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.
Do you remember 1997? That’s when this website was created. You could maybe tell from the website homepage that looks more like About.com than a review website, then again they have over 1.5 million pages indexed. Don’t make the same mistake I did, this isn’t a door and sink hardware company, this is computer hardware for hardcore nerds who build their own computers. I’m sure this site is at the forefront of every build-it-myself computer geek out there (I’m one ). The site is now owned by Purch, the same people who own TopTenReviews. These guys have really got a good handle on successful Amazon Affiliate Websites.
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.
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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.
Thanks for the great info and many examples. If a picture is worth 1000 words, 17 excellent examples are worth gazillions!! BTW, your use of “persona” was 100% correct. While a persona can be fake or deceptive (eg, “she adopted a meek persona every time he was around, but in reality, she was anything but…”), but it in no way implies that person behind it is not real. The more general meaning of the term is any character or personality presented outwardly, as to an audience or the public, and that is precisely how you used the word here.
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.
JVZoo was founded in 2011 and has since rocketed to near the top as one of the most popular affiliate programs out there. JVZoo is unusual in that there are no upfront costs for either publishers or merchants (advertisers). JVZoo’s income is exclusively from charging fees (to both the merchant and the affiliate) after a sale has been made. It is also unusual in that it pays commissions “instantly” via PayPal rather than once a week/fortnight/month like other affiliate programs.
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.

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).


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There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.
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. 

StudioPress itself is somewhat of a niche product as it is targeted to existing WordPress users who found setting up and managing a WordPress site too difficult or time-consuming. StudioPress prides itself on being easy to use, but their main claim to fame is that their hosted websites are “faster and more secure” than other WordPress hosting companies as well as using the “Genesis framework” which is supposedly more SEO friendly than other WordPress builds.

Some affiliate products won’t have their affiliate information so readily available. If you can’t find an affiliates link on the product page try to the ClickBank Marketplace, and you should be able to find the product you’re looking for. For example if we try the keyword "Muscle" we'll see all the usual suspects. If we scroll down the page a little we can see another of the affiliate's recommended products “Muscle Gaining Secrets” you can see that this affiliate is earning $38.53 on each sale he refers from his page which works out to be 50% of the list price of $77 - not bad.

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.
From just the one keyword, this websites is probably getting close to 20k hits per month.  I am sure they are generating just as much traffic from various other keywords as well.  When all is said and done, this website could easily be a $10k per month site.  Its hard to say – that prediction could be way high or even way low.  But I would not be surprised if this site is pulling in $10k or more per month.

A U.K. based dating affiliate network that operates a number of mainstream and niche dating sites, including Cupid.com, Flirt.com, BoomerDating.com and PlanetSappho.com. You can promote any of these sites based upon the needs of your audience, and with so many sites to choose from, it’s pretty easy for most affiliates to find at least one or two that are a good fit. Commission rates at Cupid plc can be impressive, too, with $15 paid just for free sign ups, and up to 90 percent commission paid on paid memberships.
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.

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 site has lots “the best” -articles. For example, The Best Fish Oil For Dogs (5 Highly Effective Products). Then they have listed 5 different fish oils for dogs and the reader can click their link to buy them. Another example is, “How To Crate Train A Puppy (Plus 5 Excellent Crate Options).” They seem to monetize with Chewy.com affiliate program. Chewy.com is an eCommerce for pet products.
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.
Now, review the options and think about the six points listed above. Don’t just look at a list of profitability. Instead, think about what good niches for affiliate marketing are that fit all of the criteria above. For example, if you’re passionate about something but it is already marketed thousands of times throughout the internet, you’ll have a harder time getting your links to the top and getting them noticed. Conversely, you may choose something that isn’t that well-represented online but that you know nothing about. That’s why I highly recommend the advanced training.
I an elderly beginner and as such I find the page examples shown here more discouraging than everyhing else. Certainly not your intention, but that´s how I feel when I look at them. So what to do if I have no special knowledge about a certain subject or a hobby which is of interest for more than a handful people ? Shouldn´t we be passionate about what we do - but what about those whose passion is centered around things not of common interest ? And not everyone has the time to do extended product tests, not to mention the investemet I have to do then, as certainly no manufacturer will give his products for a review to a nobody. What else is left then as to create a page as mentioned on top by you - something centered around product reviews of products never seen or tested personally ?
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.
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.
Another way to check whether or not your niche is something that you can promote affiliate offers on is actually to look at Google AdWords and check out the cost-per-click for keywords related to the niche that you might want to enter. Head over to Google AdWords, log in, and under Tools and Analysis, choose Keyword Planner. You want to click on Search For New Keyword Ad Group Ideas and enter a few keywords related to your niche: Travel, traveling, things like that. Click on Get Ideas, then click on Keyword Ideas and pay attention to the suggested bid. The suggested bid is basically how much an AdWords advertiser pays for one click in AdWords for people searching for this particular keyword.

Hi Rae, I think the right niche is the most important step in affiliate marketing. If you choose the wrong niche, you can be doomed from the very beginning. Need a buying niche not just one where people are looking for information. Also you only mentioned it briefly at the end, I think promoting something you know about or is your passion makes the process a lot easier. Great post though, Tom.
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.
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:

With that said, affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick strategy. Just like any other type of business, it will take time and effort to grow. The average affiliate marketer doesn’t really start to turn a major profit for months, or even more than a year, and by that point many have already given up. Knowing that it takes time to become profitable is important for tempering early expectations, but it’s also vital that you take the time to learn some of the best ways to reach your true earnings potential.
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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 short, stick to the basics (proven evergreen markets) because demand is forever in those niches.  Stick to hobbies and extracurricular activities that give immeasurable pleasure to people – upper-income people in particular. Finally as a last resort, and if you are willing to learn and think “outside the box”, look for the biggest payouts available and become the niche expert that draws in sales like a magnet!


I think that more so depends on the amount of time you have to spend. You can definitely be an influencer on multiple topics, assuming you have that kind of time to spend. I am what most would consider an influencer in SEO and affiliate marketing. For seven years, I also owned several mobile themed sites and was considered an influencer on both BlackBerry phones and prepaid phones. It’s possible, but it takes work. I also had hired writers at the time and this was before social. It takes so damn much to be an influencer these days, that if you’re doing it solo, doing it for two unrelated topics would be quite the task. :)
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.

Where they make their money is when someone picks a school to get information about.  There are companies (like Quinstreet) that allow you to get paid “per lead” for education content.  Some of these leads can payout anywhere from $20 all the way up to $50 per lead depending on the institution.  There are plenty of affiliate sites in the education niche that get paid using these types of leads.  I'm not sure if LearnHowToBecome.org uses Quinstreet or another CPA network, but the fact is that there is definitely big money in the field for education affiliates.  It used to be that these were some of the most profitable CPC adsense earning niches you could be in (see our sites from 2012), but lots of them have completely shifted to the lead based model when it comes to monetization.  If I were to guess, LearnHowToBecome.org is probably making multiple six figure monthly income due to ranking for a number of excellent education focused keywords.
Just imagine how much you could start investing if you owned or two of these niche sites. The thing is, it’s completely do-able. I have the skills (most people do) to create something like this. I am so freaking pumped to start my next niche website! I’m using these lessons learned to start my keyword research now. I’ll follow up on my progress in the upcoming blog posts. I really hope this helps you as much as it did me. It’s really inspirational to see how others are making additional income online with niche websites!
Fortunately there is a new medium for people to share and sell information. THE KINDLE STORE, yes I love the kindle store and a great way to get information is to read. What a better source for trusted scam free information than Amazon. The idea of using the kindle store to find affiliate marketing and search engine optimization tips dawned on me the other day when I was playing with my phone. I saw the kindle icon and I thought “hey why not”, so I did a search for seo and what did I find? One of the most informative pieces of information I had found in a long time. So with out further ramblings by me, here is the top 10 books I found for affiliate marketers. There will be two different categories 1 for affiliate marketing and 1 for seo, because both categories go hand in hand.
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.

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.
I’ve actually never even considered affiliate marketing for my blog… You’ve definitely given me some things to think about. I definitely think My blog should be more established (more traffic, followers, etc) before I would want to make that kind of charge… I’m still learning so much, I don’t want to overdo it by taking my blog to another level. Plus since my traffic isn’t super high, it wouldn’t be beneficial to me just yet. Great info Margot!
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