If instant gratification is your thing, affiliate marketing will make you want to run into a wall. Even after you surpass the threshold needed to “cash out”, there’s usually a waiting period before your commission is confirmed/approved, simply because they allow time for people to return goods if needed. So yes, affiliate marketing is by no means a fast track to cash.
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!!
Before we can get into affiliate links, first we need to talk about the affiliate program. An affiliate program is hosted by a company that wants to use marketers who are not employed by the company to promote their product or service. These marketers, and their social media accounts, are often related to the product or niche in some way. For example, a health blogger might sign up for an affiliate program promoting vitamins.
There are dozens of affiliate marketing programs available which you can sign up with. Therefore, you need to choose the correct niche for you. If you known to trend on Instagram because of fashion, then you should choose a fashion affiliate program. However, if your Instagram followers follow you because of fitness, then you should to go for the fitness affiliate program. In a nutshell, always choose a program which your audience will relate well with.
It’s important to do some research into both your potential Influencer and their followers to see if this affiliate partnership is a good fit. While there’s no need to go over-board and nit-pick every single post, scrolling through and reading the comments on a few dozen will give you a good sense of whether this Influencer is right for your business.
Email marketing: Email is a proven winner for many affiliate marketers. As an affiliate startup, you can start a free email account with MailChimp, Drip or another email marketing service and gather email addresses on your website and use email marketing to send informative affiliate content and targeted product promotions to subscribers from day one.
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.

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).


For example, part of Michelle’s affiliate income comes from blogging tools and resources. Every month in her income reports, she shares all of the details on how to get started blogging. By the time Michelle’s reader finishes with her post, they know exactly how to get started and what products are necessary to purchase. All they have to do is click on the affiliate links she has included in the posts. She follows this model for every piece of affiliate content that she produces.

I did a lot of research to find the right one, and so I chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (as I mentioned earlier). I figured it made sense to learn from the best, and with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, I had nothing to lose. I chat WAY more in-depth about it in my review here, but this course was definitely a gamechanger for me.
The second place where honesty is crucial is in how you represent your affiliate links themselves. I always recommend being honest with the fact that you can earn a commission when people use your affiliate links to purchase a product. In fact, the FTC requires that you disclose when you’re using affiliate links, but beyond even that, it’s just good practice to let people know that you’ll make money when they purchase via a link on your site.
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.
Sugarrae.com – Confused about the lingo of affiliated marketing, how to generate fresh blog posts ideas or using Google Alert to find new affiliate programs to work with? Sugarrae.com, run by Rae Hoffman, is the blog to find answers to these and other nuanced affiliated marketing questions. Hoffman provides tips and tutorials to aid you in building passive income streams online.

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.


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.
If you’re thinking about working with an affiliate marketing network, the world’s most popular marketplace can be a great place to start. We’ll cover how to sign up and start picking and promoting Amazon products, as well as strategies for success—the must-dos and must-don’ts that go into making Amazon a key piece of your affiliate marketing stable.

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.


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!!
With all of this in mind, you also need to understand that affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick system. It’s a business. A real marketing business that will take some time to grow. All of the resources you need in order to succeed are listed above, but don’t expect overnight success. Give it a good 6 to 12 months and about 10 to 15 hours per week working on your business. If you do that, by this time next year, you should be an affiliate marketer yourself, at the very least making a nice secondary income. If not, in a year from now, you’ll be exactly where you are right now. Focus on the long-term and keep going with sustained effort. Of course, I’m always available as well if you ever want to contact me. I never charge a dime. 🙂
Make sure your bio includes some good information about you or your company - you have 150 characters to show off what you’re about. Make sure you include your website link, and a way of contacting you as well - this is important for influencers, and also brands. At the moment it isn’t possible to search bios for keywords and hashtags, so don’t worry about using those in your bio.

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.
If you are a music lover, it would be a good idea to promote it over books and even other products. All you need to do is listen to clips of a full album within a short period, say 10 minutes, get a good feel of it without you purchasing it and do a short review. If there is another niche you are passionate about, make sure you get a unique discovery about it. Of course, there are hundreds of thousands of reviews about these products all over the web but you need to make yours more unique to attract people to your site.
You’ve no doubt encountered affiliate marketing on the Internet without even realizing it. Lots of popular blogs and websites write about particular products and then link to Amazon or an online store. They receive commission money when you click on the link and buy the product. As an affiliate, the blog receives a little ‘tracking code’ from the product creator that enables them to know if you have bought the product.
Don’t set-it and forget-it — Affiliate marketing is a great way to create a relatively passive income stream, but you can’t launch it, see a little success, then expect it to grow on its own. You need to work regularly — at least weekly — to create fresh content, market via social and email channels, and keep your promotions current, on-trend, and seasonally appropriate.
Plus, leverage Instagram Stories, as they are known to be an effective business tool. They allow placing the links of the promoted products on a video. If a customer taps on the affiliate link, they will be redirected to the advertiser’s website where the products are available to buy. Don’t forget to add the location and hashtag stickers to raise the discoverability of your Instagram Stories.  
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.
I hope you found all of this to be helpful. Learning affiliate marketing for free is actually easy to do. There are lots of people teaching affiliate marketing for free. The problem is learning from the right people and knowing who the right people are. The above information should help show you that you really can learn from successful affiliate marketers at no charge. Those videos in your free account speak for themselves.
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
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.

First I want to just say well done with what you have accomplished. You have done an amazing job. I’m not really one to post a comment on blogs as I’m sure everyone says. But the thing that struck me the most about you is I can tell your a great individual. You love cats, as my wife and I do. We also have rescue cats. You are a very generous and honest person and that is most likely why you also have done well. Very authentic and honest. I’m in the process of building an affiliate amazon site. So I can relate to the content side of things. I’m already a customer of siteground but If I wasn’t I’d happily sign up through you. I have bookmarked your site as I’d like to come back and read a little more and keep an eye on your progress. Thanks for taking the time to write this post. It’s one of the best blog posts I’ve read. Take care Tom
Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.
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!
Once you get your basic website set up, your affiliates all arranged, and you start producing content that other people might want to see, it’s time to learn how to market yourself so that people will start visiting your site and finding out what you have to offer. If it’s good, word of mouth will bring others to see your website, and that (along with more marketing and SEO) will slowly but surely grow your audience. But to learn more about that, you should read some of the other articles on this site.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 


Promote products that are stepping stones to products you will create in the future. This is a bit more advanced, but is a great way to think ahead. Amy Porterfield suggests thinking about the first thing your followers will need in order to get started with what you provide. For example, I teach people how to blog, so the first thing they need to start a blog is hosting. That’s why I am an affiliate for hosting.
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.

Hi Christina, quick question about amazon affiliates? I recently signed up for amazon.com as 45% of my readers are from US and I was only with UK amazon. However, my 90 days is almost up for the uk version. Do you know if the 90 day resets for each country you sign up to? And if someone buys something with my UK link, does that count for my 90 days with the US version as well?
Promote products that are stepping stones to products you will create in the future. This is a bit more advanced, but is a great way to think ahead. Amy Porterfield suggests thinking about the first thing your followers will need in order to get started with what you provide. For example, I teach people how to blog, so the first thing they need to start a blog is hosting. That’s why I am an affiliate for hosting.

Nah, you should work backwards: Start looking for the “noisiest” people on social media; the ones who have posted written or video reviews, tweets about how much they like your product, and of course, those who leverage Instagram. It’s important to check all social media because these potential partners may have, say, posted on Facebook about you but haven’t bothered to post on Instagram specifically. Then, after you’ve compiled a list, cross-reference their names/emails with your customer database. Got a match? That person is a prime candidate to reach out to, if they meet the criteria above that we’ve already established.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Let’s take a look at a real-life example. I’ll show you how I did keyword research to promote my affiliate pin for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing Course. The course teaches beginners how to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links. Before I put myself in my audience’s shoes, I make a note of the key information about the course that I need to convey.
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