I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
There are two ways to approach affiliate marketing: You can offer an affiliate program to others or you can sign up to be another business's affiliate. As the business driving an affiliate program, you'll pay your affiliates a commission fee for every lead or sale they drive to your website. Your main goal should be to find affiliates who'll reach untapped markets. For example, a company with an e-zine may make a good affiliate because its subscribers are hungry for resources. So introducing your offer through a "trusted" company can grab the attention of prospects you might not have otherwise reached.
I see most successful affiliates are operaitng in advice and review space which is linked to affiliates. I haven’t seen much operators providing business / industry information content, business case studies, etc. I happen to have quite a bit of unique content, like quite a bit on such topics and am wondering what to do with it. Like what online / affiliate business I can start with it?
Since I run a network, I am aware of new niches that arise and since i am an affiliate as well, I would want to get into these niches as soon as possilble..however, i will stay away from niches i kn ow little to nothing about because I want to come across as believable too. niche marketing is one of the best ways to monetize traffic but there is a fine line between picking a niche and picking something that is so narrow that you wont have a parayer of having stable traffic over the long run
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
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.
That’s the reason for their explosive growth in terms of content and links, they already started with several thousands articles which existed on the web for years and already had a great link profile. And they are backed by a huge media conglomerate, they are not by any means a small team since they have access to the about.com contributors that provide the articles, as there are over 50,000 articles on the website.
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.
When it comes to ranking well in Google, generally Google will give your site preferential treatment on certain topics, once it's figured out what your website is about. Sites that cover such a broad variety of topics don't tend to rank as well as sites that are niched down, unless you have an amazing backlink profile and a really big budget.  Since TheWireCutter is owned by New York Times, they have the budget to test new products, and have the authority to get linked to by any other web properties owned by the New York Times.  If you niche down to a specific audience, it's far more likely that Google will favor your content over a larger site when it comes to that audience.  OutdoorGearLab.com has done exactly that by only focusing on outdoor gear reviews.  I am guessing that they also have a large budget, and have built a very successful affiliate business as a result.  Plus it's a great looking site with lots of excellent information.  
Affiliate Marketing Splash: How to Build Affiliate Sites that Rank (and bank): Internet Marketing through Search Engine Optimization, this book dives into both of the important categories of affiliate marketing. Learning the foundations of affiliate marketing; niche research, keyword research, website creation. You also get to learn the foundations of search engine optimization, which is essential for creating quality affiliate marketing opportunities. Great deal for only $4.99.
An elegantly straightforward process, affiliate marketing via reviews, blogs, social media, and other platforms is a new frontier in marketing that’s just waiting to be utilized. Follow the tips included in this article, and you’ll be able to engage your audience, convert passive readers into active consumers, and enhance your paycheck one click at a time.

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.

Since the emergence of affiliate marketing, there has been little control over affiliate activity. Unscrupulous affiliates have used spam, false advertising, forced clicks (to get tracking cookies set on users' computers), adware, and other methods to drive traffic to their sponsors. Although many affiliate programs have terms of service that contain rules against spam, this marketing method has historically proven to attract abuse from spammers.
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.
And how much you make can fluctuate wildly. I still have months where I might only make a few dollars, if that. You also need to factor in that many brands only pay affiliates once you’ve earned a certain amount, say $25. On the plus side, it takes next to no effort to include affiliate links, and if you’re really strategic about it and have reasonable traffic, you could potentially make a decent amount, certainly more than me.
Given that I am still in reading and preparation phase, I am mainly interested to overlap my niche with real life interests so I could have motivation to produce content on regular basis. Two that I am highly interested are PC parts and Fitness. I am aware they are too general subjects with lot of sites doing the same, but my idea is to produce constant review on PC parts, Laptops, Mobile devices, Accessories all in different categories, create lists like top5 or 10 under XX budget etc. Similar approach I would use if I I decide to go with Fitness path and divide content training advice, review of fat loss methods, supplementation, nutrition etc. I am aware that this will be a long journey and that it can pass few months before sales start to kick in and that’s the risk I am ready to take. My questions are:
Nick Loper is a veteran affiliate marketer, author, and a lifelong student in the game of business.  His latest role is as Chief Side Hustler at SideHustleNation.com, a growing community of part-time business owners. Need a leg-up in getting your biz off the ground but short on time? Grab Nick’s free "Cliff’s Notes"-style guide to the world’s best business books here. Follow Nick on Twitter at @nloper.

File-Sharing: Web sites that host directories of music, movies, games and other software. Users upload content to file-hosting sites and then post descriptions of the material and their download links on directory sites. Uploaders are paid by the file-hosting sites based on the number of times their files are downloaded. The file-hosting sites sell premium download access to the files to the general public. The websites that host the directory services sell advertising and do not host the files themselves.


While I'd still recommend that you go after a niche that has the potential to be the most profitable, you also need to be willing to publicly associate yourself with that niche and do whatever it takes to bring value add. You will need to become an authority – to fill some void or need – in that niche. Choose a topic you can push through The Dip on without losing interest. And typically, that means choosing a niche that surrounds a topic you truly enjoy. What are your current hobbies? What topic would you love to learn more about and immerse yourself in?
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.
Tip: Aim for products with reasonable commission. No lower than let’s say 40 percent, to make your efforts worthwhile. Also, you should note that ClickBank deducts transaction fees from a sale. Here’s a calculator to help you calculate your actual commission. More so, you need to remember to disclose all your affiliate links and mark them as nofollow. Here are a few reasons as to why you need to do this.
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. 

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.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
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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.
Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.
Hi Rae, I think the right niche is the most important step in affiliate marketing. If you choose the wrong niche, you can be doomed from the very beginning. Need a buying niche not just one where people are looking for information. Also you only mentioned it briefly at the end, I think promoting something you know about or is your passion makes the process a lot easier. Great post though, Tom.
This is a great example of an Amazon Affiliate Website that’s not a review site! It’s actually more like a food blog that recommends certain products through their blog and resource pages. With 1.6 Million Facebook Likes, Lisa Leak (owner) has become an authority on “real food” and uses this platform to sell other things like her own cook book. This example is more for a traditional blogger who wants to start monetizing their website rather than creating a review site.
The Wirecutter.com and TheSweetHome.com were sold a couple years back to the New York Times.  They were both Amazon Affiliate sites, and that's where most of their revenue came from then, and still comes from today.  When the sites were purchased, TheSweetHome.com was redirected to TheWireCutter.com as both sites had very similar content structures.  The WireCutter dominates organic search results for a lot of buyer-intent keywords, and is also a “verified expert reviewer” by Amazon.  The site gets huge amounts of organic traffic, and has gained massively in popularity and search positioning once it was purchase by the New York Times.  
The average commission rate is $58 per the Shopify website. Shopify’s commissions are paid according to different metrics. For instance, if a referral signs up for the Shopify Plus enterprise plan (the highest tier), the payout is a flat $2,000. Referrals who sign up for the standard plan earn a $598 commission. The payout for a Basic account is $58. Commissions are calculated as follows: you will earn two times the monthly rate but only two months after the user has been a paying customer.
It’s really simple and plain websites like this that make me happy! If something this plain can bring in so many visitors, than someone creative and design oriented like me can do better, right? CarSeatAnswers focuses on keywords like “Car Seat Answers” and “Car Seat Guide” and “Which Seat is Safest for a Baby’s Car Seat” then writes 700-1,000 word articles with no photos except for the Amazon Products sold throughout the article. This is one of the simplest example, but it still brings in visitors even with a small amount of domain authority. It gives you hope though, that you can easily create a successful website, right?
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 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.

As Target is the second-largest general retailer in the United States, their affiliate program is primarily for American bloggers or publishers who can route visitors to relevant products. Overall, the program works much like Amazon’s does in that publishers (bloggers) get a small commission on sales, but Target’s gigantic product base (over one million items) and high brand recognition make their affiliate program a great option for influencers.
That's right, my blog NichePursuits.com is a successful Affiliate website!  While I don't make as much as some other bloggers, it's been my passion and my voice that lends itself to my brands and to my software product businesses that I know my readers can use.  While I don't publicly reveal the income I make from my businesses, you can go back and see from my prior income reports exactly how much NichePursuits makes each month.  My income from NichePursuits.com is only a portion of my online income because of all my other businesses I'm a part of.
Among those sites, I still found 50em.com to be one of the most superficial ones. As some would say, working as an affiliate is similar to that of an employee, in that if the company discontinues the products, or stop the affiliate programs, the money would stop coming in as well. The hypertarget focus of 50em.com is well appreciated and a great lesson though.
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.
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.
That’s where market research comes into play. It is important for you to make sure that there is actually a demand for the product niche that you are looking to market. Fair enough – if you came up with a revolutionary product that no one has ever witnessed before – then that’s a whole different ballgame. In that case, you would have to market your latest invention on a whole different level.

Back in these early days, the site was still called “Tom’s Hardware and Performance Guide” and its domain was sysdoc.pair.com — pair.com being a Pittsburgh-based hosting company. Today’s domain, tomshardware.com, was added on September 11, 1997, followed by additional language versions over time, including German, Japanese, Polish, French, Chinese, Italian, Turkish and others — some operated by Tom’s Guides Publishing, Inc., and others based on franchise agreements.
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.
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