Thank you Yuwanda for this encouragement and information! My website is nowhere near finished yet but another blogger had recommended starting to get affiliate approval as soon as possible so I gave 2 of them a shot and was turned down today – but then stumbled upon your great post so I think it was all meant to be. I feel like it takes a lot of failures to achieve a small amount of success so this is just helping me to get to there… but patience is sometimes hard. I appreciate your excellent words of wisdom.

It’s important to know where your traffic is coming from and the demographics of your audience. This will allow you to customize your messaging so that you can provide the best affiliate product recommendations. You shouldn’t just focus on the vertical you’re in, but on the traffic sources and audience that’s visiting your site. Traffic sources may include organic, paid, social media, referral, display, email, or direct traffic. You can view traffic source data in Google Analytics to view things such as time on page, bounce rate, geo location, age, gender, time of day, devices (mobile vs. desktop), and more so that you can focus your effort on the highest converting traffic. This analytics data is crucial to making informed decisions, increasing your conversion rates, and making more affiliate sales. 
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
This is where we put the “marketing” in affiliate marketing. It’s up to you as the affiliate marketer to make sure that your audience sees the affiliate links and offers you have on your site. You can’t simply throw them into the right sidebar and hope that your audience seeks them out and clicks on them. There’s a great deal that you can do to increase the likelihood that your visitors click on the links and get in front of the affiliate offer.
Alternatively, for an established business with a budget set aside for advertising, we’d recommend using Facebook ads. It gives you countless options to really nail down your targeting based on age, gender, interests, search history, and more. It offers you far more clicks for your dollar, too. For those using video material, the engagement will be much higher and the cost per click significantly lower. Something to keep in mind!
In this example, a blogger might put this link on their blog to try to get their readers to click through to your “blue widget” page and hopefully buy something. If the visitor who clicks on this link actually buys something, affiliate tracking software will automatically (usually – depends on what system you are using) pay your affiliate a percentage of the sale.
At the other end of the spectrum is the small merchant who is only willing or able to work with a handful of affiliates. In this case, the merchant and affiliate may come to an agreement and utilize a “low tech” solution to determine commissions earned (e.g., a custom referral path and an earnings statement powered by Google Analytics). This type of affiliate relationship will typically develop when there is a logical affiliate relationship between two parties, but the merchant isn’t interested in opening up the affiliate program to a wide range of partners via an affiliate network.
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In 2004, Murphy launched an affiliate marketing program on the ShareASale platform with the goal of developing a diversified revenue stream for her business. At the time, the majority of her web traffic was coming in through search engines. As of 2012, the company still relies on search engines, but they have developed additional (healthy) revenue streams.
ClickBank allows you to join for free, and the approval process is virtually automatic, so it’s a great choice for people entering the affiliated game for the first time. ClickBank has a ton of information, including FAQs, walk-throughs, and videos available, so the barrier to entry is quite low. There’s also a (paid) program called ClickBank University with courses and assistance from experienced marketers.
AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER:  WHILE WE RECEIVE AFFILIATE COMPENSATION FOR REVIEWS / PROMOTIONS ON THIS PAGE, WE ALWAYS OFFER HONEST OPINION, RELEVANT EXPERIENCES AND GENUINE VIEWS RELATED TO THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE ITSELF. OUR GOAL IS TO HELP YOU MAKE THE BEST PURCHASING DECISIONS, HOWEVER, THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE OURS ONLY. AS ALWAYS YOU SHOULD DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE TO VERIFY ANY CLAIMS, RESULTS AND STATISTICS BEFORE MAKING ANY KIND OF PURCHASE. CLICKING LINKS OR PURCHASING PRODUCTS RECOMMENDED ON THIS PAGE MAY GENERATE INCOME FOR THIS WEBSITE FROM AFFILIATE COMMISSIONS AND YOU SHOULD ASSUME WE ARE COMPENSATED FOR ANY PURCHASES YOU MAKE.
A lot of the companies I want to feature on my site aren’t on affiliate networking platforms. Ive been reaching out asking if they would let me sell their stuff on my website with links but I’m not sure how much is safe to ask for for each purchase made through clicking on the link I provide. I’ve done a little research and 15-20% seemed like a safe starting point. What do you think?
Convertkit is the top email marketing tool choice among bloggers and creators. It offers 30% lifetime commission and offers payment via PayPal. The automation and segmentation feature of Convertkit makes it an outstanding tool and that’s why I also use it here on ShoutMeLoud, The affiliate team is also very active and they keep running new promos that help you scaleup your affiliate game.

Despite its older origins, email marketing is still a viable source of affiliate marketing income. Some affiliates have email lists they can use to promote the seller’s products. Others may leverage email newsletters that include hyperlinks to products, earning a commission after the consumer purchases the product. Another method is for the affiliate to cultivate email lists over time. They use their various campaigns to collect emails en masse, then send out emails regarding the products they are promoting.


A relative newcomer to the affiliate space, MaxBounty was founded in 2004 in Ottawa, Canada. MaxBounty claims to be the only affiliate network built specifically for affiliates. MaxBounty is exclusively a CPA (Cost Per Action/Acquisition) company that doesn’t deal with ad banners or the like, just customer links that the publisher (blogger) chooses where to place on their website.

While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.

AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER:  WHILE WE RECEIVE AFFILIATE COMPENSATION FOR REVIEWS / PROMOTIONS ON THIS PAGE, WE ALWAYS OFFER HONEST OPINION, RELEVANT EXPERIENCES AND GENUINE VIEWS RELATED TO THE PRODUCT OR SERVICE ITSELF. OUR GOAL IS TO HELP YOU MAKE THE BEST PURCHASING DECISIONS, HOWEVER, THE VIEWS AND OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE OURS ONLY. AS ALWAYS YOU SHOULD DO YOUR OWN DUE DILIGENCE TO VERIFY ANY CLAIMS, RESULTS AND STATISTICS BEFORE MAKING ANY KIND OF PURCHASE. CLICKING LINKS OR PURCHASING PRODUCTS RECOMMENDED ON THIS PAGE MAY GENERATE INCOME FOR THIS WEBSITE FROM AFFILIATE COMMISSIONS AND YOU SHOULD ASSUME WE ARE COMPENSATED FOR ANY PURCHASES YOU MAKE.
One big difference between SkimLinks and VigLinks, however, is that once you’re approved by the company, you can choose to work with any merchant or program on its platform. SkimLinks has also published a white paper discussing its partnership with Buzzfeed, giving SkimLinks a lot of credibility. SkimLinks also has a higher tier of vetted merchants called “Preferred Partner” and “VIP” that both pay higher commissions than standard merchants.
The pay-per-sale and pay-per-click structures should be pretty obvious. Under a pay-per-lead arrangement, affiliates can get paid even if the merchant doesn’t generate any revenue. In most cases, this would involve earning a commission when a referral starts a free trial to a service. Even if they never pay for that service after the trial expires, the commission is earned.
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In 1994, Tobin launched a beta version of PC Flowers & Gifts on the Internet in cooperation with IBM, who owned half of Prodigy.[10] By 1995 PC Flowers & Gifts had launched a commercial version of the website and had 2,600 affiliate marketing partners on the World Wide Web. Tobin applied for a patent on tracking and affiliate marketing on January 22, 1996, and was issued U.S. Patent number 6,141,666 on Oct 31, 2000. Tobin also received Japanese Patent number 4021941 on Oct 5, 2007, and U.S. Patent number 7,505,913 on Mar 17, 2009, for affiliate marketing and tracking.[11] In July 1998 PC Flowers and Gifts merged with Fingerhut and Federated Department Stores.[12]

At the beginning, Murphy created her own affiliate program in house. She found that this process was a major time sink — she had to take the time to constantly monitor her program and remember to pay affiliates regularly. She made the jump on an affiliate network, where she could immediately access tracking, reporting, and payment systems (as well as instant access to affiliates who were more-than-ready to help sell her products).


It’s like building, it’s like an ATM machine. I want to create some money. I put a dollar in advertising in, I get two dollars back out. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen immediately, at point of sale. It might happen over 3 days, or 7 days or 10 days, but find out what’s your breakeven point. Now I know, hey I’m going to put a dollar in on Monday, by Friday I’ll have my dollar back and then everything I make Saturday, Sunday, Monday and the rest of my life, pure profit. That’s affiliate funnels. That’s what I showed those guys. Pretty cool right?
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.

These are some really great programs to start with, if they fit in your niche. AWeber, for instance, has a good pay out, but if your blog readers aren’t interested in building an email list, you’re not going to make any sales by promoting it. That’s why I love that you’ve also included ShareASale – no matter what niche you’re in, you’ll find something excellent to promote!
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