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.
I expanded my SEO blog and started writing about hosting, cache plugins, and other relevant topics… while recommending SiteGround in each tutorial. I added social proof like this poll where they were rated the #1 host. Each tutorial was super detailed and tons of people found them helpful – many generated 100 visitors/day since the great content got them ranked high.

Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
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. 
Your ultimate goal as an affiliate marketer should be to outsource all the work while you collect a paycheck each month. My website DogFoodInsider.com is 100% outsourced at this point. There is always someone willing to work for you. From writers on Constant-Content.com to programmers on Elance.com to odd jobs on Fiverr.com – the sources you can use for outsourcing is nearly limitless.
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Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
I went from making $20k in 2016 to $100k in 2017 by dropping my web design/SEO clients and doing affiliate marketing/blogging full-time. 90% of my (passive) affiliate income comes from SiteGround, a hosting company who awarded me affiliate of the month in July, 2017 when I made $9k in 1 month. Since then I’ve continued to hit numbers like this – the screenshot below is from March, 2018 when I made $14.5k in 1 month (just with SiteGround).
The platform: You have several options for your site’s platform, including your hosting provider’s built-in website builder that features drag-and-drop style site creator perfect for beginners, or coding the website from scratch (which provides the most flexible option when it comes to customization but require advanced HTML and programming skills). The most popular platform used across the board is WordPress. It’s the industry standard and used by a third of every website online.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
That way, if you decide to write a review to promote it or send the affiliate link for the product's sales page to your email list, etc., you will have first-hand knowledge of how it works. This will help you to decide it the product has real value pertaining to your niche. I, personally, won't sell anything I haven't tried myself to be sure they work as advertised. Selling just to make money with no real value is a sure way to lose customers and ultimately destroy your business. Bad reputations are hard to get rid of once you get one, especially when there's money involved. With that being said, I hope you all have a great holiday season.

The last big tip for success in affiliate marketing is to not solely rely on affiliate marketing forever. By this I mean you should be looking for new opportunities in how you can scale your earnings and business in size. Even outside of your own affiliate marketing efforts, there are plenty of ways to make money from home. Some of these methods can help inspire new ideas for products or services you can create to cater to different audiences.
This literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $3,000 to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it :)
Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy
DOI – Double Opt-In. These offers require more than one action from the user. Originally, this concept required users to enter their email address and then click a confirmation link in the “welcome” email. These days there can be more requirements, like filling out a profile, defining interests or uploading a photo. DOI provides better list protection, communication with subscribers and user relevancy than SOI.
Easy management: All marketing tools and affiliate links are provided by the merchant. You never have to bother creating banners, links and all that. You only have to use what has been provided by the merchant. Also, you do not have to handle orders, ship any inventory, or deal with the customer. The merchant handles all that, so you are only focused on promoting the offers to your audience.

The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
I first started making money online back in the mid-90s. At this time the concept of affiliate marketing was fairly new and there were only a handful of programs for you to join and promote. Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more was one of the first and most successful affiliate programs of all time — which was also how I started to make some serious money online.

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.
Easy management: All marketing tools and affiliate links are provided by the merchant. You never have to bother creating banners, links and all that. You only have to use what has been provided by the merchant. Also, you do not have to handle orders, ship any inventory, or deal with the customer. The merchant handles all that, so you are only focused on promoting the offers to your audience.

Many Affiliate Marketers recommend building an email list to market your affiliate links.  I’m all for building an email list, but not for the sole purpose of promoting my links.  I want to caution you with your email marketing strategy and use it carefully and wisely.  People will subscribe to your list if you offer quality content, but if you only use your list to continuously promote your product links, be prepared to lose subscribers.
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.
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