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.
When you visit an affiliate company, you’ll be able to choose between a free plan or one that comes with a monthly cost. The premium membership comes with more support, more websites, and a stronger connection to the affiliate marketing community, but if you’re at the point where you’re just dipping your toe in the water to see what it’s like, the free membership option comes with some support for the first week and enough freedom and tools to quickly create a basic website and get going.
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.
I just started using affiliate link for home decor on some of my Pinterest boards and I had a long disclosure. So glad I read this so now I can just put (affiliate) in the description. I’m a newbie, if you couldn’t tell. Haha. I always worry about getting in trouble with that kind of stuff. Thanks for all of the wonderful info Tasha. I look forward to reading your mini ebook 🙂
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. 
Hi Tasha and Abby, very intersting post . Tasha, I’ve noticed that you’re using Amazon links too. Doesn’t Amazon only allow affiliate links on your own website? No social networks, no emails, no ebooks, no nothing else… I’m not a native English speaker, so maybe I misunderstood the terms (they are complicated as hell for me). But good to know that with a less strict company it’s possible to use affiliate links on Pinterest too. Thank you for the info!

Creating a blog is also a great idea to along with your products. Not only does it give you the ability to showcase your products, but it keeps your readers up to date with upcoming products, promotions, descriptive posts, social media sharing, email list building, etc. Here is a FREE 7-Day email course on how to start a profitable blog if you are interested.

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.
Click the "get started now" button and let’s get started! (see above). Select a hosting plan that fits your needs. (Normally, if you are just starting out I recommend the basic plan but, if you are really serious about this and want more resources & power go with their Prime or Pro plan). Keep in mind, you can always upgrade your plan as you grow.
Amazon is known for sometimes coming down hard on sellers, affiliates, and other partners who don’t follow the rules. This is maybe the other big downside of being an Amazon affiliate—Amazon is big enough to boss you around if you step out of line, and there’s usually not much you can do about it. I’ve heard stories of affiliates having their accounts closed without any chance for recourse or appeal when they went against one of Amazon’s affiliate policies.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[8][9]
When you are posting a photo make sure you use relevant tags. Including hashtags means more engagement and likes. To find the best tags for your content you need to research your audience to find out what hashtags they are using on their posts. Posting the most popular tags won’t necessarily help you in the long run. For example, a travel blogger should have travel related tags. If they were to include a hashtag about vitamins it wouldn’t necessarily fit with their content. If you include a hashtag that doesn’t fit with your niche, people will be less likely to engage with you.
When you learn Affiliate Marketing it is must to know different ways that can help you build relationship with your audiences and then you should patiently follow them before generating money online. Creating and maintaining relationships with partners will help you get targeted traffic for your marketing campaign. Below given are some methods to attract potential customers for your Affiliate Programs-
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.
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.
Instagram (IG) is many things. It has over a billion users, and Instagrammers have deep pockets. For example, among adult users, 31 percent make over $75,000 annually. IG users “like” over 4.2 billion and share 95 million posts daily. Zuckerberg and company got the IG acquisition correct along with WhatsApp (the jury is still out on Oculus VR). IG is moving in the right direction and stomping on their competitors like Snap. Storylines like these make affiliate marketers drool except for one problem, IG is link-unfriendly.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[34] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
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.

Okay, so far we’ve talked about some of the key strategies for success as an Amazon affiliate, focused mostly on the positives—the what to dos—along with a few things to avoid. Now let’s talk about a few more things on the negative side of the equation: the practices you need to avoid if you want to grow your affiliate income (and yes, avoid getting in trouble with Amazon).
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Many affiliate marketers use paid advertising to generate additional traffic to their site and drive more sales. Paid advertising on social media is often a good place to start, as these networks tend to be more affordable.You may also want to consider taking out inexpensive banner ads on small niche sites. Depending on your niche, Google AdWords could also be a good option to drive some paid traffic to your site.
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. 
Of course, you could continuously change that link every time you post about a new affiliate product, but how annoying + time-consuming is that?! Plus, changing the link in your bio to a new affiliate link every time you post won’t allow you to drive traffic to any previously posted links, so this method isn’t super effective at increasing commissions.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
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.
Your first instinct may be to seek out companies who pay the highest commissions or join affiliate programs other bloggers in your niche are finding success in, but these methods are ill advised. There is so much more going on with a blog that earns thousands upon thousands in affiliate revenue on a month-to-month basis than placing a few affiliate links here and there.
URL masking: Often, you’ll find that affiliate links are a real, million character eyesore. It’s likely that your links will look like Merchant.com/dlfjlfjlfjdskljdfgimmeallyourmoneyalajdlkaf2131032klfjfdjldsjf. And let’s be honest, few people are going to want to click on that. URL masking is therefore when you create a prettier, cleaner “vanity URL” that makes your links more clickable. Some people use bit.ly, which has tracking purposes, or the WordPress Plugin Pretty Link.

You can use affiliate links throughout your site, but it’s best to place them in strategic places. These include reviews of the product or service you’re promoting as well as in depth tutorials and guides. You should also create a Resources page on your site where you list the tools, products and services you use in your niche and insert affiliate links for them.


The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Do they value and help their affiliates? Some affiliate programs do an exceptional job of communicating with their affiliates, notifying them of upcoming sales, offering marketing advice or tools, offering contents and prizes during promotions and more. These types of affiliate programs are a pleasure to be a part of. Ultimate Bundles is an excellent example.

All of the above info is for those of you who want to learn affiliate marketing for free. As you can see, there is a lot of free help for you if you plan on doing all of this yourself. However, I also know that some of you do have some funding available and you want to create a bit of a shortcut to success. The only way to do that is to outsource right now.

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.
Sponsorships, on the other hand, are direct endorsements of your brand or content. You’re paid a lump sum, ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, regardless if you generate traffic and revenue for the company. Because of this, sponsorship deals are typically only offered to established blogs who can provide a decent amount traffic to the company endorsing them. This makes affiliate marketing a much better income source for new and smaller blogs.

Do your due diligence and research your potential partner. Do any red flags pop up when you Google their name? Is there bad buzz around them in their specific niche? Do they play well with other Influencers and/or brands? This is important because the minute you attach your brand to a bad Influencer, it may take a long time for your reputation to recover.


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.

Long-term success depends on doing two things well: building content that delivers value to readers and using that content to market affiliate products to convert those readers into buyers. There are many different types of content and affiliate link combinations you can try, and Amazon Associates reports and Google Analytics both help you measure success and fine-tune your efforts.
StackPath – CDN with 31 additional data centers (Cloudflare has 150+ data centers, but more data centers = faster content delivery). I get around $1,000/month by referring people to StackPath in my cache plugin tutorials. StackPath recently bought MaxCDN and their affiliate acceptance rate is much lower (depends on your potential volume) but most cache plugins converted to StackPath as their recommended CDN
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.

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.
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!

Every single network or merchant will provide you with specific links that you can use to promote whatever it is you're looking to sell. Be sure to scrutinize the details of any offer that you decide to partake in. Then, build out your affiliate links and ensure that the sales and clicks are registering your to your account. You can use URL shorteners like Bitly or Google's own shortener to make the links more manageable in terms of length.

For the person just starting out wanting to know where to begin and would like a reference to be able to use and always go back to whenever need will find this book to be of tremendous value as it gives you the all around picture of what and how to get started in affiliate marketing, get you off the dependence of a 9 to 5 income and gives one the knowledge needed to be able to start making extra money, online, passively!
Don’t set a goal to write 3 blog posts a day… set a goal to write 1 blog post a week and make that post super helpful, long, and filled with information that is so valuable you will say “yeah, people will link to that.” 90% of my traffic/affiliate income comes from just 20 tutorials, many of which are 5+ years old. But I am constantly updating them to make the content better.

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.
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.
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.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[41]

1. EasyAzon flat-out didn’t work, and their customer service was the absolute worst. 2. Genius Links worked, but often the same products wouldn’t be available on other Amazon sites, and the link would redirect to another product or a search page full of irrelevant products… not ideal. Plus, I was getting more clicks, but not enough international conversions to justify the $9 a month [seriously guys, Amazon does not pay well haha]. Long story short: this is a complication to be wary of!
SEO – I have a full guide on YouTube SEO. You’ll basically want to research a video keyword in YouTube’s Autocomplete dropdown, then craft your video title/description to include your keyword. Write a long description and embed it on your blog to get more views. Create a nice custom thumbnail and make your videos long and thorough, just like your blog posts should be.
To learn how to start affiliate marketing, you first need to launch a website. Blog platforms are the best choice for affiliate marketers, and the most popular platform is WordPress. If you’re serious about making money through affiliate marketing, you should start on WordPress, plain and simple. It costs you just $2.95 per month with our preferred hosting provider, Bluehost. Enter your website name below to get started:
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.
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.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]

One big pro to Tradedoubler is that they track the user through cookies, even if the user has turned cookies off. For example, most affiliate programs track users through cookies. If a user clicks your link and goes to a website, but doesn’t make a purchase, they will be tracked for a period of days (usually 30 days). If within those 30 days they come back and make a purchase, you earn your commission.
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]
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Many top-tier online brands list their affiliate programs right on their website so you can find them easily. Some are self-administered, others are run through an affiliate marketplace, but you can sign up from the brand’s website. Like marketplaces, these large affiliate programs are free to join and easy for affiliate marketing beginners to navigate.

In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
This is one of the best ways for influencers to get their traffic to convert to sales. If your Instagram is full of beautiful lifestyle images, that people are curious about, then by letting them know they can shop these items is key. @sheshopped has done this on her Instagram and the page on her website has all of her shoppable Instagram photos, and when you click on one, you are given some information on it, and you can click through to the store.
I bought this book because of all the previous reviews. I have hard time believing their authenticity after reading the book myself. The info is great and you will learn a great deal about affiliate marketing. My issue is with the incredible amount of grammatical and spelling errors on basically every single page. Affiliate marketing has everything to do with great writing. So I find it odd how terrible the grammar is throughout the entire book. Zero editing was done.

There’s no trick to doing this. Just create links for each of the products using different tracking IDs (there’s an option to switch between IDs which creating links in any of the methods listed above except Publisher Studio, which embeds a single tracking code in the JavaScript snippet, so you’ll have to use either the Product Link tool or Site Stripe).
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
Developing a website might seem difficult on the surface. You know that some website development companies cost thousands, 10’s of thousands, or even 100’s of thousands of dollars to build a site. You might also think you need to know a bunch of computer code in order to build a great site. That is nonsense. I personally know a little tiny bit of HTML and CSS, but I’m even using that less and less over time.
Since the introduction of Instagram stories was released in November 2016, it has become incredibly popular as a peek into the day to day lives of some of the most popular Instagrammers out there. Anything that gets posted lasts for just 24 hours. @sheshopped posted about creating pretty ice cubes for her Marks and Spencer Australia photo shoot the next day. This lets people know to expect something new on your Instagram the next day to highlight that brand and piques people’s curiosity.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example. I’ll show you how I did keyword research to promote my affiliate pin for the Pin To Profits – Affiliate Marketing Course. The course teaches beginners how to make money on Pinterest using affiliate links. Before I put myself in my audience’s shoes, I make a note of the key information about the course that I need to convey.
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