Prior to confirming this choice, they had chosen to create a site on website/blog design for non-design people, which would have done 10 times better I think.  But since this topic caused a bit of an uproar within the comments section, as people argued this was just another website about making money online (or at least overlapped too much), they had to ditch it. Continue Reading >

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.


Affiliate marketing is the internet version of getting paid on commission. You sign up with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or other online sellers, then promote books on your blog by including special affiliate links (on the surface, these links don’t appear any different from regular links, and they can go to specific book pages, to searches, or to category pages in the bookstore).
While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products.  This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com.  Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product.  If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent.  Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article).  If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.
If you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you will appreciate the overview, advice, and pointers. For me the book was way too basic and was not polished (lacking solid editing) like I expected from a book available on Amazon. It promoted a few affiliate management software products which felt salesy and out of place. I agree with the comments that the content switched back and forth between being an affiliate and running an affiliate program for your site. The book was OK and serves a purpose, so 3 stars is my review.
These ideas opened my mind. I am looking to try affiliate marketing for a long-time, but stuck on adsense. I am now looking to decide a niche for affiliate, I know how to SEO sites to rank high. I have a question; how do we decide the best niche/sub-niche based on competition? Because SEO is the only method I can rank my sites, and bring traffic, and if there is less competition on top, then only we can rank the sites. How do we know which site has less competition/good traffic? and could you suggest some niches which match this criterion?
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!
With that said, affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick strategy. Just like any other type of business, it will take time and effort to grow. The average affiliate marketer doesn’t really start to turn a major profit for months, or even more than a year, and by that point many have already given up. Knowing that it takes time to become profitable is important for tempering early expectations, but it’s also vital that you take the time to learn some of the best ways to reach your true earnings potential.
Affiliate networks have a lot to offer merchants. Take, for example, the concept of a placement marketplace. This is a sort of platform that exists for both merchants and affiliates, helping them find each other. An affiliate program can automate processes such as posting opportunities, finding affiliates, tracking their sales, and paying for clicks and leads. This ensures busy merchants and vendors don’t stiff affiliates or make mistakes on their paychecks.
888.com is a premium gaming destination and a well established name in the casino and poker circuit. Its site offers numerous sub-brands including 888sport, 888ladies, 888bingo, 888casino and 888poker, as well as ReefClub Casino. The 888 family of companies attract millions of players, and the company provides affiliates with frequent promotions to keep players interested.

Continuing with the recipe blog scenario, I'd be comfortable with that because it has tons of potential to market a variety of products: pots, pans, cooking utensils (like particular measuring spoons or spatulas), kitchen appliances (like handheld mixers or crockpots), specialty foods (recommend a specific oil that is hard to find – link to it at Amazon), aprons, cookbooks, cutlery sets, bakeware – this list goes on and on. I love niches like this that have few limitations on what you can market and tons of potential merchants to partner with. I've already discussed how to make money from a blog once you can confirm there are things you can market.
10Beasts.com has been a successful affiliate site for the last couple years.  It's been somewhat of a “hot debate” in the internet marketing industry.  The website actually has very little content when compared to some other authority sites.  It has under 20 pages of actual content, but it's believed that because of the strong linking profile, that Google favored the site's content.  It's an extremely unusual site, as most of the link profile consists of scholarship links, which many marketers believe is an overused link building tactic that's ripe for a Google penalty.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
I read this title and expected an awesome community of runners sharing their glory stories of braving the snow and rain to log in miles. Instead I’m directed to a boring treadmill site. This site is about 5 pages and a couple of additional pages for reviews for treadmills. The reviews are the only pages with any kind of lengthy content and those are still only around 800 words. The main redeeming quality about this site, is they are focusing on high price items so even a single sale of a treadmill is a nice commission. This is another example of a website you could make in a weekend. It’s motivating though because you know you can do better, right?
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.
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.
I started my mommy lifestyle blog a little over a year ago. About 7 months ago I started focusing heavily on affiliate marketing with Amazon. I created new posts geared toward recommending products that are available on Amazon. The majority of the products that I sell are low price range products like office supplies. The game changer for me was putting up recommended products lists on some of my older posts.
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.
Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.
That being said, LinkConnector’s platform looks and feels outdated and is rather clumsily designed. Their dashboard also makes it difficult to find “hot” products or compare conversion rates, leaving affiliates somewhat in the dark about which products to choose. Ironically, despite their low-quality website, they offer some of the best customer service in the affiliate space.
Truth be told, many marketers don’t give affiliate marketing the respect and attention it deserves. This is partially because many marketers believe it’s synonymous with referral marketing, which is something they’re likely already doing. But the two terms are not interchangeable, and the differences are better understood once you learn how affiliate marketing programs work.
The following affiliate marketing examples come from five different bloggers who are in different stages of their blogging experiences. The dollar amounts shared do not represent their total incomes, but rather a portion of their affiliate marketing income only. All of these bloggers make significantly more than the amounts shown. Yes, it’s possible to make money blogging!

This is the sister site to the affiliate marketing site TheWirecutter. Another amazon affiliate website that list gadgets and gear that the website reviews. They come out and say it on their homepage, they earn money by affiliate commissions. Apparently this sites receives over 1.8M visitors, which is pretty impressive considering this site only started in 2013. I guess the moral of the story is, it’s not too late to start a review website. It also helps to have incredibly long reviews. In fact, their one soda stream review had over 13,000 words. This is a great example that content is king.
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In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.
The site has lots “the best” -articles. For example, The Best Fish Oil For Dogs (5 Highly Effective Products). Then they have listed 5 different fish oils for dogs and the reader can click their link to buy them. Another example is, “How To Crate Train A Puppy (Plus 5 Excellent Crate Options).” They seem to monetize with Chewy.com affiliate program. Chewy.com is an eCommerce for pet products.
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
HerePup.com is another public case study that was released by one of my former employees, Perrin.  Perrin is no stranger to affiliate sites, as he was the public case study for Niche Site Project 2, and built an authority site in the shaving niche.  This site was one he started building while he was still working for me, and the traffic took off.  The site was performing very well for him for quite some time, when he decided to sell the site to several outside investors.  
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Despite this, the affiliate program has stated the following: “This filing will not impact Neverblue’s ability to meet client needs in any way—we intend to continue to operate business as usual without interruption. Neverblue’s business is fundamentally strong and we intend to make all affiliate payments on schedule, in a timely and reliable manner.”
Yaro Starak is the founder and writer of Entrepreneurs-Journey.com. Since 2005 through this blog, his email newsletter and in training programs under the EJ Insider Membership, Yaro has taught thousands of people how to make a full time income from blogging part time, how to buy and sell blogs and websites, and how to successfully launch an information product business. Follow Yaro on Twitter at @YaroStarak.
I’ve actually never even considered affiliate marketing for my blog… You’ve definitely given me some things to think about. I definitely think My blog should be more established (more traffic, followers, etc) before I would want to make that kind of charge… I’m still learning so much, I don’t want to overdo it by taking my blog to another level. Plus since my traffic isn’t super high, it wouldn’t be beneficial to me just yet. Great info Margot!
With that being said, the traffic that this site earns for having so few posts is extremely impressive.  There have been a number of other websites that have attempted to achieve the same success with the same tactics, but haven't had the same results that 10beasts.com has had with regards to rankings.  While it's tough to estimate the income, I'd guess it was in the 30K to 50K per month range because of all the traffic the primary articles receive.  They are highly purchased items online (gaming mice and wireless routers), making this an extremely profitable affiliate site.  While I may not recommend trying to get links via scholarship links, there's no doubt that Google has ranked this site very well due to those links.  The content is not as good as some other in-depth articles, but they are very tuned in to the specific keywords they are trying to rank for.
Products are now put in a category. The commission will be based on the category each product has been placed in whether or not the category is correct. For instance, I had a sale for a child riding toy tractor. Instead of it being in toys category which would have only earned me 3%, it was actually placed in lawn and garden category which I then actually earned 8% instead.
I’ve just got to hear about affiliate marketing and am really a newbie to this matter. The post above was so great and helpful for a person like me. I also took a look at locationrebel which seemed very exciting to me. I wonder if those courses and blueprints are still applicable because as far as I’ve seen, the reviews and testimonials all refer to the year 2013. It was the only reason that hold me back from joining the Locationrebel. I would be very thankful if you help me with this matter.
JVZoo lets you both host and create landing pages on their own website, so it’s far better suited for professional marketers who want to flood the internet with offers, many of them for courses to make money. You don’t need your own website to participate in JVZoo, but you will need to know how to drive traffic to a landing or squeeze page in order to profit from being a JVZoo affiliate.
Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money.  This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website.  That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month.  In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.

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.


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.
I’ve had a passion for photography and cameras since I was a kid, and this was an obvious area for me to build a business in. One of the core activities of affiliate marketing is creating and distributing content, and I can write about photography with a high level of expertise and enthusiasm. You may choose to outsource content creation, and you don’t have to know anything about your niche if you’re prepared to do this. You can also research subjects you aren’t familiar with, but this can be time- consuming and boring. Personally I like to be in control of things and work with subjects I find interesting.
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
Continuing with the recipe blog scenario, I'd be comfortable with that because it has tons of potential to market a variety of products: pots, pans, cooking utensils (like particular measuring spoons or spatulas), kitchen appliances (like handheld mixers or crockpots), specialty foods (recommend a specific oil that is hard to find – link to it at Amazon), aprons, cookbooks, cutlery sets, bakeware – this list goes on and on. I love niches like this that have few limitations on what you can market and tons of potential merchants to partner with. I've already discussed how to make money from a blog once you can confirm there are things you can market.
This book is badly organized. For starters much of it points to information in prior books of the author. The author also commits an entire chapter describing how the book is laid out. Also the author repeatedly states that he won't waste time trying to convince you that affiliate marketing is a good idea and then spends several pages arguing that it's a good idea. The examples given are also weak. The only reason I'm giving this 3 stars is because it did provide some useful information, though I had to wade through 3 chapters first before finding any. I finally gave up on this book and gave a cheaper one a try. It turned out to be much better. If you're in the market for a digital book on this topic try Affiliate Programs: How to Make Money Online with Other People's Products by Joel Comm instead. It gives you just enough info to get you going in the right direction and is a much better value.
Some affiliate products won’t have their affiliate information so readily available. If you can’t find an affiliates link on the product page try to the ClickBank Marketplace, and you should be able to find the product you’re looking for. For example if we try the keyword "Muscle" we'll see all the usual suspects. If we scroll down the page a little we can see another of the affiliate's recommended products “Muscle Gaining Secrets” you can see that this affiliate is earning $38.53 on each sale he refers from his page which works out to be 50% of the list price of $77 - not bad.
If you don’t mind me asking you some relevant things that would be great. I am a new blogger, I have been blogging for some months with full engagement. Now I can say that I have built a good amount of traffic and following after such hard work that I need to get into affiliate marketing now (which was the goal of creating good content). Can I get some guidance on which program I should go for that won’t make things complex for me in the beginning?
Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[35] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
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.
Perrin has blogged about his site on the AuthorityHacker.com blog, and he's also openly discussed the sale of this site, which was sold at over $200K as the final sales price.  The site still does very well in organic search rankings, and the monetization appears to have been diverted from display ads, over to an affiliate program with a pet food company.  This site is proof that with the right systems and content in place, profitable affiliate sites are still out there to be created – even by the solo entrepreneur or the person who loves SEO as a side-hustle.
If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
This affiliate will probably send out a lesson from the mini-course every day or every couple of days for a set period of time. The lessons will direct the reader back to the website so that he or she can be exposed to more promotions and affiliate ads in addition to their “free lessons”. Then, once the reader has received all the free lessons, they will likely be added to the affiliate’s “regular” newsletter list. Unless they unsubscribe they will receive occasional news or promotions from the affiliate but less frequently than with the lessons. If this affiliate is smart he will continue to provide good content to his list and not just use it as a vehicle for pushing affiliate products. You need to give your readers good reasons to open your emails and not just send them straight to the trash folder.
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You have identified and listed your top 10 topical interests and passions. You are now ready to start narrowing down your potential choices. To create your profitable online business, you first need to determine the challenges and problems your target customers are experiencing. More importantly you will then need to determine whether or not you can actually solve them. Here are several ways you can identify the challenges and/or problems in specific niches:
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go. BigCommerce uses an industry leading 90-day cookie, so you will receive credit for up to three months for the referrals you generate. Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.
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An affiliate agreement is when a company or an individual agrees to pay you for successful referrals. For example, Amazon has a massive affiliates program where they pay you a percentage of the sales you generate using their affiliate links. Affiliate marketing is everywhere these days. In fact, we’re able to offer our own Blogging Mentorship Program for free because Bluehost sends us money for every customer we refer.
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