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!

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. 
Make a content plan - Once you’ve scoped out your niche and have the keywords you know you want to target, build out a detailed content plan. This needs to cover both on-site content, and content you want to publish. Aim for 3 posts a week. Look at your competitors, and make your content is better. They wrote about the 10 best guitars in 2017? You write about the 20 best.
You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.

I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
Of particular interest to infopreneurs on the internet are digital information products, information products that are sold in digital format of some sort. As opposed to hardcover or softcover books, CDs, manuals or reports, an infopreneur can deliver these items as PDF files, audio files, streaming video and other emerging media. This substantially reduces delivery and transportation costs for businesses and gives customers immediate access to highly coveted information.
Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.

Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
Affiliate marketing is something practically every website owner should have a basic understanding of in today’s digital world. Even if you don’t personally use it in your monetization strategy, there may be a time when you want to. This guide to affiliate marketing can get you several steps closer to understanding one of the most popular forms of website monetization online businesses use today.
Actually Nunya, Jafar’s English is very good, with only a few very minor errors, and far better than most English speakers. It is simply not true that you can “barely read it”, it’s as good as yours. Most Americans, Australians and British I see online have very poor spelling and grammar, and use memorized abbreviations and SMS-speak instead wherever possible. You cannot sound as if you have something to teach people, if it sounds as if you still have to learn basic literacy yourself!
These issues have not seen much discussion within the online marketing community, certainly not as much as SEO, content marketing, PPC and other marketing channels. We read online that many companies over the past decade have relied on affiliates to produce sales for their brands. We also read that affiliate marketing has continued to grow, and the most recent figures on the industry from research conducted by the IAB concluded that $16.5 billion worth of sales was driven by the affiliate channel, while advertisers spent $1.1 billion on affiliate marketing in 2014, 8% more than in 2013.
While a part of affiliate marketing is a numbers game (how big is your list, how much traffic do you get, what is your social media presence) the best way to increase these numbers is to provide quality content. Always remember to put your best foot forward in everything that you do, from your blog posts to your newsletter content, to your social media interactions. When you take time to focus on quality and building the relationships – the numbers will follow.
One thing alot of ppl don’t know is that their small blog and writing about things that are passionate to their heart can yield them healthy affiliate income vs what they’re earning on the day job now in as little as 2 years. The key to success in affiliate marketing if you’re generating income via a content-based WordPress blog or static HTML website is to frequently update it with “lots and lots of content” Transformational content marketing in a specific niche is possible for anyone who has 0% experience writing online.
The thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to monitor it the whole time, yet it can still generate income. You can optimize your strategies and work on your marketing methods during your free time, so it doesn’t have to get in the way of your studies. It’s like having a source of income in a setup and schedule that best works for you. That is one of the reasons why affiliate marketing is such a good money-making opportunity for students!

Hi TOM, I have really enjoyed your shared nice piece of content with us. ..Actually, I am thinking to design and develop a mobile comparison website but you know, it’s not an easy job to collect mobiles data. A lot of time and cost is required to build such a website and I don’t want to spend a lot of money as I am new in this field. My colleague has recommended me RevGlue for this purpose as this a UK based registered company and are providing mobiles and its deals data for the UK only with the name of RevEmbed technology as I have read its blog revglue.com/blog-detail/13-setup-free-uk-mobile-comparison-website but I am the little bit confused as its a newborn company. Anyone, have experience with RevGlue. Guide me in this respect. Waiting for your kind response. Thanks in advance.


At the time, I had a ton of people reaching out wanting to hire me (I ranked my self #1 in Google for WordPress SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, many other good keywords). Unfortunately I struggled with basic things you need to run a service-based business… keeping track of clients, time management, and making sure I was charging clients for my time (and getting them to create content which often seemed impossible).
ShoeMoney – This blog, run by Jeremy Schoemaker, also boasts insider knowledge about obtaining the Dot Com Lifestyle. His philosophy and business model is predicated on three ideas: Embrace new trends and look for opportunities to exploit them; focus on what you know; and small changes can equal big revenue. ShoeMoney.com shares information on how to be successful amid the ups and downs of online marketing. Schoemaker also offers a free online training program.

It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.

Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing – An easy to follow online course that teaches you the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It’s written by Michelle Schroder who makes $100K+ a month from her blog. A genuine super affiliate that shares her success stories and affiliate marketing techniques with her community both on her private Facebook group and on her blog.
Content and media – If you have a knack for writing, or is good with photography or Photoshop, then you can save some money and do these yourself. But if for any reason (lack of skill or time) you can’t create content or media like photos and videos, there are people willing to do them for you. You can hire freelancers either by the hour or on a flat fee.
While a part of affiliate marketing is a numbers game (how big is your list, how much traffic do you get, what is your social media presence) the best way to increase these numbers is to provide quality content. Always remember to put your best foot forward in everything that you do, from your blog posts to your newsletter content, to your social media interactions. When you take time to focus on quality and building the relationships – the numbers will follow.
Social media serves two critical functions that you can’t do without. First, social media is a way to promote your content and engage with consumers more directly. People can read your content and watch your videos, but they also want to engage with you on a personal level, particularly if they have feedback (positive or negative). Believe it or not, social media is a great way to add a personal touch to what you do.
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.

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.
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.
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
Affiliate marketing pulls together marketers who want to advertise and publishers, sometimes called influencers, who want to promote products and services and get paid to do so. Publishers place customized links to things they want to promote within their website or social media content. Then, they get a portion of the sales as a thank you for their promotion.
However, as I stated before, the single best source of highly targeted website traffic is from search engines. For that reason, you will wan to pay particular attention to these training videos covering SEO (search engine optimization). That’s where you’ll learn all about how to rank your website at the top of certain search phrases deliberately. You get to pick and choose what you rank for if you follow those steps.

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).
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