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.
But it literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $6,000 to GoFundMe campaigns. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it. Enjoy!
Plus, it can be especially tempting this time of year to “catch the wave” of holiday shopping excitement and—as we talked about earlier—start promoting products you don’t know well and haven’t even used personally. While that may lead to some extra sales in the short term, in the long run you risk your audience’s trust by promoting products you don’t know and can’t stand behind.
Before we can get into affiliate links, first we need to talk about the affiliate program. An affiliate program is hosted by a company that wants to use marketers who are not employed by the company to promote their product or service. These marketers, and their social media accounts, are often related to the product or niche in some way. For example, a health blogger might sign up for an affiliate program promoting vitamins.
Can you boast a solid number of followers? If not, it’s high time to work on it. Stay away from fake followers and bots as they could undermine the genuinity of your Instagram profile and cause a very unpleasant user experience. Your task is to attract dedicated followers who will truly like and trust you. With these quick social media marketing tips in play, you will easily get things done.

You can start figuring out your target audience by focusing on reading the reviews in your niche. You can also spend some time on forums and read the comment section on blogs that cover your niche topics. If you notice some unanswered questions emerging over and over again, write them down. Your audience needs them answered, and you can do it for them. Or you can do an online search for best niche blogs and see how they are structured.
At the time, I had a ton of people reaching out wanting to hire me (I ranked my self #1 in Google for WordPress SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, many other good keywords). Unfortunately I struggled with basic things you need to run a service-based business… keeping track of clients, time management, and making sure I was charging clients for my time (and getting them to create content which often seemed impossible).
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.
The takeaway from Step Two is this: Step Two is an ongoing process. As you learn how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll spend a good portion of your time searching for target partners, signing up for programs and learning how it all works. As you become established, you’ll continue this process to curate new products and services to promote and connect to your content.
Once your platform is live, you need a product to promote. However, you should avoid the temptation to do this early on. Get that emotional investment going before you attempt to do this. If you begin too early, you run the risk of losing a large portion of your audience. Take the time to first create insatiable content and deliver enormous amounts of value before you attempt to sell your audience anything.
The takeaway from Step Two is this: Step Two is an ongoing process. As you learn how to start affiliate marketing, you’ll spend a good portion of your time searching for target partners, signing up for programs and learning how it all works. As you become established, you’ll continue this process to curate new products and services to promote and connect to your content.
Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
Partners that sell services generally pay a flat fee when a user signs up. Sometimes, partners pay if a user signs up for an email newsletter or free trial. Others only pay if the user pays for a service. Typically, the higher payouts are things that are harder to sell. For example, website hosting can be a harder sell than various Amazon services. So, hosting affiliates tend to pay more, but you may not sell as many plans per month as Amazon services. That all depends on your audience and content.
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%.
Know when to wait. Some affiliate programs require a certain level of traffic, subscribers, etc. If that’s the case, I say it’s better to wait to apply for that program instead of applying and hoping for the best. You risk being labelled the person who can’t follow guidelines and you might also risk not be allowed into the program when you do meet the qualifications.
If you’re thinking about working with an affiliate marketing network, the world’s most popular marketplace can be a great place to start. We’ll cover how to sign up and start picking and promoting Amazon products, as well as strategies for success—the must-dos and must-don’ts that go into making Amazon a key piece of your affiliate marketing stable.
5) Favorites tools/equipment blog posts: Your audience wants to know how YOU do something. Let them know by writing a blog post that tells them exactly what you use in your business. For example, one post I have planned is “My Favorite Tools for Livestreaming on Facebook.” I will have links to my lighting equipment, microphone, and camera on Amazon via affiliate links.
The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.
For affiliate marketers, this means you can create a post with an image incorporating an affiliate product, with the affiliate link added as text overlay, or in the caption. This post will then be shared on an influencers Instagram account, exposing your affiliate link to a new audience, as well as finding you potential new Instagram followers for your own account.

Excellent book if you are starting out with how to make money on the internet. Covers all the bases so you have a good idea about what is available to try out, as there are many options to choose from when you go online. I didn't realize there were so many different ways to make an income from the internet. So if you want to go online to make money then this book will give you a very good starting point.
Affiliate Pro Tip: Use new posts in your Instagram feed to remind followers about your Instagram Story Highlights! If you share an affiliate related image, make sure you add a CTA into your caption that asks followers to check out your story highlight for more information! This way  you’re continuously directing traffic back to your affiliate offers.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Something to not overlook also is Pinterest, on almost all of my popular posts I spend the time to make a Pinterest specific image for them. If you don't know how to use Adobe Photoshop you can use a free online tool like Canva to create images. There are also plenty of WordPress plugins that add pin buttons to your blog as well. There are plenty of ways you can use Pinterest to drive traffic, see more tips on Buffer's blog.
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.

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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 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!


""For a beginner, this book is perfect. You'll discover the ways in which one can start making money online through affiliate marketing, everything that you'll need to begin, products you can start to affiliate for right away, ways to grow your traffic, and other ways one is able to utilize all the available information to you on the web to be able to make sure your affiliating business is competitive with that of your competition. The author adds a nice little addition to the book that isn't found in most and that is, a multiple choice question review page(s) after each chapter for one to make sure that they obtained all the vital information within each section before progressing onward.
Obviously, around Christmas period, people tend to buy more, therefore, post recommended products before this period to take advantage of sales that will go on on Amazon affiliate marketing. It is better to start creating a seasonal schedule for your blog posts early enough. There are several holidays, so you can plan ahead of them to make more sales and earn your commission. 

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!

(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.

Great article. Great resources. I do find it quite odd that people will reject sellers. As an affiliate marketer and new blogger myself, this is extremely frustrating. Now, I know there could exist a reason for rejection, especially within marketplaces, however, I haven’t the faintest idea why they would off the bat. I have heard it reduces epc’s (earnings per click), but, I don’t get why people care about this other than for some contests internally. Which in my opinion hurts less than refusing essentially free eyeballs on your products.
Access more than a hundred courses on various aspects of affiliate marketing and related domains on Skillshare, by simply subscribing to the platform for nearly zero cost. The best part is that you are not charged until a few months, so you can test things out and cancel subscription at any point if you want. The courses here include techniques on how to drive traffic to your website for free, how to use Instagram for promoting offers, how to set up an Affiliate Business and a lot more.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 
Choose either an existing post and select Edit, or create a new post. Click on the image where you would like to add a shoppable tag. Enter the name of the product you would like to tag, and then select it as it appears in the search box. You can drag the tag around the screen to ensure it doesn’t block too much of the image. Once finished, Preview the image, and then select Done > Share.
Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor's computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations[46] that stated that "Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be."

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.
This is something you should spend a lot of time researching before you dive in and write that first article. The tutorial videos you’ll find here are probably the most important videos you’ll watch. Even if you’re “not a writer”, they will show you how to create awesome content for your new affiliate marketing site. The tips and tricks in those videos is invaluable. Go through all of those videos… twice.
Finally, when promoting an affiliate product on Amazon to your audience, offer to help them with the product. Be a source of support. If people have questions or people want to know more about the thing you’re promoting, make their decision easier and offer them that support! But, you might think, am I going to have people beating down my door asking for help with the product? I’m too busy for that! Here’s the thing. Very few people will actually take you up on that offer. But a lot more people will see your offer of assistance and appreciate it. They’ll see you as an authority figure, and someone they can trust to help them out if they need it, someone who stands behind the products they promote, even if those products aren’t your own.
Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google's PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.[33]
In simple terms, affiliate marketing is when you earn commissions for recommending products/services to readers (or people you know). This is done by joining affiliate programs, where you get unique links (tagged with your personal ID) that tracks whenever your links convert to a sale. If someone out there buys something through your link, it rains money. Or, well, usually a smallll percentage of the sale, but it’s a start!

There is serious competition in the affiliate marketing sphere. You’ll want to make sure you stay on top of any new trends to ensure you remain competitive. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to benefit from at least a few of the new marketing techniques that are constantly being created. Be sure you’re keeping up to date on all these new strategies to guarantee that your conversion rates, and therefore revenue, will be as high as possible.
Jon Hayes, the author of the Authority Hacker Amazon affiliate site, says, “When it comes to plug-ins, it’s important to remember that Amazon is extremely harsh with their penalties.” Since its very easy to lose your Amazon Associates affiliate account for incorrect linking, Hayes recommends that “affiliates should thoroughly check to see whether the plug-in is compliant and approved by Amazon or not.”
A Direct Message on Instagram is only slightly better. It can get lost in the mix of other DMs, and it’s often a crap shoot as to whether they will even read it since if they don’t follow you on Instagram, your DM will show up as a “message request” in their inbox. These are often just ignored. However, Influencers on the micro-level are more likely to check these DMs so for those with smaller followings, it’s worth a shot.

Today on the show, I’m talking with Michelle from Making Sense of Cents. Michelle and her husband sold their house in July of 2015 and now travel full-time in their RV. Some of their more recent adventures include a 2-week sailing trip to explore the possibility of sailing full-time in the future. Michelle is a blogger who shares income reports on her blog. If you take a look at her latest Income report, you will see that she earned over $100,000 on her blog in the month of August alone, while working less than 10 hours per week. That’s how she can afford to travel full-time.
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