Great article as always. As far as finding the right keyword phrases, what I’ve always been unsure of is where and how often do we use these keywords? In your example, “sleeping bags under $100,” would I place that in my post titles and/ or content? How often is ideal to still make it look natural? Could I use that keyword phrase again on other articles/ reviews? Thanks for what you do.


You can set up a website, gradually build up the content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.), then eventually monetize the site through advertising, affiliate marketing, or even the direct sale of specific products or services. Even better, you can generally find whatever services and technical assistance you need online and free of charge. Later on, when your site develops a reliable cash flow, you can begin working with paid providers who can take your blog to the next level.
Great article as always. As far as finding the right keyword phrases, what I’ve always been unsure of is where and how often do we use these keywords? In your example, “sleeping bags under $100,” would I place that in my post titles and/ or content? How often is ideal to still make it look natural? Could I use that keyword phrase again on other articles/ reviews? Thanks for what you do.
I guess the only thing I’d say about this is if you are blogging in a competitive niche and working in what I’d call the “gray area” of link masking and not using “nofollow” as described here by google (https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/96569?hl=en) expect that competitors that are writing real reviews with real photos (not stuff grabbed from a manufacturers website) are going to report you to google as webspam. The thing I hate most is affiliate sites that have never held a product in their hand and then try to pass off something as a first person review for the sole sake of pushing you to Amazon.com.
Another survey from VigLink offers a closer look at just how much income affiliate marketers are bringing in. According to the survey, 9% generated more than $50,000 in affiliate income in 2016. The majority, 65%, said they were making between 5% and 20% of their annual revenue from affiliate programs. The survey also showed a link between timeframe and revenues. Among the publishers with the largest revenues, 60% had been utilizing affiliate-marketing strategies for five years or more. 

21. Facebook – Facebook swap shops are great for selling things locally. It’s like CraigsList, but a little easier. You simply search for swap shops in your area and ask to join the group. Once you’re in, take a picture of the item, write a quick description with the price and post it. It doesn’t get much easier than that. You can generally expect to get about what you would get at a yard sale, maybe a little more.
Merchants receiving a large percentage of their revenue from the affiliate channel can become reliant on their affiliate partners. This can lead to affiliate marketers leveraging their important status to receive higher commissions and better deals with their advertisers. Whether it’s CPA, CPL, or CPC commission structures, there are a lot of high paying affiliate programs and affiliate marketers are in the driver’s seat.
I haven’t added a new article since mid October.  I have three written and ready to post but I thought it would be an interesting experiment to stop adding content.  I do get about 1-2 comments per week from visitors that ask questions about products.  That takes about 15 minutes per week.  I have added a few links since October but only about one link every two weeks.
1. I think the effectiveness depends on the niche. It is a tough question to answer. It is best to use each of the methods and if you can segment out when you do each of the linking methods you might be able to get a clue about which methods work best for your niche. I will add that blog comments do add a very positive component – more diversity in the linking domains. Sure, they are no follow backlinks but there might not be a better way to get links from hundreds of different domains.
MemberPress is a feature-rich plugin that will enable you to turn your WordPress blog into a fully functional membership site. Depending on how you want to run your membership site, you could have a mixture of free and premium membership plans. Premium plans could include no adverts, free downloads, access to extra content, membership forums, and much more. However, it is important to remember that if people are going to pay to view your content then it must be high quality. Otherwise, your members won’t renew their subscriptions when the time comes.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics,[35] LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum,[36] and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers.[37] Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.[38]
Robo-advisors are diversified investment accounts that are automatically managed by a computer algorithm (as opposed to a human money manager). If you want to invest, but don’t have the money, or don’t want to invest with a money manager, robo-advisors are for you! Robo-advisors make investing easier—and cheaper—so they’re perfect for new investors.
Being an online freelance writer is one type of skill that you can use to make money online. But there are a wide variety of other skills that can be used in a similar manner. Every website and blog on the Internet needs technical skills. This can include graphic design, web design, search engine optimization, social media marketing and promotion, content editing, and so much more.
If my piece of content is so unique and valuable around hiking backpack recommendations, that other reputable outdoor websites are willing to link to it and build the page’s authority, then I’d have a very real opportunity to rank high in organic search for these search terms (meaning, my page will come up first when someone searches for hiking backpacks).
While any “regular” job requires you to be at work to make money, affiliate marketing offers you the ability to make money while you sleep. By investing an initial amount of time into a campaign, you will see continuous returns on that time as consumers purchase the product over the following days and weeks. You receive money for your work long after you’ve finished it. Even when you’re not in front of your computer, your marketing skills will be earning you a steady flow of income.
I think content marketing is absolutely huge for affiliate’s, especially going into 2016, I think it will increasingly become something that will have to be adopted to gain domain trust, authority and good SERP rankings. Google loves quality content and if you want your website to stand the test of time, white-hat SEO is a must and content marketing is king!
Affiliate marketing is an ideal solution for those looking to gain control of their own income by focusing on performance-based revenue options. Working in tandem with a seller, a motivated affiliate marketer will be able to achieve a passive income from the comfort of their home without worrying about producing their own product or service. Although the success of the job does depend on the affiliate’s marketing skills, it can prove to be an effective way to meet your income goals as either a primary career or a profitable second job.
What these opportunities typically turn up to be is a pyramid scheme. You pay a fee to signup. You then receive a flyer saying how great stuffing envelopes is and list of names and addresses to mail said flyer. IF those people pay that signup fee so they can mail that flyer too, you get paid a small referral fee. ONLY if they take the bait do you get paid.
Video is growing like crazy. And more and more people are looking for professional help cutting their raw footage into viral-worthy content. If you have the right software and a bit of skill, you can easily make money online as a video editor. Check out these article of Fstoppers on how to become an online video editor and then look for relevant jobs on Mandy.com, Creative Cow Job Search, or ProductionHub.
The music industry might not be as strong as it was in the 80s, but there are still plenty of ways to make money online as a musician. Sites like SoundBetter let you sell your services as a songwriter, producer, or session musician to thousands of customers a month. While Musicbed, Music Vine, Marmoset, and SongFreedom are perfect for licensing your music to TV shows, movies, and web series.
2. Previously, I was looking though expireddomains.net and got a couple of okay domains. As you know, it’s really time consuming and that’s even before you start building out the domains. The efficient way to find domains is to purchase Jon’s service to find domains for you. I just purchased a domain that Jon found for me and I plan on building another niche site there.
Hey Doug great stufF! I have just started my own niche sites and am hoping to replicate even a fraction of your success. Are you considering selling the site? Was this your first build and you just hit it out of the park, or you’ve done this before? How was competition for the niche? Was there something about the keyword that you also really liked aside from the hard numbers ?
Smart tips, Elna! That’s exactly what I did with BoardBooster – I created a post that showed people (with screen shots etc) exactly how I was using it to increase my Pinterest engagement. In my opinion, that’s one of the best ways to create affiliate sales – not only are you providing something that’s truly helpful to your readers, you’re showing them exactly how it works.
"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
Next, you’ll need the right tools. You can be as complicated or simple as you want depending on your comfort with audio equipment, but at the minimum you’ll want a microphone and software for recording your voice. Companies like Behringer, Blue, Focusrite, and others sell studio-quality plug-and-play podcast setups that can get you recording today.
Using a food delivery service can’t necessarily earn you money, but it can help you save you money if you constantly find yourself throwing out half the food you buy. Food delivery services send a box of food every week with new, sometimes unique vegetables, meat, fruit, and so on. If you don’t have time to shop and want simple meal-prep that leads to a good meal, a food subscription service may be perfect for you.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.
For 17 years, we’ve partnered with digital marketers like you to sell our products to over 200 million customers around the globe. Our digital marketers stick with our Affiliate Network because of our ever-expanding catalog of quality digital products and unsurpassed reputation for reliability – we pay commissions on time, every time so you never have to worry about when you will get paid.
Continuing with my example above, in my article about roasting green coffee, I can find green coffee sellers and promote their coffee on my blog. In an article about home roasting coffee machines, I can promote my top 3 favorite home roasters. After I sign up for those affiliate programs (they are free to join), I just place my affiliate links in my content, and it automatically tracks sales.

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.


Medium is an online community where anyone can post articles and essays and get them in front of their audience of millions of monthly readers. While it can be a great place to build your audience for your own blog or find customers for your consulting business, with Medium’s new Partner Program, you can now make money online whenever someone reads your articles. Register for free and you can choose whether your articles are freely available or only readable by those people paying $5/month for a premium Medium membership. You’ll make money based on the amount of people who read and engage with your posts each month.
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to the course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own. Plus, this course won't always be offered at this price, as new strategies and information will continually be added. You won't have to pay a penny for any updates, though. Once you purchase, you will receive all updates for free.

Most newbies in affiliate marketing make the mistake of registering with too many affiliate programs and try promoting everything they see. If this is the path you are treading, then it will overwhelm you and you won’t promote the products properly. Take time to understand the needs in the market and search for products that will go well with your site’s topic.

Do you love getting refunds? How cool would it be to get money back on stuff you’ve already bought? Paribus is a service that lets you find out if stores you’ve shopped at online owe you a refund.  It’s free to sign up. Paribus connects to your email account and checks your receipts.  If they find out a retailer has dropped their price they file a price adjustment claim for you.  Try out Paribus.
Totally agree with your opinion on affiliate marketing. I’m in the same space myself and can tell you what it feels like to earn $1000 commissions while literally sitting on the sofa watching TV. It is absolutely mind-blowing. High-ticket commissions are what sets apart the affiliate marketers that scale their business up to six or even seven figures to the ones that only make a few thousand a month. I run a website based on digital marketing an entrepreneurship. You should check out our affiliate program – it is guaranteed to blow your mind. 🙂
Another strategy to make money online is to become a social marketing manager. Being present on social media is key for any business that wants to attract new customers, promote their products and grow their following. However, constantly posting, liking and commenting on the numerous social media channels is extremely time-consuming. More and more businesses are recruiting social media managers to run and organize all their social media. And to save money, social media employees are often employed as online freelancers.
Most newbies in affiliate marketing make the mistake of registering with too many affiliate programs and try promoting everything they see. If this is the path you are treading, then it will overwhelm you and you won’t promote the products properly. Take time to understand the needs in the market and search for products that will go well with your site’s topic.
Affiliate marketing is an effective money-making strategy for countless online entities – however, as straightforward as it is in theory, success is rarely as easy as it looks. The best way to build a dedicated audience for any blog is to carefully and clearly define its target audience right from the start, and then create content that caters to that audience. It is also considered as important strategy for creating and publishing a successful blog is to develop content that isn’t readily available elsewhere in the blogosphere or on the web. Eventually, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

That's where Swagbucks comes in. Marketers and brands literally pay Swagbucks users to try their products and services. In many cases, the amount of money that marketers pay will cover a portion of the cost of the product or service itself. However, there are some cases where companies reward users with more than the cost of the service. This is often the case with subscription services where advertisers want to entice consumers into an initial trial of their service with the hope that consumers will stay subscribed after the trial period.
That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
You should also make sure you aren't competing with your own affiliates for eyeballs. Any marketing channels you're using, such as search engines, content sites or e-mail lists, should be off limits to your affiliates. Put marketing restrictions into your affiliate agreement and notify partners immediately. It's your program--you set the rules. Or, if you prefer, you can let your affiliates run the majority of your internet marketing.
I think Drop shipping is the best way that can help you make money online. It is the only way that allows you to start an online business without investing capital in inventory, warehouse and to buy products individually from a wholesaler and ship them directly to your customer. Moreover, with my drop shipping experience, you will learn key strategies that you won’t learn anywhere else to help your online business grow and thrive.
My first affiliate sale was somewhat of a family affair and it only took a few days at most. It was in December 2008. One of my sisters wrote a book on foreclosure cleaning. If you remember, foreclosures were big in the news from 2007 to about 2011/2012. The collapse of the financial — and hence, housing — industry flooded the market with foreclosures.
When one of our readers at The Write Life buys Chris Guillebeau’s $58 Unconventional Guide to Freelance Writing through our link, for example, we earn $29. When James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words course sells for $1,599 through our site, we earn $200. Lots of creators offer affiliate programs for their products; the key is finding products that appeal to your audience, so you readers want to purchase them.
This is similar in concept to micro-tasks, except that it is oriented toward specific services, such as cleaning services, pest inspection, handyman services, house cleaning, lawn & garden services or any of the skilled trades. It might actually be more accurate to say that it is a platform where skilled service providers can offer their services to site visitors, similar to Angie’s List.
I will give you a very simple example. Let’s say you build up an audience of 50,000 readers and out of that 50k you have about 1% that trust you (1% of people that trust you online is actually very huge), so that equates to 500 readers. Out of that 500 readers you will have about 10% that will buy your eBook and other affiliate products, so 50 people total. So, if you are selling your eBook for $10, you will make $500. Of course it doesn’t stop there, those people that buy the eBook and like it will most likely recommend it, and you will have a snowball effect where more people keep buying your book and other affiliate products. This is just a rough example that shows you some realistic numbers. Do not ever think that if you build up a huge number of readers that they will all trust you and buy the products that you promote; if it was that easy everyone would be a millionaire by now.
Great stuff here Sean – thanks for all of these insights and sharing some best practices when it comes to affiliate marketing. I’ve never been comfortable giving it a shot, but after reading this post and your perspective on how and when to do it, I may just have to give it a try. Especially considering I’m already mentioning and recommending services and products on my site, I’m just not getting the potential rewards associated with doing so. Thanks again.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you'll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan from a company with great service like Kinsta, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites.
More than half a billion products are sold on Amazon every month, making it an incredible opportunity to make money online. But, like everything else that involves making money online, you have to do quite a bit of work to earn it. One option on Amazon is to find products that are already made and buy and sell them at a discount. For example, you could research generic products such as clocks, keychains and mugs to attach to your brand. For an incredible deep dive on how to make extra money with this strategy, check out how digital marketer Neil Patel recently did this as a public experiment right here on his blog.
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Yet another Amazon service providing the possibility to make money online is the Audiobook Creation Exchange. You can create a standalone audiobook, or create an audio version of your eBook as complementary media. And you can narrate your audiobook yourself, or Amazon can put you in contact with a professional to help. Once sold, you can then earn up to 40% royalties per audiobook.
This is something like Experts Exchange, except that it’s more general in nature. As a professional in just about any field, you can offer your expertise on JustAnswer. They are looking for professionals in various fields who will provide answers to reader’s questions. You can make money online by answering these questions and pointing people in the right direction to get the solutions that they need.
Hi Matt – you need to have an affiliate disclosure on your site (we do in the footer) but you don’t have to say that in all links. Before we published the updated version of this I actually contacted Amazon support about the links on images, and they confirmed it is ok to do. For the others dealing with anchor text, check out http://marketingwithsara.com/amazon/warning-to-all-affiliate-marketers
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates".[34] Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
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