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.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
The phrase, "Affiliates are an extended sales force for your business", which is often used to explain affiliate marketing, is not completely accurate. The primary difference between the two is that affiliate marketers provide little if any influence on a possible prospect in the conversion process once that prospect is directed to the advertiser's website. The sales team of the advertiser, however, does have the control and influence up to the point where the prospect either a) signs the contract, or b) completes the purchase.
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.
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?
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.

Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
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.

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.
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.

Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this page above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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.

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.)


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.


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.

Amazon Associates – for pretty much anything sold on Amazon. If you have links to your books on your website (and you should do!), this is a good way to start with affiliate marketing and you will receive a little bit extra if people shop through your link, as well as a percentage of other products that people buy within a 24 hour period. You can use your existing Amazon account and then find your books, copy the special link and then use that on your site. You can also use a site like Booklinker.net or Books2Read.com to create one link that works for all stores and contains affiliate links.
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
Take advantage of affiliate program freebies when available. Many affiliate programs provide free printables, guides, webinars or other lead magnets designed to get potential customers in their sales funnel. As an affiliate, you can share these freebies with your audience using your affiliate link so if they eventually make a purchase, you’ll earn a commission, but if they don’t they still get value upfront.
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.
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.
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
First of all, Thanks @Alexis Grant to share this post with us… Well it’s true, if you have enough visitors to start in Affiliate program, you should go for it, You need to monetizing your blog according to your visitors interests.I am using amazon to promote affiliate links in some of my blogs and it’s a clear winner I must say, I am getting more than 5000 unique visitors daily and averagely earns upto 3,00,000(around 4500 $) per month… I would say go for it 🙂 🙂
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
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