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how to make money affiliate marketing

How do you make money with affiliate marketing?

There are many ways to make money with affiliate marketing, and I will discuss several of them below. But first I want to talk for just a minute about some of the benefits of affiliate marketing.


What are some of the benefits of affiliate marketing?

One of the huge benefits of affiliate marketing is that it is largely passive income—once you write an article or post and create the affiliate link for a product or service and include it in your post, you can earn commissions from the product or service you promote for potentially years to come. So you do the initial work once, and then you can earn money for it over and over and over again. Pretty great, right?

As a personal finance writer, one thing I mention sometimes in my writing is that when it comes to earning money versus spending money, even though the spending half of the equation is probably the most important of the two—because you can always outspend your earnings, no matter how much money you make—the earning side of the equation is probably the more powerful of the two because the amount of money that you can cut in your budget is finite, but the amount of money that you can earn really has no limit. There are many, many ways that you can earn income, and some of them pay really, really well. And affiliate marketing is one of those.

And the earning potential is huge. I know of several bloggers who make $10,000 to $20,000 per month through their affiliate income. I know of another who makes over $30,000 a month through affiliate marketing, and another who makes over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing. That’s not per year—that’s per month. That huge earning potential (and the freedom that it would bring to quit my full-time job to be able to work from home in order to be with my young children) is part of what turned my interest in blogging into something that I actually carve out hours of my already seemingly full day to do.

So let’s talk about what affiliate marketing is and how you can participate in it and how you can turn it into a huge income generator.

How does affiliate marketing work?

Affiliate marketing is a form of influence marketing. And the idea of influence marketing is a pretty ingenious one when you think about it, right? When you find a product or service that you really love, one that really helps your life to be better, aren’t you just excited to share it with your friends and family? I know that I am! And that’s how affiliate marketing works. When you find a product that you know will help other people, you promote it and in return receive a percentage of the profit earned from the sale. And that, in a nutshell, is how you make money with affiliate marketing.

Unlike most income earned through advertising, where readers simply have to visit a website with an advertisement or click on ad link to learn more, in order to make money with affiliate marketing, the potential client must perform some kind of action. That might be signing up for a (sometimes free) account for a company website (such as Ebates, Ibotta, or Swagbucks), for example, or it might be purchasing a product or service (known as being paid per sale).

When you become an affiliate, you receive a special, personalized link (a URL) to put on your blog or website, and you then use that link whenever you mention the company, product, or service you are promoting. When a potential customer clicks on an affiliate link, a cookie is used to track their actions. Then when they make a purchase or sign up for a service, the company is notified, and the affiliate receives credit for helping to make the sale and receives a commission. Commissions are usually paid monthly, though there may be a 30- or 60-day waiting period before payouts are made.

What are affiliate networks?

Affiliate networks are businesses that exist to group affiliate programs together and manage the affiliate programs. Most companies choose to work with multiple affiliate networks, but some choose to work with just one, and some choose to establish their own affiliate programs and not work with affiliate networks.

These affiliate networks help to ensure that affiliates get paid by tracking and managing affiliate payments. Affiliates can also choose to with multiple affiliate networks.

It is free to join affiliate networks and participate in affiliate programs.

Which are the best affiliate networks?

Many affiliate networks are run by household names you will be familiar with. For example, Amazon and eBay both have affiliate programs. Here are some of the most popular affiliate networks:

  • Amazon Associates
  • eBay Partner Network
  • ClickBank
  • Commission Junction (CJ)
  • ShareASale
  • Commission Factory
  • Avantlink
  • Rakuten Linkshare
  • Affiliate Partners
  • Flexoffers

What is the best way to make money with affiliate marketing?

In order to make money with affiliate marketing, you need to have an audience that values your opinion and trusts your recommendations. In other words, you need to be an effective influencer. If you don’t have an audience, you’re not going to have anyone to promote the products and services you recommend to, and you won’t be able to earn much of an income from affiliate marketing. So the first thing you need to do to be able to make a good income with affiliate marketing is to build up a good-sized group of individuals that you are able to promote to.

That’s one of the reasons that writing for a website or blog is such a great opportunity for earning affiliate income. With a website or blog, you develop a loyal following of readers, and because they gain trust in you and your opinion, they are willing to buy the products and services that you recommend. If you enjoy writing and feel you have a knack for creating helpful or compelling (or preferably, both!) content, blogging may be a great fit for you. And there are so many reasons that blogging is one of the best jobs ever. If you are ready to earn some extra income or even potentially follow a new career path (one that you can start part-time from home while you keep you day job), I recommend the great course and ebook Blog by Number by Suzi Whitford. It’s one of the courses I took as I was preparing to be a brand new blogger, and it helped give me the knowledge I needed to start on the path to becoming a successful blogger.

I also recommend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing if you really want to learn the ins and outs of how to make money with affiliate marketing. It was the very first course that I bought. Michelle makes more than $50,000 a month from affiliate marketing, so she really knows what she’s talking about! In the course, Michelle walks you through the basics of affiliate marketing and the best ways to make money through affiliate marketing. If you believe that starting a blog (or even using Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or other social media sites) to earn affiliate income is something you would enjoy and be good at, then I strongly recommend that you take Michelle’s course and incorporate affiliate marketing as one of your methods of generating income.

What products and services can I promote as an affiliate marketer?

Many major products, stores, and brands have an affiliate program. Target has an affiliate program, Walmart has an affiliate program, Toys R Us has an affiliate program, and as mentioned above eBay has an affiliate program—if there’s a store or website you frequently shop at, it likely has an affiliate program.

One of the huge benefits of affiliate marketing is that you can promote pretty much any product or service you use and love. For example, since Amazon has an affiliate marketing program, as an Amazon Associate you can receive a commission on nearly everything sold under the sun. And do you want to know what’s even more awesome? When a potential client clicks on your affiliate link and goes to the Amazon website, you will earn a commission on anything they decide to buy during the specified time period (generally 24 hours, as of this writing), not just the item you specifically linked to. So let’s say you included an affiliate link for a $29 baby product that you love, and the reader bought that product but also decided to buy a $400 double jogging stroller while browsing around looking at baby products. You would receive a commission on both products. Pretty awesome, right? And even if they add the item they clicked on to their cart but don’t buy anything during that 24-hour period, you’ll still earn the commission on your linked-to item as long as it stays in the customer’s cart and they eventually purchase it.


How can I become an affiliate marketer?

In order to become an affiliate marketer, you simply have to apply to join an affiliate network or program (for free), and then you have to have a platform to promote the products and services you choose to.

You can use affiliate marketing through Facebook or Google+, for example, but it is most commonly used on individual websites and blogs. There are bloggers whose primary income is through affiliate marketing, and some of them make great incomes as affiliate marketers. (That’s one of the reasons that blogging is one of the best jobs ever). Some of the bloggers who make great incomes through affiliate marketing include Michelle Schroeder-Gardner at makingsenseofcents.com, Crystal Paine at moneysavingmom.com, Rosemarie Groner at busybudgeter.com, and Carly Campbell at mommyonpurpose.com.

Affiliate marketing is a perfect fit for bloggers because bloggers are by the nature of their work (or at least they can be) teachers and influencers. And so it’s an easy step to go from promoting ideas and principles and practices to also promoting products and services. The two things often go hand in hand.

Read this article to learn how to start a profitable blog. You can also read about some fascinating income reports of bloggers here. Some of these bloggers make $20,000, $50,000, $100,000, or $200,000 or more a month. It’s amazing!

If you’re interested in creating a profitable blog, I recommend the Blog by Number course and ebook by Suzi Whitford. It’s the course that I took to get started as a newbie blogger. You can complete the course in less than three hours (not all in one sitting, unless you want to! :D) and have an excellent introduction to how to start a blog and how to begin monetizing it in order to earn money.

And if you want to learn specifically about how to be an effective affiliate marketer and learn even more about how to make money with affiliate marketing, I recommend the online course (that I myself also took to learn how to do affiliate marketing well) Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner. Michelle was making over $50,000 a month from affiliate marketing before she decided to take that expertise and use it to help others to also be effective affiliate marketers. If you’re ready to make an amazing income through affiliate marketing, sign up for this excellent course today!



I know that the huge earning potential through blogging and affiliate marketing might sound too good to be true—but there are many people out there who are doing it! And you can be one of them. It takes a fairly large initial investment of time and a little bit of money (pretty minimal, considering how much many traditional businesses cost to start up), but if you are passionate about a topic that can help people, like I am about personal finance, then the time spent doesn’t really feel like work—it feels like preparing to help thousands of your best friends to improve their lives and really be successful.

If you are interested in blogging (or creating a traditional business website) and earning (passive) income through affiliate marketing, then let’s get you started today!


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