Many top-tier online brands list their affiliate programs right on their website so you can find them easily. Some are self-administered, others are run through an affiliate marketplace, but you can sign up from the brand’s website. Like marketplaces, these large affiliate programs are free to join and easy for affiliate marketing beginners to navigate.
It seems nowadays many bloggers are obsessed with this monetization stream, clamouring to find out how they, too, can make money off blogging through affiliate sales. This popularity has led to one very negative consequence: information overload, and not enough answers. After a few email exchanges, I realized some newbies were petrified of asking basic questions… in fear of sounding dumb.

Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.
Creative Market is an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. “The company sells graphics, WordPress themes, stock photography, media kits, and other digital goods for use by web creatives” – Wikipedia. It is my new addiction and I can’t get enough. When you have time take a look around so you can see all of the amazing products they carry.
Firstly, pick a topic that you’re interested in that also has a lot of market potential. Think of something that you like, and consider whether there would be many products associated with it, or much of an audience. You can find a topic (or “niche,” as affiliates call it) with a little research. You’ll find lessons to help you with this process in the market research section of Affilorama’s free lessons. 
Most affiliate networks these days offer an option to set a specific coupon code as “forced exclusive” to a specific affiliate publisher. This means that any time that coupon code is used, even if no affiliate link was clicked previously, the specific affiliate which the code is tied to always gets commission for sales where customers use that code. This is especially helpful if customers happen to visit a coupon site or a different bottom funnel affiliate before making their purchase when the Instagram influencer was the true referrer for the sale and deserves the proper credit.

Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Before you can start exploring Amazon affiliate marketing opportunities, you need to have a blog or website where you can publish content that markets Amazon products. WordPress is the top choice among affiliate marketers many reasons. It costs just $2.95 per month with our recommended provider, Bluehost, has a quick learning curve, and has unlimited design and content creation capabilities. Enter your domain name below to launch your Amazon affiliate website on WordPress today.

** There are other programs affiliate programs that you can apply to for Pinterest depending on what you are wanting to promote.  Some of these (like Target) offer products in a variety of categories, but you will just need to look through ShareASale and other programs and read through their TOS and apply.  These are just ones that I use and were fairly easy to join and promote.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
Plus, leverage Instagram Stories, as they are known to be an effective business tool. They allow placing the links of the promoted products on a video. If a customer taps on the affiliate link, they will be redirected to the advertiser’s website where the products are available to buy. Don’t forget to add the location and hashtag stickers to raise the discoverability of your Instagram Stories.  

These days, you have the best programmers in the world creating what are called Content Management Systems (CMS) that will build awesome looking websites for FREE. For example, this website is based on the WordPress platform. I did pay about $50 for a premium design, but other than that, I don’t have to know any computer code at all and either do you.

2nd tier.  If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.
If you use WordPress to run your affiliate site, you’ll eventually hear about Amazon affiliate plug-ins. These are third-party programs that streamline adding Amazon affiliate links to your website, provide advanced display tools and help with overall performance management. This sounds enticing, but many blogging pros warn new bloggers that relying on plug-ins can be risky.
Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov – Geno Prussakov is the founder of AM Navigator, an affiliate management agency, as well as a consultant, author, blogger and international speaker.  His blog delves into industry fundamentals and facilitates discussions about top customer acquisition strategies, creating content, managing affiliates and other topics. He also offers information about upcoming affiliate marketing events, conferences and tradeshows.
What this all boils down to is, you get to essentially look over the shoulders of highly successful affiliate marketers and just copy what they do. This is all part of their free affiliate marketer training package that you get with your free account. It… is… GOLD. Better yet? They keep it updated. The affiliate marketing industry changes fast, so you won’t get outdated information with them as they keep updating the training videos as needed.
In most cases, organizations that employ an affiliate strategy tend to be in the e-commerce space. That’s because it is fairly simple for e-commerce brands to track purchases based on a single tracking link. Other types of business, like B2B software or services, tend to be ill suited for affiliate programs because of long and complex sales cycles.

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