The internet offers boundless possibilities for earning a living online. Upwork and Freelancers Union found that 35% of the American workforce was doing some type of freelance work in 2016, and 73% said technology made it easier to find that work. One of the ways to harness the internet as an income source is pursuing affiliate marketing. It’s intended as a way to generate passive income, but does it really work? Let’s consider. 


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Target 1-2 Keywords Per Article – until you can successfully rank for 1 keyword for an article, don’t try targeting 2. Once you get the hang of it and are ready to write an article around 2, choose a secondary keyword that is a synonym of your primary keyword. An example would be “Slow WordPress Site” and “Why Is WordPress Slow.” Then craft your article title/SEO title/meta description to mention individual words of each – while making them read nicely.

First I want to tell you what brought on this post: I received my first check from Amazon in the mail yesterday!!! It was a great feeling, mixed with a bit of a let down, because to bank the check here in Australia it will cost me around $15 AUD, and that hurts, especially because the check is “only” $212.09 USD (The US Dollar and the Australian Dollar are very close in value at the moment).


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.
I do make a small commission on some of the products and services that I use and recommend through affiliate relationships with those merchants. Before making any purchase you should always rely on your own judgement and do your own due diligence. The results you get will be entirely based on your own experience and skill set. Never, EVER purchase anything that you cannot afford. Avoid purchasing products that do not have a clearly stated Guarantee, or that promise ridiculous results, like "Getting Rich Quick". There is no guarantee that you will have the same success with any of the products or services recommended. Most people don't do anything with the products they buy, and most of the time, their results are zero! My results aren't typical because I'm not typical ;-)

Sign up, the process is pretty straight forward. If you live in the US you can apply to the Amazon affiliate program, unless you are a resident of Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina or Rhode Island. Sorry if you are in one of these states, due to tax laws they have been “banned” from the program. If you happen to live in one of these states, don’t worry there are other programs that you can promote Wal-Mart is just one example. Click here to get general affiliate marketing training. 


I have similar experience like most of you do in the beginning for being an Amazon affiliate. However, things have been totally changed in Christmas of 2011. Starting from October, people starting to visit my website and I didn’t know where they came from. Before that , I only got about 6000 visitors in my website but by November and December, people just came to my website like a wave and nothing could stop them. Every day I have 20-30 sells and I have sold more than 200 items in month and some of them were high commission stuffs as well and many people also wanted to rent my website to post a link in there as well. By the end of December, I have more than 120,000 visitors to my website and I have a great year with Amazon and made $128 in November and $613 in December alone. Plus some traffic income from my website, I feel happy with that. Although traffic has been totally drop down after Christmas, but I feel happy with Amazon since it is easy to operate and no headache at all.I am still waiting for my first check to come (60days holding period) but I think it is already a small happy success for me already. I hope I will do better in 2012 Christmas. I didn’t put any effort in the last two years for being an Amazon affiliate but this year, I will do my best. However, it would be nice to have some other affiliate program that will pay much more but with good links and html for their products to paste on the website as well. But good program with all these are not easy to find. Commission Junction, I tried it before but it didn’t work for me but maybe I can try it all over again. As long as you have target traffic for your website, you can try to promote more and different things. The best of all, my website is free and they will pay you for traffic when people just clicked their ads as well. I have a new website on Valentine gift ideas just published with this free website program, you can feel free to take a look if you want to. Anyway, May God bless everyone in 2012.
Hi Geoff, nice to hear from you! Sorry about the very late reply – I have not been keeping up with my sites and blogs. Life has become so busy there is hardly any time for what I would like to do any more… Anyway, how did you go with your Christmas toy sales? I headed over to your Squidoo lenses, very well done!! I hope they brought you in a little bit of cash for your efforts. I will try to be in contact via email, too. 🙂
Without doubt that was by far the best summary of “Greatest Tips” I have read to date. It is so confusing out there…I want to help my son who struggles with cranky bossy managers to empowering him and havening him live life on his terms. I know affiliate marketing is the way out but where to start?? Do we set up on Shopify and offer other people’s products? Do we set up a blog with a few good links? Do you go to clickbank and peddle the China trinkets etc? Its a tough one to sort but this tutorial was an easy to understand read and you have my word that any of the hosting or other services offered I will use your affiliate link to thank you for sharing your knowledge and your mistakes. Sincerest thanks Tom!
They are one of the biggest affiliate programs available. Shouldn’t it be possible for them to offer their affiliates to be paid via PayPal, or even offer international associates (and there are bound to be many of them!) to be paid via direct bank deposit? I am with other affiliate programs where this has never been a problem, why isn’t it available here?
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
The internet offers boundless possibilities for earning a living online. Upwork and Freelancers Union found that 35% of the American workforce was doing some type of freelance work in 2016, and 73% said technology made it easier to find that work. One of the ways to harness the internet as an income source is pursuing affiliate marketing. It’s intended as a way to generate passive income, but does it really work? Let’s consider. 
you can advertise via links & banners, widgets and even a so-called “a-store” which is a complete store you can develop to sell products. Have a look at the store I built for my Beach Decor website: Beach Decor Amazon Store You can either integrate the store into your website or you have a stand alone store. Their widgets are great, you can choose between many different ones to suit your site. I personally like the Carousel Widget very much (again, some samples on another site of mine: Mens Casio Watches)

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! 😉
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 – Danke! Yes, it takes a lot of hard work and patience to be successful. You need to put in all the ground work to get your site on page 1 of Google for your keywords to get a fair amount of visitors. Once you are there, you can earn a regular stream of income. But you also have to keep at it, don’t relax for too long, because Google might just take you off page 1 again, and then you are back to square one.
In the past, every affiliate marketing program was a good one. Today, there are a lot of scams and schemes being touted as affiliate marketing. Many times you can make money with these risky programs, but they make it hard by taking large percentages, paying small commissions, and asking for an investment upfront. Ironically, the best affiliate programs that are most likely to make you wealthy are the programs that don’t claim to be able to make you rich.
(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.)
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