Affiliate Marketing Blog

Why Affiliate Marketers Suck

Affiliate Marketers Suck

Affiliate marketers suck. I think I’m allowed to say that as I’ve been earning a full-time income with affiliate marketing since 2011. But what do I mean? Why would I say people in my own profession suck?

To be honest, I’m just at a point now where I’m fed up with the unethical nature of this business. I’m not trying to put all affiliate marketers in the same boat. I certainly don’t consider myself to be unethical, and maybe I’m being a bit pretentious here, but I think I am the exception to the rule.

I’m not even sure what prompted me to write this post. Maybe I’m hoping I can reach new affiliate marketers and get to them before they become unethical. Maybe I’m hoping more experienced affiliate marketers will read this and take an inventory of their own ethical standards. Maybe I’m just bitching and using this as a platform to vent…

Whatever the case, let me get into a bit more detail about why I think affiliate marketers suck.

Affiliate Marketers Don’t Care What They Promote

Affiliate marketers suck because they are greedy. Most affiliate marketers don’t give a crap what they are promoting to people. As long as they can make money from it, they’ll sell it.

Take, for instance, one of the most popular affiliate marketing networks at ClickBank.com. I just logged into my ClickBank account and looked up the top 3 performing affiliate programs in their network. Here they are:

Ok, so, the Numerologist one might be legit, I guess, but the top 2? C’mon man! Would you recommend those “products” to your own friends or family members? If so, then hey, more power to you. But most people wouldn’t, and yet, they have zero issues pushing it on total strangers on the internet.

My point is, it doesn’t really matter to most affiliate marketers what the product or service is. If they really believe in product A but product B provides a higher income stream, they’ll just focus on product B without a care in the world.

Only promote products and services you would promote to your own friends and family. If you do that, the ethical boundaries become much more clear.

Affiliate Marketers Create Fake Reviews

The number of fake reviews on the web is staggering. I keep waiting for the day Google absolutely destroys all the fake reviews out there, and I do think that day is coming, but for now searching for “reviews” about anything will bring up affiliate site after affiliate site of fake reviews.

Here’s an unethical example that I’m talking about…

The service Wealthy Affiliate, who I actually used to promote, offers a training program to teach people how to make money online. One of the things they entice people to do is, of course, promote Wealthy Affiliate! But how, exactly, do they teach people to do this? By creating reviews of their competitors, saying why those other services suck, and then of course offer Wealthy Affiliate as the perfect solution.

This isn’t a tactic only being used by Wealthy Affiliate. This is a very common practice with affiliate marketing and unfortunately, new affiliate marketers are being taught by these training programs that it’s ok. It’s not. Fake reviews are helping to destroy the very industry we are trying to make a living from.

Affiliate Marketers Don’t Care About Providing Value

Many affiliate marketers could care less about actually providing value. Those are usually the ones that never truly succeed, because all they do is create websites that are digital sales brochures.

I say it all the time – in order to succeed with affiliate marketing online, you must follow the C–>T–>P–>M Process.


C = Content
T = Traffic
P = Presell
M = Monetize

By creating great Content that provides real value to your website visitors, you’ll start to gain more Traffic over time. Since you’re providing real value, that content will Presell your visitors to be in an open-to-buy mindset, at which point, you can finally Monetize.

Too many new affiliate marketers focus on the M first, which of course leads to low traffic spammy sites that nobody likes or wants to buy from.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to sell. We’re all out here just trying to make a living, myself included, and in affiliate marketing nobody gets paid unless a sale is made.

What I’m really saying is, why are you even reading this post in the first place? Do you find it interesting? Entertaining? Is it providing value to you in some way? If not, you wouldn’t be reading this.

….Now, imagine this entire post was only written for the sole purpose of trying to sell you on the service Solo Build It!, the only way I monetize this site. Would you have found it as interesting? Probably not.

The vast majority of your blog posts, email newsletters, tweets, Facebook updates, or whatever else should provide real VALUE to people. It doesn’t only create a better internet for everyone, but in the end, it will lead to your further success.

Affiliate Marketers Create Spam

I HATE spam. I just hate it. I literally receive dozens of spam messages and have to filter out spammy comments all the time. Most of those spammy comments contain, of course, affiliate links. It just makes me cringe.

Does spam work? Unfortunately, it can, but the vast majority of the time it doesn’t and only creates for a more cluttered internet. Spam to me is like graffiti. Can I just ignore it? Sure, but after a while it starts to get super annoying.

The crazy thing is with how much spam there is on the internet, you’d think people were making money from it. Not the case, really. Most of the spammers you see out there paid for some crappy training program that told them to spam, and so they do, and they never make money with it. Some of these training programs even teach others how to use automated software (usually a pricey upsell) to automate the entire spamming process so you can spam hundreds of sites per day without actually typing anything. Ugh. Stop spamming!

Affiliate Marketers Are Lazy

When I tell new affiliate marketers that it will take about a year or more before they start making money online, I can almost literally watch their eyes roll back into their head.

“But, but, but…. I’m getting into this to make EASY money!!”

Sorry guys, but if you don’t treat affiliate marketing as a LONG TERM strategy and treat it as an actual business (even if it’s just a part time business), you will never succeed.

Think about it, how many websites do you find yourself on that was just built last month? Probably hardly ever at all. New websites don’t have much content, have no reputation, have no email subscribers, have no social media followers, get no search engine traffic, etc. Those things take time, and in general, that amount of time is about a year or so (give or take).

This is the biggest reason why most affiliate marketers fail. They don’t have the patience to wait or the desire to create enough value where they start to gain a real following.

Be A Good Guy

When I say affiliate marketers suck, I’m obviously overgeneralizing a huge number of people. If I were to read this post on someone else’s blog I might actually take offense to it. Sort of like, “screw you! Affiliate Marketing is my livelihood!”

There are plenty of awesome affiliate marketers out there who are ethical and earn a great living by promoting legitimate products and services their readers actually benefit from. In fact, most of the successful affiliate marketers out there who have been able to earn a full time living for years with affiliate marketing are the good ones.

Ironically enough, the unethical ones doing most of what I stated above may see temporary success, if any at all. That’s exactly the way it should be, but collectively they are still a noisy group giving the rest of us affiliate marketers a terrible name.

So, if you’re new to all of this affiliate marketing stuff, please keep your moral compass with you at all times and don’t stray from it. We need more good guys out here. It’s really up to you.

How To Find The Best Online Affiliate Marketing Programs

Best Online Affiliate Marketing Programs

As you might have already discovered, finding the best online affiliate marketing programs can be a difficult task, especially when you’re new to the industry. I will never claim to “know it all” but I’ve been at this affiliate marketing game for awhile now, so hopefully I can provide some tips, tricks, and things I’ve learned over the years on how to find good online affiliate marketing programs.

Choose Your Niche First

Before you even begin your search for the best online affiliate marketing programs, you should choose a niche. Many newcomers to affiliate marketing like to just find a high paying affiliate marketing program first, and that’s how they determine their niche. In my experience, this is not the way to go.

As I always say, affiliate marketing is a business. A real, legitimate business. If you don’t treat it as such, you will likely never see success and you almost certainly won’t see long-term success.

Like any other business, you will spend a significant amount of time growing, nurturing and managing your business. That’s why it is so crucial to choose a niche you’re interested in and ideally already have knowledge in. Everyone knows something about something, so don’t just blindly follow the money. That’s almost a sure way to fail. Instead, choose a niche by following your interests. Once you have your niche selected, you can then find the best online affiliate marketing programs in your specific industry.

But Mike, how do I choose a niche in the first place?

I’m not going to lie, choosing a niche can be a very difficult process, and it is one of the most important steps in setting up your business. Get your niche wrong and it doesn’t matter what affiliate marketing program you sign up for, you’ll fail anyway.

As an affiliate marketer, selecting your niche is essentially you doing “industry research”. For example, if you were to set up a restaurant, you would want to analyze the competition in the area, who your customer base will be, and get a good overall understanding of the supply and demand for a new restaurant in a certain area. If there is too much supply and not enough demand, that restaurant will be doomed to fail.

The same is true with choosing a niche. You need to know exactly what people are searching for within your niche, how many websites already exist to fill that need, and whether you can truly thrive. The only way to know the supply and demand is to use certain research tools. You may have heard the term “keyword research” and that’s essentially what I’m talking about here.

There’s no way around it – keyword research is crucial and there are no free keyword research tools I can recommend. While many good paid options exist such as Wordtracker and SpyFu, the keyword research tool I personally use is called Brainstorm It! which you can read more about here.

Keep Affiliate Marketing Ethical!

Ok, let’s face it, affiliate marketers are not known to be the most ethical group of people. A click glance at the products and services listed on Clickbank.com will prove this. How many of the products and services on Clickbank would you recommend to your own friends or family members?

This isn’t really a requirement to finding the best online affiliate marketing programs as it is more of a plea from me. Please don’t promote “anything” just because it pays well or you think you can make money with it. The best way to keep things ethical is for you to truly believe in the product or service you are promoting.

Know The Difference Between An Affiliate Program And Multi-Level Marketing

I don’t make too many friends when I say this, but I am NOT a fan of Multi-Level Marketing (MLM). Please be aware that MLM and Affiliate Marketing are two very different forms of marketing and share very few similarities. I recommend everyone stays very far away from MLM. If you want more info on why I’m so anti-MLM, you can read some of my articles on that below:

I also made a video about why I think MLM is 99% of the time a total scam which you can watch below…

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best online affiliate marketing programs that I believe are available today.

The Amazon Associates Affiliate Program

I almost hesitated to list this one since everyone knows it exists already, but since I am a part of the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program I figured I couldn’t just leave it off. Besides, I have a few tips I can probably share. You can also read more about how to be successful with the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program here.

In short, everyone already knows who Amazon is, it’s totally legitimate, and Amazon knows how to convert visitors into sales VERY well. All you need to do is get people through the virtual “door” and let Amazon do the rest.

As an example, my site DogFoodInsider.com utilizes the Amazon Associates affiliate program. That site reviews brands of dog food and has links to Amazon. If someone clicks on my link and makes a purchase, I get a commission!

The downside to the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program is the relatively low payouts. Amazon pays anywhere from 6% to 9% commissions depending on how much volume you sell. That means it takes a pretty good amount of sales to really earn a decent income by promoting Amazon products.

A little tip – promote products and services that are more than $100. Going after $10 products and netting a 60 cent commissions will not work out. Unless you find the exception to the rule, you’ll never have enough volume to earn a good living from that. But earning $30 from a $500 product? Well you only need to sell a few of those bad boys per day and you’re in business (literally!).

The Amazon Associates program is not a fast and easy thing to succeed with. It takes time.

Just About Any Web Hosting Service

Web hosting affiliate programs are insane. Check out the “income reports” that many affiliate marketers have publically listed on their blogs. For example, one of the most well known affiliate marketers that keeps a public income report is Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com. Check out his income report and see how much he makes from BlueHost web hosting. It is the VAST majority of his income. Same thing with Abby Lawson. The majority of her income is also through promoting BlueHost web hosting.

Web hosting can be insanely profitable because it is a legit service, pays well, has great profit margins, and often has recurring commissions where you get paid month after month as long as your referral maintains an account. It is a competitive niche, but one worth pursuing if you have advanced knowledge in this area or know of a way to send a large amount of referrals.

Most DIGITAL Products (vs. Physical Products)

We’ve already talked about Amazon and how it can be difficult to earn a lot with their 6% commissions. But what about selling products and services that pay 25%, 40%, and even 75% commissions? To get those types of commissions, you need to focus on digital products. Training courses, software downloads, and online membership programs are massively profitable.

For example, the Udemy.com affiliate program can pay 50% or more. Aweber, a popular email marketing service, will pay 30% recurring monthly commissions. A service called eVerify will pay you 65% lifetime recurring commissions for your referrals. Wealthy Affiliate, a popular online training program for affiliate marketers, will pay 40% lifetime recurring monthly commissions for your referrals. Doggy Dan, a popular online dog trainer, will pay 70% recurring monthly commissions when your referrals join his site membership. Avast, a well-known computer anti-virus software company, will pay you 25% commissions on any products you sell.

….See where I’m going with this? No matter your niche, try to find something DIGITAL to promote. The payout is much, much, much better.

The Best Online Affiliate Marketing Program Is Unique To YOU!

Most other sites that come up when you search for “the best online affiliate marketing programs” will list all the big players like ClickBank, Amazon, Commission Junction, etc. It very well could be true that the best online affiliate marketing program exist within’ one of those affiliate networks, but there isn’t any single product or service that you should be or should not be promoting.

Remember, choose your niche first, start growing your site, understand your audience, and then you will be in a much better position to choose an affiliate program that works for your specific website and audience.

So while I realize I didn’t give a direct answer, I do hope some of the above tips and tricks were helpful in your journey to succeeding with an affiliate marketing business.

Solo Build It Review & Real World Example

Solo Build It Review

This Solo Build It! review isn’t going to be your typical product review. My hope is that this review is much different than any other review you’ve ever seen before, and a very unique review of Solo Build It! that I doubt anyone else will attempt to replicate.

I have personally been a Solo Build It! member since 2011, but my experience with this service has not always been rosey. In fact, I am just now returning to Solo Build It! after a 2 year hiatus, so I’m in a unique position to offer both the positives and negatives about this service.

….But I’m going to take things even further than just telling you about the pro’s and cons. Much further.

When all is said and done, this review of Solo Build It! will be extremely detailed, including showing a real life example in real time as I grow a site using SBI’s training material and website builder.

That’s right. I am going to be documenting everything and growing a brand new website from scratch using Solo Build It! and I’m going to show you every single step I take along the way.

This Solo Build It! review won’t just tell you that Solo Build It! is legit and works, it will SHOW you with 100% certainty that it works.

At least that’s the plan!

But let’s step back for a minute. Before we get into all of that, you have to understand my unique history and how I found Solo Build It!. My story is a long one, but it has been a hell of a ride.

In The Beginning: Trapped In The Suburban Prison

I grew up in a suburban town about 35 miles north of Chicago. It seems everyone in that area does the exact same thing with their lives. I call it the “suburban prison” because few seem to escape the conformity.

In short, they go to school, get a college education, go to work in a cubicle somewhere and hope they can save enough money to retire by the time they are 65.

I mean… really?! THAT is the “American Dream?!” Maybe it is for some people, but not for this guy!

I’m sure this scenario plays out in more areas than just the north burbs of Chicago. Maybe it’s a story you’re familiar with? Maybe YOU are stuck in that same prison, looking for a way out?

My Time In Cubicle Hell

Somehow, I managed to squeak out a Bachelors Degree in Communications at Western Illinois University. So what do all recent college grads do? Go out and get that super awesome high paying cushy 9 – 5 office job! Yeah!

…Except the “9 – 5” is not what it’s cracked up to be.

With about $30,000 in student loan debt, another $27,000 on a brand new car that I had no business buying, and mounting credit card debt, I found myself working in a sales job making 80+ cold calls every single day.

That is, until I got laid off in 2008 like so many others. Great… NOW WHAT?!

I Was Homeless

No, I wasn’t living on the streets. And yes, I probably could have crashed with my parents or a good friend if I really had to. In fact, at the time, I was paying my best friend $400 / mo. to live at his place. I still owe him the last two months rent because I couldn’t afford to pay him. These days, anytime I try to pay him back for that, he won’t accept it. That’s a true friend.

Anyway, the reality is, I was over $60k in debt, had no job, the economy was in the midst of a near economic depression, and the thought of applying for another job sitting in a cubicle was even more depressing than my current situation.

And so, I did something drastic. I was tired of leaching off of my friends and my unemployment benefits were about to expire. So, I became an over the road truck driver and lived full-time out of the cab of my truck.

I actually created a small video blog documenting my trucking career. Here’s a video from October of 2010, about 3 months before I found Solo Build It!.

Freeing Myself From The Suburban Prison

I had always considered becoming a truck driver since I LOVE driving so much, but it’s just not what people do from my area. It certainly isn’t what a typical recent college grad with $60,000+ in debt would do!

Strangely enough, it was the best decision I ever made in my life. I was finally doing a job I loved. I got to see all of the lower 48 states in my first year, I didn’t have a boss breathing down my neck every 5 minutes, I could structure my day the way I wanted to, and it just made me feel FREE!

Freedom Is Addicting And I Craved More

Standing Next To My Truck

Even though I mostly enjoyed my job, truck driving was by no means perfect. I was working 70hrs+ per week, had an erratic schedule, it was dangerous work, I had to shower and brush my teeth in public facilities, my health was deteriorating, and living in a space smaller than most walk in closets was getting very annoying.

On top of that, I was only able to see friends and family maybe 3 or 4 days per 6 to 10 WEEKS. If you have ever driven a truck for a living or know a trucker, than you know first hand how rough that lifestyle is.

Finding Solo Build It!

I remember the night I found Solo Build It! very well. I was having a particularly bad week and I was just feeling fed up with life. There seemed to be no right path for me in life, and honestly, I was just feeling bad for myself.

So what does everyone do when they’re feeling down? Hit the tables at the casino, baby!! What could possibly go wrong!

Yeah, that didn’t work out well either. I forgot how much I lost, but it was enough to make me feel even more lousy than I did before. I think I had less than $100 in my bank account at the time, so even losing $20 was a big deal.

For some time, I had been contemplating learning how to build websites and maybe doing that to start making extra money on the road. So, after the long walk-of-shame back to my truck from the casino I just donated to, I started researching.

Now, the problem I had with “make money online” stuff is it all seems like get-rich-quick scams. But on this night, I found Solo Build It!. Something about Solo Build It! seemed different.

They weren’t telling me it would be fast or easy. They were saying it would take time and effort. They didn’t try to market themselves by promising huge paychecks for little work, they were telling me that an online business is just like any other business which takes time and effort to grow.

And Solo Build It! wasn’t just a “training program” either. Instead, they would provide all the training AND all the tools needed to grow that business. I didn’t even know how to register a domain name back then, so even the simplest tasks were overwhelming. Knowing they provided the tools and training for everything along the way, including a site builder, just about had me sold.

What Finally Sold Me On Solo Build It!

Of course, I wasn’t about to buy Solo Build It! without doing research first. I wanted to see if anyone was successful with it.

In my research, I discovered MANY people who were happy with Solo Build It!. There was one site about bass fishing (I wish I could remember the exact site) that stood out to me in particular. On his “about” page, he talked about how he was able to earn a great living by building this awesome site all about his favorite hobby and help others enjoy the hobby he loves so much.

He then went on to say that he had zero experience building websites or making money online and was only able to do it because of Solo Build It!. I mean, that’s pretty powerful stuff!!

What finally sold me on Solo Build It! is their “Video Tour” which you can watch here. After watching that a few times, I finally decided I had to sign up. I was still skeptical, but I did it anyway.

Fast Forward To My First Commission

A bit later, I’m going to get into the step-by-step process of HOW exactly Solo Build It! shows people how to build a money-making website. I know I’m skipping a lot here, but trust me, I’m going to cover it in an insane amount of detail a bit later.

The first commission I made came from the very first website I developed, Drive-Safely.net. It’s gone through a few changes since I first developed it, but I received my first $7.80 in affiliate commission after just six months.

I about hit the roof! I mean, if it’s possible to make $7.80 in commissions once, I can definitely do it twice. And if I can do it twice, I can do it 100 times! And if I can replicate that across several websites over several years, heck, I could make a really good living!

Little did I know, that’s exactly what would happen.

It’s so crazy to go back and see what my site looked like at the time. By using the way back machine, you can type in my site to see for yourself, but I provided a screen shot below:

Solo Build It Review My Site

Quitting My Truck Driving Job

In November of 2011, less than one year after finding Solo Build It!, my online income was at a point where I could quit my trucking job and find a part-time job to supplement my online income.

I got a bit lucky and found a part-time freelance job on someone else’s website. Between that and my own sites, I was earning enough to get by. Over the next year, my business flourished as I was able to spend so much more time on it, and my business has grown ever since.

Becoming “Homeless” Again

Solo Build It Lifestyle

Two words could accurately sum up my current lifestyle: TOTAL FREEDOM!

When I quit my trucking job back in 2011, I moved into a small house. I didn’t even last a full year living there. I had to get back on the road!

That’s when I decided to live out another dream of mine. I wanted to hit the road in style. I wanted to experience the total freedom of being able to live where I want, when I want, for as long as I want.

After I started my business with Solo Build It!, this dream of mine actually became a real possibility. Every time I saw an RV pass me on the highway, I’d imagine myself doing that while running my online business from the road. This dream really kept me motivated and inspired to succeed.

When the opportunity to make this dream a reality actually presented itself, I didn’t hesitate.

So, for 4 years, I became “homeless” again. I ran my business out of a 31ft travel trailer that I purchased brand new from the money I’ve earned online because of Solo Build It!. No more weigh stations, no more dirty truck stops, and I could travel on my own time going where I want to go when I want to go there. I’ve been from coast to coast, lived in the mountains, in the deserts, in the forests, and everywhere in between. It’s been amazing.

Places Ive Been Solo Build It

I work when I want, where I want, as hard as I want and as long as I want. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a ton of time on my laptop working on my business. But it’s because I WANT to! I love every minute of my “job”.

I’m reminded how much I love my “job” each morning when I wake up without an alarm clock. In fact, the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is see how much money I made while I was sleeping. I can’t put into words the joy I feel every morning when I wake up, knowing my life and my financial future is totally under my own full control.

…None of this would have happened if I didn’t find Solo Build It!.

Just last month, I finally decided to stop living out of the RV and I now live in a beautiful luxury apartment in downtown San Diego walking distance to the Ocean. Not only have I been able to pay off ALL of my debts (I now live 100% debt-free), but I’ve been able to do all of this, and afford all of this, because of Solo Build It!.

Here’s a picture I took recently of one of my favorite places to get work done, on the roof my apartment building!

Home Office Solo Build It

Since it is clear to say Solo Build It! changed my entire life, you may be surprised to learn that I ended up moving ALL of my sites away from the service.

Why I Left Solo Build It!

After having a few successful years with Solo Build It!, I began to feel the service was getting a bit outdated and I wasn’t happy with some of the decisions that were being made. WordPress was all the rage, and so I decided to move my sites to the WordPress platform.

Fortunately, Solo Build It! has a version for WordPress now, but if you’re brand new to building websites I recommend using their built in website builder.

Even after moving my sites away, I still maintained an account at Solo Build It! as I wanted to continue having access to their second-to-none training material, keyword research tool, and still have forum access. I simply wanted my sites hosted elsewhere and on WordPress, but the training at Solo Build It! is the best in the industry, so I still wanted access to it.

My Return To Solo Build It!

Recently, I was contacted by the owner of Solo Build It!, Ken Evoy. He was writing to let me know about a recent study they conducted. Since I was once a very active and successful member at Solo Build It!, he wanted to share the details with me and get my feedback.

In short, his claim was that the study proves Solo Build It! creates more successful online business owners than any other service that exists.

…Needless to say, I was skeptical.

He shared details of the study with me, and while it was impressive, I was still very skeptical about it. I mean, of COURSE his study would show that the service he owns is the best one, right?

But the more research I did, the more I saw the validity of the study. About 10 huge email exchanges and a 3 hour Skype call later and he had me convinced.

No service creates more successful online business owners than Solo Build It!. In fact, nobody even comes close. Solo Build It! does 33 times better than their nearest competitor.

This is all just talk and statistics, though. I want you to see for yourself that Solo Build It! really does create successful websites, and I want you to see EXACTLY how they make that happen. And so, I thought of an idea on how I can actually show you with an insane amount of detail…

Watch Me Build A Solo Build It! Website In Real-Time

Over the years, I have started more than a dozen websites and the vast majority of them earn recurring monthly income for me, all due to what I learned from Solo Build It!. I’ve been able replicate my success over many sites and over many years, so I know what they teach really works.

Something I’ve always wanted to do is show every step of the way as I build a new site, from idea to profit. Well, here’s my chance.

I’m going to go through the Solo Build It! training just like it’s my first time. I’ll do all the steps it tells me to do and you’ll see it all as I go through it. You’ll see me perform keyword and industry research, choose a niche, register my domain name, create the site using the Solo Build It! site builder, and absolutely every single step in between.

As this will be done in real-time, I will continue to update this Solo Build It! review frequently to keep everyone up-to-date on my progress.

The end result? I intend to create a site and have it earn at least $500 per month within’ the first year of starting it, and I want to have every step I took to get it there documented for you to see. For the purposes of this site, I will only be using the tools, training, and resources provided by Solo Build It!.

This isn’t just going to be a review of Solo Build It!, this is going to be a real life Solo Build It! example site what will be insanely documented and you’ll get to see precisely how Solo Build It! works on the inside.

Bookmark This Page!!

As I write this, the current date is June 6th, 2017. If you found this review early, then you won’t see anything below. However, in the next few days I will be going through the initial Solo Build It! training material and I will be posting video updates below as I progress through the training and get my site set up.

This is a minimum of a year long project, so if you’d like to stay up to date with my progress building a site from the ground up and making it profitable, bookmark this page and check back often. Frequent updates are coming very, very soon!!

*** Stay tuned!! Updates will be placed here! ***

Do You Need A Website For Affiliate Marketing?

Do You Need A Website For Affiliate Marketing?

Now that I’ve been in the industry for awhile, one of the most common questions people ask me is “do you need a website for affiliate marketing?” I think it is because when most people think of websites they think of web design and having to learn computer code which is a very complex skill that people spend years learning. Though a lot of people may be interested in affiliate marketing, they may be intimidated by the idea of building a website. Truth be told, actually creating the website is the EASY part! The hard part is making that site profitable. Building a site does not require any computer code at all and you can set up a great looking site in a matter of a few hours. Just go to YouTube and type in “bulid a WordPress site step by step” and you’ll be greeted with dozens of free video tutorials that walk you through everything. Here’s an example of one I found:

But technically, do you need a website for affiliate marketing? Well, technically no! In fact, affiliate marketing has existed a whole lot longer than the internet has been around. In prior decades, affiliate marketing just took on a different form such as marketing through classified ads and using special phone numbers to track leads, as one basic example.

So while I personally have always used my blogs and websites as the main aspect of my affiliate marketing business, and while I will always recommend having a website if you’re an affiliate marketer, you technically don’t need one to succeed at affiliate marketing. Let’s take a closer look, shall we? Below is a video I made that goes into a bit more detail…

How Affiliate Marketing Works Without A Website

When you become an affiliate marketer, you will receive a personalized affiliate link. This link has a special code at the end that is used by your affiliate partner to track the customers that you have sent to their website. With that information, you can use that link anywhere online and if people go to their website, you will still be able to earn your credits and commissions. With your affiliate link, I can definitely say that the answer to “do you need a website for affiliate marketing” is no. You can post that link on other people’s sites, in comment sections, on social media, etc.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Using Social Media For Affiliate Marketing

Most new affiliate marketers that contact me and wish to start marketing without a website bring up social media as their preferred advertising method. You can post your affiliate link on all social media websites from Pinterest to Facebook to Twitter, but make sure you read the terms of service for each as some of them may have certain requirements on how affiliate links may be used. If you are someone who already has a large social media following, you can use that following to help earn you some revenue. If you’re starting off fresh, it will likely take some time to grow a large and loyal following you can monetize, so start now (even if you plan on having a website, too).

Truth be told, making money through social media is more difficult than it may first seem. While I operate several social media accounts, none of them are my main source of revenue. My main source of revenue is through my websites. That’s not to say it isn’t possible to make a significant income using affiliate marketing on social media – many people have done it. However, for my own personal business, I focus almost entirely on growing my websites.

Consider Other Forms Of Content

Do you love making funny videos for YouTube? Do you consider yourself an amateur photographer that has mastered Instagram? Do you host a podcast? You can promote products on all of these outlets and still make money with your affiliate link. On Youtube, Instagram, and your podcast host, you just post your link in the comments. You can also use your content to promote the product. For example on Youtube or your podcast you can give a thoughtful, personal review. On Instagram, you can take pictures that are relevant to the product. This form of content will definitely drive traffic to your affiliate link and give you some other options for making money.

Heck, you don’t even need to use the internet at all. You could hand out flyers with your affiliate link on it, take out classified ads in the newspaper, send out mailers, or any other number of ways you can share your affiliate link.

Take Advantage Of Other Website’s Traffic

One of the ways I answer the question “do you need a website for affiliate marketing?” is to say “Not really, because you can always use someone else’s.” There are tons of websites that you can promote your products with your affiliate links. A great place to start is in boards and forums that are focused on topics relevant to your products. You can answer questions or start entire threads where you can promote your products and use your affiliate links. Maybe you could create a free training program for Udemy.com and monetize that training program by embedding affiliate links. Another option is to use your affiliate links on websites that offer consumer reviews of third party products. All you do is write a positive review of your product and add your link.

The point is that while I think having your own website is a crucial aspect of your business, you can and should also take advantage of already hugely successful websites like Google, Facebook, Reddit, SoundCloud, SlideShare and a ton of other resources that allow anyone to post and create content on their platform.

The Great American Novel–Almost

Do you love to write but are still intimidated to start a blog? Consider publishing an eBook. eBook publishing is easy because most places accept .pdf submissions. It is very easy these days to get your book listed in Amazon, even if you’re self-published. If you create a free eBook that also contains your affiliate link, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can start earning. People love eBooks, especially when looking for in depth expertise on a subject. So rather than trying to navigate the technicalities of running a website or a blog and also having the benefit of being able to offer long-form content, considering marketing with an eBook.

Try A Traditional Marketing Tactic

Affiliate marketing is still marketing. So when people ask me “do you need a website for affiliate marketing” another answer I like to give is “no, not if you aren’t afraid to go old school.” You can sell your product with one of the oldest tactics in the book. You can post a classified ad. Websites like Craigslist and Classified Ads in traditional newspapers allow users to post ads, sometimes for free. On these ads you can promote your product and use your affiliate link in the body. Posting ads may be the oldest trick in the book, but it is still a very effective way to promote and sell products.

Don’t Give Up On A Website

Now even though the answer to “Do you need a website for affiliate marketing” is no, it is still the best way to reach an audience and promote your products. If you are really intimidate by the prospect of building a website, don’t worry. There are plenty of programs that can help you get the training and skills you need. When I first started out, I’d never built a website in my life. I didn’t know the first thing about web hosting or coding or search engine optimization or any of the other skills you need to have a successful affiliate marketing website. Luckily, I found Wealthy Affiliate. Wealthy Affiliate doesn’t just offer help for it’s affiliate marketers, they’d partnered with Site Rubix to help beginners build appealing websites that are perfectly optimized for affiliate marketing.

So ultimately, when people I ask “do you need a website for affiliate marketing” I tell them there are plenty of other options to make money as an affiliate marketer. From social media to eBooks to traditional ads, there are plenty of places you can share your personal affiliate link and promote your products online that aren’t just your website. However, if you do decide to build a website, you don’t have to figure it out on your own. You can work with Wealthy Affiliate and Site Rubix to learn everything you need to know to get a great site up and running right away.

Do you need a website for affiliate marketing? No, but nothing is stopping you from having one!

Using Craigslist For Affiliate Marketing: A Good Strategy?

Using Craigslist For Affiliate Marketing: A Good Strategy?

The internet is filled with potential, and those who are looking for ways to improve their salary potential and make it easier to work from home will often have questions about exactly what the best paths to their goals are. One of the best choices out there is affiliate marketing, and learning more about it and how you can make it work for you is one of the first steps towards changing your future for the better. Read More

Does Affiliate Marketing Really Work?

Using Craigslist For Affiliate Marketing: A Good Strategy?

Money. We could all use a little bit more of it, and while they say that it won’t buy happiness there’s no question that it can certainly make things a little easier. There are numerous ways that people in today’s world can earn extra income, and one particular way that I almost found by accident is affiliate marketing. I was a full-time truck driver working 70 to 80hrs per week and started blogging online. I really never expected that to lead to a full time income for me. If you want to read the full story, you can do that here. Read More

What Is The Best Affiliate Marketing Training Program To Sign Up For?

The Best Affiliate Marketing Training Program To Sign Up For

When I first decided to start my own company and was looking into the different ways to make money online, I was shocked by the amount of scams, so-called “gurus” and get-rich-quick schemes that were out there. I kept coming across company after company, website after website, promising to help me make millions online overnight. These “get-rich-quick” schemes were a huge turn off and made me think there was actually no legitimate way to make money online other than becoming a part of these schemes. It got so bad that I almost gave up and resigned myself to the fact that I’d never be able to start my own business and I’d spend my life working as a long-haul truck driver the rest of my life. If you want to read my full success story you can do so here. Read More

What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), otherwise known as Cost Per Action, is a form of affiliate marketing where advertisers pay for a specific form of acquisition or action to be taken. Acquisitions can range from clicks to requests for service, to filling out forms, to installs and downloads depending on the details of the contract. CPA affiliate marketing has become a multi-billion dollar industry and many affiliate marketers partake in CPA affiliate marketing without even realizing it. CPA is simply a certain form of affiliate marketing.

How Does CPA Affiliate Marketing Work?

Unlike some other forms of internet marketing, I think CPA is very straightforward, although the successful implementation is anything but straightforward. The short explanation is this…

When it comes to affiliate marketing, CPA refers to ways you can earn revenue without actually making a sale. For example, some companies like insurance companies will pay you simply for a lead. If you send someone to their website and that person fills out an insurance quote form, that may be enough to earn you some decent revenue.

Another example is display advertising through Google Adsense or Media.net. I personally use both of those services on some of my blogs and basically I get paid just for someone clicking on an ad.

You might be thinking… “but Mike, I NEVER click on ads! How can that make you any money?”

First of all, I’m not saying that Google Adsense or Media.net ads will make you rich, because they certainly aren’t the most profitable monetization methods. You’re also going to need a pretty significant amount of traffic for display advertising to work for you. While display ads CAN earn you a full-time income, I’ve personally found display ads to be the “icing on the cake” so to speak. Between Media.net ads and Google Adsense ads, I earned approximately $45,000 last year. Keep in mind that type of income from CPA advertising has taken me YEARS to build, but that’s not pocket change!! So while I don’t think CPA should be your main monetization plan, CPA shouldn’t be ignored, either.

The Key Differences Between Affiliate Marketing And CPA Affiliate Marketing

Though CPA affiliate marketing is a type of affiliate marketing, there are some key differences. Affiliate marketers are basically proxy advertisers that work to promote a brand as well as their products and services. Affiliate marketers are then paid any time someone makes a purchase based on their recommendations.

Let me give you a specific example. I have a website that reviews dog food over at DogFoodInsider.com. On that site I have an affiliate partnership with the Amazon Associates Affiliate Program. If someone clicks on any of my links to Amazon.com and makes a purchase, I get a commission. It doesn’t even matter what they buy, so my reviews can be honest. I get to promote only the highest quality dog food and I get paid to do it! Pretty cool, right?

But unlike traditional affiliate marketing, CPA is not reliant on a sale. Instead you are really just creating a lead for another company. CPA is often compared to lead generation as opposed to direct sales. You’ll notice on my dog food review site I also have some Media.net display ads, so that site has a nice mixture of CPA as well as direct sales affiliate revenue. Diversification is the only way to truly survive long-term online!

The Benefits Of CPA Affiliate Marketing

CPA affiliate marketing has many benefits. For the most part, it is truly passive. Sure, you need to build content that receives enough traffic to capitalize on and monetize, which is NOT a simple or “passive” task, but it once I have an article written, it takes me 2 seconds to place a Google ad on my site. Then all I have to do is let it sit there while Google optimizes the ad for me and watch the clicks come in.

For other types of CPA affiliate marketing, such as when a more specific task is required, the payouts can be fairly substantial. For example, let’s pretend you have a website that compares car insurance. Instead of promoting one single brand in the hopes of commissions from new sales and signups, why not just have people get a quote from 5 or 6 different insurance companies to see which one comes out with the best price? If you have a CPA affiliate partnership with all of those insurance companies, they will ALL pay you, regardless of who actually gets the sale. So, you can see how profitable CPA marketing can be and you don’t even have to sell anything!

Which Should You Choose?

The best part about CPA affiliate marketing is that you can use it on nearly any blog or website, no matter what your current monetization methods (or plans) are. You can easily integrate both types of affiliate marketing into your website if it is well-designed, receives enough traffic, and you fully disclose your content to your partners. With your website and social media accounts, you can run both affiliate marketing and CPA campaigns seamlessly and have a variety of ways to generate income. As I’ve shown you, I personally use both and have found they interplay nicely.

How To Get Started In CPA Affiliate Marketing

What Is CPA Affiliate Marketing?If you are interested in pursuing CPA as your main form of affiliate marketing, I’d say the first place to start is to research the different CPA affiliate networks that are out there. Just like with becoming an affiliate, before applying to any CPA network, do a little research to see if the company offers the services, pay structure, and variety that you need for success.

Once you have your CPA networks narrowed down, you’ll need to apply to the networks. You’ll probably want to build up your website and start receiving some traffic before you apply as many CPA networks have an approval process. They want to see that your site is already attracting targeted visitors that may be interested in their CPA offers, so don’t apply too early. Affiliate marketing should be viewed as a long-term strategy. Build up your site first, get some visitors, and THEN monetize it.

To learn more about the process I use to build websites that make money, you can learn about the CTPM process here.

So yes, CPA networks are pretty particular about who they let in because their model is based on your legitimacy, so you may be turned down. I know this can be discouraging at first, however, here are some tips I recommend for applying so you have a better chance of acceptance:

  • Even though CPA does not rely on having a website, it’s good to have an already established website with a daily stream of visitors to your site.
  • Have a domain based email as it gives you more credibility.
  • Be honest about your past history, site traffic, and conversion rates. If you lie about your traffic volume just to get accepted, they will find out and it could ruin any future relationship you could have with them.
  • Don’t give up. If a network turns you down, work on building your audience and then when you have higher numbers, re-apply.

If you are just starting out in affiliate marketing, I definitely recommend working with a company like Solo Build It. While there’s a million different people, “guru’s”, and services that claim THEY can teach you how to be successful online, I really only recommend Solo Build It as they give you all the tools and services you’ll need in one place, along with the training to learn how to put it all together. It’s a fantastic resource.

Some Tips For Successful CPA Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

Once you have a CPA affiliate network membership, it’s time to set up a successful campaign. While simply blogging and creating content is a great strategy to gaining traffic in order to promote CPA offers, there are some other marketing strategies you can integrate. Here are some of the things that I have done that have helped me be more successful with my CPA strategies:

  • Create a landing page: Landing pages are different than regular blog posts or pages on your site. A landing page is a specific page that you can “funnel” your website traffic into. While blog posts should mostly be made to educate, inform, or entertain your website visitors, your landing pages should be the main selling pages and optimized for the most clicks and conversions. Find ways to link to your landing pages from your blog posts and you have an effective strategy.
  • Have fun with a splash page: Splash pages are an introduction page users see before entering a website. A splash page is a fun and flashy piece of content that contains everything from music to animations to graphics. A splash page is a way to get visitors excited to engage in your site or a way to prompt them to take a specific action. Anytime someone visits a website for the first time they have their guard up.
    A splash page is a great way to instantly give a certain personality to your website.
  • Use paid advertising (with caution): In some cases, paid advertising can be hugely profitable. For example, using Facebook Ads to drive clicks or using Google Adwords to drive traffic to your site. When paid advertising works, it works very well and really can earn you a significant income very quickly. However, paid advertising is very difficult and usually you will lose money before you make money, so set a budget and use it cautiously.

These are just some of the techniques I recommend for CPA affiliate marketing. There are dozens more examples of affiliates making great money through CPA.

Whether you are just starting out or looking for a way to expand your current business, I definitely recommend looking into CPA affiliate marketing. It’s a great business strategy that has helped me diversify my offerings, works seamlessly with my other affiliate partnerships, and helped me expand my revenue streams into other areas like social media. I definitely would recommend all affiliate marketers check it out.

Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing Over Other “Make Money Online” Techniques

Advantages Of Affiliate Marketing Over Other “Make Money Online” Techniques

Wouldn’t it be great if all those “make money online” programs and training couerses were legitimate? Unfortunately, chances are, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and it’s more important than ever to be careful when putting your information out there online. This is even true with people who promote affiliate marketing as a means to make money online. As someone who earns a great living online through affiliate marketing, I know that affiliate marketing can be entirely legitimate. However, there are so many “gurus” and get-rich-quick “experts” pushing affiliate marketing as some easy way to earn big bucks quickly online with very little work. Of course that’s total bullshit, and it gives the entire affiliate industry a terrible image.

With affiliate marketing, however, you really are given the opportunity to make money online legitimately. Affiliate marketing is just like starting any other business, though. It’s not going to come quickly or easily, you need a good business plan, and you will not earn any significant income for at least the first year and maybe more. That’s just how REAL business works.

When you understand how affiliate marketing REALLY works, and how the advantages of affiliate marketing makes it a great business opportunity, it then becomes easy to see how this online business is quite a bit different from the average “make money online” offer. Read More

How To Use Social Media For Affiliate Marketing

How To Use Social Media For Affiliate Marketing

Using social media for affiliate marketing is one of the simplest and quickest ways to begin making money online. Affiliate marketing is a partnership between a company and an external website, where the external party helps to promote a product or products, and the company pays the external party a commission for each click that transforms into a sale. While using social media for affiliate marketing can be one of the most effective methods, you’ll want to make sure your social media posts not only spread your affiliate link and website link, but have actual value as well.

Posts without value are posts that will cause your audience to lose interest and the goodwill of your audiences, rendering your efforts of using social media for affiliate marketing useless. For example, on my social media platforms I like to have 80% of my posts as entertainment or education purposes only and only 20% of my posts have anything to do with promotions. Read More