After starting an affiliate business and signing up for the affiliate program(s), you will get a special URL known as a tracking link that you can use to drive visitors to the product page. This tracking link will track any sales generated by you, and the company will credit the commission in your account. This is basically what starting an affiliate business is all about.

Affiliate marketing has increased in prominence with the internet age. Amazon popularized the practice by creating an affiliate marketing program where websites and bloggers put links to the Amazon page for a product being reviewed or discussed in order to receive advertising fees when a purchase is made. In this sense, affiliate marketing is essentially a pay for performance marketing program where the act of selling a consumer on a product is outsourced across a potentially vast network.
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.
Your website works for you 24/7 without a human manning your site and can pull earnings in around the clock. You have a never-ending list of products and services to promote. And, my personal favorite, you don’t even have to worry about inventory, storage, customer service, handling, shipping and other day-to-day operational issues faced by ecommerce stores.
After being accepted into an affiliate program, marketers receive a unique URL that includes their affiliate ID. They share that unique URL with their subscribers, site visitors, and social networks via text links or ads. When someone clicks on that link, affiliate software records that click and any resulting product sales in the affiliate’s account. When commissions reach a pre-determined threshold, the affiliate is paid. 

On one hand, long and ugly affiliate tracking links are a straight giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "nicer" looking will it give a more professional appearance. One of my favorite plugins for making links look "pretty" is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin.
We covered the essentials on what you need to get started with affiliate marketing. The domain, hosting, and CMS are the backbone and you are responsible on filling it with great content. Our next section we will cover how to find the right niches which also will come into play with what domain you choose to register. So if you’re anxious we would recommend waiting for the next article as it will make sense on why a domain can make or break your website. Like we said, we could get really technical with the steps but that would just make this guide a little over your head. Any questions you have feel free to email us and we will help you get it sorted.
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.
A page on your website or blog that informs site visitors what you do with their personal information – whether received via contact forms, etc or through any anonymous tracking methods. A website is required to have a privacy policy by many merchants to participate in their affiliate program. It is also required to use Google AdSense and Google Analytics.
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.

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.
"I started my blog in March 2015 and didn't even know what affiliate marketing meant. And....I didn't do much about it. I think my largest month was around $500 last year and then died down to sometimes only a few bucks per month. It wasn't my focus, but I didn't realize I was leaving money on the table, meaning I was losing money every month! I decided to enroll in Michelle's course, and I quickly noticed I didn't know a thing when it came to true Affiliate Marketing! No wonder it just 'wasn't working for me'...
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.
You don’t mention Zazzle’s affiliate program. I’m a designer there so am automatically enrolled. Perhaps Zazzle has been overlooked because, until now, there wasn’t really a professonial quality plugin to do all the work? Now there’s NiftyGridZPro, which not only creates great grids, responsively designed, it also has optional inbuilt search and pagination. But making it soar is its real-time global slot messaging system. All links are rel=nofollow and best SEO practices used.
An e-commerce merchant that wants to be able to reach a wider base of internet users and shoppers may hire an affiliate. An affiliate could be the owner of multiple websites or email marketing lists; therefore, the more websites or email lists that an affiliate has, the wider his network. The affiliate that has been hired would then communicate and promote the products offered on the ecommerce platform to his network. The affiliate does this by implementing banner ads, text ads and/or links on their multiple owned websites or via email to their clientele. Advertisement could be in the form of articles, videos, images, etc., which are used to draw an audience’s attention to a service or product.
Affiliate marketing educational products abound. There are tons of programs and eBooks online, promising to teach you the “secrets” to success. The problem is, there just too much to learn on ones own. Affiliate marketing is a competitive and complicated industry and someone starting off without the proper training, professional help, and solid plan, will get hopelessly lost and confused. If you try to learn affiliate marketing on your own, your chances of success are close to nil. First of all, the training products you purchase will probably be outdated because the affiliate marketing industry is changing constantly. Something that worked well only a month ago could now be obsolete.

Affiliates are the ones who connect the customers to the products through whatever channel they see fit. It can be the affiliate promoting the products via social media, blogs, or digital advertisements such as banners, etc. Customers do not really need to understand that they are a part of the affiliate marketing system to make the whole thing works.
This, is most likely one of the absolutely best courses on building amazon affiliate sites. Trust me, the explanations are extremely in-depth and understandable, I never had any experience in this field but I learned everything with ease and got to work right away thanks to the instructor’s very broad understanding of SEO. This is easily one of the top affiliate marketing courses and I realy thank the instructor for putting together such an amazing course, and sharing it with other people. If you want an A-Z explanation of amazon affiliate marketing, you will not be dissapointed by this course! – Beleuta Teodor
Return on Investment. I can be calculated via the same method as ROAS, but in the interest of diversity, I'll show you an alternate option to calculate it. To calculate the ROI on a campaign, you can take the gross profit from running the campaign minus the cost of running the campaign and divide it by the cost of running the campaign and times it by 100 to get a percentage that the investment returned. Example – if you spent $200 to run a campaign and you made a gross profit of $600, you would take $600 (gross profit) – $200 (campaign cost) to get $400 and then divide $400 by $200 (campaign cost) to get 2 and multiply that by 100 to find a 200% ROI for the campaign.
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
Tip 18. Only Promote the Best Affiliate Programs. This tip is kind of a repeat of one I just went over but a smaller scope. Finding the best affiliates that reflect your interests will give you a much better result. That’s because you might already be using that product or serve or you truly have interest in the product or service. I always experience my affiliates because I never want to promote something I haven’t tried myself and that’s because if someone asks me I want to be able to tell them exactly what I have received from the product.
So while I think affiliate programs are great and potentially offer up a lot of benefits, I’d also advise anyone thinking of starting one to consider the fact that as it grows so does your commitment to managing it. Resources will have to be diverted from your core business to support your network of affiliates as well as time spent preventing fraud or other problems that can arise. 

Refers to a product being returned or a sale “falling through” that you were already paid for. Since the sale didn't actually finalize, the merchant will deduct the amount you were previously given in commission for that sale from your affiliate commissions. In lead generation, this can also occur if the merchant decides the leads sent were unqualified or fraudulent in nature.
I have loaded a video on how to install different WordPress themes and how to start building your website below.  There are 10 total videos that will load back to back without you having to do anything but watch.  So have at it.  Have fun.  And let’s make some money together.  Please make sure to bookmark this site so you can come back for more tutorials to learn how to generate traffic and start earning passive income.
Affiliates are most successful when the products they promote match the interests of their followers and subscribers. In addition, many successful affiliate marketers advise recommending and promoting only products that the affiliate is personally familiar with. That’s because familiarity with the product, program, or service helps build trust between the affiliate and end-user.

affiliate 101 Amazon AM Days attribution BBJ Black Friday BlogHer Bonobos conferences CRM Customer Service Cyber Monday e-book Entrepreneur flex schedules Fraud Fremium FTC global Global Affiliate Google holidays incrementality Lending Bubble Mortage NDA Outsourcing Pacesetters Panda Pay Per Click Pinnacle Awards Rent the Runway Revenue Sales Strategy SEO ShareASale Shop.org small business Start-Up summer meeting trademark hijacking volunteering Wayfair webinar working parents


Web Hosting – In order for your website to be visible on the internet, you’ll need to have a “web host”. A web hosting service allows you to basically rent a web server. That web server is what enables your website to be seen by anyone who visits your site. Again, don’t get intimidated by this. I will set you up with a web host that does everything automatically for you.
Despite its older origins, email lists are still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
Building trust with your audience is paramount in affiliate marketing, and the quickest way to lose trust is to recommend products either you haven’t used before or that aren’t a good fit for your audience. Also make sure you never tell anyone to directly buy a product, you are simply recommending the product. The more helpful you are and the more you make quality recommendations, the more likely your web visitors will come back for your expertise. 
In April 2008 the State of New York inserted an item in the state budget asserting sales tax jurisdiction over Amazon.com sales to residents of New York, based on the existence of affiliate links from New York–based websites to Amazon.[41] The state asserts that even one such affiliate constitutes Amazon having a business presence in the state, and is sufficient to allow New York to tax all Amazon sales to state residents. Amazon challenged the amendment and lost at the trial level in January 2009. The case is currently making its way through the New York appeals courts.
But I’m about to show you how easy it is to start your own affiliate marketing website or blog without having any technical skills or coding experience. In fact, you can get started today. As in right NOW. Below I have put together for you a step-by-step tutorial in ridiculous detail (including screenshots) on how to get your new website online in minutes.

If you create a product or service then affiliate marketing can be used to generate buzz and ensure a successful launch. It’s also highly effective at generating leads, trials, and sales. Since you only pay commission after a genuine sale is made, there’s a minimal amount of risk involved. Once you set up your program and find affiliates, it’s a relatively self-sustaining channel that basically manages itself. This frees you up to pursue new marketing initiatives or focus on other areas of your business.
Tip 18. Only Promote the Best Affiliate Programs. This tip is kind of a repeat of one I just went over but a smaller scope. Finding the best affiliates that reflect your interests will give you a much better result. That’s because you might already be using that product or serve or you truly have interest in the product or service. I always experience my affiliates because I never want to promote something I haven’t tried myself and that’s because if someone asks me I want to be able to tell them exactly what I have received from the product.
For those who want to figure out how to sell Amazon products and make money off it, this course on 2017 Affiliate Marketing + SEO Strategy could be ideal for you. It’s a quick course that teaches how to build an amazon affiliate website, brushes you on the latest SEO techniques but may not be enough if you are looking at an advanced curriculum. The trainer Isli Hoxha, Website Developer & Growth Hacker will teach you marketing in depth.
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.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[18][19] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]

Hi Jamie, awesome content that is very helpful esp with the resources, links and the rich discussions. Want to start e-commerce and blog for money…selling others products, want to go full on with this, tired of the daily routine crunch working for others. I live in a developing country (PNG) that has high internet costs (work still in progress with getting rates down…) so will see how I go with your posts. Any advise? Don’t have a website yet, have to build one I guess….

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.
Hey there, my name is Mike! I’ve been a full-time affiliate marketer for several years now and each year my business grows and grows through residual income. Literally, every morning when I wake up, I check to see how much money I made while I slept. I live and work literally wherever I want, when I want, as long as I want, and I do not sell any of my own products. How awesome is that?! You can read my full affiliate marketing success story here.
Browsing between products, you’ll notice a steep difference in the amount of commission offered from one to the next. Often, you’ll find there is a trade-off between the quality of a product and the commission paid. Naturally, it’s tempting to gravitate toward the products that pay the most per sales (conversion). But, realistically, if those products are unlikely to convert, they might not be the best fit.
Affiliates are the ones who connect the customers to the products through whatever channel they see fit. It can be the affiliate promoting the products via social media, blogs, or digital advertisements such as banners, etc. Customers do not really need to understand that they are a part of the affiliate marketing system to make the whole thing works.
The neat thing about affiliate marketing is that it’s beneficial for all the involved parties. Advertisers, publishers, and customers alike get something from this type of relationship. Think about it: if you provide a service or have a product, affiliate marketing is a convenient way to sell more with a smaller outlay than traditional advertising. Publishers have a way to earn money without stocking a product, and customers can find what they’re looking for while supporting sites they find helpful.
At the time, I had a ton of people reaching out wanting to hire me (I ranked my self #1 in Google for WordPress SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, many other good keywords). Unfortunately I struggled with basic things you need to run a service-based business… keeping track of clients, time management, and making sure I was charging clients for my time (and getting them to create content which often seemed impossible).

For those who want to figure out how to sell Amazon products and make money off it, this course on 2017 Affiliate Marketing + SEO Strategy could be ideal for you. It’s a quick course that teaches how to build an amazon affiliate website, brushes you on the latest SEO techniques but may not be enough if you are looking at an advanced curriculum. The trainer Isli Hoxha, Website Developer & Growth Hacker will teach you marketing in depth.


Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.
Web Hosting – In order for your website to be visible on the internet, you’ll need to have a “web host”. A web hosting service allows you to basically rent a web server. That web server is what enables your website to be seen by anyone who visits your site. Again, don’t get intimidated by this. I will set you up with a web host that does everything automatically for you.
×