hobbies that can involve golfing or even flying drones – where the equipment are pretty pricey, and so your take-home commission will make you smile from ear to ear.
I’ve just got to hear about affiliate marketing and am really a newbie to this matter. The post above was so great and helpful for a person like me. I also took a look at locationrebel which seemed very exciting to me. I wonder if those courses and blueprints are still applicable because as far as I’ve seen, the reviews and testimonials all refer to the year 2013. It was the only reason that hold me back from joining the Locationrebel. I would be very thankful if you help me with this matter.
I believe you need a disclaimer if you include Amazon affiliate links on your site, but you only require a privacy policy if you also collect data (name, email address, etc.) from your readers. Here’s a link that may help: https://termsfeed.com/blog/disclaimer-amazon-associates/ Partnering with Book Depository has been a good experience for me. It’s really easy to create links and their affiliate portal is very user friendly.
Affiliate networks administer programs for individual merchants, handling all the work involved, while generally providing tracking and reporting capabilities to their affiliates to help them keep tabs on their revenues and determine which products or services are producing the best returns. These tools can be helpful to an affiliate in fine-tuning the line of products she decides to promote on her site and, ideally, increasing revenues as a result.
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.

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]
Now Tom's Hardware publishes their own reviews, and on top of their display ad revenue, they are making a significant portion of money from Amazon Affiliate links.  The site is already well known for reliable content about Personal Computing, so it made sense to turn up the content generation to attract more organic search volume.  It would be tough to estimate monthly revenue for this site, but it's highly likely that it generates 7 figures per month. 

What do you think about when you hear the phrase, “most profitable niches“? Surely you’re thinking about products with a high-value price tag, right? So that’s why we have included the category, expensive hobbies in our list, and not just any hobbies in general. These are hobbies that can involve golfing or even flying drones – where the equipment are pretty pricey, and so your take-home commission will make you smile from ear to ear.
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 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.
This is a great example of a top notch review site. They start at the homepage notifying that they make affiliate commissions, but provide top end reviews from independent reviewers. This is great to be honest up front. In addition to being transparent, they also take the content is king strategy. I randomly clicked on their “Top Home Projector” post where they reviewed (and linked) to several high end home theater projectors. Keep in mind that these high priced items produce high commissions. That may explain why they spent the time to write a 5,000 word post on it. This site seems to do everything right in being a prime example of an Amazon Affiliate Website. This site now has over 60 staff members working for it.
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