This is fantastic! Glad to see the site is doing so well. I’m hoping you or a member of your team can answer this—are you at all concerned about any kind of penalty against sites that get backlinks by posting guest posts on other sites? Matt Cutts had mentioned something last year about Google seeing guest posting as a spammy practice, and you mentioned that you’ve done a few guest posts to build backlinks for this site—is that a safe practice?

Just like a real-world funnel, a sales funnel acts similarly. It funnels down visitors through several stages before they become buyers. The way Henry explains it, if you're not creating an emotional attachment during each stage of that funnel, then you're largely wasting your time. It has to start from the very beginning, and it has to carry out all the way to beyond the purchase.
Review sites continue to be an impressive way to make affiliate commission. This review site doesn’t even niche down, their tag line is “Discover the Best of Everything”. From my initial review, they continue the streak of long content to rank high in Google. In doing this, they list multiple items really pushing their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on picks. All conveniently with their own price tags linking to Amazon. With only 152 thousand monthly visitors, it’s not as much as other sites, but they continue to push out new content and gain new Facebook users. Anyone with a blog knows, it’s hard to get Facebook users, so they’re doing something right.
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.

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The Wirecutter is the best example of an affiliate site that I've ever seen. I wouldn't even put it in the same category as what you'd think of as an affiliate site, aside from how they make their money. Brian Lam's a great example of someone who sticks to a principle and then grinds it out to the nth degree. Can't say how many times I've used that site (and TheSweethome) for product reviews.

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.
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.
Looking to build a profitable affiliate website? Or, do you already have an affiliate website that you want to optimize to boost revenue? Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to make money online. With the right strategy, you can optimize your website so that it attracts the right traffic, in turn bringing more affiliate revenue to your table.
The terms of agreement. An affiliate website is a valuable property that can be bought and sold. If you decide to sell your business, you need to determine whether or not the terms of agreement are transferable to a new owner. If not, this will affect your valuation. Isabel Isidro, co-founder of PowerHomeBiz, also notes that commission structures may can be changed by advertisers, sometimes without notice. So, finding a reliable program should be a priority.
Affiliate marketing is one way to make money online for those who want to derive an income from their web use. An affiliate marketer promotes specific products or websites in exchange for a cut of the profits or commissions from the web traffic she generates. Any time the recommendation/web traffic from an internet affiliate leads to a sale, the affiliate earns money. In other words, the products or services are provided by others, while you provide a sales or marketing outlet. While there are no successful get-rich-quick schemes, many people have found success doing internet marketing as an affiliate. Learning how to work as a successful affiliate marketer can help you determine whether a career in this potentially lucrative field might be right for you.

How much will this cost? If you don’t want to spend any money on this right now, I totally understand that. However, if I’m going to give a tutorial on how to build your first affiliate marketing website, I’m going to show you how to do it the right way. In order to build your first affiliate marketing website the right way, you’re going to have to spend a little bit of money on a “domain name” and “website hosting” (if you don’t know what those things are yet, don’t worry because I’ll get into it a bit later). In this tutorial, I will recommend a high-quality service that will set you up with both of those things. It will cost you $2.95 per month in order to get this going. If you feel you can afford that, continue on. Otherwise, this tutorial probably isn’t the best one for you. I will also provide a more expensive option that includes amazing training to help you grow a successful affiliate marketing business. Whatever you decide to go with is perfectly fine.
If there’s no products on Amazon for “High end” then you have no Amazon products to promote and no way on earning any commission. Why not try keywords like Best (x) or Luxury (y) where there will be more search volume. Let’s say you want to promote hammocks, you can then target search KWs such as Best Hammock for Under $100, Most Comfortable Hammock, Luxury Hammocks etc. Let me know how you get on.
I’d stick with Amazon if I were you. All of my Amazon sites only have Amazon affiliate links. If you use Google Adsense display ads on your site, you’re literally taking people away from your site for the sake of just a few cents with these type of ads. If you direct them just to Amazon, then you have a greater chance of earning more money from that click.
For good or bad, this is always how I've approached my niche sites.  I put a little bit of effort into building links after the site is a few months old, and then I just focus on the content for the site.  Now, its possible that I may go back and do another link building push at some point.  However, the site continues to grow in terms of Google rankings and traffic, so I see no reason to go out do more active link building.
"I have followed Michelle’s blog for years. Her blog posts are incredibly informative and never disappoint. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is no different. The detailed strategies she shares in her course can help any blogger implement affiliate marketing. Within two days I received my first ever affiliate sale! From then I was hooked. The Mastermind alone is worth the cost of the course and the immediate access to an affiliate marketing expert is priceless! I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing." - McKinzie Bean, Momsmakecents.com
Once you've protected your prospecting pool, maximize your affiliate program by working with the best and leaving the rest. As the old 80/20 adage implies, most of your revenue will come from a very small percentage of your affiliates. Because it can be time-consuming to manage a larger affiliate network, consider selecting only a few companies initially, and interview them before signing them on. Affiliates are an extension of your sales force and represent your online brand, so choose partners carefully.

completely free to start out, and they provide training sections to help you get started, and are the no-nonsense type of business, in that they are up-front and honest with you from the start about how much time and effort you have to put in to make money online. Like WA, again, once you’ve gotten a feel for how the industry works and what working with
It doesn’t let the link influence its decision of whether to include or omit anything it deems worthy of inclusion, as to do so would damage its trust rating. There’s a lot you can learn from taking this stance. Remember, your site should be built with your visitors in mind, not profit. Take care of your visitors and the profits will take care of themselves!
If you use this link you'll get discounted pricing for just $2.95/mo. So click here to visit Bluehost.com. Bluehost is the #1 recommended web hosting by WordPress.org. It also happens to be my top recommendation. Every account features 1-click WordPress installation. It is one of the most well known, mos popular, and affordable web hosting options. Bluehost is especially great for beginners due to their user friendly features and one-click WordPress installation.
In a nutshell, affiliate programs pay you for referring clients their way. All you have to do is include recommendations for specific products on your site, and you’ll earn a small commission on any sales generated by people who click on the links you provide. Affiliate programs provide you with an easy way to monetize your site, especially if it’s aimed at a niche audience that is likely to be interested in specific kinds of products.

Pretty Link will help to cloak your links, so they look less spammy. For instance, if you have a link that looks like “amazon.com/product-one/76/dprertet4454354rwefsrer43545”, people are less likely to click on it. With this plugin you can transform that link into something like “yoursite.com/go/product-one”. This plugin also provides data and tracking information.


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]
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.

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.


Hi Jamie! Thank you for the great information. I just learned about affiliate marketing last week. The source however, is an older couple who work for World Wide Dreams Builders (WWDB). So, basically Amway. After researching a bit. I have no interest in WWDB and. (It sounds like years of recruiting people with minimal payout) Though, I am highly intrigued by e-commerce and affiliate marketing. Before your post the company I recognized was Amazon. Can you please tell me if that will be the best 1st step. I am currently an unemployed student Veteran. So plan to fully emerge into this business regime and would greatly appreciate your advice on this!!!
It’s also important to remember that your content should be actionable. For example, if you’re writing a review for a coffee machine, it’s not enough to talk about its features and how great its brew is. You also should look to answer any questions your visitors might have about it, and explain how the product can benefit them. Focus on the positives, and how they can be valuable to the reader.
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.
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
A relative newcomer that was only founded in 2014, ConvertKit has taken the world of email marketing by storm. According to the company, they now have nearly 20,000 active customers of their email services. Their affiliate program works by paying existing customers a lifetime 30 percent commission for referrals that subsequently become ConvertKit customers or who sign up for ConvertKit webinars and other digital products.

Many site owners in affiliate marketing focus on keywords with high buyer intent. While that's not a bad strategy, it can present some risks. First, it’s important to have keyword diversity. Relying too heavily on one or two keywords can lead to your site being penalized by search engines. So, when you’re building links, be sure to vary the anchor text.

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.
I’d stick with Amazon if I were you. All of my Amazon sites only have Amazon affiliate links. If you use Google Adsense display ads on your site, you’re literally taking people away from your site for the sake of just a few cents with these type of ads. If you direct them just to Amazon, then you have a greater chance of earning more money from that click.
Great post - I'm a bit late in seeing this it seems!I have a question around how you assess the metrics and in turn success of these websites. It's obvious where the money is coming in for most of them but Im wondering how you assess 50em.com? Its a great looking site but it has around 350-400 organic views a month and does not rank 1st, 2nd or 3rd for most keywords - not even its main target keyword -ontraport vs infusionsoft. Are you assuming its successful because of the high commission rates for these products and they might make 20 sales a month or is there other signs you see that indicate its a profitable site (or do you know the owner!)?
Consider joining up with an affiliated marketing company. One easy way to enter the field of affiliate marketing is to join a company that specializes in online marketing. Though you'll ultimately work independently, companies like MoreNiche allow aspiring affiliate marketers to join for free to have a platform for advertising products/services.[5]
Hi, Jamie! Very good list. I needed something like this for 2018 so that I know what to target in the future blogs I create. As for now, I’m comfortable using SiteGround affiliate network and it’s pretty good actually. Their hosting service is pretty much the best considered its price. I’ve tried others but SiteGround stands out. I’ll also try new affiliate networks, something from the list you have just provided. I think Amazon is too saturated at the moment, and I need a better network. 2018 will be interesting indeed.
I thought I would just bring something else to your attention; I did take a second to look at your site; you know why I left within just one second? EXACTLY! You have less then 3 seconds to make your first impression on visitors; if your visitors are bouncing off your site at the speed of light, they either found your site by mistake, or they were not impressed with your site, and left, which means? right, they did not trust your site!!! What happens if you have a high bounce rate? right, you can certainly lose rankings! Is google going to keep sending you traffic if you have nothing to offer? nope! I can not say this is your problem, or you could have multiple problems going on at the same time to cause you to lose rankings. I can tell you one thing for sure by just taking a 1 minute look at your link profile; You have quite a few links, and you have almost no authority, what does this mean? This most likely means you are spamming your link to poor quality sites. You also have a massive amount of do-follow links which does not look natural vs your no follow links, and with your site having low trust flow, do you think your site deserves that many do-follow links? I wonder what google thinks? at first glance, your anchor/link diversity does not look to bad, so your anchor/text does not look over-optimized, but whoever is building links for you, consider firing them immediately, as you are getting all the wrong links. I am going to assume at this point google has certainly given you a penalty; Your next move to to hire someone to audit your site, and start disavowing/removing bad links from your portfolio, over time, your rankings may come back, and that may depend on other factors also, but at this point, it certainly looks like you have link issues. Just a little bitty research goes a long way. good luck.

The reality in affiliate marketing is that it's like most other work-at-home ventures; there are a few who are filthy rich, a good number who are successful enough to meet their goals, and a ton who aren't making anything. So, the question isn't really whether or not affiliate marketing is a viable income option (it is), but whether or not you can make affiliate marketing work for you. Only you can decide that. But to help, here are some tips.
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]
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