This is an awesome post, and am very happy to have wandered across it – you really go into detail about your personal experience with Amazon’s program, and it is a hugely helpful story to hear. I’m thinking of monetizing through affiliate links at some point, and hearing about that generally in other blogs is kinda annoying. What I need to hear are specifics, even if the specifics won’t apply to my situation. What I need to hear is how real people actually go about doing something, and your post accomplished that. Bookmarked.
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.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
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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.
To add to what safety flooring put, Amazon affiliate window provides many inexperienced / cash poor entrepreneurs with the chance to get the ball rolling on ecommerce. If you have no money to invest in stock yet you want to develop SEO / website skills, this would be a good place to start. Using Amazon affiliate will enable you to look at things like targetting searches, attaining and converting traffic – the fundamental principles of ecommerce planning, creation & implementation.
If you want to make real money with affiliate marketing, then set aside the idea that it is a get-rich-quick scheme. Affiliate marketing will only lead to immediate riches if you cheat and that, eventually, can lead to fines or jail time. If you want to make money at affiliate marketing and sustain that income over the years, then you have to do it right and that takes time.
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).
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. 
Hi Dody! I honestly don’t think that’s a question that can be answered with an one size fits all answer. The best site for affiliate marketing will be based on your niche, what you audience wants and what you are comfortable selling. I know lots of people that RAVE about shareasale.com – I personally haven’t had wild success with them because they don’t offer many products that I personally have found useful / easy to promote on my blog. I would strong suggest taking the making sense of affiliate marketing course – it will clear up any questions you have about affiliate marketing 🙂
I joined Amazon affiliate program a few years ago and put links on my blogs and webpages with NO LUCK until I read a few blog posts about how to use a software program called Market Samurari (link above) to determine which keyword phrases have the most traffic and the least competition. They explained that if you are selling something like dog supplies, the #1 listing in google for the search term “pink dog collars” will only get “20” hits per day, while the search term “dog clothes for big dogs” will get “250” hits per day. (just made up examples, not real numbers). While the general term “dog supplies” has WAY TOO MUCH competition for you to even think about getting to the #1 spot on Google (where all the traffic goes). So the software can tell you exactly what keyword phrases you should target to get the most traffic for the niche you are in.
I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to higher commissions with SiteGround, but it paid off long-term.

Higher plans include more server resources (#1 factor in the WordPress optimization guide). Here’s the full comparison chart, but GrowBig gives you about 2x more server resources than StartUp, and GoGeek is semi-dedicated hosting which gives you even more. GrowBig and up comes with a free migration, staging, advanced caching, and ability to host multiple websites. GoGeek comes with priority support. Their cloud hosting is quite the price jump at $80/month.


Your words are your own, so be nice and helpful if you can. Please, only use your REAL NAME, not your business name or keywords. Using business name or keywords instead of your real name will lead to the comment being deleted. Anonymous commenting is not allowed either. Limit the amount of links submitted in your comment. We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it please. You can wrap code in [lang-name][/lang-name] tags.
The topic you choose must have enough depth that you can create a lot of content for it. This is important for building an authoritative site, for search engine optimization, and most importantly, for the end user. If you don't have enough content about a topic, you're not going to be taken very seriously as an authority on the topic and it's unlikely you can convince someone to make a purchase from you. 
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
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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.
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