Take ThirstyAffiliates, for example. This plugin helps you add affiliate links to your site and then organize and manage them. You can also include corresponding images, and track your links’ statistics. Pretty Links offers many of the same features, but focuses on optimizing your affiliate links. Both plugins have premium versions offering even more functionality. There are also plenty of alternative options to choose from.

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!
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
Test your ideas. The cool thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to build a website first to find out if your idea is viable. Instead, you can join affiliate networks, browse products that fall under your chosen niche, and conduct research to see if these products would “sell.” Find what is trending online to see what ideas would bring more money to the table.
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.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it.
And while that may sound like a tall order, just remember that all you need to do to be unique is act like yourself as you write reviews or provide readers with blog posts and articles full of interesting information. The important part is to keep up the volume since the longer you wait between articles, the further your website will fall in the search engine rankings.
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
4) The Site’s Niche – Check out Commission Junction and Clickbank… and you’ll see that there is virtually an endless list of products you can promote. However, the “Best-Selling” or “Top Products” from affiliate networks shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking your site’s niche. Choosing a niche for your affiliate site should involve more research and analysis than that. After all, the success of your site relies mostly on your topic’s level of demand and how well you take advantage of your readers’ needs.
Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
All of the above info is for those of you who want to learn affiliate marketing for free. As you can see, there is a lot of free help for you if you plan on doing all of this yourself. However, I also know that some of you do have some funding available and you want to create a bit of a shortcut to success. The only way to do that is to outsource right now.
Social media serves two critical functions that you can’t do without. First, social media is a way to promote your content and engage with consumers more directly. People can read your content and watch your videos, but they also want to engage with you on a personal level, particularly if they have feedback (positive or negative). Believe it or not, social media is a great way to add a personal touch to what you do.
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.

Now that you have decided where to concentrate, have chosen the products to endorse and the merchant you are supporting and have created your own web site with top level domain name and reliable hosting, you are ready to promote. This is a crucial task, since it is through this that you would be able to increase traffic to the business website, sales and of course, profit. In affiliate marketing, it is possible to earn large sums of money in a short span of time especially when you’re endorsing high-priced items. Expensive products are hard to sell; however, with the right marketing strategies and sales techniques, you can draw visitors to the merchant’s site and make them buy the products. How to promote the products, though, would need a separate discussion. Continue to educate yourself by reading books or other articles online about the best advertising techniques.
I have yet to implement all the tools you have shared and recommended in this article, but I really like the way you explain things. It is written in a very easy-to-read style, and ho hype or exaggerated comments. Now I have to get busy and take the necessary time to study, and implement, your recommendations. Thank you for all that you have shared.

The first mistake a lot of affiliate marketers make is that they register with too many different affiliate programs and try to promote everything. Pursuing affiliate marketing down this path can become very overwhelming and you won’t be able to promote any product properly. All you need in order to be successful is a handful of good products to promote. Try to understand the market needs and look for products that align correctly with the topic of your site.


Domain name – A domain name is the name of your website. It is the address internet users type in to access your site, instead of entering the numerical IP address. If you don’t have a hosting provider yet, you can get a free domain name with any of the shared hosting packages on BlueHost. If you already have hosting, you can purchase a domain a la cart for as low as $9 per year.
5) Marketing Effort Done – Marketing your website everywhere helps in increasing traffic to the site. And when traffic shoots up, more people are able to read your content and decide if the product or service you’re promoting is worth checking out. As a result of the amount of marketing effort you commit, your chances of earning commissions increase with every person that visits your site.
5) Marketing Effort Done – Marketing your website everywhere helps in increasing traffic to the site. And when traffic shoots up, more people are able to read your content and decide if the product or service you’re promoting is worth checking out. As a result of the amount of marketing effort you commit, your chances of earning commissions increase with every person that visits your site.
I founded this site back in 2007. I lost $50 to a data entry scam when I was still in college. I felt ripped off and had no recourse, but to suck it up and pull an extra shift delivering food to make ends meet.I setup this site so no one would have to go through the same experience I went through. I wanted to stop scam artists from preying on the vulnerable and help regular people learn the true, legitimate ways of making money online.

Last, but not least, you need to make sure you're in compliance with each affiliate program's terms of service. Some programs will allow you to promote via email marketing, others, like Amazon, do not. Keep a detailed spreadsheet of all the affiliate programs you belong to and what methods of promotion are allowed. Not following the rules could get you banned from a program — which means you've lost a source of revenue.

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.

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