When you’re looking for affiliate programs to promote, you’ll want to choose ones that pay out a good commission fee. When I first started out, I started promoting products that I really liked and that my audience liked, but they only paid out 10 percent of the total sales. Well, figure the average order size was $65.00, this means that I only made $6.50 per sale. It would take a lot of orders for this to amount to anything substantial. So depending on what your audience’s comfort zone is in relation to price point, you’ll either need to promote products that have a high price point, or that offer a high commission rate. Do your homework and search around – there are tons of affiliate programs out there. I personally like working with companies that pay per lead.
The reason you need to understand this before you learn how to start affiliate marketing is because you need to choose your interest (or interests) wisely. You’ll be spending a lot of time researching and writing about your chosen topics, and so they need to be something you’re passionate about, not just something you think is popular and will get you a lot of traffic. You may be right, but you’ll quickly burn out as you either run out of things to say or you begin to hate your topic instead.

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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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