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 come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “…and here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to live how I want. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
I agree with you that the most important thing you can do at the start of your affiliate marketing career is to work out your WHY? Affiliate marketing is actually hard, hard work – especially in the beginning when you have no traffic and no followers. If you can’t figure out why you should be spending hour after hour on this “hobby” then it will never grow into a full-time income producing business. There is lots of great advice here for people getting started and people looking to get extra sales and give their career the extra boost they are searching for. Cheers
BTW, I am ranking for keyword phrases like “Beach Decor”, “Beach Theme Home Decor”, “Gecko Decor” etc, and would have thought that people looking for these things are looking to buy. But they are probably not specific enough yet, they are just browsing….. Could you supply us with a few of your site’s URL’s at all so we can see what your blogs really look like, or is that too much to ask? 😉 I would understand if not…
Affiliate marketing will give the better opportunity to make the most money. AdSense will make you smaller amounts of cash regularly with very little maintenance. However, it needs a fair amount of traffic to be really profitable, while you can use a mailing list to sell your affiliate products. You can build up a large list over time, even with a small amount of daily traffic.
To become involved in affiliate marketing you should join a program – try ClickBank to begin with if you are new to affiliate marketing – then advertise products on your website or blog including your affiliate reference in the sales link. Your affiliate program explains how to do this, and most will provide graphics and promotional material to help you sell.
There are so many high paying affiliate programs that can help you succeed as an affiliate marketer. But of course, it’s never wise to solely base your decision on the earnings you will make, you also have to consider other factors such as your own expertise and interest, and your target audience. You cannot recommend SEO programs if you know nothing about SEO and if your blog does not have anything to do about it. Remember that you need to set up your affiliate website for long-term success.  
I come from an unsuccessful background of web design/SEO. I blogged because I knew it was good for SEO, but my articles didn’t monetize. I took a leap of faith and dropped my clients to figure out blogging/affiliate marketing. I was good at website speed optimization and knew hosting was the #1 factor. After some research, I saw SiteGround was #1 in most Facebook polls and had a great reputation with generous affiliate commissions. So I wrote tutorials on website speed… how to configure WordPress cache plugins, hosting reviews, and other speed-related topics. Usually near the end of a post I would say “…and here’s why you should switch to SiteGround” with evidence on why they’re the best… polls, tweets, load time improvements, etc. That’s when things got good. Now I have 0 clients and the freedom to live how I want. I wrote this tutorial because I’m actually excited to help people do the same – without the BS.

Mangools is an affiliate program that gives affiliates access to a wide array of SEO tools to promote. One of these is the KWFinder, which is used by thousands of online marketers and SEO specialists for doing effective keyword research. It gives affiliates up to 30 percent recurring commissions. That is up to $300 commission for each sale made. The cookie life lasts up to 30 days. Payment threshold is $150 and payments are sent via PayPal.


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.
Impact – ADP, Airbnb, AppSumo, Allstate, 1-800 Flowers, Avon, Constant Contact, Credit Karma Tax, Envato Market, ESPN+, Getty Images, Gravity Forms, Grubhub, Houzz, HostGator, InMotion, iQ, iStock, Kind, Kohl’s, Lending Club, Levi’s, LinkedIn Learning, Namecheap, Shutterstock, Southwest, Squarespace, StackPath CDN, Target, Turo, Uber, Uber Eats, Xfinity, more.
The area that really breathes life into the “Is affiliate marketing worth the effort?” question is trial and error. Successful affiliate marketing will take quite a bit of it, and you shouldn’t expect to build your website one day, and be flooded with commissions from sales the next. This is where many people give up on affiliate marketing, and get the wrong impression that just because success isn’t instant, it must not be for them. You’re not going to hit every mark from the get-go, and you’re going to need to look at your statistics to see what’s working and what’s not in terms of attracting audiences and turning their visits into new sales.
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!
Next, research individual affiliate programs to compare their structure. You want to consider factors such as how much the commission is and how often the affiliate pays. Also, make sure you understand what rules, if any, a company imposes for being a part of its affiliate program. Additionally, you're likely to make more money with affiliate marketing content that is similar to your own.
Affiliate marketing will give the better opportunity to make the most money. AdSense will make you smaller amounts of cash regularly with very little maintenance. However, it needs a fair amount of traffic to be really profitable, while you can use a mailing list to sell your affiliate products. You can build up a large list over time, even with a small amount of daily traffic.

Petra- your keyword phrase “Beach Decor” can expect to get 374 hits per day for the number 1 spot on Google, but there are 189,000 websites in competition with you (hard to get to #1). But you can get to #1 easier with the keyword phrase “Sea Decorations” and if at #1 you can expect 50 hits/day and only competing with 12,600 other websites. Also “Beach Party Decorations”, #1 Google spot can expect 40 hits/day and competes with 16.200 other websites.

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.
To break down the question “Is affiliate marketing worth the effort?” take a look at the efforts I’ve laid out, and determine for yourself. In order to be successful in affiliate marketing you’ll need to choose a product category to focus on, learn about your audience, build a website or blog audiences can trust, create LOTS of content, and promote your content and your product, and with the right trial and error, you could be well on your way to receiving those commission checks from happy brands earned by referring happy customers. In terms of regular maintenance you will need to keep up with the latest online marketing trends, promote your content regularly, and continue learning about how your product category of choice is developing in today’s modern age in order to remain a trusted resource on your chosen topic.
Another top choice when it comes to email marketing solutions, AWeber is currently being used by millions of online users and online marketers all over the world. It started back in 1998, and is now one of the oldest and most effective email marketing companies. The affiliate program that it runs provides up to 30 percent recurring commissions. The higher the price plan is, the higher the recurring commission is. You’ll also be glad to know that its cookie lasts for 365 days. It means that if a user clicks anytime within the year, the sale will still be credited to you. This is one of the affiliate programs with the longest cookie durations.
Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
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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