Before I share the strategies that I’ve used to generate over $100,000 in affiliate commissions per month at this point, there are two extremely important rules I use when promoting products that are not my own. You don’t have to use these rules in order to become an affiliate or be successful at it, but it’s what has helped me grow my affiliate income tremendously over the last couple of years:

And what about joining another company's affiliate program? It's all about extra revenue. Think about your customers' needs: What other products or services would interest your site visitors? Join those affiliate programs. Affiliate programs can increase your sales with no upfront cost to you. It just takes a little time to plan your strategy and select the partners that will have the greatest impact on your business.
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.

Now, I'm not saying that affiliate marketing is a get rich quick scheme, because it's not. You will have to build a loyal audience who trusts what you have to say, and this is not always easy. However, if you are able to build a following that is interested, then you may be able to earn a great living promoting products that you already enjoy and believe in.


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.
Watch them. How are other content creators in your niche utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? What are they promoting? What do they talk about repeatedly (if you keep seeing the same affiliate product show up again and again, there’s a good chance they’re making good money from it)? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
The easiest and most common way to start building an audience for a website is via social media. Depending on your niche and industry, you can choose from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and several other niche and location-specific networks. Building up an engaged and interested following on social media is a great opportunity to build relationships and once you have their trust, promote your products and services to them. 
You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.[citation needed]
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 😛
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Becoming a part of an affiliate network is an excellent strategy for bloggers looking to up their current income or even just to begin actually making money from their blog. There are several options when it comes to affiliate marketing as well as strategies for making affiliate marketing work for you. Below I will teach you what is affiliate marketing, examples of affiliate marketing in blogging, affiliate strategies and some of the top affiliate networks to join.
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.
Promote products at various price points. Even the little products (like Amazon ebooks) add up. If there is a truly useful product on the pricier side, it can still be worth the promotion even if only a few people buy it. If you’ve used a product of exceptional quality and it’s a good investment, or if it’s a product that’s unique, specialized or one-of-a-kind, go for it.
The truth is much more complicated. It’s true that affiliate programs can be sources of phantom revenue and off-brand promotion. But managed properly, they can also make up 5-15 percent of online revenue and have an ROI among the highest of any online channel. CMOs are realizing that affiliate marketing can be an important part of their arsenal and are integrating the channel into their overall marketing strategies.
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed factor and these companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.

There will be NO commission payments paid on PERSONAL USE Sales of the Product - meaning, if the only purpose in joining this affiliate program was to get a commission on a sale for Personal USE of Click Funnels, that's not cool. We do track and reconcile every sale – and in cases where an affiliate has a single sale to themselves, a commission will NOT be paid on that sale. That's simply NOT FAIR to the affiliates who have promoted in good faith only to have one of their prospects join the affiliate program to get their own commission and cut the original affiliate out.

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Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.
Do they value and help their affiliates? Some affiliate programs do an exceptional job of communicating with their affiliates, notifying them of upcoming sales, offering marketing advice or tools, offering contents and prizes during promotions and more. These types of affiliate programs are a pleasure to be a part of. Ultimate Bundles is an excellent example.
At the end of each month, we run a report to see how many affiliate sales were made. Each transaction is manually audited due to an increase in affiliate fraud. Assuming your affiliate commissions are valid (see "I Made a Sale but didn't get Paid" below), payments for the prior month will then be sent to your PayPal account by the end of the next month. For example, if you had three sales in September, you will be paid by October 31st. There is no minimum payout amount so every sale counts!

Of course, this is a generalization, and there are some programs that have made themselves exceptions to the rule. For example, I’ve seen many affiliate programs that offer low commission rates on products that are worth very little. I’ve also seen a few programs with items priced into the hundreds or thousands of dollars that offer commission rates of 20-30%.


Education occurs most often in "real life" by becoming involved and learning the details as time progresses. Although there are several books on the topic, some so-called "how-to" or "silver bullet" books instruct readers to manipulate holes in the Google algorithm, which can quickly become out of date,[37] or suggest strategies no longer endorsed or permitted by advertisers.[38]
There are countless numbers of affiliate models that people follow in an effort to earn money online.  I follow the technique of sharing what I use,  and earning income by doing so.  If you are using monetization techniques other than AdSense, I recommend that you make a slow transition to affiliate marketing as well. Add one or two banners of related affiliate products on your blog sidebar, and see how it works out for you.
Do Paul! Affiliate marketing is awesome – and you’re right, it can be overwhelming b/c it can be hard to know who to trust, but it’s a wonderful way to make money online — esp when you’re promoting products/services you are proud of. Let me know if you have any questions. There’s a lot I don’t know … and a lot I do. For what I don’t know, I can find the answer for you.
I have done everything imaginable to learn SEO and while I understood the concept, the execution just wasn’t clicking. The way you worded this post is absolute perfection. This is the kind of post that I can truthfully say finally helped me understand how it all pulls together. Most bloggers know what a sales funnel is but the way you related the buying stage of the funnel with seo and the user intent made a HUGE difference for me.
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?
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.
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.
When someone clicks on your affiliate link, they are redirected to our website and a cookie is set (amember_aff_id) with your affiliate id. As long as they don't clear their cookies or click on another affiliate link before checking out, the sale will be credited to you. What occasionally happens is a person clicks on your affiliate link, gets redirected to our website and before checking out, searches Google for a coupon code. If they find one and click on that link, chances are it contains someone else's affiliate link which would replace yours. The last affiliate cookie that is set, is awarded the sale. 

Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
Watch them. How are other content creators in your niche utilizing advertising? What types of ads do they use? What are they promoting? What do they talk about repeatedly (if you keep seeing the same affiliate product show up again and again, there’s a good chance they’re making good money from it)? If you see a product or service they talk about that jogs your memory and you can ethically promote it too, find affiliate information by the methods described above.
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.
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’m always surprised by how many people feel “icky” about promoting affiliate products – I started my blogging “career” building niche blogs specifically to sell Amazon products, then branched out into other affiliate programs. I’m a big fan of affiliate marketing, provided that the blogger/marketer is also providing quality content with their links.
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.
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.
And that’s one of the great things about the SEO + affiliate marketing combination: once your content is published and ranking in Google, there’s very little you have to do to “maintain” your traffic and affiliate sales, unlike with Pinterest where you have to continually create new pins and loop those pins with a scheduler lest your traffic falls off a cliff.
Something I’ve become more and more aware of in relation to affiliate marketing profits is the value of products with a great funnel. Once in the funnel valued customers are offered high quality free content and a number of different products at varying investment levels. All of the products in the funnel are designed to help solve a problem or overcome an obstacle that the customer has. For any prospective digital marketer who hasn’t yet developed a range of their own products to market through a funnel then naturally choosing an affiliate product with a great funnel means some careful research to make sure that there’s quality and outstanding value in all the products in the funnel. I would always be careful not to have my own name aligned with poor quality offerings.
If on the off-chance you are not familiar with, or are unsure what an “affiliate” is, an affiliate, often referred to as an “affiliate marketer,” is anyone who acts as a middleman between a retailer or owner of a product and the end user or buyer. The affiliate would often facilitate or otherwise refer the buyer to the retailer to make a purchase of a product or service, for which the retailer rewards the individual, or affiliate, with a percentage of the revenue from that purchase.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

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.
It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.
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!
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.
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.
The seller, whether a solo entrepreneur or large enterprise, is a vendor, merchant, product creator, or retailer with a product to market. The product can be a physical object, like household goods, or a service, like makeup tutorials. Also known as the brand, the seller does not need to be actively involved in the marketing, but they may also be the advertiser and profit from the revenue sharing associated with affiliate marketing.
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.
There are countless numbers of affiliate models that people follow in an effort to earn money online.  I follow the technique of sharing what I use,  and earning income by doing so.  If you are using monetization techniques other than AdSense, I recommend that you make a slow transition to affiliate marketing as well. Add one or two banners of related affiliate products on your blog sidebar, and see how it works out for you.
You’re likely familiar with a resource page, as most blogs tend to have them these days. Essentially, it’s a roundup of your favorite resources (products, services, apps, subscriptions, courses, etc.) that you think your audience will love and receive value from; most often, these are affiliate links, especially for your best performing affiliates. See R+R’s resource page here as an example.
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