Self-supporting or not, students like you do need money! Aside from tuition and other miscellaneous schooling expenses, there are other things that you’d need money for: projects and other school requirements, educational trips, books and gadgets that can help make studying a lot easier, etc. You don’t want to bother mom and dad who also have other expenditures to worry about, and you don’t have time to get a part time job. Still, YOU JUST NEED THE MONEY!
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. 
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Once you’ve got a topic and possibly some products to promote, the next lessons you’ll want to go through are ‘Finding and Registering a Domain Name’ and 'What to Look for in a Hosting Provider.' These will give you a hand with setting up your own domain name and hosting, and then you should have some help from your hosting provider to install WordPress. 
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.
2. Can I have more than one affiliate link for the same product on my site? Eg a link for people who want to buy off amazon (say because they have prime) and another that links to the manufacturer or some other affiliate for people who want to buy direct (or don’t care where they buy from). My concern is that more people will want to buy from amazon but the commission is lower.
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!
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