Many affiliate programs run with last-click attribution, where the affiliate receiving the last click before the sale gets 100% credit for the conversion. This is changing. With affiliate platforms providing new attribution models and reporting features, you are able to see a full-funnel, cross-channel view of how individual marketing tactics are working together. For example, you might see that a paid social campaign generated the first click, Affiliate X got click 2, and Affiliate Y got the last click. With this full picture, you can structure your affiliate commissions so that Affiliate X gets a percentage of the credit for the sale, even though they didn’t get the last click. 

Do you have any opinions about sites that got hit with Google Fred for having too much affiliate content? I think one of your other sites got hit (not TYS) and I saw you add a lot of new content but it’s not going up much. The same thing happened to me; I had too much affiliate content and got penalized; added more content but it’s not helping. I am thinking of just starting a new site and redirecting links to the new site. I feel like this penalty is unrecoverable….


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.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
I absolutely see the value in affiliate sales (and Pay Flynn is one of the masters at doing this authentically and openly), but I got really turned off it when I saw a lot of bloggers I read and respect writing junky “How to set up a blog” posts that didn’t seem relevant to their audiences purely so that the could get the sweet Bluehost commissions in.
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.
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.

The term “qualified sale” (or its synonym, “qualified purchase”) is important in the affiliate marketing context because the advertiser (the ecommerce merchant) defines in advance what constitutes a qualified sale. When an affiliate agrees to promote the merchant’s products, that affiliate is accepting the merchant’s definition of a “qualified sale.”

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.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
All the work you do promoting third-party products shouldn’t be in vain. You have to understand that commissions in affiliate marketing aren’t guaranteed – you’d have to make sure your blog has traffic first, and that you’re able to encourage people to click the affiliate link. From there, you’d have to cross your fingers that these people buy something from the affiliate network so you can earn a cut from the sale.
If you’re writing reviews, you should 100% be using rich snippets (they add review stars to your search engine snippets and increase click-through rates). There are many WordPress plugins for this but my favorite is WP Rich Snippets. It’s $69/year (or $399 one-time) and I use it for every single review I write. They have tons of add-ons, settings, styling options, and looks nice. Free plugins like All In One Schema.org do work but lack settings, styling, and flexibility.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[35] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
Once you’ve done all the heavy lifting of niche selection, keyword research, and competition analysis, then you can finally start building your site. It’s important not to skip all the steps above. You’d hate to spend months on a site, only to learn that it won’t be profitable at all. All that hard work for nothing. You can read more about why I use WordPress for my Amazon sites.
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.
When you’re starting an affiliate business, don’t make things more complicated than it has to be. You simply need to promote your website and get it seen by as many people as possible. You can promote your websites through a number of ways. Social media promotion is one of the most common. Many affiliate marketers use search engine optimization techniques to generate page views and sales. For this, useful, rich content is essential. The content should include good reviews of the products you are promoting. You can use video sites like YouTube to publish video reviews and then share those videos through your website.
SEO – I have a full guide on Youtube SEO. You’ll basically want to research a video keyword in YouTube’s Autocomplete dropdown, then craft your video title/description to include your keyword. Write a long description and embed it on your blog to get more views. Create a nice custom thumbnail and make your videos long and thorough, just like your blog posts should be.

Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.


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.
I always add an HTML table of contents to posts to make sure they are long and structured. This has been a HUGE help for me (and my readers) and there are tons of benefits: better chance of getting “jump to links” in Google (see below), increased average time on page, decreased bounce rates, and it makes it easier for readers to navigate through your content.

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.
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If you’re writing reviews, you should 100% be using rich snippets (they add review stars to your search engine snippets and increase click-through rates). There are many WordPress plugins for this but my favorite is WP Rich Snippets. It’s $69/year (or $399 one-time) and I use it for every single review I write. They have tons of add-ons, settings, styling options, and looks nice. Free plugins like All In One Schema.org do work but lack settings, styling, and flexibility.
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. 
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