Affiliate Marketing: The Most Complete Guide Ever

Affiliate Marketing: The Most Complete Guide Ever


Affiliate marketing.

It’s one of the most effective ways to help your readers and start monetizing your blog at the same time.

And it’s an engine that can power your blog’s earnings for years to come.

Ready to find out more?

So What Is “Affiliate Marketing,” Anyway?

As you’ll know by now, bloggers make money by building an audience that trusts them, and then offering products or services that will genuinely help that audience.

Affiliate marketing is really just a quicker way to offer products and services without creating them yourself.

In practice, it’s a modern interpretation of a very old idea — getting a commission on a sale. You introduce your readers to products or services from trusted companies or individuals and get a commission on any sales to customers you send their way.

For bloggers, that means you find a product or service that you like, promote it to your readers, and earn part of the profit on each sale that you make.

Simple idea, right?

Let’s see an example.

Blogger Gardening Jones is upfront about how she has partnered with several companies as an affiliate. She lets her readers know that if they purchase any of the products she recommends using her links, she’ll make a little money from the sale.

Then, throughout her site, you see links like this:

affiliate links

These particular graphics look like ads, but they aren’t.

They’re affiliate links.

Average readers might not be aware of the difference, but as a savvy blogger, you should be.

You see, when you put ads on your site, you get paid when someone clicks on them, whether your visitors end up buying or not. The advertiser is essentially renting space on your blog, like they’d rent a billboard along a highway.

But the problem is that you usually earn only fractions of pennies for clicks. You have to have an incredibly high-traffic site to see any real income at all from advertising.

On the other hand, when you’re an affiliate, you only get paid when someone clicks the link and actually purchases.

However, commissions on the sales that you refer are usually much higher.

It’s a slight difference, but one that can make a big impact on your income.

In addition to graphical links and banners, text links can also be slipped into blog posts, often followed by an indicator that it is an affiliate sale — like this:

Join the Seeds of the Month Club here (affiliate link)

You’ve probably seen both types of affiliate links. Bloggers can include links in emails, sales pages, and much more as well. We’ll get into all the possibilities in this post.

For now, though, it’s important that you know exactly what affiliate marketing means — as well as its potential for you as a blogger.


Why Affiliate Marketing Rocks for Bloggers

At Smart Blogger, we’re big fans of selling affiliate products and services.

Here are three compelling reasons why we think you should look into it, too:

  1. You can monetize your blog sooner than you would if you created your own products from scratch.
  2. You can learn what types of products your audience is clamoring for, reducing the risk of any future product launch of your own.
  3. You can get your readers used to the idea of buying from you — and increase their level of trust (as long as you pick the right products and services to sell).

All pretty significant advantages to you as a growing blogger.

But that’s not all. There are additional benefits to affiliate marketing as well.

  • It’s easy to implement. You share a link with your readers and that’s it. You don’t have to worry about tracking sales, providing customer service, setting up payments, or anything else. All that support is handled by the merchant.
  • It doesn’t require you to have a support team in place. Affiliate marketing is completely doable even if you’re a one-person show.
  • It doesn’t require specialized expertise. You don’t have to be a world-renowned expert in your niche. You only need to be familiar enough with your topic area to know what products are good and worth recommending to your audience.
  • It’s low-effort and low-risk. While affiliate marketing isn’t exactly passive income, it doesn’t require a significant time or money investment on your part.

Sounds pretty good in theory, right? Let’s see if affiliate marketing is right for you.


The Types of Bloggers Most Likely to Succeed with Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate income can look pretty attractive, but you need to have a few things in place first if you want to succeed.

For instance, don’t jump into the deep end if you’re just starting out and have not launched your blog or started growing your email list yet.

Instead, make sure that:

  • You’re producing regular content on your blog. You have to give a lot of free value to your readers to build your credibility before you start asking for sales.
  • You have an email list with at least 500 subscribers. If you can attract and keep 500+ subscribers engaged around your topic, you have a foundation with earning potential.

Hold Off on Affiliate Marketing if…

If you already have a list of at least a few hundred people and are planning to sell services like coaching, consulting, design, writing or other professional services (as in legal advice, finance, or real estate) in the short term, it’s probably best to hold off on affiliate marketing.

That’s because for service providers, your best bet is selling services first. It’s simply your most profitable way to start monetizing.

You can consider adding affiliate offers into the mix once your money-making machine from services is running smoothly.

Still with me? Great!


How to Sell Affiliate Products (Without Selling Your Soul)

Affiliate marketing has gotten a bad rap in some circles because of unethical marketers who annoy their readers with junk ads, offers that don’t apply to them, or general spam.

These bloggers have given affiliate marketers an unsavory reputation.

But when affiliate marketing is done right, it’s a positive, powerful “engine” for generating value for you and your readers.

The bloggers who succeed understand this simple truth:

Your relationship with your audience, and the trust that you build with them, is your single most important asset.

The importance of trust can’t be stressed enough. You have to invest the time and effort to constantly nurture trust with your audience — and take care never do anything to betray that confidence.

So whenever you’re tempted to cut corners or venture into the murkier regions of affiliate marketing, just remember you’re risking the relationship with your readers. In other words — don’t do it!

The Simple Golden Rule for Success

Here’s our foolproof rule for success as an ethical affiliate marketer:

You should only become an affiliate for products that you have personally usedeven if that means purchasing a product so you can kick the tires and decide if it’s something you can recommend.

Why? Because your reputation’s on the line.

Think about it: what’s the first thing you do when you need a new doctor, mechanic or building contractor?

You ask for recommendations from people you trust. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools.

But when you get advice from friends that turns out to be bad, you can’t help but wonder, “What on earth were they thinking?”

You probably won’t value their opinion as highly the next time around — if you even ask them at all.

As a blogger, you can’t afford to have your good name damaged because you didn’t do your due diligence and check a product out thoroughly.

And doing it right makes everything so much easier.

When you can honestly and wholeheartedly recommend a product or service that you’ve tried and liked, your marketing will simply work.

You won’t feel sleazy or unethical. You’ll be legitimately excited about the product — and your audience will appreciate your authenticity and feel confident buying from you.

That’s a good place to be — for both you and your readers.

But in case this is all sounding a little too to good to be true, a few cautions are in order.


Behind the Hype: The Realities of Affiliate Marketing

Most good things have a downside, and affiliate marketing is no exception. But if you’re aware of the potential trade-offs and pitfalls, you can enter into it with your eyes open.

So let’s start our reality check with a few cautionary points.

Quick and Easy to Set Up Doesn’t Mean Instant or Free

Selling affiliate products is certainly quick and easy when compared with creating, marketing and delivering your own products. But that doesn’t mean it’s a breeze.

You’ll have to take care in choosing which products to represent — and you’ll need to invest time and at least some money into finding the best affiliate products for your readers.

And you can’t expect miracles or overnight successes. You’ll need some trial and error to discover what works and build a mix of offers over time.

Earning While You Sleep Doesn’t Mean “Set It and Forget It”

No blog income is truly, completely passive. If you’re looking for an “easy button,” don’t become a blogger!

Even when you’re set up with some affiliate offers, you have to continue the work of growing and engaging your audience — and that means creating great content and building trust with your readers.

Without a loyal and engaged audience, you’ll struggle to find success via affiliate marketing. And without a growing list you’ll quickly “burn out” the audience you already have.

The best way to think of it is like this: affiliate marketing is a money-making add-on to a successful blog, not an alternative to a successful blog.

Even Smart Bloggers Can Make Dumb Choices

Many bloggers have been fooled by unscrupulous merchants. If an opportunity seems too to good to be true, it probably is. Even if a merchant is above-board, they might not be a good fit for your audience.

Likewise, you shouldn’t let yourself be seduced by the tactics of less ethical affiliate marketers. You can find numerous tips and tricks in affiliate marketing forums that might help you make a quick buck but could quickly break trust with your audience.

Here are some quick tips to help you stay safe:

  • Never pay a fee to become an affiliate — that includes membership or setup fees. Merchants who charge you fees are running scams on rookies who don’t know any better.
  • Don’t let yourself be pressured into using “black hat” strategies to drive traffic to your site — e.g., aggressive SEO tactics that focus exclusively on tricking search engines instead of pleasing humans. This kind of activity can alienate your audience and get you banned from search engine listings.
  • Don’t promote a product until you’ve subscribed to your affiliate partners’ email list and know exactly what your readers can expect in terms of follow-up marketing. Your potential partner may have a more aggressive style than your readers are used to, and that can reflect poorly on you. If there’s a big mismatch, don’t promote the product.

Now that you know the pluses and minuses of affiliate marketing, let’s dig in for a behind-the-scenes look.


How the Affiliate Marketing “Engine” Works

Even though it’s based on a simple idea, affiliate marketing can be complicated, especially when you start getting into the nitty-gritty details.

The section will help you understand the most important concepts without drowning you in technical detail.

Let’s start with some basic definitions.

Affiliate Marketing Glossary

Affiliate marketing has its own terminology, which can be confusing at first. But if you become familiar with these concepts, you’ll be well on your way.

Here are a few terms it’s important to know:

Affiliate — the partner who promotes the merchant’s products for a commission. Also called the publisher.

Affiliate agreement — a contract that both parties agree to specifying the rules, responsibilities, rates to be paid and other legalities.

Affiliate link — a trackable URL that identifies the affiliate as the source of targeted traffic to a merchant’s site. (A click on an affiliate link counts as a referral.)

Affiliate network — an online marketplace where merchants list their products and where affiliates can find products to sell.

Affiliate program — a program set up by merchants to pay commissions when affiliates refer people to their products.

Commission — a percentage of the total sale that is paid to the affiliate for referring the sale.

Cookie — in affiliate marketing, cookies are used to assign a unique ID to the buyer in order to tag the purchase as being referred by you. Cookies usually have a predetermined lifespan, so that even if the buyer doesn’t purchase right away, you will still get credit for the sale if it occurs within that timeframe (often 60 days or more).

Customer — the end user or purchaser of the merchant’s product or service.

Merchant — the owner or creator of the product or service. Also known as a retailer or brand.

Referral — credit for a click or a sale that occurs when the affiliate sends traffic to the merchant’s site.

The Mechanics of Getting Paid for Promoting Affiliate Products

Affiliate marketing can get pretty technical. Fortunately, you don’t need to know all the details to get started.

The actual mechanics run in the background, thanks to the merchant’s affiliate program software.

But here’s a quick look behind the scenes:

  1. When an affiliate joins the merchant’s program, he or she is given a unique ID and a specific URL to use when promoting the product.
  2. The affiliate includes the link in their blog content and/or subscriber emails and invites readers to click it to find out more.
  3. When a potential buyer clicks on the link to visit the merchant’s site, a cookie identifying the affiliate is placed on their computer. The cookie ensures that the publisher is credited with the referral sale even if it occurs days or even weeks later.
  4. Whenever a buyer completes the sale process, the merchant checks the sales record for a cookie identifying the source of the referral.
  5. If the merchant finds a cookie with an affiliate ID, the affiliate is credited with the sale.
  6. The merchant makes reports available so that the affiliate can see their referrals (clicks) and sales.
  7. The merchant pays the affiliate commission at the end of each payment period.

Here’s a graphical overview to help you visualize the process:

affiliate links

The flow is pretty straightforward once you understand it, and it works the same no matter what kind of product you’re promoting or how established you are as an affiliate marketer.

So let’s look at the typical progression for a blogger who’s serious about making affiliate marketing a major source of income.


The Three Levels of Affiliate Marketing Mastery

As you mature as a blogger and affiliate marketer, you’ll pass through three distinct stages — each one with its own strategies and typical earning levels.

Knowing what level you’re at is important. If you try to skip ahead and use strategies you’re not ready for yet, you’ll likely fail.

Use these descriptions to figure out where you are in your blogging journey and build from there.

Stage 1: Getting Started

You can start selling to your list once you’ve proven that your topic has legs — i.e., you have enough engaged subscribers to prove your blog is a viable money-making platform.

Generally speaking, you’re ready for this stage once you have 500-1,000 email subscribers and at least 10% of them are opening your emails. At this point, you can start testing products to see what your audience is likely to respond to.

Applicable strategies: Experiment with a few products or services to find a “core earner” and round out your affiliate offers with a few complementary digital products (ebooks, packaged services, download products, etc.).

Typical earnings: Up to $250/month, enough to cover your expenses and maybe the occasional treat.

Stage 2: Ramping Up

Once your blog is more established and you have a few thousand subscribers, you’ll be ready to up your affiliate sales game.

At this stage, you’ll be publishing quality content on a regular basis and continuing to grow and engage with your email list. You’ll be starting to build relationships with influencers serving similar audiences.

You’ll also now have some experience selling to your subscribers, and you’re beginning to understand what they like and need from you. You’ve found at least one product that’s earning consistently and may also have plans for your own products.

Applicable strategies: Continue to look outside your core offers to find additional solid-earning products and services. Seek to identify additional smaller-earning offers that also sell consistently.

Typical earnings: Around $500–$2,000 per month — a nice part-time income.

Stage 3: Full Time Earner

You’re now considered a top-tier blogger, with an email list of 10,000 subscribers or more.

It’s easier now to network with the big influencers because of your accomplishments and reputation. You’ll be invited to participate in major product launches and promotions.

You’re also a pro at selling to your readers, building sales funnels and writing sales pages.

Applicable strategies: Build closer relationships with the “big name” authorities, participate in high-ticket product launches, and run your own major email campaigns.

Typical earnings: You’re now making a full-time income from your blog!

Of course, relatively few bloggers will successfully progress to this final stage, but you can still achieve significant success and satisfaction from the earlier stages.

Also, some bloggers may deliberately deviate from this path. For instance, if you’re serious about creating your own products, you might start to replace affiliate products with your own offerings around Stage 2.

In other words, you can start monetizing your blog with affiliate sales, using the experience to generate revenue and learn what your audience will buy, then pivot to your own products with a much greater confidence in your product focus and your subscribers’ willingness to buy.

Now that you know the typical stages bloggers go through on their affiliate marketing journey and figured out where you belong, let’s dig into how you find the best products to promote.


How to Decide Which Products to Promote

You can represent many different types of products and services as an affiliate.

Some are more profitable than others, but usually most of your affiliate income will come from one or two “ringers” — core products that just about everyone in your audience needs and which also pay a good commission.

As you progress, you can add complementary products to round out your offerings and help your audience in new ways, but identifying your core earners is an essential first step.

We highly recommend that you start with digital products, services and courses for this simple reason:

They usually have greater earning potential.

Digital products generally pay higher commissions than physical products because there is much less overhead to produce and distribute them.

They also have the advantage that the merchant is often an individual rather than a company, so you can build a personal relationship with them that will increase your status as a blogger and future success as an affiliate.

That said, physical products can be a good option for certain niches, but we’ll focus on digital products for the most part (although we revisit physical products below).

So what’s a potential ringer?

Your best bets are mid-priced ($200–$2,000) courses or services that could potentially benefit almost all of your readers at some point in their journey.

Once you start generating steady affiliate income, you can offer other similar products, hosted services or ebooks that allow you to help more people (or help everyone more thoroughly).

Let’s look into the product options for bloggers.

Option #1: Digital Downloads

Digital downloads are online resources that your readers can access instantly, without having to wait for a package to come in the mail (as is true for physical products).

They could be audio or video files, PDFs, ebooks or even links to webpages where the content lives online.


  • Books or ebooks — Books that are either self-hosted on your merchant’s website or downloaded from Amazon, iBooks or other online sellers
  • Software — Downloadable programs, games, apps, plugins and cloud services
  • Mobile applications — Some of the hundreds of apps that are available through the iTunes Affiliate Program and other mobile app affiliate networks
  • Music, movies, TV shows, and more — Media offered through Amazon as well as the iTunes Affiliate Program and others


  • Digital downloads are an easy way to get started and help your audience with pressing problems.
  • There are no overhead costs of production, shipping or storage.
  • Your buyer can access and begin benefiting from their digital product immediately.


  • Many ebook, software or other download products are relatively inexpensive. You’d have to sell a lot of them to make any significant money.
Our recommendation?

Do it! But expect higher earnings from other options on this list.

Option #2: Online, Hosted and Professional Services

When it comes to selling services as an affiliate, it’s important to concentrate on those which will be accessible to your entire audience no matter where they’re located (as opposed to service providers who serve local customers only).

In other words, don’t limit your earning potential by geography.

Your best bet is to represent online, hosted or professional service providers/influencers you’ve worked with in the past and have full confidence in.

Examples of professional services:

Examples of online/hosted services:


  • It’s easy to become a service affiliate, and it helps your audience manage important tasks that require specific expertise.
  • There’s likely a higher earning potential than from digital downloads because services are usually offered at a higher price point.
  • Many hosted services will offer a recurring commission – meaning you’ll get paid for as long as the customers you refer continue to use the service.


  • Some of your favorite professional service providers (ones you have experience with) might not have affiliate programs in place.
Our recommendation?

Do it! Especially if you can find an excellent service provider who can potentially help nearly everyone in your audience at one time or another and who can be a strong, steady income generator.

Option #3: Online Courses

Online courses are an important subset of digital products, especially for bloggers, and the market is huge. They’re so popular that they deserve their own category on this list.

Online courses exist on just about any topic you can think of. They range in price from free to thousands of dollars, with higher-priced programs promising big results for students.



  • Courses are one of the best ways to help your audience achieve a goal that’s important to them or move past a roadblock that’s been keeping them stuck. You can deliver incredible value with little effort on your part.
  • Courses are often offered at a higher price point than other digital products, so your earning potential is higher.
  • Courses are popular. It should be easy to find other influencers in your niche whose courses can help your readers.


  • You’ll have to spend time working through and reviewing courses to make sure that they deliver on their promises (to protect your reputation).
Our recommendation?

Do it! Help your readers in a big way, and earn big at the same time.

Option #4: Physical Products

If you decide to represent physical products on your blog, your best bet is to choose high-quality, distinctive products that that will appeal strongly to your specific audience.

Avoid commodity products that your readers can buy anywhere — the commissions are so small you won’t make worthwhile money unless you can drive tremendous traffic to your site.

Commissions on physical products are usually fairly low because of the overhead of production costs, storage costs, shipping, etc. So unless you are planning to build a large review or shopping site, physical products will probably be a very small portion of your blogging affiliate income.

However, if you have a favorite tool of your trade, a must-have gadget that will make your readers’ lives easier, or a high-quality recommendation that you’re sure people will be thrilled with, go ahead and offer it.

You’ll build goodwill even if you don’t make a lot of money.



  • Once you have an established blog, companies may approach you and offer you free product in exchange for a review. (You should always disclose this, as it could be seen as a conflict of interest.)
  • If you can afford to purchase products on your own in order to test them, you’ll be seen as a truly objective reviewer.


  • Commissions on physical products are usually a lot lower because of the overhead, so you’ll have to sell a whole lot more product to make a decent income.
  • Buying products so you can review them before promoting them can be expensive.
Our recommendation?

Offer physical products only under certain circumstances:

  • They’re directly related to your blog topic and something your audience absolutely needs.
  • They’re not commodities. Specialized and distinctive products reflect better on you, boosting your reputation and credibility.

Products might be a good fit for how-to, hobby, fitness, cooking, fashion, food blogs and similar niches.

You should now have plenty of ideas for types of products you can represent.

Here’s how to go about finding the best options for you.


7 Simple Steps to Affiliate Marketing Success

Follow these seven steps and you’ll be well on your way to building your own affiliate marketing machine, even if you’re just starting out.

Step 1: Identify the Desirable End Goal

The key to finding products that your audience wants to buy is knowing the goals they hope to achieve and the obstacles that are holding them back.

Once you understand your audience’s aims and what’s keeping them from achieving them, you can find products that help them get where they want to go.

Don’t worry — you don’t have to be a mind reader. You just have to know how to listen to what your audience is already telling you.

The easiest and best thing to do is to tap your current readers for details, but even if your list is small, you still have lots of options.

Let’s see how to discover your audience goals and roadblocks.

1. Mine Your Readers’ Emails and Blog Post Comments

Gather up and read through feedback you’ve already received from your readers through email or comments on your blog.

2. Go Ahead and Ask Them by Email

Send your readers an email and ask them what their biggest frustration or obstacle is right now, and how you can best help them.

3. Look For Clues Left in Public Places

Read the discussions in online forums in your niche as well as on sites like Quora. Amazon book reviews on your topic are also enlightening.

Whatever source you use, look for statements that start with phrases like:

“I wish…”

“I’d love to…”

“Someday I’d like…”

“I’m frustrated by…”

“I can’t seem to get past (barrier or challenge)…”

“I hate it when…”

Collect your responses into a spreadsheet or document and look for commonalities.

Then choose a much-wanted accomplishment that you know your readers can achieve if they complete certain steps.


  • Gardeners — Grow a year-round indoor herb garden
  • Personal finance — Build an emergency fund
  • Career — Get your next promotion

Step 2: List the Steps Needed to Reach the Goal

Once you’ve found a desirable end goal, list out all the steps that your readers need to take to get there from where they are now.

You’ll find your audience’s objectives, stumbling blocks and challenges in these steps. Once you know these, you’ll be able to look for products to help your readers along their way.

Let’s use our example of the indoor herb garden.

The steps your readers need to take probably look something like this:

  1. Find sunny or well-lighted spots in your home
  2. Get the right kind of pots with drainage
  3. Use a good potting soil
  4. Choose plants that will thrive indoors
  5. Find a good fertilizer
  6. Transplant properly
  7. Water and humidify correctly

Sound about right? Good.

Now you can start identifying your audience’s needs.

Step 3: Determine What They Need to Get Ahead

Look at each of the steps you’ve outlined and figure out what types of tools or resources your readers need to accomplish each step.

They might need physical products such as fertilizer, or they may need software, services or knowledge that they can get from a course or book.

Any tools or resources that are either essential to success or dramatically increase its chances (or provide greater ease or speed) are good candidates for affiliate sales.

Here are some examples for specific groups:

  • Gardeners — pots, tools, fertilizer, potting soil, reference books, a course including how-to videos
  • Emergency fund builders — a separate bank account, places to sell their old stuff, tips for making money on the side, financial planning services, an ebook on saving money on major purchases, a course on changing money habits
  • Job seekers — a book on salary negotiation, resume rewriting services, a course on professional networking using LinkedIn

Here are some recommendations for each of the main blogging niches to help you generate ideas of your own:

  1. Business and Entrepreneurship — Productivity apps, business growth courses, masterminds, books and ebooks
  2. Career — Resume and cover letter services, aptitude or personality assessments, courses and ebooks on networking and negotiation, mastermind and networking group memberships
  3. Creative Endeavors — Media services, website and online services, marketing courses, virtual assistant services
  4. Freelancing — Writing and marketing courses and memberships, ebooks, training programs
  5. Gadgets and Technology — Physical products, apps, software, games
  6. Marketing — Lead generation tools, CRM services, email services, website services
  7. News, Culture, and Entertainment — Movie streaming apps and memberships, restaurant/food review apps, music subscriptions, toys, games, hobbies
  8. Parenting — Physical products, courses, support groups, memberships to discount sites
  9. Personal Finance — Budgeting or accounting software or apps, courses, membership sites, newsletter subscriptions
  10. Self-Improvement — Books and ebooks, courses, tracking apps, coaching services, masterminds
  11. Social Media and Blogging — Hosting services, WordPress themes, email service providers, web services, media services

Using these examples as a guide, brainstorm a list of all the products that you think would help your audience the most.

We’ll narrow down your list in the next step.

Step 4: Choose a Product to Promote as an Affiliate

As an ethical blogger, you’ll always be constrained in the products you choose to represent in one of two ways:

  • Either you’re limited by your experience to products that you’ve used and liked, that have affiliate programs and that are a good fit for your audience, or
  • You’re constrained by the products you can get access to in order to evaluate them, either by buying them outright or getting a free sample or trial.

No matter which approach you take, expect to have to invest time and money into researching the best products for your audience.

Here are your three options, listed in order of preference (with your best option listed first).

Option #1: Promote Products You Already Know and Love

This is probably the most common way bloggers get started with affiliate sales.

You become an affiliate for something that you’ve used yourself, had a good experience with, thoroughly tested and feel good recommending. You should be fairly confident that others will get the same results you did (or better), as long as they do the work.

If you’ve found great success from a course, mastermind, or ebook that your readers could also benefit from, it only makes sense for you to spread the word and share your results.

Do an inventory of the products, services and courses you already have experience with. You might have a list of a dozen or more.

Which of these would you be thrilled to promote? Cross out any that don’t fit the bill.

Now simply check to see if the merchant has an affiliate program (some won’t but you’ll probably be surprised at how many do).

Do a Google search for “affiliate program” + [product name], or simply email the merchant and ask.

Then run your remaining options through this Good Affiliate Product checklist:

  • You’ve previewed the product so you know its quality (given, in this case).
  • They have a solid refund policy that you trust they’ll honor.
  • They provide good customer support (and you’ve tested it).
  • You have a good story to share about your experience with the product.
  • The offer fits your audience’s needs and won’t abuse the trust you’ve built with them.

The products that tick all the checkboxes are your best opportunities for affiliate income. As time goes on, add as many of these products to your mix as you like.

You’ve found your first product! Apply using the merchant’s process and start promoting.

If you’re just dipping your toe in the water of affiliate marketing, this first option may be enough to get you started.

However, most bloggers will want to try one or both of the next two options, too.

(And you’ll have to explore these options if you don’t have an existing product you love that is also a great match for your audience and offers an affiliate program.)

Option #2: Partner with Influencers to Represent Their Products

As mentioned earlier, one of the best ways for you to build relationships with the authorities in your niche is to promote their products to your audience.

So if you don’t have any product, course or service in mind already, try this approach next.

Start by asking for recommendations from people you trust. Spy on your favorite influencers’ sites to see what they have to offer. Check each product’s social proof and testimonials and see if they pass the Good Affiliate Product checklist above.

Bloggers who have affiliate programs will often have an application process (sometimes formal, sometimes not) that you can go through to be approved.

Usually, you’ll need to show that:

  • You have a decent-sized email list.
  • You’re serious about producing content on a regular basis.
  • There’s a good fit between your audience and the influencer’s audience.

If you have all of these things in place, you can approach the influencer and simply ask. Sometimes — especially if they already know you — they’ll even approach you first and offer.

Also, it helps if you’ve been building a relationship with the influencer prior to asking them to become an affiliate.

If you want to work with top influencers doing huge, Jeff Walker-style launches, you might need to invest months or years in building those relationships.

Note: Requesting an interview is a great way to start getting to know an influencer. After that, just keep nurturing your relationship and building your list. You will probably need 5,000-10,000 subscribers to start gaining attention from the biggest authorities.

Good product candidates (ones that could become core offerings) will fill a vital need for your audience:

  • They’ll move them past some step that they’re struggling with.
  • They’ll provide assistance that your readers ask you for all the time in their emails and comments, but that you don’t (or can’t) yet provide yourself.
  • They’ll be tools or resources that are essential to completing the steps they need to take to succeed.

If the influencer is serious about building affiliate relationships, they may have program information on their website and/or they may have already mentioned the opportunity in emails to you.

If not, just ask!

Let them know that you’re familiar with their work and whether you’ve had positive experiences with their other products.

Here’s how to approach an influencer and get the scoop:

Subject: Possible affiliate relationship?

Hi [First Name],

I’m wondering, do you have an affiliate program for [course name, ebook, your services]?

I have a blog at [your blog] helping [audience] with [mission]. I’ve got [X number] email subscribers and good engagement from my list.

I’ve [followed your blog/read your book/taken your related course/used your related service] and [say a little about the results you’ve achieved]. It seems that [prospective affiliate product] could also be a good fit for my audience.

Is there any way I can review [product] to be sure?

Let me know. It would be great to be able to help my readers [achieve desirable result] with [product name].

Best,[Your Name]

If you don’t already know any influencers in your niche offering what you’re looking for, try a Google search for

“affiliate” + [product] or [topic] or [company]

For example, a search for “affiliate build emergency fund” shows these results:

affiliate search

Out of this list, the Busy Budgeter looks promising.

You could check their site to see whose products they are promoting, and look into whether it would be right for your readers, too.

If you find some excellent products using these first two options and want to stop here, you’re all set.

However, if you want to keep exploring opportunities (now or in the future), go ahead and move on to Option #3.

Option #3: Find Products via an Affiliate Network

If you don’t have any direct experience with or knowledge of products in your niche that could help your readers, you can often find good affiliate products on affiliate networks.

But be aware — this approach requires that you invest time into research and money into purchasing products to try out, more so than the first two options.

That’s because there’s less trust and prior knowledge involved from the outset. You have to do your due diligence to protect your reputation and the credibility you’ve built with your readers.

When you work through a network, you typically won’t know the merchant ahead of time and usually won’t build a relationship with them (your business relationship is with the network).

Two of the most popular and reliable affiliate networks are Clickbank and Amazon Associates.

As one of the biggest affiliate networks, Clickbank represents physical products as well as digital downloads. Be sure to research and test potential affiliate products the best you can before signing on. There’s a lot of junk on Clickbank, but there are high quality products as well.

Buy products that look promising and test them. Most aren’t very expensive.

As usual, review all potential products through the Good Affiliate Potential checklist.

Here are a some specific tips for finding affiliate products on Clickbank:

  • Review the steps your readers must take and decide what major category your solutions will fall under — for example, business, computers, health and fitness, etc.
  • Look for a gravity score of 30 or more, because these products have a proven track record of selling well for a number of different affiliates. Products, especially new products, with gravity scores under 30 may work but are more risky. Gravity scores of greater than 100 mean the product’s popular. You could have competition, but don’t worry about that. The important thing is that there’s lots of demand.
  • Look for commissions of 65% or greater, or at least $18 per sale.
  • The product’s description will specify if they offer a $1 trial (not all will).
  • Check out each product’s return policy as well.
[If you’d like more information specifically on Clickbank, check out this comprehensive guide from Authority Hacker.]

Here are some tips for finding affiliate products on Amazon:

  • You can find digital downloads, including books, courses and more, in the Amazon Associates affiliate program.
  • Look for at least 20+ reviews. Read the reviews carefully.
  • Again, if you decide to promote physical products, try to find high-quality, high-value, specialized or unique products that your audience will appreciate — mediocre or poor-quality products will reflect badly on you.

You can review and vet products on your blog for quality and value, saving your readers time and headaches. You may even be able to claim a tax write-off for the expense of any purchase.

Aside from Clickbank and Amazon, there are many good networks to find physical goods:

  • Many online retailers have affiliate programs, including Target and Walmart. Your best bet is to check with your favorite retailers.
  • Commission Junction has a wide range of products from mostly quality sellers.

Once you find a product or two that are likely to be great offers, you need to apply and get approval.

Step 5: Get Yourself Set Up as an Affiliate

Whether you work directly with a merchant or through a network, you’ll have to apply, be approved and provide certain information so that you can be paid.

At a minimum you’ll need to provide:

  • Your personal/business contact information for tax and reporting purposes
  • Your bank account where commissions will be sent

In turn, the merchant must provide you with:

  • An affiliate link. Whenever you post about the product, you’ll use this trackable link. It will have a long tag at the end of each link that includes your affiliate ID.

Here’s what some typical affiliate links look like.

Example link that directs to the merchant’s home page

Example link to another page on the merchant’s site

You’ll also usually get some tips and useful assets for marketing the product (often found in a welcome guide or on the affiliate reporting site).

These could include:

  • An affiliate guide as well as instructions on how to use the platform and summary of policies such as payment
  • Marketing tools like banners and sidebar graphics
  • Sample email/webpage swipe copy
  • Ongoing communications from the merchant about promotions, new products, etc.

If you use a network like Amazon, you’ll get your own link for each of the specific products you promote.

Be sure to check your specific network’s help or support pages for more information.

Tip: If your audience is global (which many bloggers’ are), you might want to check out geniuslink for tracking overseas sales through Amazon, iTunes and Microsoft Store.

Step 6: Start Promoting Your Chosen Affiliate Products

Few things destroy a good relationship with your audience as quickly as too many pushy sales messages. The last thing you want is for readers to think you care more about squeezing every last penny out of them than you do about helping them succeed.

So make sure to balance out your offers with lots of valuable non-promotional content. Every once in a while (say, every one in four emails) you can include a specific call to action to ask your readers to buy a product.

Remember, free content builds a reservoir of goodwill with your readers. Keep filling that well by giving and people will be much more open to sales-related emails when you send them.

In addition to emailing your list, you’ll also cross-promote your offers in many different ways, at different times and through different media.

Many of these promotional efforts will be “soft sells” — links, reviews, resource pages or informational posts added specifically to gently guide your readers toward products that they may need.

Start off by collecting all the social proof that you can:

  • Quotes from readers on their successes using the affiliate products
  • Testimonials from others (i.e., not your readers) who’ve enjoyed success
  • Your own results using the product

Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income recommends becoming an authoritative, credible source of information on the products that you sell.

But what does that mean exactly?

Well, people are often a little skeptical of the information they find about a product on the merchant’s own site, assuming it’ll always paint a glowing picture. This means you have an opportunity for your blog to become the go-to destination for more even-handed information about the product, describing its positive and negative points.

Let’s see your options for promoting your affiliate products.

Option #1: Add Affiliate Links in Key Places on Your Blog

Don’t let your biggest asset go to waste. Make the most of your website’s real estate by using these tried-and-true methods to get your readers’ attention:

  • Use a Resource page — Resource pages can be very effective when you drive traffic to them from posts, guest posts or other promotional efforts.
  • Promote your products in a sidebar on your blog — Sidebars are less effective than they used to be, but using one may still be worthwhile.
  • Use Hellobar or a popup or exit gate — These marketing tools (often WordPress plugins) can be very effective.

Here’s an example of ProBlogger’s resource page:

Problogger blogging resources

Option #2: Create and Promote Custom Content

Custom content strategies will be the backbone of your affiliate promotional efforts.

Use as many of the following different strategies as make sense for your blog and audience.

Note: All of these strategies assume that you are already sending traffic to the latest content you’re creating by emailing your list on a regular basis (at least two to four times per month) to let them know what’s new.
A) Write Reviews

You can write detailed reviews of products, courses, books or software products you promote as an affiliate.

Your reviews can focus on a single product or compare competing products side-by-side.

The second approach arguably builds more trust and gives you the opportunity to promote multiple products at the same time, giving your readers the information they need to choose between them.

B) Write Definitive Content on a Related Topic

You can write a definitive, comprehensive post on your site to educate your readers and “soft sell” your products.

For instance, you could write an ultimate guide to setting up a WordPress blog and include your affiliate links to your favorite hosting providers.

Whatever the topic, make sure that it’s evergreen content — information that’s likely to be useful and valuable for years to come.

You can create blog posts, videos, infographics or anything similar — but whatever you do, it should not be a sales page.

Finally, your content must be excellent — make sure it’s an authoritative list post, an epic how-to post, an ultimate guide or some otherwise epic content.

C) Write Guest Posts to Promote Your Definitive Content

The advantage with writing content for someone else’s blog is that you get to tap into their (hopefully large) audience.

When looking for potential targets, make sure that the host blog’s readers are likely to be interested in your post’s topic and looking for solutions to problems your affiliate products can solve.

Also, do your research to check that the host blog gets a fair number of comments and/or social media shares and that they credit and link to guest authors.

Most blogs won’t allow the author to include their own affiliate links (but it’s worth checking). The next best thing is to link to the definitive content on your own blog, either naturally within the body of your post or in your author’s bio.

D) Conduct Interviews

You can interview people who’ve had great success using the product so that your audience can hear their stories — think of it as a kind of audio testimonial.

If the merchant is an individual rather than a company, you can also invite them to chat about how their product works and why your readers will find it useful.

E) Create Valuable Bonus Content

Assuming it’s allowed by your affiliate agreement (sometimes it’s not), you can create bonus content, exclusive to your readers, that helps people get even more value from the affiliate product.

People love bonuses! You can create many types of bonuses fairly quickly and easily while still giving your readers excellent value.

By the way, this is a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from other bloggers representing the same products.

Here are some example bonuses you could offer:

  • Step-by-step checklists
  • Quick-start guides
  • Video overviews or demos
  • Complementary or discounted services (e.g., coaching calls)

Option #3: Craft Promotional Emails for Your Subscribers

Your email list is your biggest asset when it comes to driving traffic to your offers.

Assuming you’re already emailing your list on a regular basis — for example, every Tuesday, every two weeks, etc. — you can also run occasional promotions where you email your readers more frequently.

If your mailing list software allows it, you can segment interested readers onto a separate interest list, so that only people who raise their hands will receive your free informational and promotional emails.

But even if you can’t segment your list, you’ll want to provide lots of valuable content and build anticipation for your product offers.

Here are some quick ideas:

  • Promote your offers indirectly by sending emails linking to your free content (blog posts, reviews, etc.).
  • Offer occasional special deals exclusive to your readers (discounts, bonuses, etc.).
  • Run “social proof” giveaways — ask your readers to share their experience with your process or product in return for a chance to win.

If you’re promoting a low-priced product like an ebook, digital download or hosted service on an ongoing basis, you might do something as simple as using a P.S. or signature link in your regular emails, with occasional emailed links to custom content.

For courses, masterminds, services or higher-earning products, you might do something closer to an official launch once per year with softer launches once per quarter.

And of course, always follow your merchants’ lead. If they run major launches twice a year, for example, you can participate in those and take advantage of the natural momentum these launches often create.

You may have a different promotion plan for each product.

Example Email Sequence

Custom email sequences are especially effective for your core products.

You’ll usually send out a series of five to seven emails spread out over a timeframe spanning a week or two.

These can be run in parallel with your normal blog emails or you can “pause” your regular content for the duration of the sequence.

A sample seven-email series might look like this:

  1. A welcome email (if they’ve joined a new interest list) or a content-rich email talking about the problem the product solves
  2. More helpful content (no selling)
  3. First mention of the product, positioning it in relation to the problem, with a link to a sales page
  4. More free content with advice that’s valuable regardless of whether the reader buys the product, also including another link to the product
  5. A “bigger sell” to incentivise the reader to buy using scarcity (e.g., “Only 50 places available”) or time urgency (e.g., “This deal ends in 48 hours”) *
  6. Additional helpful information, testimonials and/or social proof, and a reminder that time is running out
  7. An eleventh-hour last call to let readers know that the offer is closing soon

* Warning: Only use scarcity or urgency tactics if they are genuine and you intend to stick to the limits or deadlines. Telling readers a deal ends for good at midnight, then offering it again the following week, is a surefire way to lose their trust.

The important thing here is to try different approaches for each product, see what your audience responds to best, and don’t give up!

Option #4: Run Exclusive Live Events

Finally, you can run live events to introduce your audience to your products.

Webinars are the most popular way to do this, and you can host them on your own or as a joint venture with the merchant. (Usually, though, merchants will only participate if you can attract a certain number of attendees.)

If there’s already strong interest from your readers in a particular product, you can make it the focus of your webinar, giving attendees one of the following:

  • An interactive walk-through showing how you use the product, including tips and tricks you’ve learned along the way
  • A demonstration of specific features of particular interest to your readers
  • A personal case study of the results you achieved using the product

More typically, the webinar will focus on a particular outcome that the audience wants to achieve and then position the product as a way to achieve those results more easily or quickly.

A common way to separate webinar content from product content is using the webinar to explain what you need to do to achieve a certain goal, and leaving the product to dive into (or facilitate) the how.

Importantly, the webinar should be valuable even to people who don’t end up buying the product.

To give an example, if you were promoting a software product that automates blogger outreach, your webinar could talk about high-level strategies for outreach that attendees could implement manually, then position the product as a time-saver that lets you focus on the relationship-building instead of the initial outreach.

Tip: to get the most from a live event, remember to publish and promote your webinar replays for people who weren’t able to attend first time around.

Don’t Forget to Track Everything to Discover What’s Working Best

Whichever options you choose for promoting your affiliate products, you’ll want to know which are producing the best results.

Pat Flynn recommends Pretty Link for this. You can create clean, easy-to-use-and-remember links plus get analytics so you can see exactly where people are coming from and what strategies are working best for you.

Most importantly of all, be patient. Don’t expect to get any of this right the first time out. Keep building a strong foundation of content and continually test and try new things.

Step 7: Comply with Legal Requirements (and Best Practices)

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that you let people know you’ll earn a commission.

But even if it isn’t required by law where you’re located, we recommend it. It’s just good business.

Don’t be afraid to be transparent. People will appreciate your honesty and want to support you to repay you for making their lives better.

So wherever you share an affiliate link, whether it’s in blog posts, web pages, or emails, let your readers know that you stand to earn a small commission if they buy through you — and if they choose not to use your link, no worries.

Assure them that you wouldn’t recommend any products if you hadn’t used them yourself or were confident they could help them.

It’s also a good idea to create an Affiliate Disclaimer page on your website.

Here’s an example of our own disclaimer page at Smart Blogger:

affiliate disclaimer

We’re also clear on how those affiliate links might look within blog posts.

affiliate link

And finally, thank people before and after for using your links.


Start Up Your Affiliate Marketing Machine and Get Monetizing

That dream you’ve had of making money while you sleep isn’t just a silly fantasy.

It’s a completely achievable reality.

Sure, it’s not as easy as pushing a magic button, but with a little knowledge and persistence you can definitely do it.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to start earning an income from your blog once you’ve gotten a respectable following.

And the best news is that it’s so easy to get started. All the steps are spelled out in this post.

Simply identify the one big thing everyone in your audience needs to reach their goals and start there.

Choose a great digital product that you believe in and share it. Tell the story of your successes.

Provide lots of valuable content that helps and educates your readers, and take care not to be too salesy.

Be honest and transparent. Nurture the trust that readers place in you.

And finally, be patient.

All your efforts will pay you back with that sweet “cha-ching” of overnight deposits into your bank account.

About the Author: Leanne Regalla is a content writer and strategist for membership-based businesses at Writing That Resonates. Quickly avoid the common mistakes that bore your readers and drive potential customers away with her Compelling Business Writing Checklist.


  1. Abdul Jawula
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 09:25:48

    This is so good it could be published as a book. Easily the best post on affiliate marketing I have ever seen. I will need to take some time off one weekend and go through this and implement properly.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:14:44

      Thanks Abdul. Good luck and let us know how it goes for sure.

      • Shekhar
        Dec 19, 2016 @ 03:32:21

        He is right actually. Dear Leanne, this is an amazing piece of information. Is it possible that you somehow put some pdf link for this post with you watermark of course.
        PS : An ebook is what awaits.
        Thanks & Regards,

    • Sandipan
      Dec 13, 2016 @ 08:46:51

      Truly I found this to be the most comprehensive information on affiliate marketing on the web. Great resource for someone like me who is just beginning to experiment with affiliate marketing on the web. Deserve to be published as a book.

  2. Elvis Michael
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 10:16:22

    Leanne, this is absolute gold. I had rarely ever seen such a detailed guide (coincidentally, this very article could be sold as an affiliate product) :p

    Although i haven’t toyed with affiliates in a while, I DO have one or two still spread out here and there. The results never cease to amaze me.

    There’s a link for “Grammarly” that i have on my blog, for example, which (quite frankly) I had forgotten about. That is, until I suddenly received over $150 earlier this year seemingly out of the blue. This followed again with another $100 a few months later.

    While these amounts are not in the thousands, it still goes to show how a product (shown to the right audience) can have powerful results. So just imagine, what if i were a lot more active as opposed to passive?

    Thanks for the superb read. I will actually have to come back to re-read it to ensure every ounce of detail sticks with me 🙂

    Nice to meet you, and have a wonderful day!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:18:16

      >>So just imagine, what if i were a lot more active as opposed to passive?

      That’s exactly it, Elvis. I’ve also been guilty of taking a haphazard approach to promoting affiliate offers. Hopefully this post will help you come up with a solid strategy and steady earnings.

      Thanks and nice to meet you too! 🙂

  3. Javier
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 10:44:59

    Your blog post is 100% affiliate-oriented. Could you please publish a Part 2, but this time being merchant-oriented? I’m a merchant and I’m interested in creating an affiliate program, but I don’t know how, and unfortunately your post didn’t help me either.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:20:42

      You’re right, Javier – the Smart Blogger audience is mostly beginning and intermediate bloggers and online businesses. The merchant side is more of an advanced topic. But good suggestion. Maybe they’ll address the merchant side in the future.

  4. Ryan Biddulph
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:01:20

    Hi Leanne,

    Your Golden Rule rings true. What an inspired post.

    You can sell affiliate stuff if you did not use the stuff but a high, high, high, really high level of clarity is required to do this. Most bloggers lack this clarity. I recall Tony Robbins selling/being an affiliate for a $25K coaching class. Never took it. Never sat in it. But the guy made millions. He had full clarity in selling without seeing. So he rocked out the selling.

    If you get THAT clear and believe in some product, go ahead. Your audience trusts your word. But most folks need to use or experience before they can get clear, because they have a fear: the fear of using trust. I am slowly losing that fear but still use what I promote, before I promote it. I also just sell my stuff mainly. Since I have quite a few products and eBooks and services to sell.

    Thanks Leanne, fantastic post.


    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:26:10

      Yes, Ryan, you’re right. I’m sure we can find examples. But it’s probably best for us mere mortals to be a bit more careful during our first 20-25 years or so. 😉

      You’re welcome – glad you found it valuable!

  5. dawn oconnor
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:05:08

    Thanks for this, so much information, you really know your stuff

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:27:13

      A lot of research went into this, Dawn, to make sure we were giving all the best info.

      Hope it helps you!

  6. Zarayna
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:18:22


    Thank you so much for this early Christmas gift.
    As I am up to my eyes in jingle bells and other such festive nonsense, I intend to read your post later when I can give it the time it deserves.
    In the meantime, I thank you and take the opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and New Year. May your cash till jingle with well-deserved joy!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:28:13

      You’re welcome Zarayna and same to you!

  7. Anil Senveli
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:47:49

    I am mesmerized by the content and value of this ‘post’. I don’t want to call this a post because I have seen so many books, not even have half of the value of this. I will surely spend a couple of days to absorb all this information. Thank you so much for this wonderful guide, Leanne.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 15:19:02

      You’re very welcome, Anil. Best of luck to you – please do let me know how it works out for you.

  8. Quinn Eurich
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 11:49:01

    Hi Leanne,

    When Jon sent out his survey months ago, this is something I requested. Wow! This is wonderful and I’m going to go brew of cup of tea, get a biscuit or two, my favorite pen and a pad, and go through it again!

    Do you know how hard it is to drink a cup of tea while you’re smiling?

    Many thanks, this is just terrific and I am so looking forward to making money in this way!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 15:20:36

      Glad to hear it, Quinn! Go get ’em! 🙂

  9. Joanna Jast
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 12:01:37


    Great guide! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I’m at this stage in my blogging that I’ve started (carefully) dabbling in Affiliate marketing.

    It can be published as a book, and other people have already suggested what to include into ‘part 2’. As someone who has been asked by other people wanting to promote my products/serviced, I’d love to read about the merchant’s side of AM, e.g. various software that can be used, how to choose affiliate partners, what to include in the agreement, etc.

    So thank you again for a great guide and… looking forward to part 2!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 15:23:34

      You’re welcome, Joanna –

      You know, you’ll probably learn a lot about the merchant side of things if you just pay attention to what the merchants you represent are doing. What kinds of support they give you, how they follow up, what software they use, etc.

      Find the best and model them. I don’t think you can go wrong.

  10. Blaine Wilkerson
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 13:03:37

    Whoooaaa…You outdid yourself this time, Leanne!

    Finally, a post with info I can actually apply to my business today, and with confidence to boot.

    My first couple online businesses were affiliate-based. The second one generated $10k-$25k in sales, which meant a steady $1k-$2.5k in monthly profit.

    And, you’re right…

    …the research and setup are the most important and time consuming pieces of that “engine”. I’m glad you address it ‘cos I strongly recommend spending at least half of your time (or more) on making sure you are ethically delivering a solid and useful product/service to your audience.

    Anything less (i.e., shortcuts) is an exercise in futility.

    Thank you for all your hard work. You nailed it — a truly fantastic post!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 20:46:46

      Hi Blaine,

      Thanks so much! I really hoped this would be one post people could use right away. Also, it’s great to get confirmation from people like you who have been there, done that.

      I started out only selling stuff that i had used myself. So that was directly from experience. But you’re right, in order to branch out and be ethical (and smart) about it you have to invest the time. (I’ve been burned as well.)

      Appreciate the insight!

  11. Hassaan Khan
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 14:05:41

    Hi, Leanne!

    I’m thrilled. I loved it. I was actually looking to find something like that. Affiliate marketing isn’t easy. I’m learning that you have to invest a lot of energy, effort, and testing into this before anything works for you. It’s quite a process. And your guest post is surely a lightning rod.

    Thank you so much!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 15:25:28

      Hi Hassaan,

      Yes, it can be a bit of work but it’s also well worth it. Keep trying different things. Glad this post could be a jump start to your own efforts.

  12. Donna Zitzelberger
    Dec 08, 2016 @ 16:31:05

    Awesome post – more info here than in a course or book. And, right to the point. Love it. This is going in my files. Thanks so much!!

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 08, 2016 @ 17:16:08

      Yes, Donna – this should definitely be part of your plan! I probably already have a hundred ideas for you as well. 😉

  13. Peter
    Dec 09, 2016 @ 00:30:12

    Hi Leanne,
    Good point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. However, I would like to point out that the level of attention the course creator gives you (the endorser) and what they give to a random customer might be very different. There are so called marketing gurus out there who are extremely skilled at making false promises and not delivering on them. Once they have the endorsement of a few reputed marketers and some ‘lucky’ customers, they can easily get away with ripping other people off with hyped up money making guarantees. I have had a personal experience with this as a customer, but lets not mention names! The point is, when we are promoting someone, we need to do an in-depth due diligence. Only going through their course is not enough. It would be great if there was some kind of a course review site -something like tripadvisor. This is something that the industry really needs – something to make people accountable. A lot of people are losing faith in these online courses. I am staying away from promoting people unless I am very certain of their integrity.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 09, 2016 @ 14:50:40

      Hi Peter,

      I totally get where you’re coming from. I’ve had similar experiences and I’ve also learned the hard way. There are a whole lot of people who can do marketing and sales. There are much fewer truly excellent teachers. 😉

      I think our best bet is to be a student, complete the course, see the results, and then promote as an affiliate if the offer fits our audience.

      There are bound to be bumps along the way, despite our best efforts. Find the gold and leave the rest.

  14. Mi Muba
    Dec 09, 2016 @ 02:24:37

    Hi Leanne
    I think it could rightly be called a Bible on affiliate marketing. While reading it I minutely monitored every topic to find anything you missed but found nothing which you missed.
    The three stages blogging and your suggested course of action as an affiliate is a guiding beacon for those who do start it but without knowing where they are and where they should be pick any of the three strategies.
    Many thanks for sharing such a comprehensive post on the topic that surely is going to become a history.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 09, 2016 @ 14:53:04

      My pleasure, Mi. Is there something you plan to start with as a result of learning those 3 stages?

      • Mi Muba
        Dec 10, 2016 @ 01:35:03

        Yeah; I found myself at stage 2 and seriously thinking to revive my email marketing to help my subscribers suggesting best products they really need. This I would do in addition to my blog consultancy business that’s already going well.

  15. Mark Tong
    Dec 09, 2016 @ 04:23:12

    Amazing guide Leanne – had to share it straight away! It’s not the length it’s the quality. So many useful tips – I’ve already added some to my affiliate file. Thanks!

  16. Sandy Rowley
    Dec 09, 2016 @ 22:45:21

    Holy Cow! what a great resource. I wish I had this when i first started affiliate marketing. I am looking for best SEO tools for my affiliate websites. Thanks so much!

  17. George B.
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 06:08:51

    Wow! Thank you for such a complete description of affiliate marketing. I just started casually blogging a few months ago and your post gives me a great view into just how much work is involved if I’m going to successfully monetize my blog. I just shared a short post titled “A Blogger’s Nightmare – 0 Active Users” commenting on having blog traffic…I definitely see that there’s a lot more involved! Thanks again.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 10, 2016 @ 10:35:36

      Definitely, George. It’s a journey. Take one step at a time, you’ll get there – probably faster than you would have done if you had experimented on your own without this info. Good luck!

      • George B.
        Dec 12, 2016 @ 09:17:47

        Thanks and yes, one step at a time (and probably a few back now that I’ve read your article 🙂 ). I hope that you have a great week!

  18. Hanro
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 06:14:10

    Wow. Just, wow.

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 10, 2016 @ 10:30:45

      Hope that’s a good “wow”, Hanro. 😉 Thanks!

  19. DNN
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 11:07:41

    Alot of ppl are still in the dark about this line of work. They still rely on their day jobs and unwilling to take a risk. Donald Trump took a risk by running for president. Why can’t other people who are unsure about Entrepreneurship lead by example and take a risk online in getting started in affiliate marketing and work from home? Truth is, most people are afraid of getting out of their emotional comfort zone and don’t want to explore the unknown. There’s a bundle of money to be made in this industry by faithful people who do the transformation business work and get started out of inspiration.

  20. yuvraj
    Dec 10, 2016 @ 17:52:23

    Hi Leanne,

    This is the most comprehensive post on affiliate marketing that I have read.

    I had a question, which blog niche is best suited for selling high ticket items over 200-500 dollars?

    • Leanne Regalla
      Dec 12, 2016 @ 10:28:13

      Hi Yuvraj. I think there is good earning potential in all the main niches if you really focus on helping your audience. What areas do you have the most expertise in?

  21. SM Nuruzzaman
    Dec 11, 2016 @ 00:49:43

    Hi Regalla,

    It’s an amazing post regarding affiliate marketing & truly this is one of the most complete guides on the subject.

    It was fascinating to get this great post this week. Your post just made me happy. Knowledge sharing is always awesome & you’ve done that extraordinarily this time.


  22. Brian King
    Dec 11, 2016 @ 16:20:31

    Hi Leanne,

    Thanks for all the hard word you have put into this post. It can’t be easy to cover such a broad topic with the clarity and flow you have achieved here.
    I particularly resonate with your point that ‘passive’ affiliate income is usually anything but, and takes time and ongoing attention to get results.

    This is one post I shall read and re-read to uncover all the hidden gems.


  23. Matt (Business Analyst)
    Dec 11, 2016 @ 18:18:49

    Great thorough post on affiliate marketing. been wondering whether to monetise my blog for a while and maintain trust. now i feel like i have a clear trusting action list. 🙂

  24. Suraj Kumar
    Dec 12, 2016 @ 01:00:00

    Hey Leanne,

    A wow should come from the heart of every blogger after reading this post. We will expect more masterpieces from you in the future also. It is amazing and very very useful post. This post includes the basic information of affiliate marketing.

    One should have the basic knowledge for the improvement of his business and this post provides all the content. It is valuable for the new born social media marketers. The ideas and information are basic and simple but this simple is awesome here. Many people including me, are hungry for the right information and this post is the absolutely the right diet for us.

    Thanks for sharing such a valuable post and keep posting.

    With regards,

    Suraj Kumar

  25. Junaid Shahid
    Dec 12, 2016 @ 01:33:43

    Thanks Leanne ! this is amazing guide i will to implement this all on my business, once again thanks for you guidance.

  26. Ravi Chahar
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 02:25:04

    Hey Leanne,

    You nailed it in the best possible way.

    People are jumping in the affiliate marketing pool. But there are a few who know the real way to accomplish their affiliate goals.

    I agree with your points. Especially, to use the product without start selling it.

    Before you start selling anything, you should build the trust among your audience so that people can buy it from you.

    Everyone likes money but there are few people who are having the proper strategy for the affiliate marketing.

    Thanks for this wonderful guide.
    Have a great day.


  27. uthman saheed
    Dec 13, 2016 @ 17:51:00

    This is really a complete guide on affiliate marketing. I wonder what someone could be looking for without getting it here. Thanks

  28. Anuradha Chawla
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 02:23:58

    Great post Leanne, it’s always great to see affiliate marketing in a concise and to the point fashion. When using analytics to track conversions, what factors do you feel are the most important to focus on for affiliate marketers? Where do you see a lot of affiliate campaigns fall flat in terms of optimizing their campaigns?

  29. Pooja Verma
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 04:21:37

    Good Job Leanne.
    For someone who is struggling with affiliate marketing terms and techniques, this article is a perfect guide. This is really a knowledge booster article.

  30. Therese Sibon
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 09:39:20

    WOW!!! thank you SO MUCH – I was just starting to look into this and here appears a epic article (aka BOOK!). This is an article that I am keeping – as next year I am re-vamping my website, changing and growing and using this info and insight-laden post.

  31. James Orji
    Dec 14, 2016 @ 21:32:27

    Affiliate marketing just got easier with this article. You outlined everything that needed to be said. Thanks man.

  32. Jigar Patel
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 03:29:28

    Hi Leanne,

    Much appreciated!

    I can’t describe in words how much your post was helpful to me. In simple words, I got all my questions solution from this blog post.

    Affiliate marketing is sometimes headache. But your guide clears all my confusion and gives many tips.

    Thanks for sharing an informative post indeed.

  33. Deb Lane
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 12:11:31

    Wow! This is a great article, thank you for sharing! You have provided us with so many great tips and such a great amount of information on affiliate marketing, it is a great resource for those who are completely overwhelmed with all the different parts of the industry.

    What I realized with working from home and making money online is that the more people you genuinely help, the more money you end up making. Helping others to succeed will create you a large following of loyal customers. If you are sick of failing in this industry, frustrated with not getting any results or making sales, or having issues generating quality traffic, please contact me at:

  34. Brendon Maynze
    Dec 15, 2016 @ 20:33:54

    Thanks for such an insightful post 🙂 I’ve just created my first blog, and am planning to add some affiliate offers to it! Great guide, I will be sharing this with my fellow Internet markets!

  35. Jon Espina
    Dec 17, 2016 @ 11:16:05

    Hi Leanne,

    I agree that this is the most complete guide ever. Awesome post and a lot of value.

    I just started implementing some affiliate offers to my blog. And I agree that you have to find the balance of offering something to your readers without being too pushy or like what you said without selling your soul haha. For me sine my blog is about travel i just mention where I stayed or what hotel and if I liked it and I recommend it I put an affiliate link.

    Honestly, affiliate marketing is a never ending journet and education for me so I am really grateful of finding this post! Awesome value.


  36. Transport George | Onehalf AU
    Dec 18, 2016 @ 00:13:11

    Thanks Leanne for discussing the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. It offers bloggers an opportunity to earn extra income from their blog.

  37. Reno SEO
    Dec 18, 2016 @ 09:39:30

    Great post, Leanne. Thank you for sharing what you know about affiliate marketing. These tips are very important and we’ll never know this if it wasn’t for you.

  38. Anthony Glendale
    Dec 19, 2016 @ 13:02:29

    Hi Leanne,

    Truly I found this to be the most comprehensive information on affiliate marketing on the web. Worthy point about reviewing online courses before you promote them to protect your reputation. I have been burn before not taking this extra step and I eventually tested the product and turn out to be trash. Thanks for sharing!

    Wish everybody A Merry Christmas and New Year.

  39. Sandeep
    Dec 20, 2016 @ 00:29:01

    Great post Leanne. Cover all the points and very helpful to start affiliate marketing in different niches through blogging.

  40. Akshit Wadhwa
    Dec 23, 2016 @ 15:19:20

    Hey Leanne,

    Thanks Leanne for sharing this great affiliate marketing guide. It cover ups all the content which is Included in Affiliate Marketing. Once again thanks for sharing this great article.

    -Akshit Wadhwa

  41. Gambaran Neraka
    Dec 25, 2016 @ 21:57:08

    I am so very glad I found this website and read this post. I am so inexperienced in all this, but I do see that you take a totally different approach to the many others I have read. It is so refreshing. I will go back reread, study and apply.

    Thank you.

  42. Chandra
    Dec 27, 2016 @ 16:09:53

    I simply loved the step wise approach. Most other bloggers include only certain points and for newbies it’s difficult to connect the dots. But this one’s really great post

    Dec 29, 2016 @ 11:27:38

    HeyLeanne Regalla!

    This is the ultimate guide. I believe making money from affiliate not use for beginners. but your post changed that belief.
    Thanks for sharing.

  44. Kay
    Dec 30, 2016 @ 05:25:24


    It got to a point, this started to feel a little overwhelming!

    Awesome stuff Regella. 🙂

    I need to find a way to stop depending on display advertising income and get serious with more direct means.

    Time for PRO-active blogging.

    Thanks again.

  45. Sherman Smith
    Jan 01, 2017 @ 00:19:27

    Hey Leanne,

    This is a great post to help bring in the New Year!

    You put a lot of detail about affiliate marketing. I do it and I’ve learned a couple of things here.

    When you said this is the most complete guide ever in your title, you wasn’t joking! LOL

    Thanks for sharing! Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

  46. Mike
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 04:17:01

    Affiliate Marketing is just fabulous way to make money online. I love to sell web hosting and it is best for affiliate marketing.

  47. Emenike Emmanuel
    Jan 02, 2017 @ 20:11:31

    Most of the top bloggers I know who are making as much as $100k a month are all using affiliate marketing. That shows how important this thing is.

  48. Vijay Kumar
    Jan 03, 2017 @ 04:58:57

    Hey Leanne,
    Thanks for sharing your experience in the great world of affiliate marketing and yes, your right, affiliate marketing is good for us and our readers.

    ~ Vijay

  49. Rjoyce1011
    Jan 03, 2017 @ 09:04:14

    I was lost on how to make effective affiliate marketing. I joined an affiliate marketing before but no luck. What you have said enlightened me of what are the right things that I should have done before in order to make it effective. Thanks very much.

  50. Warren buffett
    Jan 03, 2017 @ 09:14:32

    Thank you for the easy to follow information and clear explanations. The sample disclosures will be quite helpful

  51. Alexa
    Jan 03, 2017 @ 14:27:26

    Another comment said this post is gold, and they are right! Thanks so much for sharing this. As a new blogger this definitely helps me out! I am sure I’ll be referring back to this post many times.

  52. Ezekiel Oluwafemi
    Jan 03, 2017 @ 16:48:15

    Thanks for this wonderful post Regalla. I really appreciate it.
    Please i want to ask you something or anybody that read my comment.
    Presently, am promoting clickbank affiliate and you know that you can’t really make money if you don’t give your targeted buyer something like giving them free report in exchange to their email.

    But i need another affiliate that is not like clickbank and not like amazon who pay very well. Like an email submit that i can place the banner on my site. Please i will appreciate if you can recommend one or two for me.

  53. Washington Reis de Freitas
    Jan 04, 2017 @ 06:06:01

    Amazing post!
    Good job!
    I started my blog 1 week ago and at the moment, I have 10 subscribers in my e-mail list haha.
    Thanks for the tips – it help me a lot.

  54. Johnson Emmanuel
    Jan 05, 2017 @ 06:06:56

    This is an epic content, thank you, Leanne! Recruiting affiliates for your own product is also a great way for growing your revenue but all affiliates are not created equal. So, it’s important you know what you doing.

  55. Jiya
    Jan 06, 2017 @ 02:06:19

    Thank you for detailed post. I am eagerly looking to start an affiliate website for Amazon products. Google search brought me on this page and I am happy to learn what the heck affiliate is all about. Looks like it is something I can do best now.

  56. Joe Elliott
    Jan 06, 2017 @ 17:15:27

    Hi Leanne

    This is a fantastic guide will definitely be using some these tips.

    I think its really important to start an email list as soon as possible. When you have subscribers that trust you making affiliate sales becomes easy!

    Thanks Again

  57. jacob wallace
    Jan 09, 2017 @ 08:21:24

    Absolutely love this series, thank you for all of the great info.

  58. Bright Joe
    Jan 10, 2017 @ 03:31:02

    I’m planning to start affiliate marketing, so I believe this guide will definitely help me out while carrying out my strategies to promote the products.

    Thanks for sharing this guide! 😀

  59. Angela Harris
    Jan 10, 2017 @ 23:11:00

    Thank you! I liked the way you worded this information so even a newbie can understand the process. Great information looking forward to more of the same.

  60. SM Nuruzzaman
    Jan 11, 2017 @ 03:26:06

    I’ve already written a comment about the greatness of this post and now here’s an updated comment.

    Yes, I’ve got tons of benefits with the post and now I wanna give you a big thank you.

    I hope that this post will be continuously helping me as well as other affiliate marketers.

    Wish you all the best,

  61. Mark Thompson
    Jan 11, 2017 @ 05:01:24

    Superb Article, I highly recommend becoming a service affiliate, over 6 years I earned over $100,000 from one recommendation in an email from a service.

    I recently wrote up some research I’ve recently completed where I took the income and traffic from over 100 sites and worked out the RPM for each site. The Median RPM (I removed the top and bottom 20% of sites) for Affiliate marketing was $155.14 which compared well against Adsense at $9.97.

    I also generated figures for Amazon associates, Amazon FBA and e-commerce

  62. Nitin
    Jan 11, 2017 @ 10:34:44

    Leanne, you are awesome. Thanks for the guide.
    Once upon a time I tried to be an affiliate marketer back in 2010. But I had no guidance where to start and go ahead properly. Eventually, I gave up. But after reading this article, I am thinking to start over once again.

  63. Sanjib Saha
    Jan 12, 2017 @ 13:33:07

    Great post. Currently, I am trying out Amazon affiliate and some CPA offers. Trying some paid ads – Google and Bing ads. I will try to get success this year with affiliate marketing.

  64. DNN
    Jan 22, 2017 @ 19:05:51

    One thing alot of ppl don’t know is that their small blog and writing about things that are passionate to their heart can yield them healthy affiliate income vs what they’re earning on the day job now in as little as 2 years. The key to success in affiliate marketing if you’re generating income via a content-based WordPress blog or static HTML website is to frequently update it with “lots and lots of content” Transformational content marketing in a specific niche is possible for anyone who has 0% experience writing online.

    The beauty of making money in affiliate marketing from blogging is that you can virtually write like a dog online and still get hordes of traffic from Bing, Google, and YaHoO, if you do the transformation business work and post fresh content everyday or every other day to your blog w/ affiliate ads around it. The money comes when least expected.

  65. Opudo Denis
    Jan 22, 2017 @ 23:58:51

    Great article about affiliate marketing. Personally, I have been in darkness about this but now am going to implement this. Hopefully, I will update you on my progress. You clearly outlined the steps, and I believe I can share this with my friends too who wish to work online. Am grateful mate.

  66. Nicoli Redmayne
    Jan 24, 2017 @ 00:09:24

    Great insights about affiliate marketing. It is very hard to sell products along with competent marketers and your video is very helpful specially for new marketers. Thanks for sharing.

  67. Aira Bongco
    Jan 26, 2017 @ 01:12:45

    Affiliate marketing is great for making money but not so much in creating your own brand. It is okay as a supplement but not as a main source of income. It is better to spend the same amount of effort building your own brand. You’ll be able to make more money that way.

  68. Ivan
    Jan 26, 2017 @ 01:15:53

    Affiliate marketing is great because it allows you to promote products without having to create them. Your only task is to promote it and the product owner can take care of everything else.

  69. BizEpic
    Jan 26, 2017 @ 01:18:04

    It is important to choose the products that you will promote though. Sometimes, promotion doesn’t have to be deliberate. It can be as simple as a recommendation of a product that worked for you. This is actually better in promoting products in affiliate marketing.

  70. jeremy
    Jan 27, 2017 @ 14:53:06

    This is a good article. Thanks for the tips. What is a hot product that you know of now that is working great to make money online you would say

  71. William
    Jan 27, 2017 @ 17:33:22

    Thank you for this information. This is truly a great article and I can see why you are successful hands down. You know what your talking about.

  72. Chris
    Jan 29, 2017 @ 19:44:08

    This is a really great post, Leanne. I just recently found this site and I’m really impressed by the quality of content on here. Thanks for writing such an in-depth guide to affiliate marketing.

  73. Meil @1up List Builder
    Jan 30, 2017 @ 22:59:15

    I do agree that affiliate marketing is the best way for bloggers to earn money online. Thanks for this handy guide.

  74. Rahul Yadav
    Jan 31, 2017 @ 02:31:52

    I always wanted to try Affiliate Marketing but had no clue on how to go about it. This article is awesome for someone like me. Looking forward to more of your posts. Thanks.

  75. dominator
    Feb 03, 2017 @ 12:35:54

    Very nice article! Affiliate marketing is perfect for bloggers as long as they offer quality content and are upfront about it. If people are willing to donate money to YouTubers via Patreon, why wouldn’t they buy something that they want or need through the site or blog of someone that offers them great content and support his or her efforts? It’s a win – win kind of deal.

  76. manish kumar
    Feb 06, 2017 @ 03:54:41

    I am running affiliate marketing on my blog. 70% of my income come from affiliates. I strongly recommend affiliate instead of adsense or other ads networks.