This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
First, you must recognize that there are much better social media networks than Instagram for affiliate marketing, for example, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Therefore, you might abandon IG altogether. Secondly, if you want to play on IG, you must accept its limitations and focus on what is available (the bio section). Four strategies accompany the all-important bio link.
(For the newbies) – A “cookie” is a tracking method.  If a company has a 60-day cookie, it means that if I click on your affiliate link and go to that site but don't purchase anything during that visit, I can go to that website directly (without using your link again) and if I make a purchase within 60 days, it will credit to you.  This cookie is only good on the device I initially use your link on.  So if I first click through your link on my phone, but then go home and visit the website directly from my computer, the cookie isn't tracking it because the cookie was on my phone.

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.


After reading all the benefits of affiliate marketing if you think you will be rich over night by selling affiliate products online then you are wrong. Affiliate marketing is definitely an excellent way to make money online but it’s highly competitive too. In order to be successful in Affiliate marketing you need to know the market needs, learn how to promote products, what works and what doesn’t. The following are a few tricks on becoming successful in affiliate marketing that I have learnt over time.

You can create a free account and get an overview of the dashboard and access some initial knowledge without any payment. However, live events, research features, and the level 2 - level 5 series of courses, walking you through the process of creating and growing a business within the niche that you want, are limited to premium members. Membership costs $19 a month, or is priced at an individual rate. But it’s absolutely worth it when you take it seriously and want to invest in yourself.


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).”
Don’t forget to post your affiliate pins to your OWN personal boards! When I share my affiliate pins, I start with my own relevant boards because they’re better optimized for SEO than my group boards. I carefully write my board descriptions to optimize them for keywords. Technically speaking, you don’t even need to share pins to group boards if you have well-optimized personal boards with high repin rates. The advantage of group boards is that they help you expand your reach.

Rizzo adds, “roundup lists can also rank higher in Google search results because they tend to be more specific. In other words, don’t do a post entitled ‘Best Laptop Computer’ because you will be competing with some of the largest websites out there such as CNET, PC Magazine and so on and will have a difficult time getting traffic,” says Rizzo. “Instead, think about deeper pieces of content like ‘Best Security Camera System for Small Businesses,’ which has fewer searches but far less competition.”
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.
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!
Alternatively, to find niche affiliate programs, a basic Google search will suffice. Then simply sign up with the individual affiliate programs you like the look of and take it from there. There is no limit to how many affiliate programs you can sign up with, but make sure the products you are going to promote are high quality. If you promote products that aren’t up to scratch, you will lose the trust of your Insta-followers, and quickly lose your audience.

Process-specific tutorials: You can also provide your readers with an in-depth process tutorial. For example, a DIY blog could write a tutorial blog post on “How to refinish an antique dresser” or a food-based blogger could describe “How to can your own tomatoes.” In each of these, all of the products you need to accomplish these outcomes would be links to Amazon.


The first place where honesty is crucial in affiliate marketing on Amazon is in how you represent the product itself. This may go without saying, but if you oversell or flat-out lie about what a product can do for someone, it’s going to backfire, big time. And not just in terms of your affiliate sales for that product, but in the likelihood people will continue to trust you at all. You can always find new affiliate products to promote, but once you’ve lost your audience’s trust, it’s hard if not impossible to gain it back. This is why using a product yourself and getting to know it inside and out is extra important, because the chances you’ll misrepresent the thing you’re promoting are much, much lower when you’re an expert on it.
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.
80% of your pins should be someone else's content - again, something I read. The point is to not be spammy with your content. If you're targeting a particular audience, give them other great content they might find interesting. This is why I only choose about 10 products on Creative Market per day to share. I don’t want to seem spammy, and I spread them out throughout the day.
First, let me emphasize that I feel strongly that bloggers should not go overboard when sharing affiliate links on Pinterest. Think about it… When you scroll through your Pinterest feed, do you want to only see products for sale? Probably not. So exercise your judgment and make sure that affiliate links are a small percentage of the content that you share on Pinterest.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
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.
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.

The takeaway from Step Two is this: Step Two is an ongoing process. As you learn how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll spend a good portion of your time searching for target partners, signing up for programs and learning how it all works. As you become established, you’ll continue this process to curate new products and services to promote and connect to your content.
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
Even if you already have a good grasp of the affiliate marketing business model, I highly recommend you check out this primer section in your free account. Check out the article, but more importantly, make sure you watch ever video at the bottom of that page. Those videos are filled with a wealth of information from very, very successful affiliate marketers.

I just LOVE your writing style, Christina! I recently purchased the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, but have yet to really dig in. I had NO idea all of those crazy complications with Amazon! I’ve already been rejected once 😛 But luckily, though my ego was bruised, I pressed on and am now on round 2 (with no success so far..lol) Hopefully with this post and the course I will make something in the next 90 days!


I have now done three courses on Affiliate Marketing and can recommend all three so if you want to check out each of these in more details here are the links to have a look at. I like them all for different reasons and its up to do which ones you choose they all cover the basics but I would say Makingsense of affiliate marketing probably is the most in-depth and comprehensive but it depends on how much you want to go into it each has different tips but essentially each course covers the basics.
For affiliate marketers, this means you can create a post with an image incorporating an affiliate product, with the affiliate link added as text overlay, or in the caption. This post will then be shared on an influencers Instagram account, exposing your affiliate link to a new audience, as well as finding you potential new Instagram followers for your own account.

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!!
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