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.
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
To become a successful, money-making affiliate site owner, you must create interesting and compelling content — and lots of it. Content is what attracts an audience and what that content largely depends on the purpose of your blog. Some bloggers focus on product reviews while others are do-it-yourself crafters who publish how-tos, cooks who create recipes or workout pros who publish fitness-centered articles and posts.
Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.

Understanding reports and analytics, especially Google Analytics data, can take some time, but there is help available. Fiverr is home to budget-friendly freelancers that can help you set up, track and understand Google Analytics reports so you can start using this data from day one. In fact, Fiverr’s pros can help you build your affiliate WordPress site, populate it with the content your readers want and even help you effectively monetize it with Amazon affiliate links.
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.
If you’re thinking about working with an affiliate marketing network, the world’s most popular marketplace can be a great place to start. We’ll cover how to sign up and start picking and promoting Amazon products, as well as strategies for success—the must-dos and must-don’ts that go into making Amazon a key piece of your affiliate marketing stable.
Writing good advertising sales copy (copywriting) is the other important skill for internet marketers. The good news is that when it comes to affiliate marketing, many vendors will provide you with copy to use for your blog posts, websites ads, etc. They'll give you the emails to send, the banner ads to display, and even posts you can use on social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Some affiliate marketing offers will pay you a set fee if someone signs up for their monthly subscription service. Some will pay you a set fee for driving new users to signup for an app or service. Either way, the more you know your demographic, the more you will be able to find the best converting affiliate marketing programs to bank serious money.
James Goodwillie of the blog One To Multi agrees. “I’ve been an Amazon Associate from day one, and it’s the number-one way I monetize my content. I’ve found that things like big sections of product image links are too much and scare away users,” says Goodwillie. “Adding affiliate links for product pictures or any text where I mention the product is the method that works the best for my site.”

The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
Now, truth be told, affiliate marketing does come with some costs. Fortunately, those costs are rather small when compared to starting other businesses. For example, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing in the same way that I teach it, you’ll need a website. In order to have a website, you need to pay for “website hosting”. If you don’t know what website hosting is, don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but website hosting does cost a few bucks per month (generally under $10 / mo). If you have about $40 for startup costs and about $10 / mo for recurring expenses, this is entirely doable. There are many other optional expenses for affiliate marketing, which I will also get into, but those optional expenses are used more for speeding up the path to success (outsourcing, etc.) rather than a requirement for success. When I first started my affiliate marketing business, I had about $200 to my name.
Of course, you could continuously change that link every time you post about a new affiliate product, but how annoying + time-consuming is that?! Plus, changing the link in your bio to a new affiliate link every time you post won’t allow you to drive traffic to any previously posted links, so this method isn’t super effective at increasing commissions.

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.


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!

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!


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%.
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.

Once you get your basic website set up, your affiliates all arranged, and you start producing content that other people might want to see, it’s time to learn how to market yourself so that people will start visiting your site and finding out what you have to offer. If it’s good, word of mouth will bring others to see your website, and that (along with more marketing and SEO) will slowly but surely grow your audience. But to learn more about that, you should read some of the other articles on this site.
Great post , I do read a lot of the Nichehacks articles and this one is so true. At the moment I am in a niche I'm passionate about and yes although I am primarily using Amazon to monetize my site, I will be branching out to use other methods very soon. It frightens me to think the plug can be pulled at any time! I intent to use other affiliate programs as well as Amazon, maybe Google Adsense, I'm not sure yet, some digital products and also to build an email list.
ps. collecting these Facebook polls is one of the main reasons I was able to get so many SiteGround sales. Yes, I’m suggesting SiteGround for your host, but this is also a strategy that can be used to collect unbiased reviews. Just go to Facebook and search “SiteGround poll” and you can dig up some great stuff – you can do this with lots of affiliate products/companies.
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
Access more than a hundred courses on various aspects of affiliate marketing and related domains on Skillshare, by simply subscribing to the platform for nearly zero cost. The best part is that you are not charged until a few months, so you can test things out and cancel subscription at any point if you want. The courses here include techniques on how to drive traffic to your website for free, how to use Instagram for promoting offers, how to set up an Affiliate Business and a lot more.
Pinterest’s enhanced ability to detect spam pins is great news, but it also means that pinners should take precautions to ensure their affiliate pins aren’t inadvertently flagged as spam. One of the guiding principles is that the image in a pin should be consistent with the destination of the pin. For example, a pin with an image of a throw pillow on a couch should not redirect to a vacation booking site.
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
5) Favorites tools/equipment blog posts: Your audience wants to know how YOU do something. Let them know by writing a blog post that tells them exactly what you use in your business. For example, one post I have planned is “My Favorite Tools for Livestreaming on Facebook.” I will have links to my lighting equipment, microphone, and camera on Amazon via affiliate links.
Creating blog content is a very useful and effective way of consistently building content on a site. When creating blog posts, it's a good idea to do some keyword research to figure out what it is that your audience is interested in and searching for online. Also, be sure to research competitors, forums and social media to narrow down on topics for your blog. 
While Google has been the key driver of organic traffic and sales for affiliate marketers over the years, most now realize and understand the importance of Email Marketing in this business. Without a good email marketing strategy, relying on just Google is not the best strategy according to masters of the trade. That’s why we feature this all important course created by Bryan Guerra in this list. Having taught more than 80,000 students online, Bryan is the best guy to spill the beans on this subject. Let us find out what his course is all about.
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!
1) The images taken from the SiteStrip through the API are very small. For vitamins or small items that can work. But I am talking about large products with details. For large detailed, products this is RIDICULOUS. I used to have 700 pixels products to show the features. The so called large images through Amazon API are 250 pixels! Not only do these look absolutely ludicrous design-wise, they actually make the reviews less appealing, less beneficial for the user and potentially less converting. Everybody knows images are everything.
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.

What’s your passion? The subject that you talk, write and read about day-in and day-out is a good contender for your passion. It doesn’t have to be overly broad like wine reviews. A sharper focus, say West Coast Wine Reviews, can be a better place to start when learning how to affiliate market. In fact, a narrow focus can help your site appear high in the search engines and stand out in social media, which we’ll get to later. For now, start by listing the topics that interest you, starting with the ones you’re knowledgeable about.
This is a HUGE one! A lot of people register for Amazon Associates at the beginning of their blogging career because they assume it’s just good to “get it out of the way”. Don’t!! *foams at the mouth* I repeat: don’t register until your blog is reasonably established and you’re quite certain someone out there will buy something off of your link. If you don’t net any sales within your first 90 days, your account will get shut down. You’re welcome to apply again, but by then, your fragile ego will be in ruins.
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.
I hope you found all of this to be helpful. Learning affiliate marketing for free is actually easy to do. There are lots of people teaching affiliate marketing for free. The problem is learning from the right people and knowing who the right people are. The above information should help show you that you really can learn from successful affiliate marketers at no charge. Those videos in your free account speak for themselves.
There’s no trick to doing this. Just create links for each of the products using different tracking IDs (there’s an option to switch between IDs which creating links in any of the methods listed above except Publisher Studio, which embeds a single tracking code in the JavaScript snippet, so you’ll have to use either the Product Link tool or Site Stripe).
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.
SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 
Ohhh making that first affiliate sale might be the greatest feeling ever, even if it’s 18 cents. Here’s the sad thing though: most networks will have a minimum payout threshold that’s typically $50 or $100, so it may be a LONG time before you see the money. I used to be an affiliate for BlueHost, and after my first sale, I was stoked to see $65 in my affiliate report!! Legitimately, I felt like a millionaire. Unfortunately, BlueHost has a minimum payout of $100, so that money went untouched until I made another sale, but even then…

Hi Tasha and Abby, very intersting post . Tasha, I’ve noticed that you’re using Amazon links too. Doesn’t Amazon only allow affiliate links on your own website? No social networks, no emails, no ebooks, no nothing else… I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe I misunderstood the terms (they are complicated as hell for me). But good to know that with a less strict company it’s possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest too. Thank you for the info!
Translation: Amazon won’t let you join their affiliate program if your site is involved in anything illegal, deceptive, violent, or hateful. But even if this doesn’t describe your site (and I hope it doesn’t!), keep in mind that sites of an “adult” nature may not be allowed either. Also, even if your site is totally family friendly, if it’s focused on kids it may not be allowed, as Amazon says it won’t accept sites directed toward kids who aren’t teenagers yet.
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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