Hey Jan, glad it made you think. As you've found out it's not easy to rank #1 on Google especially when so few people will link to your product reviews. You need to tackle a specific niche with a focused target audience as a whole and build a community of like minded people around your site in order to make any significant income online sustainably and for the long term.
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.
There are a few tips and strategies we recommend following when it comes to affiliate marketing. For starters, we highly recommend promoting what you know whenever possible. Promoting a new product you hardly have any experience in is fine once in a while, but promoting something you’ve used successfully for years is bound to help you gain the trust of your audience more efficiently.

There’s no point in lying about it: it’s not easy to make a lot of money through affiliate marketing. The best way to understand it is to think of it like a small business: you have to start at square one and build your business from the ground up. You have the advantage of not needing a business loan to begin with, and the fact that you can set your own hours for each day and each week, but you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort into your affiliate marketing business before it will grow.
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.

“Blogging, paid search, social media, video, mobile, podcasting, organic search, email, and so on — all of these tactics are used to by affiliate marketers to promote an array of affiliate products and services,” says Collins. “Different mixes work best for each unique niche and affiliate marketer, so beginners should explore the options and focus efforts on a few marketing channels that convert the best.”
Nowadays, the majority of large businesses offer affiliate programs. So find ones that are in your niche. If you are popular on Instagram for fashion, then you should opt for fashion affiliate programs. If your Instagram audience follows you because you are well known in the fitness industry, then you need to find health and fitness affiliate programs. Your following won’t purchase items that aren’t relevant to their interests. So choose affiliate programs that sell products your audience can relate to and that will add value to their lives.
When an Instagrammer posts a product picture on Instagram, they usually tag the brand they are promoting in the comment as well as a link to the specific product. This means that when people are browsing and reading the comments your brand will be on the eyes of potential customers. If they click on the tag, they will be directed to your Instagram page, and if they copy and paste the link to the product you will gain more traffic so it’s a win-win situation.
This is fascinating to me….. never, ever, ever in a million years would I have thought I’d even *consider* starting a blog but in recent years I have also dreamt of staying home with my kids (I’m also a nurse!!) AND being financially set (and then some?!). The problem is that this whole concept is so foreign and terrifying to me. This post is awesome and seems to have an incredible amount of step by steps instructions. But, I do have a few questions. What was your (or a realistic) timeline from when you very first started your blog to when you could financially do that as your “real job”? And now that you’re established I understand you have passive income but what does your schedule look like? How much time do you have with your kids? I picture having to be at the computer for 6 hours a day?!?! I just wish I could actually see what someone like you does to create your posts and “work” 😉. Thank you, and I’m sorry this comment was so long!!

I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “Oh, here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to do live my life. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!

Many successful affiliate marketers have a basic 2-page website and an email marketing system that does their affiliate promotions on autopilot to make passive income. One page is a landing page that promotes a lead magnet to entice people to subscribe the email. Once subscribed, the visitor is sent to the second page, that often has information about an affiliate product.
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
Give it all a try yourself: As a hopelessly stubborn person, I understand that sometimes you just want to try things out for yourself. No stress, friend! All these resources will still be around later, so if your gut tells you that it’s not time to buy a course or eBook, don’t force it. Test the waters for yourself and then see later whether or not you need the extra boost.
“Affiliate marketing is split across many different channels,” says Shawn Collins, co-CEO of Affiliate Summit, a global affiliate marketing conference. So, once your home base affiliate marketing website is set up, it’s time to explore others ways to reach readers and build your audience. This is another ongoing task for beginner and seasoned affiliate marketers alike since online, social, and mobile marketing is an ever-changing field.
Tip #1 Post links to your landing pages and websites within your stories. Now before you get all like, but I need to have like 10,000 followers to be able do that. Let me give you a strategy to help get you there ASAP. The strategy I prefer for getting 10,000 followers takes a little longer than follow/unfollow, but it gets high quality active followers, and that’s Gary Vee’s $1.80 strategy. Basically with this strategy you search up 10 hashtags in your niche and and leave your 2 cents, AKA a comment on the top 9 posts for each hashtag. I highly recommend doing this over the follow, unfollow method because you can really build a strong connection which of course is great for sales, but if you’re a little more impatient feel free to do the follow, unfollow method with an app like captivate to speed up the process.
"A good book for those who know they want to make money online and have identified affiliate marketing as a way to go about it. The author teaches you the traditional way of doing it i.e. building websites and writing about the products/services you want to promote. The author also talks about the modern way of going about it that don't require you to build websites.These include building sales funnels or leveraging other people's funnels or building a Facebook or YouTube following and using those channels to promote stuff" - Timothy
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.

Can you spot influencers? Do some Google searches for terms or keywords related to your topic. Do many blogs or informational content appear in the search results? Do these blogs seem to have authority? Are the readers engaged and commenting on posts or does there seem to be a strong social following? Strong engagement or following tells you there is an audience for the topic. Note the blogs and social influencers within your topic, and jot down what you like about them or feel is missing from their content. This research will come in handy later as you plan your content.

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.
It’s probably worth asking an account rep if you can add “nofollow” to those links and stay compliant. For SEO, it’s not worth worrying about probably. Google has said before that they handle things like this for affiliate programs on their end if the program is big enough (i.e. they have enough data to understand what is going on), and Amazon is the biggest in the world. That’s just my gut, though.
SEO – I have a full guide on YouTube SEO. You’ll basically want to research a video keyword in YouTube’s Autocomplete dropdown, then craft your video title/description to include your keyword. Write a long description and embed it on your blog to get more views. Create a nice custom thumbnail and make your videos long and thorough, just like your blog posts should be.
Thanks for all the information I am slowly working my way through your list of do’s and donts! ! I’ve been approached by a website that wants to develop editorial content for my blog featuring home improvement tips from their”national client” and pay me $40 a year for reviewing and publishing their content. Boy, I am just not sure how this all works? Any words for when we are approached by others to write for our blogs?
Don’t Buy Fake Followers – Although brands might be impressed at first glance with your follower numbers, it won’t take long for them to realize that your audience isn’t worth paying for. A few clicks to check on engagement levels and how your followers have responded to your posts will tell them that you have bought your followers, not organically grown your audience. This isn’t the type of audience that will get results for businesses, and consequently, people won’t want to pay you to promote their posts.
I always add an HTML table of contents to posts to make sure they are long and structured. This has been a HUGE help for me (and my readers) and there are tons of benefits: better chance of getting “jump to links” in Google (see below), increased average time on page, decreased bounce rates, and it makes it easier for readers to navigate through your content.
High Cost/Low Effort — Get an agency to send you potential Influencers. Talent agencies like Viral Nation or MediaKix work with a stable of popular social Influencers who you can connect with for a fee. Unless you’ve got money to burn, and are looking to launch a huge Instagram Influencer campaign, this option is probably one to avoid for now. But hey, it’s there if you want to go big!
When a site visitor clicks on one of these links or ads, he or she is sent to Amazon. If they complete a purchase there, the site owner — called the “affiliate” — is paid a percentage of the sale. Amazon affiliate commissions range from 1 percent to 10 percent of the item’s selling price. These percentages are based on the category the item is listed under on Amazon.
As you might already know, Instagram has made it possible and easy to switch between your personal and business accounts. Setting up a business profile has a number of advantages. It allows you to get access to real-time analytics and view the engagement metrics on particular posts. Users, in turn, can reach out to you by tapping the Contact button and taking a specific action afterwards, like making a call or sending you an email. In 2016, Instagram rolled out a new option for business accounts – Instagram for Business. It’s a great way to put the promoted product in front of your target audience in a few simple steps. Upgrade your business profile to Instagram for Business. Create a compelling, eye-catching post featuring the product. Select the target audience, budget, promotional content, CTA, and duration of the promotion. Once it’s done, you will see the button “Promote” under your post and be able to start running your ad on Instagram!

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.


You Don’t Need To Track Affiliate Links To Improve Conversions – you will always hear people telling you to track affiliate links. But for me, I generally use the same content about SiteGround on all my speed optimization articles… it is very important it converts well. Change your approach on how you recommend your affiliate product (it’s perfecting your sales pitch).
On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.
File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
And while that may sound like a tall order, just remember that all you need to do to be unique is act like yourself as you write reviews or provide readers with blog posts and articles full of interesting information. The important part is to keep up the volume since the longer you wait between articles, the further your website will fall in the search engine rankings.
Videos also make it easier to build a relationship with your audience; you can talk right to them, and they can hear your voice (and see your face, though that’s not always necessary). Plus, not only are you sharing what the product looks like and how it works, since you’re the one who’s showing your audience how it works, you’re also building your authority with them as an expert they can trust.
Understand where people are at in the buying cycle and promote accordingly. Spend the most time sharing affiliate links where people are ready to buy. For example, you can share affiliate links on Pinterest, but most people are not on Pinterest to buy but to look. As such, focusing your affiliate marketing strategy on Pinterest might not be the best use of your time. Review posts, for example, might be better at tipping people over the line into buying.

Affiliate Marketing Blog – This is the source for affiliate marketing news and opinions from Shawn Collins, a co-founder of Affiliate Summit, the premiere affiliate marketing conference.  During his approximately 20 years as an online marketer, Collins has garnered a wealth of valuable industry knowledge that he shares on his blog. Collins also offers a podcast, “This if Affiliate Marketing,” where he interviews guests  so listeners can learn about the people of affiliate marketing.
You’re absolutely right about that time. Never give up. Content marketing is a hard job but you got to look at it like this. The internet and side hustles are here to stay. It goes Way Beyond making money online. We both know there’s no more traditional job security in America today. These narcissist employers are nothing nice. They will hire you 1 minute. Harass you on the job. Steal your commissions and laugh at you behind your back while you continually work hard and put more money in their pocket, then try to enslave you into making more money for them and continually disrespect you to your face. This is the Ironclad indicated it’s time to walk away and start your own business online by working part time on your side hustle weather to Philly at marketing, blogging, or selling your own product service online. There’s billions of dollars to be made in the affiliate marketing industry. With that said, it’s a good thing to know the side hustle is here to stay to those who dedicate themselves to creating quality content on blogs and websites and taking a side hustle to the public nightstep. Agree? :-)
One big pro to Tradedoubler is that they track the user through cookies, even if the user has turned cookies off. For example, most affiliate programs track users through cookies. If a user clicks your link and goes to a website, but doesn’t make a purchase, they will be tracked for a period of days (usually 30 days). If within those 30 days they come back and make a purchase, you earn your commission.
Take advantage of marketing tools whenever possible. Many affiliate programs offer useful resources to their affiliates aimed at helping affiliates make more sales. These range from monthly newsletters highlighting upcoming sales, tips or affiliate case studies, Facebook Groups just for affiliates, private webinars explaining marketing strategies in depth and more. Ultimate Bundles does this exceptionally well.
First, you should feel free to pin relevant affiliate content to your EXISTING personal boards that are filled with mostly substantive content from other blogs. For example, I will pin a beautiful rug from Target to my personal board called “Rugs and Windows.” That board contains mostly DIY tutorials from other bloggers, but certainly the people who follow it are interested in rugs and window treatments, so they will likely also be interested in rugs that are available for purchase.
If instant gratification is your thing, affiliate marketing will make you want to run into a wall. Even after you surpass the threshold needed to “cash out”, there’s usually a waiting period before your commission is confirmed/approved, simply because they allow time for people to return goods if needed. So yes, affiliate marketing is by no means a fast track to cash.
Is the space crowded? The exercise to spot influencers will help you judge how crowded your topic is. Some competition is fine, don’t let a few influencers with heavy followings discourage you. It’s highly unlikely you’ll stumble upon a topic that doesn’t have competition. However, if you see page after page of blogs in the search results, you’ll have a hard time breaking into the top search results, which can hamper your efforts and your profits.
This next one is not exclusive to Amazon, but it’s probably going to give you the biggest bang for your buck with Amazon. That is, showing people what they’re going to get before they get it. Instead of just talking about the product or sharing a little information about it, then posting your affiliate link and leaving it at that, you can give people a much richer preview of their potential experience with a given product.
First off lets talk about what DOESN’T WORK, because if you can learn what DOESN’T work first, then you can just spend time looking for all the easy affiliate offerings that WILL WORK for your Instagram following. I teach all of this in my InstaWealth Growth System, so if you want to let me teach it to you STEP-BY-STEP then signup. You’ll be able to watch over 80 easy to follow along video guides. I even update it frequently at no additional cost.
Since Instagram started in 2010, influencers have flocked to the platform to increase their audience, traffic, followers and engagement. With 29% of Instagram’s top posts coming from influencers or brand ambassadors, they are dominating the game when it comes to user generated content, and with statistics showing that Instagram has over 700 million monthly users it is now over twice the size of twitter. This isn’t something that should be ignored, especially for brands when they are looking at Instagram affiliate marketing strategies.

Tip 4: If you're a beginner, it's important that you realize it make take more than a few days before you start making sales. While it is possible to earn affiliate commissions with Amazon within a few days of creating a campaign, realistically you shouldn't expect to start making sales within the first 14-30 days. It takes time for your website to carve out a space on the internet. However, if you are determined and post 1 new blog post and 1 new video each day for your first 30 days, you hold a way higher chance of earning affiliate commissions within the first 30 days.


You will see that I created a simple image with some selling features, noting the SALE, warranty, RETURNS and a big SWIPE UP which was pointing to my http://bit.ly/amazonferrariwatch URL I created from the Amazon Associates Affiliate Offering code (yea it’s a mouthful) but it’s the big long messy URL in the image below (which is from Bit.ly dashboard). This is an amazing officially licensed Ferrari watch backed with a 2 year warranty and FREE returns. It doesn’t get any nicer of a “sell” than offering all these things to an automotive enthusiast following like I have!
Hi Kate, on Pinterest, you can add the affiliate URL when you create the new pin on your account. If you already have the pin made and want to add the affiliate link, you can just “edit” the pin and change the URL. Hope that makes sense. In the book, Elise has a step by step tutorial with photos on how to add the URL to Pinterest in case you need more help.
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