Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!

The problem with affiliate marketing, like many other home business options, are the so-called gurus and get-rich-quick programs that suggest affiliate marketing can be done fast and with little effort. Odds are you've read claims of affiliate marketing programs that say you can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a month doing almost nothing ("Three clicks to rich!"). Or, they suggest you can set up your affiliate site, and then forget it, except to check your bank deposits.
"Having built a flexible, location independent business that generates massive revenue through affiliate sales, Michelle is a model for having it all. Not only do I follow along for tactical strategies to improve my own affiliate business model, but for inspiration from the fabulous adventure-filled lifestyle her thriving business supports." - Stefanie O'Connell, Millennial Personal Finance Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur, Stefanieoconnell.com
Thanks Nathalie! And glad to see you came over from AONC 🙂 When done the right way I think affiliate links in context are much less intrusive and offensive than having ads on your sidebar. The average non-tech reader probably wont even know its an affiliate link anyway. So just by doing everything you’ve already been doing, you can switch out links, and probably make a nice side income!
And it's been a blessing! My husband and I are going on our 3-year wedding anniversary and Swagbucks has been a part of our story from the beginning. I was able to get a beautiful red (our fave color) luggage set paid for entirely by Swagbucks! Our passion is to travel and thanks to Swagbucks, we have been able to make our trips even more special. <3
It’s an excellent opportunity to offer technical training courses that teach people how to learn a much-needed skill, or accomplish an important task. It could also prove to be an important testing ground for your educational courses. If you are able to market your course on the site, against direct competition, you may be able to direct marketing to the general public, using a website, videos, or even an affiliate marketing program.
If you have a knack for organization, you can make money online as a virtual assistant helping people to keep their days in order. A virtual assistant will do everyinthing from bookkeeping to research, database entry, booking travel, and managing email. It can also be an awesome way to rub shoulders with some very important people, build up your professional network, and of course grow another stream of income. You can find great gigs on UpWork, Fiverr, Indeed, and Remote.co.
Forms of new media have also diversified how companies, brands, and ad networks serve ads to visitors. For instance, YouTube allows video-makers to embed advertisements through Google's affiliate network.[22][23] New developments have made it more difficult for unscrupulous affiliates to make money. Emerging black sheep are detected and made known to the affiliate marketing community with much greater speed and efficiency.[citation needed]

I believe a far more effective way to monetize your website is by offering consulting or other services, and/or selling digital products. In fact, that’s how I monetized AlexisGrant.com, where I only see between 13,000-16,000 unique visitors each month. (See my ebooks here.) Once you have a significant amount of traffic — I’d say at least 10,000 unique visitors a month — you can also add direct-buy advertising to the pile.

On top of that, my website here, One More Cup of Coffee, makes commissions from multiple companies. Not all are about affiliate marketing. Wealthy Affiliate is just, in my opinion, the best way for newbies to start a business. Would you rather join for FREE, then $49/month or start an Amazon business where the training costs $4,000 and you need an extra $500/month for inventory costs?

People have different definitions of “cloaking and masking”. You are likely referring to the “bad” kind that is manipulative. However, most affiliate also refer to “cloaking” as changing a link to look pretty. Changing this link: nichepursuits.com/amazon/associate-20/123ma9/producta to nichepursuits.com/cameras. That kind of “cloaking” is just fine.

17. Amazon – Have you heard of FBA? It stands for “Fulfilled by Amazon” and it’s getting pretty popular. Basically, you buy products (in bulk is best) and ship them to Amazon for them to store. When your products sell, Amazon packs them up, ships them out and sends you the money (after taking their cut). There are people making a full-time living from FBA, while others just do it for some extra money.
Ok so I’ll bite. Tell me why someome that searches for any kind of product wouldn’t just go to the direct supplier rather than filtering through a long winded site to eventually click on an affiate link? If one happens to fall upon someones website as result of a search word only to discover an implanted link takes them to the actual seller, what keeps them from exiting their website and then going directly to the actual seller’s site, such as Amazon for one? I do this all the time.

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.


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.

This isn’t to scare you off. I simply want you to know that this guide is going to focus solely on ways to make real, sustainable extra income online. Not just a few bucks. I want to share all the mistakes I've made that got me to where I am now so that you don’t have to go through them, and can build a successful online source of income for yourself.
All CPA marketers put their eggs in one basket. I’ve seen plenty of the greats go from zero to hero and vice versa several time in their careers. The smart ones learn to build their own business in the process and pimp their products to CPA newbies (where the real money is). So if your only focus is to make the most money you can I would advise you not to spend it all because that business model won’t last.
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.
When do you want to get started?  If you are just starting and have no audience then some of the programs may not accept your application to become an affiliate, while others will let you get set up in minutes.  If you want to get started straight away then make sure you’re applying for programs that are less restrictive. Generally the larger, network style places will enable you to get going quickly while specific niche programs may require you to have a certain audience size or characteristics.
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.
27. Sponsored/paid posts – Many blogs publish sponsored and paid posts. Sponsored posts are basically just posts about a specific brand, product or service. A company will pay you to publish an article about it. It’s similar with other paid posts as well. Your basically selling the spot for the article on your site. If you decide to take this route, you’ll want to build your traffic before you will get many offers.
Without hesitation (after some research), I bought her course. As an aside, I’m not one of those people who buys any and every thing that comes down the pike. I’ve bought enough online products that DIDN’T work that it takes a lot for me to shell out money. I’m pretty good at figuring out stuff, but the more I researched Michelle, the more impressed I was by her and her course.
More and more companies and startups especially are embracing remote work—where you use online collaboration and communication tools to do your work from wherever you want. And you don’t have to be a 20-something hotshot designer or coder to reap the benefits of working remotely. Many remote positions are for customer support positions or other customer-facing positions that don’t require specialized skill sets.

Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.

Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look att how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you're using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
Great reasons for wanting to stay at home and work. My reason for wanting to stay at home is spend more time with my kid and husband. I want to be able to work on a business together so my husband and I can work together as a team. Also, we want to be able to travel as we work! I cant wait to make this dream a reality. We have set a deadline to make the leap on Aug1st 2017.
19. eBay – Of course you can’t read an article about making money online that doesn’t mention eBay. You can start an eBay store and get serious about it or you can just sell some stuff to declutter your home. Either way, I’ve made my fair share from selling on eBay and it’s still a popular way to earn money. If you decide to start an actual eBay store, you’ll want to find a drop-ship business like Doba that will store and ship items straight to your customers so you don’t have to deal with an inventory.
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?
26. Services – You can offer a paid service, such as life coaching, blog coaching, goal setting or financial planning. Just be sure to investigate all the legal implications and make sure you’re not claiming to be a professional if you’re not one. With a service like this, you’re basically using your blog to sell yourself. You’ll need to convince people that you’re worth buying and then be able to back up your claims once they purchase your service.
Take it seriously. Yes, you’re applying for an online job. Yes, you can do the work in your underwear, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a “real job”. You must treat it as such or they aren’t going to treat you as a serious candidate. You aren’t the only one who wants to work in their underwear. In fact, the competition online is likely higher than it is in your local area.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
My next self-funded business hit $160,000 in revenue in its first year alone. After that first taste of self-made success, I’ve gone on to sign consulting contracts worth tens of thousands of dollars with startups like LinkedIn and Google, launch profitable online courses, and build a following of hundreds of thousands for this blog and my podcast series.

A great point you made there though. Too many people try to take on too much at once and end up spreading themselves too thin – trying to conquer all the niches at the same time. Marketers also do this with advertising. Instead of sticking with one platform until they are generating a consistent number of leads they will jump from platform to platform, in essence chucking a load of crap at a wall and seeing what sticks.


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 ?
This is a more technical way to make money online then most of the other strategies given. But you can get an excellent course on how to make it happen with Steve Chou’s Create a Profitable Online Store program. Steve and his wife have built a highly successful online store – selling wedding napkins – and he’s anxious to provide insider secrets to people who sign up for his course..

It was for $1.49. I had to pay a few people to help me out. So I’m actually still in the negative but I’m hoping consistency is going to pay off. I focused mostly on social media because I knew my site wasn’t going to be ranked very high more then likely for awhile. It’s been fun overall. I try to stay active researching and adding posts at least a few times a week.
To test these websites, you’ll be asked to visit the site in question and record your reactions and thoughts as you go through it. To get started making extra money online by testing websites, sign up for some of the most popular services like UserTesting.com, Userlytics, TryMyUI, Userfeel, TestingTime (for people outside the U.S), or Side Income Jobs.
Where the license package allows the software to be used on multiple sites (Plus, Professional, Ultimate) the customer/license-holder may not on-sell the originally-purchased license key provided by AffiliateWP, LLC, to other users of the license (such as clients) for commercial benefit. Additionally, the customer may not sublicense, to any person or entity, any rights to distribute the software or license key. AffiliateWP will only provide support services to the original customer/license-holder with a legitimate license key, and consider any other uses of this license key for support queries as fraudulent.
Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
If you are a fast reader and have a good grasp of grammar and language then editing may be a good freelance role for you. Editing is a great way to quickly make money online, and there are always editing jobs available on freelance job sites. And the best part? Editor’s usually get paid per word, so the faster you can check through work the more money you will make per hour.
Proz.com is a site where you can get paid to translate all kinds of documents, including files and even conversations. The site provides you with an opportunity to list your services as a translator. They offer opportunities in Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and other languages, and specialize in legal, medical, technical and other fields.
There are several types of affiliate programs. Most will pay you a flat rate or percentage of the sale you make (pay-per-sale). Another common type is when you're paid per action or lead. For example, if you refer someone who signs up for businesses free trial, the business pays you for the sign-up. Although not seen as often anymore, some will pay you per click (this is seen most in contextual ad programs such as Google Adsense) or per impression (each time the ad is loaded on your website).
I love referral and affiliate marketing. It’s where the vast majority of my income comes from these days. Even if you aren’t a blogger, you can get in on the action as well. You can get paid to refer your friends to a wide variety of legitimate services. While there are many companies like StitchFix that will give you store credit for referrals, we are focusing on those that offer cold, hard cash today. Keep in mind, you will need to be signed up for the program yourself to take advantage of the program. But, you shouldn’t be referring people to things you don’t use anyway.
Dr. Rose wrote that she was about to give on in frustration, then, fortuitously, she ran across a pin that blared, “How To Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours Using Pinterest.” She clicked it out o fcuriousity, then found out what the “catch” was. The link was to a purchase page for a book by that name. Not wanting to make the purchase — after all ,she’s been blogging for a couple of months, but still ahdn’t made any money, she thought to herself “How’s this possible?”
The other question is if the answer to that question is no, would you say that since i have very little contacts/ideas/experience and just dont know where to start, is it a good idea to consider an amazon import business as a good way to gain that valuable experience/contacts and ideas im looking for that will EVENTUALLY LEAD me to a big opportunity where I would be able to build a very big business like for example something that produces around 50 million in sales or gets acquired for 50 million etc?
It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 

hey sean, am a newbie who is so ethusistic about online marketing. great post , i must commend , it came in handy. through your post i clearly understand that an affiliate mustr have a website and a blog as a platform for promoting the good and services. here the thing with me , i dont have either of them and am asking ….. is it advisable for me to delve in affilate marketing peradventure i get a blog running now …?

That being said, I want to give you an idea of what I earn, so you can see what's possible. I don't like to “show off”, but here's income proof. These screenshots prove that yes, I actually make money online. I've been making over $10,000 per month for many years now. You'll have to ​make your first dollar​​​ before you earn ten thousand though, so keep reading below to see how you can get started doing the same type of business I do.


This is a more technical way to make money online then most of the other strategies given. But you can get an excellent course on how to make it happen with Steve Chou’s Create a Profitable Online Store program. Steve and his wife have built a highly successful online store – selling wedding napkins – and he’s anxious to provide insider secrets to people who sign up for his course..
Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.
Nathaniell, Tasena here from WA!! Quick question. I dont have the $$ at the moment to renew my premium subscription can I seriously not revert back to the free account for now so I can continue my training? I am very disappointed in the lack of support when you are on the no paying side after being a premium member. It’s like you’re completely cut off. There isn’t even a way to ask a question or get help for my type of question without having to pay $49.00. Please let me know. I’d hate to lose all my work over $49.00. Thanks,
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
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