If you can test the product first, do it. There’s a reason why many affiliate marketers stick to digital products – they’re cheaper to buy, test and review. But if you can find a way to get a hold of the product first before promoting it to your readers, your post about that particular product would hold much more value since you’ve tested it firsthand. You don’t even have to buy it – some manufacturers would gladly ship out a product free if you’re already an authority in your industry.
The keyword here is “base rates” — which is how much everyone is getting paid. If you start pushing volume or very high-quality leads, you should definitely consider asking for a higher payout on your offer. Ad networks usually have a decent amount of margin to play with, and if you are already pushing some nice volume and quality leads, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to boost you up in commission.
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.
If you’re writing reviews, you should 100% be using rich snippets (they add review stars to your search engine snippets and increase click-through rates). There are many WordPress plugins for this but my favorite is WP Rich Snippets. It’s $69/year (or $399 one-time) and I use it for every single review I write. They have tons of add-ons, settings, styling options, and looks nice. Free plugins like All In One Schema.org do work but lack settings, styling, and flexibility.
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.
The thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to monitor it the whole time, yet it can still generate income. You can optimize your strategies and work on your marketing methods during your free time, so it doesn’t have to get in the way of your studies. It’s like having a source of income in a setup and schedule that best works for you. That is one of the reasons why affiliate marketing is such a good money-making opportunity for students!
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 ;-)
Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
Google Adwords can be used to drive targeted traffic to a sales page. You simply make an ad in your adwords account then use your affiliate link in the target page URL of the ad. Obviously, you will have to continuously measure the conversions and see if the campaign cost is less than the campaign profit in order to keep the campaign running but I am sure you get the idea.
I’m not sure of the exact reasons why I started to rank, but I have a few theories. It was a very long, honest, and informative post on the subject. I believe this made it stand out from all the other reviews in which the author just wrote up a basic summary of what it’s about. It also is one of the latest reviews on the book, so perhaps google freshness has something to do with it. I haven’t done any linkbuilding on this page and it currently sits at #2.