Making money with affiliate marketing requires work. There was once a time, when the web was new and even a relatively poor site could garner a lot of traffic, that affiliate marketing was as easy as just signing up. Those days are gone now and competition is stiff. Making money with affiliate marketing requires hard work, especially at the beginning, but the good news is that money can still be made online and it you can get up and running quickly. Here are some ways to ensure that you start making money right out of the gate.
Once you have your niche and your products figured out, you’ll need to start creating tons and tons of content. Your content can be anything from photographs to videos to blog posts, but what I recommend most is good ol’ fashion written content. Without a doubt, content creation is key to your success. Without great content on your site, you’ll never gain enough visitors to earn any sort of significant living online. You want to make sure that any content you create is high quality, interesting, and relevant to your audience. You also need to create as much content as possible and keep updating the content on your website routinely. For more advice on this, check out my article on how to create great content for your website or blog.
Michael, great article–lots of good solid ideas to get my affiliate (& my rear end), up and at it!! Also, love those falafels too! I am in the process of building a website that will have approximately 8-10 products offered over time. The products all come from the same niche. Do you think this type of site can have good success as well, or do you think just focusing on one product per website is the way to go?
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’ve learned so much with this course! KC Tan is an excellent instructor. He covers all the bases. Also, his facebook group and email list have both been a great value for me. I’ve made money using this method, and I’m hoping to start making even more by learning list building details in another of his courses that I just started. So glad I came across his courses. – Maya Brown
Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
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.
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.
It is a very good idea to use different product promotion strategies so you can figure out what is working and what is not. Try to do split testing and measure the performance of each campaign then take actions accordingly. Changing a few things here and there can increase your profit dramatically. Make sure to place the banner ads on different areas of your site’s pages. Some positions will make the ads more noticeable than others.
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.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
Firstly, pick a topic that you’re interested in that also has a lot of market potential. Think of something that you like, and consider whether there would be many products associated with it, or much of an audience. You can find a topic (or “niche,” as affiliates call it) with a little research. You’ll find lessons to help you with this process in the market research section of Affilorama’s free lessons. 
I will give you a very simple example. Let’s say you build up an audience of 50,000 readers and out of that 50k you have about 1% that trust you (1% of people that trust you online is actually very huge), so that equates to 500 readers. Out of that 500 readers you will have about 10% that will buy your eBook and other affiliate products, so 50 people total. So, if you are selling your eBook for $10, you will make $500. Of course it doesn’t stop there, those people that buy the eBook and like it will most likely recommend it, and you will have a snowball effect where more people keep buying your book and other affiliate products. This is just a rough example that shows you some realistic numbers. Do not ever think that if you build up a huge number of readers that they will all trust you and buy the products that you promote; if it was that easy everyone would be a millionaire by now.
There’s three good niches that will always remain popular for as long as human civilization exists. Those three niches are: wealth, health and relationships. Think about it, people are always interested in making money (wealth) and are more than willing to learn how to. Then you have health – people are always wanting to know how to lose weight, and so on. Relationships …well, those will always be around. Those are three long-term niches that you should look into.
Next, is kind of a no brainer. You can’t be an affiliate marketer without a website or a blog. I mean, is it possible to have an affiliate marketing business based entirely on social media or YouTube or some other source? Sure, you could even technically earn a living through affiliate marketing without ever going onto the internet! But setting up a website is the absolute best way to earning a living online and it’s the main way I earn my living. Starting your first affiliate marketing website can be really intimidating if you have no web design skills and are just starting out. Luckily there are plenty of programs that can help you if you’ve never built a website. I worried quite a bit about this before starting my affiliate business from home because I was not a web designer at all, so I can certainly relate. If you have the time and resources to dedicate to it, sign up for a great training program like Wealthy Affiliate. They don’t only help you build your website, but they help with niche selection, market research, web hosting, domain registration, and everything else that goes into growing an online business. So don’t be intimidated, check them out to see how they can help you build and manage your first website. Once you learn the basics, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can build more and more sites to extend your reach and have a higher chance of making money as an affiliate. Otherwise, if you’re just looking for a free step-by-step way to build a great looking website from scratch, check out the video below!
Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.
Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!
Many times bloggers start promoting affiliate products that they like, which can work, but you need to focus on what your target audience needs and wants are because their needs can be different from your own. For instance, say your audience is comprised of new bloggers, but you’re an advanced blogger. Promoting advanced coaching for bloggers is probably not going to be your best bet – you’ll want to focus on products and services that assist the novice blogger.
I’ve read this post and I truly appreciate the information and honesty you have provided. The problem I have is that I’ve done ALL of this and more and yet I have a hard time generating traffic. I think that is one thing that is never emphasized in these posts and don’t genuinely express that it is just that (traffic) and lots of it, that brings in any kind of interest, little own an income. I don’t know what else I could be doing at this point besides not continuously working at the marketing, but I am. If someone could shed a little light on this because this post makes it sound so easy so I wonder what I’m doing wrong or what is the information that is missing in these posts? Either way thanks for the candid guidance!
Now, you have to produce good content each time or the exercise will be for nothing. That said, the point remains that producing more content is a great way to ensure that you engage with customers and that you keep customers. The more you produce, the more chances you have for others to link to your site (backlinks), which will boost your search ranking and improve traffic. As always, content is king.
This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
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