This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
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.
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. 
As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (e.g. fly fishing) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches. Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. Tracking your metrics will allow you to see what is working and generating sales and what is not working, causing you to waste time and/or money.
Hi Ray, thanks for the very informative article. I think this is just what everyone needs to get their affiliate marketing started. I know Wealthy Affiliate provides everything that we need and the level of help and advice is top class. You can ask any questions at any time and almost immediately you receive helpful answers. It’s the best way to earn commissions. Your guide is perfect for people who have not tried.
Thanks Miles. I’ve always shied away from a lot of the typical internet marketing strategies that are all about how to make as much money as possible with little regard for actually building trust and engagement with your audience. Totally agree with you, it should be audience first, profit second. And over time if you do that, you’ll come out way ahead.
As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (e.g. fly fishing) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches. Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. Tracking your metrics will allow you to see what is working and generating sales and what is not working, causing you to waste time and/or money.
Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.

You need to keep your audience engaged. Social media is all about engagement and this is something that you need to keep in mind if you are to use it for affiliate marketing. Post interesting content, and people will keep checking your out. As an example, you can produce content that’s useful to your audience as a way of promoting engagement. Using the above example, you can write a “Latest Sci-Fi novels,” post to make sure that people stay abreast with what’s happening in the field. Keep refreshing this content and you can be sure that people will  keep coming back.
Once you’ve chosen your interest and you’ve create a website where you can write about it, the next step is to pick out the affiliate programs that will advertise on your site. It’s tough to start affiliate marketing without a monetization plan! With over a million products and services to pick from, you’re bound to find something related to your interests, so feel free to go crazy with ideas like underwater basket weaving and scuba lessons if your interests lie with the ocean, or organic food and organic conditioners if you prefer to discuss how to stay beautiful with only organic plant extracts.
SkimLinks is primarily for established content producers (bloggers) who want to monetize their content. With a powerful WordPress plugin and scripts for just about any website type, setting up SkimLinks is very easy. And because you have access to all offers on their platform after you’re approved, SkimLinks is very well designed for affiliates who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with settings and other fine-tuning.
A more complex system, pay per lead affiliate programs compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads. The affiliate must persuade the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action — whether it’s filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial of a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading software or files.
When beginning your affiliate marketing career, you’ll want to cultivate an audience that has very specific interests. This allows you to tailor your affiliate campaigns to that niche, increasing the likelihood that you’ll convert. By establishing yourself as an expert in one area instead of promoting a large array of products, you’ll be able to market to the people most likely to buy the product.
VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!
Hey Amos, great question. The length of your review blog posts will depend on the specific keyword you’re targeting and the competition. I would Google the term and look at who’s ranking in the top 10, then check how long these articles are. I use a free Chrome extension called Word Counter Plus which makes it easy. Once you see how long competitor articles are, make yours longer and higher quality. 🙂
As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.
If you work with clients who might need to hire a freelancer for marketing, design, or tech skills, or you write a blog for entrepreneurs and want to promote Fiverr Learn, you might want to consider partnering with Fiverr. The popular site, with over 5.5 million users, offers affiliates a dashboard to manage and monitor campaigns, and creative assets to help you promote their services. Of course, commission varies depending on the service you want to promote — take a look at their full offerings here.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
Focus on reviewing products and services that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product or service you are promoting. Almost anything sold online can be reviewed if there is an affiliate program – you can review physical products, digital software, or even services booked online, like ride-sharing or travel resort booking. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.

But you should understand that you won’t become instantly rich by selling product. This type of business is highly competitive because there are many other people into it. How to make money online in India can be simply answered by following these hacks to gain success in the field: through affiliate marketing, you need to understand the market, know how products are promoted, and understand how it works.
However, you do need to note that you need to be focused in order to make it work. Affiliate marketing is not going to work if your content is all over the place. What you need to do is to decide on a topic for your content and stick to it. Of course, you can diversify, but, wherever possible, strive to stay as near your core subject as is possible. Doing this means you will be able to create a dedicated audience to which you can do affiliate marketing.
Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.
Writing product reviews are an excellent way to enhance your credibility as an affiliate marketer. This is especially easy with information products like e-books which are relatively inexpensive. After establishing some steady income it may even be worth buying higher-end products, provided you get in touch with the product creator to work out a strategic marketing plan that takes you to the next level.
I have seen some websites that flat out lied too about how “easy” it was. Like an example of one woman who put together her first affiliate marketing video selling a product and got her first $50. It made it *seem* like she just put together a video and immediately started making money. They failed to address the fact that she already had the YouTube channel for over a year and had over 500 subscribers prior to that.
Coupon sites: If you're offering a new product or service that isn't popular in the marketplace, you might try creating an affiliate partnership with a coupon site for a limited time. While you don't want to lose money by giving your product away at a discount, it could be effective at getting some first-time buyers to check out your website and become brand advocates.

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.


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.
So no, it isn’t easy in the least bit. In fact, from the people who talk about the TRUTH behind affiliate marketing, it CAN be a great way to make money, but only after you’ve spent months or even years putting content out there and already have a VERY solid viewer base. That’s great that you worked your way up so fast, but for your one blog that makes as much as you claim, there are countless others who wasted months or even years on blogs and get little to no return on it. So, your website neglects to cover the most difficult part of the topic. And that’s not pointing the finger at you – it seems like that is where 99% of the people discussing affiliate marketing fall short. They talk about the finish line rather than the path to GET to that finish line.
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. 
So no, it isn’t easy in the least bit. In fact, from the people who talk about the TRUTH behind affiliate marketing, it CAN be a great way to make money, but only after you’ve spent months or even years putting content out there and already have a VERY solid viewer base. That’s great that you worked your way up so fast, but for your one blog that makes as much as you claim, there are countless others who wasted months or even years on blogs and get little to no return on it. So, your website neglects to cover the most difficult part of the topic. And that’s not pointing the finger at you – it seems like that is where 99% of the people discussing affiliate marketing fall short. They talk about the finish line rather than the path to GET to that finish line.
As for your question about which affiliate program to join, I cannot give you an answer for that because that’s totally depends on the niche you’re in. I’m not familiar with your niche so I can’t give you any recommendation for that. That’s for individual private affiliate programs. You can also check out the common affiliate networks like Amazon, ClickBank, Shareasale, CJ, all these.
Flexoffers is another huge affiliate marketing network. They pay you (the affiliate) a lot faster than others in the industry. It has more than 10 years of experience in the field. While they do not offer anything that is neither groundbreaking nor revolutionary, they do provide a solid array of tools and features that will surely aid you in your campaigns. In addition to the fast payouts, Flexoffers lets you choose from thousands of affiliate programs to promote, offers various content delivery formats, and more.

If you work with clients who might need to hire a freelancer for marketing, design, or tech skills, or you write a blog for entrepreneurs and want to promote Fiverr Learn, you might want to consider partnering with Fiverr. The popular site, with over 5.5 million users, offers affiliates a dashboard to manage and monitor campaigns, and creative assets to help you promote their services. Of course, commission varies depending on the service you want to promote — take a look at their full offerings here.


You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
That’s because the affiliate program works by setting a browser cookie when someone clicks on an affiliate link and tracks any purchases made at the destination before the cookie expires. After that, the affiliate program pays out a small commission. Thus, it’s possible to make a little money or even make a living off of affiliate marketing, but only if you can convince people to click on your links and buy your affiliate partner’s products.
This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 

The affiliate companies you’ll be signing up with have powerful website creation tools that can get you up and running in no time, although a big part of the reason it can set up so fast is because it’s based heavily on some basic templates. As such, while you can move things around and change the icons and images to emphasize your chosen interest, you may still feel like the website has a certain generic quality to it. That may not bother you at all, but it’s something you’re free to change if you know html code. Learning how to start affiliate marketing also means learning how to build a website.
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.
There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand.
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