StackPath – CDN with 31 additional data centers (Cloudflare has 150+ data centers, but more data centers = faster content delivery). I get around $1,000/month by referring people to StackPath in my cache plugin tutorials. StackPath recently bought MaxCDN and their affiliate acceptance rate is much lower (depends on your potential volume) but most cache plugins converted to StackPath as their recommended CDN
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.
This might sound like a given, but it looks better if you can do your own photo shoot in your own style - it goes back to the word of mouth marketing. If you are the one wearing the product or have styled the picture yourself, it is more genuine and more likely to lead to a sale. @victoriama9 is a great example of this - it’s clear in the images that it’s her wearing the outfits and not a photo from the brand.
You create an account with one (or both) of these services and provide information about your business as well as your payment information so you can receive payouts for commissions. Once you’re all set up, you can browse each service’s advertiser library and apply for various affiliate programs. You can see the dashboard displays the commission rates each advertiser offers. Payment is handled by the service themselves, so you won’t need to send and keep track of invoices.
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. 
This might sound like a given, but it looks better if you can do your own photo shoot in your own style - it goes back to the word of mouth marketing. If you are the one wearing the product or have styled the picture yourself, it is more genuine and more likely to lead to a sale. @victoriama9 is a great example of this - it’s clear in the images that it’s her wearing the outfits and not a photo from the brand.
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And another big reason? Cost. Most of the big Influencers work solely on a pay-per-post model, where companies have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post. Sure, maybe you’re Pepsi and you have that sort of spend. But we’re assuming most of you a) don’t want to spend anywhere near that much, and b) want to work with Influencers on a traditional affiliate marketing model (commission on sale). It goes without saying, it’s much more likely that micro-influencers will work on this model.


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!!
Amazon didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The email they sent to affiliates said, "We have received feedback from associates that the advertising fee structure could be made clearer, especially with respect to understanding which products are in fixed-fee categories and which products are in tiered-fee categories. These changes simplify the fee structure, clearly defining the advertising fees you can earn by referring traffic to Amazon."
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!
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
Don’t set-it and forget-it — Affiliate marketing is a great way to create a relatively passive income stream, but you can’t launch it, see a little success, then expect it to grow on its own. You need to work regularly — at least weekly — to create fresh content, market via social and email channels, and keep your promotions current, on-trend, and seasonally appropriate.
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.
Virtual store pages: An affiliate virtual storefront lists products on your website just like a standard ecommerce store, but the “buy” button sends shoppers to the affiliate partner site to complete the purchase. You create this using a product feed that you populate with affiliate items, and then insert as a page into your website. Most affiliate marketplaces offer this feature. You can also use an affiliate storefront WordPress plug-in like WooZone to build a store using Amazon products.
Before promoting your site, you would want to make sure there is a good amount of content there. You need to write several product reviews with 2-3 in each category created. You might also need to make categories for news, articles, commentary and others about the topic. The more the content on your site, the better. The amazing thing about all this is that as you writing all this, the search engines automatically are getting notified, if you turned the notifications on, mentioned earlier.
Keep in mind that even with offers to pay these Influencers, it’s still a numbers game (though money definitely talks). So keep sending these emails out and you’ll get responses soon enough. Start with a goal of 25 emails a week. It’s normal to get only several response from these emails, so don’t worry about low response rates too much. Tweak your pitch and keep at it.
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!
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.
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…
One keyword will be your main target keyword and the other(s) will be supporting keywords. You want to make sure your main target keyword appears in your blog post title, pin title, blog post URL, and pin description. That means you’ve optimized your pin to rank highly for that keyword. In that case, Pinterest is more likely to show your pin to someone who searches for the keyword. As you can see, Pinterest is a lot like Google. It wants to deliver fresh, relevant content to users. You can help the Pinterest algorithm do that by telling it exactly what your pin is about using keywords. That’s why Pinterest Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is so important!  
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.
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.
Side note – If you do have a blog, just about any and everything that you use on your blog (hosting, themes, plugins, etc) has an affiliate program so apply to them!  You can also check out my List of Awesome Affiliate Programs which includes everything I use on my own blogs and more!  Even if you don't “blog” about those things, you can use them for Pinterest!
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.
Krista Fabregas is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and editor of the Ecommerce Section. Krista launched her first ecommerce site in 2001, and soon grew to operate two niche B2B and B2C sites, a 10K square foot warehouse, and staff of nine. Combined, her sites sold more than $1.5M annually for several years. Krista now shares her hands-on experience with others looking to expand into online sales. When not helping small business owners launch and grow efficient ecommerce operations, Krista enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and riding horses and motorcycles in her hometown of Houston.

Clearly, knowing which pages are the most popular on your site is important to your affiliate monetization strategy. This data helps you target your affiliate efforts to the pages that already attract the most readers. Once those pages are well-monetized, you can look into improving the search results, reader interaction and monetization of less popular pages.


A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer? The answer is complicated. The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently. The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
The last tool we’re going to mention is Genius Link. This is a wonderful tool for Amazon affiliates. Amazon ships to countries all around the world, but there’s no way for you to add separate affiliate links for each individual country your reader may be ordering from without spamming your post with promotional links. Genius Link solves this issue by redirecting your reader to their regional Amazon site when they click your affiliate link.
Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
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.
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.
A Direct Message on Instagram is only slightly better. It can get lost in the mix of other DMs, and it’s often a crap shoot as to whether they will even read it since if they don’t follow you on Instagram, your DM will show up as a “message request” in their inbox. These are often just ignored. However, Influencers on the micro-level are more likely to check these DMs so for those with smaller followings, it’s worth a shot.
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money online, even if you don’t have a blog, website, or any products of your own. Following a few simple steps can get you up and running within hours and earning your first commissions right away. Affiliate marketing really is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online and should be a part of every online business owner's portfolio.
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.
Write a description using your main target long-tail keyword and 2-3 related keywords from the search results. With a regular pin, your main target keyword should be in your blog post title. meta description, pin title, and pin description. Affiliate pins don’t have a blog post title or meta description so you just need to focus on the pin title and pin description. This below is my affiliate description. Notice how I effortlessly weave in the keywords? After writing your description, read it over and make sure it sounds natural. Below, I used #affiliate, but now I use #ad to be more explicit.
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