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!!
Your first instinct may be to seek out companies who pay the highest commissions or join affiliate programs other bloggers in your niche are finding success in, but these methods are ill advised. There is so much more going on with a blog that earns thousands upon thousands in affiliate revenue on a month-to-month basis than placing a few affiliate links here and there.
This is my first comment on your blog and I am really impressed by the quality of the content! You said that Amazon is famous but it’s complex and I agree with you upon that. As a beginner, I don’t think it’s a good idea to join complex affiliate programs. I recently published an infographic about affiliate marketing sats (https://www.earnyfy.com/affiliate-marketing-stats-2016) amazon was not the list of top affiliate networks used by affiliate marketers. I think Clickbank is good for the beginner. And another I think liked is that telling people that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Most people think making money is really and when they know the truth they call it a scam and give up.

ShoeMoney – This blog, run by Jeremy Schoemaker, also boasts insider knowledge about obtaining the Dot Com Lifestyle. His philosophy and business model is predicated on three ideas: Embrace new trends and look for opportunities to exploit them; focus on what you know; and small changes can equal big revenue. ShoeMoney.com shares information on how to be successful amid the ups and downs of online marketing. Schoemaker also offers a free online training program.
It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.
With all of my blog posts, I have the consistently scheduled to share on social media and on Pinterest. This keeps the content in front of my audience. I use the social media scheduling tools Post Planner and Tailwind for this. Many affiliate programs also have great affiliate managers that will send out information with special promotions that you can share. If there isn’t a big sale or promotion going on, I will still try to feature certain high-converting posts on Pinterest, to my email list, etc.
This is so exciting! As a blogger, I’m always looking for ways to maximize my revenue streams. Thank you, Tasha (and Abby) for sharing this valuable info. BTW – I am taking Tasha’s Blog Boost Bundle courses AND Abby’s Book Boss course and both are excellent and full of valuable advise! Thanks to you both for taking the time to create these incredible courses!
This is one of the best ways for influencers to get their traffic to convert to sales. If your Instagram is full of beautiful lifestyle images, that people are curious about, then by letting them know they can shop these items is key. @sheshopped has done this on her Instagram and the page on her website has all of her shoppable Instagram photos, and when you click on one, you are given some information on it, and you can click through to the store.
These are just the key features, but the platform offers many more. Check them out and use all the features on your way to becoming an affiliate marketing pro. However, some say the amount of knowledge might be overwhelming for new Wealthy Affiliate users, therefore take one affiliate marketing training course at a time and ensure you learn it and put those tricks into practice before you move on to the next chapter.
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….
Can you name 30 products related to your topic? If you know your topic well, you should be able to list 30 or so related or complementary products or services. Can you? If you can, great. There’s a good chance you’ll find affiliate partners that sell products that you can promote in your content. If you can’t name 30 related products off the top of your head, your topic may not have much profit potential.

Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
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%.
Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
Amazon affiliate marketing works like other affiliate marketing programs by paying website owners — generally bloggers — commissions on sales that result from marketing Amazon products to their audience. Site owners insert trackable Amazon affiliate links into site content like blog posts and can also insert affiliate ads into site sidebars, headers and footers.
There are a few things I could do to promote my website in the hopes of attracting more website visitors. For example, as I was adding content, I’d make sure I was doing at least a little basic search engine optimization (SEO). That’s a fancy way of saying I’d show search engines that my website was full of relevant information, so that they’d display it in the search results when people enter certain weight loss topics. There’s a whole section of free lessons at Affilorama about this topic. 

This is one of the best ways for influencers to get their traffic to convert to sales. If your Instagram is full of beautiful lifestyle images, that people are curious about, then by letting them know they can shop these items is key. @sheshopped has done this on her Instagram and the page on her website has all of her shoppable Instagram photos, and when you click on one, you are given some information on it, and you can click through to the store.
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.”

Mistake #3: Giving your friend’s product a glowing review without actually being familiar with your friend’s product. This happens a lot in the affiliate marketing (and book marketing) world unfortunately. It’s a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. By all means, give your friend a glowing review, but if you haven’t actually read their book or taken their course or tried their product, don’t talk about it as though you have. Readers deserve honest recommendations! (Here’s an example of me helping to announce the launch of my friend’s book while being clear I hadn’t read it.)


Use your personal words & experience with the product. Your own content, or photos & videos of yourself using the product are always the most effective. For example, many affiliate programs provide swipe copy to their affiliates which is pre-written emails, post material or social media posts. These can be helpful as a guide, but they often scream swipe copy, aren’t written in your voice (the one your readers know!) and if a lot of affiliates are using it, are overdone.
Many top-tier online brands list their affiliate programs right on their website so you can find them easily. Some are self-administered, others are run through an affiliate marketplace, but you can sign up from the brand’s website. Like marketplaces, these large affiliate programs are free to join and easy for affiliate marketing beginners to navigate.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

Plus, it can be especially tempting this time of year to “catch the wave” of holiday shopping excitement and—as we talked about earlier—start promoting products you don’t know well and haven’t even used personally. While that may lead to some extra sales in the short term, in the long run you risk your audience’s trust by promoting products you don’t know and can’t stand behind.
Now if your really want to run with this idea, or you’ve tried this and found success. Then go and find a bunch of amazing products that fit with your followers (or a wide demographic) and create a simple product review website and send your followers (from your URL link in your BIO) or your (Instagram Viral Story) to a website full of affiliate offerings!
According to Forester, Instagram has the highest engagement rate of the many social media platforms. This is precisely why affiliate Instagram marketing via Influencer (aka Influencer Marketing) has become a one billion dollar industry today, and the entire Influencer Marketing segment overall is predicted to become a ten billion dollar industry by 2020.
Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.
Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
80% of your pins should be someone else's content - again, something I read. The point is to not be spammy with your content. If you're targeting a particular audience, give them other great content they might find interesting. This is why I only choose about 10 products on Creative Market per day to share. I don’t want to seem spammy, and I spread them out throughout the day.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
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.
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?

Then, came the dreaded Google algorithm updates. After ranking number one for "electronic cigarettes" and "electronic cigarette reviews," which were steadily driving massive amounts of traffic to his blog, his rankings fell off of a cliff. He tells me had made a huge mistake by solely relying on Google for traffic and not leveraging it to build an audience elsewhere.
Videos also make it easier to build a relationship with your audience; you can talk right to them, and they can hear your voice (and see your face, though that’s not always necessary). Plus, not only are you sharing what the product looks like and how it works, since you’re the one who’s showing your audience how it works, you’re also building your authority with them as an expert they can trust.

Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".


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.

SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic

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.
Second, you need to nurture your email list. Michelle didn’t even start an email list until she had been blogging for 2-3 years and only began focusing heavily on it last year. Those email subscribers are your loyal followers, your tribe. They are the ones who want what you have to offer and will become your customers when you are ready to sell something, whether that’s through creating a product or through affiliates.
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