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).
With that being said, the traffic that this site earns for having so few posts is extremely impressive.  There have been a number of other websites that have attempted to achieve the same success with the same tactics, but haven't had the same results that 10beasts.com has had with regards to rankings.  While it's tough to estimate the income, I'd guess it was in the 30K to 50K per month range because of all the traffic the primary articles receive.  They are highly purchased items online (gaming mice and wireless routers), making this an extremely profitable affiliate site.  While I may not recommend trying to get links via scholarship links, there's no doubt that Google has ranked this site very well due to those links.  The content is not as good as some other in-depth articles, but they are very tuned in to the specific keywords they are trying to rank for.

If one of your readers clicks on the link and goes on to purchase the book or ebook, you’ll receive a percentage of the sales price (it varies from retailer to retailer, but 5-7% is about average for books). You’ll also get a cut of other purchases the buyer may make during that shopping trip (with booksellers, there’s usually a 24-48 hour window during which you’ll get credit).
Book review sites have long been a profitable type of site to run. GoodReads was one of the most popular book review sites and Amazon agreed, purchasing it for hundreds of millions of dollars. Kirkus Reviews follows the trend of reviewing every single book out there and each page contains an affiliate link to Amazon. When you choose a product like books, you'll never run out of new products to review!
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[4][5]
Joining our affiliate program is free and easy to get started. Since we have partnered with TUNE by HasOffers, which is a leading provider of affiliate links and program tracking, you will have access to all the tools you need to start earning through your partnership. Once you join the program, you will gain access to custom tracking links, in a single, simple line of code. You can add the pre-coded lines of HTML code to your website for simple creative banner tracking and use your custom tracking URL links by replacing your regular URL links with affiliate text links within your articles and social media posts. If you run into problems or have questions, you can contact your dedicated affiliate management team for support. 

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.
This is a superb site, and I think well needed for those that are very interested in affiliate marketing to make money online. The site presented very professionally and laid out. I would venture to say though that if I were a beginner looking for how to do and be successful with an affiliate site. I think I would be a little overwhelmed. And while I understand if I were looking I would be searching all the details, so from the site, I would contact the author for a question. If this was the aim, then its well executed.
Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….

If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 
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.

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.
Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money.  This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website.  That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month.  In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.

Amazon Affiliate Sites are raking in the cash by taking part in the Amazon Associates program, or otherwise known as Amazon Affiliates. Absolutely anyone can take part in this program and start monetising their website within minutes. Below we are going to look at some of the most successful sites involved in the program so you can see exactly what they're doing right so you can know how to become a successful amazon affiliate.
SellHealth — SellHealth is a health affiliate network. It’s free for affiliates to join, should their applications be accepted. All of SellHealth’s sales are made through company-owned websites, meaning affiliates don’t need to facilitate sales on their own sites. This eliminates the possibility of error and increases consumer trust, as they are sent to a legitimate brand site to complete their purchases.
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.
Have relatable products to the content on the site. Don't advertise the latest video games for sale on a site that's about fishing. The traffic coming to your site is full of potential customers which have clicked on your site for a reason; the site content. Having products which relate to that content can dramtically increase your amazon affiliate earnings.
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).
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. 

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.


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.

One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals.
Products and services in these evergreen niches are always in demand because people are always looking for solutions to specific problems in their day-to-day lives. You'll want to operate in one or two sub-niches, to begin with, because it is impossible to make meaningful offers in such gigantic broad categories. In the example above, "group fitness for women" is much more targeted than "how to lose weight". It's easy to tackle a sub-niche within a large niche then grow from there.
Taking the financial analysis a stage further, think about the potential profits you can make from each affiliate sale. You’ll have to sell hundreds of low priced items to make a reasonable return, and it may be better to promote premium products where one sale could generate hundreds of dollars. For example, an ebook on cat breeding tips might generate five dollars in commission for each sale. An ebook detailing a profitable gambling system might sell for ten times more and net you much higher commissions.
Affiliate Marketing is based on revenue sharing and is a type of incentives program. The goal of marketing is to build an alliance with a brand, product, service, or company, and market these services to people online. The Affiliated Marketing consultant shares in a percentage of the company’s profits in exchange for bringing them valued business and gained exposure. The same marketing advertising concepts used in television and print ads are applied here, only the platform that is used to entice and attract the consumers is on the internet.

On your path to become an affiliate marketer, it isn’t always going to be an easy job. A lot of time and hard work must be dedicated to promoting relevant offers and helping the targeted audience. Some of the pros, however, are never having to create products, just drive the traffic to someone else’s products and earn money while not worrying about any customer support.


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.


It can mean sharing it on your social media profiles. It can mean including a few articles or video in your weekly newsletter that relate to your products. It can mean going on internet forums and replying to individuals whose questions you know how to answer. It can mean writing a guest post that gets your name and website name onto another person’s site, expanding your reach to their network as well.
I found a good potential niche relating to a game that I've been playing for several years. It has several products in clickbank so far with good gravity and I also have tons of experience in this particular game, as I used to have one of the top characters in both PVP and gold (until my character was hacked) I recently started over with a new account and new character, but since I've recently changed my school schedule to part time, I'll have the time to rebuild to where I was before (and beyond) and am able to create a site dedicated to teaching new players the basics and could potentially integrate some paid game guides and membership sites into my site. Is this a good plan, since it's highly searched for (hundreds of thousands of monthly searches for terms I would be using), slightly high competition, but I have some SEO experience being a marketing student and network marketer already, and something that I'm highly interested in and active on almost daily ( the only time I don't play daily is if I'm sick or have a heavy homework load)? I would also be linking to my character to allow fellow players to friend me and be willing to team with new players on occasion to help them out one on one with more difficult in-game tasks such as group quests, once my character reaches max level again.
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I’m a college student looking to understand how niche websites work. I have tuition due and would love to figure out how they work. I’ve already went to your website to read the information and I just have one question depending on my learning curve how long typically does it take for an individual to make a successful niche site and make start earning income?

Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.
Affiliate marketing is referral marketing in a sense, but instead of using word of mouth, every referral is automated online. Where referrals usually come from friends or family, sales that come from affiliate marketing may have no personal relationship with the person who referred them. That’s because anyone can click a link and be directed to a product on your site without the affiliate’s knowledge.

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.
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.
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.

You only have to look at some of the most popular videos on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to know just how much people love animals. It is difficult to get through the day without coming across at least one cute cat or dog video. And people just love their pets! They treat them like part of the family, and even when it comes to shopping for their pets – they really do know how to spend!


Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
This twice-monthly publication is apparently full of "informative articles, a question and answer section, site updates and more." This affiliate will probably use this e-zine either as an additional place to promote affiliate products or to get his readers back to his website by providing snippets of new articles with a "read more" link. By getting readers back to his site he's able to expose them to more promotions.
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.
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. 

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.
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. 🙂
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.
Reviews traditionally do a great job of converting (turning clicks on links into sales on the other end) for you. If you’re going to do a review, you’ll want to include at least one affiliate link to the book in the post. Unless you’re participating in an author’s blog tour or some such, you may want to avoid linking to the author’s various sites and social media pages. It’s up to you, but the fewer things in the post there are to click, the more likely people will click your affiliate links (you can always link to favorite authors in a blogroll list over on your menu).
If you want more proof that affiliate marketing works, look no further than some of the best affiliate programs on the internet. Ebay, Target, Jet, and Walmart all offer handsome rewards for directing online sales, with Target’s potential rate topping off at a whopping 8% for apparel items. Most of the top paying affiliate programs are tiered, which means your rate will depend on categories (baby, shoes, household, etc) and the number of sales you’re responsible for in a given time period.
Online presence — A major step in becoming an affiliate marketer is having your online presence up and running. This includes a website or blog and any social media profiles you deem necessary to the promotion of these products. If you’re unsure or need direction on how to build a professional website, check out our pillar page on how to make a website from scratch. You can create a website through a website builder, which will host your site and allow you to purchase a unique domain name.
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.

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.
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.
While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products.  This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com.  Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product.  If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent.  Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article).  If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.

If you are new to affiliate marketing or you’ve been at it for years, I would love to hear about your affiliate marketing examples in the comments below! As you grow your blog and business, don’t forget to take the time to learn from other successful affiliate marketing websites. Affiliate marketing is not rocket science, and you don’t need to “reinvent the wheel.” You can literally learn everything you need to know from other successful affiliate marketers!

Rakuten helps you handle it all. It offers influencer campaign management that aids in influencer recruitment with detailed reporting and campaign insights that can spur users into action. It offers blogger and client networking to help professionals further build up their networks. Rakuten is trusted by brands such as Best Buy, Macy’s, Walmart, ecco, Dialogtech, and more.


The method is not as complicated as you might think. In fact, it’s ridiculously simple enough for you to follow. This blueprint will coach you on the methods step by step. And then, you can build up your own subscribers list and get instant commission for each product you promote as an affiliate. Regardless of day time or night time, you can generate income anytime as long as there is a deal done through your affiliate link!

Leadpages claims that its affiliate program is not exclusively for affiliate marketers, which is true, but the narrow focus of this niche means that only professionals affiliate marketers will ever be able to earn significant income from the program. Leadpages’s affiliate program does offer quite a lot of different options (webinars, videos, blog posts, free marketing courses, etc.) to send referrals to, which can lead to higher conversion rates if done correctly.
Whereas health, finances, and romance are affiliate-friendly niches because they touch our daily lives, you can also be successful if you target popular hobbies. Sports are a good candidate, because many of them extend beyond state and national borders, giving you a massive audience from the outset. However, be careful to choose hobby-oriented sports instead of big-time spectator sports like football and basketball.
Internet Retailer Top 500 merchant, JanSport, partnered with Rakuten Marketing on a series of cross-channel marketing campaigns promoting the launch of its Disney Collection, which features popular Disney characters on JanSport apparel and accessories. The campaigns, executed across search, display and affiliate strategies, leveraged valuable consumer data and insights to focus on shoppers who expressed the most interest in Disney themed products.
Some well-known brands that use ClixGalore for their affiliate offerings are Bluehost, Time Life, Trend Micro, Citibank, and Fox Sports Shop. While not as widely known as some of the other affiliate networks, ClixGalore is a solid network that offers thousands of potential merchant programs. The network also offers a two-tier network. By referring other affiliates to the network, current affiliates can receive a portion of their earnings.
While their top keyword that they get organic traffic for is about Baby Monitors, articles like these that are monetized via Amazon Affiliates are only a fraction of site revenue.  I'm sure that display ads make up the bulk of their income, either through an ad network or selling their own advertising space.  It does appear that they are currently monetized with adsense, but that could be part of their monetization strategy with any larger ad network.  There are larger ad networks out there that typically deliver a higher RPM than just Adsense these days, so that's something that every website owner with some serious traffic should look at.  Overall the traffic that Fatherly.com generates every month is extremely impressive.
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.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[21] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
If you feel like this is not working out, this is not something you’re interested in or not something you want to be involved in, you can go back to Qauntcast, look at another site, and see what that broad niche is, and then repeat the process. You can also do the same thing at Yahoo! Answers, which is like an old-school version of Quora, but they actually have a lot of good questions that are asked there that can lead you into smaller niches. Just Google ‘Yahoo! Answers’, click on the first result. Then you want to type in the same keyword you used at Quora in Yahoo! Answers and click on Search Answers. Under the search result, you want to choose Most Answers. Of course, there’s going to be some questions in here that don’t really make sense for your niche, but there’ll be some gems in here too. For example we have this: What are your 10 must visit travel destinations around the world? That could be a blog topic right there. You could create a blog about travel destinations that you should visit before you die. You cover the most popular ones or some maybe that are great but not as well known. What was your most memorable beach or seaside vacation? You could create a blog about the greatest beach or seaside destinations in the world.

If you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you will appreciate the overview, advice, and pointers. For me the book was way too basic and was not polished (lacking solid editing) like I expected from a book available on Amazon. It promoted a few affiliate management software products which felt salesy and out of place. I agree with the comments that the content switched back and forth between being an affiliate and running an affiliate program for your site. The book was OK and serves a purpose, so 3 stars is my review.
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? 

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. 
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This site is ranking very well for a very competitive keyword.  They are primarily monetized by adsense as outlined here; however, in the navigation bar, I also boxed a link that takes the visitor to another website owned by the same person/company.  Its obvious as there is quite a bit of interlinking between these 2 sites and actually several other websites as well. The Adsense placement is good on this site.  Its above the fold and within the content.  This probably gets a pretty good click through rate.
This book is written in a question-and-answer format, which makes it especially simple for the affiliate marketing beginner. I found myself nodding right along with the list of questions, presented in the table of contents—it’s comforting to see the questions that you’re asking yourself laid out for you. Now you know that you’re not the only one wondering these things.
LinkConnector is something of a mixed bag, so it’s probably best for experienced affiliates who have become disillusioned with other networks and are looking to expand. LinkConnector’s bizarre mix of high-quality products and a low-quality dashboard make it hard to truly assess its viability, but their exclusive deals with some vendors can make it a true home run for publishers working in certain niches.
I have far better luck when I incorporate affiliate links into the body of a post. For example, if I’m writing about editing tips, I’ll mention that I use Grammarly and include a link like this one so that readers can try it out for themselves. However, you don’t want to be too spammy about this, which is why I think it helps to focus on products that you know and use and think will be of value to your readers.
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!
One huge red flag is any company that promises you a “get rich quick” marketing strategy. Although affiliate marketing can be good money, it’s by no means instantaneous. Stay away from anything that sounds too good to be true. Also, stay away from any merchant that wants to charge you startup costs. Additionally, use established affiliate programs to find your merchants. Read reviews and ask around. You’re not the only person trying to supplement income with this marketing strategy, so there are plenty of other professionals with whom to crowdsource. 

Continuing with the recipe blog scenario, I'd be comfortable with that because it has tons of potential to market a variety of products: pots, pans, cooking utensils (like particular measuring spoons or spatulas), kitchen appliances (like handheld mixers or crockpots), specialty foods (recommend a specific oil that is hard to find – link to it at Amazon), aprons, cookbooks, cutlery sets, bakeware – this list goes on and on. I love niches like this that have few limitations on what you can market and tons of potential merchants to partner with. I've already discussed how to make money from a blog once you can confirm there are things you can market.

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An affiliate agreement is when a company or an individual agrees to pay you for successful referrals. For example, Amazon has a massive affiliates program where they pay you a percentage of the sales you generate using their affiliate links. Affiliate marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, we’re able to offer our own Blogging Mentorship Program for free because Bluehost sends us money for every customer we refer.
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