Once you’re financially stable, I hope you start giving back. It feels good and people like the idea of supporting a good cause (they will be more likely to click your affiliate link in your disclaimer). This also means you don’t have to use as many links in your content and risk getting a penalized. Last year I donated $3,000 to Red Cross At Hurricane Harvey.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.
Long-Tail Keywords – specific keywords usually with 3-7 individual words in a phrase. They are highly targeted and MUCH easier to rank for than broad keywords (all mine are long-tail). The lower your domain authority (check using OSE), the less competitive (more long-tail) your keywords should be. If you can get more specific and the keyword still shows up in Google Autocomplete, Moz Keyword Explorer and other keyword tools… choose the SPECIFIC one.

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.
It is fine to write reviews about the products you promote. It is encouraged even. That being said, make sure that your review is honest. You need to genuinely represent the product you are promoting, which means pointing out its flaws as well as its qualities. If you focus only on the good to the exclusion of the bad, then people will distrust what you have to say and abandon your website. Affiliate marketing thrives on credibility.

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.


I went from making $20k in 2016 to $100k in 2017 by dropping my web design/SEO clients and doing affiliate marketing/blogging full-time. 90% of my (passive) affiliate income comes from SiteGround, a hosting company who awarded me affiliate of the month in July, 2017 when I made $9k in 1 month. Since then I’ve continued to hit numbers like this – the screenshot below is from March, 2018 when I made $14.5k in 1 month (just with SiteGround).
I always add an HTML table of contents to posts to make sure they are long and structured. This has been a HUGE help for me (and my readers) and there are tons of benefits: better chance of getting “jump to links” in Google (see below), increased average time on page, decreased bounce rates, and it makes it easier for readers to navigate through your content.
Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.

Even if you already have a good grasp of the affiliate marketing business model, I highly recommend you check out this primer section in your free account. Check out the article, but more importantly, make sure you watch ever video at the bottom of that page. Those videos are filled with a wealth of information from very, very successful affiliate marketers.


WP Rich Snippets – premium plugin that adds rich snippets (eg. review stars) to your snippets. You get 33% of sales and it’s what I use on my site. I recommend it over the All In One Schema.org plugin as it looks nicer with more settings and add-ons. Here’s a post I used it on. If you’re writing reviews as part of your strategy, get this for yourself.

Depending on the network, you may also need to pay setup costs. This covers the cost of integrating you to the network and testing tracking etc. Start-up fees can range from nothing to over $5,000. I have been asked for $30,000 before and, obviously, I never started with that network. This cost is often negotiable when you discuss contracts with the network, but it is worth noting when considering the start-up costs.
Every affiliate program offers different commission rates (along with rules that you should know). For example, some programs give out 20% commission, but only on the exact product you posted on your site. In other affiliate programs, you’d receive commissions from any product sale the referred person bought from the store, as long as he/she completed a full checkout within a specific period of time. For example as an Amazon Associate, you are given a 24 hour cookie window.
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 hope you found all of this to be helpful. Learning affiliate marketing for free is actually easy to do. There are lots of people teaching affiliate marketing for free. The problem is learning from the right people and knowing who the right people are. The above information should help show you that you really can learn from successful affiliate marketers at no charge. Those videos in your free account speak for themselves.
The tips mentioned above covers the bulk about how profitable affiliate sites are set up nowadays. If you’re familiar with building sites and a bit of SEO, then this affiliate marketing guide should put you on the right path. However, if you want a more comprehensive guide to affiliate marketing, then you will need more than just free resources online to get a website up and running.
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).

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.
One of the best ways to scale your business with affiliate marketing is to see if there is an option for you to remove the middle man and create a similar product or service of your own. Depending on the offers you are promoting, you may be able to come out with a product or service through a simple lead gen process or creating your own site. A good example of this would be “email submit” offers or an online course.
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. 
Easy management: All marketing tools and affiliate links are provided by the merchant. You never have to bother creating banners, links and all that. You only have to use what has been provided by the merchant. Also, you do not have to handle orders, ship any inventory, or deal with the customer. The merchant handles all that, so you are only focused on promoting the offers to your audience.
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.
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
Thank you for a very straightforward introduction to the world of Affiliate Marketing. I’m looking forward to the journey and just starting out. For me, I’m just as enthusiastic about the challenge of gaining success for its own sake, as the financial rewards it may hopefully bestow on me. There are so many variables involved and putting the whole thing together feels like attempting a 40,000-piece jigsaw puzzle with a hangover.
This book talks about how to succeed in affiliate marketing, the benefit it holds and how it can change your perspective about the idea. This book was so promising, it had many ideas on how to slowly master this kind of marketing strategies. It also associates everything to the modern time, like social media, blogs and podcasts. It focuses on how to get started and the different kinds of affiliates. It was very interesting reading this book and I recommend to this to everyone who is thinking about having a career in affiliate marketing.
​Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
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