I absolutely LOVE affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing can feel quite passive and it makes location independence and traveling full-time much more enjoyable. You can create just one blog post or social media post, and potentially earn money from it years down the line, as long as you maintain it and keep generating traffic to it. With affiliate marketing, I can enjoy life more and know that I am still able to earn a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.

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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.
CJ Affiliate – Overstock, GoDaddy, Zappos, Walgreen, Vitamin Shoppe, Verizon Wireless, Under Armour, TurboTax, TJ Maxx, Sears, Samsung, QVC, Priceline, Petco, Old Navy, Office Depot, Office Max, Nike, Newegg, Michael Kors, Intuit, Hotels.com, HelloFresh, Guitar Center, GNC, FedEx Office, AT&T, American Express, Vivid Seats, TeamViewer, Sunglass Hut, Ally Invest, more.
Thanks for writing this post because while the above users seem to have experience with the Amazon Affiliate Program, this guy has NONE! I didn’t know that’s what affiliate programs were, and if I HAD known in the past, I might have some extra income from it right now. Now that I’ve been learning about SEO and keywords, I might be interested in setting up something like this. I’ve always wanted to have my own “online business”, and after trying things like eBay stores, Amazon Affiliate Programs seem like the way to go for me! I will have to read the info on it, and also some of the above blogs. Thank you for opening my eyes O.O

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?

I kept on squandering to pick a best workable niche for affiliate marketing that has to offer me some decent income. Still, I couldn't stick to anything. By reading this article you have narrow down my options to explore. Now, I can filter out one of these few suggestions that deserve to be successful. Thanks for sharing few top blogs in each niche to navigate and get more ideas on a particular topic.
Put bluntly, if you want to make big money through affiliate marketing (e.g. $500,000 per year like Super Affiliate author Rosalind Gardner), you will have to work hard. Hard work alone won’t cut it though. You need to either be educated in SEO and web design or you need to be smart enough, and simultaneously humble enough, to learn from mistakes and make the most of them. Here is some insight into how others have made good money with affiliate marketing as well as insight into how you can do the same.
I eventually learned the best model (for me) was to copy what Yoast did… charge a flat free for SEO Audits. People were always super happy with my audits. I still have my SEO audit templates (one for local SEO, national SEO, etc). Sometimes it would only take me 4 hours to write an audit and I would get $750, sometimes more if they wanted a more thorough audit. Maybe I undercharged?
You can put up banners on your site, to promote your affiliate offers. Most affiliate programs will usually provide their own creatives when you sign up for their offers. All you have to do is insert the banner on a highly trafficked page (your affiliate tracking is usually embedded within the code). Banner ads in the right locations can do a great job of driving sales.  
The affiliate marketing industry is growing steadily. An independent survey commissioned by Rakuten Affiliate Network found that affiliate marketing is set to reach $6.8 billion by 2020. Ninety percent of advertisers included in the survey said that affiliate programs were important or very important to their overall marketing strategy, with the majority of publishers reporting that affiliate partnerships drove more than 20% of annual revenue.
(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.)

Yes, there is an affiliate program for affiliate marketing! One of the best that you’ll find in the market today is Affiliorama. This is a membership site offering premium content about affiliate marketing. When you become an affiliate for this, you can get 50 percent commission for every membership that you’re able to secure. The commission is recurring for as long as the member stays active with the program. Cookie duration is 60 days. You will get paid via PayPal each month.
Put bluntly, if you want to make big money through affiliate marketing (e.g. $500,000 per year like Super Affiliate author Rosalind Gardner), you will have to work hard. Hard work alone won’t cut it though. You need to either be educated in SEO and web design or you need to be smart enough, and simultaneously humble enough, to learn from mistakes and make the most of them. Here is some insight into how others have made good money with affiliate marketing as well as insight into how you can do the same.

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
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…

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.
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).

You can also have a website promoting multiple CPA and affiliate offers whereas with Google AdSense you are limited to 3 ads. There are better options than AdSense with some people testing Ezoic, media.net, and a few others – there are actually many alternatives to AdWords. There are different types of CPA offers from sites like maxbounty.com, peerfly.com and you can use offervault.com among others to find more offers. Some payout per 1 page submit, some pay per sale, and some pay per call. It depends on the offer. If you are working direct with a company and bypassing the middle man you can get higher payouts and even negotiate a hybrid model where they pay you for the lead as well as a commission on the back-end.
Good review, Petra! One tip that I would add is that the Amazon Affiliate program (there’s another keyword repetition for you 😉 tends to work really well around Christmas time — even though Amazon’s commissions are small, people tend to be buying a lot of gifts at the same time, so if you can get them to click through your site you can end up getting credit for a lot of purchases!
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).
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.

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
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 would like to say thank you for the information you packed into this article. I myself am working toward becoming a successful marketer, and I definitely can say that it is hard work. I like the part of this article talking about sales funnels, I myself am still having some troubles grasping the concept, but I will get it eventually. Great article, thanks again,
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.
ive been thinking about this affiliate website thing for quite some time. those gurus make it sound so easy till i started researching reading up a bit here and there. all these things which needs to be done... blogging, pillowing, backlinking, wordpress, finding niches etc etc... the physically doing it on the pc, and finding content and pics and vids etc is whats stressing me out. at the moment im so confused !! haha i read that its best if you decide on a niche on which you have allot of knowledge, like a hobby etc. i dont have hobbies due to working away from home, and i build substations for a living. i cant think of a niche involving substations. are there videos somewhere which nicely shows exactly where to click what while building the website and doing the blogging, pillowing, backlinking etc? and honestly, with all the websites on the net allready, does new websites have a chance in 2014 to make some money?

 Anyone can become an affiliate marketer. It requires little or no start-up costs as you won’t be involved in the creation of the product. You will have nothing to do with the shipping or the customer service, don’t need to buy any inventory, and can instead focus on what you do best – selling the product or service. You may have to spend a little on the web hosting and domain name, but that’s not really much.
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