This next one is a short one, but it’s a big one. As you probably know (and have experienced!), the holiday season is a huge shopping period—which means it’s also potentially a great time for affiliate sales. The lead-up to the holiday shopping period is an important time to promote your affiliate links, so you might want to think about doubling down on your promotional efforts in the fall.

As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to get affiliate marketing confused with sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is not a direct endorsement of your brand or content from a company. It’s a simple arrangement that allows you to earn revenue for referring new customers to that company. You aren’t paid unless you refer traffic or new customers to them. This arrangement is often available to anyone regardless of web traffic, social media following or list size, as previously stated.
Plus, if the shopper leaves Amazon’s site without purchasing, but returns and completes a purchase within 24 hours, you earn commissions on anything the shopper purchases. In fact, if the shopper adds items to his or her Amazon cart within that 24-hour timeframe, but leaves without purchasing, all is not lost. If he or she returns and completes the purchase within 90 days —  without clearing the cart and starting over, that is — you can still earn that commission.
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!
I’m really interested in your advice however I really can’t get my head around how it can ‘fit’ or ‘help’ my Instagram following. I have a small growing steadily following on Instagram. But I need to somehow turn that following into an earning. I have a great business idea that is a ‘new concept’ online homewares store. ‘My_Tiny_Vignette’ (on Instagram)
You Don’t Need To Track Affiliate Links To Improve Conversions – you will always hear people telling you to track affiliate links. But for me, I generally use the same content about SiteGround on all my speed optimization articles… it is very important it converts well. Change your approach on how you recommend your affiliate product (it’s perfecting your sales pitch).
When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.
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/
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.
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.”
Once your platform is live, you need a product to promote. However, you should avoid the temptation to do this early on. Get that emotional investment going before you attempt to do this. If you begin too early, you run the risk of losing a large portion of your audience. Take the time to first create insatiable content and deliver enormous amounts of value before you attempt to sell your audience anything.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9]
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”.
On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.
As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to get affiliate marketing confused with sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is not a direct endorsement of your brand or content from a company. It’s a simple arrangement that allows you to earn revenue for referring new customers to that company. You aren’t paid unless you refer traffic or new customers to them. This arrangement is often available to anyone regardless of web traffic, social media following or list size, as previously stated.
File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.
Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris's iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.
This next one is not exclusive to Amazon, but it’s probably going to give you the biggest bang for your buck with Amazon. That is, showing people what they’re going to get before they get it. Instead of just talking about the product or sharing a little information about it, then posting your affiliate link and leaving it at that, you can give people a much richer preview of their potential experience with a given product.
A common issue with Instagram influencers is finding a way to get customers to click on affiliate links. It’s common to see captions include “link in the bio,” but this is an extra step that sometimes customers don’t take. Thus, there could be sales that came from this influencer that they’re not getting credit for. This is bad for the influencer because they’re losing out on commissions and this is bad for the brand because you’re not able to properly track the success of their campaigns. This is where forced exclusive unique coupon codes come in.
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.
You’ve probably heard about using Pinterest to drive massive traffic to your blog. But did you know you can actually make money directly on Pinterest? Absolutely! Through this post, you’ll learn how to succeed at affiliate marketing on Pinterest without a blog. Our expert is McKinzie Bean, a mom blogger and Pinterest strategist. Since starting her blog, Moms Make Cents, in 2015, McKinzie has gone from making $0 to between $5k-$10k a month from Pinterest! For two years, McKinzie has managed the Pinterest accounts of other businesses. I reached out to McKinzie so she could share her best tips to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links.  In the end, you’ll get a preview of McKinzie’s Pinterest affiliate marketing course, Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing.
You can start figuring out your target audience by focusing on reading the reviews in your niche. You can also spend some time on forums and read the comment section on blogs that cover your niche topics. If you notice some unanswered questions emerging over and over again, write them down. Your audience needs them answered, and you can do it for them. Or you can do an online search for best niche blogs and see how they are structured.
A sound product strategy is a must for new affiliate marketers. Ideally, you should choose a niche that you can make money online with and has a lot of product vendors. This will give you a wide selection of products to offer your online community. However, limit yourself to two or three products at a time, so that you become the expert others turn to and trust when reaching for their wallet.
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!
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.
Writing content for your blog or website about picking or buying a product available on Amazon. Now more than ever, people go online to research their buying options. If you're a mom blogger, you can write an article on picking a low-cost vacuum with a link to your top choice or several links to your top choices. A food blogger can link to cooking tools. A photography site can link to cameras and other photography equipment.
Media reporter Mathew Ingram tweeted, "Not great for media who rely on affiliate revenue[,]" potentially a nod to popular gadget reviews The Wirecutter, which was acquired by The New York Times. Technology journalist Michael Morisy quipped, "Amazon reworks affiliate program, cutting commissions 50% for electronics. Guess they think Jet threat has passed?" in a reference to up-and-coming Amazon rival Jet.com, which sold to Walmart in a deal largely regarded as a failure for the startup.

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!
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]

I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
An advertiser in affiliate marketing can be any company that sells products (cosmetics, kitchen appliances, electronics, cloth, etc.) or services (software, cloud storage, video games, etc.). There is also one more distinguishing characteristic that defines you as an advertiser. You have to be ready to pay other people to help you sell your products and promote your website.
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.
×