Then I made my very first affiliate sale for my favorite travel blogging course. It was a recurring payment of $38.80 (someone purchased the course on a payment plan.) I was over the moon! I had been promoting that course for 2 months before I finally made a sale. This small win encouraged me to continue trying different strategies to promote affiliate products.

Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]


Marketplaces are free to join and give affiliate marketing beginners access to a wide range of companies that offer affiliate programs. There are many to explore, but they’re a great way to find partners for products or services within your niche. Marketplaces administer the programs and payouts too, so you don’t have to track and account for several independent programs. Plus, you also have someone in your corner if you have questions or issues, which is a plus for affiliate marketing beginners.

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.
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.”
Take ThirstyAffiliates, for example. This plugin helps you add affiliate links to your site and then organize and manage them. You can also include corresponding images, and track your links’ statistics. Pretty Links offers many of the same features, but focuses on optimizing your affiliate links. Both plugins have premium versions offering even more functionality. There are also plenty of alternative options to choose from.
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.
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A Direct Message on Instagram is only slightly better. It can get lost in the mix of other DMs, and it’s often a crap shoot as to whether they will even read it since if they don’t follow you on Instagram, your DM will show up as a “message request” in their inbox. These are often just ignored. However, Influencers on the micro-level are more likely to check these DMs so for those with smaller followings, it’s worth a shot.

Keep in mind that even with offers to pay these Influencers, it’s still a numbers game (though money definitely talks). So keep sending these emails out and you’ll get responses soon enough. Start with a goal of 25 emails a week. It’s normal to get only several response from these emails, so don’t worry about low response rates too much. Tweak your pitch and keep at it.
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.
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.
Hey Jan, glad it made you think. As you've found out it's not easy to rank #1 on Google especially when so few people will link to your product reviews. You need to tackle a specific niche with a focused target audience as a whole and build a community of like minded people around your site in order to make any significant income online sustainably and for the long term.

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.


To find out if there’s internet and social traffic surrounding your niche, try doing some search engine keyword research and search for related topics on social media. If keywords related to your topic have large search volumes, and if you find related Pinterest boards, Facebook pages and Instagram streams with lots of followers, you have an audience.
Amazon Kindle book authors: Every Amazon Kindle author should have an author website on WordPress to market their books and brand; you can list your own titles via Amazon affiliate links and earn an added 4 percent on top of your ebook royalty when titles sell; plus, you can earn even more by marketing Kindle devices and other items that might interest your reading audience
As search engines have become more prominent, some affiliate marketers have shifted from sending e-mail spam to creating automatically generated web pages that often contain product data feeds provided by merchants. The goal of such web pages is to manipulate the relevancy or prominence of resources indexed by a search engine, also known as spamdexing. Each page can be targeted to a different niche market through the use of specific keywords, with the result being a skewed form of search engine optimization.
Review : I’m really happy that I bought this course. Theo was so informative and had really good explanations. I loved how she walked us through setting up our blog step by step which really helped me and also motivated me to get it done. It made starting my blog less overwhelming for me to see her steps on Word Press. She was very thorough and I feel a lot better about it now. She even is responsive on the Facebook group. Would definitely recommend this course! If anything could be changed, I would just want to see even more steps on the word press side as far as physically setting things up. Thanks for a great course Theo! – Jamie Banks
Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.
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.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.

Building connections in your niche is essential. Once you know people posting similar content you can work with them to write guests posts on their blog. This is a great way to get backlinks since you'll be writing the content on their blog. If you have a huge article about the "best kettlebell for beginners" for example you could guest post for people in the health niche with kettlebell exercise tips. Building backlinks to your article and site is essential when trying to show up high in Google search results.
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!
On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.

Again i would like to state this book, being as amazing as it is, i personally believe is best for one starting out in the space and looking to understand all possible options one has in going into the field. More experienced affiliate markets will have less to be able to gain from this information as it is more targeted towards learning about what exactly affiliate marketing is, how to begin and how the whole process works, what one should be affiliating, websites where one can join affiliate programs, how to obtain your own customers you can affiliate for, how to build your traffic, and what parts of your website you need to give good attention to.


James Goodwillie of the blog One To Multi agrees. “I’ve been an Amazon Associate from day one, and it’s the number-one way I monetize my content. I’ve found that things like big sections of product image links are too much and scare away users,” says Goodwillie. “Adding affiliate links for product pictures or any text where I mention the product is the method that works the best for my site.”
I once persuaded my mum to buy all my Christmas presents using my affiliate links on Amazon, and then found out that Amazon won’t pay out to anyone with the same surname as you (as they assume them to be family; luckily I have an unusual surname!) or anyone who lives at the same address. However one of my friends has ordered through one of my affiliate links and the commission has tracked for that. It’s my ONLY commission, mind. And my account hasn’t been shut down yet (touch wood, fingers crossed etc etc…)
If you focus on a niche that has a highly engaged following it is more likely to be successful. @afterpay obsession is one of those affiliates. It is for people who want to shop at stores that offer Afterpay. If a brand has any great promotions, they will let their users know so they can grab the bargain and pay in installments. They have a very active Facebook page but they use their Instagram page to highlight products, but also to encourage brands to work with them.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
Because Amazon has a huge selection, and it’s so easy to generate an affiliate link for just about any product, it can be easy to fall into the trap of promoting an Amazon product without getting to know the product first. As a result, it can be really easy to start promoting something you don’t know very well, and risking the trust of your audience in the process.
Banner and sidebar ads: Virtually every affiliate program provides a wide variety of ads that you can insert into the sidebars, header and footer sections of your WordPress website. Some of these affiliate ads promote a flat-fee product like the Amazon Prime free trial. Others automatically update with features products and items from your affiliate partner. Either way, if your reader clicks on one and makes a purchase, you get paid.
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.
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