The idea of making money while you sleep is nothing new. Passive income has been a popular buzzword for the past couple of years. One way to generate such passive income is with affiliate marketing. If you want to earn money but don't have anything to sell, affiliate income comes into play and can leave you making some pretty decent change each month.


I started my first blog back in June 2012 and that was the start of my fascination with making money online. In early 2015, I took a position as a collaborations manager for a small business coordinating their influencer marketing. During my time with them, I learned a lot about influencers as well as affiliate programs and how many of them were actually able to make full-time incomes from home via affiliate marketing. It blew my mind!
Don’t go insane and join a million at once… think first about what would make sense for you to endorse. If you’re a travel blogger for instance, becoming an affiliate for hotels, tours and travel gear may be appropriate. Most companies will have an affiliate program, or be part of an affiliate network. Your best bet would be a quick Google: “company + affiliate program”.

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!


As mentioned in step one, you need to have your website or blog set up and running before you sign up for Amazon Associates. You must provide the URL to your website during registration, so get your WordPress website or other site set up before applying. You can include up to 50 different affiliate sites under one account. Plus, if you develop mobile apps like a mobile deal finder or how-to app, you can include those in your affiliate marketing plan too.
Great post, Sean! I have been using Adsense for the most part for two years now and each year, due to great content, my income has doubled. Thanks for all the great content, and this is sure to open my eyes a bit more to the likes of Amazon, which, I will admit, I have been ignoring due to the way they treat their affiliates. But, maybe it’s just me being a turd….
You can also insert all types of Amazon affiliate ad banners and buttons for seasonal and holiday specials, shopping events like back-to-school and many other niche-targeted promotions like crafting, kitchen, tech and plenty more. If you insert a banner for a seasonal event but forget to change it out when the promotion is over, Amazon has you covered. Amazon will update any expired banners automatically with standard promotions, so you aren’t left with a blank spot on your site.
Kate Ahl is the owner of Simple Pin Media. She helps bloggers and business owners manage their Pinterest page while teaching bloggers and online entrepreneurs how to use Pinterest to market their business. Her philosophy is simple, actionable and uses data based decisions to create the best Pinterest marketing strategy. She runs Simple Pin Media out of a She Shed in her garden, loves good cheese, great friends, and sparkly drinks.

Be honest. Talk about what you like and don’t like. Be fair and build trust. It will serve you well later. For examples, check out my review posts about Elite Blog Academy and Self Publishing 101. I get emails frequently from people who tell me they decided to purchase one of those courses through my affiliate link because it was the most balanced review they found.


Now that you’ve got the basics down, we’ll dig into the strategies and tactics that will help you accelerate your affiliate marketing success. We’ll revisit some of the crucial basics, go over the must-dos of affiliate marketing, explore different promotion types, dig into some advanced affiliate marketing strategies, and uncover ways to stay on track when the going gets tough.
I expanded my SEO blog and started writing about hosting, cache plugins, and other relevant topics… while recommending SiteGround in each tutorial. I added social proof like this poll where they were rated the #1 host. Each tutorial was super detailed and tons of people found them helpful – many generated 100 visitors/day since the great content got them ranked high.

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!!

It's especially true now that the big media players are finally waking up to affiliate marketing (NYTime buying WireCutter and SweetHome) and BestReviews (which was already an epic product review site in it's self due to the fact they built their own 10,000 sq ft testing lab) being acquired by Tronc (owns the LA Times and half a dozen more publications).

The second place where honesty is crucial is in how you represent your affiliate links themselves. I always recommend being honest with the fact that you can earn a commission when people use your affiliate links to purchase a product. In fact, the FTC requires that you disclose when you’re using affiliate links, but beyond even that, it’s just good practice to let people know that you’ll make money when they purchase via a link on your site.


For the person just starting out wanting to know where to begin and would like a reference to be able to use and always go back to whenever need will find this book to be of tremendous value as it gives you the all around picture of what and howto get started in affiliate marketing, get you off the dependence of a 9 to 5 income and gives one the knowledge needed to be able to start making extra money, online, passively!." - Zack
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.

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.


Along with that, Amazon is a complete SELLING MACHINE! What I mean by that, is they have drilled their conversion rates down to the last detail. Typically I can convert traffic I send to Amazon from my affiliate sites around 12%. The reason why it works so well is that the moment people land on Amazon, they are automatically switched into "buyer mode". Meaning, they know the only thing left for them to do is BUY. What that means, is all you have to do is get people to Amazon's site, and they literally do the selling for you.
It’s no secret that Amazon is a pioneer in ebooks and expanding opportunities for indie authors. But Amazon also led the way in online affiliate marketing. In 1996, Amazon was a small online book retailer run from Jeff Bezos’ garage. With a limited marketing budget, Amazon decided to tap into readers’ love of books to help spread the word. Instead of having an initial outlay of money to buy advertising, Amazon paid people a commission when they referred buying customers to Amazon. This commission was paid after the customer bought, eliminating upfront marketing costs.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.

Interested in knowing how to start affiliate marketing? It can be overwhelming when you first start out, but learning all about affiliate marketing and how to start is actually fairly easy. Affiliate marketing is an exciting alternative to the traditional means of making money through advertising on the internet. While professional media sites often resort to increasingly intrusive popup ads and video ads that sometimes play full audio whether you want them to or not, affiliate marketers can afford to be less aggressive and yet still make a living off of advertising revenue.
A landing page is often used to collect email addresses and sell products, but you could create a landing page containing numerous links to direct your IG traffic. Alternatively, you can use IG-centric services that provide templates to feature various links, for example, LinkTree, Lnk.Bio, and SHORBY. Their goals are to solve the one-link IG dilemma. LinkTree states, “You only get one chance to link in Instagram. Make it do more.” Lnk.Bio reads, “Multiple links for your Instagram bio, the new way to improve your Instagram experience.” These tools are easy to set up. You connect your IG account, pick a template, add links, and you’re ready.

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!
The moment you step into the world of affiliate marketing, the key skill needed to make you succeed is expertise in digital marketing. While it may take some time for you to figure out whether email marketing works for you, or is it SEO, it is a good idea to begin by knowing all fields of digital marketing and then deep diving into one particular subject. You will learn about topics including Facebook Marketing, Twitter Advertising, Quora Marketing, Google Adwords, Google Analytics and even EMail Marketing, SEO Fundamentals as well as WordPress.
Like them or hate them, hashtags make a difference. They improve the discoverability of posts and drive likes and comments. The key point here is relevance. Use the hashtags that correspond to your niche. Carry out research and pay attention to the tags your competitors use in their posts. Incorporate some branded hashtags to raise awareness, like the name of the promoted product or any other related tag. Let your creativity flow. Instagram allows to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but be careful not to go overboard. The optimal number of hashtags for maximum engagement is 11.
Instead, he focused solely on one platform. When that platform fizzled out, he lost his foundation and his footing as an affiliate marketer. He was unable to reach the people who had once been visiting his website because he was now nowhere to be found. Had he diversified, he wouldn't have gone through the massive pain related to that ranking change.
For example, if I talk about how cool a product is, and then you find out that I’m an affiliate for them, wouldn’t you as a conscientious observer become skeptical as to whether my information is biased, if perhaps I’m only saying how cool something is because I can get paid for it? Wouldn’t that make you question my integrity with other things I say as well?

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!
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.
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.
Affiliate Pro Tip: Use new posts in your Instagram feed to remind followers about your Instagram Story Highlights! If you share an affiliate related image, make sure you add a CTA into your caption that asks followers to check out your story highlight for more information! This way  you’re continuously directing traffic back to your affiliate offers.
Maybe, maybe not. Some of those commission rates still flirt with the industry benchmark for their respective categories, but when you consider that the commission rates used to be standardized across the entire site on a tiered commission structure (the more you sold, the higher commission “tier” you could unlock), some people’s businesses got completely shellacked by this change.

At the time, I had a ton of people reaching out wanting to hire me (I ranked my self #1 in Google for WordPress SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, many other good keywords). Unfortunately I struggled with basic things you need to run a service-based business… keeping track of clients, time management, and making sure I was charging clients for my time (and getting them to create content which often seemed impossible).
While there are many things to do in Oahu outside of the touristy Waikiki, it turns out that the area has a few cool spots to eat. I enjoyed and recommend a Hula Pie at @dukeswaikiki , cocktails at @tikisgrill , udon at @marukameudon & loco moco at @rainbowdrivein . Any other food spots I should save for my next visit? 🙏🍜🍹 _______ Bikini 👙: @lareveche ________ http://liketk.it/2trDA #liketkit @liketoknow.it _________ #waikikibeach #honolulu #gohawaii #hawaii #oahu #girlaroundworld #lareveche #beachbabe #beachlife #hawaiieats #oahueats #hawaiifood
Now, is there a format that I should follow as to what to exactly name those products in my post? I’m asking because I’m writing the product names manually. For example, if I am promoting the product “MegaFood – Women Over 40 One Daily, Multivitamin to Support Immune Health, 90 Tablets”. Should I use this full name in my article or can I use “Mega Food 40+” or something else? It just feels like I might go wrong and violate the ToS there.

Almost nobody buys just one thing on Amazon at a time: This is one of my favorite aspects of marketing for Amazon. When someone clicks through your link to purchase your recommendation, they will probably purchase additional products. You get a commission for everything they purchase after they click through your link (more about this later in the post).
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.
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?

He is the co-founder of Neil Patel Digital. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies. Neil is a New York Times bestselling author and was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
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!
For a beginner, this book is perfect. You'll discover the ways in which one can start making money online through affiliate marketing, everything that you'll need to begin, products you can start to affiliate for right away, ways to grow your traffic, and other ways one is able to utilize all the available information to you on the web to be able to make sure your affiliating business is competitive with that of your competition. The author adds a nice little addition to the book that isn't found in most and that is, a multiple choice question review page(s) after each chapter for one to make sure that they obtained all the vital information within each section before progressing onward.
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%.
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.
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.

Well, in my personal experience, affiliate marketing makes up the largest chunk of my blog income. Since getting started back in October, I’ve made a few thousand dollars from affiliate marketing (including $1500 in the first 30 days!). The road to get there wasn’t easy though… affiliate marketing isn’t just about dropping links and hoping people will buy things. There is, in fact, a lot more strategic thinking involved, which brings us to the next major question:
Jon Hayes, the author of the Authority Hacker Amazon affiliate site, says, “When it comes to plug-ins, it’s important to remember that Amazon is extremely harsh with their penalties.” Since its very easy to lose your Amazon Associates affiliate account for incorrect linking, Hayes recommends that “affiliates should thoroughly check to see whether the plug-in is compliant and approved by Amazon or not.”
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.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 

Once you've built your platforms, you need to develop and nurture your audience. Reach out and connect with them on social media channels. Respond to their emails. Engage with them in comments. Don't make it difficult for them to reach you. You need to connect with your audience and develop that relationship over time. Henry tells me that if you succeed at creating this emotional bond or connection, people will follow you, trust you, and more often than not, buy whatever it is that you offer them.
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Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you must disclose that you’re an affiliate anytime you promote affiliate products. Why? It’s to protect consumers from being misled. If they know you’re getting paid, they can make a more informed decision about whether to buy a product. Let’s say someone recommends you buy a DJI Mavic Pro drone, raving about all the amazing features. You’re immediately interested. Then you learn that the recommender is a brand ambassador for DJI. Wouldn’t that make scrutinize what they said?  Maybe do more research? That’s the point of disclosures.
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