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.
Good comment Jason, at some time in the future Amazon may decide they have so much market share they don't need affiliates anyway. I mean, if you're just sending them people who are already Amazon customers there's not so much benefit there for them. Or they may decide to only work with select HIGH QUALITY affiliates and the average "affiliate site" owner will not be chosen.
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
Many Instagrammers use shortened link services such as Hootsuite (Ow.ly) and Bitly (Bit.ly). While shortened links are practical to use in posts and on other networks, I don’t recommend using one in your bio unless it’s consistent with everything else. Also, it helps if the link is customized or branded. For instance, an account for women’s shoes uses bit.ly/sixinchheels, which would be acceptable.
Just like a real-world funnel, a sales funnel acts similarly. It funnels down visitors through several stages before they become buyers. The way Henry explains it, if you're not creating an emotional attachment during each stage of that funnel, then you're largely wasting your time. It has to start from the very beginning, and it has to carry out all the way to beyond the purchase.

Translation: Amazon won’t let you join their affiliate program if your site is involved in anything illegal, deceptive, violent, or hateful. But even if this doesn’t describe your site (and I hope it doesn’t!), keep in mind that sites of an “adult” nature may not be allowed either. Also, even if your site is totally family friendly, if it’s focused on kids it may not be allowed, as Amazon says it won’t accept sites directed toward kids who aren’t teenagers yet.

There are a few tips and strategies we recommend following when it comes to affiliate marketing. For starters, we highly recommend promoting what you know whenever possible. Promoting a new product you hardly have any experience in is fine once in a while, but promoting something you’ve used successfully for years is bound to help you gain the trust of your audience more efficiently.
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!
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.
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.
CharlesNgo.com – Charles Ngo, a well-known and respected Internet marketer, shares affiliate marketing strategies that help people work smarter, not harder. His blog posts cover how to launch an affiliate marketing campaign, why offers aren’t converting, how to get things done in a distracted world and much more. He suggests the best books to read on the subject and provides his own advanced training called the AFFcelerator Program.

Formaro also publishes other types of content that appeal to the shopping side of her how-to audience. “You can also do product reviews or write gift guides on creative content websites, and these can be very effective — even more so than just linking to supplies within a how-to post,” says Formaro. “Keep in mind that people are most likely not in the shopping mindset when they arrive at your blog to get a recipe or how-to instructions. But, if they come to a gift guide or product review, the mindset is definitely shopping-oriented.”
I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.

Fill out your bio with all the right information: This includes your contact information, what you post about and where you’re from. Add in a few keywords and even a couple of hashtags to ensure you’re easily findable by the right kind of followers. Something like: Beauty Blogger from San Francisco with a penchant for travel. Business inquiry: business@beautyblogger.com
Will my target audience realistically buy this now, or at a different time? Be sensitive to sales cycles and seasons. Maybe you should avoid holidays (when people are away from their computers, like July 4 in the U.S.) or maybe you should target holidays (like the day after Thanksgiving), but know the difference. Again, know your audience. Plan your content accordingly.
The site owner actually had a telephone conversation with an Amazon account manager who said that, if the email service provider was located in certain states and the emails went from there, it was fine to use them in emails…so we continued. Bookbub still do it I believe, although they have a shit-ton of subscribers so maybe have some special deal.
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.
I have started looking at affiliate networks and finding products to promote that way. Also going to try to utilize a Youtube channel with promotion, as well as some paid advertising. It all works with the right amount of patience. I do have an Amazon Affiliate account that I can link too, but diversifing and learning to branch out is key. Truthfully I do not think the Amazon associate program is all that newbie friendly.
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.
Finding a WordPress theme for your site is one of the fun parts of launching an affiliate marketing business. Themes drive the look and functionality of your website and, with WordPress, it’s easy to try out different themes until you find the perfect design for your site. There are plenty of themes to choose from and many are free. Find out more about using themes in our WordPress themes guide and check out Envato Market and MyThemeShop for great-looking themes — including many free options.
Once you’ve chosen your interest and you’ve create a website where you can write about it, the next step is to pick out the affiliate programs that will advertise on your site. It’s tough to start affiliate marketing without a monetization plan! With over a million products and services to pick from, you’re bound to find something related to your interests, so feel free to go crazy with ideas like underwater basket weaving and scuba lessons if your interests lie with the ocean, or organic food and organic conditioners if you prefer to discuss how to stay beautiful with only organic plant extracts.
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Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
Formaro tells budding bloggers that “it can take a while to build up enough traffic to get people clicking your links, and then they still have to buy once they land on Amazon. But don’t get discouraged,” advises Formaro. “Keep creating and sharing content, and insert Amazon affiliate links for relevant and helpful products into your posts, and the sales will follow.”

Think of it this way – if you were about to open a restaurant, wouldn’t you do some research before quitting your day job and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into it? Of course you would! You would research the best location, the best type of food to serve, how much you’ll have to pay employees, where you’ll source ingredients from, what type of tables and furniture to use, the best ovens and equipment for the kitchen, and all sorts of stuff. If you just “wing it” and open a restaurant without doing any research first, you’ll most likely fail. While affiliate marketing can be started part-time and without much capital, the same holds true. If you don’t research and plan, you will fail.

Translation: Don’t lie about the Amazon products you’re promoting. This seems pretty obvious, but this also means not overpromising or misrepresenting the products you’re promoting, even in a small way. (For instance, don’t say the camera you’re promoting has 20 megapixels when it really only has 15.) Now, of course innocent mistakes and typos can still happen to anyone, so double-check everything you write about the products you’re promoting to make sure it’s accurate.
I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
Ohhh making that first affiliate sale might be the greatest feeling ever, even if it’s 18 cents. Here’s the sad thing though: most networks will have a minimum payout threshold that’s typically $50 or $100, so it may be a LONG time before you see the money. I used to be an affiliate for BlueHost, and after my first sale, I was stoked to see $65 in my affiliate report!! Legitimately, I felt like a millionaire. Unfortunately, BlueHost has a minimum payout of $100, so that money went untouched until I made another sale, but even then…

For example, I have a post featuring 10 Affordable Headboards on my blog. Now, instead of just pinning the “pinnable graphic” you see below, I pin that PLUS individual images of each headboard featured within the post. That exponentially increases the chance that people will click on the pin and through to my blog post, which in turn increases my chance of making affiliate sales from that post. Plus, it also boosts traffic to that post, which translates to more ad revenue as well–it’s a win-win!


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.
Recipes: If you use any type of social media, you know that recipes are a great way to create shareable content. If you can find some way to relate your topic to food and include a recipes section, you’ll have a place to add unlimited content. Plus, you can extend your product promotions into related cooking tools. Need a source for blog-worthy recipes? Check out the freelancers at Fiverr.

Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.


It is important for you to learn some basic HTML as well as basic concepts pertaining to running a website. It’s not really tedious to understand and within a short period, you will have a grasp of it. Relying on purchased software might backfire because it might not give you what you really need and when things go wrong you will end up spending more than you ought to. Take time to learn these things and you won’t regret it.
Always fill out the comment box to “sell” your platform. If you are given the opportunity to explain why you are interested in a program, do it! Use the space to highlight why you would be an asset to the program. Talk about how your audience is their audience. Talk about the size of your mailing list (if it’s significant). Talk about your success with similar programs. Talk about where and how you will promote (hopefully you’ve done a bit of research so you know what they’re hoping for). Don’t sound desperate and certainly don’t lie about anything, but be upfront and honest about how this will be a win for them.
Ahh thanks for the kind words. Glad you found the post helpful. I would focus on building up a good base of content first before adding affiliate links, because like you said, some programs might not accept you if your blog is still so new. 2 posts is a nice start, but I’d definitely work your way up to 10-15 posts, enough to “fill up” the blog before you apply for affiliate programs. That’s just my opinion though! The other thing about starting too early is that you haven’t really established authority or a solid audience that trusts you yet, so the odds of readers making purchases through you is much lower as well. Focus on content first, then programs! The good thing is, you’ve taken Michelle’s course, which I thought was super helpful in terms of getting in the right mindset for affiliate marketing. Now that you know what sort of content works, you can get a good strategy set out from the beginning. 🙂 Best of luck!
This is how you turn visitors into buyers into raving fans. If anyone is serious about "making it" in affiliate marketing, or simply making any semblance of money online, they have to adhere to this single principle. The better you get at creating an emotional attachment during each stage of your funnel, the more likely you'll be to succeed and even to get rich through your efforts.

When you promote a product you also promote the person or the company who is behind the product so try to choose wisely. You don’t want your visitors to go and buy a product following your advice then come back unhappy. Do you think that this visitor will come back to your site and take your advice again? Most likely no; this can hurt your credibility in the long run. Usually, websites/company that offer good customer service will have better customer satisfaction so try to stick with promoting their products.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website. 
(For the newbies) – A “cookie” is a tracking method.  If a company has a 60-day cookie, it means that if I click on your affiliate link and go to that site but don't purchase anything during that visit, I can go to that website directly (without using your link again) and if I make a purchase within 60 days, it will credit to you.  This cookie is only good on the device I initially use your link on.  So if I first click through your link on my phone, but then go home and visit the website directly from my computer, the cookie isn't tracking it because the cookie was on my phone.
Most affiliate networks these days offer an option to set a specific coupon code as “forced exclusive” to a specific affiliate publisher. This means that any time that coupon code is used, even if no affiliate link was clicked previously, the specific affiliate which the code is tied to always gets commission for sales where customers use that code. This is especially helpful if customers happen to visit a coupon site or a different bottom funnel affiliate before making their purchase when the Instagram influencer was the true referrer for the sale and deserves the proper credit.

Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.[citation needed]
Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.
I am creating this comment now in Jan 2018 . Not sure if this comment section on Amazon is still active since the above blog post is dated in Sept 2017. Things seem to change fast these days. Just noticed a post in a recent facebook group that Amazon affiliates program is now requiring applicants to have a fully developed website before you will be approved with Amazon affiliates program. The only other way is to have a facebook group with sufficient following. Hmmm! Any truth to this facebook post and/or comment on this matter would be appreciated
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.
Ohhh making that first affiliate sale might be the greatest feeling ever, even if it’s 18 cents. Here’s the sad thing though: most networks will have a minimum payout threshold that’s typically $50 or $100, so it may be a LONG time before you see the money. I used to be an affiliate for BlueHost, and after my first sale, I was stoked to see $65 in my affiliate report!! Legitimately, I felt like a millionaire. Unfortunately, BlueHost has a minimum payout of $100, so that money went untouched until I made another sale, but even then…
You can use social media to share your blog content with affiliate links, or you can directly share your affiliate links. Note, that you should give an indication that the link is an affiliate link when you post to be transparent and not annoy your followers. People don't want to be sold to all the time, so posting affiliate links should be interspersed with non-affiliate and non-sales posts.
Can you spot influencers? Do some Google searches for terms or keywords related to your topic. Do many blogs or informational content appear in the search results? Do these blogs seem to have authority? Are the readers engaged and commenting on posts or does there seem to be a strong social following? Strong engagement or following tells you there is an audience for the topic. Note the blogs and social influencers within your topic, and jot down what you like about them or feel is missing from their content. This research will come in handy later as you plan your content.
The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
Some affiliate marketing offers will pay you a set fee if someone signs up for their monthly subscription service. Some will pay you a set fee for driving new users to signup for an app or service. Either way, the more you know your demographic, the more you will be able to find the best converting affiliate marketing programs to bank serious money.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.

Most successful affiliate marketers focus on a market or topic that they have knowledge of or are passionate about — preferably, both. Your niche market doesn’t have to have mass appeal and a huge audience either. As long as there’s some type of audience following the topic and products or services that relate to it, it has affiliate profit potential.
In addition to Amazon’s clear commitment to conversion rates (read: probable sh*tloads of testing), the extreme growth of Amazon Prime. Estimates from top firms calculated Amazon has between 65 and 80 million prime subscribers in early 2017, which is up from about 54 million just a year earlier. The huge boost in Prime subscriptions has apparently had a massive impact on conversions.
Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.
Great advice here. The typical idea of writing reviews of bicycle pedals and expecting someone to follow your link in order to buy a pair is dead. Now if you are actually a cyclists, and you know something about all the different types of pedals, and why different types solve different cycling problems, then hey, welcome to the world of providing useful content.
Clearly, the temptation of becoming a digital nomad and traveling the world, or simply working from home on your own schedule, was born well before Tim Ferris's iconic, 4-Hour Work Week. However, for most who are drawn into this life replete with the potential for unapologetic income and wealth, coupled with the ability to call their own shots and build a business around an intended lifestyle, affiliate marketing offers a cliched pathway to riches beyond measure.

Clearly, knowing which pages are the most popular on your site is important to your affiliate monetization strategy. This data helps you target your affiliate efforts to the pages that already attract the most readers. Once those pages are well-monetized, you can look into improving the search results, reader interaction and monetization of less popular pages.
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.
First, let me emphasize that I feel strongly that bloggers should not go overboard when sharing affiliate links on Pinterest. Think about it… When you scroll through your Pinterest feed, do you want to only see products for sale? Probably not. So exercise your judgment and make sure that affiliate links are a small percentage of the content that you share on Pinterest.
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