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.

Provide the most accurate information about the products you promote. Never exaggerate to quickly make a sale. Your audience will see through it and they will turn their backs on you. Instead, if the product you are promoting isn’t perfect, say so! It never hurts to explain the downsides to a product because this just proves to your audience that you are being completely honest with them. Also–this is very important–be transparent about your relationship with the merchant! It is legally required that you disclose your affiliate relationship, so any time you share an affiliate link you need to let your audience know.  Make sure you are following the latest FTC  guidelines here.

You’re not just “starting a blog” or “building a website”. You are starting a business! You have to go into it with this mentality if you are serious about succeeding. It’s fine to “test the waters” so to speak and see if this is right for you as the risks are extremely low. However, if you are truly serious about earning a full-time living through affiliate marketing, you must treat it as a business. No business is quick or easy to build and affiliate marketing is no exception. There are plenty of people who will tell you that it’s easy to make money with affiliate marketing, but I’m not that guy. Is it possible? Yes, but it’s going to be hard work.

Banners – after testing them out I decided to take down my banner ads since they looked salesy and weren’t working like my affiliate links did. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can do this using a plugin like Widget Logic.
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.
High level of competition: Affiliate marketing has become the most popular online marketing system due to its profit margins. This has attracted entrepreneurs to create many new such businesses online. Because of this, there is great competition as everyone fights to get the attention of consumers. This has made it difficult for new businesses to grow.
The website layout: You can make affiliate marketing work no matter what website layout you choose. For example, if you’d like your site to look more like an online store similar to the popular Odditymall, nothing is stopping you to do so. There’s no rule preventing site owners from showcasing affiliate products this way. Many affiliate marketers choose a blog layout instead, often writing product information or reviews along with links going to the store.
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.

Jason – so happy to hear the tutorial is helping! Affiliate marketing was a huge break for me and I’m sure it can be for your son too. Whatever products/services he ends up selling, just make sure he is excited about the industry he is – it takes a long of time creating content and it will keep him motivated especially when he gets his first sales.
Paid advertising is NOT something I recommend for those who are just getting started. With that said, it’s good to have a basic understanding of what is known as PPC or Pay-Per-Click website traffic. In short, you can use services like Google Adwords or Facebook Ads to drive traffic to your site. You pay per website visitor, but you can make a lot of money doing this. Say it costs you $1 to send a visitor to your site, but each visitor on average earns you $2 in affiliate commissions. You, my friend, have a money machine on your hands.
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!
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