Even if you already have a good grasp of the affiliate marketing business model, I highly recommend you check out this primer section in your free account. Check out the article, but more importantly, make sure you watch ever video at the bottom of that page. Those videos are filled with a wealth of information from very, very successful affiliate marketers.
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For example, I have a website that reviews dog food. If you click on the dog food reviews on that site, you will notice that all of my reviews are high quality, detailed, and as unbiased as possible. There are both positive reviews as well as negative reviews, plus some dog food brands that are rated in the middle. The only dog food brands I rate highly are truly brands I would feed to my own dog (and I love my dog… seriously). I am able to do this because I use the Amazon Associates affiliate program so it doesn’t really matter what people buy – I profit either way. Check out my little promotional video below…


Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
I would have one partner create a separate page/contact form specifically for the advertiser – so only people who see that contact form are people who were referred to by the advertiser. The advertiser would use that page as their outbound link. I know you can track outbound clicks in Google Analytics events and Contact Form conversions (usually through most contact form plugins) but that is the best way I think. Never done it, but this is how I see most affiliate programs like that work.
Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
Many affiliate programs will often run promotions with good discounts or giveaways that might be attractive to your audience. For example, if you're an Amazon Associate and the site have a big Holiday Sale, it would be the perfect opportunity for you to promote discounts to your website visitors. This is a great way to promote your offers while also providing good value to your audience. 
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.
There are so many benefits to building an affiliate marketing business. Some of which include that it is low-risk, cost-effective, easy to track, and most importantly you don't actually have to create anything on your own. Rather, your job is only to create epic content that recommends products and services, based on your own experience. It's a win-win.
Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
Pay-per-click – Another effective way of attracting customers to your affiliate site is to advertise or pay for PPC. You don’t have to go far to look for this one, since Google’s own paid advertising can already do wonders on its own. Fees are only in cents per-click, but this adds up pretty quickly, so expect to shell out $50 or more for a low-budget campaign.
I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.
Another consideration to take into account is price point – what is your audience willing to pay? Believe me; you're unlikely to make sales promoting products and services that are outside of your audience’s money comfort zone. Honestly, it took me a long time to narrow down who my target audience was, but if you’re focused and take the time to do the research, it shouldn’t take you that long to figure it out.
It would be nice if we could create websites about whatever niche we wanted, and that’s fine if you don’t care about money, but if you actually want to earn an income from your affiliate marketing efforts, you need to know for sure that your niche is profitable and winnable (enough demand but not too much competition). Trust me, there is a niche for you. Go out there, do some research, and find it. These videos will show you exactly how to do that, step-by-step.
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.
Consistency and discipline –  Mr consistent usually gets the best results. Being consistent and disciplined in your business ensures you’ll minimise distractions that will delay your success. It will also help you develop a structure around your daily actions so you won’t waste time figuring out what to do next. Creating a plan and sticking to it is essential for long-term results.
Even though commissions can be very high, affiliates still want to negotiate the best deal. This is where impression counts get in the way of sales. While cost-per-actions (CPA) and cost-per-lead (CPL) deals can be risk-free for brands because they are based on performance, they are not always ideal for affiliates, which prefer to get paid per impression (CPM).
Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.
Email is a relationship-builder with your potential customers. You want to send them a balance of useful information related to your niche, perhaps an email newsletter, as well as marketing messages, like a sales email, asking them to buy a product on sale. The free information you’ve provided helps them come to know, like, and trust you… which makes it more likely they’ll buy a product.
Being open and upfront about earning affiliate commission is another way not to appear pushy or as if you’re just trying to make a sale. This very useful and informative post contained a number of affiliate links and were I to want to buy one of those products or services mentioned, I would actively seek out this post and buy it through Sean as a way of saying thank you for such top information.
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