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.
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.

Hi Kristian, thanks for your comment and questions. The bottom line is being honest and sincere about any products that you recommend. And if you’re in a traffic selling business, you essentially promote products on your clients’ behalf whether you like them or not. If it sounded too scammy I had no options but to reject the order, but I would never know what’s behind with each product unless I use it myself. As a reviewer and blogger, it was hard to run two different business parallelly. About some of the products being too expensive…yes you’re right, some of them are for advanced/corporate users, I perhaps need to review them too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it.

Hi Ray, there’s a lot I can learn from this page. I have only started online marketing recently and have hardly made a commission yet, but I know with persistence I can get through this and make a full time living with affiliate marketing like you do. Like you say, it’s important to find a niche that you really love and enjoy what you do. Otherwise you’ll easily get bored after a while and quit. I’m setting a long term target and willing to achieve my monetary goal within a year. You have a great site, thanks!


Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.

Also I don’t believe the way they make more commissions each time your referral happens to refer to others, and the referral’s referrals and so on. It means the part of the job is about educating others to sell. If you love that kind of stuff, then perhaps that’s what it is, but I don’t personally recommend it, just like I don’t recommend jobs that I’m not interested, for example working for a call center.
Although it has a dynamic and well-designed website, PeerFly has a limited range of offers at any given time (around 8,000). On the upside, it does offer good commission/payout rates, lots of FAQs and educational information, and regular contests and reward programs that can substantially increase your bottom line. Based on online customer reviews, Peerfly enjoys a very high reputation amongst participating affiliates.
Also I don’t believe the way they make more commissions each time your referral happens to refer to others, and the referral’s referrals and so on. It means the part of the job is about educating others to sell. If you love that kind of stuff, then perhaps that’s what it is, but I don’t personally recommend it, just like I don’t recommend jobs that I’m not interested, for example working for a call center.
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of @ArmaniBeauty. One of my favourite makeup brands for many years now (I bought my first Armani beauty product 17 years ago!) Due to current circumstances, the event was cancelled, but I wanted to share with you their newest launch of Luminous Silk foundation and concealer. It feels and looks amazing on, and I will try and shoot a little video for you so you could see the difference it makes when applied. 👌🏼 – Shop your screenshot of this pic with the LIKEtoKNOW.it shopping app or via my beauty edit on MERCER7 http://liketk.it/2M2Of #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKbeauty #happyanniversary

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.


Typeform, which offers conversational forms and surveys including Contact Forms, Employee Satisfaction Surveys, and Event Lead Capture Forms, doesn't offer commission on referrals, but the company does deduct 10% from your own account when one of your referrals subscribes to a paid plan. That means, with 10 referrals, you can deduce your Typeform bill to zero dollars.


When promoting a product, you are also promoting the person or organization that owns the product. This should be the first thing to know before selecting the product you are promoting. You surely don’t want your clients to be unhappy after purchasing the product. Trust me; they will never come back to your site again to purchase anything! This is because you have dented your credibility. Normally, any company or website with good customer service is bound to have happy customers.

Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!


I know that we can increase or boost our income with the help of affiliate marketing. We can earn millions and millions dollars by this with the perfect procedure and the best procedure will give you a great business. Focus on the whole process from choosing the best product to received commission. The steps give above is awesome for an affiliate marketer.
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.

Sage Financials, a cloud accounting solution built on Salesforce that provides accounting, analytics, and reporting tools for small and mid-sized businesses, has an impressive affiliate program that includes a dedicated support team, commission paid directly into your bank account (and currency of choice), and detailed reporting on your performance and earnings.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.
As a blogger (I write about digital marketing), I’ve always been more drawn to in-house affiliate programs. Recently, I got into squirrly’s program (they got me with the 70% in commissions out of all sales, I have to admit it). But with all the new stuff I learned from this post, I’m seriously considering expanding. Thanks a lot for the useful tips.

This is one of the best CPA affiliate marketing networks where you can find over 2500 affiliate campaigns to use for converting your website traffic into leads and sales. The great thing about using AdWork Media is it offers a wide range of monetization tools such as Content Locker, Product Locker, Offer Wall etc to help you easily make money from your website traffic.
Jerry is a young aspiring Internet Entrepreneur who started his online business at the age of 18. He is currently a Full-time Affiliate Marketer at Wealthy Affiliate, a community to help anyone start their own online business without prior experience. He actually achieved Financial Independence at the young age of 21. Read more about his story here!
Although it has a dynamic and well-designed website, PeerFly has a limited range of offers at any given time (around 8,000). On the upside, it does offer good commission/payout rates, lots of FAQs and educational information, and regular contests and reward programs that can substantially increase your bottom line. Based on online customer reviews, Peerfly enjoys a very high reputation amongst participating affiliates.
Email marketing: This is best in small doses. You don't want any partners sending out bulk emails to customers who aren't interested in your products or services, but with proper consideration for who's receiving the email, this could be an effective method. For instance, if you sell design tools, you might reach out to marketing agencies and ask, if they're working with a specific client on a design project, whether they might consider sending a URL from your site within the body of the email. This could help their clients leverage your tools to create higher-quality content, while giving agencies an added source of income.
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
Hi, I read your spamming story with great interest. I have had a similar experience in the past. Because my mentor told me that we were targeting stupid people so we had to act simple and dodge these people by sending so many emails. Which was wrong. I am now willing to earn commissions in the most legit way. Your post helps and I just want to say thank you. Edita.

StudioPress itself is somewhat of a niche product as it is targeted to existing WordPress users who found setting up and managing a WordPress site too difficult or time-consuming. StudioPress prides itself on being easy to use, but their main claim to fame is that their hosted websites are “faster and more secure” than other WordPress hosting companies as well as using the “Genesis framework” which is supposedly more SEO friendly than other WordPress builds.

Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect. They can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information, and they can purchase AdWords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone monitor affiliates and enforce rules.


SkimLinks is probably best for bloggers who want to write content around the affiliate link rather than add affiliate links to existing products. SkimLinks offers a lot of tools to compare commission rates and offers in order to customize your content to optimize your income. Once nice aspect of SkimLinks is that it offers lots of products for non-US creators, including popular UK brands like John Lewis and Tesco.
Many companies offer an affiliate program (or they call it a "partnership" program). If you want to check it, you can google it. For example you love products from a furniture store called "MyFurnitureStore". Then google search it by the keywords "myfurniturestore affiliate program". Something should come up in most cases! If they do offer an affiliate program, there will be a joining instruction in the page.
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.
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. 
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.
Sell any product on Amazon directly through your Pinterest pins. If you’re in the US, you will need to have a website or blog to get approved. You can earn up to 10% on over one million products. They also help you post links and promote products on your site with banners. While they’re not a network per se, they provide a massive range of products.

Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 

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.

Most newbies in affiliate marketing make the mistake of registering with too many affiliate programs and try promoting everything they see. If this is the path you are treading, then it will overwhelm you and you won’t promote the products properly. Take time to understand the needs in the market and search for products that will go well with your site’s topic.
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.
Compared to other more popular affiliate marketing networks, Commission Junction (which is also known as CJ affiliate network) does two things better than others: one is, it offers you a wide range of products to promote and the other is giving you access to a ton of tools ranging from dashboards, charts, graphs, metrics and so on to increase your sales.
Email marketing: This is best in small doses. You don't want any partners sending out bulk emails to customers who aren't interested in your products or services, but with proper consideration for who's receiving the email, this could be an effective method. For instance, if you sell design tools, you might reach out to marketing agencies and ask, if they're working with a specific client on a design project, whether they might consider sending a URL from your site within the body of the email. This could help their clients leverage your tools to create higher-quality content, while giving agencies an added source of income.

Affiliate marketing is and always will be a brilliant business model. Where I think it really has power is when you market products you use and love yourself. When you become a true ambassador for a product that you use yourself, the buyer can tell this, and they are far more likely to buy from you, as opposed to someone trying to sell something through an affiliate link simply for the reason of trying to make money.

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.
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.
Hey Adrian, The Six Figure Mentors have a tiered membership training program that takes you from totoal digital newbie to empowered online entrepreneur. They offer various training packages that cater to different stages of your personal/professional development. Pricing starts from $197 for the basic membership package but goes all the way up to $20,000 for the top level training they offer. Who in their right mind would pay $20,000 for some training?! You’d be surprised. I see a lot of top people from the corporate world (Directors, CEO’s, Partners) invest this type of money because they want to fast-track their… Read more »
Established in 1997, FOREX CLUB (the company) is the brand name for a group of companies that provides clients from over 120 countries with platforms and services for trading forex, CFDs and other online trading and educational products. We offer every client effective tools in training, analytics and education, as well as personal support where they want it. FOREX CLUB has over 650 employees worldwide.  In 2011 alone, over 45,000 traders chose to learn forex trading with us.  FOREX CLUB was one of the industry’s first to offer zero spread trading and commission refunds on all unprofitable trades.
Additionally, you'll receive promotional materials, a tracking dashboard, and personalized support to help you succeed with the affiliate program. Constant Contact is used by major brands including Facebook, WordPress, and Shopify. If you believe your clients or prospects could benefit from email marketing tools, this is a good partnership to consider.

Bloggers/influencers:If there are impressive bloggers or social media influencers in your industry who engage with your ideal buyer persona on a regular basis, you might consider partnering with them. For instance, if you sell kitchen appliances, it might be good to reach out to bloggers or YouTube influencers who post recipes, and ask if they'd feature your product as a "recommended tool" in their next recipe post. Ideally, this would result in your target audience taking a look at your website, and if they like the products you offer, could provide additional revenue for the influencer.

Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect. They can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information, and they can purchase AdWords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone monitor affiliates and enforce rules.

Another network you should consider when it comes to promoting products as an affiliate is Amazon.com. As you may already know, just about any physical product can be sold on Amazon.com. Though products on Amazon generally offer lower commissions than their digital product counterparts, selling products on Amazon as an affiliate can be a much higher volume business and most people trust Amazon as a merchant, making it easier to sell products as an affiliate.
Constant Contact offers powerful email marketing tools for small businesses, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. Among other things, users of Constant Contact can use the tools to create Instagram and Facebook Ads, automate their email marketing campaigns, or target new ecommerce customers and send follow-up emails to increase revenue to their online stores.
Join affiliate programs: As your audience grows, you can begin joining affiliate programs. One thing that I need to mention as part of this affiliate marketing for beginners article  is that you don’t need to join all the affiliate marketing programs that are out there. What I like to do is to join programs that I have previously used. Of course this is not a prerequisite but doing so is helpful in that even as I blog, I am very aware of what I am talking about. And my readers can actually tell that this is not an article that was written by someone off a company’s website, but one that was written by a user of a particular product. I have already noted that I use Shopper Approved for online reviews. I am also an affiliate for this company. And the content that I have produced on the subject is in-depth and contains relevant examples. As a result, I have been very successful in my affiliate marketing efforts for this company.
Hello Adam. Thank you! After months of searching and reading how to start a blog, I decided to stop procrastinating and take the plunge…just get started! I signed up for three years with Bluehost using the link at the site of one of the MANY bloggers I came across in my search (didn’t want to miss out on the low cost). I have joined MANY courses for beginner bloggers. Yours has been by far SUPERIOR! Thank you for laying out the information so simply, for providing all the links for more information, but BEST of all, for providing the FULL course, in such detail no less, at the start! My blog is almost three months old, but I have gone back through using the steps in the checklist you provided. THANK YOU!
An e-commerce merchant wanting to reach a wider base of Internet users and shoppers may hire an affiliate. An affiliate could be the owner of multiple websites or email marketing lists; the more websites or email lists that an affiliate has, the wider his network. The hired affiliate then communicates and promotes the products offered on the e-commerce platform to his network. The affiliate does this by implementing banner ads, text ads, or links on its multiple owned websites or via email to its clientele. Firms use advertisements in the form of articles, videos, and images to draw an audience’s attention to a service or product.
Another way to find this information is to do a simple Google search. For example, one could place the following phrase into Google Search:  “(product name) + affiliate program”. (Replace “product name” with the name of the product you are promoting.) There is an interesting chrome addon called Affilitizer is available which makes this process easy.

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.)

SkimLinks works very similarly to VigLinks in that it is designed for bloggers who don’t want to do a lot of hands-on work to participate in an affiliate program. SkimLinks also works much like VigLinks in that it uses a plugin or script to create dynamic links in your content to send visitors to higher paying offers from merchants. SkimLinks claims to work with over 24,000 merchants/advertisers.
Whether you're starting a new business from scratch or already have an existing business (offline or online), affiliate marketing is a great way to generate income online. All you have to do it recommend relevant products or services to your audience and the vendor of the product your are promoting handles everything including product creation, handling the sales process, customer service, refunds, etc.
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.
SkimLinks is probably best for bloggers who want to write content around the affiliate link rather than add affiliate links to existing products. SkimLinks offers a lot of tools to compare commission rates and offers in order to customize your content to optimize your income. Once nice aspect of SkimLinks is that it offers lots of products for non-US creators, including popular UK brands like John Lewis and Tesco.
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.
Thank you for a very straightforward introduction to the world of Affiliate Marketing. I’m looking forward to the journey and just starting out. For me, I’m just as enthusiastic about the challenge of gaining success for its own sake, as the financial rewards it may hopefully bestow on me. There are so many variables involved and putting the whole thing together feels like attempting a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a hangover.
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!
Hey Ray, I appreciate your brutally honest view about spamming. Now I’m clear about how I should earn commissions properly, from a website building, not by sending random unsolicited emails. Too many people do that nowadays, with no malicious intent, but I see there’s almost no effect or whatsoever. I nearly put myself into that trap. Thanking you for that.
Hi Kenny, no you shouldn’t be involved with spamming. If you receive an unsolicited email, either ignore it or report it 🙂 The basic ‘rule’ is (as you may have guessed it) to be as honest as you can and think about the benefit for the users and not to try to sell something unless you think it’s worth the money in their eyes. If you need any help in starting up, don’t hesitate to get back to me at any time. Thanks for your comment.
It should be said that the cost at which the customer purchases the product is the same as the direct purchase cost from the owner, this means that the owner of the product will get less profits from the sale because he has to pay a percentage of the profits to the affiliate marketer. But in this way, the owner of the product can expand its sales and reach a larger segment of customers that would not have reached it through the direct selling process.
Thats a great point, and I’ve definitely seen my fair share of those “how to start a blog” posts. That’s always been a good fit for people at Location 180, and if they do a good job on the post (truly make it useful) that’s one that doesnt bother me as much – solely because I know how valuable starting a blog can be for your life and goals. So if it’s some personal finance blogger that creates one and you start a blog from that by following their tutorial – all the better!
For me I would choose a program with Recurring commission. You can build a real passive income. Its the best way to go! One suggestion is contact companies who sell services and ask if you can sell their service for them. Sometimes popular affiliate programs like these have just way too many people trying to sell their service. I personally went to sitecare.ca and asked them if I could sell their service and I couldn’t be happier! So find a service you believe in and go for it!
This is a great list. I need to bookmark this article. Thanks for sharing! I have been making money through Commission Junction using my own blogs. But you should make CJ at the first of the list as it is more promising than Shareasale affiliate program. Because you’ll be easier to find certain products and affiliate marketing programs that fit your blog niche CJ. There are various product types from tons of advertisers you can find on CJ to choose from.
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!
The Sandals affiliate program pays you a commission for referring users to book either a stay in one of the Sandals Resorts, or booking an activity. While 4% might seem like a small percentage, these luxury resorts have daily rates that range from $150 to over $2,000 per person -- which means, if a couple were to book a romantic week in a Sandals Resort at $500 per person per night, you would earn a commission of $280!

Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
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