You can accomplish great results also if you take the time to learn the “ins and outs” of how affiliate marketing is done. For example, there's a WP plugin that automates your business for you. What it does is whatever “niche” product you are promoting, it uploads all the best selling products every 24 hours automatically for you without you ever having to touch your PC. How cool is that. The best part is, it only cost $9.95. Yep! You read it correctly.
Affiliate marketing is also called "performance marketing", in reference to how sales employees are typically being compensated. Such employees are typically paid a commission for each sale they close, and sometimes are paid performance incentives for exceeding objectives.[21] Affiliates are not employed by the advertiser whose products or services they promote, but the compensation models applied to affiliate marketing are very similar to the ones used for people in the advertisers' internal sales department.
Unless otherwise stated in an Offer Addendum, we will pay you referral fees on a monthly basis. Approximately thirty (30) days following the end of each month, we (or our designee, InfusionSoft) will send you a check for the referral fees earned on Qualifying Product revenues for that month, less any returns and canceled orders. However, if the referral fees payable to you for any month are less than $25.00, we will hold those referral fees until the total amount due is at least $25.00 or (if earlier) until this Agreement is terminated.
Still haven’t made any money on my aforementioned website I was talking about above. However, I started another website and I AM making money with that. Two very different niches lol. The one I am making money with will HAVE to be a higher amount eventually, but I am happy to be making money at all because I have tried this whole affiliate thing for years and never made ANY money. So selling $300 worth of stuff and making $35 makes me ecstatic lol
This site holds no stock whatsoever. They are just promoting amazon products by ranking high for keyword terms around scooters “best pro scooter” “best scooters for kids”. People are searching for these terms in their thousands every month. They click on his amazon links, purchase products on amazon and then the owner of myproscooter.com will get commission on the whole basket.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[6] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[7] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[8]
Finally, email every network you are associated with for this website to inform them that you are selling your site and that you want to make sure that the new owner will be approved for that affiliate network. This is an important, if not obvious, step to follow. If a network denies the new buyer, that is going to lead to a lot of trouble when it comes to them taking full ownership over the site.
Option 2: Payment by Amazon Gift Card. We will send you gift cards in the amount of the fees you earn to the primary email address on your Associates account. These gift cards are redeemable for products on the Amazon Site the fees were earned on and are subject to our then-current gift card terms and conditions. If you select this option, we reserve the right to hold fees until the total amount due to reaches the minimum stated in the Payment Minimum Chart.
FatCow will process orders placed by Referred Customers who follow the Links from an Affiliate Site to FatCow. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to reject orders that do not comply with certain requirements that we may establish from time to time. All aspects of order processing and fulfillment, including FatCow’s services, cancellation, processing, refunds and payment processing will be our responsibility. We will track the Qualified Purchases generated by your Affiliate Site and will make this information available to you through our website. To permit accurate tracking, reporting, and commission accrual, you must ensure that the Links between your website and our website are properly formatted.
To do this, you need to offer something in return. Use email providers like InfusionSoft, MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, or any number of others, to shoot out the email to a survey. You can use Survey Monkey to build your survey, but you have to give them something in return. Will you give them a free cheatsheet? Maybe a downloadable how-to ebook? Determine the best thing to offer and be sure to get clear on what they need to do and what you'll give them in exchange.
It's especially true now that the big media players are finally waking up to affiliate marketing (NYTime buying WireCutter and SweetHome) and BestReviews (which was already an epic product review site in it's self due to the fact they built their own 10,000 sq ft testing lab) being acquired by Tronc (owns the LA Times and half a dozen more publications).
Links that Dynamically Generate Products: Certain types of links that we may make available to you dynamically generate particular Products to display based on a contextual analysis of the page on which they appear. Amazon will crawl or otherwise monitor your Site and store gathered content to implement these types of links and to improve dynamic generation and the Associates Program. If you implement mechanisms that prevent us from crawling or otherwise monitoring your Site, you agree that these types of links may not function properly, and you will be solely responsible for any such malfunction.
This Agreement may be terminated by either party at the expiration of its term or any renewal term upon thirty (30) days written notice to the other party. Company acknowledges that this Agreement shall not be terminated for MA’s failure to follow an operating plan, standard procedure, training manual, or substantial equivalent published in Paragraph 3 (k) of this Agreement, except that Company does reserve the right to terminate this Agreement for MA’s failure to follow required procedures relating to the processing of sales contracts, invoices and billing related to Technology sold under this Agreement.
Marketing Plan. MA shall submit an annual marketing plan to Company outlining, among other things, activities and staffing directed at attaining mutually agreed upon annual sales quotas. The Annual Quota is defined in Schedule A of this Agreement. The annual marketing plan shall be devised solely by MA and MA shall not be required to follow an operating plan, standard procedure, training manual, or its substantial equivalent, published by Company.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites.
There is no warranty or guarantee of any kind with respect to the Program Operator system as far as reliability, stability, quality or dependability. This means that the Program Operator, or its associates is not responsible for any loss or damage incurred directly or indirectly due to the use of the Program Operator website, products, services, or any other facet of the system. This shall include, but is not limited to, any system malfunction, period of being inoperative or unavailable, loss of data or discontinuation of service, other inconveniences.
As an affiliate of the Program Operator, your website on which you advertise any products or services of the Program Operator may only include products that are not capable of being viewed by persons 13 years of age or younger unless the Program Operator specifically allows such products. Your website may NOT contain any content or images that are NOT suitable for being viewed by persons 13 years of age or younger if you include any reference whatsoever to the Program Operator, the website, the eBook(s), or your affiliate Link. On any website on which you include any reference whatsoever to the Program Operator, its products, services, and eBooks, you may NOT include any reference whatsoever to any form of “Adult” content. Any violation of these requirements will result in immediate termination of your affiliate status and you shall forfeit any commissions/referral fees that may be due. In the event that any violation of these requirements results in the suspension or termination of any payment processor for or the Program Operator, you shall be liable for liquidated damages in the amount of $10,000 as well as actual and any consequential or actual damages that or the Program Operator may incur.
Very informative. I left a comment because I know what it is like to spend hours or even days writing a great blog to not even have someone leave a simple comment one way or the other. I started making only something like $3.00 a month with Amazon affiliate when I first started, what a joke! I was about to quit when I read your article and like one other and found out there was real money to be made. Now I am making a million dollars a year…just kidding, I couldn’t even type that sentence with a straight face. Seriously though I have boosted my earnings to a high of around $96 to an average of like $45 a month with still isn’t much, but much better than my adsense earnings. Well good day and thanks for the insights.
Commission and Payment. Requirements for Payment; Forfeiture. In order to receive payment under this Agreement, you must have: (i) agreed to the terms of this Agreement (generally completed through the Affiliate Tool); (ii) completed all steps necessary to create your account in the Affiliate Tool in accordance with our directions, (iii) have a valid and up-to-date paypal account and updated the Affiliate Tool with such account (iv) completed any and all required tax documentation in order for HubSpot to process any payments that may be owed to you.
To begin the enrollment process, you must submit a complete and accurate Associates Program application. Your Site(s) must contain original content and be publicly available via the website address provided in the application. You must identify your Site(s) in your application. We will evaluate your application and notify you of its acceptance or rejection. Your Site will not be eligible for inclusion in the Associates Program, and you cannot include any Special Links or Product Advertising Content on it, if your Site is unsuitable. Unsuitable Sites include those that:
2.2 "Qualifying Link" means a BTI link from your Email or Site to Brian Tracy International's Site using one of the Required URLs or any other URL or graphic link provided by BTI for use in the Program. A Qualifying Link or "Linking Materials" shall be defined as hyperlinks, buttons, banners or other user interface established by BTI for your Emails or Web site.

Repeatable Business Model – Yes you heard it right. This business model is ideal and repeatable provided that you do it correctly. Let say you created a website for a certain product and that product became a hit and it is now making passive flow of income, you can either scale it from there or let it do its thing making money and start another one with another website promoting a different product.
About 80% of the emails you send to your list should be more helpful than any other email they received that day. You must provide exceptional quality and figure out how to make peoples lives easier or better through the emails you send them. This is the perfect setup for the other 20% of your emails – sales emails! Now, you don’t have to give a hard sell. For example, in October, you could send an email with “The Top 10 Dog Halloween Costumes Of The Year!” Include goofy pictures of dogs wearing ridiculous looking costumes and link to Amazon where people can buy those costumes if they want to. See how easy it is to “sell” through email marketing? You don’t actually have to SELL at all!
Coupon publishers promote your company by posting discounts and coupon codes for customers to find and apply to their online orders. To determine the best offers for your business, we will conduct an in-depth competitive analysis to find out what deals and discounts your top competitors are providing to ensure that you always remain competitive within the affiliate channel.
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
Product review sites are another popular vehicle for affiliate marketing strategies. Because these sites are inherently focused on providing information about products in which visitors are likely interested, the affiliate tie-in is pretty straightforward. The author writes about a product, highlighting the features and addressing any concerns, and then includes a link where readers can go to purchase the product.
You shouldn’t forget the term ‘affiliate’, what really means it in an article marketing campaign. The affiliate doesn’t mean selling goods and services only, rather helping to the community people as well as the merchant of the product and services for the well-being of both parties providing problem-solving rich recommendations. A wealthy affiliate article body should be the complete area of the topic explanation complying with the needs of the community people that grows profits will be a byproduct of the affiliating. A comprehensive body of an affiliate article should go through the following tips:
9.2. Each party agrees not to use the other's proprietary materials in any manner that is disparaging, misleading, obscene or that otherwise portrays the party in a negative light. Each party reserves all of its respective rights in the proprietary materials covered by this license. Other than the license granted in this Agreement, each party retains all right, title, and interest to its respective rights and no right, title, or interest is transferred to the other.
There’s no universal consensus for what constitutes ‘long-form’ content. However, as a rule of thumb, you can think of this as any piece over 1,000 words. Research shows people tend to trust long-form content more. On the other hand, most online readers still tend to skim articles. This means you also need to find ways to adapt your longer content for skimmers.

For more expert internet marketers, craft a sales funnel around your affiliate products you are promoting. This could be done via a 7-day bootcamp that you give away to your email list, or perhaps a cheat sheet that contains affiliate links. By creating a sales funnel and building an email list though with paid ads, you can seriously scale your business to the moon very quickly once you have a profitable campaign underway.
Great post , I do read a lot of the Nichehacks articles and this one is so true. At the moment I am in a niche I'm passionate about and yes although I am primarily using Amazon to monetize my site, I will be branching out to use other methods very soon. It frightens me to think the plug can be pulled at any time! I intent to use other affiliate programs as well as Amazon, maybe Google Adsense, I'm not sure yet, some digital products and also to build an email list.
3. Termination. Amazon may suspend or terminate Influencer’s participation in the Amazon Influencer Program, and Influencer may terminate such participation, in each case immediately by notice provided in accordance with the termination provisions of the Agreement. The rights set forth in Section 2 of this Influencer Program Policy will survive the termination of Influencer’s participation in the Amazon Influencer Program; provided that, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to remove any Influencer Marks from the Influencer Page following termination.
Great post , I do read a lot of the Nichehacks articles and this one is so true. At the moment I am in a niche I'm passionate about and yes although I am primarily using Amazon to monetize my site, I will be branching out to use other methods very soon. It frightens me to think the plug can be pulled at any time! I intent to use other affiliate programs as well as Amazon, maybe Google Adsense, I'm not sure yet, some digital products and also to build an email list.
So, now that you know everything there is to know about how to add Amazon affiliate links to WordPress, what will you do with this information? Just save a little money on Amazon? Will you start out small and embed promotional product links into your blog content? Will you be adventurous and launch your own Amazon affiliate store? Or are you concerned about the use of too many affiliate links affecting site speed?
Instead, he focused solely on one platform. When that platform fizzled out, he lost his foundation and his footing as an affiliate marketer. He was unable to reach the people who had once been visiting his website because he was now nowhere to be found. Had he diversified, he wouldn't have gone through the massive pain related to that ranking change. 

8. The Holidays are Boom Time – While I’m really happy with the way my Amazon Affiliate income is growing ($2500 a month is so far beyond what I’d ever expected from it in the early days) it’s worth noting that things really fire up in the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season. Over the last few years I’ve noticed significant jumps in Amazon earnings in December (as much as 100%). The key is to plan ahead (make sure your links are all up to date a couple of months out) and run a few Christmas specific posts in the lead up to the Holiday rush (start to prepare as early as October/November).
We start with a Bestselling course. Theo McArthur has been working online since 1995 (yes that’s before many of you were even born) and comes with over 20 years of online business experience. Having taught 10,000+ students, you can be rest assured you are in the right hands. A pre requirement for this course will be having knowledge of setting up a wordpress website(or any other platform). This course will then help you maximize income potential by promoting multiple products withing your niche / niches and most importantly help you drive a lot of relevant targeted traffic from some of the best sources on the internet.
This is the complete opposite of PPC, where you’re not even seen by the consumer in order for the transaction to take place. Instead, this is you talking directly to those who may need a product that you’re offering, who have their ears and eyes on you. This is not using your money in order to make money, like with PPC. It’s using your reputation, trust, and authority in order to get others to take your recommendation, use it and pay you something in return in the form of a commission.

There are countless mediums that you can deliver valuable content to your audience. You can use your blog. If you don't have a blog (which is a big mistake by the way), you can use social media, content marketing, video tutorials, infographics and so on and so forth. But  your primary channel to deliver long-form value is going to be your blog. Start building a blog early and stay consistent with it.
Good comment Jason, at some time in the future Amazon may decide they have so much market share they don't need affiliates anyway. I mean, if you're just sending them people who are already Amazon customers there's not so much benefit there for them. Or they may decide to only work with select HIGH QUALITY affiliates and the average "affiliate site" owner will not be chosen.
3. You may use the Amazon Marks solely for the purpose specifically authorized under the Program Documents. You may not use or display the Marks (i) in any manner that implies sponsorship or endorsement by us; (ii) to disparage us, our products or services; (iii) in a way that may, at our discretion, diminish or otherwise damage our goodwill in the Amazon Marks; or (iv) in offline material or email (e.g., in any printed material, mailing, SMS, MMS, attachment to email, or other document, or any oral solicitation).

(g) You will not offer any person or entity any consideration, reward, or incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization, or other benefit) for using Special Links. For example, you cannot implement any “rewards” or loyalty program that incentivizes persons or entities to visit an Amazon Site via your Special Links.
In addition to the foregoing Product Advertising Content and access to PA API, we may make available from time to time for use in connection with PA API sample source code and libraries, each of which will be made available to you under a separate license that accompanies each sample source code or library, as applicable. In connection with PA API, we may also make available specifications, user manuals, guides, supporting materials, and other information, regardless of format, describing the operational and functional capabilities, use limitations, technical and engineering requirements, and testing and performance criteria relevant to the proper use of PA API (collectively, “Specifications”). “Product Advertising Content,” as used in this License Agreement, specifically excludes any sample source code or libraries we make available to you under a separate license and any Specifications that we make available. It also specifically excludes any data, images, text, or other information or content relating to products offered on any site other than an Amazon Site.
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. This year I donated $3,000 to feed the homeless in Denver. In 2017, I donated $3,000 to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they’re the best host and that your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people say the same.
A great point you made there though. Too many people try to take on too much at once and end up spreading themselves too thin – trying to conquer all the niches at the same time. Marketers also do this with advertising. Instead of sticking with one platform until they are generating a consistent number of leads they will jump from platform to platform, in essence chucking a load of crap at a wall and seeing what sticks.
this was simply outstanding article,thank you so much for opening my eyes to the world of amazon affiliate prog, i would surely like to use it the way you say on my beauty blog. But im a bit confused with one thing- contextual linking. how can we do this, i mean for example if i write an article on “Revlon Lipstick” then should i simply highlight this term and ‘link’ it with amazon where this speciifc type is being sold? or do i have to go to amazon first, then from their side stripe copy “add widget” or “link this page” please reply, im a new blogger and have less knoweldge on this.
On the technology-focused forum Hacker News, a user who goes by "graeme" pointed out, "This is likely to have a massive [e]ffect on the blog/article review ecosystem. Most of the review sites that exist today only do so because of [A]mazon's fairly generous programs. I expect in aggregate there will be a shift in what lines of business people decide to get into, based on this." A user called "sharkweek" said that "[a]s an Amazon affiliate who has done quite well with it, this is definitely a gutting." The mood is equally grim on a subreddit for people building affiliate websites. 

To do this, you need to offer something in return. Use email providers like InfusionSoft, MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, or any number of others, to shoot out the email to a survey. You can use Survey Monkey to build your survey, but you have to give them something in return. Will you give them a free cheatsheet? Maybe a downloadable how-to ebook? Determine the best thing to offer and be sure to get clear on what they need to do and what you'll give them in exchange.

Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
Until 2017, Amazon offered a stepped commission structure so that affiliates who sold a lot of products were paid a higher commission than those who sold little. However, Amazon eliminated this structure and began using flat commission rates for different types of products. While this is likely to continue evolving, examples of the commission structure in 2018 are as follow:
I see you did have Yoast SEO mentioned here. I recommended Yoast SEO in your last post before I stopped by this blog to see what you posted. Good stuff my friend. I am going to publish more recommended WordPress plugins for affiliate marketers and bloggers soon. This way, we keep everyone in your side hustle circle informed what words best with WordPress.
Amazon runs one of the largest affiliate programs around, called Amazon Associates. You can become part of the program as long as your website already has some content (about five or ten posts). Bear in mind that once you’ve applied, it can take a few days to be approved. Once your account is ready, you can start to focus on building an effective website.
3. Termination. Amazon may suspend or terminate Influencer’s participation in the Amazon Influencer Program, and Influencer may terminate such participation, in each case immediately by notice provided in accordance with the termination provisions of the Agreement. The rights set forth in Section 2 of this Influencer Program Policy will survive the termination of Influencer’s participation in the Amazon Influencer Program; provided that, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to remove any Influencer Marks from the Influencer Page following termination.

You are only eligible to earn Commission Fees on Qualified Purchases occurring during the Term. Commission Fees earned prior to the date of termination will be eligible for commissions only if the orders for the related FatCow Products and Services are not cancelled within (30) days and comply with all of the terms of this Agreement. We may withhold your final payment of Commission Fees for a reasonable time to ensure that all Qualified Purchases are valid and payment from Referred Customers are legitimate as determined by FatCow in its sole discretion.
Free traffic can be achieved through things like social media or SEO. Free traffic is just another term for free visitors to your site. If you post your website on Instagram for your friends to see, when your friends visit your site, your site receives traffic. This traffic costs you nothing and is free. SEO, on the other hand, stands for search engine optimization. It’s how well Google ranks your website in its search engine. Every time you search a term in Google the results that show on the first page have a high ranking because their SEO is done right. The higher the rank, the more visitors to your website. And because this traffic is coming from people searching through Google, it costs you nothing as well. The power with search traffic is that you can essentially create a business revolved around headphone reviews and mostly all of your revenue is profit. The only overhead costs would be your domain name and web hosting service, which costs next to nothing.
2.10 All data relating to players (including New Players) shall, as between you and us, remain our exclusive property and you shall have no rights, interests, claims and/or demands in and/or to the same. You shall not contact nor correspond with any players (including New Players) without our express prior written approval. In the event that we are of the opinion that try to or do make contact with any player (including a New Player) in breach of the foregoing, we shall be entitled in addition to our other rights and remedies, to terminate this Agreement with immediate effect and to indefinitely withhold commissions due to you at such time. In the event we have given express written consent for you to contact or correspond with a player, we are entitled to withdraw the same at any time if we deem it to be against our best interests and to terminate this Agreement with immediate effect and to indefinitely withhold all commission due to you at such time.
Commission and Payment. Requirements for Payment; Forfeiture. In order to receive payment under this Agreement, you must have: (i) agreed to the terms of this Agreement (generally completed through the Affiliate Tool); (ii) completed all steps necessary to create your account in the Affiliate Tool in accordance with our directions, (iii) have a valid and up-to-date paypal account and updated the Affiliate Tool with such account (iv) completed any and all required tax documentation in order for HubSpot to process any payments that may be owed to you.
Thank you so much for this helpful information! I’m working on a blog that will be read by people in various countries. Will the links and credit work if someone, say, gets sent to the Amazon Japan store, but then transfers to the UK store and buys something there? Or would I have to guess which country stores the readers would use first, and have several links in my blog to all the various Amazon stores? How might I set this up most effectively?

If you want to find a way to be able to mention products that are on sale more frequently on your website one of the easiest ways I’ve done that in the past is to just do a weekly deals post. So what I’ll do is publish a post every week with the best deals for my niche and then incorporate all of the previous tactics I’ve discussed above to link to the products on Amazon.com. Depending on how often you publish articles you could do it more or less frequently (I’ve seen some websites do these style of articles every day).
All confidential information, including, but not limited to, any business, technical, financial, and customer information, disclosed by one party to the other during negotiation or the effective term of this Agreement which is marked "Confidential," will remain the sole property of the disclosing party, and each party will keep in confidence and not use or disclose such proprietary information of the other party without express written permission of the disclosing party.

first off, show visitors that you have a great site by getting a better theme! You did not get a penalty because of affiliate content, nor have I ever heard of, however, I have heard of sites in the past getting penalty for having do follow links to affiliate programs such as amazon, remember, google does not like you giving credit to a site in exchange for receiving paid compensation, so ask yourself, are your external links nofollow? this may also include any buttons/graphics that link to affiliate sites that do not have a no follow attribute, not going to go to much into this, so I am going to assume your content is ok, if it is, then you need to check your link portfolio; maybe you have too many low quality links and/or you may have over-optimized anchor/text in your link building efforts; bad links, over optimization are common link issues that could cause your site to get a penalty, as it is not about what you are writing about, if all else fails, then hire seo consultant for an entire site autdit, they will go through your site tooth and nail, and see why you have lost your rankings. good luck.
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.
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