The Internet has increased the prominence of affiliate marketing. Amazon popularized the practice by creating an affiliate marketing program whereby websites and bloggers put links to the Amazon page for a reviewed or discussed product to receive advertising fees when a purchase is made. In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling is outsourced across a vast network.
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. 

Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 

I’d stick with Amazon if I were you. All of my Amazon sites only have Amazon affiliate links. If you use Google Adsense display ads on your site, you’re literally taking people away from your site for the sake of just a few cents with these type of ads. If you direct them just to Amazon, then you have a greater chance of earning more money from that click.
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. 
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.

Hi Arslan, thanks for your comment. But let me be clear – I’ve never even nearly “scammed” people…! What I meant in my post was spamming – sending out unsolicited emails, but what I was promoting on behalf of my clients were always legitimate products. If it was something scammy, I had no option but to refund money and refuse to serve. I appreciate your visit and comment though. Thank you!
Thank you very much. I signed up to a few here and I am very grateful to you for making all of this valuable information available – you have saved me time. I could not sign up to Shopify as it just kept on reloading page to SIGN IN and not create a new account – confusing. VigLink does not allow a new account sign up either.. Rakuten did not say if they charge to be apart of their affiliate prog and actually there is no sign up for that option. If you can help me with these three prog’s… Read more »
Not promoting the right products is a common issue with newbie affiliates. Would you purchase the product you are promoting through a website? Think about it. You can advertise a Ford dealership on your website until the cows come home, but will anyone seriously purchase a brand new car via a website without visiting a garage? I don’t think so. Don’t market cars, houses, wedding venues, perfume or dogs online. Do market products people will actually buy from a website without seeing them in the flesh!

An influencer is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
Vendors engage the services of affiliates to do marketing of the product on their behalf. But how do vendors and affiliates meet? Well, vendors can engage affiliates directly to sell their products and services. Another option is for vendors to join affiliate networks. These are companies whose sole purpose is to serve as the meeting place for vendors and affiliates. The advantage of an affiliate network is that a vendor can find thousands of relevant affiliates there without having to run around looking for them all over the internet.
Individual sellers and companies offering products or services have to deal with their consumers and ensure they are satisfied with what they have purchased. Thanks to the affiliate marketing structure, you’ll never have to be concerned with customer support or customer satisfaction. The entire job of the affiliate marketer is to link the seller with the consumer. The seller deals with any consumer complaints after you receive your commission from the sale.

While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
Hi Ray, great article. To me affiliate marketing is the best way to earn commissions. I know other ways like joining surveys or writing for others but you can only earn temporary income not passive income. I would rather like to have a good income source that provides constant income for years to come. This is to me the only way so I totally agree with your suggestion. Thank you for such an informative post.
The formula for affiliate marketing remains relatively constant no matter what your market or niche. Your main task will always be traffic generation (i.e. driving prospects to the merchant’s website via your unique “affiliate” link). If you don't have any money you can get started by finding ways to get free traffic to your website, including blogging, guest posting on other websites, and posting to social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.

Another industry that has seen better commissions recently is the “making money” vertical. Along the same lines of Forex trading platforms, products or programs that help people earn money at home are also giving out average (or better than average!) affiliate commission rates. Products such as website hosting, WordPress themes and plugins, marketing products and other related items are all offering great commission rates.


This is usually what happens with affiliate marketing programs for web hosting companies. I am personally an affiliate for such companies as Bluehost, DreamHost and InterServer. When I make a sale on behalf of these companies, I get paid a fixed amount. The amounts for web hosting companies are around $100. So, you can actually make a decent living if you are able to refer lots of people to these companies. However, this is a flooded marketing and unless you are very good, you may want to look elsewhere.
As it is understood from the above, affiliate marketing is based on a reward system if the marketer succeeds in convincing customers to buy the product. The owner of the product or the manufacturer allows other parties to conduct the marketing process, which allows affiliate marketers to earn money and make profits without the need to purchase the products themselves.
Hi. I am a UK resident. I have been trying to find out advice about whether you should register a company for payments through affiliate marketing and if so is it better to set up a as a sole trader or limited company (or equivalent in US). Please could you advise as I can't seem to find out anything about this but when you complete affiliate network profiles they ask for tax details and company names etc. Many thanks
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.
Vendors engage the services of affiliates to do marketing of the product on their behalf. But how do vendors and affiliates meet? Well, vendors can engage affiliates directly to sell their products and services. Another option is for vendors to join affiliate networks. These are companies whose sole purpose is to serve as the meeting place for vendors and affiliates. The advantage of an affiliate network is that a vendor can find thousands of relevant affiliates there without having to run around looking for them all over the internet.

Insurance comparison sites are fulfilling a need. People don’t want to spend hours looking for insurance, and they don’t find it fun. If you’ve ever found anyone who enjoys this kind of activity, they could possibly be a little crazy. Both Compare The Market and Gocompare.com have not only made the tedious process of finding a policy infinitely faster, they’ve also made it fun. (Think of the free meerkats and the Gocompare man you love to hate.)


Anybody can become an affiliate. All that you need to have is probably an email address and everybody has that, right? From there, you need for find affiliate programs that you can join. Becoming an affiliate is easy. The difficult part comes in trying to make it really work. Though thousands join the various affiliate marketing programs that are out there, only a few succeed in making it a viable source of income. So, how does one become an affiliate?
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.
You need to choose a web host: Most people worry about web hosting and whether or not their choice is going to be good enough for their site. However, in most cases, beginner bloggers do not actually need expensive web hosts or web hosting plans. Shared hosting will do for you so you should go for that. I have previously covered a lot of the web hosts that can be found out there. Some of the best are Bluehost, DreamHost and HostGator. You can choose any of these for your site. For beginners, hosting packages cost as little as $3 per month. On top of that, you get a free domain for the first year.
Hi Nicky, thanks for sharing your experience. Assuming you were in a network marketing loop, which I’m not personally fond of. Whether you can be totally by yourself AND be persuasive enough is totally down to your natural personality I guess. Blogging has turned out to be the best option for me. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to get back to me.

Absolutely wonderful post! I love how you’re striaght forward with all your information but my favorite is how you describe the way you feel when you make that first sale. It’s always a great feeling to see a return on your efforts. I’d just like to add how important it is to Never Ever give up! If you have any interest at all in being successful in this business (and it is a business) then treat it like one and plan, prepare and dedicate yourself. Don’t always focus on making millions, focus on what it will take to change your life. Most peoples lives would change with just an extra $50k a year!


You need to be decided on your subject: Think of this as the theme for your blog. What are you going to be talking about. There are thousands of topics out there and you are never going to run out. However, you should be aware that you cannot possibly cover all of them. Instead, you should try and narrow down your focus. That way, you can be sure to do justice to that particular topic. Being focused is also a good way of making sure that you retain an audience, which is essential for affiliate marketing. Let’s assume that you wish to blog about Soccer. There are millions of people who are interested in the subject around the world. The competition is tough because there are already thousands of blogs covering the subject. But if you are good enough, you could make it work. But what would happen if you were to suddenly start blogging about politics on your Soccer site? Chances are high that you will lose your audience. So, you need to have a particular focus if you wish to become successful at blogging.

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!


Well, WA keep coming up and its FREE, so I think that I have found where I want to start. My one thing is that everyone seems to say that they will be your mentor just so you sign up and then eventually go Premium. Because we all know that is where you get the bigger lay out. Which is not a bad deal at all. But I’m one that likes to have that type of guidance from one person instead of reaching out to 100 and having no clue which persons advice I should take. It seems like I should just try to find someone I think that I can click with and hope for the best???
You can run your own affiliate program: This is the first option for brands that are looking to get started with affiliate marketing. Many companies out there run their own affiliate marketing programs. If you choose to go down this road, you may need to hire someone to manage your program and to interact with affiliates. The advantage of running your own affiliate program is that you do not need to pay someone else to run your program.
the idea that you can "get content" is dangerous… This by definition means that you're going to be scraping, copying, etc. You need to create content that is 100% unique based off of your research, experiences, trials and errors, etc. I started making money online in 2003. I went full-time as a digital marketer online in 2010. I started teaching into thousand and 16… Meaning I had 13 years of experience and six years full-time experience for ever trying to teach. This is what I pull from when I teach… I'm not researching an idea in order to teach you, I have been working with every aspect of digital marketing and online entrepreneurship for 15+ years.
Once you get your basic website set up, your affiliates all arranged, and you start producing content that other people might want to see, it’s time to learn how to market yourself so that people will start visiting your site and finding out what you have to offer. If it’s good, word of mouth will bring others to see your website, and that (along with more marketing and SEO) will slowly but surely grow your audience. But to learn more about that, you should read some of the other articles on this site.
Anyway, stating the obvious - a commission is only awarded to you when you've done some for a company and they've made a profit. You have to work for it. If someone tells you that you've made a commission but you have no recollection of it - then there isn't such a thing. You must forget that. Don't even try to threaten to sue whoever advise you to claim money out of nowhere. Because there are millions of them and they don't care. You'd only be wasting more of your time. Let's see how the authorities come up with better way to crack them down.
This is the easiest way to gain experience because you get exposed to other affiliates. You can meet people by joining a discussion forum or an online community. The good thing is that they are free to join and you get very good advice there. Examples of such online communities are ABestWeb, Digital Point, and Warrior Forum. Apart from getting advice from more experienced affiliates, you get the chance to network with other marketers.
Plus, your site visitors or social media followers get 20% off their first three months using Unbounce, making the exchange valuable for them, as well. Unbounce provides you with plenty of tools to succeed using their Affiliate program, including a Partner coach, custom dashboard to track progress, and training and promotional materials to ensure you're promoting their business as effectively as possible. If you're a marketer hoping to help clients increase conversions on their landing pages, this partnership could be a win-win for you both.
Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months building Domain Authority with blogging and guest posts to get more organic traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort.

Hey. Yes you can use just one website to promote multiple affiliate programs, but I’d say that your website should focus on just one niche. So you mention, SellHealth, that would lead me to believe your site is about health and fitness. I would then advise you to stick to that niche rather than promoting unrelated products like dog leashes and fashion accessories.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.
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.
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