It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
Sure, you’re not the brand itself, but you are employed by various brands, and I’m sure you want to see success in this industry. For that reason, it’s important you take control and learn about your audience while trying to form connections. Take cues from your competitors or other affiliates. What kind of advertisements are they utilizing, and do they seem to be working?

Taking the financial analysis a stage further, think about the potential profits you can make from each affiliate sale. You’ll have to sell hundreds of low priced items to make a reasonable return, and it may be better to promote premium products where one sale could generate hundreds of dollars. For example, an ebook on cat breeding tips might generate five dollars in commission for each sale. An ebook detailing a profitable gambling system might sell for ten times more and net you much higher commissions.


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.
Whereas health, finances, and romance are affiliate-friendly niches because they touch our daily lives, you can also be successful if you target popular hobbies. Sports are a good candidate, because many of them extend beyond state and national borders, giving you a massive audience from the outset. However, be careful to choose hobby-oriented sports instead of big-time spectator sports like football and basketball.
Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ads will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.
Nearly everyone knows that some 25% of all online sales, and for many book titles 50% or more of their sales [source] happen on Amazon.com. Amazon also ranks books by sales, and I thought it’d be interesting to go to the e-tail giant’s website, and see what are the top five books on affiliate marketing. If we go there, choose “Book” as category, and search for “affiliate marketing”:
BabyGearLab.com is basically the baby's gear version of OutdoorGearLab.com.  It has the same theme and site structure as OutDoorGearLab.com.  While it doesn't express that this site is owned by the same people, it's probably operated by the same group.  The structure is very similar and the focus is definitely Amazon Affiliate income for this site.  The cool thing about this site is that they actually have some really good reviews and content.  It's similar to TheWireCutter.com – but niched down, which is a popular route that most sites are going these days.
With possibly the most transparent affiliate network online, we give affiliates access to stats no other program dare, including earning data, conversion stats, demographic information and seasonality trends. With ethics and consumer protection being high on the agenda, you can rest assured when working with MoreNiche you are working with an honest, trustworthy and transparent company.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
Becoming a part of an affiliate network is an excellent strategy for bloggers looking to up their current income or even just to begin actually making money from their blog. There are several options when it comes to affiliate marketing as well as strategies for making affiliate marketing work for you. Below I will teach you what is affiliate marketing, examples of affiliate marketing in blogging, affiliate strategies and some of the top affiliate networks to join.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[18][19] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]
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.
What do you think about when you hear the phrase, “most profitable niches“? Surely you’re thinking about products with a high-value price tag, right? So that’s why we have included the category, expensive hobbies in our list, and not just any hobbies in general. These are hobbies that can involve golfing or even flying drones – where the equipment are pretty pricey, and so your take-home commission will make you smile from ear to ear. 

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.
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.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]
I'd say the content on this site is a little less “in-depth” when comparing it to LearnHowToBecome.org, but the content is still very good (hence the reason a 600 word article is ranking well for a high volume keyword).  While it's difficult to judge based on traffic estimates, I would make a guess that LawyerEdu.org is making over $10k per month based on lead sales.  If you remember, CPA/Lead sale programs can yield up to $50 or more per lead, and some professions and/or schools pay even more for them.  Overall this site doesn't have a ton of content, but the content it does have is super informative and hyper focused on one line of work.  It also has an excellent link profile, which is another reason it's ranking well.

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
Also known as a publisher, the affiliate can be either an individual or a company that markets the seller’s product in an appealing way to potential consumers. In other words, the affiliate promotes the product to persuade consumers that it is valuable or beneficial to them and convince them to purchase the product. If the consumer does end up buying the product, the affiliate receives a portion of the revenue made.
Generally speaking, we recommend keeping your site focused on one niche. Otherwise you'll confuse your readers and hurt your brand. You're better off with separate sites for separate categories The exception to this might be if you promoted SEO/web hosting/other digital products that would aid people from your primary niche (say, dog training for example) who want to build their own businesses using affiliate marketing. There needs to be some sort of clear connection about how the products and niches relate.
Another one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs is eHarmony, which is based on the actual earnings that can be made from each referred sale. Up to $188 can be made from a single sale. In general, the members at eHarmony are typically looking to find serious long term relationships, so many of them are willing to pay extra to find similar people.
hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?
I love this piece of content because it’s not content as we think of it in any traditional sense, although seasoned link builders will probably recognize the angle here: creating a hyper useful tool that’s going to do very well in the context of a content marketing campaign. What makes this one of their top pieces of content, however, is that it also targets a very good keyword.

Affiliate networks administer programs for individual merchants, handling all the work involved, while generally providing tracking and reporting capabilities to their affiliates to help them keep tabs on their revenues and determine which products or services are producing the best returns. These tools can be helpful to an affiliate in fine-tuning the line of products she decides to promote on her site and, ideally, increasing revenues as a result.

Here’s the deal… If your chosen niche keyword has a certain amount of competition, more than you would usually be happy with, but you are super passionate about the niche you’re thinking of getting involved in, go for it! In my mind passion will always overcome plain old competition. It’s the passion behind Zappos that’s made them the driving force behind shoe sales online – even though there are a ton of people selling shoes online.
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.
Broadly speaking there are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing a niche for affiliate marketing. Some people argue that you should simply follow the money. By carrying out some research you can identify products with high commissions and good profit potential. At the end of the day we’re out to make money, so there is some logic to this. The other way to pick your affiliate marketing niche is to think about your own interests and passions, and this is the route I’ve followed to build my affiliate marketing business.

Generally speaking, we recommend keeping your site focused on one niche. Otherwise you'll confuse your readers and hurt your brand. You're better off with separate sites for separate categories The exception to this might be if you promoted SEO/web hosting/other digital products that would aid people from your primary niche (say, dog training for example) who want to build their own businesses using affiliate marketing. There needs to be some sort of clear connection about how the products and niches relate.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants. 

You can choose multiple products to promote. There's no hard number -- but when you only have a little bit of traffic, you're best focusing on 1-3 products. As your traffic grows and you get more customers and more email subscribers, you can diversify more. It really depends on how your offers are received. So when you add new products, keep checking your analytics.
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.
The other monetization method is through the sidebar (and also at the end of every article) is education lead generation.  They are probably an affiliate of a number of different schools or other educational lead companies.  However, not only are they probably making good money with the site, but they offer great content on the site.  They allow users to search by state to find local salaries and much more information.  Content is important!

The best review sites (like BestReviews.com buy them all independently and test them without bias) but anyway, you could always review products you already own and use (recommended) or just not focus on product reviews at all, it's just one of 1000's of ways to make money as you should be able to see from the post that shares endless examples of ways people make money other than reviewing products.
Because 2Checkout exclusively sells software and digital products, it is best suited for established influencers whose target audience is interested in buying products in this niche. But while you won’t find any physical products for sale, 2Checkout is probably the market leader in selling software of every type, including very specific use case items (like software that can convert Microsoft Word documents to PDF, for instance).
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.

Becoming a member of Wealthy AffiliateIt is a good first step in achieving success earned through online marketing. At Wealthy Affiliate they offer an Affiliate Marketing Guide that explains exactly how affiliate marketing works, as well as what needs to be avoided on the journey to recurring revenue. Even if you don’t want to pay for anything, you can join their introductory package and it still provides quite a bit of useful training.

You might choose a very competitive niche where all the big players are. You won’t have enough experience and resources to contend with them. To check a niche’s competitiveness, go to Google and type “ allinurl: name of your niche” (don’t type ‘name of your niche’, type the real name of your niche!) . The fewer the results, the better. Just don’t go extreme and find a niche where competition is virtually non-existent but no one needs or wants. Make sure that it is a looked-for niche.
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How to Make Money Online Without Being an Internet Expert: A step-by-step guide to affiliate marketing, lets face it we are not all internet experts. Creating a successful internet business can be really hard if you haven’t been able to change your ringtone for three years. It’s okay, don’t over complicate things. Making passive money online shouldn’t be hard and this book will set you on the right track. Get started for $4.99.
Once you do move forward, don't resort to simply throwing up a handful of banner ads and call it good. All successful content-driven affiliates will tell you that deep integration of your marketing into your content is the most successful strategy, most of which can be accomplished by looking for affiliate tools outside of the quintessential and tired banner ad. 

I loved seeing the example of the Kids Tablet with Wifi utilizing affiliate marketing. It gave me some great ideas on integrating amazon for my own children’s blog. I would be interested in knowing how much they are earning monthly from their affiliation. Being a mother of a two year old myself, I could see myself writing reviews on Amazon products my daughter enjoys.

Nearly everyone knows that some 25% of all online sales, and for many book titles 50% or more of their sales [source] happen on Amazon.com. Amazon also ranks books by sales, and I thought it’d be interesting to go to the e-tail giant’s website, and see what are the top five books on affiliate marketing. If we go there, choose “Book” as category, and search for “affiliate marketing”:
The outdoors is a great escape for most of us who are stuck in the urban lifestyle for most of our days. It is a means of relaxing and getting back to nature. And so you will find that people have an increasing interest in products relating to activities such as camping and hiking. Therefore, we thought it was important outdoor survival as one of the most profitable niches for affiliate marketing. As it’s important to remember – if the interest is high – then the products will sell.

While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
Over the past 9 years I've tried A LOT of different niches with affiliate marketing, but I have had by far the most fun and most success promoting things I am interested in. You will have a much easier time creating content and connecting with your audience if you are working with a niche that you enjoy. No matter what the niche you will probably be excited to get working at first, but as time goes on you won't have that same excitement unless you are working within a niche you really like.
Writing product reviews are an excellent way to enhance your credibility as an affiliate marketer. This is especially easy with information products like e-books which are relatively inexpensive. After establishing some steady income it may even be worth buying higher-end products, provided you get in touch with the product creator to work out a strategic marketing plan that takes you to the next level.
A niche is a segment of a market you can identify and target. As a rule of thumb, there will be less competition if you choose a narrow niche. Chances are the best domain names are already taken for the most popular niches, and generating traffic will be harder. For example, competition is intense in the diet and fitness niche, and you’ll have to work really hard to rank well in search engines and attract volumes of traffic. However, there are thousands of narrower niches in these fields where you’ll be able to make good money as an affiliate marketer. Examples would include paleo diets, fitness for the over 60s and losing weight after pregnancy.
One should have the basic knowledge for the improvement of his business and this post provides all the content. It is valuable for the new born social media marketers. The ideas and information are basic and simple but this simple is awesome here. Many people including me, are hungry for the right information and this post is the absolutely the right diet for us.
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.
Online presence — A major step in becoming an affiliate marketer is having your online presence up and running. This includes a website or blog and any social media profiles you deem necessary to the promotion of these products. If you’re unsure or need direction on how to build a professional website, check out our pillar page on how to make a website from scratch. You can create a website through a website builder, which will host your site and allow you to purchase a unique domain name.
As all paths on the site eventually lead to reviews and affiliate links, most people will end up reading the reviews and click through to the recommended products. What this affiliate is saying is that if you happen to arrive at one of the content pages because it appeared in the search engines, fine - he can promote to you there - but the page that converts to sales best is the review.
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 understand that you said at the end that these keywords would be too competitive for you to go after. But earlier you state, “You can also see on the adwords tool that this has high advertiser competition – this is a GOOD thing for you. This lets you know lots of people are buying ads for this term – more competition usually means more money for you.”
To those on the outside, affiliate marketing can seem like a black box. It’s inner workings are mysterious to most marketers and in many companies it’s not treated with the same seriousness as other channels. Some marketers, only familiar with the bad reputation acquired by some industry players in the 2000s, deride it as a source of spam and little more.
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.
As you can see the two types of programs are different. Even so, there are some similarities. The biggest one, as you can guess, is that incentives drive people to promote. Whether it be promoting a link in a piece of content, like in affiliate marketing. Or sharing a referral link with a friend, as with referral marketing. The incentive isn’t the only thing on the line, however…
Now is your chance to team up with The Home Depot and share in the continued growth of the most successful nationally-known home improvement retailer. By joining our affiliate program, you can start earning a profit on every qualified sale you refer to homedepot.com. It is a simple process, and the more customers you have purchase - the more you earn!
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. 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. 
In November 1994, CDNow launched its BuyWeb program. CDNow had the idea that music-oriented websites could review or list albums on their pages that their visitors might be interested in purchasing. These websites could also offer a link that would take visitors directly to CDNow to purchase the albums. The idea for remote purchasing originally arose from conversations with music label Geffen Records in the fall of 1994. The management at Geffen wanted to sell its artists' CD's directly from its website but did not want to implement this capability itself. Geffen asked CDNow if it could design a program where CDNow would handle the order fulfillment. Geffen realized that CDNow could link directly from the artist on its website to Geffen's website, bypassing the CDNow home page and going directly to an artist's music page.[10]
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 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.
Best Reviews is interesting for different reasons though.  They are interesting because they pay for a ton of their traffic based on findings through SEMRush.com.  They average about 300k visits every month because of their Google Adwords advertising spend.  This means they are bidding on keywords and paying for traffic on top of the organic traffic they already get.  It's possible that buying this additional traffic has helped them gain additional links because their content is very good.  The purchased traffic is just helping them get in front of an audience that's actually looking for their product, just like SEO.  If conversion rates are lower, you will end up making less money than you spend to buy traffic, but because of the authenticity of the Reviews, it's likely that BestReviews.com converts researchers to buyers at a higher rate than other affiliate sites.  While it's tough to know exactly, I would guess that this site makes 6 figures per month or more in Amazon Affiliate revenue due to their traffic numbers.

Don’t go too broad — Earlier, we mentioned that a benefit of affiliate marketing is that affiliates get to choose the products they sell. Because affiliates are building out their brands, they shouldn’t cast their nets too wide. There are affiliate opportunities for everything you can think of: technology, fashion, health, fitness, and even dog training. If you’re trying to get into affiliate marketing, try and stay relatively within a certain niche.


Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
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 🙂
The method is not as complicated as you might think. In fact, it’s ridiculously simple enough for you to follow. This blueprint will coach you on the methods step by step. And then, you can build up your own subscribers list and get instant commission for each product you promote as an affiliate. Regardless of day time or night time, you can generate income anytime as long as there is a deal done through your affiliate link!

Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….


The best review sites (like BestReviews.com buy them all independently and test them without bias) but anyway, you could always review products you already own and use (recommended) or just not focus on product reviews at all, it's just one of 1000's of ways to make money as you should be able to see from the post that shares endless examples of ways people make money other than reviewing products. 

The term niche, when used in the study of business, is used to define a business’s role in a market. Not only does its niche include the environment that a given business operates in, but it also includes the business’s “job” in that environment. A niche may also encompass how the business is monetized, how it interacts with consumers, and also how it interacts with other businesses and influencers within the environment, as well.

Now Tom's Hardware publishes their own reviews, and on top of their display ad revenue, they are making a significant portion of money from Amazon Affiliate links.  The site is already well known for reliable content about Personal Computing, so it made sense to turn up the content generation to attract more organic search volume.  It would be tough to estimate monthly revenue for this site, but it's highly likely that it generates 7 figures per month. 
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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