Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed]
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.
I’ve been pretty intentional about what types of products that I share with my audience, but one thing that I struggled with is that I didn’t want to come off as “salesy.” Because of this I included less affiliate links in posts or avoided different types of posts that I thought would be too pushy. However, it turns out using my affiliate links made it more convenient for my audience. Plus, the tutorial posts and roundup posts that do so well in affiliate marketing still can be super helpful and add value for your readers.

Okay, I’ll be honest, when I first started out, I found it surprisingly difficult to understand how to even generate links (and deep links). For a while, I legitimately thought I was stupid. In hindsight, stupidity may have been a small part of the cause, but the truth is the process is actually pretty confusing. SO, I’ve written some pretty boring (though helpful) step-by-steps on how to generate links on a few common programs and affiliate networks… So, for my fellow life-dummies, here’s:
With all of my blog posts, I have the consistently scheduled to share on social media and on Pinterest. This keeps the content in front of my audience. I use the social media scheduling tools Post Planner and Tailwind for this. Many affiliate programs also have great affiliate managers that will send out information with special promotions that you can share. If there isn’t a big sale or promotion going on, I will still try to feature certain high-converting posts on Pinterest, to my email list, etc.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
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.”
Don’t Buy Fake Followers – Although brands might be impressed at first glance with your follower numbers, it won’t take long for them to realize that your audience isn’t worth paying for. A few clicks to check on engagement levels and how your followers have responded to your posts will tell them that you have bought your followers, not organically grown your audience. This isn’t the type of audience that will get results for businesses, and consequently, people won’t want to pay you to promote their posts.
Thank you for the insight, it did set straight some of the things that seem to be left out in the sales pitches from those selling their affiliate programs. I’ve been looking for a couple of weeks now, and while some of it is starting to sink in, one of the key factors appears to be the creation of an informative blog. It seems there are other ways to operate as an Affiliate Marketer that don’t require a blog or a website, but, it appears that content and traffic to it, are the preferred methods.
As difficult as it may be, it’s important not to get affiliate marketing confused with sponsorships. Affiliate marketing is not a direct endorsement of your brand or content from a company. It’s a simple arrangement that allows you to earn revenue for referring new customers to that company. You aren’t paid unless you refer traffic or new customers to them. This arrangement is often available to anyone regardless of web traffic, social media following or list size, as previously stated.
High Cost/Low Effort — Get an agency to send you potential Influencers. Talent agencies like Viral Nation or MediaKix work with a stable of popular social Influencers who you can connect with for a fee. Unless you’ve got money to burn, and are looking to launch a huge Instagram Influencer campaign, this option is probably one to avoid for now. But hey, it’s there if you want to go big!
Regardless of the content you choose to pin or your motivations, successful pinners adhere to Pinterest CEO Ben Silberman’s guiding principle: make (and keep) the site “beautiful”. Simply put, the best pinners find the best of the web, regardless of subject matter, and there are some simple tactics from a presentation standpoint that you can use to help improve the performance of your pins.
You’ve no doubt encountered affiliate marketing on the Internet without even realizing it. Lots of popular blogs and websites write about particular products and then link to Amazon or an online store. They receive commission money when you click on the link and buy the product. As an affiliate, the blog receives a little ‘tracking code’ from the product creator that enables them to know if you have bought the product.
Videos also make it easier to build a relationship with your audience; you can talk right to them, and they can hear your voice (and see your face, though that’s not always necessary). Plus, not only are you sharing what the product looks like and how it works, since you’re the one who’s showing your audience how it works, you’re also building your authority with them as an expert they can trust.
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
However, when you are ready, search for the right product or company that's relevant to your audience. When Henry quit smoking, his story was part and parcel to the bigger picture of selling electronic cigarettes as an affiliate. Although his blog's success was short-lived at the time, at it's apex, it was generating over $30,000 because he nurtured his audience and built that emotional bond before ever trying to sell them anything as an affiliate.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
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.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
Writing content for your blog or website about picking or buying a product available on Amazon. Now more than ever, people go online to research their buying options. If you're a mom blogger, you can write an article on picking a low-cost vacuum with a link to your top choice or several links to your top choices. A food blogger can link to cooking tools. A photography site can link to cameras and other photography equipment.
Hi Christina. I have been looking for answers about how to start affiliate through a travel blogging for more than 3 weeks and this post shined a light for me. Thank you! I still have a question about how and when to start applying to affiliate programs. I just opened my travel blog last week and had only 2 posts. Off course I have no established traffic and posts yet. I want to use affiliate links to start writing about reviews of hotels and places where I have visited, but I know my blog won’t be accepted by advertisers because I don’t have enough contents. I also took Michelle’s course and one of the chapters said to start affiliate marketing as soon as possible, but I don’t know how would you be accepted by advertisers at very very beginning?? Should I forcus on writing more posts first? And how many would be adequate to start applying to programs? Thank you for reading. Your blog is very helpful!!
Along with that, Amazon is a complete SELLING MACHINE! What I mean by that, is they have drilled their conversion rates down to the last detail. Typically I can convert traffic I send to Amazon from my affiliate sites around 12%. The reason why it works so well is that the moment people land on Amazon, they are automatically switched into "buyer mode". Meaning, they know the only thing left for them to do is BUY. What that means, is all you have to do is get people to Amazon's site, and they literally do the selling for you.
The last tool we’re going to mention is Genius Link. This is a wonderful tool for Amazon affiliates. Amazon ships to countries all around the world, but there’s no way for you to add separate affiliate links for each individual country your reader may be ordering from without spamming your post with promotional links. Genius Link solves this issue by redirecting your reader to their regional Amazon site when they click your affiliate link.
Part of the reason I recommend diversifying is because, as we talked about earlier, Amazon commission rates tend to be lower than they are from other affiliate income sources. I’ve seen this in my own affiliate marketing, where my commission rates and overall income from Amazon are not as high as they are for many of the products and services I promote on other platforms and from other companies.
Mistake #2: Using the “They must not be my people” excuse to be spammy. I’m not a fan of this common tactic. Here’s how it works: people send a huge number of sales/promotional emails to their list with no warning and with no easy way to opt out. When people complain or unsubscribe, they put it on their subscribers (“Oh well, they aren’t my type of subscriber anyway…”), instead of taking responsibility for the spam (let’s call it what it is). What ever happened to “treat others the way you want to be treated”?

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.
As we stated at the beginning of this guide, a website is a key part of most successful affiliate marketing businesses. Your website is the one affiliate marketing channel that gives you complete control of your message and brand. Most affiliate marketers use their website as the home base for their affiliate business. Then, other marketing channels, such as social media, email, YouTube videos and podcasts are essentially extensions of what is housed on your website.

An individual who promotes an advertiser’s product or service. In exchange, the publisher earns a commission. Usually, there is a contract that binds a publisher and advertiser. As part of this contract, the advertiser is the one who provides a publisher with text ads, links, and banners. The publisher then uses it on their website to promote the advertiser’s products and services. The publisher is also known as an affiliate – the future you.

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!
Your domain is the address for your website (e.g., www.affilorama.com) so this is the first thing you will need to do when setting up your site. Considering there are millions of websites on the internet, it's possible that the domain name you want may already be taken by someone else. So make sure you have several options in mind. Be sure to read our advice on how to choose a good domain name. 
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?
In addition, you should always know who you’re getting your information from. There are far too many “guru’s” out there who really have no idea what they are talking about. When you sign up for your free account, you’ll be learning directly from Mark Ling and Simon Slade who are both affiliate marketing MILLIONAIRES. They’ve also helped to hand select some other successful affiliate marketers for their training videos. About a year ago, I had my own free training videos right here on this site, but I realized after a while that I just can’t create the type of quality training that Mark Ling and his crew have already put together and continuously update.

Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
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I literally went from $20k/year to $150k/year in 2 years – see my 2018 income reports. I did this by dropping my web design/SEO clients and tried to make money with affiliate marketing (I write SEO/speed optimization tutorials). 90% of my affiliate income comes from SiteGround, a hosting company who awarded me affiliate of the month in July, 2017 when I made $9k in 1 month. Since then I have continued to hit numbers like this – the screenshot below is from March, 2018 when I made $14.5k in 1 month (just with SiteGround). I have other affiliates too.
Like them or hate them, hashtags make a difference. They improve the discoverability of posts and drive likes and comments. The key point here is relevance. Use the hashtags that correspond to your niche. Carry out research and pay attention to the tags your competitors use in their posts. Incorporate some branded hashtags to raise awareness, like the name of the promoted product or any other related tag. Let your creativity flow. Instagram allows to use up to 30 hashtags per post, but be careful not to go overboard. The optimal number of hashtags for maximum engagement is 11.
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.”
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
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.
Well, in my personal experience, affiliate marketing makes up the largest chunk of my blog income. Since getting started back in October, I’ve made a few thousand dollars from affiliate marketing (including $1500 in the first 30 days!). The road to get there wasn’t easy though… affiliate marketing isn’t just about dropping links and hoping people will buy things. There is, in fact, a lot more strategic thinking involved, which brings us to the next major question:

This is crucial! Do NOT save your affiliate pins, or any pins for that matter, to generic, all-niche boards. You’d confuse Pinterest. When you share a new pin, the Pinterest algorithm goes to work to figure out what that pin is about. It determines this based on the image, keywords, and the boards where the pin is saved. If you want to learn the ins and outs of how the Pinterest Algorithm works, there’s no better course than Pinteresting Strategies. Mommy blogger, Carly Campbell, walks you through how she went from 0-200k page views a month by mastering the Pinterest algorithm and manual pinning.  
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