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.
To start an affiliate marketing business, focus on selling products you are familiar with so you can sell them more easily. Then, build a website around that niche and fill it with good content that shows your knowledge of the topic. Next, find and join an affiliate marketing program that sells things in your niche. Get links from that program to the products you want to sell, and work them into your content so people reading it naturally go to their site.
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
With the aid of the Internet, you can almost have everything right at your fingertips. With just a few clicks you get access to thousands and even millions of pieces of information and data on virtually any field of interest. As years pass by, the Internet continuous to effect radical changes in many facets of human endeavors, including commerce. Experts say that the information space, commonly known as the “world wide web,” grows by over a million pages everyday as more and more people utilize the Internet for information, education, entertainment, business and other personal reasons. It doesn’t take a business-oriented individual to realize that this phenomenon can bring about sky-high financial gains. The Internet’s fast-growing popularity in the recent years is surely an opportunity for business that any entrepreneur would not want to miss.
With all of this in mind, you also need to understand that affiliate marketing is not some get-rich-quick system. It’s a business. A real marketing business that will take some time to grow. All of the resources you need in order to succeed are listed above, but don’t expect overnight success. Give it a good 6 to 12 months and about 10 to 15 hours per week working on your business. If you do that, by this time next year, you should be an affiliate marketer yourself, at the very least making a nice secondary income. If not, in a year from now, you’ll be exactly where you are right now. Focus on the long-term and keep going with sustained effort. Of course, I’m always available as well if you ever want to contact me. I never charge a dime. 🙂
My conversion rate went from 2.5% to 8% just by including Facebook polls where SiteGround was rated #1 (here’s last year’s poll) plus Twitter screenshots and Facebook conversations. Whether it’s Amazon reviews or social proof, you NEED to include outside opinions. You can also use WP Rich Snippets to allow people to leave a review about the product/service on your site and get those review stars in Google (you will want to use their front end submit add-on).
For example, I have a website that reviews dog food. If you click on the dog food reviews on that site, you will notice that all of my reviews are high quality, detailed, and as unbiased as possible. There are both positive reviews as well as negative reviews, plus some dog food brands that are rated in the middle. The only dog food brands I rate highly are truly brands I would feed to my own dog (and I love my dog… seriously). I am able to do this because I use the Amazon Associates affiliate program so it doesn’t really matter what people buy – I profit either way. Check out my little promotional video below…
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you.
I would like to add that for information products, a lot of the time it’s pretty easy to rank for “information product review”. I recently did a review of a popular ebook that is a month long discipline program. I went about it by doing the actual program and documenting everything. At the end of the month I wrote up a 2700 word article summing up the whole experience.