Thank you so much! You've been an inspiration throughout. The way you wrote about TIWIB, and how they drive insane traffic from social media is mind blowing. I am amazed that even going viral on a social site like pinterest for one day can build our brand identity huge. Am I correct? Now I need to get going with my first affiliate site, come up with a unique idea and learn how to drive traffic from each source. I feel Adsense is not so rewarding.

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
Yes Petra, this can be isolated work. I tend towards the niche of marketing-software because the demand is insatiable. But in 20 minutes I’ll be leaving the house (shock! phobia..) and going to joint venture with a ceramics import/export Co. doing their online marketing… help those clay brick ‘n mortar guys out! That’s where big money resides I say.. 🙂 GD. Perth
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).
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 🙂
Most of us would have heard of the Amazon Affiliate Program, maybe you have even joined it and are trying to make some money with it. That’s what we Affiliate Marketers are here for, after all! 😉 And the Amazon Affiliate Program is one of the biggest and most well known affiliate programs out there, next to EBay Partnernetwork, Clickbank, LinkShare and so on.
Next, research individual affiliate programs to compare their structure. You want to consider factors such as how much the commission is and how often the affiliate pays. Also, make sure you understand what rules, if any, a company imposes for being a part of its affiliate program. Additionally, you're likely to make more money with affiliate marketing content that is similar to your own.
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. 
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. 
If you are building a site that has the potential for information that will never age and remain useful for your audience, you have the opportunity to create what is known as evergreen content. It's important to carry out extensive keyword research before planning any evergreen content for a site like this, as your site could hugely benefit from the proper usage of keywords within such content. 
(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.)
If an affiliate changes the terms of its program, your revenues could be directly affected. Choosing the wrong affiliates can also be problematic if your blog or website audience doesn't feel compelled to buy their products or services. With the affiliate-marketing industry experiencing a boom, you’ll also have to contend with competition from other marketers shilling the same affiliate products.
Of course you want affiliates with high commissions, but they should also have a solid reputation with high conversions and low reversal rates (you get $0 if people cancel after signing up). If they’re part of an affiliate marketplace like ShareASale or ClickBank you can see some numbers there. Companies likes Amazon/SiteGround are safe bets, otherwise do your research (or track your affiliate links so you can monitor their performance). Avoid affiliates offering huge commissions since this probably means they’re struggling to acquire/retain customers naturally. This will hurt your numbers (specifically your conversions/reversal rates).

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. 
Español: iniciar un negocio de marketing de afiliados, Italiano: Iniziare un Business di Affiliato Marketing, Русский: зарабатывать на партнерском маркетинге, Deutsch: Ein Affiliate Marketing Geschäft beginnen, Français: se lancer dans le markéting d'affiliation, Bahasa Indonesia: Memulai Bisnis Pemasaran Afiliasi, Nederlands: Een affiliate marketing bedrijf beginnen, العربية: إنشاء شركة تسويق بالعمولة

Who doesn’t know about Expedia? This travel brand is known to have affiliates that get access to more than 250,000 hotels and accommodations. It runs 150 websites in more than 70 countries all over the world. It is also known to have one of the highest paying affiliate programs today. It only offers 6 percent commission rates but since the conversion rates are quite high you can expect big earnings when you become an affiliate for this company.
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.

Seb, ebay is definitely worth a look. I am also with ShareASale which has lots of programs with a good commission. This has earned me around $74 last month, and already $10 for this month. An Affiliate Program that has also proven well for me (this one depends on what you are trying to sell though) is Art.com. It has been making me a steady commission since I have joined, on average close to $40 a month. They offer 20% commission on every sale! See whether you can do anything with them…
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.
First and foremost, you’ll want to find a product category you believe in and focus on it. You don’t want to spread your affiliate marketing out too much, and by focusing on one specific product category, you’ll be able to pinpoint audiences to market to and establish yourself as a trusted source on a particular subject. If you spread out too much, you’re going to need a lot more effort to attract much smaller audiences, rather than allowing your knowledge on one particular subject bring people back again and again. Here’s a bit more info on how to choose a good niche.
I started out with my Beach Website in February 2008. The site is built around an Amazon Store. The major goal of any website, and especially an affiliate site, is always to get traffic, because the more traffic the more sales, right? So it took quite a few months to get my site up and getting a few customers every day. Which means my earnings weren’t great at all at the beginning. I had months were I earned nothing at all, and others where I made $3, or $6. This started increasing over time, but it fluctuated greatly.

Let no one tell you that email marketing is dead. An email list is crucial for every affiliate marketer. You can start building up your email list with a lead magnet (like the information products mentioned previously) or even just by encouraging your audience to sign up for your updates. You can then push your content to this audience via email and also direct them to your affiliate offers. Don't be sleazy about the sales, but if you build up enough trust with your email audience; when the time comes, they will not mind purchasing a product from you. 
Long-Tail Keywords – specific keywords usually with 3-7 individual words in a phrase. They are highly targeted and MUCH easier to rank for than broad keywords (all mine are long-tail). The lower your domain authority (check using OSE), the less competitive (more long-tail) your keywords should be. If you can get more specific and the keyword still shows up in Google Autocomplete, Moz Keyword Explorer and other keyword tools… choose the SPECIFIC one.
You advertise a product on your blog and you get paid whenever somebody purchases. Affiliate commissions can be 50% and over of the sales price for electronically deliverable products (eBooks, software, etc) that have no replacement costs. Physical products can offer 2% commission upwards. It doesn’t sound a lot, but if you sell a $10,000 entertainment system from a click on your site…
Most of us would have heard of the Amazon Affiliate Program, maybe you have even joined it and are trying to make some money with it. That’s what we Affiliate Marketers are here for, after all! 😉 And the Amazon Affiliate Program is one of the biggest and most well known affiliate programs out there, next to EBay Partnernetwork, Clickbank, LinkShare and so on.
Hi there! Thanks so much for this site. I heard about affiliate marketing many years ago but was always intimidated to get started as I did not know where to start. I thought it would be super complicated but after reading yuor blog, you make it sound so easy! I was just wondering if you could tell me if I am correct with my assumption and understanding on how to do this successfully-
Theme – you don’t need a special theme for affiliate marketing, you probably just need a blog. I recommend StudioPress themes since that’s what Yoast, Matt Cutts (from Google), and I use. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress also recommends them. One of the biggest mistakes I made was using a theme from Themeforest… since they’re built by independent developers who may stop making updates to their theme. This happened to me and I hear horror stories all the time about people having to switch themes and redesign their entire site. I’ve been using the same StudioPress theme (Outreach Pro) for 3 years. Their themes are lightweight (load fast), SEO-friendly via optimized code, secure, and they have a huge selection of plugins for the Genesis Framework and an awesome community in the Genesis WordPress Facebook Group. They include documentation for setting it up and will serve you for many, many years.
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?
StackPath – CDN with 31 additional data centers (Cloudflare has 150+ data centers, but more data centers = faster content delivery). I get around $1,000/month by referring people to StackPath in my cache plugin tutorials. StackPath recently bought MaxCDN and their affiliate acceptance rate is much lower (depends on your potential volume) but most cache plugins converted to StackPath as their recommended CDN
Most of us would have heard of the Amazon Affiliate Program, maybe you have even joined it and are trying to make some money with it. That’s what we Affiliate Marketers are here for, after all! 😉 And the Amazon Affiliate Program is one of the biggest and most well known affiliate programs out there, next to EBay Partnernetwork, Clickbank, LinkShare and so on.
I’m actually going through setting up a few different sites that are only going to be monetized with Amazon. There are certain benefits to Amazon such as a well-known website and added items on purchases and then there are negatives as well such as low commission and short cookie span. I definitely think you have to choose higher priced items if you want to make decent money from Amazon.
If you want to make real money with affiliate marketing, then set aside the idea that it is a get-rich-quick scheme. Affiliate marketing will only lead to immediate riches if you cheat and that, eventually, can lead to fines or jail time. If you want to make money at affiliate marketing and sustain that income over the years, then you have to do it right and that takes time.
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.

Many website builders also prefer to use SiteGround, which is known for its efficient system and user-friendliness. When you become a member of this affiliate program, you can earn anywhere from $50 to $125 from each sale. The amount depends on the number of referrals you are abel to make. A notable feature of its affiliate program is that it gives weekly payment. Most other programs have a monthly payment system. It also does not impose any payment threshold. This is a great way to generate earnings more quickly.


Another simple but effective website builder that you should consider becoming an affiliate for is Weebly. This website builder is now being used by more than 40 million people worldwide. This is true even though it’s not as advanced as other website builders. What people love about this one is that its drag and drop interface is very easy to use that even if you have zero knowledge in this field, you will not have a hard time figuring out how this one works. Its affiliate program, which you can find on ShareASale provides 30 percent recurring commissions as long as your referral remains active. Its cookie meanwhile remains for up to 120 days.
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.
Another survey from VigLink offers a closer look at just how much income affiliate marketers are bringing in. According to the survey, 9% generated more than $50,000 in affiliate income in 2016. The majority, 65%, said they were making between 5% and 20% of their annual revenue from affiliate programs. The survey also showed a link between timeframe and revenues. Among the publishers with the largest revenues, 60% had been utilizing affiliate-marketing strategies for five years or more. 
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