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.
My conversion rate went from 2.5% to 8% just by including Facebook polls where SiteGround was rated #1, along with a few Twitter screenshots and Facebook conversations. Whether it’s Amazon reviews or Facebook polls, you NEED to include outside opinions – that’s why I don’t like collecting reviews on my website – they look biased. But you can use WP Review Pro to do this, allowing people to review the product/service on your site and get those review stars.
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. 
Petra- your keyword phrase “Beach Decor” can expect to get 374 hits per day for the number 1 spot on Google, but there are 189,000 websites in competition with you (hard to get to #1). But you can get to #1 easier with the keyword phrase “Sea Decorations” and if at #1 you can expect 50 hits/day and only competing with 12,600 other websites. Also “Beach Party Decorations”, #1 Google spot can expect 40 hits/day and competes with 16.200 other websites.
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
I have one affiliate website that I recently launched. SEO hasn't been done yet other than basic stuff. What I need is an expert to look at it and tell me whether I'm on track or need major changes. I don't know if you guys do that here or know of someone who does. (free or for a fee) The site is http://saveongolf.net . It's a site using datafeeds for golf equipment.
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 could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to higher commissions with SiteGround, but it paid off long-term.
So, affiliate marketing vs. AdSense: which is more profitable? Both are profitable if applied correctly, but generally, affiliate marketing is best if you want to build a long-term business online. AdSense is good if you want to make some residual cash from your website or blog. It is not a full-time business model, and many who try to make it so went too far and lost their accounts forever.
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 :)
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.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 

There are so many high paying affiliate programs that can help you succeed as an affiliate marketer. But of course, it’s never wise to solely base your decision on the earnings you will make, you also have to consider other factors such as your own expertise and interest, and your target audience. You cannot recommend SEO programs if you know nothing about SEO and if your blog does not have anything to do about it. Remember that you need to set up your affiliate website for long-term success.  
Hi Petra, Perth calling! I joined Howie’s Apprentice 6 affil.training course and lo & behold our task is to sell a child’s Christmas toy using Amazon affiliate program! I now think there’s a lot in there.. tons of resources and tools. I also made web pages for iPod Touch and iPad mobile devices via Amazon becoz you need: 1. high demand, 2. higher price ticket, so as to get a reasonable payout from Amazon. So I’m positive about the program. Still yet to reach their payment threshold but it’s worth persevering eh? GD. Perth
I had a chance of looking at how much some CPA marketers are earning. My jaws hit the floor. How can anyone make 32k in a day? It is not some Photoshop screenshot but the CPA company interface allows earning shouts which is drawn live from the system and displayed on a live chat. That’s where I saw those big figures. Remember I said 32k in a day not in a month. Now that is insane. This gives you some idea how: http://x.co/9RnqK
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