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.
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. 
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.
Make people care about you. You have to get them emotionally invested in you before you can sell them anything. In fact, Henry says that you should never try to sell something right away, at least not until people become fully vested in you and your personal journey. Russell Brunson calls this your Attractive Character. This is what's allowed both Henry and Brunson to achieve wildly-outlandish incomes from their affiliate marketing efforts.

Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use GMail, go to your settings and create a filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder (tweak the subject line to match whatever email notification your affiliate sends you). Then setup a custom alert on your phone using the GMail app so anytime you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android and here’s one for Apple). I have different notifications for SiteGround, StudioPress Themes, etc. Makes your day better :)
What I love about affiliate marketing is it is so easy to get started! You don’t have to have a huge audience and you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of hours creating your own products. Plus, for a lot of people, it is a natural fit. Think of how many times a month you refer a friend to a great place to eat, a life-saving toy, or your favorite new mascara. If you are already doing that, chances are you will rock at affiliate marketing.
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.
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.

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. 🙂


Ahh thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the post helpful. I would focus on building up a good base of content first before adding affiliate links, because like you said, some programs might not accept you if your blog is still so new. 2 posts is a nice start, but I’d definitely work your way up to 10-15 posts, enough to “fill up” the blog before you apply for affiliate programs. That’s just my opinion though! The other thing about starting too early is that you haven’t really established authority or a solid audience that trusts you yet, so the odds of readers making purchases through you is much lower as well. Focus on content first, then programs! The good thing is, you’ve taken Michelle’s course, which I thought was super helpful in terms of getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. Now that you know what sort of content works, you can get a good strategy set out from the beginning. 🙂 Best of luck!
I am creating this comment now in Jan 2018 . Not sure if this comment section on Amazon is still active since the above blog post is dated in Sept 2017. Things seem to change fast these days. Just noticed a post in a recent facebook group that Amazon affiliates program is now requiring applicants to have a fully developed website before you will be approved with Amazon affiliates program. The only other way is to have a facebook group with sufficient following. Hmmm! Any truth to this facebook post and/or comment on this matter would be appreciated
Hi Christina. I have been looking for answers about how to start affiliate through a travel blogging for more than 3 weeks and this post shined a light for me. Thank you! I still have a question about how and when to start applying to affiliate programs. I just opened my travel blog last week and had only 2 posts. Off course I have no established traffic and posts yet. I want to use affiliate links to start writing about reviews of hotels and places where I have visited, but I know my blog won’t be accepted by advertisers because I don’t have enough contents. I also took Michelle’s course and one of the chapters said to start affiliate marketing as soon as possible, but I don’t know how would you be accepted by advertisers at very very beginning?? Should I forcus on writing more posts first? And how many would be adequate to start applying to programs? Thank you for reading. Your blog is very helpful!!
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.
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.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[34] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
When you learn Affiliate Marketing it is must to know different ways that can help you build relationship with your audiences and then you should patiently follow them before generating money online. Creating and maintaining relationships with partners will help you get targeted traffic for your marketing campaign. Below given are some methods to attract potential customers for your Affiliate Programs-
Be transparent and create your story. What did you suffer through? Are you a reluctant leader or are you the hero leading the charge? Ensure you properly relay your story so that you can bridge the emotional bond between people who have no idea about who you are. Why should they listen to you? What "secrets" have you uncovered over the years? What failures did you suffer through or lessons did you learn along your journey?
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.
Hey Jan, glad it made you think. As you've found out it's not easy to rank #1 on Google especially when so few people will link to your product reviews. You need to tackle a specific niche with a focused target audience as a whole and build a community of like minded people around your site in order to make any significant income online sustainably and for the long term.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
Mistake #2: Using the “They must not be my people” excuse to be spammy. I’m not a fan of this common tactic. Here’s how it works: people send a huge number of sales/promotional emails to their list with no warning and with no easy way to opt out. When people complain or unsubscribe, they put it on their subscribers (“Oh well, they aren’t my type of subscriber anyway…”), instead of taking responsibility for the spam (let’s call it what it is). What ever happened to “treat others the way you want to be treated”?

Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.
When you are posting a photo make sure you use relevant tags. Including hashtags means more engagement and likes. To find the best tags for your content you need to research your audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won’t necessarily help you in the long run. For example, a travel blogger should have travel related tags. If they were to include a hashtag about vitamins it wouldn’t necessarily fit with their content. If you include a hashtag that doesn’t fit with your niche, people will be less likely to engage with you.
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.
Krista Fabregas is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and editor of the Ecommerce Section. Krista launched her first ecommerce site in 2001, and soon grew to operate two niche B2B and B2C sites, a 10K square foot warehouse, and staff of nine. Combined, her sites sold more than $1.5M annually for several years. Krista now shares her hands-on experience with others looking to expand into online sales. When not helping small business owners launch and grow efficient ecommerce operations, Krista enjoys writing fiction and nonfiction and riding horses and motorcycles in her hometown of Houston.
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
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 how to 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!
Merch by Amazon – If you use Merch by Amazon then you don’t need to set up your own online store – all products are simply displayed on Amazon’s website. Simply upload your artwork to your Amazon Merch account, and add the product information and price. Amazon will then create a product page for your work, and when you receive orders they will print and ship. (Merch by Amazon only prints onto T-shirts and is only available in the US).
In addition to Amazon’s clear commitment to conversion rates (read: probable sh*tloads of testing), the extreme growth of Amazon Prime. Estimates from top firms calculated Amazon has between 65 and 80 million prime subscribers in early 2017, which is up from about 54 million just a year earlier. The huge boost in Prime subscriptions has apparently had a massive impact on conversions.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]
Have you been hearing a lot about earning easy money by referring people to Snapdeal, Flipkart or Amazon and thinking what actually it is? How in such a competitive world can people make Passive Incomes? – Then the first thing that you need to know is- It is neither a trick nor magic- Generating passive income in this way is a well organized marketing system- That you too can use, but for this you need to learn Affiliate Marketing. Before going in details, first, let us learn Affiliate Marketing basics by delving into what experts say about it-
I do find the rejections strange sometimes, and you are SO right that often there doesn’t appear to be a good reason. Just yesterday I got a rejection from a program I applied to months and months ago citing that “my site wasn’t a good fit”, but I had actually been accepted to them through CJ Affiliate when I first applied and have been generating pretty consistent sales haha. Oh well! Guess we’ll never know the “inner workings” of it all, but thanks for reading Robert 😀
I bought this book because of all the previous reviews. I have hard time believing their authenticity after reading the book myself. The info is great and you will learn a great deal about affiliate marketing. My issue is with the incredible amount of grammatical and spelling errors on basically every single page. Affiliate marketing has everything to do with great writing. So I find it odd how terrible the grammar is throughout the entire book. Zero editing was done.
(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.

Will my target audience realistically buy this now, or at a different time? Be sensitive to sales cycles and seasons. Maybe you should avoid holidays (when people are away from their computers, like July 4 in the U.S.) or maybe you should target holidays (like the day after Thanksgiving), but know the difference. Again, know your audience. Plan your content accordingly.


One great traffic driver for me has been my new Travel Resources page. I put it up less than a month ago, created some pretty pins for it and it has done superbly well on StumbleUpon and Pinterest (racking up over 1.5k repins). This boost in traffic has helped substantially increase my conversions for Amazon, which was not a huge earner for me before. So, traffic + affiliate links = happy money dance.
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!
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!
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.
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. 🙂

If you want to jumpstart your success: I really do recommend enrolling in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. It has helped me SO much in terms of starting out and getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. The Facebook group is amazingly helpful, and I have heard great feedback from blogger friends who have taken it based on my recommendation. If you are a beginner, this course will definitely help you. To sweeten the deal, I’ll throw in a copy of my Affiliate Marketing for Travel Bloggers eBook for free if you buy the course from my affiliate link. Remember, there’s a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, so there’s no harm in giving it a try.
This is crucial! Do NOT save your affiliate pins, or any pins for that matter, to generic, all-niche boards. You’d confuse Pinterest. When you share a new pin, the Pinterest algorithm goes to work to figure out what that pin is about. It determines this based on the image, keywords, and the boards where the pin is saved. If you want to learn the ins and outs of how the Pinterest Algorithm works, there’s no better course than Pinteresting Strategies. Mommy blogger, Carly Campbell, walks you through how she went from 0-200k page views a month by mastering the Pinterest algorithm and manual pinning.  
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