Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “Oh, here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to do live my life. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS. 

Without hesitation (after some research), I bought her course. As an aside, I’m not one of those people who buys any and every thing that comes down the pike. I’ve bought enough online products that DIDN’T work that it takes a lot for me to shell out money. I’m pretty good at figuring out stuff, but the more I researched Michelle, the more impressed I was by her and her course.

What are the terms of the program? Is there anything I need to be aware of that would make a program not worth it for me. For example, Amazon Associates does not allow you to put your affiliate links in emails. If your main method of communication with your audience is via email, Amazon might not be a good fit for you. Wayfair, for example, does not allow their affiliates to post affiliate links on Pinterest or any other social media site. If that’s a strategy you rely on, Wayfair might not be a good fit for you.

Michelle, I am just starting a serious Blog and it is about two weeks old- I have hired a ghostwriter in the interim while I spend time on the mechanics of getting the blog right – I had a Blogger site going for a few years and had some affiliate marketing on it but I was the cause of it not doing well, because of inattention-Not posting regularly, not using social media as I should have. Now I am pedal to the medal – How many subscribers did you have before you started making reasonable bank from it?
While there are lots of ways to boost your ranking in search, we get the best ROI from optimizing content for popular keywords, especially headlines. We spend a lot of time perfecting headlines both for The Write Life and for our client blogs, researching keywords using Google Adword’s keyword planner and Google Trends. (If you want to learn more about our SEO strategy for The Write Life, this post explains it in more detail. I also offer a free webinar called Easy SEO Tips for Bloggers.)

Do they value and help their affiliates? Some affiliate programs do an exceptional job of communicating with their affiliates, notifying them of upcoming sales, offering marketing advice or tools, offering contents and prizes during promotions and more. These types of affiliate programs are a pleasure to be a part of. Ultimate Bundles is an excellent example.
Affiliates work to introduce their visitors to the merchant’s brand. They might write a post about a new product or promotion on the merchant’s site, feature banner ads on their site that drive people to the merchant’s site, or offer visitors a special coupon code. If people come from that affiliate’s site and make a purchase, that affiliate gets paid.
Technically yes, but you may not use domain names with AppThemes brand-related keywords (i.e. classipress-theme.com, appthemes-coupons.net, etc) for the sole purpose of affiliate click-thrus. You also may not mislead visitors with masked urls and/or inaccurate coupon codes (click me for 40% off) links. These sort of websites are not only against our affiliate terms, but also likely viewed by Google as link schemes. Any affiliate sales made via these dedicated AppThemes brand-related keyword sites and/or misleading coupon codes will be voided out and not paid.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.[citation needed]
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. 
Most of them are common sense but you do need to be aware of things like disclosing that you are an affiliate for that product, and that it needs to be clear and early on in the post. You have to be very transparent about it. I mention it in a big clear “NOTE” at the top of any post that contains affiliate links, as well as again down the bottom in a disclaimer.
This literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $3,000 to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So… I want to show you how I did it :)
Affiliates should try their best to make it easy for their readers to easily navigate to a brand’s site via an affiliate link. The more people click on that link, the better for everyone because 1) the more people you refer to a company, the more commissions you can potentially earn, and 2) those you’re referring will be able to improve their lives in some way thanks to the product you recommend.

If you want to maintain a steady flow of traffic returning to your site, avoid posting spammy content. Now I know you might be thinking, “I would never do such a thing!” However, what gets labeled as spam goes beyond the usual “make money fast” kind of copywriting. So what else falls under this umbrella? Any content that is irrelevant to your audience, or that your audience isn’t expecting.

There are two ways to approach affiliate marketing: You can offer an affiliate program to others or you can sign up to be another business's affiliate. As the business driving an affiliate program, you'll pay your affiliates a commission fee for every lead or sale they drive to your website. Your main goal should be to find affiliates who'll reach untapped markets. For example, a company with an e-zine may make a good affiliate because its subscribers are hungry for resources. So introducing your offer through a "trusted" company can grab the attention of prospects you might not have otherwise reached.


Simply put, affiliate programs, also called associate programs, are arrangements in which an online merchant Web site pays affiliate Web sites a commission to send them traffic. These affiliate Web sites post links to the merchant site and are paid according to a particular agreement. This agreement is usually based on the number of people the affiliate sends to the merchant's site, or the number of people they send who buy something or perform some other action. Some arrangements pay according to the number of people who visit the page containing their merchant site's banner advertisement. Basically, if a link on an affiliate site brings the merchant site traffic or money, the merchant site pays the affiliate site according to their agreement. Recruiting affiliates is an excellent way to sell products online, but it can also be a cheap and effective marketing strategy; it's a good way to get the word out about your site.
Something I’ve become more and more aware of in relation to affiliate marketing profits is the value of products with a great funnel. Once in the funnel valued customers are offered high quality free content and a number of different products at varying investment levels. All of the products in the funnel are designed to help solve a problem or overcome an obstacle that the customer has. For any prospective digital marketer who hasn’t yet developed a range of their own products to market through a funnel then naturally choosing an affiliate product with a great funnel means some careful research to make sure that there’s quality and outstanding value in all the products in the funnel. I would always be careful not to have my own name aligned with poor quality offerings.
For example, Darren Rowse on DPS has a lot of photographers taking excellent photos with Canon and Nikon SLR cameras and then mentioning those cameras in their posts and/or tutorials. Although he might not directly sell or pitch those cameras, he would be making an absolute fortune from people who get inspired to purchase after seeing what gets produced.
2nd tier.  If you are an affiliate for a particular program and you refer others to sign up for that affiliate program, a 2nd tier program will pay you when the affiliates you referred make sales. For example, I am an affiliate for Ultimate Bundles. If you join their affiliate program via my 2nd tier affiliate link here. I will get a small percentage of any sales you make going forward.

Do your due diligence: Before you commit to or decide to start promoting any affiliate product on your website or blog, be sure to do your due diligence on that product and the people behind it. Make sure you research what experience other people might have had with promoting that company’s products. Find out what any past customers or users of their products might have said about the product in question.
Affiliate networks usually have hundreds, if not thousands of products for affiliate marketers to promote. Remember, 90% of affiliate marketers come to these networks to find a product to promote, so, with this in mind, if a product creator uses an affiliate network for their products, they have a higher chance of their products being found by affiliates to promote.
Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no expense to you. This year I donated $3,000 to feed the homeless in Denver. In 2017, I donated $3,000 to American Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey. Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way I truly believe they’re the best host and that your site will run faster/smoother… do your research on Google and Facebook groups and you’ll find most people say the same.
Sometimes, individual entrepreneurs with great products are worth a look, although you should check them out first and do some research. Entrepreneurs or companies may run their own affiliate program and you can apply directly to them to promote their products and services. Finally, Amazon is always an option as you can be an affiliate for just about any type of physical product on their network.
Whenever we see a blog post catch on in search for one of the blogs we manage, we celebrate, because it will probably send lots of traffic to the site over time. Unless you have a massive email list or rely entirely on Facebook shares like BuzzFeed-type sites, you should aim to get a good portion of your traffic from search. (Though a massive email list and lots of Facebook shares are pretty great too, and will help your site catch on in search… so all of these traffic-generating activities feed into one another.)
I approach this the same way I find sponsors: I look at what brands I’m already using and love and fit with R+R’s natural, non-toxic mission. Then, I contact them to see if they have affiliate programs. Sometimes you don’t have to email somebody directly, rather they’ll have a link to join their program right on their website, which makes it super easy.
The very first affiliate program I reviewed, paid an average of ten percent commissions on each product sale my site generated. The products (mostly books) averaged around $15 so my share would be about a buck and a half per sale. I figured if I could get one sale out of every 35 visitors I sent to the site, that would be a decent conversion rate (better than average, actually). After doing a little math, I concluded that I would earn about $45 for every 1000 visitors I sent to the site.
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.
Long-Tail Keywords – specific keywords usually with 3-7 individual words in a phrase. They are highly targeted and MUCH easier to rank for than broad keywords (all mine are long-tail). The lower your domain authority (check using OSE), the less competitive (more long-tail) your keywords should be. If you can get more specific and the keyword still shows up in Google Autocomplete, Moz Keyword Explorer and other keyword tools… choose the SPECIFIC one.
Saw this article in my RSS feed, and I realized how I totally forgot to read it when it was published. Only one VERY IMPORTANT thing to add- if you are using an affiliate network, don’t hesitate to ask for a raise if the sales are decent in numbers. We did this a couple of times, and every time we managed to negotiate a raise. Imagine this- traffic stays the same, conversion rate stays the same, only commissions get higher. Nice, huh?
I talk about traffic a little bit in my course, but my course is mainly about affiliate marketing, so it’s not something I go super deep in. Whatever your traffic is though, the course can still help you to increase your affiliate income because it’s about making conversions out of the followers that you already have, no matter how low that may be.
Do Paul! Affiliate marketing is awesome – and you’re right, it can be overwhelming b/c it can be hard to know who to trust, but it’s a wonderful way to make money online — esp when you’re promoting products/services you are proud of. Let me know if you have any questions. There’s a lot I don’t know … and a lot I do. For what I don’t know, I can find the answer for you. 

Thanks for the post and I’m looking forward to learn more from your course. My traffic definitely needs to increase but I earn pretty much nothing affiliate income. Does Amazon count? If so, then maybe a few dollars a month. Yea, I really need to work on that. I will include affiliate links when it fits but haven’t written a review post about a specific product. Do you think it’s important to have an entire post relating to that product or it works best to incorporate it in the post when talking about a topic? 

Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here. 

Giving away a free informational product such as an e-book, an email series or a mini-course is a popular tactic many affiliate marketers use. Usually, your readers will have to provide their email addresses to receive the product from you. You can then use this to sell to them via email marketing. Additionally, an informational product can generate interest in the actual product you're trying to sell. If your product is popular enough and brings enough traffic to your site, you could also monetize the traffic in other ways, such as AdSense.
For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 
As a course developer and promoter, I can say that on the face of of it, promoting can be easier than developing one. The upside of development though, is that once it’s done, have to do is keep it updated and it can earn you money for years. That’s the case with my SEO copywriter training course, which I’ve been teaching (and earning from) since 2009.
Many voucher code web sites use a click-to-reveal format, which requires the web site user to click to reveal the voucher code. The action of clicking places the cookie on the website visitor's computer. In the United Kingdom, the IAB Affiliate Council under chair Matt Bailey announced regulations[42] that stated that "Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be."
I hardly ever try to commutate with other affiliate marketers but it’s something about your site that is very interesting. Maybe it’s because your black who knows. Anyway I’ve known about affiliate marketing for 10 yrs. Never made over 100 bucks a month doing but for the live of the game I’m building a an affiliate blog promoting Amazon kitchen products. I’m very confident in my skills and by the end of 2018 I plan to have my monthly income at 2000 or better. Enjoying reading your site.. Keep up the awesome work. Your writing skills are extremely sharp.
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