Okay, I’ll be honest, when I first started out, I found it surprisingly difficult to understand how to even generate links (and deep links). For a while, I legitimately thought I was stupid. In hindsight, stupidity may have been a small part of the cause, but the truth is the process is actually pretty confusing. SO, I’ve written some pretty boring (though helpful) step-by-steps on how to generate links on a few common programs and affiliate networks… So, for my fellow life-dummies, here’s:

Because Amazon has a huge selection, and it’s so easy to generate an affiliate link for just about any product, it can be easy to fall into the trap of promoting an Amazon product without getting to know the product first. As a result, it can be really easy to start promoting something you don’t know very well, and risking the trust of your audience in the process.

Media reporter Mathew Ingram tweeted, "Not great for media who rely on affiliate revenue[,]" potentially a nod to popular gadget reviews The Wirecutter, which was acquired by The New York Times. Technology journalist Michael Morisy quipped, "Amazon reworks affiliate program, cutting commissions 50% for electronics. Guess they think Jet threat has passed?" in a reference to up-and-coming Amazon rival Jet.com, which sold to Walmart in a deal largely regarded as a failure for the startup.

hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?
This is insanely helpful, thank you! I’m so excited to read the e-book guide on affiliate programs. My blog is still a baby so I’m working so hard to learn as much as I possibly can as consistently as I can. Abby, you have given so much advice in your posts that I have turned to while getting my blog going. Thank you so much for the advice, for exposing your readers to new bloggers with guest posts, and for always producing great content and great resources. You are AWESOMENESS!

Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.
However, when you are ready, search for the right product or company that's relevant to your audience. When Henry quit smoking, his story was part and parcel to the bigger picture of selling electronic cigarettes as an affiliate. Although his blog's success was short-lived at the time, at it's apex, it was generating over $30,000 because he nurtured his audience and built that emotional bond before ever trying to sell them anything as an affiliate.
^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
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.
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed factor and these companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
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.

I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.
For example, part of Michelle’s affiliate income comes from blogging tools and resources. Every month in her income reports, she shares all of the details on how to get started blogging. By the time Michelle’s reader finishes with her post, they know exactly how to get started and what products are necessary to purchase. All they have to do is click on the affiliate links she has included in the posts. She follows this model for every piece of affiliate content that she produces.

I relay the story of Dan Henry because it exemplifies the power of this thing called the internet that binds us all. And while Henry has succeeded on a massive scale, so many others have hit roadblocks, stumbled, fallen and failed. The large rate of failure helps to mystify and obfuscate this world of affiliate marketing because so many are trying to penetrate this market but so few are able to succeed on a large scale.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…

When you are posting a photo make sure you use relevant tags. Including hashtags means more engagement and likes. To find the best tags for your content you need to research your audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won’t necessarily help you in the long run. For example, a travel blogger should have travel related tags. If they were to include a hashtag about vitamins it wouldn’t necessarily fit with their content. If you include a hashtag that doesn’t fit with your niche, people will be less likely to engage with you.
An advertiser in affiliate marketing can be any company that sells products (cosmetics, kitchen appliances, electronics, cloth, etc.) or services (software, cloud storage, video games, etc.). There is also one more distinguishing characteristic that defines you as an advertiser. You have to be ready to pay other people to help you sell your products and promote your website.
In truth, there’s a sixth step to the process, which is: keep everything discussed above going. But we stated that fact throughout, so no need to expand on it. Successful affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme; it’s a slow-build process. In fact, most affiliate marketers never get rich — but they do, over time, enjoy additional income from their affiliate efforts. That income generally compounds the longer you do it.
Most marketers need to gain these skills quickly because they are expected to bring certain results in a limited timeframe. Therefore, they research the best ways to learn affiliate marketing hoping to find some up-to-date free affiliate marketing courses, training, guides, ebooks and tutorials that will help ground them in strong fundamentals and help learn them.
I did a lot of research to find the right one, and so I chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (as I mentioned earlier). I figured it made sense to learn from the best, and with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, I had nothing to lose. I chat WAY more in-depth about it in my review here, but this course was definitely a gamechanger for me.
Now if your really want to run with this idea, or you’ve tried this and found success. Then go and find a bunch of amazing products that fit with your followers (or a wide demographic) and create a simple product review website and send your followers (from your URL link in your BIO) or your (Instagram Viral Story) to a website full of affiliate offerings!
Not too long ago, Instagram added a “story” function to their platform to compete with Snapchat. It has since exploded in popularity and continues to keep thousands of people glued to their phones on a daily basis. Why not take advantage of this feature with the Instagram influencers in your affiliate program? Story posts take minimum effort and there’s a good chance that the influencer will be happy to throw some of these in for you for free if you’re already running a campaign with them.
Hi Christina. I have been looking for answers about how to start affiliate through a travel blogging for more than 3 weeks and this post shined a light for me. Thank you! I still have a question about how and when to start applying to affiliate programs. I just opened my travel blog last week and had only 2 posts. Off course I have no established traffic and posts yet. I want to use affiliate links to start writing about reviews of hotels and places where I have visited, but I know my blog won’t be accepted by advertisers because I don’t have enough contents. I also took Michelle’s course and one of the chapters said to start affiliate marketing as soon as possible, but I don’t know how would you be accepted by advertisers at very very beginning?? Should I forcus on writing more posts first? And how many would be adequate to start applying to programs? Thank you for reading. Your blog is very helpful!!
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.
Always fill out the comment box to “sell” your platform. If you are given the opportunity to explain why you are interested in a program, do it! Use the space to highlight why you would be an asset to the program. Talk about how your audience is their audience. Talk about the size of your mailing list (if it’s significant). Talk about your success with similar programs. Talk about where and how you will promote (hopefully you’ve done a bit of research so you know what they’re hoping for). Don’t sound desperate and certainly don’t lie about anything, but be upfront and honest about how this will be a win for them.
The benefits of affiliate marketing are location independence and the ability choose which products to promote. Also, your investment of time and energy directly correlates to the return you see. Depending on your availability and what you hope to gain from the enterprise, you can choose to be the type of marketer who sets up shop and passively waits for customers to come, or you can proactively spread the word about your favorite merchandise from prominent brand affiliates.

Amazon is known for sometimes coming down hard on sellers, affiliates, and other partners who don’t follow the rules. This is maybe the other big downside of being an Amazon affiliate—Amazon is big enough to boss you around if you step out of line, and there’s usually not much you can do about it. I’ve heard stories of affiliates having their accounts closed without any chance for recourse or appeal when they went against one of Amazon’s affiliate policies.


Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
Amazon’s language: “… you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).”
As mentioned in step one, you need to have your website or blog set up and running before you sign up for Amazon Associates. You must provide the URL to your website during registration, so get your WordPress website or other site set up before applying. You can include up to 50 different affiliate sites under one account. Plus, if you develop mobile apps like a mobile deal finder or how-to app, you can include those in your affiliate marketing plan too.
Hi, just to let you know that I had a conversation with customer service at Amazon.com and they only allow direct links to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube at the moment and I asked about Pinterest and the answer is no you can’t link directly to an Amazon product, you need to go via your own website or blog. If they catch you doing that, your account will be closed as it is against their TOS.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.

The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
Based on my research, I chose ‘affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog’ as my main target keyword. This what they call a long-tail keyword, a phrase that conveys a specific idea. It’s important to use long-tail keywords because then you’ll be giving users exactly what they’re looking for. If you use just ‘affiliate marketing’ as your keyword, you’ll be competing against everyone on Pinterest who has ever written anything about affiliate marketing. Thanks to proper keyword research, the first and seventh pins in the search results below are my own.

Thanks for reading, Charmaine! I’m not sure about Hong Kong-specific affiliate programs, but what I would say is that most retailers do have an affiliate program in place, so if there’s a particular HK brand or company you use a lot, Google their name + affiliate program to see if they have one. Besides that, the ones I suggested are open to you regardless of where you’re from!
Let’s say I save the affiliate pin for my favorite Pinterest affiliate marketing course to a general group board called ‘Bloggers Share Your Best Pins.’ In the group board, there are pins about parenting, DIY, recipes, fashion, weight loss, and all sorts of topics. Because the board is a free-for-all, there are no relevant keywords for, well, any topic. How is the Pinterest algorithm supposed to determine that my pin is about affiliate marketing? Sometimes you have to put yourself in the Pinterest algorithm’s shoes, as strange as that sounds. How can you make its job easier? Signal exactly what your pin is about by using the right keywords and posting ONLY to relevant boards.
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