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.
ps. collecting these Facebook polls is one of the main reasons I was able to get so many SiteGround sales. Yes, I’m suggesting SiteGround for your host, but this is also a strategy that can be used to collect unbiased reviews. Just go to Facebook and search “SiteGround poll” and you can dig up some great stuff – you can do this with lots of affiliate products/companies.
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).
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.
When you join an Affiliate program and choose the products that you want to sell, sellers provide you with a unique affiliate code that you can use to refer traffic to the target site. Most affiliate programs will offer ready made text links, banners and other forms of creative copies whereby you only have to copy the code and place it on your website to start referring traffic. When interested visitors click on these links from your site they get redirected to the product site and if they purchase a product or subscribe to a service you as the referrer make a commission.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
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.
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.
Once your hosting is set up, you need to install a content management system (CMS) for your site. We recommend WordPress because it is easy to use and a beginner (like you!) can quite quickly figure out how it works. Most good hosting providers will have a one-click install option for WordPress, which means it will only take you a couple of minutes and you will have WordPress installed on your site. 
Purchase Complete In longer sales cycles, it may take more time for a purchase to be completed after you bring your customer to the merchant. This rewards generously for prospects you provide that actually buy. A referral from your efforts negotiates with the merchant. After 3 months in their sales funnel, they close a deal and you are compensated a set percentage.
Paid ads should be your last step in marketing your range of affiliate products. You want to make sure you’re in a money-making niche and have a roster of products proven to sell, as well as proven sales funnel that compels your prospects to buy. That way when you invest the money in a paid ad, which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars, you’ll see a decent return on investment.
As mentioned earlier, there are various approaches to affiliate marketing and it’s up to you to pick which one or combinations to use. You may easily scour the Internet for them. Don’t be scared to try out different strategies as it is one of the most effective ways to find out the best method’s for your niche or product’s. Should you go for content marketing, it is better to supplement it with social media marketing to maximize your exposure. Just don’t forget to use the keywords from your research for your articles.
I was able to make my first online dollars through Amazon Affiliate sales… It was never much and in the beginning I was just excited to make $10 in a month, which was enough for a free ebook or two. With regular updates and link inclusions in my posts over time I was able to grow the number up to like $300 a month–which I was pretty happy with. Of course the payout rates are paltry compared to a sale of an info product like one from Unconventional Guides, etc. Thing is, people seem to be more open to purchasing physical products rather than information products…
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