Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
Hey Jan, glad it made you think. As you've found out it's not easy to rank #1 on Google especially when so few people will link to your product reviews. You need to tackle a specific niche with a focused target audience as a whole and build a community of like minded people around your site in order to make any significant income online sustainably and for the long term.

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There are a number of ways you can monetise a website these days. Traditional CPM or CPC advertising can be difficult to generate significant returns unless you have a large amount of traffic and page views. These forms of revenue rely on huge numbers because rates are so low and so are best utilised when your traffic is measured in millions and is focused on a lucrative demographic that is valued by advertising companies.

We may modify any of the terms and conditions in this Agreement at any time at our sole discretion. In such event, you will be notified by email. Modifications may include, but are not limited to, changes in the payment procedures and Merchant.com's Affiliate Program rules. If any modification is unacceptable to you, your only option is to end this Agreement. Your continued participation in Merchant.com's Affiliate Program following the posting of the change notice or new Agreement on our site will indicate your agreement to the changes.

In my early days, I used to have a few of these links scattered throughout SPI—for example, an ad for a “How to Make an iPhone App” product. I used to have a few iPhone apps that generated an income for me each month, but I didn’t actually use the product I was linking to. I did, however, personally know the owner, which is why I trusted him and decided to place that ad there at the time.


We will evaluate your application in good faith and will notify you of your acceptance or rejection in a timely manner. We may reject your application if we determine (in our sole discretion) that your website is not suitable for the Affiliate Program for any reason, including, but not limited to, its inclusion of content that is, in our opinion, unlawful or otherwise violates our Acceptable Use Policy.
You and FatCow are independent contractors, and nothing in this Agreement will create any partnership, joint venture, agency, franchise, sales representative, or employment relationship between the parties. You will have no authority to make or accept any offers or representations on our behalf. You will not make any statement, whether on your Affiliate Site or otherwise, that contradicts anything in this section.

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 Contracts. Except for employment agreements and except as specifically identified on Schedule 5.14, there does not exist any contract, agreement or other arrangement between Seller and (a) any affiliate of Seller, (b) any entity in which Seller directly or indirectly owns more than a five percent (5%) interest or (c) any of the managers or members of Seller that will not be cancelled by Seller simultaneously with the Closing hereunder.
(i) Place our Links or any marketing materials provided by us to you including but not limited to our logos, marks, domain name, trade name or any of the aforegoing ("Our Marks") which is confusingly similar to or is comprised of Our Marks (collectively, "Our Materials") on any online site or other medium where the material on such site or medium is as determined by us, in the exercise of our absolute discretion, illegal or in any other way unsuitable.
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.
If you are going to write a piece of content that has an affiliate link to a high-end DSLR camera, you need to be an expert in order to make it credible. Your whole website needs to revolve around the product and how to use it, rather than eyeing up the fat commission you can make if you dupe someone into using your link from that one piece of content.
Rumors of last click’s death have been greatly exaggerated. For most of the past decade, various industry commentators have said it’s a model that underestimates the complexity of multiple digital touchpoints an average consumer may have on their way to purchase. For affiliate marketers this can be confusing. Last click is what our business is based on; without it what are we left with? More often than not this confusion is from a misunderstanding of what ‘last click is dead’ really means.
My conversion rate went from 2.5% to 8% just by including Facebook polls where SiteGround was rated #1 (here’s last year’s poll) plus Twitter screenshots and Facebook conversations. Whether it’s Amazon reviews or social proof, you NEED to include outside opinions. You can also use WP Rich Snippets to allow people to leave a review about the product/service on your site and get those review stars in Google (you will want to use their front end submit add-on).

Most of the traffic for your affiliate website will come from product related searches, and product reviews. Generally, these will be more long-tail terms such as, “Blendtec 570 vs Vitamix 5300”, or “greenworks mower vs black and decker”. The traffic coming from keywords like these will be very targeted, as the searcher has the intention to purchase something.


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.
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