Thanks for posting these great tips. I am pondering getting into affiliate marketing. I survived a major stage 4 metastatic cancer but my finances, savings, career and credit were the sacrificial lambs on the alter of survival. I say pondering because I hear of so many starting out with ten tons of optimism and drive, only to end up bankrupt and on a long term Zoloft prescription. Are there simply too many online marketers out there or is it still possible to start from scratch and ramp up a descent business that stands out of the hay stacks? By descent, I mean enough to make a full time living, not worrying about food & shelter. How much time from zero to $4,000.00 per month (salary and/or net… spendable personal funds)
If you've taken the time to build an email list, then you should use that opportunity to survey your subscribers. Consider asking them, specifically, what they're most interested. I recently did this and the answers actually surprised me. However, another thing the answers did was allow me to laser-focus my affiliate offers in the right direction. This is invaluable information and it's coming straight from your list. 

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.
It can be time-consuming to find product images to use when promoting Amazon, the same thing goes for adding links. With EasyAzon I can add images, links, product info boxes and more by the click of a button directly from my own site. Super simple and it saves time and helps maximize earnings. If you monetize with Amazon take a look at EasyAzon here.
And finally, I think you should always be open with your model. When you are recommending products to an audience and receiving a financial kick back, you need to maintain a position of trust by being transparent about how you earn revenue. Some members of your audience won’t want to click an affiliate link, even when you are completely open like this, but I believe having this level of integrity will serve you better over the long run.
Affiliate marketing is a commission-based income model, in which merchants reward affiliates for sending them customers. The term usually applies to online transactions, and affiliates are paid when the customer takes an action on the merchant's site. It's often suggested as a business plan for new Internet marketers, because it requires a very low capital outlay to get started. Affiliate marketing can provide a useful side income, but its weaknesses make it unsuitable as a core business model.
Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.
Meeting the standard can be complicated enough if you are running direct linking campaigns as an affiliate. It becomes even more complex if you are building an email list or running another complex funnel that requires you to collect personal information. Make sure you have a simple way of collecting data reports and deletion requests so you can respond in a timely manner.
The value proposition is a bit less direct in this case, but can still be very effective. Carolla provides a service to his audience in the form of free entertainment (the podcast) and then asks for support in order to pay the bills. In this case, the “ask” can be very effective since he’s just requesting his listeners to take a few seconds to get to Amazon through his affiliate link.
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
In 2009, I originally published this post, the 3 Types of Affiliate Marketing Explained—and The One I Profit From. A lot has changed since then, and I’ve learned a ton along the way about affiliate marketing the right way. It’s now October 2018, and I wanted to share those new insights here, with a bunch of new takeaways for you to bring affiliate marketing into your own business!

One look at This Is Why I’m Broke and you’ll see that the site is unlike any other Amazon affiliate site, which is probably why it works so well. This site offers unique products that you’d never think to search for, but can make the most perfect gift for yourself or someone else. The reason this site does so well is that the products are so shareable.
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.
StackPath – CDN with 31 additional data centers (Cloudflare has 150+ data centers, but more data centers = faster content delivery). I get around $1,000/month by referring people to StackPath in my cache plugin tutorials. StackPath recently bought MaxCDN and their affiliate acceptance rate is much lower (depends on your potential volume) but most cache plugins converted to StackPath as their recommended CDN
ps. collecting these Facebook polls is one of the main reasons I was able to get so many SiteGround sales. Yes, I’m suggesting SiteGround for your host, but this is also a strategy that can be used to collect unbiased reviews. Just go to Facebook and search “SiteGround poll” and you can dig up some great stuff – you can do this with lots of affiliate products/companies.

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.
Unfortunately many new to internet marketing, underestimate the power of a responsive list and so they do everything else under the sun besides building a list. They get involved on various social media websites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Ning social networks. They advertise their products, blog, present various ideas and tidbits about themselves but […]
Great article as always. As far as finding the right keyword phrases, what I’ve always been unsure of is where and how often do we use these keywords? In your example, “sleeping bags under $100,” would I place that in my post titles and/ or content? How often is ideal to still make it look natural? Could I use that keyword phrase again on other articles/ reviews? Thanks for what you do.
4.5 In the event of termination, the following shall apply: (i) you shall forthwith stop all marketing and promotional activities for the Sites and all rights and licenses granted to you under this Agreement shall forthwith terminate; (ii) you shall return all confidential and/or proprietary information and cease all use of Our Marks and Our Materials; (iii) we shall be entitled to leave open, redirect or deactivate any Trackers, as we may elect in the exercise of our sole discretion; (iv) save as provided to the contrary in this Agreement, we shall pay you due and outstanding commissions as at the effective date of termination but subject to all our rights of deduction and set-off and shall not be liable to you for any other payments and/or claims whatsoever.
Great advice here. The typical idea of writing reviews of bicycle pedals and expecting someone to follow your link in order to buy a pair is dead. Now if you are actually a cyclists, and you know something about all the different types of pedals, and why different types solve different cycling problems, then hey, welcome to the world of providing useful content.
You can do it for FREE or you can do it with FEE. Anything free is really limited BUT, here’s the best part, by doing it free and trying it out first, you minimize your money lost to almost none. Have you heard about the saying that “Time equals Money“? That is by far the only investment you will be doing if you decide to do it for FREE because you will be spending time learning how to do it.
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.
This Agreement is accepted by Company in the State of Nevada and shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws thereof, which laws shall prevail in the event of any conflict. For such limited purpose, MA hereby consents to the personal jurisdiction of any court of competent jurisdiction in the State of Nevada. If any legal action or proceeding is initiated, the prevailing party shall be entitled to all attorney fees, court costs, and expenses in addition to any other relief to which such prevailing party may be entitled.
When you get started in setting up your affiliate marketing business model, keep in mind you’re not just developing a website. You’re growing a business, so treat it as such! The vast majority of successful businesses in the world began with a solid business plan. Affiliate marketing is no different. If you don’t have a quality and profitable affiliate marketing business model planned out ahead of time, you will probably never succeed.
So, with that being said, you can see how the top Amazon affiliates make their “big bucks.” They utilize every tool available to them so they can automate their business so they can concentrate on other aspects of their business. That's how Amazon affiliates make huge payouts on Amazon. Being able to maintain consistent visitors that turn into long term buying prospects because you are able to keep the products fresh everyday through automation.

I’ve been using Amazon’s affiliate program for a little over two years and during that time I’ve had a lot of success with it. In fact, this income source was the second largest chunk of my total $150k+ 2010 income. If I hadn’t sold one of my larger Amazon focused sites last year for six figures this income source would have easily eclipsed $100,000 by now. 

I was following someone else’s guide and they said you should have a static front page, but I feel like I would be getting more views and more clicks if I had the opposite ie; my latest blogs on the homepage. I also checked my stats and when I link to an article/review people stay longer. When I link to the home page they don’t stay as long AND a higher bounce rate. My bounce rate for the homepage is literally 3,000 in the past month. They hit that homepage and stay for around 7 minutes which means most are probably reading the static page, but then they just… leave.
8.2. NEITHER PARTY MAKES ANY REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES TO THE OTHER PARTY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. BRIAN TRACY MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE PROGRAM OR ANY PRODUCTS SOLD THROUGH THE PROGRAM OR THAT OUR SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE AND WE WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSEQUENCES OF ANY INTERRUPTIONS OR ERRORS.
Many publishers present affiliate links in the same way others would run display ads on their site. Below is a screenshot from SugarRae.com, a popular affiliate marketing blog. Notice that the right rail is labeled as “Advertisement” and includes two ads (one for Raven and the other for Genesis). These look like banner ads, but they’re actually affiliate links–in the form of an image, not text. To most viewers, there’s very little distinction between a banner ad and an affiliate link here, but the compensation structure of course matters to the affiliate and the publisher.

How crazy your the first to write what I needed at the beginning of my blog research venture. Thus, this is exactly what I have been doing, and funny just the other day I was writing down my cost as I go along. I am new to the blogging community and just started in Jan 2018. I am now on step 10-11ish. The part I am trying to really work on is building an audience, and writing more content so I can bring more people to my site. It is hard work for sure. Good luck!
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
When you get started in setting up your affiliate marketing business model, keep in mind you’re not just developing a website. You’re growing a business, so treat it as such! The vast majority of successful businesses in the world began with a solid business plan. Affiliate marketing is no different. If you don’t have a quality and profitable affiliate marketing business model planned out ahead of time, you will probably never succeed.

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.

It has universal appeal. Unlike some types of marketing that work better for certain segments than others, affiliate marketing is really something that anyone can use on their WordPress site or e-commerce store. With millions of products available and categories covering a wide spectrum, you’re bound to find more than enough products worth promoting.


Here’s How To Do It For FREE – First you need a website, you have a lot of choices out there that you can use to host your website. There’s Weebly.com, WordPress.Com, Wix.Com and Yola.Com just to name a few. You can get started with their FREE plan so you can get to know their system but remember that the free version always has limitations and you need to find the one that works for you. As for me when I was starting out I also had to choose from among the many different platforms and it turns out the one that worked for me is the SiteRubix Platform where I got 2 FREE websites for life. It is not a free trial, it is yours for life.
It is solely your responsibility to provide FatCow with accurate tax and payment information that is necessary to issue a Commission Fee to you. If FatCow does not receive the necessary tax or payment information within ninety (90) days of a Qualified Purchase which would otherwise trigger Commission Fees, the applicable commissions shall not accrue and no Commission Fees will be owed with respect to such Qualified Purchase.
For Dan Henry, the salient dream of living life and succeeding by marketing products or services as an affiliate wasn't just alive, it was lucid. Still, dream as he might, in 2011 Henry was still just a college dropout delivering pizzas door-to-door just to make a living. However, compelled by a nascent desire to live according to own terms, he knew that there was more to life than existing paycheck-to-paycheck.
I have been using LongTailPro for more than a year and have just started using the cloud version. It’s very fast and easy to use! Since I have been using LongTailPro, I have saved a lot of money not having to build that many links. Most of the keywords revealed by LongTailPro rank without building links. There are lots of very well written tutorials and videos that guide you. The training is all white hat! It’s helped me a lot with my SEO business. Keep up the good work guys! 

This single article, to date, has generated 871 unique visitors to my affiliate link, 132 free trial signups for GetResponse, and 77 front-end sales… And the best part about promoting something like GetResponse is that the commissions that it generates are recurring. Customers pay on a monthly basis. Finding offers that pay affiliates on a recurring base is one of the most common overlooked details when people start considering how to start affiliate marketing.

I have recently signed up for some other affiliate programs and mixed those links in with my Amazon links. Readers clearly prefer Amazon, and I can understand why. I know that if I have the choice when I buy something, I almost always go with Amazon. And when I’m shopping for almost anything, I always check to see if I can get it at Amazon for less. Don’t most Americans? So I’m not giving up on Amazon.
(c) Marketing. Solely with respect to the Amazon Influencer Program, and notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Participation Requirements, you may include Special Links to your Influencer Page in emails; provided, that such emails are in compliance with the Agreement, the Trademark Guidelines, and the Amazon Brand Usage Guidelines. Upon our request, you will provide us with representative sample materials and written certification that you have complied with the foregoing. We will specify the form of, and content required in, that certification in any such request. Any failure by you to provide the certification in accordance with our request will constitute a material breach of this Influencer Program Policy. For the avoidance of doubt, (i) for the purposes of applicable marketing laws (for example, if applicable, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 and any similar or successor legislation), you are the “Sender” of each email containing any Special Links, and (ii) you must comply with applicable laws and marketing industry standards and best practices for all emails relating to the Amazon Influencer Program. Amazon may revoke the offline marketing permissions granted in this Section 1 at any time in its sole discretion by providing written notice to you.
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.
Except as agreed between you and us in a separate written agreement referencing this Section 5, you will not use any Program Content or Special Link, or otherwise link to an Amazon Site, on or in connection with: (a) any client-side software application (e.g., a browser plug-in, helper object, toolbar, extension, component, or any other application executable or installable by an end user) on any device, including computers, mobile phones, tablets, or other handheld devices (other than Approved Mobile Applications); or (b) any television set-top box (e.g., digital video recorders, cable or satellite boxes, streaming video players, blu-ray players, or dvd players) or Internet-enabled television (e.g., GoogleTV, Sony Bravia, Panasonic Viera Cast, or Vizio Internet Apps).
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.
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.

PA API or Data Feeds may allow you to access data, images, text, and other information and content relating to products offered on one or more affiliate sites. If you use PA API or Data Feeds to access or use any such data, images, text, or other information or content, you agree to comply with and be bound by the terms of the applicable license agreement for PA API or Data Feeds (or equivalent service) providing Product Advertising Content from such affiliate sites.


One look at This Is Why I’m Broke and you’ll see that the site is unlike any other Amazon affiliate site, which is probably why it works so well. This site offers unique products that you’d never think to search for, but can make the most perfect gift for yourself or someone else. The reason this site does so well is that the products are so shareable.
(f) You will not (i) interfere, or attempt to interfere, in any manner with the functionality or proper working of PA API; (ii) compile or use Product Advertising Content for the purpose of direct marketing, spamming, unsolicited contacting of sellers or customers, or other advertising activities; or (iii) remove, obscure, alter, or make invisible, illegible, or indecipherable, any notice, including any notice of intellectual property or proprietary right, appearing on or contained within PA API, Data Feeds, Product Advertising Content, or Specifications.

There’s no getting around it, making less money directly translates into a less valuable business. The valuations will go down, in some cases quite significantly as is the case for technology sites earning all their revenue from the Amazon Associates program. Again this clearly depends on the category of the site – some sites might see a slight increase in their earnings, but those are definitely in the minority.
The best way to sell other people’s products and services is to provide value to others. Make sure this is built into your affiliate marketing business model. For example, I own the website DogFoodInsider.com. On that website, I teach people about dog nutrition and more importantly, how to choose a high quality dog food for their beloved dog. You’ll also notice on that website I also recommend people purchase their dog food from Amazon.com. Not only is it cheaper, but they have a wide selection to choose from and they don’t have to lug 30lb bags of dog food home from the store.
In 2006, the most active sectors for affiliate marketing were the adult gambling, retail industries and file-sharing services.[17]:149–150 The three sectors expected to experience the greatest growth are the mobile phone, finance, and travel sectors.[17] Soon after these sectors came the entertainment (particularly gaming) and Internet-related services (particularly broadband) sectors. Also several of the affiliate solution providers expect to see increased interest from business-to-business marketers and advertisers in using affiliate marketing as part of their mix.[17]:149–150
If the website isn’t an authority in its niche, ask yourself if it is setup to be one. You should always have this in mind, but especially with affiliate sites. Since affiliate sites have such a low barrier to entry, by buying an authority site, you are significantly putting yourself ahead of your competition who will be entering the game without an authority site. This will help you keep market share and dominate the niche.
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These strategic buys can lead to new insightful data as well. You will see other products within your niche that the audience is prone to buy, which can help you in deciding to launch your next product. Also, each of these sites can become little satellite sites that can collect emails for your overall brand. This strategy is not at all new, and Jon Haver from Authority Website Income has already written a detailed post about the concept here.
I would think valuation is just going to have to be based on what the sites earn post-change. I don’t know if Amazon’s associate account allows you to see the detailed breakdown (i.e. commission detail) of what categories all of your affiliates sales are coming from or not. Once that segment of your traffic clicks through to Amazon, they could buy anything and you get a commission on it. They won’t necessarily be buying a items that you are promoting/reviewing on your site.
Longtime affiliate marketer and co-founder of Shareist Scott Jangro suspects that Gawker Media’s Amazon widgets are custom-built. “It looks like they’ve built a system allowing them to capture data that gives them full-circle reporting on what’s getting bought, through which page, and possibly even by user,” he told me. “Showing a count of purchased products for social proof is just one of the many things they can do with this data.”
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
The Program Operator reserves the right to reject any affiliate application if, in the Program Operator’s opinion, that person or entity violates established laws or commonly held standards of decency. For example, we will reject applications from any person or company that promotes any form of violence, illegal activities, or from applicants who the Program Operator prefers not to be associated with. 
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