SEO for organic search: Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing tactic in its own right. Good SEO helps you craft post content targeting specific terms, called keywords, to rank high in the search results in Google and other search engines. This is something to understand and implement early to make the most of your content from day one. SEO is also why a narrow niche focus is best for most affiliate marketers. Targeting niche-specific keywords help you rank high in search results and be found by readers interested in your niche.
Affiliate marketing pulls together marketers who want to advertise and publishers, sometimes called influencers, who want to promote products and services and get paid to do so. Publishers place customized links to things they want to promote within their website or social media content. Then, they get a portion of the sales as a thank you for their promotion.
Every single network or merchant will provide you with specific links that you can use to promote whatever it is you're looking to sell. Be sure to scrutinize the details of any offer that you decide to partake in. Then, build out your affiliate links and ensure that the sales and clicks are registering your to your account. You can use URL shorteners like Bitly or Google's own shortener to make the links more manageable in terms of length.
If you’re scratching your head wondering what affiliate marketing is, no worries! I, too, had never heard of affiliate marketing until about 9 months ago. Now, it’s one of my main sources of income. In a nutshell, affiliate marketing is when you promote the products of other companies to earn a commission on sales. Let’s say you love MAC Cosmetics and run a makeup blog. You can sign up for MAC’s affiliate program and get a unique link you’ll use to promote your favorite foundations, brushes, lipsticks, and so on. If someone purchases some lipsticks through your link, you earn a percentage of the sale. Affiliate commissions typically range between 3%-40%.
Most affiliate marketers choose a WordPress blog as the platform for their website because it’s very low cost and offers unmatched content creation possibilities. The WordPress platform is free — your only out-of-pocket cost of having a WordPress site is hosting. This runs just $2.95 per month with our preferred hosting provider, Bluehost, plus you get to test it out with its 30-day trial. You also get a free domain name, which is your website address and a free business email to make it all official.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
In affiliate marketing, you can promote any product or service. Experienced affiliate marketers say that they have achieved the best results by selling products they are already familiar with. If you choose to promote a product or service that you have already used and it has helped you solve a problem or achieve something, there is a higher chance that you will succeed in promoting it.

The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
Merch by Amazon – If you use Merch by Amazon then you don’t need to set up your own online store – all products are simply displayed on Amazon’s website. Simply upload your artwork to your Amazon Merch account, and add the product information and price. Amazon will then create a product page for your work, and when you receive orders they will print and ship. (Merch by Amazon only prints onto T-shirts and is only available in the US).
Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use GMail, go to your settings and create a filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder (tweak the subject line to match whatever email notification your affiliate sends you). Then setup a custom alert on your phone using the GMail app so anytime you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android and here’s one for Apple). I have different notifications for SiteGround, StudioPress Themes, etc. Makes your day better :)
Jason – so happy to hear the tutorial is helping! Affiliate marketing was a huge break for me and I’m sure it can be for your son too. Whatever products/services he ends up selling, just make sure he is excited about the industry he is – it takes a long of time creating content and it will keep him motivated especially when he gets his first sales.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
That might be why many people liken marketing anything as an affiliate to more like waging a war than living on easy street. The truth is that it isn't easy by any measure. It takes time. And you can't buy into all the hype. However, by keeping a few principles and steps in mind, you too can dominate in the world of affiliate marketing and earn money while you sleep. The trick? Stay persistent and don't give up.
Set up a website. Professional or business websites can also use the Affiliate program. However, they are best used with people who do not sell similar products on their website, since Amazon's marketplace can drive business away. If you have a website promoting different products, a club, a non-profit or a service, then you can recommend quality products on your site and make money doing it.
Instagram (IG) is many things. It has over a billion users, and Instagrammers have deep pockets. For example, among adult users, 31 percent make over $75,000 annually. IG users “like” over 4.2 billion and share 95 million posts daily. Zuckerberg and company got the IG acquisition correct along with WhatsApp (the jury is still out on Oculus VR). IG is moving in the right direction and stomping on their competitors like Snap. Storylines like these make affiliate marketers drool except for one problem, IG is link-unfriendly.
Your customers' photos: Linked to this is the use of User Generated Content on your account. Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download "Repost for Instagram" app to repost your customers' photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account. Here's an example: 

You can use affiliate links throughout your site, but it’s best to place them in strategic places. These include reviews of the product or service you’re promoting as well as in depth tutorials and guides. You should also create a Resources page on your site where you list the tools, products and services you use in your niche and insert affiliate links for them.

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.
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. 
Before we proceed, I’d like you to hop over to this page and sign up for a free account. It doesn’t cost you a thing to sign up, but when you do, you’ll get access to a bunch of stuff that will really help you. After signing up, you’ll see some options for premium accounts and paid services, but you can just ignore that. We’re only going to be using the free stuff that you get.
Ask for VIP (sometimes called “tiered”) commissions. Many affiliate programs have different commission levels. Usually the standard commission level is made public, but higher commissions are offered to higher performing affiliates. Sometimes you may be bumped up to “VIP affiliate” status by the advertiser, but most times you have to ask if there’s a higher tier and how you can get there.
If I were a member of a group board called “Beautiful Home Decor” that was created for bloggers to share their blog posts, I would feel free to pin an image from a post of mine called “10 Beautiful Couches that Won’t Break the Bank.” Of course, that blog post would contain affiliate links. But, I would never pin an image of a couch with my affiliate to a group board called “Beautiful Home Decor” that I am a member of, since that is not the purpose of the board.
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. This year I donated $3,000 to feed the homeless in Denver. In 2017, I donated $3,000 to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they’re the best host and that your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people say the same.

Your customers' photos: Linked to this is the use of User Generated Content on your account. Get customers to share their images of your products and re-gram (download "Repost for Instagram" app to repost your customers' photos). This is a proven successful method of selling and would make a great addition to your account. It also calls for you to start up your own unique hashtag which you can then promote to all your customers: it’s a seriously slick way to make yourself stand out from the crowd. For example, White Castle asks their customers to use #MyCrave to their photos. Now when they see them using that hashtag, they can repost (or regram) their photos to their Instagram account. Here's an example:
This next one is a short one, but it’s a big one. As you probably know (and have experienced!), the holiday season is a huge shopping period—which means it’s also potentially a great time for affiliate sales. The lead-up to the holiday shopping period is an important time to promote your affiliate links, so you might want to think about doubling down on your promotional efforts in the fall.
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.
His blog became wildly successful. At roughly the same time, V2 Cigs informed him of their affiliate program where they paid out 50% commissions. That was Henry's "aha" moment. Almost immediately after adding those affiliate links onto his blog, his income exploded. He was making over $30,000 per month and it was passive income. He was on top of the world.
From what I’ve read, and from what Tasha has answered in other comments above, it seems like Amazon themselves give contradictory information. In one of Tasha’s previous answers she says, “Hi Tim! I’ve talked to Amazon about this as well, as have many other bloggers I know personally. Each one of us is getting different answers. It’s VERY frustrating. Many have been told as long as their Pinterest account is listed in their profile, it’s fine. For those that haven’t, I’ve pointed out during my calls to Amazon that you can pin Amazon affiliate products directly to Pinterest from the rewardStyle interface, so it’s silly for them to tell anyone that they can’t do it directly from their Amazon Associates account. But of course, with Amazon giving different bloggers different answers, you have to do what you are comfortable with. Or, if in doubt, pin Amazon products via rewardStyle if you are a member 🙂 Hope that helps.”
An individual who promotes an advertiser’s product or service. In exchange, the publisher earns a commission. Usually, there is a contract that binds a publisher and advertiser. As part of this contract, the advertiser is the one who provides a publisher with text ads, links, and banners. The publisher then uses it on their website to promote the advertiser’s products and services. The publisher is also known as an affiliate – the future you.
Blogging is probably the most common way affiliates make money with the Amazon Associates program. Some bloggers have a general topic site, and use a variety of affiliate programs and other monetization options. Other bloggers have a niche site, zeroing in on select products that the site covers. Either way, making money with Amazon Associates on a blog can be done by:
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%.
Shopping on Instagram has been around for about a year, but has been reserved only for select businesses based in the US. However, in March 2018, Instagram rolled out Shopping on Instagram across the globe. This feature is now available for 45+ countries and counting. It is also accessible to any business or influencer who has an Instagram Business account (although you will first need to get your account approved for shopping).
This can be as simple as adding a single disclaimer at the top of a blog post in which you’re sharing affiliate links. I’ve had people tell me it feels odd to tell visitors that you’re making money from an action they’re taking, and I get it, but the truth is this: it doesn’t cost those visitors anything to use your link (beyond the cost of the product), and once you help them, they’ll often look for ways to help you in return. And providing affiliate links is an easy way to let them do that, at no extra cost to them!
This is so well put together, thank you! I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to figure out what affiliates to work with in my niche. My target audience is bloggers, and much of my content is free knowledge on how to grow a blog, but pushing a sale is just not what I want to do. But with this list I can really see that there are a lot of options to choose from. I do have an account with shareasale already, so I’m going to start there and see what other companies will work for my audience!
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