I personally prefer to do it that way--you can create a more convincing review that's more likely to make sales. It's not always possible or practical, though; for example, would you break up with your significant other just to test a product for getting your ex back? ;-) In cases like that, or if the product is expensive, it's usually best just to use the vendor's affiliate resources instead.
Amazon has spent years perfecting the art of online selling and you’ll learn a lot about online marketing by observing how they do it. They constantly test different ways of promoting products and have evolved their site quite a lot over the years. See what widgets they use to promote related products, watch how they use reader reviews, and see the way that they describe products.
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. 
It’s hard to predict exactly what Amazon’s new rates will mean for those participating in the program, but there’s plenty of reason to be nervous. The most immediate change will be the end of Amazon’s “variable standard program fee” rates, which gave sites a higher cut as they drove more business to Amazon. The scale ranged from 4 to 8.5 percent, depending on how many products visitors bought in a given month. Robey says she never had trouble selling enough products to earn an 8 percent rate.

Recently, our friend Kent from Nicheup gave me an interesting insight. According to his findings, massive organic social share is good enough to rank an article to the first page of Google. Whether that is applicable to your situation or not, you have to make sure that you are using social media for your website. Consider your website as a company.
Also referred to as CID tracking, MID tracking and TID tracking. “SID” is the abbreviation for the sub campaign tracking abilities offered by Commission Junction. Almost every mainstream network refers to it differently. SIDs allow you to create specific tracking codes for your affiliate links to track the success of a specific effort. I wrote a whole article about SID, CID, MID and TID tracking codes if you'd like more information about what they are and how they're used.
This is a HUGE one! A lot of people register for Amazon Associates at the beginning of their blogging career because they assume it’s just good to “get it out of the way”. Don’t!! *foams at the mouth* I repeat: don’t register until your blog is reasonably established and you’re quite certain someone out there will buy something off of your link. If you don’t net any sales within your first 90 days, your account will get shut down. You’re welcome to apply again, but by then, your fragile ego will be in ruins.

It works for me & I've used it myself. It's really hard to promote something you haven't personally used and loved. A good example of this for me would be FlexJobs. I get a lot of questions about this program. If someone asks me where to find something in the dashboard, I can tell them. If they tell me they aren't finding ANY jobs to apply to, I can provide them with a list of steps that may change that. If they ask me if I pay for a membership myself, I can, with 100% honesty, say YES.
Finally, when promoting an affiliate product on Amazon to your audience, offer to help them with the product. Be a source of support. If people have questions or people want to know more about the thing you’re promoting, make their decision easier and offer them that support! But, you might think, am I going to have people beating down my door asking for help with the product? I’m too busy for that! Here’s the thing. Very few people will actually take you up on that offer. But a lot more people will see your offer of assistance and appreciate it. They’ll see you as an authority figure, and someone they can trust to help them out if they need it, someone who stands behind the products they promote, even if those products aren’t your own.
A page on your website or blog that informs site visitors what you do with their personal information – whether received via contact forms, etc or through any anonymous tracking methods. A website is required to have a privacy policy by many merchants to participate in their affiliate program. It is also required to use Google AdSense and Google Analytics.
About 80% of the emails you send to your list should be more helpful than any other email they received that day. You must provide exceptional quality and figure out how to make peoples lives easier or better through the emails you send them. This is the perfect setup for the other 20% of your emails – sales emails! Now, you don’t have to give a hard sell. For example, in October, you could send an email with “The Top 10 Dog Halloween Costumes Of The Year!” Include goofy pictures of dogs wearing ridiculous looking costumes and link to Amazon where people can buy those costumes if they want to. See how easy it is to “sell” through email marketing? You don’t actually have to SELL at all!
Once you know “What is affiliate marketing?” you can begin to consider whether it’s a good tactic for your business. You need to work with professionals once you can define affiliate marketing. They know the most common mistakes and can provide helpful affiliate marketing tips. You don’t want to waste your money advertising on another’s web site, make sure you’re getting on a profit return on your dollars. Affiliate marketing is another tool for your business to compete in today’s tech-hungry world. But like other tools, if not properly used you can even damage the traffic heading to your site. A poorly designed, poorly placed advertisement can make viewers think twice about your competitor. You want to send your competitor an ad that makes them a little scared. Many businesses have exploded due to affiliate marketing in your company could be next.

Great article as it gets me thinking about the various ways to monetize my sites. With that said, my biggest hurdle has been how to get started building traffic. You see articles all over the net talking about massive traffic techniques, but I’ve never really found a guide for a fresh blog/website and how to get to their first 100, 500, or 1,000 daily uniques. Of course writing consistent quality content is key, but writing alone an audience does not make. Any tips or articles to point us to? Thanks again Sean!


A text file that is sent from a website to a file within a user's web browser. Cookies are used for various reasons on the web as a whole. In regards to affiliate marketing, Cookies are used to assign an ID to a user that has clicked on your affiliate link to get to a merchant website for a predefined period. If the user returns within that predefined period (whether or not they click on your affiliate link again) then you will be credited with the sale. Example – a user clicks your affiliate link (cookie gets “dropped” to their browser) and then bookmarks the merchant's website to buy later. The user returns before the Cookie Expiration and makes the purchase. You would receive credit – and this commission – on the sale.
Affiliate marketing helps publishers get rewarded for the role they play in shopping journeys. If a publisher adds an affiliate link to a merchant in their content, they’ll receive a commission for every sale driven to that merchant as a direct result of someone clicking on the affiliate link. Publishers can add as many affiliate links to an article as they like, but they will need to build each individual link manually which can be time consuming.
As this article aims to cover affiliate marketing for beginners, here’s a little example for you. So, let’s assume John is an affiliate. He has a website which is all about skateboarding. On it, he has a blog where he shares videos of his latest stunts, pictures of the parks he’s visited, and in-depth reviews of the best and worst skateboards he’s ever used.
I once persuaded my mum to buy all my Christmas presents using my affiliate links on Amazon, and then found out that Amazon won’t pay out to anyone with the same surname as you (as they assume them to be family; luckily I have an unusual surname!) or anyone who lives at the same address. However one of my friends has ordered through one of my affiliate links and the commission has tracked for that. It’s my ONLY commission, mind. And my account hasn’t been shut down yet (touch wood, fingers crossed etc etc…)
I am new to this website and the funny thing is that l was looking for an objective analysis on starting an Amazon affiliate site. Your review on this issue is the BEST that i have ever seen in the last 3 years. This article was a joy to read. It was detailed, honest and very hard hitting especially when you are trying to get readers to understand that they MUST diversify their traffic sources and STOP relying on getting to first page on Google. As a result of reading your article l am changing my digital marketing services, affiliate marketing and , e-commerce strategy. I look forward to hearing new and innovative ideas from you on internet marketing. Keep up the great work!!!

That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
Affiliate marketing can be a big source of revenue. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is to provide additional value and to engage your readers. Unlike traditional ads where you are paid for impressions or clicks, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. The action might be something as simple as signing up for a newsletter to submitting their zip code information up to having a sale completed. Regardless, you are not paid until you've compelled your readers to take some type of action.
I've tried affiliate marketing in the past without a lot of success, so wasn't sure that this book would help me much with giving it another shot. However, I was pleasantly surprised. There's no fluff or filler in this book - it's obviously written by someone who knows what they're talking about and it covers (in detail) what it promised - how to get started (and be successful) in affiliate marketing. I especially appreciate that the author added sections that aren't typically covered in these kinds of books, like how to use videos and bookmarking in your efforts as well as how to deal with backlinking after Google's Penguin and Panda updates. Glad I picked this one up. It's a keeper.
Affiliate marketing is an online strategy where people are incentivized to promote your product or service. It’s defined as ‘a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals’. This can be through the search engines, social media, an email list or other means. All of the referrals are tracked using cookie technology so that commissions and affiliate payments can be automated. The power of affiliate channels is real as anyone that sells online can understand the need for qualified website visitors to grow an online business.
TOS stands for Terms of Service. In the affiliate world, this most often refers to the program terms of an affiliate program. The terms of service – sometimes also referred to as Terms of Use – tells you what the rules of the affiliate program are and sets out what you can and can't do. For example: The TOS may prevent affiliates from bidding on the merchant's brand keywords. If you then bid on those brand keywords, you'd be violating the TOS of the affiliate program and would likely be kicked out as a result.

Although I have never done much affiliate marketing, Peters's AFFILIATE MARKETING FOR BEGINNERS seems to me to be an excellent introduction. It surprised me that a lot of the material presented was useful for making money online in other ways than affiliate marketing. For example, there are recommendations concerning outsourcing content, on- and off-page search engine optimization, and press releases. I am not unfamiliar with such topics, and the recommendations seem very good. The whole book is clearly organized and well-written. There is even a bonus e-book provided at its end. This book is an outstanding value.
For example, if I talk about how cool a product is, and then you find out that I’m an affiliate for them, wouldn’t you as a conscientious observer become skeptical as to whether my information is biased, if perhaps I’m only saying how cool something is because I can get paid for it? Wouldn’t that make you question my integrity with other things I say as well?
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
I feel like if you have 98% only affiliate content and no other valuable content it’s more likely to be penalized. I was following a lot of competitor sites in Ahrefs and noticed all the ones that tanked had only thin affiliate content and no non-affiliate content. For some reason I thought FixYourSkin was yours but I was wrong. That site went down like crazy and lost their traffic by half. I saw them trying to recover by adding more quality content but it doesn’t seem to help for them and it’s not helping me either.
I did a lot of research to find the right one, and so I chose Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner (as I mentioned earlier). I figured it made sense to learn from the best, and with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee, I had nothing to lose. I chat WAY more in-depth about it in my review here, but this course was definitely a gamechanger for me.
Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.

The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 


It works for me & I've used it myself. It's really hard to promote something you haven't personally used and loved. A good example of this for me would be FlexJobs. I get a lot of questions about this program. If someone asks me where to find something in the dashboard, I can tell them. If they tell me they aren't finding ANY jobs to apply to, I can provide them with a list of steps that may change that. If they ask me if I pay for a membership myself, I can, with 100% honesty, say YES.
This is a HUGE one! A lot of people register for Amazon Associates at the beginning of their blogging career because they assume it’s just good to “get it out of the way”. Don’t!! *foams at the mouth* I repeat: don’t register until your blog is reasonably established and you’re quite certain someone out there will buy something off of your link. If you don’t net any sales within your first 90 days, your account will get shut down. You’re welcome to apply again, but by then, your fragile ego will be in ruins.
Just like ClickBank, Commission Junction is an advertising platform that works with suppliers. Commission Junction works with big brand names. But they are still a middleman. You won’t be working or dealing with the individual companies yourself, which can be nice and can be a pain. Commission Junction does have higher requirements for joining their program. It’s not impossible if you’re serious about affiliate marketing.
Of the many key reasons these sites are so massively successful, one stands out in particular: they are genuinely helpful to their visitors. When you need to renew your car insurance, do you seriously go filling in forms on every individual provider’s website, or do you instead just fill in the one form on a site like Comparethemarket to get all the quotes you need at once? If you think about the answer honestly, you’ll realise exactly why comparison websites like this are so genuinely useful to a visitor.
Cookie stuffing involves placing an affiliate tracking cookie on a website visitor's computer without their knowledge, which will then generate revenue for the person doing the cookie stuffing. This not only generates fraudulent affiliate sales but also has the potential to overwrite other affiliates' cookies, essentially stealing their legitimately earned commissions.
At MoreNiche, our commissions are some of the highest found on any affiliate network selling physical products. We actually turn away potential advertisers who we believe don’t offer a fair deal. In fact, none of our advertisers’ commission rates fall below 30% per sale and the most they pay is 80%! That means for every sale you generate with a value of £100, you could potentially earn between £30 and £80 in commission. Not bad, we think you’ll agree!
Great post, Sean! I have been using Adsense for the most part for two years now and each year, due to great content, my income has doubled. Thanks for all the great content, and this is sure to open my eyes a bit more to the likes of Amazon, which, I will admit, I have been ignoring due to the way they treat their affiliates. But, maybe it’s just me being a turd….
I have a question: while searching for the niche, and I think I found one that is pretty good, the search on google (for “high end …….”) didn’t revile any brands. Now, I believe it’s possible that there are not many brands for this niche, but checking it little further, I found that there are some, but it was difficult finding it on amazon and even if I did find the products, they didn’t have many reviews, if there were any.
Even though I say that “content is not the only king“, by gosh it is dam important! If you haven’t got the information that your visitor wants then you can kiss your affiliate commissions goodbye. Excellent content is the main ingredient in your sale process so never just slap any old content up. See this article showing what I think quality content is.
As this article aims to cover affiliate marketing for beginners, here’s a little example for you. So, let’s assume John is an affiliate. He has a website which is all about skateboarding. On it, he has a blog where he shares videos of his latest stunts, pictures of the parks he’s visited, and in-depth reviews of the best and worst skateboards he’s ever used.
These customers can directly go to the business websites and buy whatever they want. But some times the said customers who frequently visit a particular blog and that particular blog are an affiliate marketer for a business which at that particular time is giving some form of discount. Now this discount or free trial will attract the customer to click/buy through the link provided on the affiliate marketer’s web page.  The customer who might not be aware that there is a discount on a particular product is enticed to buy and complete the process.
I do this because I want to build a solid reputation and a loyal readership of people who trust me. I’d rather make less money and still have a reader than make lots of money and never see the reader again. For me, this comes not only from my ethics but my belief that in the long term building a good profile and reputation leads to other opportunities for profit.
Ohhh making that first affiliate sale might be the greatest feeling ever, even if it’s 18 cents. Here’s the sad thing though: most networks will have a minimum payout threshold that’s typically $50 or $100, so it may be a LONG time before you see the money. I used to be an affiliate for BlueHost, and after my first sale, I was stoked to see $65 in my affiliate report!! Legitimately, I felt like a millionaire. Unfortunately, BlueHost has a minimum payout of $100, so that money went untouched until I made another sale, but even then…
One of the challenges I came up against when writing about cameras regularly was that while a certain percentage of my readers were actively shopping for a new camera, many readers already owned one. In fact, writing a ‘photography tips’ blog means you attract more people wanting to learn how to use a camera that they already own, rather than buying a new one.

In the case of cost per mille/click, the publisher is not concerned about whether a visitor is a member of the audience that the advertiser tries to attract and is able to convert, because at this point the publisher has already earned his commission. This leaves the greater, and, in case of cost per mille, the full risk and loss (if the visitor cannot be converted) to the advertiser.

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