No, this didn’t happen overnight. Yes, I was broke for a couple years while creating content. But it literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house (sigh) into a nice studio in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $6,000 to GoFundMe campaigns. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. So, I want to show you how I did it. Enjoy :-)
StackPath – CDN with 31 additional data centers (Cloudflare has 150+ data centers, but more data centers = faster content delivery). I get around $1,000/month by referring people to StackPath in my cache plugin tutorials. StackPath recently bought MaxCDN and their affiliate acceptance rate is much lower (depends on your potential volume) but most cache plugins converted to StackPath as their recommended CDN
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.
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.
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.
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.
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

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.
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).

In August of 2011, I started my personal finance blog with the hopes of teaching people how to save money after reading a magazine that featured a personal finance website in one of their articles. Due to that website, I became extremely interested in personal finance blogs, and my interest in blogging just grew from there. Before August of 2011, I didn’t even know that blogs existed. I didn’t know what they were, I didn’t know that they could make money, or anything like that.
The second reason that niche topics will bring you more money is because competition is less fierce. Rather than compete against dozens or even hundreds of other marketers, you’ll only have to compete with a handful. In fact, you may not even compete with the other marketers at all. They may become your friends because you share similar interests. Together you will tackle the market to make even more money.
Personally I have avoided the amazon affiliate program. To me it only makes sense to use amazon if there is no other affiliate program option for that niche. The 24 hour cookie time is brutal since others do 30-90 days. I would think for decor people need way more time than 1 day. There is almost always an affiliate program offering higher commission with better terms in any niche. It’s just a matter of finding the best ones to promote.
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.

hello Stuart, i must confess that you've been fantastic here with all your posts and i want to say here and now that I've learned a lot, but my problem is that i don't know the one to go for now, I'm confused i want to make my full time living online but i don't know were to start from. pls i need an online business model that will make money and last forever with a low start up budget. your advice is highly needed please.


I’ve slowly, but steadily, been building small niche websites that focus on products from Amazon and take advantage of Amazon aStore. Melissa and Doug Puppets is one such site, along with Popular Video Games and Small Bathroom Vanities. For this year alone, I’ve already made over $200 in affiliate commissions and adsense earnings at Small Bathroom Vanities – not bad for the cost of a domain name and hosting. And the cost of hosting becomes less of a cost burden with all of the additional sites you build!
CJ Affiliate – Overstock, GoDaddy, Zappos, Walgreen, Vitamin Shoppe, Verizon Wireless, Under Armour, TurboTax, TJ Maxx, Sears, Samsung, QVC, Priceline, Petco, Old Navy, Office Depot, Office Max, Nike, Newegg, Michael Kors, Intuit, Hotels.com, HelloFresh, Guitar Center, GNC, FedEx Office, AT&T, American Express, Vivid Seats, TeamViewer, Sunglass Hut, Ally Invest, more.
Thank you for the detailed article. For me personally is very inmportant the part that explains that is not a get rich quick scheme as many people expect tot get passive income in a week. You basically never start learning but how you said with the step just like building an email list you can get slowly there. How did you get into affiliate marketing for the first time?
An affiliate program refers to the arrangement in which a merchant or owner of a product pays a certain amount of commission for the sale generated by an affiliate. The affiliate sets up a website where he/she will post affiliate links that will direct visitors to the merchant’s site so they can make a purchase. Information on commission rates are provided in the program.
In this Amazon Niche Case Study, I’m trying to stay as transparent as I can. I share income numbers and traffic numbers. I also share my methods to get the shared results. You might have read some income reports on other blogs talking about the total income the site or the blogger makes. In this case, … Continue reading Case Study with Income Report
The second reason that niche topics will bring you more money is because competition is less fierce. Rather than compete against dozens or even hundreds of other marketers, you’ll only have to compete with a handful. In fact, you may not even compete with the other marketers at all. They may become your friends because you share similar interests. Together you will tackle the market to make even more money.
By jon|2019-08-07T01:03:03-04:00April 2nd, 2019|Categories: The Latest|Tags: $100/day passive income, affiliate marketing for beginners, affiliate marketing step by step, affiliate marketing tutorial, how to get started affiliate marketing, how to make passive income, how to start affiliate marketing, how to start affiliate marketing from scratch, passive income affiliate marketing, start affiliate marketing|9 Comments
Hi there! Thanks so much for this site. I heard about affiliate marketing many years ago but was always intimidated to get started as I did not know where to start. I thought it would be super complicated but after reading yuor blog, you make it sound so easy! I was just wondering if you could tell me if I am correct with my assumption and understanding on how to do this successfully-

“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.”
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. 
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!

I have had two Amazon stores (on two separate sites) since early 2008 and to date I have not made enough for a payout – I’m about half way there. The referral fee is so low, it drives me crazy. I get a lot of traffic and my sites have the potential for high-end items, but the items offered through Amazon in my niche are lower end and therefore lower priced. I utilize a few widgets on other websites, but again the same issue. Amazon is my least favorite affiliate program due to their low referral fees, but still worth it. After all, any earning in excess of my expenses is worth it.

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 🙂
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