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.
I started my first blog back in June 2012 and that was the start of my fascination with making money online. In early 2015, I took a position as a collaborations manager for a small business coordinating their influencer marketing. During my time with them, I learned a lot about influencers as well as affiliate programs and how many of them were actually able to make full-time incomes from home via affiliate marketing. It blew my mind!
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!
An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.
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This is insanely helpful, thank you! I’m so excited to read the e-book guide on affiliate programs. My blog is still a baby so I’m working so hard to learn as much as I possibly can as consistently as I can. Abby, you have given so much advice in your posts that I have turned to while getting my blog going. Thank you so much for the advice, for exposing your readers to new bloggers with guest posts, and for always producing great content and great resources. You are AWESOMENESS!

Thank you for a very straightforward introduction to the world of Affiliate Marketing. I’m looking forward to the journey and just starting out. For me, I’m just as enthusiastic about the challenge of gaining success for its own sake, as the financial rewards it may hopefully bestow on me. There are so many variables involved and putting the whole thing together feels like attempting a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a hangover.


Since your pin is going directly to a seller’s site and not your blog or review, make sure that the title and description of each pin is informative and straight to the point. You can use two to three sentences and always, always, always disclose. Remember that these titles and descriptions are what help Pinterest users find you when they do a search. The better your description is, the more sales you will get.
In early May, Pinterest lifted its ban on affiliate links in pins—huge news for publishers and advertisers alike. Pinterest emerged as an online destination for consumers looking for new trends and products since its creation in 2010, and with over 100 million monthly active users and worldwide reach, it represents a massive opportunity for players in the affiliate space.
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. 🙂
To become a successful, money-making affiliate site owner, you must create interesting and compelling content — and lots of it. Content is what attracts an audience and what that content largely depends on the purpose of your blog. Some bloggers focus on product reviews while others are do-it-yourself crafters who publish how-tos, cooks who create recipes or workout pros who publish fitness-centered articles and posts.
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. 🙂
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.
This can be as simple as adding a single disclaimer at the top of a blog post in which you’re sharing affiliate links. I’ve had people tell me it feels odd to tell visitors that you’re making money from an action they’re taking, and I get it, but the truth is this: it doesn’t cost those visitors anything to use your link (beyond the cost of the product), and once you help them, they’ll often look for ways to help you in return. And providing affiliate links is an easy way to let them do that, at no extra cost to them!

If you try to sell a product that is in low demand then chances are that you are not going to get many sales no matter how hard you try. So it is a good idea to spend a bit of time researching and finding out if a product that you are thinking of promoting is a product that your audience needs. If your site gets decent traffic then you can conduct an online survey and easily get input from your visitors.


Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
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.
Nowadays, the majority of large businesses offer affiliate programs. So find ones that are in your niche. If you are popular on Instagram for fashion, then you should opt for fashion affiliate programs. If your Instagram audience follows you because you are well known in the fitness industry, then you need to find health and fitness affiliate programs. Your following won’t purchase items that aren’t relevant to their interests. So choose affiliate programs that sell products your audience can relate to and that will add value to their lives.
I had that experience as well. Getting high monthly page views doesn’t necessarily translate to more traffic. You also need to focus on the conversion rate of your pins. For each pin, divide the number of clicks by the number of close ups. That gives you the conversation rate. You want that number to be at least 50%. Make a note of the pins that have the highest conversation rates and see what design elements they have in common. They create more pins like them. Hope that helps.

What’s your passion? The subject that you talk, write and read about day-in and day-out is a good contender for your passion. It doesn’t have to be overly broad like wine reviews. A sharper focus, say West Coast Wine Reviews, can be a better place to start when learning how to affiliate market. In fact, a narrow focus can help your site appear high in the search engines and stand out in social media, which we’ll get to later. For now, start by listing the topics that interest you, starting with the ones you’re knowledgeable about.

Pin To Profits costs $47, which I think is very reasonable for the information and strategies you learn. Since implementing McKinzie’s pin design strategies, my click-through rates have skyrocketed. In fact, my affiliate pins for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing course have gotten over 1,000 clicks in a month! Here are my total and unique clicks, according to the Pretty Links plugin.

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. 🙂

Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer? The answer is complicated. The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently. The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
Hayes says a few plug-ins are closely vetted and offer reliable options for bloggers that need advanced design and linking features. “AAWP is by far the most useful and trusted plug-in we have worked with,” says Hayes. “It adds a lot of versatility to our articles and gives us a range of dynamic design options improving the visual design and bolstering the trustworthiness of our reviews.”

Not too long ago, Instagram added a “story” function to their platform to compete with Snapchat. It has since exploded in popularity and continues to keep thousands of people glued to their phones on a daily basis. Why not take advantage of this feature with the Instagram influencers in your affiliate program? Story posts take minimum effort and there’s a good chance that the influencer will be happy to throw some of these in for you for free if you’re already running a campaign with them.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.

Now, truth be told, affiliate marketing does come with some costs. Fortunately, those costs are rather small when compared to starting other businesses. For example, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing in the same way that I teach it, you’ll need a website. In order to have a website, you need to pay for “website hosting”. If you don’t know what website hosting is, don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but website hosting does cost a few bucks per month (generally under $10 / mo). If you have about $40 for startup costs and about $10 / mo for recurring expenses, this is entirely doable. There are many other optional expenses for affiliate marketing, which I will also get into, but those optional expenses are used more for speeding up the path to success (outsourcing, etc.) rather than a requirement for success. When I first started my affiliate marketing business, I had about $200 to my name.
The next platform, which has created a great community of affiliate marketers and is a fantastic resource for a versatile and step-by-step affiliate marketing training program is Wealthy Affiliates. Over the years it has become one of the most reputable and highest-rated resources to teach you the ropes of digital marketing and online business for someone who has no or very little experience in the online and blog world.
Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.
And another big reason? Cost. Most of the big Influencers work solely on a pay-per-post model, where companies have to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single Instagram post. Sure, maybe you’re Pepsi and you have that sort of spend. But we’re assuming most of you a) don’t want to spend anywhere near that much, and b) want to work with Influencers on a traditional affiliate marketing model (commission on sale). It goes without saying, it’s much more likely that micro-influencers will work on this model.
Don’t just hope and pray that visitors will buy; setup everything correctly and make it happen! If you think that visitors will click on your affiliate links and buy just because you placed dozens of affiliate links on your website then you are wrong! You need to have a structured plan in place. Affiliate marketing is a business so you will have a much better chance of succeeding if you treat it like one.

Since your pin is going directly to a seller’s site and not your blog or review, make sure that the title and description of each pin is informative and straight to the point. You can use two to three sentences and always, always, always disclose. Remember that these titles and descriptions are what help Pinterest users find you when they do a search. The better your description is, the more sales you will get.
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