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
Another industry that has seen better commissions recently is the “making money” vertical. Along the same lines of Forex trading platforms, products or programs that help people earn money at home are also giving out average (or better than average!) affiliate commission rates. Products such as website hosting, WordPress themes and plugins, marketing products and other related items are all offering great commission rates.
So an effective affiliate marketing program requires some forethought. The terms and conditions have to be tight, especially if the contract agreement is to pay for traffic rather than sales. The potential for fraud in affiliate marketing is a possibility. Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect; they can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information; they can purchase adwords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone be monitoring affiliates and enforcing the rules. In exchange for that effort, however, a company can access motivated, creative people to help sell their product or services to the world.
Nathan is an online marketer & mentor in the home business space. He went from struggling for years to creating a passive income online. He attributes his success to learning proven marketing strategies. Nathan can help you generate leads, make more sales & build a personal brand online. If you want quicker results, check out his latest FREE training HERE.
Affiliate Marketplaces – ShareASale and ClickBank have thousands of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on each website. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I’m a big fan of ShareASale – there are so many companies and industries you can choose from. 

If you’re wondering why we care about ranking for seemingly random phrases like “gifts for writers,” it’s because those random phrases, also known as long-tail keywords, all add up. While we want to rank for more obvious keywords like “freelance writing,” those are super competitive, so it’s best to aim to rank for a combination of keywords, including longer phrases that are less popular but still have a search presence.


… ensure that long, multi-topic pages on your site are well-structured and broken into distinct logical sections. Second, ensure that each section has an associated anchor with a descriptive name (i.e., not just “Section 2.1”), and that your page includes a “table of contents” which links to the individual anchors… you won’t see it on the results all the time — only when we think that a link to a section would be highly useful for a particular query.

While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.

A far more lucrative way to earn as an affiliate is to recommend high-quality digital products created by online entrepreneurs. The reason is simple: digital entrepreneurs offer as much as 50 percent commission — in fact, in many affiliate circles, 50 percent is expected. Many products created by individuals also sell at higher price points, anywhere from $19 to hundreds of dollars. That means you earn far more per sale.

Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
If you get THAT clear and believe in some product, go ahead. Your audience trusts your word. But most folks need to use or experience before they can get clear, because they have a fear: the fear of using trust. I am slowly losing that fear but still use what I promote, before I promote it. I also just sell my stuff mainly. Since I have quite a few products and eBooks and services to sell. 

Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[18][19] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]
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.

Affiliate Marketplaces – ShareASale and ClickBank have thousands of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on each website. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I’m a big fan of ShareASale – there are so many companies and industries you can choose from.

This is the standard affiliate marketing structure. In this program, the merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product as a result of the affiliate’s marketing strategies. In other words, the affiliate must actually get the investor to invest in the product before they are compensated.


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.
Now most affiliate programs have strict terms and conditions on how the lead is to be generated. There are also certain methods that are outright banned, such as installing adware or spyware that redirect all search queries for a product to an affiliate's page. Some affiliate marketing programs go as far as to lay out how a product or service is to be discussed in the content before an affiliate link can be validated.
It will probably take a couple years to build a sustainable, passive income. That is the 1st car I have EVER purchased myself at age 29 (I was broke until then and leased from my parents). But the time committed to affiliate marketing and creating great tutorials and YouTube videos was worth it… I work for myself, there is virtually no limit on how much I can make, my schedule is flexible, and I collect enough passive income to live how I want.
A far more lucrative way to earn as an affiliate is to recommend high-quality digital products created by online entrepreneurs. The reason is simple: digital entrepreneurs offer as much as 50 percent commission — in fact, in many affiliate circles, 50 percent is expected. Many products created by individuals also sell at higher price points, anywhere from $19 to hundreds of dollars. That means you earn far more per sale.
Designed to create a huge amount of traffic at all times, these sites focus on building an audience of millions. These websites promote products to their massive audience through the use of banners and contextual links. This method offers superior exposure and improves conversion rates, resulting in a top-notch revenue for both the seller and the affiliate.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005.[15] MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.[16]
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.
Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!
The implementation of affiliate marketing on the internet relies heavily on various techniques built into the design of many web-pages and websites, and the use of calls to external domains to track user actions (click tracking, Ad Sense) and to serve up content (advertising) to the user. Most of this activity adds time[citation needed] and is generally a nuisance to the casual web-surfer and is seen as visual clutter.[citation needed] Various countermeasures have evolved over time to prevent or eliminate the appearance of advertising when a web-page is rendered. Third party programs (Ad-Aware, Adblock Plus, Spybot, pop-up blockers, etc.) and particularly, the use of a comprehensive HOSTS file can effectively eliminate the visual clutter and the extra time and bandwidth needed to render many web pages. The use of specific entries in the HOSTS file to block these well-known and persistent marketing and click-tracking domains can also aid in reducing a system's exposure to malware by preventing the content of infected advertising or tracking servers to reach a user's web-browser.[citation needed]
I’ll admit that even on my own blog, AlexisGrant.com, I’m sometimes lazy about taking an extra minute or two to pull an affiliate link when I see an opportunity to use one in a post. But if you want to benefit as your traffic grows, you have to be consistent about adding those affiliate links every time, even if you don’t expect the post to take off. This is something we’re religious about on The Write Life (thank you, editor @Heathervdh!), so when we get unexpected traffic to a post, we earn.
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. ­

I’ll admit that even on my own blog, AlexisGrant.com, I’m sometimes lazy about taking an extra minute or two to pull an affiliate link when I see an opportunity to use one in a post. But if you want to benefit as your traffic grows, you have to be consistent about adding those affiliate links every time, even if you don’t expect the post to take off. This is something we’re religious about on The Write Life (thank you, editor @Heathervdh!), so when we get unexpected traffic to a post, we earn.
So an effective affiliate marketing program requires some forethought. The terms and conditions have to be tight, especially if the contract agreement is to pay for traffic rather than sales. The potential for fraud in affiliate marketing is a possibility. Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect; they can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information; they can purchase adwords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone be monitoring affiliates and enforcing the rules. In exchange for that effort, however, a company can access motivated, creative people to help sell their product or services to the world.
Despite its older origins, email lists are still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.

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!
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.
Once you’re financially stable, I hope you start giving back. It feels good and people like the idea of supporting a good cause (they will be more likely to click your affiliate link in your disclaimer). This also means you don’t have to use as many links in your content and risk getting a penalized. Last year I donated $3,000 to Red Cross At Hurricane Harvey.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[35] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
As you become comfortable with the affiliate marketing process, you can consider both specialized (e.g. fly fishing) and broad (e.g. weight loss) niches. Don’t forget to track your marketing metrics! They are usually provided by your merchant and/or affiliate network. This way you'll be able to know which products your audience are responding to and which ones aren't generating any profits for your business. This is especially important if you are investing into paid advertising to drive traffic and promote products as an affiliate...
You’re absolutely right about that time. Never give up. Content marketing is a hard job but you got to look at it like this. The internet and side hustles are here to stay. It goes Way Beyond making money online. We both know there’s no more traditional job security in America today. These narcissist employers are nothing nice. They will hire you 1 minute. Harass you on the job. Steal your commissions and laugh at you behind your back while you continually work hard and put more money in their pocket, then try to enslave you into making more money for them and continually disrespect you to your face. This is the Ironclad indicated it’s time to walk away and start your own business online by working part time on your side hustle weather to Philly at marketing, blogging, or selling your own product service online. There’s billions of dollars to be made in the affiliate marketing industry. With that said, it’s a good thing to know the side hustle is here to stay to those who dedicate themselves to creating quality content on blogs and websites and taking a side hustle to the public nightstep. Agree? :-)
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).

Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.


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.
The Six Figure Mentors have a tiered membership training program that takes you from totoal digital newbie to empowered online entrepreneur. They offer various training packages that cater to different stages of your personal/professional development. Pricing starts from $197 for the basic membership package but goes all the way up to $20,000 for the top level training they offer.

Will my target audience realistically spend this amount for the product? Again, your reputation is on the line here. Is the product you are thinking of promoting priced reasonably for your audience? When I was writing my ebook, I was stuck on pricing. I asked around for opinions. A number of people suggested I price my ebook at $47! Their idea was to price according to value, not size. In my mind that was crazy. My network was composed of a lot of stay-at-home bloggers, and my collective audience was comprised mostly of people without a whole lot of disposable income. There was no way anyone was going to pay $47 for my 30-page ebook.
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!
It will probably take a couple years to build a sustainable, passive income. That is the 1st car I have EVER purchased myself at age 29 (I was broke until then and leased from my parents). But the time committed to affiliate marketing and creating great tutorials and YouTube videos was worth it… I work for myself, there is virtually no limit on how much I can make, my schedule is flexible, and I collect enough passive income to live how I want.
Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
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