This is a very nice article. Nicely done and great information.These are great examples for those of us who are fairly new to the whole affiliate marketing scene. All of the information here was plain and simple, and very easy to understand. This can help those who may feel like they are lost gain a little bit of insight on ways to successfully reach out to their niche. Thanks for the great examples.

I think one of the most important things bloggers need to do to get affiliate sales is to make sure they have great photos for what they are selling/promoting. Good writing is important but most people are attracted to the visual aspect of what they’re reading. My posts with more photos do so much better than the posts that don’t have as many. Your audience needs to see what the product actually looks like. Many people are lazy and may not always click on the text link.


When you’re getting started as an affiliate marketer, you need to think about what kind of site will play to your strengths. If you’re a good writer then you should use that by creating articles or blog posts that your audience will enjoy reading; that’s where your site’s value will lie. If words aren’t really your thing, you can use your skills as a designer or simply work hard to find useful data from around the web and present it in a user-friendly format.
Definitely, you are going to want to do your due your diligence in selecting a viable niche for your business. But it will actually be better to get up and running sooner than later. This way, it enables you to enter the market sooner, test out your ideas, and learn from your successes and/or failures. Also, if your first business isn’t successful, you can take what you have learned from those first attempts move forward with new and improved ideas.
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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.
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.
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Adam Riemer is an Affiliate Veteran and leading Outsourced Affiliate Manager.  He builds content sites as an Affiliate and the programs he manages only works with content sites and value adding partners.  His company is known for removing adware, trademark bidders and coupon sites that poach from merchants and other Affiliates by ranking for url + coupons and then growing a value adding program ethically and responsibly. Follow Adam on Twitter at @rollerblader.
Thank you for this post! I’ve been debating going the Amazon Affiliate route, but am kinda stuck on the privacy policy that needs to be included. I’m not exactly sure what needs to be put on that, and I don’t want to state something on the policy that isn’t accurate. I was kind of wondering what other bloggers do, and I’ve only seen the disclaimer on very few sites that links are affiliate links. I should look into Book Depository too!
Niche — Unless you’re Amazon, people don’t come to your site looking to buy both weed-wackers and moisturizing cream. Most websites have their products narrowed down to a specific genre, such as fashion, health, petcare, etc. If you’re wanting to go into affiliate marketing, your first plan of action is to determine what you’re selling. This step comes first because so many subsequent decisions depend on this answer. The type of website you make, the type of audience with which you engage, all of these are heavily influenced by your niche. If you’re having trouble deciding where to focus, do some introspective thinking to determine what you’re passionate about.
Anyway, my guess is that this site ranking at #8 in Google for this keyword and the high CPC, probably pulls in between $500 to $1000 per month.  In fact it could actually be much more that that just depending on how much traffic they really receive.  This is with the assumption that they receive traffic from more than just this keyword (which is the case with every single website I have ever owned).
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.
SellHealth — SellHealth is a health affiliate network. It’s free for affiliates to join, should their applications be accepted. All of SellHealth’s sales are made through company-owned websites, meaning affiliates don’t need to facilitate sales on their own sites. This eliminates the possibility of error and increases consumer trust, as they are sent to a legitimate brand site to complete their purchases.
Because the site is ranking #1 in Google for this (and probably ranks very well for other related terms), they are probably making great money.  This is probably easily a $100 to $200 a day website.  That's right, I would not be surprised if this site was pulling in $3k to $6k or more each month.  In fact it could be more, but its hard to guess without knowing all the traffic they are receiving.
Thank you so much! You've been an inspiration throughout. The way you wrote about TIWIB, and how they drive insane traffic from social media is mind blowing. I am amazed that even going viral on a social site like pinterest for one day can build our brand identity huge. Am I correct? Now I need to get going with my first affiliate site, come up with a unique idea and learn how to drive traffic from each source. I feel Adsense is not so rewarding.

The Wirecutter is the best example of an affiliate site that I’ve ever seen. I wouldn’t even put it in the same category as what you’d think of as an affiliate site, aside from how they make their money. Brian Lam’s a great example of someone who sticks to a principle and then grinds it out to the nth degree. Can’t say how many times I’ve used that site (and TheSweethome) for product reviews.


You’re obviously not going to be targeting broad keywords like ‘travel’ and ‘traveling’. Actually, it doesn’t even matter if you’re going to be doing SEO for this particular site. What you really want to see is whether or not there is a demand for that particular type of traffic. As you scroll down, you want to look for cost-per-clicks that really jump out at you. For example, we have ‘student travel’, which has a suggested bid of $4.10 for one click. That might be a niche right there. Under the broadness of ‘traveling’, if you decided to do something about student travel, you know that there are advertisers paying $4 for one visitor. I’ve found in my experience that the higher this cost-per-click, the more affiliate offers and affiliate options you have. This is something to pay attention to. In general, the cost-per-click in the whole travel niche is quite low. For this reason alone and the fact that the Clickbank marketplace didn’t really have so many great offers that you could promote, you might want to go back to the beginning in Quantcast and look at another niche and follow the same process.
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.

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. 
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.
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.  
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 presence of strong competition can be a good thing. It can actually show you that you have found a popular and profitable niche. However, it is also important that you do a thorough analysis of your competition’s websites. You may want to create a spreadsheet and log all of the competing websites you can find. You will then need figure out whether or not there is an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. Are you able to rank with your keywords? Is it possible to differentiate yourself and create a unique offer for your potential customers? Here are several signs to look for that help you to decide whether or not you can enter a niche and be successful. That is even if there may already be other sites serving that particular niche.
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.
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.
With that said, affiliate marketing is NOT a get-rich-quick strategy. Just like any other type of business, it will take time and effort to grow. The average affiliate marketer doesn’t really start to turn a major profit for months, or even more than a year, and by that point many have already given up. Knowing that it takes time to become profitable is important for tempering early expectations, but it’s also vital that you take the time to learn some of the best ways to reach your true earnings potential.
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.
Hi Lorna! That can definitely work. Mark Ling actually got his start promoting World of Warcraft products, if memory serves me. However, it's worth noting that his success was based on spending a lot of time on marketing rather than playing the game--things like offering the one-on-one help (at least without getting something in return, like having them subscribe to your list or make a purchase) may end up eating so much of your time that your sales can't take off. But it's definitely a niche worth trying if you have tons of knowledge and passion and there are plenty of products. :-)

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!


Book review sites have long been a profitable type of site to run. GoodReads was one of the most popular book review sites and Amazon agreed, purchasing it for hundreds of millions of dollars. Kirkus Reviews follows the trend of reviewing every single book out there and each page contains an affiliate link to Amazon. When you choose a product like books, you'll never run out of new products to review!
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.
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.

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.
This is the sister site to the affiliate marketing site TheWirecutter. Another amazon affiliate website that list gadgets and gear that the website reviews. They come out and say it on their homepage, they earn money by affiliate commissions. Apparently this sites receives over 1.8M visitors, which is pretty impressive considering this site only started in 2013. I guess the moral of the story is, it’s not too late to start a review website. It also helps to have incredibly long reviews. In fact, their one soda stream review had over 13,000 words. This is a great example that content is king.
Many thanks for your open words. Maybe online marketing / business really is not for all of us out there - at least not for exactly those hard working people mentioned by you, as these usually don´t have so much time beside their full time job and the family. So much about the countless promises from certain online marketers suggesting otherwise, saying everyone can do it - of course with some "help" - i.e. their very own products.

Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
While their top keyword that they get organic traffic for is about Baby Monitors, articles like these that are monetized via Amazon Affiliates are only a fraction of site revenue.  I'm sure that display ads make up the bulk of their income, either through an ad network or selling their own advertising space.  It does appear that they are currently monetized with adsense, but that could be part of their monetization strategy with any larger ad network.  There are larger ad networks out there that typically deliver a higher RPM than just Adsense these days, so that's something that every website owner with some serious traffic should look at.  Overall the traffic that Fatherly.com generates every month is extremely impressive.
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.
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.
Affiliate marketing allows you to make money online, even if you don’t have blog, website, or any products of your own. Following a few simple steps can get you up and running within hours and earning your first commissions right away. Affiliate marketing really is one of the fastest and easiest ways to make money online and should be a part of every online business owner's portfolio.
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.
What do you think you could honestly sell customers in the hopes that it would improve their day-to-day? For example, maybe you renovate homes and are always looking for the highest-quality paints or most eco-friendly cleaning solutions for bathrooms and kitchens. If you’re already knowledgeable about a market and have interest in it, that’s a great place to start.
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.
When you join the Content Marketing Institute Affiliate Program, you will gain access to text links and creative banners that you can share online. Every time a user clicks on your links or banners, they will be taken to the corresponding CMI landing page – for Content Marketing World, Intelligent Content Conference or Content Marketing Institute, and we can track that traffic. If a user makes a purchase, such as registering for a Content Marketing Institute event, you will earn a commission on that sale.
CONCERN - The amount of affiliate links in this post is huge. The problem with this is it can sometimes become overwhelming for the user (say instead of focusing on a single product). I feel for this type of post it's fine, but you do want to watch the amount of affiliate links you add. There are reports that google favors sites which aren't full of affiliated links than those that contain lots of them.
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. 
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.
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.
For example, if I talk about how cool a product is, and then you find out that I’m an affiliate for them, wouldn’t you as a conscientious observer become skeptical as to whether my information is biased, if perhaps I’m only saying how cool something is because I can get paid for it? Wouldn’t that make you question my integrity with other things I say as well? 

Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy

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Thank you so much! You've been an inspiration throughout. The way you wrote about TIWIB, and how they drive insane traffic from social media is mind blowing. I am amazed that even going viral on a social site like pinterest for one day can build our brand identity huge. Am I correct? Now I need to get going with my first affiliate site, come up with a unique idea and learn how to drive traffic from each source. I feel Adsense is not so rewarding.
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….
First of all, your products shouldn’t be a scam. Many rookie affiliate marketers with good intentions make this mistake. Second, your stuff shouldn’t be visible in physical stores. It should be incredibly hard to find offline. Third, don’t settle for pennies. Since your items are of significance and people won’t mind paying for something useful, set the minimum price of the brands that you will promote to $50.
AWIN is probably best for experienced affiliates who can hit the ground running without a lot of guidance or feedback from the network. There is a $5 fee charged to apply to become an affiliate, but if you’re approved, the $5 will be added to your account. If your application is denied, however, you will lose the $5 fee. AWIN operates globally, but it is most heavily concentrated on British and EU merchants.

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.
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.

Another way to think about an affiliate marketing niche is as a group of people with a similar interest or problem. This is good way to think of niches for marketing, as you’ll be offering products to satisfy their passions or needs. There’s a balance between choosing an affiliate marketing niche you’ll be able to compete in and there being enough market size for you to generate good profits. If you choose a market with just a few thousand people, it could be very hard to make enough money to justify the work required to reach them.


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…
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 are essentially media companies. They have big, significant staff – staff writers, editors, directors, HR departments – and they are big ass companies. With a budget, you could grow a smaller site into a big site fast. But as you’ll see in the examples, you’ll need to have the skills to hire and manage a team. The big sites were founded by people that worked in the media industry – they’re Professionals and know exactly what they are doing.
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