When I started my first blog online, I really had no intention of making any money from it. I started writing my first blog simply because I thought it was fun. However, I started to learn about how much money can actually be made online, which is when I started to get serious about learning how to make that happen. The biggest windfall in my business is learning how to make money using affiliate programs.
In this guide, I hope to achieve one main goal – I want you inside my head.
Ok, wait. That sounded a little weird. Let me try that again…
Basically, I want you to understand my mindset. Sure, this is a bit of a “how-to” guide, but more importantly, I want you to really get an understanding of how I think and why I’ve built my business the way I have. If you can start seeing things from my perspective, the mysterious world of affiliate marketing will start to open up to you. I don’t have specific step-by-step actions you can take, but if I can give you an overall feel for how this business works and how to succeed in it, you will be better off.
Affiliate Marketing Is Not For Everyone!
Before I really dive into this, I’m not saying that learning how to make money using affiliate programs is necessarily the best route for you. In fact, of everyone who reads this, only a small percentage should really put their time and energy into learning affiliate marketing. There are very specific skills and tasks you will need to perform daily on your business. If you don’t have the skills needed or if you’re unhappy performing the daily tasks that are required to sustain a successful affiliate marketing business, this isn’t for you.
No, I’m not trying to motivate you by pulling some sort of reverse psychology here. What I’m telling you is, if you find affiliate marketing is NOT for you after reading this guide, that’s ok! There’s another route for you! Do not “force” success to happen. If what I mention below sounds like it’s something you would enjoy, by all means put your heart and soul into it.
What I will never promise on this site is that affiliate marketing can lead to some sort of get-rich-quick millionaire lifestyle. Some people do indeed earn millions with affiliate marketing. I earn 5 figures monthly (6 figures yearly), so I’m not doing too shabby myself, but this has taken me YEARS to grow. Just like any other business, the strategies I’m about to outline for you will take time to achieve. How much time? Check out this article for a super honest answer about that.
Why I Love Affiliate Marketing
Now that I’ve just said affiliate marketing is not for everyone, let me explain why affiliate marketing is what I love and why I wouldn’t want to run any other type of business. Sure, there are lots of ways to make money online, but affiliate marketing offers some insane advantages, the likes the advertising industry has never seen before.
- No Creation Or Maintenence Of A Product / Service: Creating your own product or service to sell is quite frankly a pain in the ass. It takes a lot of time, money, investment, and a slew of skills to make everything happen just right. Are you going to manufacture a physical product yourself? Do you have the funds to have someone else manufacture things for you? Or maybe you’ll sell a digital product like an e-book. Do you know how to market that e-book to actually gain a following and make money off of it? None of these are an issue with affiliate marketing. The product or service you want to promote is already made, maintained, and everything is handled for you. All you have to focus on is the marketing for it.
- Essentially Zero Risk: One of the best aspects of learning how to make money using affiliate programs is that there is essentially ZERO risk to you or the company you want to sell for. You are not hired as an employee as you retain sub-contractor status. You are not required to commit to anything and you will never have to pay for products up front. They only pay you if you earn them a profit first, so it’s risk-free for everyone. The only thing you’re risking is your time and effort.
- Very Little Startup Capital Required: Making money using affiliate programs is one of the cheapest ways you can start making money by growing a legitimate business. Most businesses require people to risk everything including their jobs, homes, life savings, and they may need to go into a load of debt in order to even get started. Most small businesses are happy to profit after 3 to 5 years or hard work. For affiliate marketers, the only real costs are the costs of a domain, website, and hosting. You could be up and running for well under $100. What other business can offer you that type of opportunity?
- No Customer Service: This is one of my favorite aspects of making money using affiliate programs. When you sell someone else’s product of service, THEY provide the customer service, not you! One of the most stressful aspects of managing any business is handling all the little issues that come up, unsatisfied customers, etc. With affiliate marketing, all of this is handled for you.
- No Payment Processing: Want to know what else is annoying? Payment processing companies. You will never need to take a credit card number, accept a PayPal payment, or deal with wire transfers as an affiliate marketer unless a company is actually paying you commissions. All payments by customers are handled by the company you’re an affiliate for. Just one more headache you never have to deal with.
- No Office Or Employees To Deal With: One huge stressor for many business owners is managing staff and the logistics of running a functional office or facility. Once again, affiliate marketers don’t have to worry about this. The vast majority of affiliate marketing companies are run out of people’s homes by solo entrepreneurs.
- Business Versatility: Just about any industry has a very wide array of products that can be sold as it relates to any niche. If you start promoting one product, but over time another product becomes the better option to promote, you can change at any time. There’s no commitment to keep selling one product or another. Heck, sell them both if you want! Most of my sites make money using affiliate programs from multiple different services. Also notice that I have many sites in many different industries which helps to diversify my business even more.
- Residual Income: While I wouldn’t say affiliate marketing is entirely residual, it does provide somewhat of a passive income source. Meaning, the amount of money I make is not tied to my time. I don’t get paid by the hour, I get paid per sale, and since my websites are working 24/7/365, sometimes I sell things and make money using affiliate programs while I’m sleeping. Waking up in the morning only to see I’ve made money overnight is a feeling that never gets old.
- The FREEDOM: By far, my absolute favorite part of making money using affiliate programs is the freedom it comes with. I can work from anywhere I want, whenever I want, with whome I want, as hard as I want, and I call all the shots. I’ve been traveling the United States since 2009 working on this business and absolutely love that I can work from anywhere.
How Affiliate Marketing Works
Before you can learn how to make money using affiliate programs, you need to understand at least the basics of how affiliate marketing works. In order to do this, I’d like to give you a personal example that I use on this very site you’re on now.
One of the ways I earn money on this website is through an affiliate partnership I have with a service called Wealthy Affiliate. For those of you who don’t know, Wealthy Affiliate is a monthy membership service that provides training and tools for people who want to earn a living through affiliate marketing. So, this is how it works…
Wealthy Affiliate gave me what is called an “affiliate link”. This is a special unique link that I can use to keep track of people on referring. If you click this link to Wealthy Affilite, for example, Wealthy Affiliate’s tracking software detects that I’m the one who referred you. Next, you may find that Wealthy Affiliate looks like a cool place and you’d like to sign up for their free membership option to try things out. Once you create an account, I will get credit if you eventually upgrade to a paid membership, which means I earn a commission!
In short, that is how I make money using affiliate programs on this very website you’re on. Check out the video below for a further explanation of how affiliate marketing works.
How I Make Money Using Affiliate Programs For ALL Of My Sites
At this point, I own about a dozen websites and growing. You can check out an almost full list of those sites on my main company page at RogersConcepts.com. Pretty much all of my websites earn revenue in the same way. I designed websites that contain a TON of content and helpful articles (like this article you’re reading now!). These articles end up ranking highly in search engines. This means I start getting visitors to my site for free and some of those people click on my affiliate links.
I swear there is no special “secret” to my business and it really isn’t all that complicated. However, if you want more information on the specific process I use to build each of my sites, you can learn more about the C–> T–> P–> M Process here.
Walking You Through My Own Personal Example
Instead of trying to tell you how to make money using affiliate programs, I would like to show you a specific example on one of my sites. I own the website DogFoodInsider.com and that site earns me thousands of dollars per month with the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. What I would like to do now is show you how I decided to build that site, my strategy while creating it, and how it makes so much money.
Step 1 – Before I start any new website, I create a list of 3 niche topics I can choose from. All of those niche topics are topics I am passionate about or really want to learn more about. With those 3 niche ideas, I perform what is called keyword research so that I can create a list of a MINIMUM of 100 article ideas in a spreadsheet. For DogFoodInsider.com, I actually ended up with a list of more than 500 article ideas.
Step 3 – At this point, I started creating as much content as I possibly could. This step lasted me about 6 months and is still ongoing today nearly 5 years later. If you use the same methods I use, your main job as an affiliate marketer will be producing content. The main type of content I was focused on was writing high-quality reviews so dog owners could determine the best type of dog food to buy for their dog.
Step 4 – After about 6 months of writing new daily content for the site, I signed up to become an affiliate for the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. Once approved, I began implementing the Amazon Affiliate links onto my site. Many of these links were embedded into my dog food review articles, and eventually the site started to earn some decent profits. The more articles I write, the more it makes!
Step 5 – Once the site has been earning steady profits and is able to make money using affiliate programs, I begin hiring freelance writers from sites like Upwork.com to help me produce even more content. This is how I was able to scale that site to a level where it now earns thousands in profit every month.
I realize this seems way too simple. People sell training courses and e-books on how to make money using affiliate programs, but honestly, it’s all fluff. The process to make money using affiliate marketing is actually quite simple. Perform some market research, supply content that doesn’t exist yet on the web (or do it better), place affiliate links on your site when you start to get some traffic, and then profit!
The Hardest Part Of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing isn’t “hard” in the sense that it takes a rocket scientist to do it. Anyone can build a great looking website these days, you don’t need to know any computer code, and the technical hurdles are relatively simple to overcome. The main thing that holds most new affiliate marketers back is the inability to stick with it long enough and perform the main task it takes to really succeed at this… Content creation.
Getting a website set up takes maybe a few days at most. Signing up for affiliate programs takes literally minutes. However, creating the content to make your site valuable? That’s a different story.
Most people have no problem getting started. “Of course I can write a new article every day on my site! That’s easy!” Well, that’s what most people say in the beginning. But after a couple of months, people start to slack off. Instead of writing one article each day, they write a few each week, then maybe a few each month, and then nothing.
Having the dedication to sit down every day and write content is not an easy feat. This article, for example, has taken me hours to create and it’s well over 2,000 words in length. This isn’t even considered a long article in the affiliate marketing world.
With that said, as long as you focus on spending just a bit of time on your business each and every day, you will always be moving forward towards quitting your day job.
Avoid The Noise And Set Yourself Up For Success!
The biggest issue facing new affiliate marketers is quite simply information overload. My site says one thing, another affiliate marketer says another thing, and another says something completely different. It’s really difficult to sort things out and make sense of all the noise.
What you really need is to learn only what you need to know at the optimal times you need to learn them. Trying to sort it all out yourself is nearly impossible, which is why I always recommend people get some additional help to make things go smoother.
I already indicated that I’m an affiliate marketer for the service Wealthy Affilite, so admittedly I’m a bit biased, but one of the reasons I like Wealthy Affiliate so much is because they help to make things more manageable for new affiliate marketers. They help show you what you need to know in order to make money using affiliate programs, in the order you need to know it in, with all of the tools you’ll ever need to build your business all in one place and for a very reasonable cost. Check them out and sign up for a free account here. If you don’t like them, no harm done. Otherwise, upgrade to premium and get ready to work!