Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[21] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department. 

When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
NerdWallet is another gigantic site, that earns most of its income from the form of CPA offers and leads generated for financial institutions.  Similar to services like Lending Tree, NerdWallet gets your information when you are looking at different financial products, and sells your contact information as a “lead” to qualified financial institutions who try to sell you products.  The kicker here is that the CPA on most financial products is significantly higher than other CPA offers, like educational leads for example.  One lead for a loan might pay out at $200 instead of the normal $20 – $50 that you'll get in the education niche.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[30] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.

The network is, again, contested by some as to whether it’s truly a part of the affiliate marketing conglomerate. But for good measure, we’ll discuss it. The network is essentially the middle man used to manage this exchange. The network helps accomplish such tasks as payment processing, tracking technology, reporting solutions, and can serve as a repository of available affiliates.


The thing I like the most about the site is the way it feels.  All of the Amazon affiliate links are extremely well integrated, and they've done some custom design work to make some of their images feel interactive.  Another trend here is that the owners of this site, own similar sites in several other niches.  You can tell which sites are owned by the owners of this site when you look at the bottom of the site and notice that they link internally to their other web properties.  This is becoming a popular trend, with the folks over at DigitalMarketer.com doing the same thing with some of their projects, like SurvivalLife.com and DIYReady.com.  It's hard to estimate the total revenue for this site, but because the call-to-actions on the site are so good, it would not surprise me if this site was doing over 70K per month in Amazon Affiliate income every month.
Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum.  They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche.  The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts.  Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers.  While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself. 

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.
I place emphasis on the “interested” aspect, as you may end up sticking with this topic for an extended period of time. As we’ve said previously, successful affiliate marketers are more likely to receive opportunities to sell other products in the future. In the same way you don’t want to build up a resume full of jobs you hate, don’t sell products for an industry that means nothing to you.
Thanks for a nice job. I am currently promoting some of the affiliate programs listed here and making a few dollars from them. But I must say that making money from affiliate programs is not rocket science; it requires hard work and perseverance. Affiliate marketing keeps evolving daily and any serious affiliate should be ready to change tactics and invest time and money in order to beat the competition.
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? 

This is an Amazon Affilaite Website that has really niched down into specifically, as the name implies, kids tablets with Wifi. These are high priced items that produce high commissions in a huge market, children. What is the best tablet for kids? Do you give them an ipad? What if it breaks? Is there a cheaper option? These are all questions that this site helps with. It runs like a blog, but with a relatively simple design. It’s hard to tell if they have produced much new content because they don’t include dates with their blog posts. However this site is just one blog, with three additional pages for “Best Tablets for Kids”, “Kids Tablet Reviews” and “Kids Tablet Comparisons” all of which are likely keyword researched names. It’s likely the niched down keyword research to bring in the traffic, because the content while good, is relatively short with 300-500 words per post.
If you have built up an email list, you could also promote your affiliate offers via email promotions. Just make sure you build up a relationship with your audience first instead of going for the hard sell straightaway. The emails you send out must contain your affiliate links to products so when your audience click through. the sale is attributed to you. 
This is an older site (2003) with some heavy domain authority. That explains the crazy amount of content this site contains. It’s helpful though when you have 350+ employees. This isn’t a small enterprise, and they still utilize the Amazon Affiliate network to monetize their site. They use long and wordy articles to review products, maximizing the SEO of each page. The biggest difference from this site and others, is the amount of digital content these guys review. Their digital content ranges from Antivirus Software to Credit Card processing. This isn’t a typical Amazon product, but digital content can earn affiliate commissions through other sources than Amazon. Amazon is a great resource to monetize your site, but it’s definitely not the only way.
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.
With all that being said, this site definitely gets some decent traffic and even if they were just participating in display ads and Amazon Associates as monetization, I'm sure it would make a significant amount of income.  Like BabyGearLab.com – people researching supplements are usually looking to buy something, and health food decisions are often impulse buys.  That means that this niche may convert better than others, especially because the price points of a lot of these products is on the lower end.  For an income “guesstimate” – I would say that this site is probably making north of 20K per month between affiliate and display ad revenue.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
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. 
My domain currently has a DA of 55 and I get 250,000-300,000+ pageviews/month. Interestingly enough, I had similar earnings on Amazon when I had a lower DA and fewer pageviews (just 175,000). I don’t know how many pageviews all of my Amazon posts have, but the main ones that deliver nice income probably vary from around 1,000 – 6,000 pageviews per month each. It looks like it’s mainly 10 articles driving these sales.
In effect, VigLink works as the middleman between a publisher (blogger) and merchants by scanning the publisher’s content and automatically creating links to publishers that are chosen “in real time” based on their payout/conversation rates. This makes VigLink a very hands-off affiliate program for publishers who prefer to focus on content instead of managing their affiliate links.
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.
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.
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Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
TechRadar is a huge website devoted to reviewing the latest technology trends. The site has dedicated review sections for literally every kind of piece of technology you can image, including consoles, smart phones, tablets and laptops. They also product very informative articles about different items, helping you make a valid choice when choosing a product.
Do you remember 1997? That’s when this website was created. You could maybe tell from the website homepage that looks more like About.com than a review website, then again they have over 1.5 million pages indexed. Don’t make the same mistake I did, this isn’t a door and sink hardware company, this is computer hardware for hardcore nerds who build their own computers. I’m sure this site is at the forefront of every build-it-myself computer geek out there (I’m one ). The site is now owned by Purch, the same people who own TopTenReviews. These guys have really got a good handle on successful Amazon Affiliate Websites.
You can make really good commissions from the eBay partner but it depends on the products which you decide to promote. Interestingly the commission levels vary according to where you are in the world not just on the products you decide to promote. One of the great reasons to sign up is that you can earn DOUBLE commissions in your first three months. They offer free to use link generators, ad creatives and widgets for you to promote different eBay items. eBay has over 162 Million active buyers which means there is a great potential to convert your traffic.
We've partnered with The Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE), a nonprofit organization that empowers youth living in underserved communities through transformative travel experiences. FLYTE teaches that we are more alike than we realize. By bridging the gap between fear and understanding, FLYTE empowers future generations by connecting them to the world.
One way to do that is to open company in a state that is accepted in Amazon affiliate program. I would suggest Delaware LLC company because is simple to open (little to no restrictions to non-residents) and not expensive to run. Maybe you start building site and once you get some traffic, you open company and setup amazon account. In the worst case scenario, you can still sell the site and earn some money that way.
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.
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!
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. 
If you've been following me for a while, you probably know that nowadays, everything is about quality – not just from the website, but also the quality of the actual page on the site as well.  You are unlikely to rank well for a competitive keyword with a 1500 word article and lots of links.  Most articles need to be in-depth, and answer every question the user might have about the topic.
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.
There is nothing more satisfying than feeling accomplished through self-improvement. Whether it be through learning a new skill or educating the mind. Thus making this one of the most profitable niches to get involved in. It is especially common to find a great deal of interest in the IT industry. Because let’s face it – computers are pretty much taking over the world.
It offers a modern, real-world, step-by-step guide to researching, launching, managing, and optimizing a successful affiliate marketing program. It covers social media, creating policies, working with feeds, coupons, widgets, and video, creating compelling content, handling partners who are not meeting goals, and much more. ‘Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day’ is the do-it-yourself guide to planning and maintaining a successful affiliate program.
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?
The first things that pops out is the number of ads (which I circled).  This might be a bit ad heavy and I usually don't place this many ads above the fold.  However, I guarantee that they have an excellent CTR with this layout.  The ads are above the fold and within the content, in addition the use of the link unit at the top where a navigation bar would typically go is also very saavy.  I would be surprised if the CTR is not at least 10%.  However, I would caution against using this many ads.  My tweak would be to remove one of the medium square units, and then wrapping the text around the other one.

I would start by signing up for an Affilorama membership. We have an assortment of free lessons that will walk you through the basics, step by step. If you're looking for more assistance, I recommend checking out AffiloBlueprint (https://www.affilorama.com/affiloblueprint), which will give you even more resources and guidance. You'll also get access to our support team, who can provide additional assistance as necessary.
This site is ranking very well for a very competitive keyword.  They are primarily monetized by adsense as outlined here; however, in the navigation bar, I also boxed a link that takes the visitor to another website owned by the same person/company.  Its obvious as there is quite a bit of interlinking between these 2 sites and actually several other websites as well. The Adsense placement is good on this site.  Its above the fold and within the content.  This probably gets a pretty good click through rate.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[21] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
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.
Hi Jay. Love the examples of profit making websites! For anyone who has been banging their head against a wall trying to make a few bucks, these sites show exactly how it’s done which is crucial when you are starting out. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed checking out lots of other sites that may look great but may not necessarily be making money. I also get those Amazon emails all the time. I think I’ll take a closer look and see if I can find a new niche!
This is a little delayed on the uptake but I recently created an affiliate marketing site with a service model (personal stylist kind of like Stitch Fix but only using Amazon items so I don’t have any inventory). Right now it’s free(!) and ultimately will be significantly under the price point of Stitch Fix, Le Tote, others in terms of both fees plus there won’t be any apparel markup. It will be smaller scale as well and without a lot of the overhead. The operations have been a little tough but I’m starting to make money. I haven’t done much marketing yet but am learning as I go (I’m a data scientist by trade). Check it out! http://www.dressjungle.com . And I’d definitely love a callout 🙂
Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
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This is one of my favorite Amazon Affiliate Websites because it’s so freaking cool! These guys gather up the coolest gadgets, gifts, tech and oddities from Amazon and around the web to showcase on their website. These are gag gifts and fun gadgets people love to buy. They likely use a SEO tool like SEMrush to find great blog post ideas. This site uncovers the cool, often hidden, things of the internet and all you have to do is click on one of the Amazon Affiliate links to buy it from the Amazon store. ThisIsWhyIAmBroke works with more than just Amazon, but it’s one of their biggest revenue sources. It’s entirely possible to create a website just like this.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
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.
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.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams.
Greatist.com is a health publication that was started in 2011.  The traffic growth over the last couple years is incredible, and the site has become a full fledged media resource.  Greatist.com has a larger staff, and has purchased a number of other online businesses.  The top keyword “healthy breakfasts” gets an estimated 62,000 searches per month, but the long tail traffic that Greatist.com gets is truly incredible.

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Paid traffic refers to media buyers who purchase traffic from an existing site or ad network and attempts more or less an arbitrage play. The value add for the media buyers in this equation is the initial creative and also any additional pre-sell landing pages that will increase the conversion rate. If the revenue generated is greater than what you paid in traffic costs, then you're ROI positive.
Another thing to consider when selecting your affiliate marketing niche is the types of products you want to sell. Digital downloads, such as ebooks, are perfect for selling online. Customers can access them immediately, and this can increase your sales conversion rates. The bigger profits usually come from up-sales and cross-sales, so give some thought to additional products you might offer to customers after their initial purchase. For example you might sell an ebook about how to play online poker to build your customer base. You could then target buyers with a more expensive course on how to win poker tournaments.
.I’m a pregnant stay home mum looking for how to earn extra money.I have tried to start a blog but it seems not to pay as I expected. So I met this guy that wants me to market his packaging,archive box and printing company and to pay me per comission.So needed to educate myself and find this post.its amazing how you are able to put all this I one post.very educative.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.

There’s a good reason why ClickBank is still a strong contender, however it does tend to focus more on digital products which may be of questionable quality. Yes, the review process is more professional these days, but it’s still primarily focused on selling digital products, especially “how to make money” courses and the like. That being said, there are some genuinely high-quality products on offer, and few affiliate programs are bigger than ClickBank, especially in selling (primarily digital) books.
I'm not saying that as a recipe blog owner that you need to keep up with what the Food Network is doing. But, you do need to understand that pictures are required if you want to have success in that niche. Looking at all of the popular indie blogs on the topic will make that clear. Are you willing to MAKE the recipes you'll be blogging about and take pictures of them? Are you ready to invest in a good camera and spend time reading tutorials learning how to take better pictures? Every niche you look into will have a “minimum” formula across the successful indie blogs within them. Make sure you're willing to meet it. If not, you're going into the niche without the ability to truly compete and wasting your time.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.
This is the really fun part when it comes to finding your niche! You get to play around here, and search for niche ideas, which is super-easy with Google’s External Keyword Tool. This is a free tool that allows you to find out both local and global search volumes for certain keywords, related keywords, as well as the competitiveness of those keywords, too.
Mix High & Low Price Items, but Lean Towards High Price – if you’re doing all this work to push people towards a certain product, make sure that product is worth it. It doesn’t make much sense to review a $5 item with 1,000 words. You should lean towards those higher price items that will give you higher commissions. Remember, you get a percentage of the sale, not a flat fee.
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