Kim, thanks so much for doing so much research for me! 😉 Guess what, after your comment I went and snatched up the domain Sea Decorations.com (would you believe it, it was still available!!!) and I am in the process of installing a new (but much less elaborate) website which I am going to try to get some Adsense earnings with. I do have Market Samurai, too, I just haven’t really used it to its potential yet. After your comment I think it is high time, though!!! Thanks again, Kim. Good luck to you in all you do!
when Chris Guthrie posted on here, I actually didn’t know him, if I would have I would have been awed!! 🙂 I have not put any more effort into my Amazon program, so for me nothing has changed, still very low sales and commissions. But there have been so many good tutorials and plugins for WordPress out lately that I am very tempted to have another good go at it, with a different approach this time. Will let you know if I succeed! 😉
On the other hand: the main reason of bankruptcy for small businesses is bad financial management. Simply said: to forget to make invoices, not checking the payments and not following bad payers. 1 out of 3 is going bankrupt for this reason alone. I had to learn it myself. I spend at least 10% of my time with financial stuff. I don’t love it but the bills get payed ;-)
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.
I would probably rely mostly on Amazon as an affiliate – talk about products you use while using an affiliate link. You don’t necessarily have to focus your entire content on reviewing products, just mention them in your articles and your experience with them – how they helped you. Amazon is good for obvious reasons – super high conversions and most products already have lots of reviews which is very valuable as an affiliate.
For me, the best program at the moment has to be Google Adsense. I make the most money per month with it. Ebay used to be very good but they have done something to their earnings, quite a lot of Affiliates seem to have been hit, and my earnings have dropped considerably (by 2/3rds) in the last three months, compared to what it was towards the end of last year. I have signed up for an Affiliate Program through Art.com just recently, promoting posters and art prints through my Beach Decor website, and I am very happy with it right now – they offer 20% commission which is fantastic, and I have made a few sales already. But obviously this program will only suit certain niches.
“ShareASale is solid. Been using them since 2013. Biggest problems with them is the interface is a little dated / wonky. It’s also difficult to deal directly with the advertisers. You think you’re speaking to an advertiser rep, but it’s really just someone from SAS. You have to use a special (hard to find) contact form to contact the advertiser….and it’s rare you get a direct response from them.”
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.
Can you make money with affiliate marketing? The short answer is yes, affiliate programs can earn extra money and even a full-time income from home. The long answer is a little more complicated. Like any home income venture, success comes not so much from what you choose to do to make money, but whether or not you do what needs to be done correctly and consistently.