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“Think of this as the way you promote advertisers on your site, or your general business model. Advertisers may view, sort, and download publishers by their classification,” reads its website. “In the world of affiliate marketing, an advertiser can be a company selling a product like electronics, airline tickets, clothing or car parts, or an advertiser could also be an insurance company selling policies. The most important thing to remember is that you are an advertiser if you are ready to pay other people to help you sell and promote your business.”
A sound product strategy is a must for new affiliate marketers. Ideally, you should choose a niche that you can make money online with and has a lot of product vendors. This will give you a wide selection of products to offer your online community. However, limit yourself to two or three products at a time, so that you become the expert others turn to and trust when reaching for their wallet. 

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.
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.

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?

Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
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.
LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
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.

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.
Good article! I think there are a lot of hopeful “wannabes” who want to get everything without doing the work. You don’t have to have 10+ years of experience or be the all-knowing guru at the top of the mountain, but you do have to be willing to invest in the effort that is required to be successful. However, I have made good headway into a number of niches by going against the grain. If they say you should post a lot on your current activity, I don’t. I tell my audience why I don’t, I make sure that they understand that I am different. Sometimes, however, to establish trust and rapport with your audience, you do need to offer some kinds of proof or authority. Its very difficult to fake these and its better if you know something about what you’re doing. Once you have more experience, it becomes easier to enter a niche and position yourself as an expert. It’s funny but you tend to get smarter and absorb more information as you move up in the internet marketing world. Thanks for the great information!
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.
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.
I feel like if you have 98% only affiliate content and no other valuable content it’s more likely to be penalized. I was following a lot of competitor sites in Ahrefs and noticed all the ones that tanked had only thin affiliate content and no non-affiliate content. For some reason I thought FixYourSkin was yours but I was wrong. That site went down like crazy and lost their traffic by half. I saw them trying to recover by adding more quality content but it doesn’t seem to help for them and it’s not helping me either.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.

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.
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.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[17]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[17] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[17]:149–150
OutdoorGearLab.com is another Amazon Affiliate monster.  They get tons of traffic and target many different buyer-intent keywords for purchases that are largely made online.  They are more niched down (which I think is a good thing) than a web property like TheWireCutter.com.  I would never suggest anyone go out and create another WireCutter because if you are just starting out, you will not have the required budget to compete as in-depth as they do.
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 second reason – and one that’s just as important – is that finding good niches for affiliate marketing lets you build your brand identity. If you become an affiliate marketer that tries to market everything from guitars to basketballs to barbecue sauce, you have no real identity. Finding a niche and focusing on it lets you become ‘the guitar girl’ or ‘the grilling guy’. It allows you to build a brand, a reputation, and a following. This in turn helps you get the most from your efforts at affiliate marketing.
Fatherly is a website that tackles many different forms of content.  Based on a similarweb.com lookup, they get about 22% of their traffic from organic search.  Close to 25% of their traffic is direct, and almost 40% of it comes from social media (Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).  It's important to take note of that because even though they may not be getting a ton of google organic traffic based on their keyword spread – they are getting a ton of traffic from social media platforms which no doubt has an immense impact on revenue.
Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
Lastly, please check out my review on Wealthy Affiliate, the number one Affiliate Marketing Training Program in the world. You have the opportunity to build a lucrative online business from scratch. No experience or technical knowledge is necessary. The approach that is taken at Wealthy Affiliate is that they assume that anyone can create a phenomenally successful and long term online business from scratch. All you provide is hard work and the determination to learn, the tools will be provided.
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.

Let's pretend you love to cook and want to create a recipe blog. “Recipes” is a very competitive arena to build a brand new brand in. So you may want to narrow the focus a bit and choose a specific recipe style – low carb recipes, Paleo recipes, recipes portioned for one (AKA single people living alone), low-fat recipes, dessert recipes, holiday recipes, etc. Almost every broad niche has multiple sub-sects within it that may hold an opportunity for you. That said, I'd ensure the domain and brand you go with have the ability to expand into wider content and monetization opportunities as your brand grows.


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.
Thanks for the great info and many examples. If a picture is worth 1000 words, 17 excellent examples are worth gazillions!! BTW, your use of “persona” was 100% correct. While a persona can be fake or deceptive (eg, “she adopted a meek persona every time he was around, but in reality, she was anything but…”), but it in no way implies that person behind it is not real. The more general meaning of the term is any character or personality presented outwardly, as to an audience or the public, and that is precisely how you used the word here.
We’ve talked about building up your network and developing an email list. Another way to promote products is by contacting that email list directly with the products you’re selling. Perhaps that email contains a code that results in a discount or maybe it’s just a link to your latest product review. Either way, it lands your website and product straight into consumer inboxes. You could consider writing a how-to article that gives users an idea of how they can make use of your product.
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).
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]
It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
I am not sure how such an affiliate program would work, honestly. It sounds more like you'd be creating more of a marketplace. However, I would encourage you to be cautious about the extent of your "assignment help." In the US, most, if not all, universities (as well as high schools) have academic dishonesty policies. That means students who submit work they didn't do themselves are at risk of failing the assignment or the class, and depending on the severity, could even be expelled. Not only that, but many universities require students to submit their assignments to plagiarism checkers. So I would think carefully about the types of services you want to provide and who you would market them to, as well as any kind of staff you would employ.
The football snack helmet website is so simple, so short and sweet, yet it works! I can now see that sometimes, just taking a simple idea, and focusing completely on it, not complicating it will work. You have the wheels spinning in my head. Kids tablets are very popular these days, you see kids with them everywhere to keep them busy while waiting, etc. The site is perfect, steers the parents to information about them, and helps with the buying choice. Another great example!
How To Start 3 Different Online Businesses With Just 1 Idea: Sell Products, Start a Blog & Create Passive Income (Making Money Online, Entrepreneurship & small business, business marketing), this book provides readers with a great concept. Creating 1 business can offer you three different income streams. Online you can do 3 things to make money; sell products, sell services, and collect commissions. If you are smart you will capitalize on all 3. This book will show you how to do that for $9.99.
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.
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…
Registering your domain and hosting your site – Once you’re ready to go ahead and register your domain name, seriously consider doing so through BlueHost (be sure to watch my free step-by-step tutorial to setting up your Bluehost account in less than 10-minutes!), as you get your hosting taken care of at a great price and the domain name is on the house! I personally use these guys for pretty much ALL of my websites and blogs.
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.

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.

With a well-known ‘An Hour a Day’ format, this book guides its readers step-by-step on how to practically research, promote, manage and optimize a successful affiliate marketing campaign. It also explains social media tools such as how to deal with coupons, widgets and other multimedia stuff. From determining payment schedules to communicating through appropriate means, this is a quality do-it-yourself guide for its readers.

I do have a question, though, you state that longer articles are better (which I understand). I’ve found a niche that has a few keywords with very high CPC (no real affiliation program can be used though), with a few thousand searches a month. For each keyword I could probably 500 words on each keyword. Should I do this, or should I compile them into one big article? They keywords can be linked to each other, for example, “how to start running”, “basics of running” etc. (Those obviously aren’t the keywords, and more can be written on those). What would you recommend?


When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 
7. Using above methods, create a spreadsheet - or have a list somewhere you can track the communication between you and potential affiliates. This way if you never get a response after the first time, you can try to contact them again after a few weeks. Generally, this process may take a couple of months to get a response because many contacts are busy and they will not see your emails the first couple of times.
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.

Awesome Gravity Tip! I like the MMO niche, teaching it, creating video tutorials, etc. I am also interested in learning Mobile Marketing and doing the same with this, so what material do you suggest I sink my teeth into for this? Have "Explaindio 3" and Screencast O Matic...I generally (been neglected) try to keep my Blogger site with loads of Free Tools that work well!


I truly believe that books can change the world. And the right ones can certainly change your business. The stories, ideas, and strategies in good books can ignite a fire in you and give you the tools to take your business and life to the next level. Today, I’ll share my ten favorite books for affiliate marketers…and show you how you can win the top five!
- What do you mean, or what do you take into account when you say "local traffic" for a specific keyword. Is it a country, a state, or maybe the language speaking in that area. I mean, If I choose Luxembourg, for example, with a population of 540,000, then the traffic of minimum 1,000 to a keyword would be OK. But what about if we choose to take into account as a local traffic Australia, for example, with a population of 24,000,000+. Would it be the local volume of minimum 1,000 o.k. as well?
FriendFinder is an adult-friendly network of dating websites that has a terrific affiliate marketing program, both in terms of customer service and commission rates. Because they rely heavily on affiliates to recruit new members, they treat their affiliates like true business partners. They have a solid reputation for payment and security, and have frequent special offers. Checking into your affiliate account at FriendFinder is always a fun experience, and often a profitable one.
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.
After successfully launching their Australian affiliate program with Rakuten Marketing, Cotton ON utilized their affiliate program as a key channel for their strategy to expand to new international markets. Through the Cotton ON Australia program, publisher partnerships in the key markets of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are accessed, with a bespoke US affiliate program being managed by local US account managers.

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.
In short, stick to the basics (proven evergreen markets) because demand is forever in those niches.  Stick to hobbies and extracurricular activities that give immeasurable pleasure to people – upper-income people in particular. Finally as a last resort, and if you are willing to learn and think “outside the box”, look for the biggest payouts available and become the niche expert that draws in sales like a magnet!
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!
This book is a new entrant in our top 10 book list. The book teaches you to learn making money with affiliate marketing and become a successful marketer from scratch. You’ll learn how to create content and drive traffic using free and paid methods. The new book is the No. 1 bestseller on the topic while I was updating this page. A recommended read!
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.

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.
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.

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
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.
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….

Maybe you have already done this, but if you haven’t, you should first make a list of your top 10 topical interests and passion areas. Starting an online business isn’t easy and more than likely early on it is going to test you. Especially if you are a first time online business owner, it is important to work in an area you care about. If you don’t, the odds of you quitting will greatly increase. You may not find the absolute perfect fit, but if you are passionate about some aspect of running the business, you are more than likely stick with it. If you don’t care about the chosen topic, you probably will not find the drive within yourself to persevere.

A sound product strategy is a must for new affiliate marketers. Ideally, you should choose a niche that you can make money online with and has a lot of product vendors. This will give you a wide selection of products to offer your online community. However, limit yourself to two or three products at a time, so that you become the expert others turn to and trust when reaching for their wallet.
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