I went from making $20k in 2016 to $100k in 2017 by dropping my web design/SEO clients and doing affiliate marketing/blogging full-time. 90% of my (passive) affiliate income comes from SiteGround, a hosting company who awarded me affiliate of the month in July, 2017 when I made $9k in 1 month. Since then I’ve continued to hit numbers like this – the screenshot below is from March, 2018 when I made $14.5k in 1 month (just with SiteGround).
The two main parties involved in the affiliate relationship are the merchant (sometimes also called “advertiser”), and the affiliate (sometimes called “publisher”). There are different ways to run, manage and promote affiliate programs, which involve more parties in the relationship, but the two main participants (without which the existence of the very marketing channel would’ve not been possible) are: (a) the party that has the product (or service), and (b) the party that knows how to sell it.
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.

Nick Schäferhoff is an entrepreneur, online marketer, and professional blogger from Germany. He found WordPress when he needed a website for his first business and instantly fell in love. When not building websites, creating content or helping his clients improve their online business, he can most often be found at the gym, the dojo or traveling the world with his wife. If you want to get in touch with him, you can do so via Twitter or through his website.
You have to study the terms and conditions of the affiliate network closely before signing up. This is crucial to starting an affiliate business. Some companies within the affiliate network have their own terms and conditions that you have to accept before you can promote their products. Most of the affiliate programs require you to write a disclaimer and put it up on your website at an accessible location. The disclaimer must clearly mention that you are earning money by promoting the product as an affiliate. The disclaimer has to be published before you promote your website and generate a large number of sales.

If you can strike deals with local businesses to score your users great discounts, you can rake in an immense fortune in commissions. The internet is rife with daily deals websites because they are considerably easy to set up and the business model is rather straightforward. The more deals you dispense, the bigger the affiliate commission. You can serve adverts on the side to supplement your income.
4. I don't reveal earnings or make income claims on the blog. Let's just say that I've been running this blog for 8 months now, often working 12hrs per day on it, and if you look at how much income the blog has generated I'd be working at below minimum wage. But that's fine as this is a long term project and it's what I expected, I'm not here for quick cash.
These two services are requirements for a successful affiliate marketing website. While there are free options available, I never recommend setting up your first affiliate marketing website on a free platform. For more information about why I do not recommend setting up a free affiliate marketing website, you can read my article about why free affiliate marketing websites are a waste of time.
Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing.
I LOVE Michelle and my Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing community. There’s the notion out there that you are the average of the 5 people you hang out with. When I started “hanging out with” high-income bloggers on the interwebs, my blog income started to skyrocket. I firmly believe you need to surround yourself with people who share your goals and are at least one step ahead of you. It encourages you to step up your game.
We can setup the website to automatically post all new content as tweets to Twitter. This helps get each new page a backlink from Twitter, which in turn will help new pages get indexed. Besides new pages on the site, it is also a good idea to post other content to the Twitter account, and we can use RSS feeds for that. This will help keep our Twitter account "real" and not just look like a self-promotion tool.
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.
When it comes to creating profitable affiliate websites, you need to focus on adding great content that your readers will love and appreciate. I’m not talking about filler content that doesn’t add any value or teach anything useful; instead, you need to be building your sites based around cutting-edge information, advice, and resources for your visitors.

This site provides ridiculously-researched digital marketing resources... with the goal of having the deepest, freshest, most useable ones possible. And we recently removed, like, 90% of the ads! There are still some banners and affiliate links in areas where it is highly relevant, even useful, and it helps fund our fanatical research. [more info ]


So far, you have learned the four parties involved in affiliate marketing, you have seen the examples of some successful affiliate websites and networks, you have also learned the payment and different types of affiliate programs out there, plus, you already know how to become an affiliate or a product vendor, it is now your time to make this work.
Affiliates work to introduce their visitors to the merchant’s brand. They might write a post about a new product or promotion on the merchant’s site, feature banner ads on their site that drive people to the merchant’s site, or offer visitors a special coupon code. If people come from that affiliate’s site and make a purchase, that affiliate gets paid.

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
Let's look at the affiliate program of a fictional company called Daisy's Emporium. Daisy's Emporium sells all kinds of things online for a very reasonable price. Everybody knows about this store, and almost everybody has made a purchase online through this store. It's a trusted store. On its website, Daisy's Emporium mentions its affiliate marketing program and how it pays each affiliate 10 percent of each sale they make. That's a pretty good percentage, especially since most customers of Daisy's Emporium make a purchase of at least $100. A 10 percent commission from a $100 order is $10. If you spend one hour working on your affiliate marketing and make five sales, then you could potentially earn $50.
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.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a great learning tool, even if you are a brand new blogger. By taking this course, you will start off blogging the correct way. You can learn from my affiliate marketing mistakes and learn the best ways to start making an income by being an affiliate. Through taking this course you are sure to grow a profitable blog quicker than the average blogger, as you'll learn exactly what you need to know about affiliate marketing. So, even if you only have one blog post, you are ready to get started with this course!
The audience comes back for more because the best content like this offers real world, practical advice. Check out the site Moneysupermarket, usually you’ll notice there are no advertisements. All revenue is generated from affiliate links. Considering that these links are performance-based, this is a testament to the fact that this model works. These links are generating conversions.
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.
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to the course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own. Plus, this course won't always be offered at this price, as new strategies and information will continually be added. You won't have to pay a penny for any updates, though. Once you purchase, you will receive all updates for free.
Your web host is responsible for hosting all of the files necessary for your site to function. When choosing a web host you’re going to have a variety of options to choose from. Some will be dedicated towards sites with large volumes of traffic, while others will specifically host WordPress sites. We offer a detailed breakdown of hosting options here.
How many times have you done a Google search for some information, only to come across a website that doesn’t actually offer anything useful? In this situation, you are far more likely to hit your browser’s back button in disgust, never to return. On the other hand, if the website offers content (articles, blog posts, videos, pictures etc) that actually give you what you are looking for in the first place, you will be far more likely to continue reading and maybe even purchase from that website.
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….
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….
Some merchants will create a specific and custom landing page for an affiliate to send referrals to that contains both the merchant's branding and the referring affiliate's branding. Example – a merchant might create a page on the merchant's website that shows a lead form that contains both the merchant's logo and the specific affiliate's logo on the page. This is referred to as Co-branding. Many times merchants limit Co-Branding opportunities to only being available to Super Affiliates.
Basically, within the whole customer conversion funnel, from awareness stage to purchase, there should be a strong match between your product and your audience. In the funnel, customers start with the awareness stage. And when the product has great conversion rates, it means that customers move quicker through the funnel down to the sale stage, where brands and affiliates make money.
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.

Once you know “What is affiliate marketing?” you can begin to consider whether it’s a good tactic for your business. You need to work with professionals once you can define affiliate marketing. They know the most common mistakes and can provide helpful affiliate marketing tips. You don’t want to waste your money advertising on another’s web site, make sure you’re getting on a profit return on your dollars. Affiliate marketing is another tool for your business to compete in today’s tech-hungry world. But like other tools, if not properly used you can even damage the traffic heading to your site. A poorly designed, poorly placed advertisement can make viewers think twice about your competitor. You want to send your competitor an ad that makes them a little scared. Many businesses have exploded due to affiliate marketing in your company could be next.
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.
I love your blog, but one thing that’s been a bit of an eyesore lately is the popup eNewsletter signup form. I’m wondering if you could include key/value pair at the end of a PURL within your eNewsletters to stop this popup from happening to people who came to this post from your eNewsletter. The popup isn’t necessary for these people, and it’s minor inconvenience to an otherwise stellar blog.
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:
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.
Another consideration is how much commission you can make per sale. Info products, such as downloadable e-books, work well for this reason; they cost next to nothing to make and distribute, so the revenue from each sale is pure profit. As an affiliate, you could earn up to 70 percent of an e-book’s sales price. You’d be shocked at how many people will pay as much as $50 for an e-book if it solves a pressing problem they have – and if you get a 70 percent commission, $35 goes directly into your pocket every time you make a sale.
Thanks so much, Stuart! I read the article you sent a link to today: "How To Start Your Own $20K p/m Affiliate Site". I got very intrigued, and then found my way to this tutorial where, serendipitously 🙂 you showcase WhyImSoBroke as your ultimate example in the chapter: "How To Create Your Own Unusual Product Site". Very jazzed about the potential in building a niche weird product site! Thanks again. Wow, what amazing content you post!
By quite a large margin Amazon has the largest affiliate marketing program out there, with products from more than 1.5 million sellers. Amazon has the most easy-to-use technology of all the affiliate programs I will be reviewing today. Beginners to affiliate marketing with even the most limited technical expertise will have no problems in getting up and running with the Amazon associates program, while more experienced marketers can create custom tools and websites with the APIs and advanced implementations available to them. The great thing about Amazon is that anything from kids toys to laptops can generate sales if they are purchased through any Amazon affiliate link.
A year ago, when I ran an ABestWeb contest for the best definition of affiliate marketing, Chris, who ended up winning the first prize, summarized things both eloquently and beautifully. He defined affiliate marketing as “the art of doing a merchant’s marketing better than they can, and profiting from it.” Many successful affiliates (also known as super affiliates) are truly better experts in what they do that most of the merchants that they promote. Consequently, they can market e-tailers’ products/services in such a way that merchants get incremental business, while they themselves make a good living off the per sale commission they get.
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