It would be nice if we could create websites about whatever niche we wanted, and that’s fine if you don’t care about money, but if you actually want to earn an income from your affiliate marketing efforts, you need to know for sure that your niche is profitable and winnable (enough demand but not too much competition). Trust me, there is a niche for you. Go out there, do some research, and find it. These videos will show you exactly how to do that, step-by-step.
Improve your conversion rates. Don’t worry if you can’t match your competitors’ cost-per-actions (CPAs). Start experimenting with new affiliates and improve your conversion rates, because the more conversions you produce, the more your affiliates get paid. They will prefer promoting your product over someone else’s when they see the number of customers they can generate.
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).
Paid ads should be your last step in marketing your range of affiliate products. You want to make sure you’re in a money-making niche and have a roster of products proven to sell, as well as proven sales funnel that compels your prospects to buy. That way when you invest the money in a paid ad, which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, you’ll see a decent return on investment.
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!