The downside of these programmes is that they don’t always display their stats to give you an idea of the success rate. It’s down to instinct and good old fashioned common sense. If an affiliate programme sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The best solution is to get involved with the software yourself. Take it for a trial run, so you can get to grips with the in’s and out’s of the platform. Only then will you know if it’s worth backing.


In some ways, trying to establish a direct affiliate marketing relationship with a merchant is a lot like trying to get an advertiser to run a campaign on your site. But there is a major difference here that you should consider when reaching out to establish direct relationships: the biggest hurdle to overcome from the perspective of the merchant isn’t a cash payment (as it is with advertising) but rather an administrative burden.

Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.

Until 2017, Amazon offered a stepped commission structure so that affiliates who sold a lot of products were paid a higher commission than those who sold little. However, Amazon eliminated this structure and began using flat commission rates for different types of products. While this is likely to continue evolving, examples of the commission structure in 2018 are as follow:


Upon your request but subject to our approval, we may issue you additional “sub-tag” Associate IDs that permit you to monitor and optimize the performance of your Special Links by including different sub-tags in the URLs of different Special Links. Under no circumstances may you associate any sub-tag with a specific end user of your Site (e.g., you may not dynamically assign sub-tags to users as they arrive on your Site for purposes of monitoring such users’ behavior).
If you don’t have the cash for paid advertising, a blog is a great place to start. If you choose this strategy, you are blending together funnels and SEO to bring in organic traffic from Google. Make sure your blog posts are packed with information and optimised for maximum conversions. Think bright buttons, clear call-to-actions and correct keyword optimisation.
The easiest thing to do is to sign up for an affiliate marketing network like Commission Junction. They provide a marketplace where your affiliate program will be advertised to other affiliate marketers. They also provide the tracking software for your affiliates so you don’t have to build your own tracking system. In some ways this is better because it takes care of the trust issues. Affiliates are always suspicious of whether or not they’re getting credited for the sales they generate. By having an intermediary take care of transaction tracking and payments, the fear of being cheated is alleviated. 

Additionally, you must either include the following disclaimer adjacent to the pricing or availability information or provide it via a hyperlink, pop-up box, scripted pop-up, or other similar method: "Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product." In the above examples, "Details" and "More info" would provide a method for the end user to read the disclaimer.
It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.

Products are now put in a category. The commission will be based on the category each product has been placed in whether or not the category is correct. For instance, I had a sale for a child riding toy tractor. Instead of it being in toys category which would have only earned me 3%, it was actually placed in lawn and garden category which I then actually earned 8% instead.
If you have identified merchants for whom you think you could generate substantial revenue through an affiliate marketing relationship, there’s no reason not to attempt to set up a direct relationship. There’s also not much magic to pursuing this type of arrangement; if there isn’t a pre-existing relationship, start by reaching out to your potential partner and telling them a bit about your site.
DISCLOSURE: Some products and services promoted on this website are affiliate links. This means if you decide to buy one of these products, I will earn a small commission. By using these links, there's no additional cost to you. You get the same great resource at the same great price. I only promote resources, products and services I truly believe will provide you with incredible value. By earning a commission, it helps me produce more quality content. Plus it even helps feed my children! 🙂
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