To find a good program, start first with companies that are large and trusted. They generally offer lower commissions, but that is because they actually pay their commissions. Once you know which programs are interesting, scour the web to find out if they actually pay. You don’t want to put in the work, over months usually, just to find out that the company won’t pay. Finally, make sure that the program has a support system in place. The best programs should not only be in touch when you first sign up, they should also email you when you make sales, keep you up to date about earnings, and be available for problem-solving and troubleshooting.


In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.

You’ll make more money in a niche topic than you will on a general topic for two reasons. First, you’ll be speaking to enthusiasts, people who live and breath the issue you are dealing with. They will be interested in what you have to write and in what you have to sell because it fits into a topic that they already care about and because you are promoting high-quality, expert content. Marketing to them will simply be easier.
This is an awesome post, and am very happy to have wandered across it – you really go into detail about your personal experience with Amazon’s program, and it is a hugely helpful story to hear. I’m thinking of monetizing through affiliate links at some point, and hearing about that generally in other blogs is kinda annoying. What I need to hear are specifics, even if the specifics won’t apply to my situation. What I need to hear is how real people actually go about doing something, and your post accomplished that. Bookmarked.
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. 
Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 

(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.)
Start by thinking about your audience. What kinds of products or services are they most interested in? Which products or services are you currently using that you would feel comfortable recommending to your readers? You can add links to any affiliate program to your site, but if you want to market them with authenticity, it’s best to stick to companies with which you already have some kind of connection.
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

When promoting affiliate offers, just make sure you are fully aware of all the terms and conditions attached to your affiliate program. Some programs can be strict about how they allow you to promote their products. For example, some may limit you to banner ads and links only, while others will allow you to use paid advertising, but won't allow email marketing. 
But let’s be totally honest for a minute here. There are millions of blogs out there, and a fraction (I dunno, less than 10%?) of bloggers are earning any money at all. And even fewer are earning full time income. The fact that I was able to join the ranks of “the full time income earning bloggers” just 7 months into blogging is sort of unbelievable. (Only, do believe it, because it happened!)
I really enjoyed your peek into the affiliate marketing career. You covered areas that a lot of people fail to cover and that was refreshing. I loved that you broke it down into easy to follow steps, so that I the reader could not get lost or confused. The social media and email ideas were different that what I have been seeing and gave me some fresh ideas for my own marketing campaigns. You explained in great detail how the money actually comes which is another thing often skipped when people are new to this. Overall it helped me and gave me great ideas. Some questions, If you had to choose one social media platform to start with what would you recommend? As far as content goes what is a good weekly goal to set that allows you to add content regularly, and gain trust with your readers, but not feel overwhelmed with the writing process? Overall great article and very informative and helpful, I will be checking in for more tips in the future!
Tiptopcat, I am very grateful for your insight and constructive criticism on my niche sites, and I will gladly take them on board. I actually am not too happy with my Mens Wrist Watches site, I too think it’s somewhat all over the place. I am also thinking about revamping my Beach Decor site. But that is a major project for me, so it might take time. Thanks again though for letting me know what I can improve on.
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
WordPress powers up most of the blogs and websites that you’ll find online today. It’s one of the biggest and most popular content management systems so you really won’t have a hard time getting people to use this program. This makes it a wonderful choice for an affiliate program. This lets you earn up to $300 per each sale that you make. All you have to do is to sign up with its affiliate program, and start promoting WordPress as the top choice for CMS to budding bloggers and website builders.

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.
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.

While affiliate marketing does take a lot of effort, the basic skills required are really simple to catch on to, and by learning them, you could start earning real money in a fairly short period of time. If you find a product niche you’re passionate about, you could even earn money by simply expressing your genuine love for a product you believe in, and feel good knowing you’re sharing your experience with others who will love the product as well.


Carly I’m so happy for you! And thankful for all you have done. Your series for the Computer Confused and Tech Troubled really helped me turn things around with getting my blog going. I still got a long way to go, but I’m making progress. It’s so inspiring to see your September income report and that you’re doing something that will allow you to realize your dreams of staying home with your child. I couldn’t be happier for you!


Thank you for the detailed article. For me personally is very inmportant the part that explains that is not a get rich quick scheme as many people expect tot get passive income in a week. You basically never start learning but how you said with the step just like building an email list you can get slowly there. How did you get into affiliate marketing for the first time?

Perhaps, most of the affiliate marketers are not following the exact road maps and are involved in some unproductive manuals. So, for them this business could be non profitable. But they can still make it happen by changing their work pattern as we say better late than never. To learn the right approaches and the exact business model which really works for affiliate marketing as well as for any kind of online business, we suggest you to join Wealthy Affiliate, the most dynamic source to take you to the success path. You can find the detail review of Wealthy Affiliate and link to join it by clicking the link as below:-
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. 
If you love to travel, it’d be a good idea to set up a travel blog or website where you can promote travel agencies and other travel websites such as the TripAdvisor. This world famous travel website is primarily known for its online reviews, but it is also a platform that can be used for booking hotels, restaurants and tour packages. If you become an affiliate for this website, you can earn up to 50 percent of the sale. Cookie duration, however, lasts only for 14 days. Nevertheless, it is the top option for affiliates in the travel niche.

There is a saying across the internet that content is king. At the core of how affiliate marketing works is you providing excellent content that people want and need to read that has attached purchase opportunities to it. It is that simple in theory. Please read our post about how to earn money through affiliate marketing. It will give you information about how to get started.
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.
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.
I agree with it- sort of. I believe that in order to become a successful blogger, that you need to be passionate about your blog. Whether that means that you are passionate about what you’re writing about, you’re passionate about helping people, that you just love blogging, etc., I believe that blogging is a business that needs to be enjoyed. I believe this because there is a LOT that goes into blogging, and it’s not always easy. It’s a continually growing process and a person needs to always be on their toes in order to succeed.
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