If you return to the affiliate's program review page you'll see that further down the page the affiliate lists products that don't get the five-star seal of approval. He also provides links to reviews of these "not recommended" products which explain why they're not recommended. Reading his reviews, it does indeed sound like he knows what he's talking about - his reviews are credible and seem unbiased. Most of them don't seem to have affiliate programs, and he hasn't bothered to link to them through affiliate links.
A quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, affiliate marketing has an undeniable draw for those looking to increase their income online. But how does an affiliate get paid after linking the seller to the consumer? The answer is complicated. The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product for the affiliate to get a kickback. Depending on the program, the affiliate’s contribution to the seller’s sales will be measured differently. The affiliate may get paid in various ways:
MaxBounty works exclusively with digital products, usually about giving one’s email or signing up for a newsletter. MaxBounty has CPA, Pay-per-call, and CPL campaigns that you can choose from. MaxBounty is involved in a large number of verticals, including market research, real estate, social games, finance, dating, and diet, but is primarily designed for marketers seeking to acquire new leads.
These ideas opened my mind. I am looking to try affiliate marketing for a long-time, but stuck on adsense. I am now looking to decide a niche for affiliate, I know how to SEO sites to rank high. I have a question; how do we decide the best niche/sub-niche based on competition? Because SEO is the only method I can rank my sites, and bring traffic, and if there is less competition on top, then only we can rank the sites. How do we know which site has less competition/good traffic? and could you suggest some niches which match this criterion?
The 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!

2. Never rely on a single traffic source. Always expect the unexpected when it comes to marketing. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, as the old saying goes. Master one source and then move to the next. Trying to become an affiliate marketer is tedious and you will probably start with just one main traffic source such as search engines, but over time, you will want to diversify as much as possible.
A few years ago I didn’t know anything about making money with affiliate marketing but a guy showed me on his website that I could make money by promoting products on Amazon and I was astonished. Then I found the Wealthy Affiliate training that taught me step-by-step how I could make money with affiliate marketing as well. I’m glad I started the training and took action because it changed my life. Now I can travel around the world while making money online. I would be more than happy to help you as well. I love to see when people succeed.

This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
This is one the cleanest designs I’ve seen of an Amazon Affiliate Website. It has a very professional look for a review website, but they don’t overcrowd you with product reviews right off. This site really sets itself apart with their actual videos and reviews inside of their test center. You know these testers are actually testing the product rather than copying a review from another site or making things up. It’s so legit that I will likely be back to this site for future reviews for my purchases. It really gains your trust with the photos and videos even though you know they are making money through the affiliate commissions. Plus they buy all the products themselves and never accept any products from the manufacturer to maintain objectivity, but when you bring in 3.1 million visitors per month, you can buy a few items to review.
If you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you will appreciate the overview, advice, and pointers. For me the book was way too basic and was not polished (lacking solid editing) like I expected from a book available on Amazon. It promoted a few affiliate management software products which felt salesy and out of place. I agree with the comments that the content switched back and forth between being an affiliate and running an affiliate program for your site. The book was OK and serves a purpose, so 3 stars is my review.
The Market Health Affiliate Program allows you to market and promote the world’s leading health and beauty offers online. We offer the highest paying affiliate program and best tracking software in our industry. If you have a web site and are interested in making money off the explosive sales in the health and beauty industry, then MarketHealth.com is perfect for you. Offers include products in the health, beauty, supplement, weight loss, and skin care industries.
The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.
A relative newcomer that was only founded in 2014, ConvertKit has taken the world of email marketing by storm. According to the company, they now have nearly 20,000 active customers of their email services. Their affiliate program works by paying existing customers a lifetime 30 percent commission for referrals that subsequently become ConvertKit customers or who sign up for ConvertKit webinars and other digital products.
If your search turns up a good amount of products, but not an overly large amount of products, then you are in luck. Next, make note of price points so that you will be able price your own products in a competitive way. Also, keep in mind that you need to start your business with your own product offering. You can partner with product creators, website owners, and advertisers in your niche to begin generating commissions while you are working on your own specific solution.

The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
SEO is one of the viable and reliable ways to drive traffic to an affiliate website. However, marketing using SEO can be very difficult due to its competitive and technical nature. In this book, Jason McDonald covers breaks down the process of optimizing your website for the search engines in seven steps. It focuses on helping you master the fundamentals and teaches you how build a successful SEO campaign in a practical manner that anyone can understand.
Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
Another consideration for choosing an affiliate marketing niche is whether to go for something ‘hot’ now or a so called ‘evergreen’ market. Examples of hot niches would include those related to new technologies or current trends, such as green living and solar energy. Hot niches can be great for making fast profits, but interest and sales eventually tail off. If you choose an evergreen affiliate marketing niche, such as Chinese cookery, you should be able to build an online business over a period of years.
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.
The website has lots of affiliate links to Amazon. So, when people look at their reviews and go to buy something from Amazon, they earn commissions. In addition, they have for sure the highest commission rates from Amazon and from other partner sites because they have so huge volume. Top Ten Reviews also uses ads and I think they make a nice income with them as well.
Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn a extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.
In this day and age, attacking a niche that has promotional possibilities OUTSIDE of the search engines is a smart move. The truth is, building traffic through these alternate methods initially, will help you rank better IN the search engines. Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (haha, I had to)… are there any niche avenues? For instance, the larger recipe sites often let users submit recipes – can you utilize that to promote your blog? Are there blogs in the niche that accept guest posts to help you build your brand, user base, and link profile?
Affiliate marketing has now invaded Hollywood? We know it invaded US politics in Washington as some politicians (current and retired) are silent affiliate marketers or in MLM. Maybe we can look forward to hearing in the next few years about more celebrities going from actors and actresses to home-based affiliate marketers. Wouldn’t that be something?

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.
Push your own content — As an affiliate marketer, you have already proven yourself as a self-starter. You don’t necessarily need the guidance of a micromanager breathing down your neck to ensure you’re doing things correctly. You probably enjoy working alone and proving to others that you can figure out new tasks. That’s great, because you’re going to need this type of attitude to promote your own content.

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 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]
Jump up ^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.
VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.
Affiliate marketing is a highly profitable online advertising method in which website merchants pay independent third parties to promote the products or services of an advertiser on their Web site. In other words, affiliate marketing involves posting a company s banner on your Web site or blog and attempting to send visitors to their Web site. If someone clicks on that banner or goes to that site and buys something, you will be paid a commission. While some affiliates pay only when a sale is made, some selling big ticket items like cars, credit cards, travel, and so forth have modified the model and pay for qualified leads. Affiliate marketing is now viewed as a key component of a company's online marketing strategy.
Tradedoubler was founded in 1999 by two young Swedish entrepreneurs. They have offices in the UK and multiple countries throughout Europe, including Sweden, Germany, France, Poland and Spain. Their focus has always been to provide smarter results for both clients and affiliates through technology. In 18 years, they’ve amassed an army of 180,000 active publishers, connecting them to over 2,000 merchants in Europe and the UK. Many of these merchants are household names.
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:

The people that you refer too did not master amazon, they merely mastered the value they offer to visitors. If you are able to engage/connect with visitors, then you got a winner, some people merely have better skills then others, which may include offering high value content, coding/custom skills. Do you agree that these people brought something to the table? If they did not, then visitors would not continue to visit their sites, right? You can put up all the content in the world, you can get all the backlinks you want, but if you can not engage/connect with your visitors, then all is lost. These site most likely did not start off with custom sites; they started off just like everyone else, some rag/tag site. I ran across an affiliate site a few months ago, and the content on his site would just blow your mind, and let me tell you,this guy had affiliate links from all major affiliate networks, his site has so much authority that he is listed right up under amazon, and some actual product manufacturers; how did he do this? He brought solutions, and value to his visitors, he knew what they were looking for, and knows how to engage, and connect with them. If you can not figure out how to blow your visitors mind, then what do you really have to offer? His avg reviews were between 7k-10k words? how about you? 500-1000 words? at the end of the day, which site will google find more impressive, yours, or his, and i assure you, he had far more affiliate links on his site then you have on yours as you could not skip-a-paragraph without seeing affiliate links.
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.

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?
I know someone who created an Amazon affiliate site back in 2008. The site was making around $5,000/month when the owner decided to sell the site through Flippa. It was sold for $109,000 on June 2013. For some reason, the site has been down for several months now and I have no idea what the new owners are thinking. The domain was about iPhone reviews.
Copyright © Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the BIZFLUENT.COM Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The material appearing on BIZFLUENT.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional financial and/or investment advice. BIZFLUENT.COM does not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the website.
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!
Although it has a dynamic and well-designed website, PeerFly has a limited range of offers at any given time (around 8,000). On the upside, it does offer good commission/payout rates, lots of FAQs and educational information, and regular contests and reward programs that can substantially increase your bottom line. Based on online customer reviews, Peerfly enjoys a very high reputation amongst participating affiliates.
Affiliate marketing should be viewed as a long term business, so give careful thought to your affiliate marketing niche before you start developing a website and building a mailing list. The subject should be something you enjoy and have some interest in, or running the business could become a chore. Remember that the goal is to make money, so avoid any ‘vanity projects’ where there are little or no profits to be made.

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…


The site has lots “the best” -articles. For example, The Best Fish Oil For Dogs (5 Highly Effective Products). Then they have listed 5 different fish oils for dogs and the reader can click their link to buy them. Another example is, “How To Crate Train A Puppy (Plus 5 Excellent Crate Options).” They seem to monetize with Chewy.com affiliate program. Chewy.com is an eCommerce for pet products.
Luke Kling is Director of Marketing at PeerFly.com and have been working in affiliate management for about 9 years now. Luke is also a developer and blogger. You can find his blog at LukePeerFly.com, an affiliate news aggregate (great source for newbies) at  http://affposts.com, and his most recent product to help you build and grow Facebook Pages at http://fptraffic.com. Follow Luke on Twitter at @LukePeerFly.
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.

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?
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.
Mix High & Low Price Items, but Lean Towards High Price – if you’re doing all this work to push people towards a certain product, make sure that product is worth it. It doesn’t make much sense to review a $5 item with 1,000 words. You should lean towards those higher price items that will give you higher commissions. Remember, you get a percentage of the sale, not a flat fee.
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! 

If you are completely new to affiliate marketing, you will appreciate the overview, advice, and pointers. For me the book was way too basic and was not polished (lacking solid editing) like I expected from a book available on Amazon. It promoted a few affiliate management software products which felt salesy and out of place. I agree with the comments that the content switched back and forth between being an affiliate and running an affiliate program for your site. The book was OK and serves a purpose, so 3 stars is my review.
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.

Tom's Hardware pretty much started off as a forum.  They have expanded and re-designed and the website is now one of the most popular and heavily visited site in the PC niche.  The site is where hardcore PC enthusiasts go to discuss all different matters of PC parts.  Popular topics include CPU units, Memory, Motherboards, Overclocking, Systems, Operating Systems and New Build computers.  While the old format of strictly forum posts did well as a display ad revenue method (I remember when the site was mostly a forum as I used it for a PC build I did) – the amount of authority the site has lent itself very well to becoming a fully fledged content based site.
I’ll talk about adding advertising to your book blog in the next post in this series (hey, there’s no reason to limit yourself to one source of income!), but, in the meantime, you may want to check out How You Can Make Money Promoting My Ebooks (and other people’s too), a post I did a couple of months ago. It talks more about Smashwords, in particular, and how to find authors offering high affiliate percentages over there. 

While the traffic estimates are lower than some of the other sites on this list, people in the baby gear niche are an important customer base because they definitely purchase products.  This is a big industry and I would guess that the conversion rate for this site is slightly higher than OutDoorGearLab.com.  Typically when someone researches a baby product, they are typically looking to buy that baby product.  If someone is researching a tent, they may just be looking around at different options that they can compare for their next camping trip – not necessarily to buy that tent.  Most of their traffic is organic, and continuing the trend of well ranked long form content, their top post is 8,800 words long (which is a beast of an article).  If I had to take a guess at revenue, it would probably be north of 30k per month for this site based on traffic.
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.  
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.
VigLink is an intermediary platform, so it can serve as a backdoor for affiliates who have previously been banned/suspended from working with other affiliate programs like Amazon. And while you can choose specific merchants or offers, VigLink can be set up to work automatically by scanning your published content and dynamically generating affiliate links, making it a great choice for established content producers who are looking for a simpler way to generate revenue via an affiliate program.
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?
×