Diane, leave valuable comments on other blogs (preferably dofollow and commentluv blogs), become active in forums where you can leave your websites link in your signature, maybe try http://www.linkreferral.com for a while, to get your visitors up. Just keep link building and interacting, and you will get there. But you need to be patient. I wouldn’t buy traffic.
Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
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.
The key is to work very hard on your affiliate blog, or for that matter, on your podcast or YouTube channel. While the top 6% of affiliate marketers around the world earn a six-figure income from this business, as someone starting out, you should aim for anything from $10,000 to $25,000 in your first 1 or 2 years in this business. It gets better as you go along and learn precious skills on the job.
Finding a good niche within the hobbies category is a great idea because even though I don’t have many hobbies of my own, there are a lot of hobbies I would have liked to have gotten involved in. So I can sort of experience the hobby vicariously through being an affiliate in that area, learning everything there is to learn about it and sharing that knowledge with others. And if it turns out to be not very lucrative as an affiliate niche, well, at least I will have learned a lot about the hobby! 🙂

Freelancer – refer people to developers, designers, and other freelancers you’ve worked with and make 100% of Freelancer’s project commission for the first 90 days. I get a lot of people requesting WordPress speed optimization services… so I refer them to my developers with a freelancer affiliate link and make $125/month in passive income. You can’t use affiliate links to link to specific freelancer profiles, so I direct people to the homepage via affiliate link and give people my developer’s usernames.
If you’re in the WordPress industry like I am (whether it be design, development, or SEO) I have accumulated quite the list of WordPress affiliate programs. I excluded those I found unsuccessful or pay too little to make a profit from, specifically ThemeForest, Creative Market, and low quality theme stores like Template Monster. Hosting pays well and I wrote a tutorial for SiteGround’s affiliate program and StudioPress themes which are my 2 highest paying affiliates. Those tutorials have tons of screenshots/social proof especially for SiteGround.
While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed factor and these companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.
Amazing and thorough breakdown of how it all works! Thank you so much for sharing! a group of 3 friends myself + 2 are about to start affiliate marketing together. Since many advertising rules have changed with affiliate marketing (facebook ads etc.) and many articles have not been updated since, weʻd love any advice or suggestions you have for 2018!
Thanks for sharing your experience. It was a real eye-opener for me. I am new to affiliate marketing and am looking for ways to make a steady income. Your affiliate program seems to fit my needs. If you have the time email me with your affiliate link to signup and I hope you can help me get started the right way. Any assistance would be greatly appreciate. Be Blessed.
The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
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