Affiliate marketing is still one of the most reliable ways to earn a recurring passive income online. It takes more work to build a profitable website than it did a few years ago, but it still can be done. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort at the beginning, but afterward you should be able to outsource most of the work and focus on other projects. 

The key takeaway in product creation is to always start with something that you are already interested or involved in. Plus, choose a topic or niche that you have some knowledge in. If you are a mathematics teacher, you can consider creating online courses to teach mathematics. Or if you know how to design a logo using Photoshop, you can sell digital product courses.

I wish I could promise you an easy way to build an affiliate marketing website and start making money by tonight. I just can’t. There are plenty of “guru’s” out there who promise get rich quick methods. Of course, 99.99999% of those are scams. If you want to find that needle in the haystack, good luck. Over several years I’m still searching for that get rich quick jackpot.
Hi Jamie! Thank you for the great information. I just learned about affiliate marketing last week. The source however, is an older couple who work for World Wide Dreams Builders (WWDB). So, basically Amway. After researching a bit. I have no interest in WWDB and. (It sounds like years of recruiting people with minimal payout) Though, I am highly intrigued by e-commerce and affiliate marketing. Before your post the company I recognized was Amazon. Can you please tell me if that will be the best 1st step. I am currently an unemployed student Veteran. So plan to fully emerge into this business regime and would greatly appreciate your advice on this!!! 

Thats a great point, and I’ve definitely seen my fair share of those “how to start a blog” posts. That’s always been a good fit for people at Location 180, and if they do a good job on the post (truly make it useful) that’s one that doesnt bother me as much – solely because I know how valuable starting a blog can be for your life and goals. So if it’s some personal finance blogger that creates one and you start a blog from that by following their tutorial – all the better!


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.

There’s no point in lying about it: it’s not easy to make a lot of money through affiliate marketing. The best way to understand it is to think of it like a small business: you have to start at square one and build your business from the ground up. You have the advantage of not needing a business loan to begin with, and the fact that you can set your own hours for each day and each week, but you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort into your affiliate marketing business before it will grow.
Cookie period is the time wherein affiliates can still be credited for commissions. It is set by the affiliate network. The browser cookie links a sale to you whenever your site visitor clicks on a particular affiliate link and makes a purchase. The cookie period refers to the time they reach the destination website to the actual time they purchased something from the store. 

Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
Pay-per-click – Another effective way of attracting customers to your affiliate site is to advertise or pay for PPC. You don’t have to go far to look for this one, since Google’s own paid advertising can already do wonders on its own. Fees are only in cents per-click, but this adds up pretty quickly, so expect to shell out $50 or more for a low-budget campaign.
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!
In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[14] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[9]
Affiliate marketing is all about answering the question your target customers are most likely to have when they are deciding which products to buy. Think about your last online purchase. Unless you knew exactly which item you wanted, it’s likely you tried to figure out the difference between to similar (competing) products to determine the best product for you. This type of search query ‘vs’ can be answered with a product comparison article. The objective here isn’t to push for a sale, just like reviews, your focus is on providing every detail your visitors could possibly want, and anything your competitors have left out.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
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.
Choosing a great domain name can be tricky for someone just starting out with affiliate marketing. I’m going to assume you have already chosen a niche for your affiliate marketing website, so you should already know what your site is going to be about. Now it’s time to find a domain name you like that is also available. This can be a little tricky, but good domain names can still be had!
A sound product strategy is a must for new affiliate marketers. Ideally, you should choose a niche that you can make money online with and has a lot of product vendors. This will give you a wide selection of products to offer your online community. However, limit yourself to two or three products at a time, so that you become the expert others turn to and trust when reaching for their wallet.
Keep your content fresh because – stale is just bad. Keep track of trends in your niche and you’ll always ride the wave, instead of following it. Are there holidays deals on offer? Great niche-centric news that can make for a great blog post? Tap into that and stay ahead of the competition. Tools such as Google Alerts and Google Trends among others can be useful in this endeavor.
Cost per mille requires only that the publisher make the advertising available on his or her website and display it to the page visitors in order to receive a commission. Pay per click requires one additional step in the conversion process to generate revenue for the publisher: A visitor must not only be made aware of the advertisement but must also click on the advertisement to visit the advertiser's website.
Looking to build a profitable affiliate website? Or, do you already have an affiliate website that you want to optimize to boost revenue? Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. With the right strategy, you can optimize your website so that it attracts the right traffic, in turn bringing more affiliate revenue to your table.
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.
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
This affiliate network is one of the largest available, and has been in business since 2000. That’s 17 years of experience under their belt already, making them a trustworthy company. They have over 4,000 merchants within their catalogs which span over a wide variety of categories. In January of 2017, ShareASale was acquired by another global affiliate called Awin, thus increasing their reach to a more international crowd.
So an effective affiliate marketing program requires some forethought. The terms and conditions have to be tight, especially if the contract agreement is to pay for traffic rather than sales. The potential for fraud in affiliate marketing is a possibility. Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect; they can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information; they can purchase adwords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone be monitoring affiliates and enforcing the rules. In exchange for that effort, however, a company can access motivated, creative people to help sell their product or services to the world.
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.
Hmmm – there’s this Price Compare plugin but it’s over 2 years old so I wouldn’t recommend it. I know there are many free product comparison add-ons for WooCommerce and EDD, so you could use one of those and simply add each product multiple times (once for each affiliate that offers it). But perhaps another reader has a better plugin or idea to recommend?
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.
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]
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.
Great article! I need to go back to your post many more times for it to properly go in and for me to understand. Sorry if my question is a strange one. I am quite new to the whole concept of amazon affiliate marketing. When we are advertising their products, do we spend any money ourselves? Or we are just middle wares advertising their product? In what case, we have to have inventory? Can we sell products in Amazon?
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.

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.


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. 

LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
888.com is a premium gaming destination and a well established name in the casino and poker circuit. Its site offers numerous sub-brands including 888sport, 888ladies, 888bingo, 888casino and 888poker, as well as ReefClub Casino. The 888 family of companies attract millions of players, and the company provides affiliates with frequent promotions to keep players interested.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
“From the beginning, our new company, AA Global Printing, has provided a superior global service, backed by a solid operations team. What we didn’t have were marketing resources to support the growth of our client base and to build a strong online presence. Fortunately, Brick Marketing has given us a structured website development process/solution and a cost effective “answer” to creating a viable web presence. Moreover, our account rep has been a professional and knowledgeable resource at every turn. Thanks to Nick Stamoulis and the Brick Marketing team, AA Global Printing is marketing with all the right tools ranging from SEO, strong content, a weekly blog, and easy site navigation for our visitors.”

Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.


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.
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.
We’ve compiled a review list of some of the most useful, informative and resourceful courses and training on the subject available. Enrolling yourself for one or more in 2018 could help you add skills and knowledge to your CV and grow in your career. Most importantly, it will make you future ready. (The list has been updated to as per changing trends)
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
You can afford it. If you’re hesitant to purchase the course because money is tight right now (I KNOW how that feels), I strongly discourage you from making the purchase. Michelle offers a payment plan, but personally I am against those because in my mind, if you can’t afford the full price, you can’t afford the course. Please just use the free resources Michelle generously offers on her blog or check out my blogging tips. When your budget is ready for it, THEN you can purchase the course.
These affiliate networks provide a platform for the vendors to publish their products, for the affiliates to manage their promotions, and also provide a safe checkout for the customers. Affiliate networks have been a great place to start sourcing for products to promote for individual affiliates because they do not have to worry about everything else except looking for the right product to promote.

I have been considering affiliate marketing for my web design company.. however not sure if it’s appropriate or not? What does everyone else think? Currently I rely on social media, email marketing, networking and SEO to bring the customers in. I guess I could get local affiliates, however I have tried before and its hard to find genuine people who actually put the effort in!
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