Focusing on relevant products makes it easier to make quality referrals because there’s a nice overlap between your audience and the product you’re promoting. If you’re a fitness blogger, for example, it wouldn’t exactly fit in with the rest of your content if you started promoting video games and electronics that aren’t applicable to your niche. Instead, you might find a company whose products focus on protein powders, vitamins, workout equipment, etc.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.

Hey Tom, thanks for this tutorial – it’s a good thing to get a tutorial like this from a trusted person like you and not from the thousands of (sometimes) confusing articles about passive income/affiliate marketing/clickfunnels and what not that I come across from time to time, I am making a living as a web designer and I have been thinking of pivoting from design and creative work to focus on passive income but didn’t know where to start. This is the perfect foundation article I have seen so far and I ‘d like to ask if you have any further reading/guides/videos on affiliate marketing that you’d recommend. I like to do my deep research before starting :) One more thing, there are some broken or missing images in this article, it could be my browser but check from your side too because there are quite a few images (e.g your Mercedes) that are missing. Thanks
My advice for beginners – especially beginner bloggers with new sites – focus on your site content and traffic for a while, then add your Amazon links once you have a little traffic. So many beginners focus on making money from their links and sacrifice their content building in the process. Without good content and traffic you won’t make much anyways.

Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.


In 1996, Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon.com, popularized this idea as an Internet marketing strategy. Amazon.com attracts affiliates to post links to individual books for sale on Amazon.com, or for Amazon.com in general, by promising them a percentage of the profits if someone clicks on the link and then purchases books or other items. The affiliate helps make the sale, but Amazon.com does everything else: They take the order, collect the money and ship the book to the customer. With over 500,000 affiliate Web sites now participating, Amazon.com's program is a resounding success.
Always make affiliate links nofollow. Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best possible search results to their search queries. One of the main ways they figure out which webpages are the best is through links. The Google bots crawl the web, reading text. When they come to a link, it’s like an open door. They follow the link (walk through the door) and explore the site you linked to.
Here’s how Amazon Associates works. People Googled “gifts for writers,” then clicked on the ideas we shared in our post, which took them over to Amazon.com. Regardless of whether they bought that item we recommended, they then continued to do their holiday shopping, stocking up on all sorts of random gifts, from electronics to clothing to books. And because they clicked on our link initially, we earned somewhere between four to 10 percent of whatever they spent on Amazon during the next 24 hours.
We hold the right to make changes to the affiliate commission rates (at any time without prior notice) including but not limited to: (i) Exclude certain products / categories from earning referral payouts, and/or (ii) Increase or Decrease the commission rate on specific products / categories. We may also run special / limited-time offers or promotions under which you may earn commission rates on products / categories that were previously excluded from earning commissions, or you may earn increased/decreased affiliate commission rates from those set forth above.
In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[6] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[7] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[8]

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. 
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.
A browser extension is a plug-in that extends the functionality of a web browser. Some extensions are authored using web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Most modern web browsers have a whole slew of third-party extensions available for download. In recent years, there has been a constant rise in the number of malicious browser extensions flooding the web. Malicious browser extensions will often appear to be legitimate as they seem to originate from vendor websites and come with glowing customer reviews.[28] In the case of affiliate marketing, these malicious extensions are often used to redirect a user’s browser to send fake clicks to websites that are supposedly part of legitimate affiliate marketing programs. Typically, users are completely unaware this is happening other than their browser performance slowing down. Websites end up paying for fake traffic number, and users are unwitting participants in these ad schemes.
Thank you! This is really helpful. I have Amazon Affiliates, but I want to get more intentional with how I use it. The only negative thing I have about the program is that since I live outside of US the only way I can get paid is by amazon gift card, or expensive checks mailed to me. I mean, I can use the money I earn now on Amazon on things I actually need, but I don’t know if it’s worth putting a lot of effort into earning more when I can only use the money on Amazon 😛
Jump up ^ Shashank SHEKHAR (2009-06-29). "Online Marketing System: Affiliate marketing". Feed Money.com. Archived from the original on 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2011-04-20. During November 1994, CDNOW released its BuyWeb program. With this program CDNOW was the first non-adult website to launch the concept of an affiliate or associate program with its idea of click-through purchasing.

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.)
Know when (and when not) to use Viglinks and Skimlinks. If you applied to an affiliate program but were denied, you might be able to still be an affiliate for that advertiser through a secondary affiliate program like VigLink or Skimlinks. Basically, they themselves are affiliates and will split their affiliate commission with you if you put their affiliate link in your content for an advertiser. Obviously, the commission rate is lower for you in this case, so if you ever are accepted into the advertiser’s affiliate program directly, immediately switch from using VigLink / Skimlinks affiliate links to your own. 

Some merchants run their own (in-house) affiliate programs using dedicated software, while others use third-party intermediaries to track traffic or sales that are referred from affiliates. There are two different types of affiliate management methods used by merchants: standalone software or hosted services, typically called affiliate networks. Payouts to affiliates or publishers can be made by the networks on behalf of the merchant, by the network, consolidated across all merchants where the publisher has a relationship with and earned commissions or directly by the merchant itself.
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?
One of the main reasons why most newbie affiliate marketers give up after 3 months is the fact that they can’t build up traffic to their affiliate website. It’s a thorn in most marketers’ sides, but one that can be easily resolved if you put the effort in. Below I have covered a few areas that will get you good targeted traffic to your affiliate deals.

It was really a good post. Very detail information and described well. I have started my own with Amazon and also put there as shop for baby products from amazon. I am clear about my target customers but I don’t know how to reach them and from where to start. I have put my effort in the site and review but now need a through for my site. My site is about Barbie Dream House With Elevator usually kids like with and along with that all barbie products are also available and also baby products, health product are available in there program with Amazon. Anyone can visit and see that in https://www.barbiedollsdreamhouse.com
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on May 25, 2018, is a set of regulations governing the use of personal data across the EU. This is forcing some affiliates to obtain user data through opt-in consent (updated privacy policies and cookie notices), even if they are not located in the European Union. This new regulation should also remind you to follow FTC guidelines and clearly disclose that you receive affiliate commissions from your recommendations. 
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
Smart tips, Elna! That’s exactly what I did with BoardBooster – I created a post that showed people (with screen shots etc) exactly how I was using it to increase my Pinterest engagement. In my opinion, that’s one of the best ways to create affiliate sales – not only are you providing something that’s truly helpful to your readers, you’re showing them exactly how it works.
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.

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? 

The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.

But what if you want to take your site to the next level? If you have a content-driven Web site, how can you make money off your traffic? If you are an online merchant, how can you get people to your site to buy your products? One popular option that serves both of these functions is an affiliate program. In this article, we'll examine affiliate programs to find out what they are, how they work, who they are for and how you can use them to benefit your Web site. ­
The terms of an affiliate marketing program are set by the company wanting to advertise. Early on, companies were largely paying cost per click (traffic) or cost per mile (impressions) on banner advertisements. As the technology evolved, the focus turned to commissions on actual sales or qualified leads. The early affiliate marketing programs were vulnerable to fraud because clicks could be generated by software, as could impressions.

Use affiliate links every time you can and not just for the obvious stuff but for everything you mention that can be found on Amazon. Have a recipe that uses salt? Link to that (see this example). You can link to the actual name of the product or use type: “I like to use this salt” so people actually click on the link to see what it is. I wouldn’t use this method on all links but I do use it especially when I’m listing several items.

I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
On AlexisGrant.com, I often — but not always — write (affiliate link) after using a link, or flat-out tell readers I’ll earn a cut if they buy through me. Often, readers *want* to help bloggers make a living, so they might even be more inclined to use that link if they know you’ll benefit. I know when I sign up for a new service I often take a few minutes to go back to the blogger I first heard about it from, and click through their link so they’ll earn. 

After being accepted into an affiliate program, marketers receive a unique URL that includes their affiliate ID. They share that unique URL with their subscribers, site visitors, and social networks via text links or ads. When someone clicks on that link, affiliate software records that click and any resulting product sales in the affiliate’s account. When commissions reach a pre-determined threshold, the affiliate is paid.
An influencer is an individual who holds the power to impact the purchasing decisions of a large segment of the population. This person is in a great position to benefit from affiliate marketing. They already boast an impressive following, so it’s easy for them to direct consumers to the seller’s products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. The influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.

I never advocate relying on affiliate income as your only form of revenue, or starting a blog with affiliate sales as your only monetizing strategy, because for most bloggers it amounts only to pennies, maybe dollars, and even that isn’t consistent. Sure, you might earn a few bucks here and there or a credit to put toward a service you use regularly. While every dollar’s welcome, of course, and this type of affiliate earnings can supplement other income, it’s not enough to support a family.
In conclusion, affiliate marketing is a very lucrative business that has provided either a full-time or part-time income for tens or hundreds of thousands of people. While many more people will slowly begin to look into earning some money via affiliate marketing in the coming years, there is nothing worse that quitting your job to becoming an affiliate marketer, only to have your sole source of income take a hit for no fault of yours. Either as a result of something that the vendor of the products you are promoting did (or didn’t do), or perhaps because of a sudden loss of website traffic via the search engines, which is something that search engines have been known to do occasionally.
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.
I almost signed up for your course but it was too costly for me. Please let me know if you ever have a more reasonably priced course available. Those of us just getting started are doing it so we can have the higher income. I for one live on $1000 a month income and really can’t take the more than 10% of that to take a course, even knowing it will help me increase my income, there really is no room in the budget.
Thanks for stopping by! Blogging is a great way to make an income. What you are reading is a blog and it can be filled with words or videos to help your audience. You create content to attract a loyal readership and then you can monetize your blog by promoting products to your audience. Check out my free email course! https://twinsmommy.com/start-grow-earn-free-course/
Most of the information on this site is free for you to read, watch or listen to, but The Creative Penn is also a business and my livelihood. So please expect hyperlinks to be affiliate links in many cases, when I receive a small percentage of sales if you wish to purchase. I only recommend tools, books and services that I either use or people I know personally. Integrity and authenticity continue to be of the highest importance to me. Read the privacy policy here. I hope you find the site useful! Thanks - Joanna
I’ve been trying to get my head around affiliate marketing. It seems pretty straight forward but impossible without the right traffic. At the moment I have only one affiliate, another on suspended my account as I didn’t have any click throughs in three months. The aim for this year is to set up and promote 3-5 affiliates on my website that will be suitable for my audience. At the moment it’s hard to imagine large numbers but it would be nice to bring in a few thousand a month eventually. First things first, increase traffic!
MY biggest struggle is knowing how to put the promotion together and having everything in place when you promote it. I would kill for a Step-by-Step hold your hand and let me show you once how to do it correctly Mapped Blueprint. I have seen lots of sales pages but when you get them from the vendor they look a lot of the times nothing like the Org sales page, have never written a sales page before and it becomes overwhelming and confusing and then totally frustrating
Try to write one good post about an expensive product or a list of expensive products that you recommend and actually use. Make sure it has good SEO and wait about 6 months for it to start making money. This is what started making me money at first. My Non-toxic play mats posts got on the first page of Google results and it started making me affiliate income.
Since you’re essentially a freelancer, you get ultimate independence in setting your own goals, redirecting your path when you feel so inclined, choosing the products that interest you, and even determining your own hours. This convenience means you can diversify your portfolio if you like or focus solely on simple and straightforward campaigns. You’ll also be free from company restrictions and regulations as well as ill-performing teams. 

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.
Ahmad, Great post and great information. I have some more specific questions for you relating to my personal company and how affiliate programs can tie into it. Is there a chance we could talk sometime soon? I think you may have the answers to several of my questions on whether affiliate marketing is what I am looking for or not. And if it’s not what I am looking for I think you can direct me in the direction I need to go.
Thank you so much! I’m so happy you liked this post and the ideas in it. Yes, putting your affiliate post on a separate page is something I like to do but I’ve also just posted on my blog a new affiliate post and that’s good too! I feel if you’ve been blogging for a year or more and THEN start affiliate marketing, it might be a good idea to ease your audience into this by placing your affiliate post on a separate page!
Important side note: I do want to be clear here about one thing … I do NOT recommend that you ONLY fill your blog with “best of” type affiliate posts. It will come across as extremely spammy, overly salesy, and Google and your audience will see that you’re only creating content to make affiliate sales, not to benefit your readers. My recommendation here is that when you DO decide to create affiliate-type content (however often that may be), that you keep these tips in mind. Cool?
As is the case for most professional reviewers, many of the books I review on this site have been provided by the publisher or author, at no cost to me. I've also reviewed books that I bought, because they were worthy of your time. And I've also received dozens of review copies at no charge that do not get reviewed, either because they are not worthy or because they don't meet the subject criteria for this column, or simply because I haven't gotten around to them yet, since I only review one book per month. I have far more books in my office than I will ever read, and the receipt of a free book does not affect my review.

Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.

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.)
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