I have had two Amazon stores (on two separate sites) since early 2008 and to date I have not made enough for a payout – I’m about half way there. The referral fee is so low, it drives me crazy. I get a lot of traffic and my sites have the potential for high-end items, but the items offered through Amazon in my niche are lower end and therefore lower priced. I utilize a few widgets on other websites, but again the same issue. Amazon is my least favorite affiliate program due to their low referral fees, but still worth it. After all, any earning in excess of my expenses is worth it.

SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic
If you follow the proven methods I’ve used to build my affiliate marketing business, you’ll spend the vast majority of your time WRITING. My business is all about creating content, content, and more content. Are there other ways of succeeding at affiliate marketing? Certainly, but I find that content marketing is by far the single most profitable method of affiliate marketing.
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.

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.


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.


The internet offers boundless possibilities for earning a living online. Upwork and Freelancers Union found that 35% of the American workforce was doing some type of freelance work in 2016, and 73% said technology made it easier to find that work. One of the ways to harness the internet as an income source is pursuing affiliate marketing. It’s intended as a way to generate passive income, but does it really work? Let’s consider. 


In simple terms, affiliate marketing means selling another person’s or company’s products and services. It’s like a referral service. You set up a website or blog and join affiliate programs that are relevant to your audience. You can connect to these programs through affiliate networks that provide you with a link that you include on your site. When someone clicks the link and purchases the product or service you’re marketing, you receive a percentage of the sale proceeds as a commission. 
Don’t set a goal to write 3 blog posts a day… set a goal to write 1 blog post a week and make that post super helpful, long, and filled with information that is so valuable you will say “yeah, people will link to that.” 90% of my traffic/affiliate income comes from just 20 tutorials, many of which are 5+ years old. But I am constantly updating them to make the content better.
(Also, did you notice Michelle said you don’t even need to HAVE a blog to be a successful affiliate marketer?! I thought that part was pretty interesting. Meaning affiliate marketing would be a great side income option for anyone who was willing to learn to do it and put the effort into a social media account – like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.)

iPage is another widely used web hosting company. There are many things to love about its affiliate program. Aside from the high commission rates that start at $105 per sale, you’d also get higher conversion rates since its plans are very affordable starting at $1.99 per month. It helps its affiliates make recommendations more easily with the use of promotional tools and banners.

I’ve slowly, but steadily, been building small niche websites that focus on products from Amazon and take advantage of Amazon aStore. Melissa and Doug Puppets is one such site, along with Popular Video Games and Small Bathroom Vanities. For this year alone, I’ve already made over $200 in affiliate commissions and adsense earnings at Small Bathroom Vanities – not bad for the cost of a domain name and hosting. And the cost of hosting becomes less of a cost burden with all of the additional sites you build!
I run an online baseball training platform focusing on the mental side of the game! We are trying to add on influencers/affiliates to help drive more traffic and help them gain more traction.. I have seen affiliated marketing for a little while now and I am ready to move in on it. What recommendations do you have for a baseball company trying to expand its reach through affiliates?
One of the popular weight loss programs you’ll find today is Weight Loss Evolved. It is a customizable program that can be tailored to complement whatever the lifestyle of the dieter is. It can be accessed online so that it’s easier for the weight loss coach to implement the diet program and monitor the results. It also runs a profitable affiliate program. The average sale is $397 and the commission rate is up to 30 percent. It also has a high conversion rate of 16 percent.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

I like you have spent 2 years learning all about Affiliate marketing and have built a number of websites that did nothing until I built this one which I managed to get on to page 1 of Google for a while and actually started to make some sales via Amazon and I was so pleased that all my efforts were starting to pay off, but all of a sudden it disappeared from Google and I have no idea why. I am however going to keep going and the info provided here has been very encouraging. Thank you


SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic

Personally I have avoided the amazon affiliate program. To me it only makes sense to use amazon if there is no other affiliate program option for that niche. The 24 hour cookie time is brutal since others do 30-90 days. I would think for decor people need way more time than 1 day. There is almost always an affiliate program offering higher commission with better terms in any niche. It’s just a matter of finding the best ones to promote.

Affiliate Disclaimer – if you sign up for SiteGround using my affiliate link I will donate a good chunk at no cost to you. Each year I donate $3,000 to GoFundMe campaigns (2018 was to feed the hungry in Denver, 2017 was to Red Cross at Hurricane Harvey). Your support helps and I genuinely appreciate it. I try to make my reviews unbiased and backed by evidence in the form of Facebook polls, tweets, and real conversations. If you don’t want to use it, here’s a non-affiliate link to SiteGround. Either way, I suggest doing your research, see who Yoast uses, and results of people who migrated.

You’re absolutely right about that time. Never give up. Content marketing is a hard job but you got to look at it like this. The internet and side hustles are here to stay. It goes Way Beyond making money online. We both know there’s no more traditional job security in America today. These narcissist employers are nothing nice. They will hire you 1 minute. Harass you on the job. Steal your commissions and laugh at you behind your back while you continually work hard and put more money in their pocket, then try to enslave you into making more money for them and continually disrespect you to your face. This is the Ironclad indicated it’s time to walk away and start your own business online by working part time on your side hustle weather to Philly at marketing, blogging, or selling your own product service online. There’s billions of dollars to be made in the affiliate marketing industry. With that said, it’s a good thing to know the side hustle is here to stay to those who dedicate themselves to creating quality content on blogs and websites and taking a side hustle to the public nightstep. Agree? :-)
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.
I have had two Amazon stores (on two separate sites) since early 2008 and to date I have not made enough for a payout – I’m about half way there. The referral fee is so low, it drives me crazy. I get a lot of traffic and my sites have the potential for high-end items, but the items offered through Amazon in my niche are lower end and therefore lower priced. I utilize a few widgets on other websites, but again the same issue. Amazon is my least favorite affiliate program due to their low referral fees, but still worth it. After all, any earning in excess of my expenses is worth it.
To break down the question “Is affiliate marketing worth the effort?” take a look at the efforts I’ve laid out, and determine for yourself. In order to be successful in affiliate marketing you’ll need to choose a product category to focus on, learn about your audience, build a website or blog audiences can trust, create LOTS of content, and promote your content and your product, and with the right trial and error, you could be well on your way to receiving those commission checks from happy brands earned by referring happy customers. In terms of regular maintenance you will need to keep up with the latest online marketing trends, promote your content regularly, and continue learning about how your product category of choice is developing in today’s modern age in order to remain a trusted resource on your chosen topic.
Otherwise, it’s as easy as adding a link to the video description and asking people to click on it. Coupon codes are a huge bonus (if your affiliate offers this) since often times, you can give people a discount using your custom code, while crediting you the sale, without them even having to click your affiliate link. This results in higher conversions. (Tyler Moore does this).
I am a member of quit a few affiliate programs, and I must say the I find Amazon the easiest and most convent program to navigate. They give affiliates a lot of choose in how one uses their products. To promote the commission may be low in comparison to other affiliate programs but the name Amazon does sell when you stay with them. I am happy to be an affiliate for Amazon.
It is very easy to fall foul of Google’s Terms of Service and have your AdSense account suspended. This means terminated, because the huge majority are terminated for life. Competitors can bomb your pages with clicks which Google will regard as suspicious clicking activity – this results in termination of your account. Almost nobody gets their account reinstated.
The key is to work very hard on your affiliate blog, or for that matter, on your podcast or YouTube channel. While the top 6% of affiliate marketers around the world earn a six-figure income from this business, as someone starting out, you should aim for anything from $10,000 to $25,000 in your first 1 or 2 years in this business. It gets better as you go along and learn precious skills on the job.
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