Affiliate marketing is something practically every website owner should have a basic understanding of in today’s digital world. Even if you don’t personally use it in your monetization strategy, there may be a time when you want to. This guide to affiliate marketing can get you several steps closer to understanding one of the most popular forms of website monetization online businesses use today.

Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Set up a website. Professional or business websites can also use the Affiliate program. However, they are best used with people who do not sell similar products on their website, since Amazon's marketplace can drive business away. If you have a website promoting different products, a club, a non-profit or a service, then you can recommend quality products on your site and make money doing it.
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.
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.

Yes! You may be confused because affiliate links were effectively banned from Pinterest back in 2015. But on May 12, 2016 Pinterest announced that affiliate links are once again allowed on Pinterest. Pinterest said in part, “In the past, we removed affiliate links from Pinterest because spammers were abusing them. Now that our spam detection system is so much stronger, we’re ready to allow affiliate links again. To make way for these changes, we’re making minor updates to our acceptable use policy. We’ll start rolling out all affiliate networks today and over the coming weeks.”
For a beginner, this book is perfect. You'll discover the ways in which one can start making money online through affiliate marketing, everything that you'll need to begin, products you can start to affiliate for right away, ways to grow your traffic, and other ways one is able to utilize all the available information to you on the web to be able to make sure your affiliating business is competitive with that of your competition. The author adds a nice little addition to the book that isn't found in most and that is, a multiple choice question review page(s) after each chapter for one to make sure that they obtained all the vital information within each section before progressing onward.
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!
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).”
It seems nowadays many bloggers are obsessed with this monetization stream, clamouring to find out how they, too, can make money off blogging through affiliate sales. This popularity has led to one very negative consequence: information overload, and not enough answers. After a few email exchanges, I realized some newbies were petrified of asking basic questions… in fear of sounding dumb.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[19] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[20]

Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
The takeaway from Step Two is this: Step Two is an ongoing process. As you learn how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll spend a good portion of your time searching for target partners, signing up for programs and learning how it all works. As you become established, you’ll continue this process to curate new products and services to promote and connect to your content.

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.
Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 

Be honest. Talk about what you like and don’t like. Be fair and build trust. It will serve you well later. For examples, check out my review posts about Elite Blog Academy and Self Publishing 101. I get emails frequently from people who tell me they decided to purchase one of those courses through my affiliate link because it was the most balanced review they found.
Very useful info, and thanks for the heads-up about Etsy not allowing affiliate links on Pinterest! Have you ever tried advertising on Pinterest, i.e. paying Pinterest to promote your pins? I was wondering if that could be lucrative with affiliate marketing, where the margins are always lower than when you have your own product to sell. I’m also wondering if it would be lucrative to advertise on Google, Facebook and Youtube (found this guy who supposedly made a lot of money that way – https://moneytestimonials.com/crestani-free-webinar/ ). I’ll probably do my own experiments with this but if you have experience in this area I’d be very interested to hear about it!
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