The most important part of affiliate marketing is not selling but helping your audience. By offering solutions you are building trust. People will buy from you only if they trust you. The more you try to sell the fewer sales you will make. If all you see at people is the chance to make $ then you are not going to achieve much. Anyone can offer their affiliate links and tell their visitors “click here” or “Buy Now”. But if that’s the only thing you want to do you are just sabotaging your own business.

I agree, many programs out there are very eager to take your money…in fact TOO eager. Then when it comes to offering their service or their product, they hide behind the walls or anonymity without any repercussions. Fortunately there is a voice that people have within the online space to share their experiences with such programs these days to help others avoid them.
After 2008, it all went downhill. Merchants I was working with started to reduce commission and cookie duration. Some highly converting merchants even closed their programs. I now get 30% of what I used to get because of reduced commissions and cookie duration. There is not a single store that hasn't reduced commission and cookie duration. This is just merchant side, the other end "search engines" is another story. 2008 is the year search engines started targeting affiliates. Your website could be penalized just for having an affiliate link. A lot of my websites were targeted.
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Do you have any tips to offer as far as where to spend the bulk of your time? I get overwhelmed and never know where to start. I started out learning from Pat Flynn and just googling from there, and you're right that once you learn the basics it's just a matter of creating compelling, high value content. I just struggle to figure out what direction to go in. Should I create an identity with lots of personality or just a generic tone on the website? How much do I need to connect with visitors, how important is a strong social media presence? How important is website speed as far as what I get from my host goes (outside of website performance on my end)?

So an effective affiliate marketing program requires some forethought. The terms and conditions have to be tight, especially if the contract agreement is to pay for traffic rather than sales. The potential for fraud in affiliate marketing is a possibility. Unscrupulous affiliates can squat on domain names with misspellings and get a commission for the redirect; they can populate online registration forms with fake or stolen information; they can purchase adwords on search terms the company already ranks high on, and so on. Even if the terms and conditions are clear, an affiliate marketing program requires that someone be monitoring affiliates and enforcing the rules. In exchange for that effort, however, a company can access motivated, creative people to help sell their product or services to the world.
For example:  when I recently released my 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook I also give people an opportunity to promote the workbook with an affiliate program whereby they could earn a 40% commission for each sale. When you sign up to become an affiliate you are given a special code unique to you that enables you to promote the workbook and make $7.98 per sale. The top affiliates earned over $2000 in the first few weeks after launch through these commissions.
In the BigCommerce affiliate program, you receive a 200% bounty per referral and $1,500 per Enterprise referral, with no cap on commissions. Plus, the more referrals you drive through the program, the higher your commission tier will go. BigCommerce uses an industry leading 90-day cookie, so you will receive credit for up to three months for the referrals you generate. Also, there are no obligations or minimum commitments to join the program.

Hey Vlad! If it’s any consolation, feeling overwhelmed at multiple points while building a successful online business is very, very normal. I think it would be much more abnormal to not feel intimidated or overwhelmed at all. I can’t tell you how many times I burned out, gave up, and came back a couple of months later before I made decent money for the first time.


Very simply if you are not passionate and excited about it, you will not succeed. That applies pretty much to anything in life and affiliate marketing is no exception. Not only you must be excited for your niche but also for online business and marketing in general. Otherwise, you will not stand out from the crowd. Persistence is the key and if there is no passion you will give up pretty fast. That’s what really separates the people who succeed in this business and those who don’t. People with no passion end up promoting everything and they never choose the right kind of affiliate products. They never properly research their products or their market and they fail to connect with their audience.
That means building a brand and a reputation that is on a completely different level to how the average affiliate runs their business, and I would encourage my Warrior friends to do the same. It takes time, it takes patience, it takes diligence and it takes investment. 99% of online marketers are not willing to make those sacrifices (as nicheblogger75 states in his post above), so the barrier to entry means if you do have the right fortitude and attitude, you have significantly higher chances of succeeding than slugging it out in the cesspit of low-grade grey-hat-style affiliate marketing.
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Solve their problems – Your website content needs to solve a problem for your audience, not introduce more or be filled with pointless content that doesn’t appeal to them. For example, if you’re going to create a tech website then you should focus on articles that target different price points or use cases. “Top Windows Tablets for Artists” or “Best Budget Gaming Laptop” are fantastic examples because they’re straight to the point.
I then got the marketing consultant to lower the commission we pay to half the sites on the network to zero percent. Amazingly, they still kept driving sales. Something wasn’t right. Upon further investigation, I noticed that many of the sites that were driving sales were ranking highly for Google search terms like “Kogan Voucher” and “Kogan Discount Code”. The funny thing was that we rarely have any publicly available discount codes active on our site. These guys were all advertising codes that don’t even exist and capturing some of our brand traffic.
Fortunately there are many folks out there that are standing up to this kind of behavior and helping others avoid these types of programs. My suggestion is to always do your due diligence before you invest your money online, in particular if you are entering into the opportunity world and the company is not up front about what their product actually is.

it's true affiliate marketing is not like old days but its not dead. the system has been changed since then it's the monopoly of affiliate managers these are like pandas , penguins and hummingbirds for google algorithm. Affiliate marketing is dead how it can be possible it seems that economy has been crashed or companies no longer need any money or decreases there marketing funds. I think that it can't be possible.
I’m a newbie and just stumbled into this article, which I find hugely informative. So thank you for writing this article. I’m close to finishing building my very first website and don’t have a domain yet, but have a question. Since affiliate program is considered a business, I’m wondering how do we set up a simple LLC one person company to separate our personal stuff from our online business stuff? Is there a simple reliable step-by-step guide we can follow, or does anyone here can advise with your own experiences? Thank you.
Great summary on affiliate marketing. This article would be very helpful to someone who is new to it and is wondering if it would be a good idea for them to get into. I agree that the affiliate marketing itself isn’t difficult. It’s just a matter of promoting a product. However, other related areas can be difficult. If someone struggles with clearly communicating their thoughts and ideas in writing, it could be hard to get content up on their website. For me personally, the hard part is trying to figure out all my technical difficulties. 🙂 But it’s all worth it!

There's a lot of survivorship bias that happens. For the people that make a real living from it, it's a steady growth that they work towards for 6+ months or several years. The failures either try to start a side job "teaching" others how to do affiliate marketing or just drop off the map. I can't count the number of people that thought they would "Just try it out with a selfie stick" and were never heard from again.
A really good article and lessons to learn. Years ago I was recruited into Mary Kay, a skin care company. At the time, I was so naive I didn’t realize was an MLM was. I ended up spending way more money than I earned and when I decided to send everything back and quit, I received a tongue-lashing from my “director” that completely threw me for a loop! She was angry because my leaving the company was going to reflect on her numbers!!

Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[39] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
Has anyone heard of Direct Marketing Strategies LLC, out of Arizona? and their domain savecashshopping.com They purport to list 30 big companies (Cosco, Sams club, Walmart home depot etc. and for a price will send like 30000 targeted visitors per month for one year for a cost of $2k. is this reasonable? this is a site they have set up. savesmartshopping.com
Niche-specific challenges: It’s relatively easy to create content for the “tech how-to” niche (like “how to install Windows” or “how to use WinRar) - you just need a screencasting software and a microphone. For niches like DIY plumbing, however, you need significant time, energy and skills. This often compels marketers to flood the easier niches, increasing competition.
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That led me to more research on the affiliate marketing systems out there and it finally led me to the WA, its been about 2 weeks as apart of WA and so far i am really glad i found it. My website is coming along and every time I think ‘how do i do _______?’ there is a video to walk me through it and a calm voice guiding me to do that which I would not be able to figure out on my own.
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
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