To visualize this, think about an employee at a department store. They get paid hourly, but they also get commissions when they make sales (depending on where they work). Ever notice how when you walk into a department store employees begin hovering around you? This is because they’re waiting for you to ask for help, so they can help you complete a purchase and make a commission. This “commission” is the core essence of affiliate marketing.
You should tell the participants in your network that if they endorse products they have received through your program, they should make it clear they got them for free. Advise your clients – the advertisers – that if they provide free samples directly to your members, they should remind them of the importance of disclosing the relationship when they talk about those products. Put a program in place to check periodically whether your members are making those disclosures, and to deal with anyone who isn’t complying.

7. It’s an Investment that Matures Over Time – My approach with Amazon is to treat it a little like a savings account or an investment that you put a little into each week and which matures in it’s earnings over time. What do I mean by this? I add links to Amazon over time and find that in doing so I’m creating more and more doorways into the Amazon store. Each time I do I increase the chances of sending someone to Amazon and seeing returns on those visits.
3. People Buy More than One Item – the great thing about Amazon is that you don’t just earn a commission on the product that you people to, but anything that they buy once they’re at Amazon. I did an experiment earlier in the year where I published a review of a digital photography book on my blog and placed a tracking code in the link to see how much the review earned me specifically. What I found was that the product in the review did quite well – but the sales of other products that people made once they got to Amazon was actually much greater than the sales of the actual book. People went on to buy all manner of products (other books, electronics, cosmetics etc) – I earned a commission on each one of them – now that’s passive income. You earn a commission on anything that a person buys within 24 hours of you sending them to Amazon.
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Unfortunately I am unable to understand what niche I should select. I have hobbies like swimming and badminton but the competition is too much. I am also interested in toys as a product but I am very confused if it will work for me or not. I was wondering if you could help me select a niche from the above 3 choices so that I get a push and can begin to make a website to earn money online.
Nowhere is that truer than in the online business world. Right now, it is happening with Amazon announcing a March 1st site-wide rollout of commission structure change for their affiliates (they have officially announced this change here). The way the commission structure used to work was that affiliates earned a percentage on a sliding scale based on the volume of products they sell, capping at 8.5% as the highest tier.
8.1. You are free to promote your own web sites, but naturally any promotion that mentions Merchant.com could be perceived by the public or the press as a joint effort. You should know that certain forms of advertising are always prohibited by Merchant.com. For example, advertising commonly referred to as "spamming" is unacceptable to us and could cause damage to our name. Other generally prohibited forms of advertising include the use of unsolicited commercial email (UCE), postings to non-commercial newsgroups and cross-posting to multiple newsgroups at once. In addition, you may not advertise in any way that effectively conceals or misrepresents your identity, your domain name, or your return email address. You may use mailings to customers to promote Merchant.com so long as the recipient is already a customer or subscriber of your services or web site, and recipients have the option to remove themselves from future mailings. Also, you may post to newsgroups to promote Merchant.com so long as the news group specifically welcomes commercial messages. At all times, you must clearly represent yourself and your web sites as independent from Merchant.com. If it comes to our attention that you are spamming, we will consider that cause for immediate termination of this Agreement and your participation in the Merchant.com Affiliate Program. Any pending balances owed to you will not be paid if your account is terminated due to such unacceptable advertising or solicitation.
20.4 In addition, in the event of a breach of this E-mail Marketing and Endorsements provision by Affiliate and/or a third party or licensee, in addition to all other remedies available to it, GenealogyBank.com shall have the right to refuse to make payments to an Affiliate as a result of the Affiliate's efforts promoting GenealogyBank.com, which efforts cannot be verified by Affiliate as having complied with the terms and conditions of this E-mail Marketing and Endorsements provision. Affiliate agrees to indemnify, defend and hold GenealogyBank.com harmless from any cost, expense or liability arising out of any breach or alleged breach of your obligations under this E-mail Marketing and Endorsements provision.

As for your question about which affiliate program to join, I cannot give you an answer for that because that’s totally depends on the niche you’re in. I’m not familiar with your niche so I can’t give you any recommendation for that. That’s for individual private affiliate programs. You can also check out the common affiliate networks like Amazon, ClickBank, Shareasale, CJ, all these.


In addition, the Guides say, if there’s a connection between an endorser and the marketer that consumers would not expect and it would affect how consumers evaluate the endorsement, that connection should be disclosed. For example, if an ad features an endorser who’s a relative or employee of the marketer, the ad is misleading unless the connection is made clear. The same is usually true if the endorser has been paid or given something of value to tout the product. The reason is obvious: Knowing about the connection is important information for anyone evaluating the endorsement.
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.
Hosting – I suggest joining the WordPress Hosting and WordPress Speed Up Facebook Group and see what real (unbiased) people are saying about hosting. SiteGround was #1 in multiple Facebook polls and #1 in most Facebook conversations (this one too). People who migrate usually see significant load time improvements especially if they’re currently using Godaddy/EIG. I use their semi-dedicated GoGeek plan which comes with 4x more server resources than regular shared hosting (#1 factor in WordPress Optimization Guide) and have <1s load times with 100% scores in GTmetrix/Pingdom. SiteGround also does free migrations.
From time to time, we may impose limits on Associates’ opportunity to earn Standard Program Fees or Special Program Fees. For the avoidance of doubt (and notwithstanding any time period), Amazon reserves the right to discontinue or modify all or part of any limitation at any time. For Program Fee Limitations, please see the Appendix (“Program Fee Limitations”).

There are many ways in which you can make money with WordPress. Creating a website for the purposes of promoting a business or selling goods through an online store is one such way. Monetizing a blog with display ads is another. While there are other ways in which you can use your WordPress site to make money, perhaps one of the easiest ones to get started with is affiliate marketing.
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Affiliates were among the earliest adopters of pay per click advertising when the first pay-per-click search engines emerged during the end of the 1990s. Later in 2000 Google launched its pay per click service, Google AdWords, which is responsible for the widespread use and acceptance of pay per click as an advertising channel. An increasing number of merchants engaged in pay per click advertising, either directly or via a search marketing agency, and realized that this space was already occupied by their affiliates. Although this situation alone created advertising channel conflicts and debates between advertisers and affiliates, the largest issue concerned affiliates bidding on advertisers names, brands, and trademarks.[35] Several advertisers began to adjust their affiliate program terms to prohibit their affiliates from bidding on those type of keywords. Some advertisers, however, did and still do embrace this behavior, going so far as to allow, or even encourage, affiliates to bid on any term, including the advertiser's trademarks.
Affiliate marketing has a very low barrier to entry; many merchants accept everyone who applies for affiliation. Some forms of affiliate marketing don't even require the affiliate to have a website. This creates a very high level of competition, especially for particularly profitable offers. In forums where affiliates participate, there are frequent claims of commission theft or hijacking by other affiliates and even by merchants. A cookie system that credits the sale to the last link clicked makes these actions more likely.
I could have promoted WP Engine (hosting company) for $200/sale with no tier program to climb – sounds pretty good right? But when I checked ShareASale I saw their reversal rates were 24%! Just to give you an idea SiteGround’s reversals are less than 10%. WP Engine starts at $29/month while SiteGround’s is $3.95/month, plus SiteGround has a better reputation. I had to climb a tier program to get SiteGround’s $150/sale, but long-term my research paid off.
Use Deep Links – these are pages on your affiliate’s website that AREN’T the homepage. For SiteGround’s hosting I link a lot to their speed technology page as an affiliate link. If you’re doing Amazon’s affiliate program you just want to gather a list of products you will be recommending to readers, create an affiliate link for each one, and import them to the plugin.
These strategic buys can lead to new insightful data as well. You will see other products within your niche that the audience is prone to buy, which can help you in deciding to launch your next product. Also, each of these sites can become little satellite sites that can collect emails for your overall brand. This strategy is not at all new, and Jon Haver from Authority Website Income has already written a detailed post about the concept here.

Thanks for your point for point description of what has worked for you. You have certainly given credibility to testing your results. Doing the technical aspect of setting the structured sites and e-mail marketing has been challenging for me. You have clearly described how the more sales you make your percentage goes up and you make more money. Apparently there are tested formulas that work for Amazon sales and getting people to Amazon sounds like a winner.
I have about 4 authority style sites and the rest are all mini ones. I like the money the mini’s can make but there isn’t any attractive exit strategy with those so that’s why I like to do a little of both, but I believe authority style sites have the biggest upside. As for income split I’d have to go back through all the tracking data but I’d peg it somewhat in favor of authority sites (before I sold one of my largest ones)

Amazon has already made similar adjustments in many overseas markets. In 2015, the company moved its European affiliate program to a category-based structure, and according to the affiliate management firm GeniusLink, the result was more of a subtle chill than a freeze-out. “There’s definitely some pain as a result of it,” says GeniusLink CEO Jesse Lakes, “but we haven’t had a single client who stopped doing business because of the new payout structure.”
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Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
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I spent 3 months thinking about a domain name. Yes, the Epic Niche Site Battle started 10 days ago, but I could still think of my website beforehand. To think about my holiday website, I came up with over 237 different domain names, slowly fine-tuning them, and emphasizing keywords that made sense to my brand. Those 237 domain names were just the ones that were available when I researched them on GoDaddy.com, there were hundreds more I tried that were unavailable. I went a little insane finding the right domain name.
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Hi Spencer – an informative and very timely post for me as I am finally biting the bullet and setting up my first niche site which will be monetised with Amazon affiliate links. I have been considering adding an aStore but I am very conscious of the google penalty for having too many affiliate links on a page. How would this be viewed in terms of links – would each item in the store count as a separate affiliate link?


The Program Operator reserves the right to reject any affiliate application if, in the Program Operator’s opinion, that person or entity violates established laws or commonly held standards of decency. For example, we will reject applications from any person or company that promotes any form of violence, illegal activities, or from applicants who the Program Operator prefers not to be associated with.
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Even an incentive with no financial value might affect the credibility of an endorsement and would need to be disclosed. The Guides give the example of a restaurant patron being offered the opportunity to appear in television advertising before giving his opinion about a product. Because the chance to appear in a TV ad could sway what someone says, that incentive should be disclosed.
And recent Ad and Commerce Operations job postings by the company state that the position entails “develop[ing] interesting new revenue sources for the company, helping to expand our successful e-commerce campaigns (which have driven approximately $160m in sales to partners)” and include the notation that “experience with commerce-oriented ad APIs (e.g., Amazon Product Advertising API)” is something that’s nice for applicants to have.

I have about 4 authority style sites and the rest are all mini ones. I like the money the mini’s can make but there isn’t any attractive exit strategy with those so that’s why I like to do a little of both, but I believe authority style sites have the biggest upside. As for income split I’d have to go back through all the tracking data but I’d peg it somewhat in favor of authority sites (before I sold one of my largest ones)
I have been using LongTailPro for more than a year and have just started using the cloud version. It’s very fast and easy to use! Since I have been using LongTailPro, I have saved a lot of money not having to build that many links. Most of the keywords revealed by LongTailPro rank without building links. There are lots of very well written tutorials and videos that guide you. The training is all white hat! It’s helped me a lot with my SEO business. Keep up the good work guys!

Once you complete an application to become an Affiliate, we will review your application and notify you whether you have been accepted to participate in the Affiliate Program, or not.  Before we accept an application, we may want to review your application with you, so we may reach out to you for more information. We may require that you complete certain requirements or certification(s) before we accept your application. If we do not notify you that you are accepted to participate in the Affiliate Program within thirty (30) days from your application, your application is considered to be rejected.
Free traffic can be achieved through things like social media or SEO. Free traffic is just another term for free visitors to your site. If you post your website on Instagram for your friends to see, when your friends visit your site, your site receives traffic. This traffic costs you nothing and is free. SEO, on the other hand, stands for search engine optimization. It’s how well Google ranks your website in its search engine. Every time you search a term in Google the results that show on the first page have a high ranking because their SEO is done right. The higher the rank, the more visitors to your website. And because this traffic is coming from people searching through Google, it costs you nothing as well. The power with search traffic is that you can essentially create a business revolved around headphone reviews and mostly all of your revenue is profit. The only overhead costs would be your domain name and web hosting service, which costs next to nothing.
My favorite part of the article was the part on growth stategies, specifically Earnings Per Clicks (EPC’s) I am a “Newbie Norm” to affiliate marketing and am looking for products using this as one of my metrics for evaluation. Another metric that could be helpful, especially with Clickbank, is Gravity, which is the number of affiliates making and selling a product offer within the last 30 days (I believe).
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