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.
4) The Site’s Niche – Check out Commission Junction and Clickbank… and you’ll see that there is virtually an endless list of products you can promote. However, the “Best-Selling” or “Top Products” from affiliate networks shouldn’t be the only deciding factor when picking your site’s niche. Choosing a niche for your affiliate site should involve more research and analysis than that. After all, the success of your site relies mostly on your topic’s level of demand and how well you take advantage of your readers’ needs.
I would then get a hosting provider (a place to put the website on the internet) and a domain name (the name for the website), and then install WordPress so I could start playing around with the look of my website. I’d browse some free ‘themes’ (pre-designed ‘looks’ for websites) if I was tight on cash, or I might buy a high-quality one if I had the money. 
Mike touched on this a bit in the article, explaining that the “exact match penalty” targeted low quality sites that were overly-reliant on their seemingly-relevant domain name for rankings. Everything is an exact match for something so if you build a great resource, it shouldn’t be an issue. (For instance, I get a ton of search traffic for “side hustle nation”…)
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.
You might be thinking only businessmen can make much money out of the Internet.  Think again. You too can earn big bucks through the Internet even if you don’t have products to sell and high-profile and established company. How? That is through affiliate marketing. You might have come across these words over the net while surfing. Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing between a merchant and an affiliate who gets paid for referring or promoting the merchants’ products and services. It is one of the burgeoning industries nowadays because it is proven to be cost-efficient and quantifiable means of attaining great profit both for the merchant and the affiliate and other players in the affiliate program, such as the affiliate network or affiliate solution provider.
The website layout: You can make affiliate marketing work no matter what website layout you choose. For example, if you’d like your site to look more like an online store similar to the popular Odditymall, nothing is stopping you to do so. There’s no rule preventing site owners from showcasing affiliate products this way. Many affiliate marketers choose a blog layout instead, often writing product information or reviews along with links going to the store.
Split testing is a no-brainer, but it’s something many affiliate marketers still forget or neglect to do. The concept here is simple… if you have a generic landing page or offer you want to promote, you might start by testing that offer to the masses. Once you get some stats and traffic flowing through your offer, it would be a good idea to test a different landing page or offer with that same audience.
Now, truth be told, affiliate marketing does come with some costs. Fortunately, those costs are rather small when compared to starting other businesses. For example, if you want to succeed with affiliate marketing in the same way that I teach it, you’ll need a website. In order to have a website, you need to pay for “website hosting”. If you don’t know what website hosting is, don’t worry, we’ll get to that, but website hosting does cost a few bucks per month (generally under $10 / mo). If you have about $40 for startup costs and about $10 / mo for recurring expenses, this is entirely doable. There are many other optional expenses for affiliate marketing, which I will also get into, but those optional expenses are used more for speeding up the path to success (outsourcing, etc.) rather than a requirement for success. When I first started my affiliate marketing business, I had about $200 to my name.

Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.

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