There are a lot of affiliate programs to choose from, but I encourage you to start your search by checking out ClickBank or Amazon Associates, as they have a lot of amazing affiliate programs for digital products. When you join an affiliate program, you will get an affiliate link, so that the person who is selling the product or service can track which sales were produced by you.
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!
Totally agree with your opinion on affiliate marketing. I’m in the same space myself and can tell you what it feels like to earn $1000 commissions while literally sitting on the sofa watching TV. It is absolutely mind-blowing. High-ticket commissions are what sets apart the affiliate marketers that scale their business up to six or even seven figures to the ones that only make a few thousand a month. I run a website based on digital marketing an entrepreneurship. You should check out our affiliate program – it is guaranteed to blow your mind. 🙂

I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.

If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.
I think there are a couple main reasons why the research aspect is so overlooked in affiliate marketing. The first reason is, people are just lazy. Most new affiliate marketers are only thinking about making money in the shortest period of time, so they simply choose a niche and build a site in their first day. Then, months go by with little to no website traffic and they proclaim that affiliate marketing no longer works. Considering affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar per year industry driving about 20% of all online sales, that of course isn’t true. Most people just don’t do the research necessary to truly find a profitable niche that is in demand without too much competition.
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A perfect example of this would be if you were trying to rank for something like “blogging” or “how to make money with a blog”. The two search phrases are similar but completely different in nature. There is no way to know what someone wants when they search for “blogging”, however if someone is searching for “how to make money with a blog”, it’s quite obvious.

When it comes to having your own tracking platform, there are many to choose from. Some will be hosted on their own platform, while others will give you access to software that you can download and place on your own server. This will allow you to actively monitor and track all ad campaigns directly, while also comparing these stats with your ad network.

Love these tips! I have also been dabbling in affiliate marketing more myself as I’ve seen first-hand that the income potential can actually be far greater than what you can get from any of the ad networks. I also prefer pay per lead … for me, the banner ads don’t seem to convert very well. I think a lot of people just automatically turn the blinders on when they see banners on websites. But I have found that trying something out yourself and then writing a fair and balanced review of the product and/or service works quite well for getting conversions so I’ve been focusing most of my efforts there.
But I think the biggest deciding factor in this, goes back to the site as a whole and all of the other posts. Are the genuine? Is the blogger constantly trying to push products? I’d like to think I’ve been doing this long enough that my audience knows I’m not out to make a quick buck – and I think even relatively new bloggers can prove this based on their other content.
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