Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[30] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
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.
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.
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.
SkimLinks is primarily for established content producers (bloggers) who want to monetize their content. With a powerful WordPress plugin and scripts for just about any website type, setting up SkimLinks is very easy. And because you have access to all offers on their platform after you’re approved, SkimLinks is very well designed for affiliates who don’t want to spend a lot of time fiddling around with settings and other fine-tuning.
“When we came to Brick Marketing initially, we had a small subset of challenges we didn’t have the bandwidth to tackle in house. Our idea was simply to send out the work and be done with it. A one-shot deal. What we found mid way into the first project, was that Nick Stamoulis and Brick Marketing had a depth of understanding and approach to solving our Search Engine Marketing problems that we had not considered; solutions that dramatically improved our search engine ranking position on terms and improved the overall size of our index listing (by more than 25% in the first two months). In short order we expanded our horizons and enlisted his talents to take on refining and improving ROI on our rather expensive Pay Per Click campaigns, as well as having him consult on microsite projects and blogs. Nick Stamoulis of Brick Marketing helped us understand what works and why, and helping us maintain our dominant position in the SERPs, despite the markets constant resetting and ever-changing drama. I could not have gotten through this year without Brick Marketing’s assistance and advice. I couldn’t give a stronger recommendation; they are simply great!”
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.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]

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.
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.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.[37]

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.
Price per click (PPC) is a popular way of promoting affiliate products. Bid on relevant keywords related to each product you are trying to market and your adverts will show when someone searches for these terms in a search engine. For example, if someone searches for a certain type of bestselling book such as Harry Potter and Amazon are bidding on a related keyword such as JK Rowling book, Harry Potter book, Amazon’s paid-for advertisements might show up in their results.
Leadpages also offers an option for affiliates to send referrals to attend a Leadpages webinar with standard commissions paid for any sale generated from the webinar. However, Leadpages requires you to get at least 150 people to sign up (but not necessarily attend) each webinar. Leadpages also offers affiliates the ability to view blog posts and videos on Leadpages’s site, again with the standard commission paid for any sales.
For a slightly different take on the subject and figuring out how to get targeted traffic onto your promoted links, you must have a look at Affiliate Marketing: Instant Traffic to Affiliate Links. A quick look at the reviews will help you decide if this is the exact course you are looking for. Sometimes the right approach is what is required to make a campaign work, this one might just work for you. 

Becoming a part of an affiliate network is an excellent strategy for bloggers looking to up their current income or even just to begin actually making money from their blog. There are several options when it comes to affiliate marketing as well as strategies for making affiliate marketing work for you. Below I will teach you what is affiliate marketing, examples of affiliate marketing in blogging, affiliate strategies and some of the top affiliate networks to join.


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.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 
Let’s start by looking at the competition. Where are their gaps? If you can beat it, this is a good place to start. By now you should have an understanding of your target audience. This is the time to think about what makes them tick. Use anything you have to build a picture. Look into keywords and search queries to see what people are looking for, and any existing analytics you have. If you’ve written a well performing blog article, is there room to expand on that topic?
Still need more help deciding how to choose an affiliate marketing niche? Here is an article I wrote that might help you out. Choosing a good affiliate marketing niche can be overwhelming, so if you’re a bit stuck on what niche industry to go after, rest assured that is perfectly normal. You’ll be spending a lot of time creating content around whatever niche you choose, so really put some thought into it.
Once you've protected your prospecting pool, maximize your affiliate program by working with the best and leaving the rest. As the old 80/20 adage implies, most of your revenue will come from a very small percentage of your affiliates. Because it can be time-consuming to manage a larger affiliate network, consider selecting only a few companies initially, and interview them before signing them on. Affiliates are an extension of your sales force and represent your online brand, so choose partners carefully.
Validating your product idea is easy, you can either check out if there is any advertisement related to the niche, or you can simply ask people about it. Yes, just read the comments from YouTube, Facebook, or from Twitter, and then just ask those who are interested in the post, “Hey, would you like to buy a step-by-step video series that shows you exactly how to do that?”
One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals. 

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.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
Many years ago, I was a broke college student in debt up to my eyeballs. I couldn’t even afford my own place. I became a full-time over-the-road truck driver and was working 70 to 80hrs+ per week, away from home for weeks or even months at a time, and was living in a space the size of a walk-in closet. To make matters worse, I was getting paid chump change.

Upselling is a sales technique where the salesperson encourages a more expensive purchase by a customer by persuading them to get an upgraded version of an item or to purchase add-ons. Remember our food processor example? That food processor could probably be best used with a book of recipes, which also can be purchased at the same company’s website.

Communicate with affiliate managers — Your affiliate managers should have a strong grasp on your activities and placements of offers. This helps them identify any low hanging fruit for affiliates. Tap into that knowledge and communicate with them. Although, they can’t provide 1:1 training, they can point you in the right direction and help get started or improve performance.


The people that you refer too did not master amazon, they merely mastered the value they offer to visitors. If you are able to engage/connect with visitors, then you got a winner, some people merely have better skills then others, which may include offering high value content, coding/custom skills. Do you agree that these people brought something to the table? If they did not, then visitors would not continue to visit their sites, right? You can put up all the content in the world, you can get all the backlinks you want, but if you can not engage/connect with your visitors, then all is lost. These site most likely did not start off with custom sites; they started off just like everyone else, some rag/tag site. I ran across an affiliate site a few months ago, and the content on his site would just blow your mind, and let me tell you,this guy had affiliate links from all major affiliate networks, his site has so much authority that he is listed right up under amazon, and some actual product manufacturers; how did he do this? He brought solutions, and value to his visitors, he knew what they were looking for, and knows how to engage, and connect with them. If you can not figure out how to blow your visitors mind, then what do you really have to offer? His avg reviews were between 7k-10k words? how about you? 500-1000 words? at the end of the day, which site will google find more impressive, yours, or his, and i assure you, he had far more affiliate links on his site then you have on yours as you could not skip-a-paragraph without seeing affiliate links.
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.
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.
“Brick Marketing is extremely valuable for feedback and advice in many aspects of marketing, not just SEO and I look forward to continuing to work with them over the long term to continually improve our business and increase sales. That’s what it’s all about. Just like their name implies, Brick Marketing is rock solid and essential in building a strong marketing foundation.”
Because of the affiliate website’s commission, the profit margin on products sold is lower, but total volume of sales tends to be higher. Products that particularly benefit from high exposure, such as books and music, are good candidates for an affiliate marketing strategy (See also Product Marketing). Entertainment, and particularly gaming, has also experienced growth through such marketing. Other business sectors that are growing through affiliate marketing include finance, travel, and mobile-phone sales.
I wish I could give more than 5 stars because this course deserves more stars. I have learned a lot by taking this course. I was able to complete two websites making them look half way decent because I used what was taught to create the websites in a matter of days. I still have to add content to the website but I was able to accomplish more by taking this course than I have by taking other courses. I really felt like I accomplished something by taking this course. I plan to watch it again several times. This course is great for anyone wanting to build a website. The website does not have to be an affiliate website. I advise everyone to use the same theme that he uses in the course. I will take more of his courses for sure. – Latoya Simmons
The trainers Phil Ebiner and Diego Davila are very proficient when it comes to all things digital marketing. Having taught 600,000+ students on a variety of subjects till date, they are more experienced than you can believe. Affiliate marketing is incomplete without in depth knowledge of digital marketing and that is exactly what this course wishes to fulfill in 32.5 hours of intense training. You will learn about platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest in addition to finding more about Email Marketing, Quora, Google Adwords and much more.
Adam Bosch is a Master Digital Marketer who has been running online businesses for 7 years+. Through various methodologies across affiliate marketing, SEO, internet businesses and more, he has come up with some really important tricks that will help you grow your business online. The nuggets in this course aren’t ones that are freely available online, but deep insights that are well worth paying for.
Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!
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.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steadier revenue stream for your website. 
“Brick Marketing has been a tremendous resource for our business. Through their expertise with the ever changing world of SEO, our web presence is as strong as ever. Our working relationship with Nick Stamoulis and Danielle Bachini has been outstanding. In collaboration with web designer Chris Roberts, we were also able to develop the perfect responsive website that truly reflects our business. Thank you Brick Marketing!​”
If you choose this model you’ll have the best results if you post high-quality content daily and interact with your audience through social media, questions and answers, and email. Expect to be very personally involved with your audience since this model demands the most from you. Further, it takes some time to build both your reputation and your audience so have some patience using this approach.
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.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
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:
In short, you must create excellent content, which will drive high quality traffic to your site from free search engines, at which point you can “pre-sell” those visitors by giving them so much awesome information that when you make a product or service recommendation, they are happy to buy. THAT is when you can monetize. I highly recommend you read this full article on the CTPM process as I use this process for ALL of my affiliate marketing websites.
Kathy Burns-Millyard has been a professional writer since 1997. Originally specializing in business, technology, environment and health topics, Burns now focuses on home, garden and hobby interest articles. Her garden work has appeared on GardenGuides.com and other publications. She enjoys practicing Permaculture in her home garden near Tucson, Ariz.
I can also promise you this… Once you see those residual payments coming in, all that effort will be totally worth it. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is check my phone to see how much money I made while I slept. When I go on vacation, I will still get paid, even though I’m doing no work. It’s incredible and YOU can have this lifestyle too. You just need some guidance.
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 
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.

Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!

… ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors… you won’t see it on the results all the time — only when we think that a link to a section would be highly useful for a particular query.


Keyword Planner gives a good impression about search volume for each keyword on Google’ search engine including the number of clicks it receives plus its average cost per click. Bing Keyword Tool which is very similar to Google’s tool but all keywords here are related to Bing. Long Tail Pro is one of the best paid keyword research tools available. It’s useful for finding high volume keywords.
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.
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.

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.
Affiliate marketing on prominent coupon sites such as Groupon and RetailMeNot have proven to be highly successful. People love a bargain, and savvy shoppers there are often discounts available when shopping online. The best thing about this type of content is that instead of relying on your content and brand influence to push for conversions, you can rely on your readers love of a bargain. These shoppers perform searches to seek out these discounts. There are a lot of coupon style websites dedicated to promoting affiliate products to capitalize on this search traffic. 
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