Use the product: Where possible, use the product you intend on promoting. It is often said that you can only sell (or market) something that you know. Having first-hand knowledge of the product you intend on promoting will let you know if the product is something that a potential buyer might find value in and would be willing to pay for. Also, you would be speaking from a standpoint of someone who has actually used the product himself, therefore giving more weight to any marketing and/or review you might do.
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. 

Don’t get me wrong…Sponsored content is great (and next month we’ll be publishing a post on how to work with brands), but I love having total freedom in what I write and–especially now that I’m pregnant and due with my first baby boy in September!!–I really wanted to ensure I could start to rely more heavily on automated and more effortless income.

Michelle, I’m so excited for your course but one thing I worry about is that after one full year of blogging I am still getting hardly any traffic. I am working my way through a class about how to increase your traffic and affiliate marketing sales through Pinterest so we’ll see if that works but yeah traffic remains o be a problem for me. Will you talk about that in our course?
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.
It was for $1.49. I had to pay a few people to help me out. So I’m actually still in the negative but I’m hoping consistency is going to pay off. I focused mostly on social media because I knew my site wasn’t going to be ranked very high more then likely for awhile. It’s been fun overall. I try to stay active researching and adding posts at least a few times a week.
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!
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.
Over the years, I have read many times the importance of selecting the right keywords, which I thought I was doing right. But when it comes to affiliate marketing, it looks like I need to improve on that. Unfortunately, I think my niche is not the best for making money with affiliate sales. I have started my spreadsheet and the keywords I thought were good are “not in our Google.com database”, according to SEMrush. So I have some serious brainstorming to do.
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.

I have to agree with you that affiliate income is very worth while to pursue. My niche site project has a big emphasis on generating affiliate income but also has physical products that I sell on the site and very recently have listed them on Amazon. We’ll see how this does. I do about $30,000 in annual revenue on my PL products; HOWEVER, you can’t count that as income because of the selling fees, inventory cost, etc., to run a PL business. Affiliate income is far more passive (but products are so fun!).
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.
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.
Let’s say you have a promotions page where you’re promoting a product via affiliate links. If you currently get 5,000 visits/month at a 2% conversion rate, you have 100 referrals. To get to 200 referrals, you can either focus on getting 5,000 more visitors, or simply increasing the conversion rate to 4%. Which sounds easier? Instead of spending months on blogging, SEO, and social media marketing to get more traffic, you just have to increase the conversion rate by 2%. This can include landing page optimization, testing your calls-to-action, and having a conversion rate optimization strategy in place. By testing and optimizing your site, you’ll get far better results with much less effort. 
Thank you Yuwanda for this encouragement and information! My website is nowhere near finished yet but another blogger had recommended starting to get affiliate approval as soon as possible so I gave 2 of them a shot and was turned down today – but then stumbled upon your great post so I think it was all meant to be. I feel like it takes a lot of failures to achieve a small amount of success so this is just helping me to get to there… but patience is sometimes hard. I appreciate your excellent words of wisdom. 

Thank you for sharing your advice on Amazon and affiliate marketing. I just recently joined Amazon and have been updating my blogs using your techniques. Hopefully it works for me like it has worked for you, granted I know now based on your experience that I probably won’t see any big income from it for awhile but it is really nice to know I am on the right track to some success in the future.
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
Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
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.

This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 


This is a very common way to promote offers. For example, you will often see a blog post with links to certain products or services. If the reader clicks through and makes a purchase, the blog owner will make a commission. These in-text links blend in with other content on your site and are a great way of promoting an offer within your content, without being over-the-top salesy with banners. 
If you’re a blogger, start by going through your analytics and finding your most popular posts. In Google Analytics (GA) you can find these pages by going to your GA Dashboard > Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. Examine the ones at the top of the list that bring in the most traffic. Are there any affiliate products or services you can naturally include in them?
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.
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.
This is the reason why affiliate marketing centred around product reviews often do quite well. This is because a potential buyer has relied on the review of a previous user or someone more knowledgeable about the product, to let them know that the product does indeed do what it says, thereby increasing the possibility that they might be willing to buy the product.
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.
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.

Website Development Help – need help setting up your theme? I’ve been working with the same 2 developers for 3+ years. To hire them, sign up for a Freelancer account, post your job (WordPress theme installation) then invite user i333 or bdkamol to your project. If you want, contact me and I will introduce you to them via email. Both are great developers with reasonable rates, speak fluent English, and I outsource all my programming work to them.
Every Tuesday, we send out an email called Favorite Finds where we recommend ONE, SINGLE affiliate product or service that we’re currently loving. It could be a new offer that one of our affiliates is promoting, or a tried and tested affiliate that we love and recommend on a regular basis, or a new affiliate so we can gauge our audience’s interest.

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!


Add the links on your blog posts without sounding salesy. I don’t just say buy this or that, I usually write about something useful that happens to mention a product or I write about something I’ve researched about and link the product to Amazon. For example, when it comes to a recipe (which I rarely do) I say “now put the mix in a 9in pan” – 9in pan is a link to Amazon. People probably don’t need one but some might click on the link to see what I use and that might generate some money if they buy something else.

Great article, Zach. The one question I have is about hyperlinking the brand name with your affiliate link. Isn’t it a little annoying for the reader if the brand name is hyperlinked throughout the article? It may even seem obvious to the reader that the blog is promoting an affiliate product. In an article with 1000+ words, a brand name may be mentioned at least 10-15 times. Do you suggest hyperlinking the brand every time?
The last thing I would say to new affiliate marketers is that self awareness is SO important. It’s easy to get caught in the routine of doing what you think is working, when it’s actually not working. Always be looking at what others are doing in your niche; always be re-evaluating your game plan; and always be thinking about new ways to hit your audience.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. 

Hello Clicky! In terms of connecting with affiliate marketers, a good place to start would be the major affiliate networks in your niche. Two examples off the top of my head are http://www.uk.cj.com/ and https://freshpress.media/ – these sites are heavily used by affiliates but you’ll want to make sure you have great visibility when people are searching for affiliate programs in your niche. A great way to do this is to find out what the top business in your niche is doing in terms of their affiliate offer and match with something similar. Another way of attracting affiliates is to perform some market research and find out the top blogs in your niche, then reach out to the owners with a delicious affiliate program deal they cannot refuse. In terms of logo’s and banner ads, most affiliate don’t really use them anymore (from my own experiences). But again, I would research everything before making any decisions. Hope this helps!
Although it differs from spyware, adware often uses the same methods and technologies. Merchants initially were uninformed about adware, what impact it had, and how it could damage their brands. Affiliate marketers became aware of the issue much more quickly, especially because they noticed that adware often overwrites tracking cookies, thus resulting in a decline of commissions. Affiliates not employing adware felt that it was stealing commission from them. Adware often has no valuable purpose and rarely provides any useful content to the user, who is typically unaware that such software is installed on his/her computer.
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 :)
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.)

Hi TOM, I have really enjoyed your shared nice piece of content with us. ..Actually, I am thinking to design and develop a mobile comparison website but you know, it’s not an easy job to collect mobiles data. A lot of time and cost is required to build such a website and I don’t want to spend a lot of money as I am new in this field. My colleague has recommended me RevGlue for this purpose as this a UK based registered company and are providing mobiles and its deals data for the UK only with the name of RevEmbed technology as I have read its blog revglue.com/blog-detail/13-setup-free-uk-mobile-comparison-website but I am the little bit confused as its a newborn company. Anyone, have experience with RevGlue. Guide me in this respect. Waiting for your kind response. Thanks in advance.
The best way to think about affiliate marketing is quality over quantity. There are a lot of small websites that will promote your product, but the key is finding a small number of partners that will deliver conversions. For example, an equity management services firm has over 20,000 affiliates in its system, but only about 25 affiliates generate 85 percent of revenue.
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.
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 :)
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.[citation needed] 

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?
Mistake #3: Giving your friend’s product a glowing review without actually being familiar with your friend’s product. This happens a lot in the affiliate marketing (and book marketing) world unfortunately. It’s a “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” type of situation. By all means, give your friend a glowing review, but if you haven’t actually read their book or taken their course or tried their product, don’t talk about it as though you have. Readers deserve honest recommendations! (Here’s an example of me helping to announce the launch of my friend’s book while being clear I hadn’t read it.)
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 🙂 🙂

Use your personal words & experience with the product. Your own content, or photos & videos of yourself using the product are always the most effective. For example, many affiliate programs provide swipe copy to their affiliates which is pre-written emails, post material or social media posts. These can be helpful as a guide, but they often scream swipe copy, aren’t written in your voice (the one your readers know!) and if a lot of affiliates are using it, are overdone.
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.
Be honest. Talk about what you like and don’t like. Be fair and build trust. It will serve you well later. For examples, check out my review posts about Elite Blog Academy and Self Publishing 101. I get emails frequently from people who tell me they decided to purchase one of those courses through my affiliate link because it was the most balanced review they found.

The following are not direct affiliate programs but are representative of the monetization networks and techniques that have worked relatively well to date. I am adding this to show you other ad networks in addition to AdSense which will allow you to monetize your blog. One network which I have tried but have not profited from so far is Media.net, a network which is getting mix reviews.
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.
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
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.
Add the links on your blog posts without sounding salesy. I don’t just say buy this or that, I usually write about something useful that happens to mention a product or I write about something I’ve researched about and link the product to Amazon. For example, when it comes to a recipe (which I rarely do) I say “now put the mix in a 9in pan” – 9in pan is a link to Amazon. People probably don’t need one but some might click on the link to see what I use and that might generate some money if they buy something else.
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