Do you want to get in on the lucrative world of affiliate marketing?
Are you confused and don't know where to start?
You probably already know just what affiliate marketing is. You know that it involves choosing your niche (the area you want your business to be in) and connecting with vendors who sell products in that niche. Your affiliate agreement allows you to market their products and get paid an affiliate commission without ever having to stock inventory or worry about product fulfillment.
But as usual, the devil is in the detail. This article aims to answer all your questions and provide the practical advice you need to build your own affiliate marketing empire.
And if you've got questions I haven't answered, just ask them at the end of the article and I'll get back to you with the answers.
What Exactly Is Affiliate Marketing?
In its simplest form, affiliate marketing is selling other people's products and earning a commission on each sale, with the entire process handled by proven, reliable software.
But this doesn't mean that it's easy, simple or foolproof. If it were, everyone would be doing it, right?
Well, it mightn't be everyone, but affiliate marketing has been responsible for the creation of more online millionaires than any other single internet trend, And there are any number of suppliers ready and willing to help you become one of them. In fact, between 80 and 90 percent of brands and publishers leverage the power of affiliate marketing and spending on affiliate marketing is increasing by well over 10% every year, with sales measured in the billions of dollars.
Compare an online business with the reality of the 9 to 5 grind. Which would you rather do?
Wake up to your alarm at some ungodly hour, battle commuter traffic while half asleep, all to get to a soul-destroying J.O.B. (Just Over Broke) in order to contribute to someone else's wealth OR...
Work where you like, when you like... in fact anywhere that has an internet connection and rake in the money even while you're asleep. Live what's known as the laptop lifestyle.
It's possible, but as always the devil is in the detail. Which I'm going to cover in this article.
How Do I Become an Affiliate Marketer?
Affiliate marketing gives you the freedom you've been craving your whole life. So it's totally worth it to get the answer to how do I become an affiliate marketer. There are a few steps involved. None are overly complex but all are required.
There are broadly two categories of vendor that you can engage with for affiliate marketing.
1. Individual vendors with their own affiliate marketing schemes. These may have physical products or electronic (downloadable) products.
2. Vendors who operate through a group portal and use the portal's affiliate marketing software.
In every case, you will need to have your own website that will link out to the vendor's website where you will make the sale and earn your commission.
So that's where you start in order to become an affiliate marketer.
- Choose your niche.
- Register your domain name and
- Build your website.
I'm going to recommend two things to get you fast-tracked down this path. Both will require an investment from you. An investment that will return dividends as you build your new online business.
First up is Wealthy Affiliate, the best training in affiliate marketing available on the internet. Join through my link at Wealthy Affiliate, and I'll not only assist you with the first two (choose your niche and register your domain name) but I will actually build your website for you, so that you don't have to worry about the complex technical stuff and can start your affiliate promotions immediately.
And the second is the Thrive Suite, the absolute best collection of tools that you can have for developing your new internet business. The collection of themes and plugins that you get with Thrive make doing things that most affiliate marketers struggle with totally simple. And, as a Thrive expert, I'll be there to help you every step of the way.
What Is an Example of Affiliate Marketing?
Although you will start off much simpler than this, by promoting a single affiliate product, this is an example of what you can graduate to and really start raking it in.
This is an example of combining six products that I'm an affiliate for, discounting the pack to offer my customer a good deal and then making a substantial affiliate commission from all of them when somebody buys the pack.
To see a nice simple promotion of a single downloadable product available from ClickBank, check out The Cinderella Diet, also on my Aging Slowdown website. ClickBank is one of the portal sites I mentioned earlier and will be discussing later in this article.
What Should I Ask About Affiliate Marketing?
Before you embark on becoming an affiliate marketer, there are several important questions you need to answer.
Remember that this is a real business that you are about to create. It's going to require a major investment of time and effort.
You can ensure that the time and effort are well spent by asking and getting answers to these questions before you start (not half-way through and certainly not when you're asking the question "why isn't this working?"
- Should I go directly to a vendor's affiliate program or join an affiliate network such as CJ (previously Commission Junction, ClickBank or JVZoo?
- Does the vendor (whether direct or through a network) offer a quality product? How can I tell?
- Does the vendor or affiliate network provide tools that will help me to make the sale?
- What is the vendor's refund rate?
- What is the affiliate link's cookie duration?
- Is the product targeting a popular niche and how difficult will it be to drive traffic?
Each of these six questions is of vital importance and each deserves detailed coverage.
I will be providing this in subsequent additions to this article.
Is It Too Late For Affiliate Marketing?
This is a question that is often asked and it's because affiliate marketing has already been around for a relatively long time.
So naturally people are wondering if it's too late to join the affiliate marketing party.
Well, the short answer is no, it's not.
Affiliate marketers are seeing more growth and potential than ever before, and for two primary reasons.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, millions more people became totally comfortable with shopping online and in particular with using the search engines to find products they were interested in buying, with using online reviews to compare products and with entering their credit cards securely to pay for them.
At the same time, many vendors came to the realization that they could expand their sales exponentially by using affiliate marketing and attracting high quality affiliates to sell more of their products. And discovered that the cost of giving away an affiliate commission was in fact considerably less than other forms of promotion.
It's still a great time to get into affiliate marketing and the opportunities will only continue to get better.
What Is the Future of Affiliate Marketing?
A $5 Trillion Dollar Waterfall!
That's how much online purchasing is worth in 2022.
And it's just getting bigger all the time.
If you could get .000001% of that, you'd be a millionaire!
And, of course, the other thing is that the affiliate marketers' share of that is itself increasing, as more and more vendors realize the benefits to be gained by implementing an affiliate program.
So if there's one thing you should be doing to advance your online business, it's to become a trusted, successful affiliate marketer. All of the skills necessary to do that are readily available. Just add your own desire and willingness to work and you'll achieve it.
How Long Will It Take to Learn Affiliate Marketing?
This is a great question, but the answer depends entirely on you and where you are in your journey.
- How much time are you able to commit to building your online business?
- How technically aware are you?
- Can you follow clear, step-by-step directions?
- Do you have some money to invest (not completely broke in other words)?
- Do you have a social media following?
- Are you patient?
The answers to these questions will dictate how long it will take you to learn affiliate marketing. But also, how long it will take for you to earn a substantial income from being an affiliate marketer.
The initial steps are always the same:
- Select your niche.
- Register a corresponding domain name.
- Build your website.
If you are technically competent, can follow the step-by-step directions covered in Wealthy Affiliate and can afford the WordPress toolbox available from the Thrive Suite, you can shortcut all this dramatically. For example, I've seen others struggle to produce their website in months (and then produce something pretty ordinary) whereas by using these two tools, I can create an attractive, conversion-focused website on a freshly registered domain name in a new niche in around half a day.
I can teach you to do the same.
If you have a small budget for advertising, you can see a return on your investment within a few weeks of launching your website, but if you have to rely on organic (free) traffic, you could be looking at three months or more. And that's just for the first trickles to commence.
How Much Do Affiliate Marketers Make?
To be honest, it's anything from zero to a 7-figure income. You will probably fall somewhere in between. It all depends how smart (note that I didn't say "how hard") you work. It really depends on three things:
1. Having an attractive, effective website that presents you as a trustworthy brand and has navigation that makes it easy for your customer to buy from you.
2. Being affiliated with reputable, trustworthy vendors with quality products and good commissions.
3. Promoting your services through a number of facets, including SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media.
I'll address all of these issues in this article.
How Fast Can You Make Money Affiliate Marketing?
This is a common question posed by those new to the affiliate marketing world.
When will I start making money?
There's no doubt that affiliate marketing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.
But that doesn't mean you can't make SOME money almost straight away.
Here's what you have to do:
- Choose your niche, register your domain name and build your website. You can get training on how to do this at Wealthy Affiliate and the best toolset for building a site at The Thrive Suite
- Find a product to promote at ClickBank. Why ClickBank? High affiliate commissions and many ClickBank vendors will approve you automatically, even as a startup. However, do you due diligence on the product by finding and reading reviews
- Create a landing page to promote the product on your website. If you don't know how to do this, you can hire someone on Fiverr or Upwork to do it for you. However, if you've got The Thrive Suite, there is plenty of training and templates you can use to build a knockout landing page
- You won't be able to use SEO to get free traffic because your site is too new. Use Facebook, Google or Bing ads to drive traffic to your landing page
- Tweak your ads until you have a positive ROI, in other words your affiliate income exceeds your ad spend.
How Much Do Amazon Affiliates Pay?
Someone starting out as an affiliate marketer will often start by being an affiliate for Amazon.
There are some good reasons for this:
- There's no real approval process. As long as you have a website, you can apply to become an Amazon affiliate through Amazon associates and you are likely to get approved and be issued with an affiliate link.
- Because it's Amazon, the trust factor is built in. If you can attract visitors who are in buyer mode, you are likely to make sales.
- You can promote any Amazon product you like.
So it's reasonable to ask how much do amazon affiliates pay?
Unfortunately, the answer is not very much.
At least in terms of percentage.
Commission rates vary with product category, typically running from 3% to 5% (with a couple of outliers), though Amazon does occasionally run promotions where the commission rate is increased for particular categories. For more information, go to Amazon Commission Rates.
You must also be very careful to abide by Amazon's rules, particularly with regard to affiliate disclosure. Read the full set of rules at Amazon Associates Program Policies.
Is Affiliate Marketing Easy?
Well, it's not rocket science but it's not child's play either. You'll be fine as long as you have a step by step blueprint available.
And that's exactly what I'm aiming to give you.
First up, by aiming to answer all your questions in this article.
And remember, if you've got a question that I haven't answered, just scroll down right to the very end and ask your question there. I'll be pleased to answer them personally.
I've got a lot of information about being an online success in this website, along with free stuff to help you get started. To get everything I release just as soon as it's available, please sign up at Super Affiliate Challenge: About Me.
Can Beginners Do Affiliate Marketing?
Not only can beginners do affiliate marketing but it is in fact the ideal online business model for beginners just starting out.
There's no physical product to stock and sell, no inventory to maintain and no customer service.
Sure you need to know what you're business is about, register a suitable domain name and build a website.
But these are the basic steps you need to take to create any online business.
You can learn how to do it yourself, by joining a service like Wealthy Affiliate (recommended) or you can pay someone to do it for you.
It's only after these steps have been done that you actually begin to build your business.
In the case of affiliate marketing, it's a matter of finding vendors who are selling products in your niche and who have an affiliate program.
Then you apply to join.
Note that they are more likely to accept you if you can demonstrate that you already have an attractive, professional looking website. After all, you will be representing their product and they will want you to reflect well on them.
They will give you an affiliate link which you insert on your website either in a landing page or an informative blog post (you can find out all about those in the training provided by Wealthy Affiliate). When a visitor clicks on that link, they are taken to the vendor's website and if they purchase the product, you are paid the affiliate commission.
So yes, ideal for beginners. You can learn more at Affiliate Marketing for Beginners.
Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It?
Yes, absolutely, as long as you are willing to put a little effort into it.
And that includes creating valuable relationships with reputable vendors as well as putting the time into building an attractive website to showcase your vendors' products.
For example, I have a site in the health and beauty space and have relationships with 3 vendors who supply skin care products and health supplements.
One of those skin care products sells for $69.95 and pays me an affiliate commission of $120! You might wonder how that's possible. It's because they are a progressive company who understand that their most valuable online asset is their customer list. So they are willing to take a loss on the initial sale to acquire a customer who will be more valuable to them over the long-term for repeat business.
Now I use landing pages to ensure that I capture the customer details and build as well as the vendor's but as a matter of ethics I don't promote that product again to that customer. I figure that the vendor has bought that right with their generous affiliate commission.
How Can I Be Successful in Affiliate Marketing?
First up, your attitude needs to be one of helping people to find information or a product that will give them something they really need, or solve a problem for them, rather than one of making money for yourself.
Do one, and the other will surely follow.
The first step in doing that is to create solid content. The best content comes from your personal experience of the product, but if that's not possible, you must do extensive research. Your potential customer will probably do that too, so if there are too many red flags, you're better off finding another product.
If your product is a particular diet, then perform thorough research to find out the established dietary principals that underpin the diet, as well as case studies that show
- the dangers of obesity
- the results enjoyed by real, genuine purchasers of the product.
Your aim here is to provide genuine information that will help your visitors and ensure their satisfaction if they then purchase the product you recommend.
That's how you can be successful in affiliate marketing.
How Do I Make Affiliate Marketing Profitable?
In this article, I've covered how you get started in affiliate marketing. To summarize:
- You select a niche that you'll be able to build valuable content around and that has vendors with related products and an affiliate program
- You register a suitable domain name through one of the many domain name registrars
- You contract with a web hosting company and build a website around your niche, addressed by your domain name and hosted with your selected web host.
This creates your online business structure, but will it make you any money?
Sadly, the answer is No.
You have to do two more things:
- Apply to vendors who have products for sale in your niche to become their affiliates. This will allow you to create landing pages that contain your affiliate link which, when clicked on by a visitor, may lead to a sale of the product and the payment of the affiliate commission to you.
- Get visitors (traffic) to your landing pages. This can be either free traffic, which you get by writing keyword rich blog posts (articles) that get your article displayed on page 1 of Google or Bing when someone searches for that keyword or paid traffic, where you pay an advertiser for clicks on your ad with them/
For more detailed information, please refer to Affiliate Marketing Traffic Tips.
How Can I Earn Fast Money?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions on the internet.
Even more so with current inflationary pressures that most people are suffering from.
Clearly, there are several offline ways of earning fast money, from listing unwanted household items for sale to signing up as a rideshare driver.
But this article is all about creating an online business and in particular about using affiliate marketing.
So the question becomes "how can I earn fast money from affiliate marketing?"
Or even can you? Given that it normally takes months to get any sort of return on your investment of time.
Unfortunately. the answer is NO, unless you have some budget to spend.
Your expenses are:
- Choose a niche to sell products in
- Register a domain name (around $10 for 12 months from Namecheap)
- Engage a web host ($3.99 per month for 1 website from SiteGround Web Hosting)
- Build a website in your chosen niche (free if you do it yourself, hundreds of dollars or more if you hire someone from Fiverr or Upwork, $19 if you take up my offer at Wealthy Affiliate)
- Get accepted by an affiliate vendor in your niche (no cost)
- Create a landing page for your affiliate product (again, free if you do it yourself, probably a small charge if you get the creator of your website to do it)
- Use Bing or Google ads (pay per click) to get visitors to your landing page. Requires some budget (say around $100) but totally under your control.
Let me know in the comments below if you would like more information on any of these aspects.
How Can I Make Money While I Sleep?
Ah, it's everyone's aim, isn't it?
Passive income... or, making money while you sleep.
And it's not an impossible dream. Millions of people all over the world are doing it already.
The first thing you have to do is get out of the mindset of swapping hours for money and getting paid for it straight away. That's what you do with a 9 to 5 job. You put in your hours and, at the end of the week or the month, get paid the agreed amount for those hours.
Getting paid while you sleep requires a different approach.
One where you put in most of the work now, usually getting paid nothing for it, in anticipation of getting your reward further down the track. And usually with no guarantees! It's part of the entrepreneurial mindset.
The two ways that have worked for me are
- Book publishing on Amazon KDP and
- Affiliate Marketing
I've covered the details of how to create and publish a book on Amazon in How to Publish Your Book on Amazon Part 1 and How to Publish Your Book on Amazon Part 2. If you've ever though of writing a book yourself (or having one ghost-written for you at a surprisingly inexpensive cost) you'll enjoy reading these articles. I have several successful books published on Amazon, and you are most welcome to ask any questions in the Comments section at the end of this article.
Affiliate Marketing is, of course, what this website is primarily about. I suggest you have a look at Start Your Successful Online Business and Start an Online Business for Free. Again, you are most welcome to ask any questions in the Comments section at the end of this article.
What Is the Best Side Income?
With all the uncertainty around the future, more people than ever before are looking for a side hustle.
Something that will satisfy their search for the best side income.
Now clearly what that is will depend on your own set of talents and experience, but all other things being equal, I can't think of a better answer to the question "what is the best side income?" than becoming an affiliate marketer.
There are many reasons why affiliate marketing gives you the easiest and quickest side income.
- It's easy to find vendors in your niche with affiliate programs. You can do a Google or Bing search for [niche] affiliate or you can go to any of the gateway platforms such as ClickBank, CJ, JVZoo and Warrior+. And there's always Amazon Associates, of course.
- A website isn't essential (but highly recommended). You can get by with just social media.
- You don't have to maintain inventory or be involved in customer support.
- Affiliate commissions can be very high, especially for downloadable digital products.
- It can be largely set and forget, so that your best side income is also passive income that comes in while you do other stuff.
Can You Do Affiliate Marketing Without Social Media?
The short answer is yes. Social media is an addition to your marketing effort and is neither a substitute nor an essential. But...
Affiliate marketing on social media can be a huge success and provide a wonderful boost to your online business.
Or it can be a complete disaster.
It all depends on how you go about it. In this article, I'm going to cover some important DO's and DONT'S.
The single most important thing is to ensure that your social media posts have value of their own and are not just a vehicle for making sales from your website.
A rough guide is to keep 80% of your posts showcasing valuable informative or entertaining content and just 20% promoting good quality product that your audience will be interested in. The last thing you want to come across as is a salesperson on a street corner yelling "BUY THIS! BUY THIS!"
Use landing pages on your website so that you can link from your social media post to the landing page, rather than making it a direct affiliate link, which could put people off. Your landing page is an opportunity to pre-sell your visitor with benefits that they can relate to.
Make good content your top priority. Everyone's attention span on social media is short. Good content is essential to engage them. Stuff that they want to read and/or watch.
Use images and videos. The best images are actual photos of the product you're promoting and the best videos are those showing the product being used. If the vendor has suitable photos and videos on their site, be sure to ask their permission to use them (and get it in writing).
Don't promote rubbish. If you don't have experience of the product yourself, research it thoroughly and promote it only if it has genuine 5-star reviews. Beware of fake reviews given by other affiliates. You can trash your reputation overnight by promoting a bad product.
Don't neglect your social media sites. It can be better to focus on just one or two, rather than try to engage with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tik-Tok, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on, but end up neglecting most of them. Engage with the ones you can and do it regularly and frequently.
Don't ignore other marketers. Social media platforms will have other marketers in your niche (or, better still, in related niches that are complementary rather than competitive) and engaging with them for mutually beneficial promotion can accelerate your success.
Are Amazon Affiliate Sites Profitable?
The part of Amazon responsible for affiliate marketing is Amazon Associates. You apply to be an Amazon affiliate through Amazon Associates. As long as you have a website, it's pretty easy to become an Amazon affiliate, but you'll have to make at least 3 sales in the first 3 months to remain one. Fortunately, this is pretty easy.
Why Are Amazon Affiliate Sales Easy?
Simple, it's the trust factor.
Selling to anyone on the internet involves trust. The purchaser has to trust that the product will live up to the expected quality, that the price is fair, that they will actually receive it (and in the expected time frame) and if something isn't as expected, that they will get a refund.
If you are selling your own product, or an affiliate for an unknown vendor, this trust can be hard to come by.
But with Amazon, it's built in. And that's one of the strengths of being an Amazon affiliate.
If you can bring the traffic to your offer and send the visitor to Amazon via your affiliate link, the chances of them making a purchase is high. Best of all, any Amazon purchase they then make (even if it's not the one you advertised) results in you getting the commission.
So set up your articles with Amazon affiliate links and drive traffic to them. You will have a profitable Amazon affiliate site that will bring you passive income and no customer hassles.
Which Niche Is Best for Affiliate Marketing?
There are really 2 questions here:
- Which niches are other marketers making the most money from?
- Which affiliating marketing niche would be best for me?
1. Which niches are other marketers making the most money from?
No surprises there. Golfers spend an average of over $3,000 a year on their hobby with some, of course, spending much more. And they all want one, simple thing. To improve their game. So if you can supply the longest driver, the most accurate putter or the best value range finder, you can make a lot of money in the golf niche. And you can do this either as an affiliate marketer or with an e-commerce store.
This is a growing market driven by one of the most basic of human emotions - fear. And with such a wide range of products available, from burglar-proof locks to sophisticated security cameras connected to smart phone apps, there's never been more opportunity. And it comes with a built-in sense of urgency.
What changes have taken place in this space over the past few years. Online dating has grown from a fringe scene to an industry worth over $2 billion a year and growing. You probably don't want the overhead of running your own online dating agency (although there's software available for you to do so) but there are plenty of established businesses with generous affiliate programs.
Which affiliating marketing niche would be best for me?
Well, to know that, you have to ask 3 questions:
- What subjects am I passionate or knowledgeable about?
- What subjects am I interested in and could learn about by research?
- Which of these subjects have good vendor affiliate programs?
Items 1 and 2 will provide you with niches that you will be able to write articles for and use keyword research to get them ranked in the search engines (primarily Google and Bing). Item 3 will choose the one (or more than one) that you can make money at home from.
Which Platform Is Best for Affiliate Marketing?
The answer to this depends on what we mean by "platform".
it can mean either the platform that your affiliate marketing website is built on or the platform used by vendors to recruit affiliates. Let's look at the alternatives.
There are a few to choose from: Joomla, Wix, Shopify and others. Heck, you can even go old school and use something like Dreamweaver to build your site in html from scratch.
But around 45% of all the websites that exist are powered by WordPress and for good reason. That's around 460 million sites and compares with 4% for Shopify and a little over 2% for Wix.
WordPress has been around since 2003 and is totally stable and user-friendly.
Originally a blogging platform, WordPress has been extended both by internal development and third-party add-ons (called plugins) to offer everything the affiliate marketer needs in a website.
As keyword-targeted blog posts are the lifeblood of free traffic, WordPress's blogging origins are very kind to affiliate marketers.
Affiliate Vendor Platforms
There are a number of platforms where you can find vendors who offer affiliate programs.
You can search the platforms for affiliates in you chosen niche, check them out and apply to be their affiliate. If accepted, you will be provided with an affiliate link and often with marketing materials that you are free to use.
Use a search engine such as Google or Bing to find affiliate vendor platforms. Some of the most popular are:
- CJ (Commission Junction)
- JVZoo and
- Warrior Plus.
Why Is Affiliate Marketing So Hard?
Any new thing is hard until it's not.
Affiliate marketing is the same.
It gets to be not hard simply by knowing what things you need to learn and then learning them. Here's what you need to work out:
1. What is My Niche?
So the first question is "what is my business all about?" That's what is meant by your niche. You have to choose something that you will be able to produce tons of valuable, informative content for (either from your own knowledge or by research or more likely from both). It will also need to be something that you can make money from. Which means identifying a need that people have that can be solved by buying something.
2. How Do I Choose and Register My Domain Name?
Your domain name is your business address on the web and should reflect your niche. It should be a dot com domain name, not too long and without hyphens. So if your niche was golf, a suitable domain name could be bestgolftips.com. You will find many of the domain names you think of will not be available because someone else has registered them. Don't get discouraged. Use your imagination, think outside the box and you'll eventually come up with one that works for you. There are several registrars available but I always use Namecheap. It's cheap, reliable and easy to navigate.
3. How Do I Build My Website?
If your domain name is your business address, your website is your business. It's where you attract visitors, let them know what you are all about, provide valuable and useful information about your niche, build trust and ultimately see stuff that brings in revenue. Like any business, you are there to make a profit. Click on How to Build a Website where I show you the quick and easy way using my favorite web hosting platform and the best website building tools.
4. How do I Get Traffic to My Website?
Ah, traffic. It's the life blood of any online business. But not just any old traffic. It must be traffic that's interested in what you have to say (otherwise they won't stay on your site longer than 5 seconds) and has at least a chance of buying something from you, on either this or a future visit. As this implies, you must target your traffic. You get free traffic by writing articles containing the appropriate keywords and making the article content good enough to rank high on Google and Bing for those keywords and paid traffic by advertising on platforms such as Facebook and targeting audiences with the greatest interest in buying your product.
What Is the Biggest Problem in Affiliate Marketing?
It's sticky traffic. Let me explain.
Everything else about affiliate marketing is a technical issue of one kind or another, including
- Choosing a niche
- Registering a domain name
- Contracting with a web hosting provider
- Building a website
- Finding vendors with affiliate programs and joining them
- Creating landing pages and blog posts.
These are all technical issues requiring technical solutions that are not particularly difficult. You either learn how to do them yourself or you pay someone else to do them for you.
But all of this is worth precisely zero unless you make money from it.
And you won't make money unless you make affiliate sales for your vendors' products.
And you won't make those sales without sticky traffic.
What is Sticky Traffic?
It's simply visitors who visit your website, are interested in your product (which usually means they have a problem which your product solves) and stick around long enough to click on your link. Provided that both your landing page copy and your vendor's website present a compelling argument, a proportion of this sticky traffic will buy.
Ideally, you'll capture their name and email address so that you can sell them related products further down the line.
It's always easier to sell to an existing customer than to a new prospect.
To find out more about this whole process, register your interest in my upcoming training course Internet Marketing FAST.
What Is an Affiliate Fee?
An Affiliate Fee, also known as an Affiliate Commission, is the money paid to you when you make a product sale for the vendor that you are an affiliate for.
When you become an affiliate for a vendor, they give you an affiliate link.
This is code you can put on your website and show clickable text or a clickable button inviting your visitor to buy or get more information about your vendor's product.
If a visitor clicks your link, they are taken to the vendor's sales page, which tells them more about the product and why they should buy it.
The link also contains your affiliate id, the unique code that tells the vendor's affiliate software that it is you who has referred the sale to them.
The effect of all this complex software is simple.
If the visitor buys the product, you get credited with the Affiliate Fee.
Note that I said "credited". This is because all affiliates have a waiting period before they'll actually pay you. This is to allow for the possibility of a refund request. Naturally, if they have to refund the customer, they will also reverse your affiliate commission credit.
The waiting period is commonly (but not always) 30 days.
Some vendors also have limits that you have to reach before they will actually pay you as well. For example, you might have to accumulate a total credit of $50 or $100 before it's transferred into your account. Others just pay you whatever you're owed at the end of the month.
How you get paid varies from one vendor to the next as well and there can also be restrictions based on your country of residence, though these are mostly imposed by the global financial system, rather than individual vendors.
Most vendors can do direct credit into either a nominated bank account or your PayPal account.
All in all, if you can drive traffic to your website, affiliate fees can be a lucrative and hands-free source of passive income.
Who Is the Richest Affiliate Marketer?
It's impossible to answer the question "who is the richest affiliate marketer?" accurately for several reasons:
- Not every affiliate marketer boasts publicly about their earnings
- Most highly effective affiliate marketers have multiple sources of income and
- It would be a moving target anyway.
But here are some highly successful affiliate marketers with links to know more about them:
Pat has been very successful online since starting his first website in 2008. His advice is to focus and to make sure you are serving your audience with real value. He runs the popular Passive Income blog and podcast.
David earns a multiple 8-figure income and so is one of the richest affiliate marketers and a mentor worth listening to. His company Legendary Marketer's 15 day challenge has helped many a budding netrepreneur go from starter to earning their own substantial online income.
Neil is without a doubt one of the "good guys" of internet marketing. He gives away tons of knowledge that others charge big bucks for. His expertise has been recognized by many prestigious publications, including The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. His latest company, the $100 million kissmetrics is an alternative to Google Analytics. It's oriented towards actual user behavior on your site.
Which Is the Best Affiliate Program?
Let's get one controversial one out of the way first, by examining its pros and cons.
To some affiliate marketers, Amazon Associates is one of the best affiliate programs around, while others regard it as one of the worst.
Let's find out why.
Amazon Associates Pros
There are really only two positives to the Amazon Associates affiliate program:
- It's easy to join and
- The Amazon trust factor. If you can get visitors with buying intention to click on your links and the product is what they want, they are more likely to purchase because they trust Amazon, both with their payment and with the delivery.
Amazon Associates Cons
Conversely, there are really only two downsides to the Amazon Associates affiliate program:
- Compared to other affiliate programs, their commission rates are really low (hint: for that reason, it's best to use Amazon affiliate links for high value categories, such as golf, cycling and household appliances).
- Cookie duration is low, again compared to other affiliate programs. Amazon affiliate cookies last for 24 hours or up to 90 days if a product is added to the cart. This means if a user makes a purchase within 24 hours of clicking an Amazon affiliate link then affiliate commission will be attributed to the associated Amazon affiliate account. If it's beyond 24 hours, you lose the commission (even though it was your link that got the sale for Amazon. Cookie duration for other vendors with affiliate programs is typically 30 days or longer.
There is one other thing. Amazon will remove you from the Associates program if you don't make a sale within 180 days of joining. But if that happens, it's your fault, not Amazon's.
And you can apply to rejoin straight away. But you'll get a new affiliate link and will have to update all your old ones.
Other Best Affiliate Programs
The question needs to be restated as "Which is the best affiliate program for me?"
Because it depends on a number of factors, starting with your niche.
To find affiliate programs in your niche, just search for [niche name] affiliate programs. So if your niche was skin care, you would search "skin care affiliate programs".
Then check out the details to find which ones are the best affiliate programs for you to promote. You are looking for
- Products with great reviews
- An attractive vendor website and
- Good affiliate commissions.
Good luck! There are plenty of them around.
Learn more at 5 of the Best Affiliate Programs.
How Do I Create an Affiliate Website?
Here are all the steps you need to create an affiliate website:
- Select your niche (what is your business all about?)
- Register a domain name related to your niche (this is your business address).
- Select a web host (this is where your website will be stored).
- Build your website (this is your business's premises).
- Partner with affiliates related to your niche and get your affiliate links from them.
- Add useful content to your website containing your affiliate links.
Note that you still have to drive traffic (visitors) to your content and convince them to click on your affiliate links.
How to Get Help with All of This Stuff
There's a place called Wealthy Affiliate that has the best training available to lead you through all this stuff with step by step videos as well as a very helpful community of members.
But it gets better.
As a highly rated and respected member of the WA community, I'm in a unique position to help you. Join Wealthy Affiliate for free and, when you realize it's the real deal, upgrade from Free to Premium. As soon as you do, you'll become eligible for my offer to build your first website for you. This will be the best offer you'll see all year!
P.S. You must join Wealthy Affiliate using one of the three links in this article to qualify for the free website build.
P.P.S. The toolset I use to build all my websites, that gives me an unfair advantage over everyone else is Thrive Themes and Plugins. If you can acquire those for your own sites, I will use them to build your first site and teach you how to use them for building your other sites as well. Only one purchase is required. The Thrive Suite can be used on multiple sites.
Do You Pay Tax on Affiliate Marketing?
As with any business, you pay tax on your profits.
It's the same with affiliate marketing.
But the key word here is "profits".
"Profits" in business is the difference between your business income and the expenditure you incur to derive that income.
That expenditure includes not just the obvious ones, such as:
- The annual cost of your domain name.
- The monthly cost of your website hosting.
- The cost of any other website-related purchases, such as PLR (Private Label Rights) products that you might buy to create opt-in/giveaways.
- Software to produce or edit images, videos etc.
- Software or training courses to do with your business.
- Hardware such as a desktop or laptop computer, printer, modem etc.
- Consumables such as printer cartridges.
But also a business proportion stuff that has both personal and business use. This could include:
- If you use part of your home as an office, the proportion that bears of your rental or mortgage repayment (it pays to check with an accountant on this one).
- Similarly, a proportion of the power bill.
So, while clearly you need to remain within the law, you also want to reduce your business profit by every tax-deductible means available to you, because it's the profit that determines how much tax you pay.
How Do You Start Affiliate Marketing?
First of all, you need to understand what affiliate marketing is (and what it isn't) what you need to achieve and what sort of plan you need to have in place in order to achieve it.
It's no use having some vague idea that you want to make money.
You need to understand the specifics.
You are about to create a long-term business that requires both technical and business skills.
If you don't have these skills already, then you have decision to make. Will you acquire these skills yourself (which requires an expenditure of time) or will you pay somebody who already has them (which requires and expenditure of money)?
Or should you be looking at a combination of these?
It all depends on the skillset you currently possess.
Check out How Do I Create an Affiliate Website for information on how to proceed.
How Much Money Do I Need for Affiliate Marketing?
Let's be realistic and assume that you've got at least a small amount of money that you are able to invest into this new venture.
Here's what you need (as a minimum, unless you are doing the "no money" approach described in the next section):
- A domain name. Check out Best Place to Buy Domain Names and Web Hosting. You can register a domain name for 12 months for around $15, sometimes less if the registrar is having a first year special.
- Web hosting. Try SiteGround Web Hosting. I have several websites hosted there and find them excellent. They often have specials and a range of plans. For a single website, hosting can be found for just a few dollars a month.
And that's it. You can keep your expenditure down to this minimum. You will, of course, have to learn how to build a website and attract traffic to it, but there's a ton of free information available on the internet. You'll have to be prepared to do lots of research and put in the work to implementing what you learn.
You are welcome to ask me for help by entering your questions in the comments section at the end of this article.
How Do You Start Affiliate Marketing with No Money?
Affiliate Marketing may be the only business in the world you can start with literally no money.
Here's the 10-step plan you need to follow:
- Go to Wealthy Affiliate and sign up for a free account.
- Create a free website in the MMO (Make Money Online) niche using a free domain name at Wealthy Affiliate.
- Create a Facebook business page for your new site.
- Watch the first 10 Affiliate Bootcamp lessons at Wealthy Affiliate.
- Write blog posts in the MMO niche and use your Wealthy Affiliate link to promote the platform.
- Repeat your blog posts on your Facebook business page and make your FB contacts aware of them.
- Sign up for a free ClickBank account and find products you can promote in the MMO niche.
- Write review posts for both Wealthy Affiliate and ClickBank products using your affiliate links.
- Also write some informative articles aimed at other starters in affiliate marketing.
- As soon as you can afford it, upgrade to Wealthy Affiliate Premium as it will double your commission earnings.
Where Can I Learn Affiliate Marketing?
Well, not at school, that's for sure.
In fact, did you know that teaching (along with nursing) is one of the professions that is most likely to produce dropouts that then go on to make a career in affiliate marketing?
There are a number of places where you can learn to be an affiliate marketer.
It's no secret that my personal favorite is Wealthy Affiliate and that, as a highly ranked member of that platform, I'm in a unique position to help you out.
Wealthy Affiliate has 3 big things going for it.
- Video based training courses that lead you through the entire journey from total newbie to successful affiliate marketer.
- A large, active and supportive community that you can call on for (free) help at any time.
- Hosting for both your domain name(s) and website(s) built in to the Premium membership.
So I would encourage you to join Wealthy Affiliate. You can join for free (no credit card required) and stay a free member as long as you wish, only upgrading to premium if and when you feel the time is right for you.
But, of course, Wealthy Affiliate isn't the only platform for learning affiliate marketing.
Here are two others. I don't have personal experience with them but they appear to be well regarded.
What Is a Good Affiliate Marketing Course?
Clearly, a good affiliate marketing course is one that will teach you what you need to know to become a successful affiliate marketer and that will help you over the humps.
Wealthy Affiliate has two course streams, called Online Entrepreneur Certification and Affiliate Bootcamp.
Online Entrepreneur Certification
The OEC is the best training for getting started. It consists of 5 courses of 10 lessons each and covers the journey from being a brand-new starter to becoming a successful affiliate marketer with one or more online businesses.
Each lesson is made up of text and video and includes tasks for you to complete. These not only ensure that you've understood the lesson, but that you progress your new website as you go.
Wealthy Affiliate has its own generous affiliate program, so if you're in the MMO (Make Money Online) niche, it's one you'll want to promote.
That's where Affiliate Bootcamp comes in.
It consists of 7 courses of 10 lessons each, structured in the same way as the OEC training, but specifically oriented towards promoting Wealthy Affiliate as an affiliate marketer.
The Wealthy Affiliate Community
WA has a very large number of members, all at varying stages of the affiliate marketing journey. They are remarkably generous with giving their time and expertise to helping other members. Any time you have an issue, you can post a question to the Live Chat forum and get helpful answers. Often several of them and usually straight away. You'll never feel that you are on your own.
You can join Wealthy Affiliate for free (no credit card required) and stay a free member as long as you wish. Free membership gives you access to the first 10 lessons in each stream, the ability to host one website and time-limited access to Live Chat. This is enough for you to make an informed decision about whether WA is right for you.
Is Facebook an Affiliate?
Facebook itself is not an affiliate or an affiliate marketing company but, properly harnessed, can be used to grow your own affiliate marketing business.
You don't want to be spamming your Facebook friends, so your first step is to create a Facebook business page or a Facebook group.
Once you've done that, you've got a platform to show articles that either include affiliate links directly or link back to landing pages or articles on your website that contain affiliate links.
Here's the upside. Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users, so potentially your reach is huge. The downside, of course, is that Facebook has been around for so long that you are competing against a very large number of experienced marketers, many of whom are very, very good at what they do.
But you can, of course, learn from them.
Facebook ads can be very effective, but you must read Facebooks TOS (Terms of Service) very carefully, as you can get banned very easily and getting it overturned is difficult.
In addition, creating effective Facebook ads is an art form all its own. Many first-timers create an ad that is nothing but a money-sucking black hole. It's an experience that scars them and they never return.
I'll be covering how to write an effective Facebook ad in a future article.
Tip: Use Google Analytics to monitor the traffic your site is getting from Facebook.
What Should I Write for Affiliate Marketing?
There are two areas of your website that you need to consider when asking the question "what should I write for affiliate marketing?"
You should have a landing page for each product that you are promoting.
The landing page pre-sells the product and contains either text, illustration or button that contains your affiliate link. Experience shows that the best combination is an image of the product, a story detailing personal experience with the product (your own or someone else's) and a button with the affiliate link and the text "Find Out More" or similar.
You will have one or (preferably) more blog posts themed on a particular keyword and linking to the corresponding product landing page. You will have researched the keywords to find ones that attract a reasonable number of monthly searches but without too much competition.
One of the best keyword tools for this is Jaaxy, which comes free with Wealthy Affiliate.
In the contents of your blog post, be honest and, if possible, write from personal experience. You aren't just writing for affiliate marketing but to genuinely help people with both good information and a good product.
And, of course it goes without saying to use good grammar and correct spelling. Mistakes in either of these two areas will destroy trust quickly.
Which Company Is Best for Affiliate Marketing?
This is a very difficult question to answer objectively.
A better question might be "Which company is best for affiliate marketing for ME?"
But as I don't know your individual circumstances, I'll stick to general advice, with pros and cons.
The Elephant in the Room: Amazon Associates
You can't ignore the most well-known affiliate marketing platform in the world, Amazon Associates.
There are any number of affiliate programs that pay higher commissions than Amazon, but few that inspire the same amount of confidence in the purchaser.
Or are as easy to become an affiliate for.
It's really just a matter of applying to Amazon Associates.
Once accepted, you'll be given an affiliate id. Then it's just a matter of logging in and finding a product (or products) you'd like to promote (just do the same Amazon search you'd do to find products you'd like to buy).
At the very top, you'll see a banner labeled Amazon Associates SiteStripe, followed by the heading Get Link and underneath it, the alternatives Text, Image and Text+Image.
Click on any of these to get the corresponding html code that you can insert into a page or post where you want the Amazon ad to appear (with your affiliate link built-in).
Note: The best and easiest way to insert html code exactly where you want it is to use the drag and drop facility built in to Thrive Architect, the visual editor that comes with the Thrive Suite. You can Learn More Here.
Something to be aware of is that if you don't manage to make 3 or more sales within 180 days of creating your account, Amazon Associates will cancel it.
This doesn't prevent you from immediately opening a new one, but you will get a new Amazon affiliate id and will need to update the old one throughout your website. Fortunately, this can be done with a search and replace plugin.
But clearly, it's better to make sure you're getting adequate traffic to make those sales before you create your Amazon Associates account.
Other Affiliate Marketing Companies
Other affiliate marketing companies can be split into two groups: Gateways (that host lots of individual vendors who use the Gateway service as their affiliate marketing service) and Individual Companies that host their own.
Affiliate Marketing Gateways
Some vendors who use gateways automatically approve affiliate applications and others provide manual approval. To get manual approval, it always helps to have a nice, attractive website in place along with at least a plan for getting traffic.
ClickBank is largely a gateway for downloadable digital products. As such, its vendors pay high commissions, typically between 50% and 70%. There are several factors to take into account when selecting ClickBank products and I'll cover these in a future article.
- Commission Junction (now CJ)
CJ has a wide range of vendors in different niches. Their products are generally better known than ClickBank's and are usually physical, rather than a digital download. Approval is harder to get, but is much easier if you already have a track record.
- Commission Factory
Commission Factory is a subsidiary of Awin and is a fast-growing gateway similar to CJ, but with different vendors.
- JV ZOO
The "JV" in JV Zoo stands for "Joint Venture" and is left over from the time before "affiliate" became popular. It's another platform where vendors can list their products (mainly digital) and promotors like yourself can apply to become their affiliates. JV ZOO provides a number of useful tools to help with this, include funnel building with upsells and downsells.
- Warrior PLUS
Warrior + provides the same sort of service as JV Zoo, but for different vendors. If you look at one, you should look at the other too. Warrior + also provides a funnel building facility with similar features to JV Zoo, but a different methodology.
Individual Companies Affiliate Marketing
Individual companies with their own affiliate marketing facility are usually the hardest to get approval for, but can be the most rewarding, with high-quality products and generous commission plans.
Clearly, these vary from niche to niche.
The best way to find them is to enter [niche] affiliate into a search engine such as Google or Bing and see what comes up.
For example, if you enter "golf affiliate" into Bing (which I did just now) the first page is dominated by list of the best golf affiliate programs and the related searches section includes top manufacturers such as TaylorMade and Callaway. If you were in the Golf niche, you could follow up any of these and, if you liked what they were offering, complete a application. Make sure your website is in place first.
How Do I Find a Niche?
If you are starting any sort of business, whether it's bricks and mortar or an online business, the first question you have to ask yourself is "What is my business all about?"
In the online world, it's called choosing your niche and, although it's very important, bear in mind that it may be just the first of many online businesses that you are going to own.
Unlike the bricks and mortar world, it costs very little to start an online business so the chances are that you will eventually own several.
This of course has the advantage that each one only needs to earn a small amount for it to all add up to a decent income. And if just one of them takes off, you can do very well indeed.
But it also means don't hesitate too much.
Avoid "paralyses by analysis" and jump right in, even if it's just for the learning experience.
So How Do You Select a Niche?
There are two ways to select a niche for your online business:
- Choose something that you are knowledgeable, even passionate about. In other words, a familiar subject.
- Choose something that gets a lot of searches and has a large number of related products. In other words, a popular subject.
Familiar Subject as Internet Niche: Advantage
The advantage of a familiar subject is that you are going to be writing a lot of content around it and that will be easier if you are already knowledgeable and passionate about it.
The aim of your website is to provide useful and valuable information about your subject to your visitors so that you become an authority in your niche. You can do this by writing articles that address different aspects of your subject (and which also target keywords aimed at getting you ranked in the search engines; don't worry, I cover Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Free and Paid Traffic in my Internet Marketing FAST training course.
Familiar Subject as Internet Niche: Disadvantage
The disadvantage of this approach is that while you may be passionate about a subject, if no one else is, then you won't get much in the way of visitors so all your good work in writing articles will be wasted.
Just because you're passionate about collecting old bottle caps or mapping the far side of the moon doesn't mean that visitors will flock to your specialized website or that you can make an income out of it.
Popular Subject as Internet Niche: Advantage
By choosing a niche that has a lot of searches and associated products, you increase the chances that, if your business is successful, you can make a lot of money from it.
For example, "weight loss" is one of the most searched for terms on the internet and has a ton of products associated with it, from diet books to treadmills.
So is it a good niche to be in?
For a startup business, probably not.
Popular Subject as Internet Niche: Disadvantage
The disadvantage of a popular subject is, well, its popularity. It means that the competition is intense.
A Google search for "weight loss" will bring up over 1 billion results!
And all of them will have been in business for much longer than you. Every keyword you can think of will already be the subject of other websites.
Your chances of making it to page 1 of Google, Bing or Yahoo through SEO are pretty much zero and if you're not on page 1, you might as well be invisible.
Yes, you can pay for ads, and I'll examine that option in detail further down the track, but for the uninitiated, it's a rapid way to spend money with no return.
What's My Niche? Find Out More
I cover everything you need to know about finding the best niche for you in my free book The 4 Things You Need to Know (to make money while you sleep).
What Is the Most Profitable Niche?
The most profitable niche on the internet, other things being equal, is the MMO (Make Money Online) niche.
With the Covid pandemic, more and more people have been working from home and shopping online. Now for everyone buying a product online, there is someone selling that product online.
And some of those sales are by the product manufacturers, some are by retailers and some are by affiliate marketers.
But in all cases, someone is making a profit in the make money online niche.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it's also probably the most saturated niche.
So the question is "can you make money online by teaching others how to make money online?"
And the answer is a qualified "yes".
Because the niche is full of false promises, over-hyped products and just plain scams.
Why is this a good thing?
Because, by NOT doing this, you'll stand out as one of the good guys.
As I've said earlier in this article, the best affiliate marketing training available is Wealthy Affiliate but the thing is, they have their own affiliate program that you can use to promote it to others looking to make money online. One of the great things is that your prospect can join Wealthy Affiliate for free, without having to supply credit card details and try it out. If they then upgrade to a paid membership, you get paid an affiliate commission. And it's recurring, so that as long as they remain a member, you get paid every month.
And the best thing? You have introduced them to something that will actually teach them how to make money online!
Click on the Wealthy Affiliate link yourself to join WA and not only learn how to make money online yourself, but teach others how to do so and earn a substantial affiliate commission at the same time.
How Do I Sell My Affiliate Products?
There are three things you need to sell your affiliate products:
- A website
- A pre-sell landing page (on the website)
- Traffic (free or paid).
Let's examine each one of these requirements.
You need a website in order to have a viable online presence that people can trust. It's no use just directing someone visiting your Facebook page directly to a vendor through your affiliate link. They won't trust you and they won't buy the product. You have to put in a bit more effort than that.
Fortunately, I've got you covered.
Join Wealthy Affiliate through my link (yes, I'll get paid an affiliate commission; that's what this is all about, after all) and, when you go premium, I will build your website for you. And as Wealthy Affiliate hosts your website on their super fast, super reliable platform, you've got the best and easiest possible start. This is an unprecedented offer.
A Pre-Sell Landing Page
This is simply a page you create on your website (don't worry, I'll show you how) that you direct your visitors to. It pre-sells the product you're an affiliate for. You might do this by highlighting the benefits they will get from acquiring the product or the pain that it will alleviate (or both). For example, if the product is designed to produce money, a benefit could be an overseas holiday for the family, whereas a pain point might be never having to worry about paying household bills. You could also use testimonials or a personal story to flesh out your landing page.
Hint: People prefer reading stories way ahead of reading product blurb.
And, of course, you include your affiliate link in the landing page.
A mediocre website with a mediocre product but lots of traffic will make you more money online that a beautiful looking, professional website with a great product but little or no traffic.
Traffic is the life blood of any online business. Without it, there is no business.
There are broadly two classes of website traffic, free and paid.
It's beyond the scope of this article to examine all the multiple ways you can get traffic to your site. It deserves a separate article all to itself, and I'll be producing such an article a little further down the track.
How Can I Earn Money Online?
There are several ways to earn money online.
I'm not going to look at those involving the exchange of time for money (such as filling out surveys or writing one-off articles for others). Instead, I will examine the most popular ways of creating a passive income. Do the work once, and then sit back as the moneys continues to roll in.
The most popular ways of creating a passive income stream online are:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Advertising and
- Your Own Product
I'll cover each of these briefly in turn. The one thing that they all have in common is that they involve building a long-term business. Yes, you are becoming an internet entrepreneur but you are also becoming a business person, and have to learn to think like one. This will pay dividends in terms of income.
Affiliate Marketing is the simplest model to get started with. You promote other vendors' products and get paid an affiliate commission for every successful sale. The vendor handles inventory, fulfillment, payment and customer support.
E-Commerce is where you set up an online store, typically using a plugin such as WooCommerce to display your goods for sale. These goods are usually supplied by manufacturers who dropship. This means you act as the retailer from whom the customer orders at a marked-up (retail) price. You then order from the supplier who delivers directly to your customer. While the supplier is responsible for maintaining inventory and delivery to the customer, you are responsible for customer support.
You can also create an income stream by carrying advertising on your website. You are paid if a visitor clicks on one of your ads. One of the most popular of these services is Google AdSense, released in 2003. You have to apply to be accepted into AdSense. If Google accepts your application, you get a piece of code that you insert into your page or post where you want the ad to appear. You have no control over the ad. The contents are decided by a Google algorithm.
Your Own Product
If you have your own product, then of course you have total control over its price and how it's presented. One way of creating your own product is to buy a PLR (Private Label Rights) product and then modify it to make it your own, distinctive from others who may have purchased the same PLR.
Can Affiliate Marketers Do It Without Money?
Well, the short answer is Yes, The longer and more realistic answer is Yes, but it's very difficult and close to impossible without the minimal expenditure on a domain name and website hosting.
Without those, you have to find vendors with an affiliate program who will accept you without an existing website.
Then you have to promote their products using free social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tik-Tok and YouTube.
Possible, but not easy and with a great expenditure of time.
If you can afford it, you are much better off creating your own website in the niche you want to promote. Registering a domain name through a registrar such as Namecheap will cost around $15 for a 1 year registration and you can currently get a Startup web hosting account with SiteGround for the discounted price of $3.99 a month.
Of course, you still have to learn how to build your own website or get someone else to do it for you. I will do that for you (for FREE) if you join the Wealthy Affiliate training program as a Premium member.
And, of course, you can still use your social media platforms to promote your affiliate products. The difference being that you will be directing your social media followers to your own website rather than directly to your vendors affiliate links. This is regarded much more favorably by the various social media platforms.
Can I Join Multiple Affiliate Programs?
Yes, you certainly can.
And you should!
Why? Simply because joining multiple affiliate programs will increase the chance of you providing exactly the product that your visitor is looking for right now, which in turn increases the chances of making the sale.
For example, I have a website that operates in the golfing niche.
I'm an affiliate for Amazon Associates, but also for a number of specialist golf manufacturers, some directly and others through platforms such as Commission Junction.
This allows me to create landing pages and blog posts for specific product categories such as golf rangefinders, drivers, putters, full club sets and so one and to showcase products that are the best or the cheapest or the best value for money across a broad range of suppliers.
This is a technique you can apply to any niche and, as long as you are genuine about bringing quality products to your visitors' attention, it will enhance your brand's reputation.
What Are the 4 Types of Niches?
Different people will of course have different answers to this question but really the first question should be "What is a niche, exactly?"
A niche is simply what your online business is all about. It can also be regarded as a distinct segment of a market, comprising a particular audience of people who are interested in that market segment.
And who are likely to buy products that address that market segment (and possibly related ones).
When choosing a niche that fits you, you should ideally be choosing something that is an interest, a passion or a hobby. But it could be something that you would like to learn about. You don't need to BE an expert. You can BECOME an expert.
Broadly speaking, there are 4 types of online businesses:
This includes any type of business that delivers its product digitally, i.e., over the internet. This includes affiliate marketing (even if your vendor's product is physical, your business model is totally digital, both in links to the vendor's sales page and in your affiliate commission payments) and direct sales of digital products such as training courses and e-books.
Service Oriented Business
You can see many examples of online service-based businesses in sites like Fiverr and Upwork. These are sites where businesses and individuals offer online services such as website design, logo design, video creation and so on. Also more narrow, specialist expertise such as creating effective Facebook ads. If you have expertise in these sorts of areas, it can be a good way to get going and build up a solid reputation.
An e-commerce website is like a storefront. It showcases products that the visitor can buy and have delivered. The products can be ordered from a wholesaler and drop shipped, they can be your own product, they can be affiliate products or a combination of any of these in the one store. But as far as the customer is concerned, you are the supplier and you are the person who gets paid and is responsible for their ultimate satisfaction. Just like any retail store.
Amazon is an e-commerce site.
This is simply a bricks and mortar business that also has an online presence. Many restaurants come under this category. You may go to their website and check out their staff, look at the menu, read the reviews and often make a booking and get a confirmation. But to actually get a meal, you still have to go to the restaurant's premises (or order and pay for a take-away, to be delivered to your door). So this type of business is still out their in the real world, but has devolved much of its operation to the digital world.
What Niches Are Trending?
Henry Ford is famous for saying that if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have said "faster horses".
Why am I telling you this?
Because I don't want to put you off trying something new. You may have the next big thing and can get in on the ground floor with it.
But in the absence of that, go with a niche that is already trending as it already has a supply of customers with credit cards in hand. Here are some trending niches that it will pay you to get involved with. They all have lucrative sub-categories for you to focus on and multiple vendors with affiliate programs or products you can get drop-shipped.
This is a huge niche that is getting bigger all the time, especially in the English-speaking markets of the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. It covers the essentials of food, clothing and shelter (all on-going sales, rather than 1-time) as well as related niches such as training and exotic ones like "which pet is compatible with your star sign?"
Take clothing for instance. As far as I can see, most pets don't really like being clothed, but I saw a panel show being advertised on television the other night where a participant was asked how much she had spent on her dog's wardrobe. Her answer was (drum roll, please) $150,000! Now whether or not I think that's obscene is immaterial. If she's going to spend it anyway, wouldn't you rather she spent it through your pet site than someone else's?
This niche has the advantage of big-ticket items and of always being in high demand as people buy new properties, renovate old ones and just replace older appliances.
Think refrigerators, freezers, espresso coffee machines, dishwashers, air fryers and so on. There are plenty of high-quality vendors with affiliate programs servicing this market, as well as Amazon of course.
Health and Fitness
Tap into the never-ending quest to lose weight, get fitter and live longer that the Western world is obsessed with.
From the Keto diet or a set of videos showcasing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout to exercise machines costing thousands of dollars, there's no shortage of products to provide to this niche.
It really helps to build trust if you have a personal story to tell. One that people struggling with weight or health issues can relate to.
What Niche Is Trending Now?
There are ways of finding out which niches are currently trending.
Trends24 is a website that monitors the last 24 hours of trends in Twitter, so it's a very effective way of finding out what's happening right now. And you don't even need a Twitter account. You can check worldwide or by specific location. Trends are shown by hour for the last 24 hours.
Not all trends are suitable for building an online business around, of course. But it can be very useful to know what people are interested in and currently searching for.
If you already have a website related to a trending search, you might be able to create a blog post that will garner immediate traffic that you can monetize either immediately or further down the line.
If you have an e-commerce site, you can use Pinterest Trends to find trending products. As these often have huge volume but short lifespans (think fidget spinners and magnetic eyelashes) you can make real money by tapping into them as soon as they are about to become the next big thing.
For the US market, go to Pinterest Trends US.
Far less volatile and longer term are two big trends right now.
A couple of years ago, hardly anyone had ever heard of Bitcoin. Now it's made fortunes for some people and burnt the fingers of others. It's been touted as something that will eventually replace traditional currency and its underlying technology, the blockchain, has spawned hundreds of other cryptocurrencies and is gradually underpinning other uses.
The point is that it's something more and more people are desperate to know more about and if you can provide that information and help your visitors make better and more informed decisions, you have the basis for a solid business.
Make Money Online
While this niche has been around almost as long as the internet itself, the Covid-19 pandemic caused a huge resurgence and it's not too late to take advantage of it. More and more people are doing their shopping online, which means more and more opportunity to sell to them. People who have lost their jobs, or who have graduated from college and can't find a job, or who are approaching a bleak retirement, or just stay-at-home Moms or Dads looking for a better life for their families are all wanting to learn how to make money online.
As I've said before, I believe that the best model to start off with is Affiliate Marketing and the best way of learning how is through Wealthy Affiliate.
What Does An Affiliate Marketer Do?
An affiliate marketer can make a lot of money by referring a product or service.
This can be done on their own website or blog, but really on any platform that has an audience, such as Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Tik Tok, Snapchat or a podcast. There are many others, of course.
The affiliate marketer partners with the vendor of the product or service, who provides the affiliate marketer with an affiliate link.
The affiliate link is a small snippet of code that the affiliate marketer places on their website, blog or social media post and asks their audience to click on it.
The affiliate link can appear as a line of text inviting the visitor to click on it or a button or even an image. This is under the control of the affiliate marketer who owns the website, blog or social media. A visitor who clicks on it is taken to the vendor's site and, if they purchase the product, the affiliate is paid a commission at the rate set out in the affiliate agreement.
Commission rates vary between affiliates and are usually higher for digital products (50% - 70%) and lower for physical products (5% - 20%).
However, I'm aware of one vendor of physical products who pays up to 170% affiliate commission. That is, they pay more in commission than the value of the product! This is because of the value they place on gaining a new customer and having the ability to sell to them over and over again.
(The vendor knows the value of a customer's name and email address. You should too and do everything in your power to build your own list. See Create an Email List.
It pays to do your research and find vendors who have successful products and who value their affiliates. Typically, such vendors will also provide you with valuable marketing material.
How to Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
For many people wanting to get into the lucrative world of affiliate marketing, this is often the big question.
How do I get started with affiliate marketing?
Clearly, to become an affiliate marketer, you will need to find one or more vendors that have products in your niche and that have an affiliate program.
You then apply to become their affiliate. When you're accepted, they give you an affiliate link which you put on your website and when a visitor clicks on the affiliate link and buys the vendor's product, you get paid the affiliate commission. Simple, yes?
Well, it is when you follow my guidance.
There are two types of vendor you can be an affiliate for:
- Those who are members of a gateway platform, such as ClickBank, CJ (used to be Commission Junction), Commission Factory, JVZoo, Warrior + etc. Just search for ones in your niche and go through the application process
- Independents. These you find simply by searching (Bing and Google) for [niche] affiliates. So if you were in the weight loss niche, you would search for weight loss affiliates. This will find both individual vendors and aggregate sites with titles such as "5 Best Weight Loss Affiliate Programs That Pay Good Money". You get the idea. Unless your niche is something no one knows about (in which case, you should dump it and choose another) there's no shortage of them.
When you apply to be an affiliate, you may get asked some qualifying questions.
What is your website's URL? Remember that the vendor wants to be represented by quality affiliates, so don't apply until you can show them a quality website.
How long have you been in business? Tell them at least 12 months. They may not want someone who's just starting up.
How will you promote our products? Tell them two out of:
- Organic traffic from SEO
- Facebook and Google advertising
- Email marketing and follow-up.
What is your website traffic? Around 1,000 visitors a month (understand that this may be aspirational, rather than actual, i.e., it's the traffic you're planning on getting).
What if You Are Instantly Rejected?
If your application is rejected instantly, don't be upset. You've been rejected by a bot, not a person.
It just means that the vendor has set up the application process to reject all new applications immediately, as a method of weeding out the serious affiliates from the tire-kickers.
Simply contact them by email and plead your case, using the points above as a guideline. That may be all you need for immediate acceptance.
If by any chance, you're still rejected, don't stress about it. Just move on to another vendor.
In this article, I've tried to answer all your questions about affiliate marketing and provide practical advice for you to get started and make a significant income from this online business model.
I'd love to hear from you and if you have questions or comments, please enter them below and I'll get back to you.