John Holloway uses Amazon affiliate links exclusively on his Guitar Lessons website. He advises beginning bloggers to “try different things and see what works best. Some best practices to start with are image links, in-text links and even product comparison tables with links,” says Holloway. “Just make sure that the linking is natural and not overdone or you run the risk of driving visitors away.”
Great article. Great resources. I do find it quite odd that people will reject sellers. As an affiliate marketer and new blogger myself, this is extremely frustrating. Now, I know there could exist a reason for rejection, especially within marketplaces, however, I haven’t the faintest idea why they would off the bat. I have heard it reduces epc’s (earnings per click), but, I don’t get why people care about this other than for some contests internally. Which in my opinion hurts less than refusing essentially free eyeballs on your products.
Part of the reason I recommend diversifying is because, as we talked about earlier, Amazon commission rates tend to be lower than they are from other affiliate income sources. I’ve seen this in my own affiliate marketing, where my commission rates and overall income from Amazon are not as high as they are for many of the products and services I promote on other platforms and from other companies.
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.
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[18] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[13]
For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 
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.
According to Beeskow Blay, “Authenticity is the key to developing affiliate content that brings value to your audience and, in turn, influences them to purchase featured products.” She advises affiliate marketing beginners to “keep your message and brand consistent, find your voice and avoid overly pitchy posts or product insertions that are misaligned with your brand.” She warns that audiences are “quick to spot affiliate fakery. If they feel misled, they’ll find another source of information and not return to your site or social pages.”
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.

By education, a B Tech graduate and MBA from IIM Lucnknow. Deepesh’s journey from an engineer to a Digital Marketing has been exciting. He started his career as an Entreprenuer, founded editings.in. Now with 7+ years of experience into Digital Marketing, currently Deepesh leads Digital Marketing for Digital Vidya, having expertise into the areas of:
What do u think of easyazon which shows the entire amazon link and automatically creates no follow tag for us. Do you manually go into your page source code every time to add no follow link if you use the amazon provided link…also, my issue with amazon images is they can break sometimes and you can’t create the image size that you want exactly. Are all your images on healthambition.com hosted on amazon/created from the associates console? I assume the big issue with using images from amazon is if the images you use doesn’t match the image shown for the product when they get to amazon creating bad user experience
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. 🙂

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.
Don’t forget to post your affiliate pins to your OWN personal boards! When I share my affiliate pins, I start with my own relevant boards because they’re better optimized for SEO than my group boards. I carefully write my board descriptions to optimize them for keywords. Technically speaking, you don’t even need to share pins to group boards if you have well-optimized personal boards with high repin rates. The advantage of group boards is that they help you expand your reach.
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!!
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".
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.
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.
Coupon codes have always been an effective way to get people to buy something. Influencers like @cassieandrewsstyle has a product photograph, and in the blurb she includes a coupon. If it is an exclusive coupon code, then it has more draw because the discount is better than a normal coupon code. Not all coupon codes require a click to be tracked by an affiliate network, which is great news for these affiliates who want to promote an exclusive code but don’t want to include a link.

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).
Alternatively, to find niche affiliate programs, a basic Google search will suffice. Then simply sign up with the individual affiliate programs you like the look of and take it from there. There is no limit to how many affiliate programs you can sign up with, but make sure the products you are going to promote are high quality. If you promote products that aren’t up to scratch, you will lose the trust of your Insta-followers, and quickly lose your audience.
While Google has been the key driver of organic traffic and sales for affiliate marketers over the years, most now realize and understand the importance of Email Marketing in this business. Without a good email marketing strategy, relying on just Google is not the best strategy according to masters of the trade. That’s why we feature this all important course created by Bryan Guerra in this list. Having taught more than 80,000 students online, Bryan is the best guy to spill the beans on this subject. Let us find out what his course is all about.
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.
This was early 2013 and Facebook had kicked into high-gear. So Henry tried his hand at Facebook ads. And it was a hit. He was able to reach the right people and pack the nightclub. Shortly after, he sold it for a big profit. But it was then that he realized how he could combine the power of advertising and affiliate marketing to really take things to the next level.
High Paying Affiliate Programs Blog – Bill Burniece runs this blog and keeps it up to date with new posts every few days about making the most with online marketing. One of his blog categories focuses on the benefits of targeting the affluent market, but he also gives tips for getting started with affiliate marketing. Burniece’s blog was named the Affiliate Summit’s Top Affiliate Marketing Blog of 2013.

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.”
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
Consistency and discipline –  Mr consistent usually gets the best results. Being consistent and disciplined in your business ensures you’ll minimise distractions that will delay your success. It will also help you develop a structure around your daily actions so you won’t waste time figuring out what to do next. Creating a plan and sticking to it is essential for long-term results.
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.
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.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!

If you actually use the product and get results with it, then sharing a case study or your personal experience can be one of the most effective ways of selling those products to your audience. As you build a more responsive list of email subscribers and buyers and your reputation, merchants may offer you “free” samples of e-books or other products.

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).”


However, when you are ready, search for the right product or company that's relevant to your audience. When Henry quit smoking, his story was part and parcel to the bigger picture of selling electronic cigarettes as an affiliate. Although his blog's success was short-lived at the time, at it's apex, it was generating over $30,000 because he nurtured his audience and built that emotional bond before ever trying to sell them anything as an affiliate.
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.
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.
Let’s say I’m a photographer who teaches digital photography to beginners. I use Photoshop to edit my images and mention it frequently on my blog. I even post full-length tutorials using the software regularly. This makes Photoshop a great contender for my affiliate marketing strategy. It’s a product I trust and provide information on how to use regularly. So, I search for “photoshop affiliate program” on Google and come across Adobe’s affiliate program.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
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.

The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.


Besides your images, keywords are the other major make or break factor for your pins. Spend some time to identify 2-3 relevant keywords that people would use to search for the problem you’re solving. Focus on just one target keyword phrase that you absolutely want to rank for. Then add one or two other related keywords. To figure out what keywords to choose, put yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What would they search in order to find a solution to the problem your affiliate product solves?
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