All the work you do promoting third-party products shouldn’t be in vain. You have to understand that commissions in affiliate marketing aren’t guaranteed – you’d have to make sure your blog has traffic first, and that you’re able to encourage people to click the affiliate link. From there, you’d have to cross your fingers that these people buy something from the affiliate network so you can earn a cut from the sale.
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.
ZacJohnson.com – Zac Johnson’s blog contains more than 1,000 articles based on real-life experiences that exemplify lessons from the affiliate marketing industry. In recent posts, he gives tips on staying relevant, transitioning with a changing market to maintain a steady income flow and being successful in the travel marketing niche. Johnson’s blog also contains links to his recommended resources for marketers.
Of course, you’ll need to have an audience; otherwise, you wouldn’t have people to promote to. You can use various strategies to generate traffic to your site like uploading quality articles that search engines would consider worth the read and online users would want to read and share. You can also participate in forums, SEO, post appropriate videos on YouTube,  social bookmarking and networking, or write news articles, among many other techniques.
Keep in mind, there is no facile and quick path towards success. Affiliate marketing may seem very tempting due to numerous encouraging testimonies of merchants and affiliate marketers alike who have benefited from it, but it entails great deal of hard work and persistence. Likewise, you need to be creative, flexible and willing to embrace new ideas to market your partners’ products until you find the perfect strategy that works for a specific market that you are targeting. Neither signing up for an affiliate program nor copying ads and leading others towards the merchants’ site doesn’t guarantee success yet. Many affiliate marketers fail to understand this, so when they don’t make sales, they quit, look for other programs and repeat the same mistake. In the end, they conclude that affiliate marketing is just one of those scams in the Internet. Even as you sleep, you can work your way to great financial success if you employ the right strategies in affiliate marketing. Be creative, be smart and surely, you’ll achieve your goals.

Don’t set a goal to write 3 blog posts a day… set a goal to write 1 blog post a week and make that post super helpful, long, and filled with information that is so valuable you will say “yeah, people will link to that.” 90% of my traffic/affiliate income comes from just 20 tutorials, many of which are 5+ years old. But I am constantly updating them to make the content better.
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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