Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
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.
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.
Affiliate marketing is something practically every website owner should have a basic understanding of in today’s digital world. Even if you don’t personally use it in your monetization strategy, there may be a time when you want to. This guide to affiliate marketing can get you several steps closer to understanding one of the most popular forms of website monetization online businesses use today.
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]
If your visitor clicks on one of your affiliate links, say for the beauty cream above, but purchases another brand of cream or even a blender or pair of shoes during their visit, you get paid a commission on those items too. In fact, Amazon’s affiliate links track the shopper from your site to that of the shopper. If he or she completes a purchase within a 24-hour window, you get the commission — whatever it is he or she buys.

You can create a free account and get an overview of the dashboard and access some initial knowledge without any payment. However, live events, research features, and the level 2 - level 5 series of courses, walking you through the process of creating and growing a business within the niche that you want, are limited to premium members. Membership costs $19 a month, or is priced at an individual rate. But it’s absolutely worth it when you take it seriously and want to invest in yourself.
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.

Disclaimer: All content on this site is written for informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should any information from this blog be used as replacement for professional financial advice. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation. MomsMakeCents.com is owned by MMC Media, LLC and neither are licensed by or affiliated with any third-party marks on this website and third parties do not endorse, authorize, or sponsor our content except where clearly disclosed. MomsMakeCents.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
You create an account with one (or both) of these services and provide information about your business as well as your payment information so you can receive payouts for commissions. Once you’re all set up, you can browse each service’s advertiser library and apply for various affiliate programs. You can see the dashboard displays the commission rates each advertiser offers. Payment is handled by the service themselves, so you won’t need to send and keep track of invoices.
It’s no secret that consumers are now spending the majority of their digital time on their mobile devices, and 80% of Pinterest’s traffic is generated through its mobile app. This means that when users click on affiliate pins, they will most often be taken to the mobile version of advertisers’ sites. An engaging, user-friendly mobile experience, with simple checkout options will help increase conversions.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…

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.


Don’t go insane and join a million at once… think first about what would make sense for you to endorse. If you’re a travel blogger for instance, becoming an affiliate for hotels, tours and travel gear may be appropriate. Most companies will have an affiliate program, or be part of an affiliate network. Your best bet would be a quick Google: “company + affiliate program”.
I’m really interested in your advice however I really can’t get my head around how it can ‘fit’ or ‘help’ my Instagram following. I have a small growing steadily following on Instagram. But I need to somehow turn that following into an earning. I have a great business idea that is a ‘new concept’ online homewares store. ‘My_Tiny_Vignette’ (on Instagram)
However, as I stated before, the single best source of highly targeted website traffic is from search engines. For that reason, you will wan to pay particular attention to these training videos covering SEO (search engine optimization). That’s where you’ll learn all about how to rank your website at the top of certain search phrases deliberately. You get to pick and choose what you rank for if you follow those steps.
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]
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…
Virtual store pages: An affiliate virtual storefront lists products on your website just like a standard ecommerce store, but the “buy” button sends shoppers to the affiliate partner site to complete the purchase. You create this using a product feed that you populate with affiliate items, and then insert as a page into your website. Most affiliate marketplaces offer this feature. You can also use an affiliate storefront WordPress plug-in like WooZone to build a store using Amazon products.
Yet, like any other young adult, Henry struggled in life, unsure of where to go or what to do, embattled by bad habits that included a chronic addiction to cigarettes. He was the product of circumstances, but that didn't make him a victim. Like any other person looking to succeed, he knew some serious changes to his life were in order. And one of those changes was the necessity to quit smoking cigarettes, a habit he had come to abhor.
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).
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
Before you can start exploring Amazon affiliate marketing opportunities, you need to have a blog or website where you can publish content that markets Amazon products. WordPress is the top choice among affiliate marketers many reasons. It costs just $2.95 per month with our recommended provider, Bluehost, has a quick learning curve, and has unlimited design and content creation capabilities. Enter your domain name below to launch your Amazon affiliate website on WordPress today.
Outsourcing is so crucially important because that is how you will take your affiliate marketing business from just a small business that makes you a few extra bucks per month to a 5 or 6 figure monster that earns you a passive income. While one site is being outsourced and making you money, you can build a second one. While those two are outsourced and making you money, you can build a third one, and so on. So many new affiliate marketers take their first commission checks and just spend in on themselves. If they re-invested that into outsourcing instead, the returns would be much bigger. My business didn’t truly start taking off until I learned about the power of outsourcing.
There are millions of products you can recommend and review. And as of June 2018, almost 60% of Amazon customers in the United States are also Amazon Prime members. That means more than half of American households buy items regularly from Amazon.So how do you make money with your blog using the Amazon affiliate program? Like The Office’s Michael Scott would say, “Why don't you explain this to me like I'm five.”
We already touched base on this, but we’ll mention it again. Affiliate marketing is one of the most important sources of income you can use because it’s accessible to almost anyone and is so effective when it comes to generating revenue. You don’t need tons of traffic or a strong social media presence to get started. You only need great, high-quality content as well as products and services to promote.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s worth reiterating. I still see square pins all the time on Pinterest. With affiliate pins, I make my pins longer than usual so that they stand out. My pins are typically somewhere between 735 x 1250 and 735 x 1400. I also experiment with smaller pins (600 x 900), and they do well too. There is no set rule for the exact dimensions your pins should be. Just make sure they are vertical. I use both PicMonkey and Canva to create my pins. PicMonkey has an edge over Canva in terms of features. 
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed factor and these companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
Amazon Associates – Signing up with Amazon Associates is a great platform for those new to affiliate marketing. Amazon Associates is Amazon’s affiliate marketing program and will give you access to millions of products that you can advertise to your audience. Quick and easy to sign up with, Amazon will give you up to 10% of every referral sale that is made.
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.
Career blogger Amanda Formaro of AmandasCookin’ says “the Amazon affiliate program is a terrific fit for new bloggers, but it’s important to understand that Amazon only pays you when your readers make purchases.” Formaro emphasizes that Amazon doesn’t pay affiliates for simply listing products or ads on their site. “Amazon affiliates don’t earn money for sending visitors to Amazon or the number of Amazon ad impressions that appear on an affiliate’s website,” says Formaro. “It’s all about the sale.”

Wow. Thank you for parting the mists of the mystery of affiliate marketing. I was drowning in vagueness and confusion for a few weeks there and now I feel like I have enough information to at least create a strategy around when I might want to start. I had no idea that it was so country-specific, which is important because I get just as many hits from European countries as I do the U.S.
However, be aware that you need to submit an application to most of these networks to be accepted. Once you're accepted in, you're often required to apply directly to the merchant afterwards. So there are two layers or gates that you need to bypass. That's also why it's important to build up your platform and create that emotional bridge between yourself and your audience before attempting to promote anything to them.
Hi TOM, I have really enjoyed your shared nice piece of content with us. ..Actually, I am thinking to design and develop a mobile comparison website but you know, it’s not an easy job to collect mobiles data. A lot of time and cost is required to build such a website and I don’t want to spend a lot of money as I am new in this field. My colleague has recommended me RevGlue for this purpose as this a UK based registered company and are providing mobiles and its deals data for the UK only with the name of RevEmbed technology as I have read its blog revglue.com/blog-detail/13-setup-free-uk-mobile-comparison-website but I am the little bit confused as its a newborn company. Anyone, have experience with RevGlue. Guide me in this respect. Waiting for your kind response. Thanks in advance.
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!
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
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.

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The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing on Amazon may not make you rich (at least right away), but it’s a really solid, reliable place to start. And even though the commission rates may not be as high as some networks, your likelihood of a sale is greater on Amazon. Plus, you can get a share of a customer’s entire cart if they click on your affiliate link—even if they end up buying something different from the original product you promoted. And the fact that it’s the most popular online marketplace in the Western hemisphere is nothing to sneeze at!

Google Adwords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your adwords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.


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.
On Instagram, hashtags are your best friend. They’ll put your post in front of thousands more people. That will earn you more followers, and, hopefully, more sales. Make sure you add relevant hashtags to all posts promoting the product or service. Going back to our health food blogger example, she might add hashtags like #healthyliving and #cleaneating to her affiliate posts.
I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “Oh, here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to do live my life. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
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.

Affiliate Marketplaces – ShareASale and ClickBank have thousands of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on each website. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I’m a big fan of ShareASale – there are so many companies and industries you can choose from.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
I found the course extremely helpful especially as i am a beginner. Lisa is excellent at explaining which is important when you are starting out. She has made me understand the importance of finding the right niche and that to me is where most of us go wrong. I am extremely grateful for a course like this and would like to take this opportunity to thank you Lisa for creating a course that helps others! – Michelle

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]


Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual affiliate links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.
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.
The first is to choose a good, memorable username so when people are tagging you in their photos on Instagram they don’t have to search hard to find you. It’s best not to have any strange characters in there too as it can make it more difficult for people to find you. If you have a twitter, the same username can help when people are looking for you. If you are a brand, make sure your Instagram handle is the same as your brand.
No matter how good your marketing skills are, you’ll make less money on a bad product than you will on a valuable one. Take the time to study the demand for a product before promoting it. Make sure to research the seller with care before teaming up. Your time is worth a lot, and you want to be sure you’re spending it on a product that is profitable and a seller you can believe in.
John Chow dot Com – John Chow can teach you how to live the Dot Com Lifestyle. Considering his blog went from making nothing to more than $40,000 per month in two years, he knows a thing or two about becoming time, money and location independent through online marketing. Learn about selling the right brand, building authenticity and gaining traffic in this video.
Again i would like to state this book, being as amazing as it is, i personally believe is best for one starting out in the space and looking to understand all possible options one has in going into the field. More experienced affiliate markets will have less to be able to gain from this information as it is more targeted towards learning about what exactly affiliate marketing is, how to begin and how the whole process works, what one should be affiliating, websites where one can join affiliate programs, how to obtain your own customers you can affiliate for, how to build your traffic, and what parts of your website you need to give good attention to.
Now here’s the tricky bit: let’s say you’re part of the Amazon.com program (for the US) and you generate an affiliate link for Amazon.com. If I, a polite little Canadian, skates over to your site and decides to buy a giant jug of maple syrup from your link, you won’t get any commission if I end up buying from Amazon.ca. You will only earn commissions from Amazon.COM.
This is especially important when you consider intent. If you use a hashtag like #instantpot when promoting the Instant Pot in an Instagram recipe post, there’s a good chance you’ll get exposure to fellow Instant Pot affiliates or people who own Instant Pots already. It's fine to include it, so long as it's just one in a long list of more relevant hashtags.
If I were a member of a group board called “Beautiful Home Decor” that was created for bloggers to share their blog posts, I would feel free to pin an image from a post of mine called “10 Beautiful Couches that Won’t Break the Bank.” Of course, that blog post would contain affiliate links. But, I would never pin an image of a couch with my affiliate to a group board called “Beautiful Home Decor” that I am a member of, since that is not the purpose of the board.
This is my first comment on your blog and I am really impressed by the quality of the content! You said that Amazon is famous but it’s complex and I agree with you upon that. As a beginner, I don’t think it’s a good idea to join complex affiliate programs. I recently published an infographic about affiliate marketing sats (https://www.earnyfy.com/affiliate-marketing-stats-2016) amazon was not the list of top affiliate networks used by affiliate marketers. I think Clickbank is good for the beginner. And another I think liked is that telling people that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Most people think making money is really and when they know the truth they call it a scam and give up.
For overall site performance tracking, including the number of visits, the most popular pages and how visitors interact with your website, you need to use Google Analytics. There is a learning curve to Google Analytics, but it’s well worth the time investment. Even with a basic understanding of Google Analytics, you can learn a lot about how your visitors interact with your site and which pages attract more readers than others.
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.
The top Influencers may balk at this payment model since they are used to pay-per-post. But again, it’s much more likely that micro-influencers will be open to this model. And to sweeten the pot, you should offer an initial “signing bonus” of free products for them to have, and also a higher commission rate unique for these affiliate Influencers. If your usual commission rate is 10–20% for the average influencer, consider going as high as 50%. Even if the ROI isn’t quite 11X, but say 5X, it’s still well worth the commission costs.
Writing blog posts (such as reviews, tutorials, and product comparisons) is a great affiliate marketing strategy. But it can be time-consuming. What if I told you there was a quicker way? You can use affiliate links on Pinterest to promote your affiliate products. When I started doing that, my affiliate income climbed faster. Today, I’ll go over how to create affiliate pins and upload them to Pinterest. And the best part? You don’t even need to be a blogger to do this!
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