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.
          The quality of your photos can make or break your pin’s success. As new bloggers, we’re all cash-strapped, this is one area where you can’t be cheap. Don’t underestimate the power of professional quality images! I use Deposit Photos to source all my images for pins. Typically, I’ll search for images like “feminine computer desk” or “workspace with flowers.”

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.
In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!

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.
If you use WordPress to run your affiliate site, you’ll eventually hear about Amazon affiliate plug-ins. These are third-party programs that streamline adding Amazon affiliate links to your website, provide advanced display tools and help with overall performance management. This sounds enticing, but many blogging pros warn new bloggers that relying on plug-ins can be risky.
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!

Understand where people are at in the buying cycle and promote accordingly. Spend the most time sharing affiliate links where people are ready to buy. For example, you can share affiliate links on Pinterest, but most people are not on Pinterest to buy but to look. As such, focusing your affiliate marketing strategy on Pinterest might not be the best use of your time. Review posts, for example, might be better at tipping people over the line into buying.


I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “Oh, here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to do live my life. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
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.
With affiliate pins, I use both script fonts and cursive fonts. I tend to tell people to stay away from cursive fonts, but I make an exception with affiliate pins because they perform well. Before I post an affiliate pin, it goes through my ‘sister test.” It’s pretty simple – I just ask my sister, who wears glasses, whether she can read every single word.
Contact the company directly. If you use a product or service and want to recommend it but you can’t find evidence of an affiliate program, consider approaching them and asking if they are willing to set one up (maybe with your help). Highlight your audience and the value of your recommendation. Explain that an affiliate program is simply rewarding happy customers (you!) for promoting, and they don’t have to pay until a sale is made.
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.
This is like a free graduate level college course every month available just for the reading. And unlike most college professors, these guys and gals are actually earning in the real world. Michelle made well over a million USD last year from mainly affiliate programs,AFTER she paid her running expenses and US taxes. She sure didn't do it by reviewing bicycle pedals 😉
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.

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.
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!

Are there related affiliate partners? Remember that list of 30 products mentioned above? You need to see if you can find companies, called affiliate partners, which will pay you to promote those types of products through your blog content. Researching this up front is a key factor in deciding if your niche can be profitable. We’ll explore ways to find affiliate partners in Step Two below.
I built several small sites that only sell ‘small’ items for sale on Amazon. Typically $4/$5 an item, and items that are usually bought in bulk. Painting supplies, for instance. I then take out a small Facebook ad at the start of the month promoting that site. Usually 2 or 3 orders of multiple products is enough to send my commision percentage up, then it’ll stay that way until the end of the month. Hope that helps someone. 🙂
Great article. Great resources. I do find it quite odd that people will reject sellers. As an affiliate marketer and new blogger myself, this is extremely frustrating. Now, I know there could exist a reason for rejection, especially within marketplaces, however, I haven’t the faintest idea why they would off the bat. I have heard it reduces epc’s (earnings per click), but, I don’t get why people care about this other than for some contests internally. Which in my opinion hurts less than refusing essentially free eyeballs on your products.
Formaro also publishes other types of content that appeal to the shopping side of her how-to audience. “You can also do product reviews or write gift guides on creative content websites, and these can be very effective — even more so than just linking to supplies within a how-to post,” says Formaro. “Keep in mind that people are most likely not in the shopping mindset when they arrive at your blog to get a recipe or how-to instructions. But, if they come to a gift guide or product review, the mindset is definitely shopping-oriented.”
Earnings are what matter to most affiliates. Our commissions indicate how we are performing, which is why affiliate marketing is also called performance and commissioned-based marketing. Google Analytics will monitor traffic to your website. To learn more about your audience, measure reach, and track engagement, check out Instagram Insights (for business profiles), Hootsuite Analytics, and Iconosquare.

Hi, just to let you know that I had a conversation with customer service at Amazon.com and they only allow direct links to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube at the moment and I asked about Pinterest and the answer is no you can’t link directly to an Amazon product, you need to go via your own website or blog. If they catch you doing that, your account will be closed as it is against their TOS.
Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.
This is real informatic information. I found this one real meaningful, wow! you truly showing the way affiliate works. I agree ad monetize can be passive income theme while affiliate can be our primary hope…I read so many articles but feels like something is hidden..but found this one real insidefull. This is showing us how our 100 bug can be harvested from from small sources. Because newbies might want to give up blogging as they are not going to earn because they thought it’s one shot income source. Thanks Sean it will really encourage every new entrepreneurs.
But it literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $6,000 to GoFundMe campaigns. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it. Enjoy!
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.

Finally it’s possible to find out what your audience wants. There’s no need to go outside and ask pedestrians for their opinion. With a recently launched interactive poll sticker, which is part of the Instagram Stories, it’s way easier. Want to collect feedback on the promoted product or gather more ideas from the audience? Create a survey in one tap! Ask a question and give two answers to choose from. Check out the statistics to see the votes. The poll will last for 24 hours. If needed, fine-tune your affiliate marketing campaign according to the results obtained.
Third, go through any shopping guide posts and/or room reveal posts that you may have on your blog. Of course you want to continue pinning whatever “pinnable” graphic you have created for the post, but I also recommend pinning images of each individual product recommended in your post and swapping out the blog post url with your affiliate link to that product.
The easiest way to get a lot from your influencer partners in your affiliate program is to set up a compensation plan with them where they’re paid a flat amount of money in exchange for promoting your products or services on their feed. Most influencers do not like working on a commission basis. They would much rather get cash upfront. If your brand were willing to do this, this would be the best way to get their attention. You could even work out a zero commission deal with them where they don’t earn commission from the sales they refer at all. If the influencer is really powerful, you might even come out ahead despite the upfront risk.

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.


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.”
Another great way to get the most out of Instagram influencers in your affiliate program is to host a product giveaway with them. Influencers love running giveaways because they receive excellent engagement from them and gain a lot of new followers in the process. When you structure the giveaway with the influencer you do want to make sure that it’s not one sided and you get some new followers for your social media accounts as well. At the end of the day, it’s a great way to get some new followers and get some great marketing out there for the cost of your product, which is usually a brand’s preferred currency.
One big pro to Tradedoubler is that they track the user through cookies, even if the user has turned cookies off. For example, most affiliate programs track users through cookies. If a user clicks your link and goes to a website, but doesn’t make a purchase, they will be tracked for a period of days (usually 30 days). If within those 30 days they come back and make a purchase, you earn your commission.

You earn commission on anybody’s purchase, except yours, if they use your referral link within 24 hours. One tip here is that you can trade referral links with family members and friends and use their link to make your own purchases and ask them to do the same so there can be sharing of the spoils. This might not be the major way to make money in the affiliate program Amazon runs, but it can help your commission structure.


This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

Regardless of the content you choose to pin or your motivations, successful pinners adhere to Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman’s guiding principle: make (and keep) the site “beautiful”. Simply put, the best pinners find the best of the web, regardless of subject matter, and there are some simple tactics from a presentation standpoint that you can use to help improve the performance of your pins.
Shopping on Instagram has been around for about a year, but has been reserved only for select businesses based in the US. However, in March 2018, Instagram rolled out Shopping on Instagram across the globe. This feature is now available for 45+ countries and counting. It is also accessible to any business or influencer who has an Instagram Business account (although you will first need to get your account approved for shopping).

The benefits of affiliate marketing are location independence and the ability choose which products to promote. Also, your investment of time and energy directly correlates to the return you see. Depending on your availability and what you hope to gain from the enterprise, you can choose to be the type of marketer who sets up shop and passively waits for customers to come, or you can proactively spread the word about your favorite merchandise from prominent brand affiliates.

Creative Market is an online marketplace for community-generated design assets. “The company sells graphics, WordPress themes, stock photography, media kits, and other digital goods for use by web creatives” – Wikipedia. It is my new addiction and I can’t get enough. When you have time take a look around so you can see all of the amazing products they carry.

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