I have started looking at affiliate networks and finding products to promote that way. Also going to try to utilize a Youtube channel with promotion, as well as some paid advertising. It all works with the right amount of patience. I do have an Amazon Affiliate account that I can link too, but diversifing and learning to branch out is key. Truthfully I do not think the Amazon associate program is all that newbie friendly.

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%.
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.

Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.
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 just hope and pray that visitors will buy; setup everything correctly and make it happen! If you think that visitors will click on your affiliate links and buy just because you placed dozens of affiliate links on your website then you are wrong! You need to have a structured plan in place. Affiliate marketing is a business so you will have a much better chance of succeeding if you treat it like one.


Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[25] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.

Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.


Ooh that makes sense! Yeah, surname would probably be a big one. I’ve also heard that they keep tabs on any old addresses you’ve registered and if the address is the same as someone buying from you, then that doesn’t count either. I can’t imagine they’d be able to know who ALL your friends are, but a good thing to be mindful of! When I first started I thought, hey, why not just make a FB post and tell everyone to buy off me? haha then I realized maybe it’s not that simple.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
(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.

When you visit an affiliate company, you’ll be able to choose between a free plan or one that comes with a monthly cost. The premium membership comes with more support, more websites, and a stronger connection to the affiliate marketing community, but if you’re at the point where you’re just dipping your toe in the water to see what it’s like, the free membership option comes with some support for the first week and enough freedom and tools to quickly create a basic website and get going.
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.

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.


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!


This is so well put together, thank you! I’ve been spinning my wheels trying to figure out what affiliates to work with in my niche. My target audience is bloggers, and much of my content is free knowledge on how to grow a blog, but pushing a sale is just not what I want to do. But with this list I can really see that there are a lot of options to choose from. I do have an account with shareasale already, so I’m going to start there and see what other companies will work for my audience!

Thanks for the list. Its frustrating to get approved to some affiliate networks. Here’s another affiliate program you can add to the list. It’s a PLR membership site. You get paid even if your customer signs up only for free trial. If they pay, you get 20-50%. To be honest, I earn more from the Free trial signups than the paid ones. Join here – http://marketingboo.com/joinplraffiliate/
This is important in the framework of not just affiliate marketing, but in marketing anything online, especially when the products are your own products and you're not just receiving a commission for selling them. Clearly, you need to build emotion around the entire process. In another words, you need to create an emotional attachment to every stage of the sales funnel.
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.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
I’ve been pretty intentional about what types of products that I share with my audience, but one thing that I struggled with is that I didn’t want to come off as “salesy.” Because of this I included less affiliate links in posts or avoided different types of posts that I thought would be too pushy. However, it turns out using my affiliate links made it more convenient for my audience. Plus, the tutorial posts and roundup posts that do so well in affiliate marketing still can be super helpful and add value for your readers.
However, when you are ready, search for the right product or company that's relevant to your audience. When Henry quit smoking, his story was part and parcel to the bigger picture of selling electronic cigarettes as an affiliate. Although his blog's success was short-lived at the time, at it's apex, it was generating over $30,000 because he nurtured his audience and built that emotional bond before ever trying to sell them anything as an affiliate.
An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.

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.
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.

The second step in your journey is to create a diversified platform. Why diversified? Well, when Henry was flying high with his Google search results, then suddenly knocked down to beyond page 10 after an algorithm update, he tells me that he wishes he had diversified. Instead of focusing solely on the blog, he tells me he should have been building a Facebook Group, online forum and other ways that he could stay connected with people.
Check what other items your referrals are buying. One great feature of the Amazon Associates program is that you get paid on items your referral buys, whether or not they buy the specific item you referred. Amazon stats will let you know what items you referrals bought. If you haven't yet promoted the item, and it's a fit for your blog or website, you should consider adding to your product list.
As another example, I’m planning on writing a blog post comparing the Blue Yeti USB Microphone to the Blue Snowball iCE Condensor Microphone. I have both and use them for client video calls, livestreams, and creating courses. However, the Blue Yeti is twice as expensive. I’m sure a lot of people wonder whether they investment is worth it (the answer is “yes,” by the way). I can help people make their decision and earn a bit of affiliate income in the process.

It is worth noting that you can also build unique URLs with your affiliate code that don't take readers directly to a product. Instead, it could take them to a collection of products, a content page, or some other intermediate step in the purchase funnel. The Creative Market Partner Program, for example, rewards you with a 10% cut of everything your referred customers buy for a full year. This means that regardless of whether they made a purchase immediately, or signed up and bought later, you will still get your cut.


Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[41] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[42]

Based on my research, I chose ‘affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog’ as my main target keyword. This what they call a long-tail keyword, a phrase that conveys a specific idea. It’s important to use long-tail keywords because then you’ll be giving users exactly what they’re looking for. If you use just ‘affiliate marketing’ as your keyword, you’ll be competing against everyone on Pinterest who has ever written anything about affiliate marketing. Thanks to proper keyword research, the first and seventh pins in the search results below are my own.


Then I made my very first affiliate sale for my favorite travel blogging course. It was a recurring payment of $38.80 (someone purchased the course on a payment plan.) I was over the moon! I had been promoting that course for 2 months before I finally made a sale. This small win encouraged me to continue trying different strategies to promote affiliate products.
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