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!


When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 
first off, show visitors that you have a great site by getting a better theme! You did not get a penalty because of affiliate content, nor have I ever heard of, however, I have heard of sites in the past getting penalty for having do follow links to affiliate programs such as amazon, remember, google does not like you giving credit to a site in exchange for receiving paid compensation, so ask yourself, are your external links nofollow? this may also include any buttons/graphics that link to affiliate sites that do not have a no follow attribute, not going to go to much into this, so I am going to assume your content is ok, if it is, then you need to check your link portfolio; maybe you have too many low quality links and/or you may have over-optimized anchor/text in your link building efforts; bad links, over optimization are common link issues that could cause your site to get a penalty, as it is not about what you are writing about, if all else fails, then hire seo consultant for an entire site autdit, they will go through your site tooth and nail, and see why you have lost your rankings. good luck.
Generally speaking, we recommend keeping your site focused on one niche. Otherwise you'll confuse your readers and hurt your brand. You're better off with separate sites for separate categories The exception to this might be if you promoted SEO/web hosting/other digital products that would aid people from your primary niche (say, dog training for example) who want to build their own businesses using affiliate marketing. There needs to be some sort of clear connection about how the products and niches relate.

NomadicMatt.com is similar to MuscleForLife.com in the fact that Matt Kepnes took his passion and turned it into a legitimate business.  If you plan on starting a site in the travel niche, Nomadic Matt's blog is probably a resource you'll be taking a look at pretty frequently when you are analyzing your content.  He has capitalized on his traffic by self-publishing a number of books.  He's gained credibility by several media appearances, which I'm sure helps his book sales, and helps him get really high-quality and Natural Links.


While digital marketing channels like blogs and social media make it easier for businesses to connect with their audience, it can be incredibly difficult to reach them in the current competitive atmosphere. Gary Vee's book shares his best advice on how to use social media to stand out from the crowd, build a large following, and engage your target audience.
That’s where market research comes into play. It is important for you to make sure that there is actually a demand for the product niche that you are looking to market. Fair enough – if you came up with a revolutionary product that no one has ever witnessed before – then that’s a whole different ballgame. In that case, you would have to market your latest invention on a whole different level.

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 reality, the percentage of people who are likely to click an affiliate link after reading a book review is pretty low. I put it around 1–3%. But let’s be generous and say 5%. Of that 5%, not all of them will make a purchase. In fact, in my experience, most don’t. For me, it hovers around 30–40%. Then take into account that, on average, you’re likely to fetch a commission of 4–6% of your reader’s total purchase, i.e. less than a dollar per book. It doesn’t take a maths genius to deduce that to make good money from affiliate marketing, you need a lot of engaged readers. Like, a lot a lot.
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.
MY biggest struggle is knowing how to put the promotion together and having everything in place when you promote it. I would kill for a Step-by-Step hold your hand and let me show you once how to do it correctly Mapped Blueprint. I have seen lots of sales pages but when you get them from the vendor they look a lot of the times nothing like the Org sales page, have never written a sales page before and it becomes overwhelming and confusing and then totally frustrating
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.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go. BigCommerce uses an industry leading 90-day cookie, so you will receive credit for up to three months for the referrals you generate. Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.
Some of the big sites are staggeringly HUGE. Many of the sites are mostly monetized through Amazon Associates, but they might also have other affiliate offers. For example, Home Depot or NewEgg have affiliate programs that these sites can work with. Several of the sites listed are going to be making profits in the multiple SEVEN FIGURES and more. It sounds like a crazy claim, but when see some of the sites and understand the size, scope, and the staff that supports the sites, you’ll agree.
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.

Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed]


Affiliate marketing programs typically work by having the merchant handle all the logistics involved in selling products or services, processing customer orders and payments, and shipping merchandise—all while the affiliate sits back and collects a commission for each agreed-upon action completed by the visitors the affiliate sends to the merchant’s website via an affiliate link. As long as the affiliate has done her homework and chosen a trustworthy affiliate program, she needn’t worry about non-payment.
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.

Thank you for this post! I’ve been debating going the Amazon Affiliate route, but am kinda stuck on the privacy policy that needs to be included. I’m not exactly sure what needs to be put on that, and I don’t want to state something on the policy that isn’t accurate. I was kind of wondering what other bloggers do, and I’ve only seen the disclaimer on very few sites that links are affiliate links. I should look into Book Depository too!
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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.
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]
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.
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. 
Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[37] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[38]
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
You’re obviously not going to be targeting broad keywords like ‘travel’ and ‘traveling’. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing SEO for this particular site. What you really want to see is whether or not there is a demand for that particular type of traffic. As you scroll down, you want to look for cost-per-clicks that really jump out at you. For example, we have ‘student travel’, which has a suggested bid of $4.10 for one click. That might be a niche right there. Under the broadness of ‘traveling’, if you decided to do something about student travel, you know that there are advertisers paying $4 for one visitor. I’ve found in my experience that the higher this cost-per-click, the more affiliate offers and affiliate options you have. This is something to pay attention to. In general, the cost-per-click in the whole travel niche is quite low. For this reason alone and the fact that the Clickbank marketplace didn’t really have so many great offers that you could promote, you might want to go back to the beginning in Quantcast and look at another niche and follow the same process.
You may wonder if it’s worth adding affiliate links when your book review isn’t going to be flattering. My response is: sure, why not? Sometimes people’s tastes will be different than yours, and they may want to check out the book anyway. Or, they may click on the link to see if the reviews at Amazon agree with yours, at which point they may wander off and buy something else at the store. You’ll still get credit and make a percentage of the sale.
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts. 

Carly also published an all-encompassing Pinterest Strategies eBook for bloggers who wish to see big results and gain traffic from Pinterest. Affiliate marketing will only work when you have some traffic to your blog. So if you have yet to cross that threshold, I highly recommend Carly’s affordable resource. She used this strategy to grow her blog traffic to 200,000 visitors per month from Pinterest alone!
As all paths on the site eventually lead to reviews and affiliate links, most people will end up reading the reviews and click through to the recommended products. What this affiliate is saying is that if you happen to arrive at one of the content pages because it appeared in the search engines, fine - he can promote to you there - but the page that converts to sales best is the review.
LearnHowToBecome.org is an education website that provides information to prospective students.  They have a lot of great content and cover just about every type of education field you can think of when it comes to finding out the best college path in a given profession.  A quick look at backlinks shows that they have tons of major educational institutions that they work with, which is a significant portion of their backlinking strategy.  The content is top notch, and the website is specifically designed to keep the users interacting with the comparison grids and searching through the best possible schools for their given topic.
10Beasts.com has been a successful affiliate site for the last couple years.  It's been somewhat of a “hot debate” in the internet marketing industry.  The website actually has very little content when compared to some other authority sites.  It has under 20 pages of actual content, but it's believed that because of the strong linking profile, that Google favored the site's content.  It's an extremely unusual site, as most of the link profile consists of scholarship links, which many marketers believe is an overused link building tactic that's ripe for a Google penalty.
Lastly, please check out my review on Wealthy Affiliate, the number one Affiliate Marketing Training Program in the world. You have the opportunity to build a lucrative online business from scratch. No experience or technical knowledge is necessary. The approach that is taken at Wealthy Affiliate is that they assume that anyone can create a phenomenally successful and long term online business from scratch. All you provide is hard work and the determination to learn, the tools will be provided.
You have identified and listed your top 10 topical interests and passions. You are now ready to start narrowing down your potential choices. To create your profitable online business, you first need to determine the challenges and problems your target customers are experiencing. More importantly you will then need to determine whether or not you can actually solve them. Here are several ways you can identify the challenges and/or problems in specific niches:
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. 
And how much you make can fluctuate wildly. I still have months where I might only make a few dollars, if that. You also need to factor in that many brands only pay affiliates once you’ve earned a certain amount, say $25. On the plus side, it takes next to no effort to include affiliate links, and if you’re really strategic about it and have reasonable traffic, you could potentially make a decent amount, certainly more than me.
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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JVZoo lets you both host and create landing pages on their own website, so it’s far better suited for professional marketers who want to flood the internet with offers, many of them for courses to make money. You don’t need your own website to participate in JVZoo, but you will need to know how to drive traffic to a landing or squeeze page in order to profit from being a JVZoo affiliate.

Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
Greatist.com is a health publication that was started in 2011.  The traffic growth over the last couple years is incredible, and the site has become a full fledged media resource.  Greatist.com has a larger staff, and has purchased a number of other online businesses.  The top keyword “healthy breakfasts” gets an estimated 62,000 searches per month, but the long tail traffic that Greatist.com gets is truly incredible.
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”:
When you’re looking at affiliate sites like this one (and, indeed, when you’re planning your own affiliate site) ask yourself what the affiliate is trying to make you do (or what you want your own visitor to do). Question what desired action the affiliate is pushing for: do they want you to read their articles? Sign up for their newsletter? Click on their ads? You’ll often find yourself being gently directed towards a certain action in one way or another. This will be what the affiliate determines to be the course that will eventually get him or her the most money!
The site has a lot of links, and the long form content that the site showcases is one of the reasons why it ranks so well.  Most of the content on the site is extremely focused, and very informative.  It's pretty typical that an article on this site is over 2,000 words.  While longer content doesn't always mean better, Google does base some of its ranking factors on how much content is on the page that covers the topic in its entirety.  The more in-depth the article, the more likely the user is to find the answer they were looking for, which is why this website has so many articles that rank very well.  Each article is very complete and provides great information on the topic.  If I had to guess, the site is probably making over $20k per month based on traffic estimates.

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.


The Wirecutter.com and TheSweetHome.com were sold a couple years back to the New York Times.  They were both Amazon Affiliate sites, and that's where most of their revenue came from then, and still comes from today.  When the sites were purchased, TheSweetHome.com was redirected to TheWireCutter.com as both sites had very similar content structures.  The WireCutter dominates organic search results for a lot of buyer-intent keywords, and is also a “verified expert reviewer” by Amazon.  The site gets huge amounts of organic traffic, and has gained massively in popularity and search positioning once it was purchase by the New York Times.  
The Wirecutter.com and TheSweetHome.com were sold a couple years back to the New York Times.  They were both Amazon Affiliate sites, and that's where most of their revenue came from then, and still comes from today.  When the sites were purchased, TheSweetHome.com was redirected to TheWireCutter.com as both sites had very similar content structures.  The WireCutter dominates organic search results for a lot of buyer-intent keywords, and is also a “verified expert reviewer” by Amazon.  The site gets huge amounts of organic traffic, and has gained massively in popularity and search positioning once it was purchase by the New York Times.  
Google Adwords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your adwords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.

I think one of the most important things bloggers need to do to get affiliate sales is to make sure they have great photos for what they are selling/promoting. Good writing is important but most people are attracted to the visual aspect of what they’re reading. My posts with more photos do so much better than the posts that don’t have as many. Your audience needs to see what the product actually looks like. Many people are lazy and may not always click on the text link.
I started out with checking the potential of affiliate offers in affiliate networks. I checked search volumes and competition using Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Google search results. If there wasn't a lot of competition, I'd set up my site. Most of my early niche affiliate sites were in the fashion market promoting physical products like women's winter boots for example.
Perrin has blogged about his site on the AuthorityHacker.com blog, and he's also openly discussed the sale of this site, which was sold at over $200K as the final sales price.  The site still does very well in organic search rankings, and the monetization appears to have been diverted from display ads, over to an affiliate program with a pet food company.  This site is proof that with the right systems and content in place, profitable affiliate sites are still out there to be created – even by the solo entrepreneur or the person who loves SEO as a side-hustle.
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.

It’s free to join the SellHealth affiliate program, though you do have to apply and be accepted before you can start promoting their products.  Once you’re accepted, you’ll have access to a number of tools, graphics, banners and more that you can use to promote SellHealth products.  The sales are actually made at company-owned Websites, which look professional and handle all of the selling. Commissions vary, but the base rate is 30% of all sales and upsells, and SellHealth says you can earn up to $350 per sale.
FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.
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 products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
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.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
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.
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
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]
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