Hi Oli, I think with Amazon you just have to pick products that have quite a high price from the start. Me with my beach decor site, most home decor items are fairly cheap to buy, so the commission is not that great. You either have to sell heaps of cheaper products (which is very hard) or some expensive products (which I am not sure will be easy, either).
Good review, Petra! One tip that I would add is that the Amazon Affiliate program (there’s another keyword repetition for you 😉 tends to work really well around Christmas time — even though Amazon’s commissions are small, people tend to be buying a lot of gifts at the same time, so if you can get them to click through your site you can end up getting credit for a lot of purchases!
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.
Yes, there is an affiliate program for affiliate marketing! One of the best that you’ll find in the market today is Affiliorama. This is a membership site offering premium content about affiliate marketing. When you become an affiliate for this, you can get 50 percent commission for every membership that you’re able to secure. The commission is recurring for as long as the member stays active with the program. Cookie duration is 60 days. You will get paid via PayPal each month.
Amazon’s affiliate program is the most popular of them all. I don’t participate myself (yet) but the majority of affiliate marketers I know use Amazon because… it’s Amazon. You can review products you have used or write tutorials (eg. how to connect computer to TV) and drop an affiliate link to an HDMI cable… just a couple examples. You may want to build relationships with the manufacturers so you can get products before they’re released – giving you time to create a review before the product is launched and capture sales during peak buying times.
MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.

Most new affiliate marketers have no problem creating content…. at first. But 6 months in? Hardly anyone makes it that far. The reason is because most people simply don’t like to write as much as they think they do. Once writing becomes a job instead of a hobby, motivation to keep going can easily waver. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll essentially become a full time content creator, and most of that will be in the written form. Can you handle writing 1,000 word articles every single day?
Another top paying affiliate program is the one run by WP Engine. This company provides a highly efficient web hosting platform with different packages. Its commission rates start at $200 per sale. And it has a multi-tiered rewarding system. For example, if you are able to make five sales, you earn $100 but if you generate 10 sales, you are given a bigger commission of $250. It also has a program in which you earn extra money from the referrals of people who you invited to sign up as affiliates. You’ll also be glad to know that its cookies last for up to 180 days. The only drawback you have to be aware of is the product’s expensive cost, which does have an effect on the conversion rate.
This was a wealth of helpful information, thanks. In the first section you described how you found your niche. Any more suggestions on how I would find a niche that would be profitable? I understand you probably want to find something that you can write good content on, but what steps would you take to make sure to validate that it will be a good niche to work on? Thanks for any help Tom.
I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “…and here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to live how I want. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
Hi Dody! I honestly don’t think that’s a question that can be answered with an one size fits all answer. The best site for affiliate marketing will be based on your niche, what you audience wants and what you are comfortable selling. I know lots of people that RAVE about shareasale.com – I personally haven’t had wild success with them because they don’t offer many products that I personally have found useful / easy to promote on my blog. I would strong suggest taking the making sense of affiliate marketing course – it will clear up any questions you have about affiliate marketing 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience. It was a real eye-opener for me. I am new to affiliate marketing and am looking for ways to make a steady income. Your affiliate program seems to fit my needs. If you have the time email me with your affiliate link to signup and I hope you can help me get started the right way. Any assistance would be greatly appreciate. Be Blessed.
I joined Amazon affiliate program a few years ago and put links on my blogs and webpages with NO LUCK until I read a few blog posts about how to use a software program called Market Samurari (link above) to determine which keyword phrases have the most traffic and the least competition. They explained that if you are selling something like dog supplies, the #1 listing in google for the search term “pink dog collars” will only get “20” hits per day, while the search term “dog clothes for big dogs” will get “250” hits per day. (just made up examples, not real numbers). While the general term “dog supplies” has WAY TOO MUCH competition for you to even think about getting to the #1 spot on Google (where all the traffic goes). So the software can tell you exactly what keyword phrases you should target to get the most traffic for the niche you are in.
Some of the opportunity in this niche is going to be referring people to luxury brands that have higher order values than we might see on Amazon. I can’t disclose the person or the site, but one of my colleagues is in one of these niches and reported significant revenue increases from testing other affiliate programs against Amazon–before Amazongeddon.
Let’s ask you something, if affiliate marketing is not profitable then why so many people are digging their nose in this. Why the competition is so high these days? It’s simply because they see a lot of money in this business. As a matter of fact affiliate marketing is something in which you can make huge money and even without much investment. We know you may have three queries in your mind:-
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 :)

Hi, Nice article. I am not sure about the process though. I can understand, finding a niche. But, when it comes to affiliate programs I get a little lost. Would I be promoting someone else's products? If so, no problem. I know I need to research high end products with gravity, are these products ones in certain stores, or companies, etc.?? If so, do I need to get permissions to be on an affiliate program with that company? Also, if it is products with a company, then how do I offer promotions on their products since they are not mine? Thank you, Nanette Vlahusich
Hands down I’d say the best thing you can do is research 1 primary keyword, craft an enticing article title that includes your keyword (though it doesn’t have to be an exact match), spend time writing your search engine snippets (SEO titles/meta descriptions), and by far the most important is making your content as VALUABLE as possible through videos, nice graphics, table of contents, bold/colors/styling, etc. Small things like keyword density barely matter.
SEMrush runs an affiliate program called BeRush where you can get big commissions with every commission that you’re able to make. It provides up to 40 percent recurring commission for each sale. This means up to $120 commission. Since the commission is recurring, this means that you will continue to make money as long as the user stays active in the program. Plus, it has 10 years cookie duration. You will receive your payment twice a month via PayPal. There is a payment threshold of $50.

Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, only use your REAL NAME, not your business name or keywords. Using business name or keywords instead of your real name will lead to the comment being deleted. Anonymous commenting is not allowed either. Limit the amount of links submitted in your comment. We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please. You can wrap code in [lang-name][/lang-name] tags.
So, each year he spent as a corporate drone was getting harder and harder for him. Maybe it was the routine; maybe it was the fatigue caused by the constant pressure of overworking and chasing deadlines. The bottom line was that it was time to do something about it. Finally, he took a gap year that has now lasted two years already and is unlikely to end anytime soon.
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. 

I would probably rely mostly on Amazon as an affiliate – talk about products you use while using an affiliate link. You don’t necessarily have to focus your entire content on reviewing products, just mention them in your articles and your experience with them – how they helped you. Amazon is good for obvious reasons – super high conversions and most products already have lots of reviews which is very valuable as an affiliate.
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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
2. Of course, nearly all my readers are using WP so I’m biased. But even so, most successful affiliates use WordPress. There are less restrictions in terms of hosting (site speed), design customizations, plugins, cloaking affiliate links, lots of things. I would setup a free wordpress.com site just so you can play with the dashboard and see how you like it. Who knows, you might find a theme you really like (eg. StudioPress) and want to make the transition. I would at least test it out…it’s better to make the transition earlier than later.
The affiliate marketing industry is growing steadily. An independent survey commissioned by Rakuten Affiliate Network found that affiliate marketing is set to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Ninety percent of advertisers included in the survey said that affiliate programs were important or very important to their overall marketing strategy, with the majority of publishers reporting that affiliate partnerships drove more than 20% of annual revenue.
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