"Having built a flexible, location independent business that generates massive revenue through affiliate sales, Michelle is a model for having it all. Not only do I follow along for tactical strategies to improve my own affiliate business model, but for inspiration from the fabulous adventure-filled lifestyle her thriving business supports." - Stefanie O'Connell, Millennial Personal Finance Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur, Stefanieoconnell.com
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[4][5]
I've been building affiliate websites for more than a decade, and earning a decent income from those sites.  The great thing about affiliate websites is that if you build them correctly, they'll mature over time and reward you month after month, year after year in passive income.  However, if you build them incorrectly, you will simply be wasting your time.  In the last few years, Google have tightened the noose around webmasters out to make a quick buck by gaming the system.  This course was created to show you how I build successful affiliate websites now, in 2018 and beyond.  I'll take you from the very beginning and show you, over-my-shoulder, how I:
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.
Cost-per-action (CPA) works a little differently. A publisher is paid for each action taken instead of a percentage of sales. CPA is used most often if there’s no actual product or stock to sell. When you place a CPA form on your website, you’re promoting a particular product from the vendor. You get paid for completing an action that could be as simple as getting a user to fill up a form or take any other desired action. Payments are usually based on lead generation to get some free product or information such as:

The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
Another popular example is to create a niche blog and include affiliate links to related products. Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income uses this approach. He publishes content on many topics that have to do with setting up an own online business and earns commissions (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars) from recommending hosting providers and other stuff you need to build a successful website.
Hoping to cut through some of this noise, many businesses enter into affiliate partnerships, where a website advertises the business for commission. These tactics allow businesses to enter into partnerships with trusted sources who market the business. Instead of paying a set price for a certain ad period, companies pay by performance for affiliate campaigns, giving many newer businesses a cheaper alternative to traditional marketing routes.
The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.[4][5]

Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich


Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.

In the past, large affiliates were the mainstay, as catch-all coupon and media sites gave traffic to hundreds or thousands of advertisers. This is not so much the case anymore. With consumers using long-tail keywords and searching for very specific products and services, influencers can leverage their hyper-focused niche for affiliate marketing success. Influencers may not send advertisers huge amounts of traffic, but the audience they do send is credible, targeted, and has higher conversion rates. 
The amount of time a Cookie set by someone clicking on your affiliate link has to show a conversion before you are no longer credited with a sale even if that user eventually ends up making a purchase. The standard length of a Cookie is typically between 30-90 days. Anything below 30 is considered low/short while anything above 90 is considered to be healthily above average.
If you would like to take a more subtle approach, include a product or service from your company that relates into your blog post. For example, let’s say that you are a wine connoisseur and that is what your blog is based around. In any post that is enticing your readers to open up a good bottle of Merlot or what have you, it would be wise to embed an ad for a quality, easy-to-use wine opener, wine glasses or stoppers that keep the wine fresh.
Another one of the highest paying and most popular dating affiliate programs is eHarmony, which is based on the actual earnings that can be made from each referred sale. Up to $188 can be made from a single sale. In general, the members at eHarmony are typically looking to find serious long term relationships, so many of them are willing to pay extra to find similar people.
Popular social media websites from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are the best platforms to promote products as an affiliate. You can learn more about effectively using social media, here, here, and here. Browse for groups that relate to your products interest group. These types of interest groups serve as an extremely effective way to increase a product’s reach in terms of organic audience.
The saying goes that people eat with their eyes, well, people are also quite picky about how their content is presented. Standout guides aren’t just well considered and expertly written. They are designed expertly. Designs aren’t just there to dress up an article, they are practical. Everything from content flow to sign-up forms and social sharing buttons are considered when content is intentionally designed with a bit of thought. Hiring a web designer will get the best quality results, at a price. You don’t need to hire a web designer to turn your guide into something special.
PeerFly only has a limited number of products at the moment, but they have tremendous momentum and are growing by leaps and bounds. Their payout rates aren’t spectacular, but everything is upfront and transparent, and affiliate satisfaction is very high. PeerFly is perfect for authentic marketers who want to offer high-quality products to their visitors as opposed to “get rich quick” schemes and opaque offers.
TOS stands for Terms of Service. In the affiliate world, this most often refers to the program terms of an affiliate program. The terms of service – sometimes also referred to as Terms of Use – tells you what the rules of the affiliate program are and sets out what you can and can't do. For example: The TOS may prevent affiliates from bidding on the merchant's brand keywords. If you then bid on those brand keywords, you'd be violating the TOS of the affiliate program and would likely be kicked out as a result.
Lauren McManus is a well-known Pinterest expert from Create and Go as well as other successful websites and courses. I asked her to share her best Pinterest tips as a bonus for my course because I am a huge believer in Pinterest and how it can help you to improve your affiliate income. This strategy has allowed her to receive hundreds of thousands of visitors from Pinterest, significantly improving her income.

You can make your own decision about which hosting plan to sign up for, but I highly recommend just going with the BASIC plan. If this is your first affiliate marketing website, the basic plan gives you everything you need and you can always upgrade this plan later on. However, if you feel more comfortable with a higher plan, by all means, feel free.
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
Within your terms and conditions, you need to define what can and cannot be promoted through PPC. The most obvious restrictions are brand terms and misspellings. So one of your objectives could be to increase your visibility on search engine affiliates, and you can do this by targeting only long tail keywords. Other things to consider are whether affiliates can link PPC directly to your site and whether they can use your URL in the ad copy. These are decisions you need to state in your terms and conditions.
ClickBank is known for handling the affiliate programs of digital products like ebooks, software and even membership sites. So if you wish to promote toys, clothing, or other products on your website, ClickBank wouldn’t be the most appropriate network to join.Amazon Associates continue to be the choice of people new to affiliate marketing, since Amazon has thousands of products readily available at any given time.
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 

A lot of consideration, time, and effort go into launching and maintaining a successful affiliate program. The various platforms and plugins out there are geared towards different types of people and business needs. If you’ve created and run your own affiliate program with WordPress (and/or on a platform like Sharasale or Impact Radius) we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
In affiliate marketing, last click is often used to describe an affiliate program where the last affiliate to get a user to click a link and make a purchase is the one to be credited with the sale – even if a valid cookie from a prior click on a different affiliate's link still exists on the users computer. There has long been a debate between whether first click or last click is most beneficial to both the affiliate and the merchant.

A lot of consideration, time, and effort go into launching and maintaining a successful affiliate program. The various platforms and plugins out there are geared towards different types of people and business needs. If you’ve created and run your own affiliate program with WordPress (and/or on a platform like Sharasale or Impact Radius) we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below.
If you’re planning to create content on your own, you’ll have to commit to it wholeheartedly because the life of your affiliate marketing business relies on regularly-published content. If you’re planning to hire someone to craft the content for you, that’s totally OK too. Either way, here are awesome tips you could follow when it comes to creating content for your affiliate marketing site:
Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.
Since publishers generate income from the traffic their website generates, they are tasked with marketing. The affiliate must attract potential customers to their content, and convince them that the merchant’s product is worth buying. Publishers market products to the consumer through a range of channels: digital billboards, social networks, and search engines using content marketing on websites or blogs. We’ll cover how this is done further along the article.

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.
If your audience is looking to launch an online business, migrate their ecommerce platform, or simply interested in ecommerce content, we encourage you to apply for the BigCommerce affiliate program. Our team will carefully review your application. Once approved, you will receive access to support, tracking, reporting, payments, and have your own unique affiliate link to track every referral you generate. BigCommerce is committed to the success of our affiliate partners.
For years now WordPress has been perhaps the best platform in the world for creating affiliate blogs and websites. Affiliate marketing is one of the key ways many professional bloggers generate revenue. But there are two sides to the affiliate marketing coin–the side of the affiliates themselves who sell others’ products to turn a profit and that of the product creators.
ClickBank is known for handling the affiliate programs of digital products like ebooks, software and even membership sites. So if you wish to promote toys, clothing, or other products on your website, ClickBank wouldn’t be the most appropriate network to join.Amazon Associates continue to be the choice of people new to affiliate marketing, since Amazon has thousands of products readily available at any given time.
Social media marketers often say sponsored social messages (the ones you pay for) are more effective than many of the other marketing tactics. Paid social ads increase your reach and since social media platforms have a lot of information about their users demographics and behaviour, these can be leveraged to target your desired audience. If you want to put your money where your mouth is, your best bet is through the follow platforms.
An affiliate uses a tracking link to promote products and offers. Tracking links via cookies include a unique affiliate ID. When someone browsing the affiliate’s site and clicks on this special link, your affiliate ID is stored on their browser within a text file. The text file is called a cookie. The cookie remains in the visitor’s browser for a month or so, or until the cookie is cleared from the browser manually. The reason for tracking with cookies is that if the customer comes back a few days later and completes a sale or any suggested action, the lead is still attributed to the affiliate, via the original affiliate ID.
The best WordPress hosting – Your affiliate site has to be super-fast for good user experience. You don’t need downtimes on repeat, and you definitely don’t want to lose your site to a hacker. Furthermore, you need enough server resources for when your site grows. How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting has your back covered. If you need a quick fix, we recommend WPEngine and Siteground among these other quality web hosts.
People new to affiliate marketing often mistake PPC for just writing an advertisement with your target keywords thrown in and leaving it at that. Indeed that’s part of it, but that alone won’t get you many sales. To justify paying for PPC, you need to familiarise yourself with how AdWords and Analytics works. A big part of PPC is tracking everything to be sure of what keywords are generating conversions, thus worth bidding on, and which aren’t.

1 – The first site you should throw up is a personal blog or company website if you’re a registered business.The reason being is because in order to start promoting affiliate products and programs, you must first be approved by the affiliate network. Having a personal blog or business website is a great way to showcase credibility and that you are serious. It is NOT necessary but highly recommended.


List three to five types of products you would like to market. Depending upon the business model you chose, you may decide to market products you enjoy or you may decide to market only products that have the most profit potential for your affiliate business. Limit yourself to just a few products in the beginning so that you don't become overwhelmed.
I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.

Justine has managed affiliate programs for companies such as Shopify and Freshbooks. She is able to give this course a fresh prospective - from that of an affiliate manager! This is an amazing bonus that will show you how to always get approved to an affiliate program. She has assessed thousands of applications over the years and there's a lot that goes into the yes/no. 

Gated content is where people have to hand over some information such as their email address to view your content. Ungated content is available for anyone to access freely. The choice is up to you which one fits your goals. Some affiliates depend on gated resources for lead generation so this can be a useful tool in your arsenal. Most content marketers agree that ungated content works out best in the long. Having something that’s open and shareable and building up a readership might be more gratuitous than getting a few email addresses for example.
One last word of advice on products; don’t recommend something you don’t believe in just to get a click. Find something that you are happy to promote and that your target audience will benefit from. That’s not to say that you should be using each product you recommend. You should just trust that the product is worth your visitors hard earned cash. It won’t serve you well to willingly recommend anything that may affect your reputation among your site visitors. If a product doesn’t rate well, it’s advantageous all round to offer alternatives.
When there are multiple affiliates involved in one transaction, payment gets much more complicated. Sometimes it’s even possible for affiliates to jump in at the last minute and claim commissions for customers brought in by other affiliates. Successful programs use multi-channel attribution to ensure the affiliates that create the most value get paid the most.

Since publishers generate income from the traffic their website generates, they are tasked with marketing. The affiliate must attract potential customers to their content, and convince them that the merchant’s product is worth buying. Publishers market products to the consumer through a range of channels: digital billboards, social networks, and search engines using content marketing on websites or blogs. We’ll cover how this is done further along the article.
In affiliate marketing, first click is often used to describe an affiliate program where the first affiliate to get a user to click a link and make a purchase within the limits of the cookie expiration is the one to be credited with the sale, even if the user landed on another affiliate's website and actually converted after clicking on a link from the second site. There has long been a debate between whether first click or last click is most beneficial to both the affiliate and the merchant.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.

Previously known as Affiliate Window but now officially referred to as “AWIN” after acquiring Zanox a few years ago, this network claims to work with over 13,000 active advertisers and 100,000 publishers (affiliates). Founded in Germany, AWIN’s merchants primarily hail from Europe (especially Great Britain) although the U.S. network is growing rapidly. AWIN is currently active in 11 countries.

Affiliate marketing is popular among digital marketers since it’s a straightforward way to earn some additional income without having to shell out any money in advance. Even so, anyone hoping to earn a full-time living this way has to be prepared to put in the work. It requires a concerted effort in pushing products and services through all possible online mediums.


To those on the outside, affiliate marketing can seem like a black box. It’s inner workings are mysterious to most marketers and in many companies it’s not treated with the same seriousness as other channels. Some marketers, only familiar with the bad reputation acquired by some industry players in the 2000s, deride it as a source of spam and little more.

It can be tricky to Include an affiliate marketing link on a video broadcasting platform. Making informational videos combined with text content is a great way to promote products. You could host videos on your own site, or embed them into a related blog post. You could even compliment the video with a written version of the how/to guide to optimize for your keywords and boost your pages SEO. 

Banners – after testing them out I decided to take down my banner ads since they looked salesy and weren’t working like my affiliate links did. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can do this using a plugin like Widget Logic.
The product review website model is great since many shoppers use the internet to save time researching their potential purchases. If you choose this website type be prepared to face alot of competition. Since there are so many review sites out there you must find an approach or ‘hook’ that is unique to set your site apart. It’s best to drill down into a small segment of your niche and expand from there instead of casting a large net over an entire market. 
SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic 

Also sometimes spelled as “Click Thru Rate”. A metric used to show the number of times your affiliate link has been clicked on compared to the number of times the link has been viewed displayed as a percentage. To find your CTR, simply take the number of clicks the link has received and divide it by the number of impressions (times the link was shown) and times the result by 100 to get your CTR percentage. Example – if you are displaying a banner ad that has had 100 impressions and received 1 click, then you would take 1 (clicks) and divide it by 100 (impressions) to get .01 (result) and multiply that by 100 to arrive at a CTR of 1%.
If there’s no products on Amazon for “High end” then you have no Amazon products to promote and no way on earning any commission. Why not try keywords like Best (x) or Luxury (y) where there will be more search volume. Let’s say you want to promote hammocks, you can then target search KWs such as Best Hammock for Under $100, Most Comfortable Hammock, Luxury Hammocks etc. Let me know how you get on.
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