Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.

Affiliate marketing is an area that even the most seasoned bloggers can improve upon. Plus, most bloggers aren't making anywhere near the amount of affiliate income that they should be and are leaving money on the table. If you want to grow your affiliate income, there are numerous tips and strategies that I share in Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.
Spam is the biggest threat to organic search engines, whose goal is to provide quality search results for keywords or phrases entered by their users. Google's PageRank algorithm update ("BigDaddy") in February 2006—the final stage of Google's major update ("Jagger") that began in mid-summer 2005—specifically targeted spamdexing with great success. This update thus enabled Google to remove a large amount of mostly computer-generated duplicate content from its index.[33]
Who can tell me if “link masking or cloaking” is a violation of the Google TOS? I think it is and I see dozens of affiliate sites doing it. I also see quite a few sites not using “nofollow” on their affiliate links. Unless your masked link says something like “I bought product X used in this review at Amazon.com” it would be a violation. I think if reported, you’d be in for a manual spam action against your site. Thoughts?

By using Thrive Leads (made by one of our favorite theme developers) we set up a multi-step pop-up box that starts by asking a question about a problem that we know many of our visitors have. If they say “yes” we then ask a couple more clarifying questions about their personal preferences, and then at the end we drop them on a landing page that delivers a personalized product recommendation (Amazon affiliate link) based on their answers.


High-ticket consulting or coaching: You could sell your own high-ticket consulting or coaching products from your website. You'll still need a website, merchant account, sales funnel, lead magnet and many other items. But you can easily earn a substantial amount of money from each individual customer, making it well worth the arduous setup required. 
How established is your site/blog/social media following?  Do you already have an audience of 1 million or are you just getting started?  Early on in your affiliate marketing journey you will probably want to have multiple options to make sure you can cover a broad field. You might want to become an Amazon Associate as well as joining one of the networks so you will have a product link to drop into any posts you do.  An easy place to start is to promote the services you are using if you are enjoying their product - web hosting or email management systems like Aweber.
Choose your niche and check for demand: The golden course combination is when you can find an in-demand niche that aligns with your skills and unique experiences. A great way to do this is to use Google Trends and Google’s Keyword Planner to look for average monthly search volume for keywords related to your proposed course content. Are people actively looking for high-quality information about this subject? Of course, if you’re already creating content for a blog, coaching service, or a site like Medium, you can test demand this way for free just like Bryan did.
If you have a background in marketing and a passion for a particular niche, then organizing a virtual event may be just up your street. A virtual event could span across a day or longer. Individual live sessions would be run by experts in the field. And conference features would include live question and answer sessions, forums, and plenty of free giveaways. Visitors to the virtual event would pay to attend, so the more effective your promotion of the event the more money you would make.
I’ll admit that even on my own blog, AlexisGrant.com, I’m sometimes lazy about taking an extra minute or two to pull an affiliate link when I see an opportunity to use one in a post. But if you want to benefit as your traffic grows, you have to be consistent about adding those affiliate links every time, even if you don’t expect the post to take off. This is something we’re religious about on The Write Life (thank you, editor @Heathervdh!), so when we get unexpected traffic to a post, we earn.
While there are lots of ways to boost your ranking in search, we get the best ROI from optimizing content for popular keywords, especially headlines. We spend a lot of time perfecting headlines both for The Write Life and for our client blogs, researching keywords using Google Adword’s keyword planner and Google Trends. (If you want to learn more about our SEO strategy for The Write Life, this post explains it in more detail. I also offer a free webinar called Easy SEO Tips for Bloggers.)
And while it will take time to build up a big-enough audience to attract advertisers and other ways to make extra income from your podcast, the opportunity is there. John Lee Dumas interviews entrepreneurs seven days a week for his podcast Entrepreneur on Fire and now makes more than $200,000 a month from it. In fact, John publishes all his income online and showed that he’s made almost $13 million since launching in 2012.
Once you’ve had children, many parents find themselves caught in the trap of needing to work but wanting to stay home with their kids. Creating your own parenting blog can not only be a way to make some money, but it can also help you connect with other parents and make sense of those crazy sleepless early parenting years (it does get easier don’t worry!)
If you’re wondering why we care about ranking for seemingly random phrases like “gifts for writers,” it’s because those random phrases, also known as long-tail keywords, all add up. While we want to rank for more obvious keywords like “freelance writing,” those are super competitive, so it’s best to aim to rank for a combination of keywords, including longer phrases that are less popular but still have a search presence.

How established is your site/blog/social media following?  Do you already have an audience of 1 million or are you just getting started?  Early on in your affiliate marketing journey you will probably want to have multiple options to make sure you can cover a broad field. You might want to become an Amazon Associate as well as joining one of the networks so you will have a product link to drop into any posts you do.  An easy place to start is to promote the services you are using if you are enjoying their product - web hosting or email management systems like Aweber.
With drop shipping, you’re effectively partnering with a manufacturer or wholesaler to sell their products. This way, you don’t pay upfront costs to buy inventory, aren’t sitting on unsold items taking up expensive warehouse space, and don’t have to deal with shipping the products yourself. You simply create your site, fill it with drop shippable products, and drive in customers, with almost everything else done for you.
I spent much of my time curating quality content and promoting it on social media. Honestly, I still spend a lot of time doing those tough tasks, but now I’ve built a strong foundation and the sales are coming in consistently. These days, I make around $500 in passive affiliate sales each month, in addition to my other blog revenue! I can’t complain. The long haul was worth it.
Creating your own food blog, will not only be fun but done well it should also be profitable. Link your site to affiliate cooking products, sell your food photos, create and sell your own physical cookbook, or launch a cooking app. Equally, you could turn your cooking blog into a membership site. You would then share all your content, including recipes, how to videos, food photographs, and much more, with only your paid up members.
Also, you wrote a review on WA and on your recommendation I joined them, did not do anything with it and re-joined them a few years later again! Some months ago i was reading your website again and came across your reviews in particular “Proven Amazon Course” by Jim Cockrum. Consequently, I purchased his book and shortly thereafter I purchased the ‘PAC’ course! (You should have received — I hope — some commissions from all of these!?)
AffiliateWP, LLC, may occasionally send you emails related to the purchase of product(s) from our company. We may also send you occasional email newsletters relating to AffiliateWP updates, promotions, AffiliateWP add-ons and the like. We will never sell or release your email to any third party vendors. You may opt out of these emails at any time without penalty.

CashCrate sends out literally thousands of payments a month to users just like you who spend time completing surveys and offers on CashCrate.com. How do they do it? Well, they do surveys and offers regularly. It really adds up! Your initial goal should be to meet minimum payout, which is $20.00. Making $20.00 in free cash is actually quite easy considering there are hundreds of surveys and offers available, but here are a few tips to get you to your goal faster:
You know those top-down cooking or craft videos you just can’t seem to get away from these days? There are people out there making a living from them. 78% of B2C companies depend on user-generated content, like those videos, for their marketing campaigns. You can sign up as a creator on a site like Darby Smart and potentially work with brands like Nordstrom, Mattel, and BarkBox. Or, use them to build your YouTube following and monetize through ads and views.

The last thing I would say to new affiliate marketers is that self awareness is SO important. It’s easy to get caught in the routine of doing what you think is working, when it’s actually not working. Always be looking at what others are doing in your niche; always be re-evaluating your game plan; and always be thinking about new ways to hit your audience.
I’m new to the amazon affiliate program but I’ve used others. The 24 hour link is very confusing to me. I know the cookies are 24 hours but if people click and buy do you still get that credit? This seems way too complex compared to other programs but I like that every product is within one website instead of several. Thanks for this information! I’ll be saving and coming back.
"I have followed Michelle’s blog for years. Her blog posts are incredibly informative and never disappoint. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is no different. The detailed strategies she shares in her course can help any blogger implement affiliate marketing. Within two days I received my first ever affiliate sale! From then I was hooked. The Mastermind alone is worth the cost of the course and the immediate access to an affiliate marketing expert is priceless! I highly recommend Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing." - McKinzie Bean, Momsmakecents.com

I want to say thank you for taking the time to focus on useful content going into future years, as opposed to regurgitating something you read out of a hard cover marketing book from 1991. The original reason I came here however, was looking for tips / information on a general structure for paying taxes reliably on affiliate earnings in addition to disclaimer examples. Ive searched through different key word combinations and due to financial diversity on a national scale I can understand why this information is scarce. That being said, as long as a solid disclaimer is made about the information being a rough guideline etc. I think it would be extremely useful as most start up affiliates don’t know a thing about VAT, or how to separate their take home earnings from the tax they owe. I am currently residing in Alberta, Canada for your reference, but any information or a lead you could give me would be most helpful.
If the above locations do not yield information pertaining to affiliates, it may be the case that there exists a non-public affiliate program. Utilizing one of the common website correlation methods may provide clues about the affiliate network. The most definitive method for finding this information is to contact the website owner directly if a contact method can be located.
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