But getting 1000 visitors to any given affiliate site meant I'd have to get about 10,000 visitors to my own site. If I could do that every week, I'd be doing OK for a small business site with a marketing budget close to zero. But I was already learning that it takes time and money to get 10,000 visitors a week. And let's see... for all my traffic generating efforts I would pull in a cool $180 a month? It didn't take a genius to figure out that it might not be worth the effort. I passed.
I went from making $20k in 2016 to $100k in 2017 by dropping my web design/SEO clients and doing affiliate marketing/blogging full-time. 90% of my (passive) affiliate income comes from SiteGround, a hosting company who awarded me affiliate of the month in July, 2017 when I made $9k in 1 month. Since then I’ve continued to hit numbers like this – the screenshot below is from March, 2018 when I made $14.5k in 1 month (just with SiteGround).
Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use GMail, go to your settings and create a filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder (tweak the subject line to match whatever email notification your affiliate sends you). Then setup a custom alert on your phone using the GMail app so anytime you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android and here’s one for Apple). I have different notifications for SiteGround, StudioPress Themes, etc. Makes your day better :)
This usually means a purchase of one of our products was reversed due to a fraudulent transaction. Our payment gateway automatically refunds the money which means the commission you earned gets returned as well. We know, it sucks and we both lose out. It could also mean that the affiliate sale was reversed because it was not made following our affiliate guidelines.
Don't go it alone. Ask successful affiliates how they've grown their incomes - most are happy to share the details. Read their books, take their courses and get on their subscriber lists. There's no point in trying to reinvent the wheel. Simply follow the path that other successful affiliates have taken before you and you can achieve success too. It really is that simple.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
When you’re getting started, the easiest place to start for almost all bloggers is with Amazon (scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Become an Affiliate’). You’ll make a cut of all purchases that someone buys within 24 hours of clicking your Amazon links. This is an easy place to start as everyone knows Amazon and you can literally make links today once you’re enrolled.
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?
Contact the company directly. If you use a product or service and want to recommend it but you can’t find evidence of an affiliate program, consider approaching them and asking if they are willing to set one up (maybe with your help). Highlight your audience and the value of your recommendation. Explain that an affiliate program is simply rewarding happy customers (you!) for promoting, and they don’t have to pay until a sale is made.
Your audience is more likely to buy a product, service or course when they can see the value it will bring into their life. The best way to convey this is through a dedicated, detailed blog post where you prominently feature ONE of your affiliates, all the reasons you authentically love them and how that thing is going to make someone’s life better.
The result is a website that lists everything important that ever happened and I have begun to write a 1,000 word essay on each event. While selling the poster is the goal, completing the task of writing the full history has now become something of an obsession in its own right. It’s a big project and will take a couple of years to write the whole 300,000 words but at least I won’t be stuck for subjects to write about as they have already happened.
I couldn’t agree more the relationship with your audience, and the trust that you build with them, is the single most important asset you could ever have. Trust is the basis of all good marketing, If viewers do not trust you and see you as the expert, that they need to turn to, then the chances that you will succeed with Affiliate marketing in the long-term, are very slim. Such a great content and a perfect key strategy for every business industry to prosper. These were awesome, looking forward for more valuable content of yours!
No matter how good your marketing skills are, you’ll make less money on a bad product than you will on a valuable one. Take the time to study the demand for a product before promoting it. Make sure to research the seller with care before teaming up. Your time is worth a lot, and you want to be sure you’re spending it on a product that is profitable and a seller you can believe in.

One last note. I’ve been asked what I think of other affiliate marketing resources, both free and paid. I’m familiar with some of them, not all. I’ve read ebooks, watch videos, bought courses and more. So far, the only paid-for course that has impressed me enough to recommend is Kayla Aimee’s Affiliate Acceleration: Impactful Strategies To Increase Your Passive Income.


Wow! This is a great article. Thanks for laying out the process in an easy-to-follow format! SEO can be so overwhelming when you’re starting out and this breaks it down nicely. I think your discussion on relevance is really important as well. It seems like relevance could really be the missing link for a lot of people to get good traffic from Google.

Another good platform to start with is Reward Style. Once you’re enrolled, you can get links for seriously hundreds of different sites–everything from Bed, Bath & Beyond to Anthropologie to PETCO to Pottery Barn Kids to Zulily. While it’s a fairly small commission (usually 5-15%), it all adds up and all you’re doing is helping to facilitate a sale for something you’re already talking about anyway!
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
Oh my goodness! Blogging is so overwhelming. Writing posts, getting traffic, trying to make money. Can someone normal like me just give me some hope? Is there anyone out there that has a small blog but makes a decent amount of money? <- If that’s you, then you’re going to love this post! Here is a mom blogger with a small blog who makes bank with her blog using the Amazon affiliate program!
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 :)
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
Without doubt that was by far the best summary of “Greatest Tips” I have read to date. It is so confusing out there…I want to help my son who struggles with cranky bossy managers to empowering him and havening him live life on his terms. I know affiliate marketing is the way out but where to start?? Do we set up on Shopify and offer other people’s products? Do we set up a blog with a few good links? Do you go to clickbank and peddle the China trinkets etc? Its a tough one to sort but this tutorial was an easy to understand read and you have my word that any of the hosting or other services offered I will use your affiliate link to thank you for sharing your knowledge and your mistakes. Sincerest thanks Tom!
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.)

Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).
Wow Yuwanda, I’m so impressed with this site and very thankful you made it! I’m very new to all this and chose a site on what I was interested in and that’s drones. They are fun to use and a wide variety so this was a easy choice. I made lists of different price ranges for people looking to buy one as a gift or for themselves. I’m constantly looking up new ideas and trying to find other people’s experiences with affiliate marketing. That’s why this site was so amazing to me. It’s very inspiring and I’ll be checking back from time to time to read everyone’s experiences. Thanks a lot! BTW I signed up for share a sell through you. Maybe they have something I can add
Starting your own home business has never been easier, thanks to the internet. With the help of the internet you have access to people from all over the world, right from your own home. While there are many types of businesses you can start, affiliate marketing is one of the best. It can give you an extremely large income and all you have to do is learn some new skills. If you can read and write you can have a very successful online business.
What struck me about Dr. Rose’s experience was how affiliate marketing attracts everyone — from those with no degrees (but with strong work ethics), to those who are fully degreed (and pedigreed), but who want to do their own thing. Dr. Rose stated in that post that her mission was to earn what she earned as a pharmacist in a year — in one month in affilite marketing/blogging.
I think you might of misunderstood me I am not looking to promote my page, it is just a hobby really that grew quickly due to the need. I do this while I finish my degree in HR. I am looking to make money off of posting other people’s things on my page. Not to boost my page I have about 6k active users. I’m looking to sign up to affiliate programs.
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.)
Banners – after testing them out I decided to take down my banner ads since they looked salesy and weren’t working like my affiliate links did. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can do this using a plugin like Widget Logic.
Mistake #5: Promoting a lot of affiliate products instead of just a few. Once you start affiliate marketing, you realize how easy it is to share affiliate links. Instead of becoming an affiliate for a lot of different products and sharing them liberally, I recommend concentrating on just a few and sharing them intentionally. It doesn’t seem as spammy, plus you can be sure the products you do promote are closely aligned with your brand and message. Deep is better than wide.
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