Know when (and when not) to use Viglinks and Skimlinks. If you applied to an affiliate program but were denied, you might be able to still be an affiliate for that advertiser through a secondary affiliate program like VigLink or Skimlinks. Basically, they themselves are affiliates and will split their affiliate commission with you if you put their affiliate link in your content for an advertiser. Obviously, the commission rate is lower for you in this case, so if you ever are accepted into the advertiser’s affiliate program directly, immediately switch from using VigLink / Skimlinks affiliate links to your own.
I am so delighted to have my friend Tasha from Designer Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body here today to talk a little bit about blogging strategy– and more specifically, monetizing your blog! Tasha is my go-to source any time I have questions about using affiliate sales as an income stream for my site, and I know you will find the information she has to share incredibly helpful as well. I’ll let her take it from here!
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.
A lot of people don’t realize this, but you can’t just become an affiliate – it’s a process that requires an application. Even once you’re part of an affiliate network, you’ll still need to apply for individual brands within those networks. There are times when you’ll be declined… usually there’s a reason why (lol like that time I applied to hundreds of clothing retailers in anticipation for all the packing lists that I still have not written). Other times, you’ll feel like a good fit and they’ll reject you anyway. That’s the way this cookie crumbles, so remember to put a little effort into your applications and really pick companies that fit your blog.
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!
When the Amazon Associates Program launched in 1998, there weren’t many easy, affordable ways for budding Internet entrepreneurs to make money online. Amazon's affiliate program changed that. The only problem was that making any significant income as an Amazon affiliate required selling a ton of books. Fortunately, as Amazon has expanded its product line, the ability to make income from Amazon has become easier.
Interested in knowing how to start affiliate marketing? It can be overwhelming when you first start out, but learning all about affiliate marketing and how to start is actually fairly easy. Affiliate marketing is an exciting alternative to the traditional means of making money through advertising on the internet. While professional media sites often resort to increasingly intrusive popup ads and video ads that sometimes play full audio whether you want them to or not, affiliate marketers can afford to be less aggressive and yet still make a living off of advertising revenue.

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!


Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
Fill your website with content that will be useful to the people who are interested in your niche, and place your affiliate links throughout in the most relevant places. That way when someone interested in your content clicks your link, they go to a sales page for a product that they might also be interested in, and if they buy it you get a commission!
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.
Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser's website.
What this all boils down to is, you get to essentially look over the shoulders of highly successful affiliate marketers and just copy what they do. This is all part of their free affiliate marketer training package that you get with your free account. It… is… GOLD. Better yet? They keep it updated. The affiliate marketing industry changes fast, so you won’t get outdated information with them as they keep updating the training videos as 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”?
As a fully engaged working professional, it is hard to find a side job that fits with the demands of your current business or organization but also has potential to become a sustainable, full-time endeavor. With affiliate marketing, the process of promoting another person’s or company’s products, you can earn commission and bring home a little extra income using dedication and hard work.

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.
When you do use affiliate links on a page, be transparent about it. This isn’t a choice if you’re in the United States, by the way. The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, requires you to provide a clear disclosure when receiving money in exchange for promoting a product. Providing a disclosure is as simple as inserting the following message at the top of every post and page that contains an affiliate link:
Mistake #5: Promoting a lot of affiliate products instead of just a few. Once you start affiliate marketing, you realize how easy it is to share affiliate links. Instead of becoming an affiliate for a lot of different products and sharing them liberally, I recommend concentrating on just a few and sharing them intentionally. It doesn’t seem as spammy, plus you can be sure the products you do promote are closely aligned with your brand and message. Deep is better than wide.
Setting up a free Cloudflare account is a must for any website. It’ll add a performance boost and security with almost zero effort. One tweak I recommend in Cloudflare is turning your wp-content/uploads directory into a fully cached directory using page rules. This means Cloudflare will serve all images from cache acting as a free CDN plus it's very simple to set up. Once you have the budget you can spring for the $20/m Cloudflare account which will automatically compress your images on the fly.
Doing affiliate marketing on Instagram has its peculiarities, but the key idea remains the same – you don’t need to sell your own products, being able to promote someone else’s goods and get a commission for each transaction. It takes a few simple steps. Sign up to an advertiser that has an affiliate program and enroll with it. Look at your Instagram profile analytically and decide if you’d like to use a personal account or launch a separate one to earn money through Instagram. Bear in mind that personal accounts seem more trustworthy and credible. Polish your account, come up with a catchy caption and attach a link to a profile. Ready? Now it’s time to make some money.
Now, Amazon’s categories can be confusing. As you use the program, you’ll find that something that you’d consider a “Home” or “Luxury Beauty” item might be categorized at a lower rate. To be sure of the item’s commission category, check the categories listed at the top of the item page or search by category as we did here to find this Luxury Beauty item:
Long-term success depends on doing two things well: building content that delivers value to readers and using that content to market affiliate products to convert those readers into buyers. There are many different types of content and affiliate link combinations you can try, and Amazon Associates reports and Google Analytics both help you measure success and fine-tune your efforts.

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
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".
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** There are other programs affiliate programs that you can apply to for Pinterest depending on what you are wanting to promote.  Some of these (like Target) offer products in a variety of categories, but you will just need to look through ShareASale and other programs and read through their TOS and apply.  These are just ones that I use and were fairly easy to join and promote.

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!


Partners that sell services generally pay a flat fee when a user signs up. Sometimes, partners pay if a user signs up for an email newsletter or free trial. Others only pay if the user pays for a service. Typically, the higher payouts are things that are harder to sell. For example, website hosting can be a harder sell than various Amazon services. So, hosting affiliates tend to pay more, but you may not sell as many plans per month as Amazon services. That all depends on your audience and content.

“Affiliate marketing is split across many different channels,” says Shawn Collins, co-CEO of Affiliate Summit, a global affiliate marketing conference. So, once your home base affiliate marketing website is set up, it’s time to explore others ways to reach readers and build your audience. This is another ongoing task for beginner and seasoned affiliate marketers alike since online, social, and mobile marketing is an ever-changing field.
Amazon’s language: “… you will not engage in any promotional, marketing, or other advertising activities in any offline manner, including by using any of our or our affiliates’ trademarks or logos (including any Amazon Mark), any Content, or any Special Link in connection with an offline promotion or in any other offline manner (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, email or attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).”
On one hand, long and ugly affiliate tracking links are a straight giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "nicer" looking will it give a more professional appearance. One of my favorite plugins for making links look "pretty" is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin.

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.
Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google's PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.[33]
For a slightly different take on the subject and figuring out how to get targeted traffic onto your promoted links, you must have a look at Affiliate Marketing: Instant Traffic to Affiliate Links. A quick look at the reviews will help you decide if this is the exact course you are looking for. Sometimes the right approach is what is required to make a campaign work, this one might just work for you.
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.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
This is especially important when you consider intent. If you use a hashtag like #instantpot when promoting the Instant Pot in an Instagram recipe post, there’s a good chance you’ll get exposure to fellow Instant Pot affiliates or people who own Instant Pots already. It's fine to include it, so long as it's just one in a long list of more relevant hashtags.
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.

I love it when you share! Please keep in mind that all images and text on this site are property of Just a Girl and Her Blog. Feel free to use one or two photos provided that a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop, or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. All free printables offered are for personal use only. Pinning is always welcome and appreciated! Thank you!


The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
What this all boils down to is, you get to essentially look over the shoulders of highly successful affiliate marketers and just copy what they do. This is all part of their free affiliate marketer training package that you get with your free account. It… is… GOLD. Better yet? They keep it updated. The affiliate marketing industry changes fast, so you won’t get outdated information with them as they keep updating the training videos as needed.
Jon Hayes, the author of the Authority Hacker Amazon affiliate site, says, “When it comes to plug-ins, it’s important to remember that Amazon is extremely harsh with their penalties.” Since its very easy to lose your Amazon Associates affiliate account for incorrect linking, Hayes recommends that “affiliates should thoroughly check to see whether the plug-in is compliant and approved by Amazon or not.”

I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
I whipped up a quick video walking you through how I personally use Tailwind for Instagram Affiliate Marketing. In it, you’ll see a snapshot of my current dashboard, how I schedule posts with Tailwind and Apps4Life (a free tool that allows you to create captions with line breaks). Plus, I go into depth on how to use Hashtag Finder 2.0, which is simply the best.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.

There are many ways to make money blogging, but generating revenue as a new blogger can be difficult despite this. You’ve heard of the thousands upon thousands of dollars other bloggers have generated from ebook and course sales, but you’re having trouble keeping up with a consistent publishing schedule let alone finding the time or resources to complete an ebook or course. That’s why affiliate marketing is such a popular option for new and growing blogs.

Do you remember when I said Pat Flynn earns almost twice as much as he usually does through affiliate revenue at times? This is why. What Adobe is informing you of here is that they’ll allow you to promote their products with discounts from time to time. “Regular” means discounts offered regardless if your reader uses your affiliate link or not. “Exclusive” means your reader must use your affiliate link to receive a discount.
Affiliate Marketing Blog – This is the source for affiliate marketing news and opinions from Shawn Collins, a co-founder of Affiliate Summit, the premiere affiliate marketing conference.  During his approximately 20 years as an online marketer, Collins has garnered a wealth of valuable industry knowledge that he shares on his blog. Collins also offers a podcast, “This if Affiliate Marketing,” where he interviews guests  so listeners can learn about the people of affiliate marketing.
Oh boy I have so much to learn. This book provided me with great information on tapping into the audience, advertising using Adsense, a detailed guide on how to put information into blogs and websites using affiliate offers via Clickbank, how to include PayPal buttons on your site, the basics of building an android app (i'll definitely be looking into that one more), YouTube videos and other ideas too! Wow, I've only flicked through it so far so now it's time to go back and look into that information a little closer and start applying!
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich

A lot of people don’t realize this, but you can’t just become an affiliate – it’s a process that requires an application. Even once you’re part of an affiliate network, you’ll still need to apply for individual brands within those networks. There are times when you’ll be declined… usually there’s a reason why (lol like that time I applied to hundreds of clothing retailers in anticipation for all the packing lists that I still have not written). Other times, you’ll feel like a good fit and they’ll reject you anyway. That’s the way this cookie crumbles, so remember to put a little effort into your applications and really pick companies that fit your blog.
To think you guys scrambled and re-invented the wheel in 5 days is absolutely amazing too! I am glad you produced this thorough resource on how to hopefully abide by the Amazon TOS; play it on the conservative/safe side is the message here. You people are so knowledgeable in your business, and even you guys got a knock on the door from Amazon Associates.

"This was 250 pages of pure quality content. Well written, organized and informative. I learned a ton about affiliate marketing. Initially, I wanted to start my affiliate marketing by promoting offers on Clickbank. However, after going through this book I thought twice about that strategy. I am definitely going with his advise. Well recommended!!" - Tracy"
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.

Don’t exhaust all the information about the product with your link. Offer enough information to your readers so they know what the link is, but I don’t recommend giving too much detail on your own site for a two reasons. First, product information, like price, often changes. If you mention the price on your site and someone clicks over and finds a different price, it’s confusing. Second, many times, the product details and features are better explained by the makers of the product. It’s best to stick to your own experience on your site.

On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)


While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
While there’s probably a part of luck, the way you present yourself also counts. I just corrected a bunch of mistakes in your comment before approving it and I can imagine if your email to Amazon looked the same, they did not take you seriously. Consider using the free version of Grammarly when you write online. That will do a lot for your credibility (and that’s coming from a non-native speaker that also makes a bunch of mistakes and has to spellcheck a lot of what he writes).
Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
Kate Ahl is the owner of Simple Pin Media. She helps bloggers and business owners manage their Pinterest page while teaching bloggers and online entrepreneurs how to use Pinterest to market their business. Her philosophy is simple, actionable and uses data based decisions to create the best Pinterest marketing strategy. She runs Simple Pin Media out of a She Shed in her garden, loves good cheese, great friends, and sparkly drinks.
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