Nearly $5,000 in affiliate sales is awesome, and I see this as a turning point for bringing in a respectable income from the site. (I’ve written more in this post about how we’re monetizing The Write Life.) But before we dive into how we accomplished this, I want to put that income in perspective for you. It’s still a drop in the bucket for our company, for three reasons:
In a recent FlexJobs study, they found “Sixty-seven percent of freelancers report that the amount of work they’ve gotten online has increased in the last year, and 64% of freelancers found work online, up 22 points since 2014 according to the “Freelancing in America: 2018” report. The percentage of freelancers who earn $75,000 or more annually has increased 15 points since 2014.” That's awesome news for those looking to make money from home.
Shopify is probably the most popular e-commerce solutions provider out there, but because there are so many products and options, newcomers can easily get confused. If you believe your audience has products to sell and could benefit from Shopify’s products and are able to elucidate the benefits of signing up for Shopify, you can definitely earn some big money with their affiliate program.

VigLink works a bit differently than other affiliate programs in that it is specifically designed for bloggers. Instead of affiliates picking and choosing which merchants to work with, VigLink uses dynamic links that automatically change to work with merchants that VigLink has determined are offering the highest conversation rates and/or commissions at any given moment.
This is also one work-at-home job that can be endlessly customized to work for you – you can choose subjects to specialize in, from sports or fashion to European finance or vegan motherhood. You can write articles and blog posts, or ad copy and social posts. You can ghostwrite for your clients, or build your own successful blog. You can find jobs nearly anywhere, too – from job boards or virtual assistant agencies to personal referrals and building your own site. Visit my beginner’s guide to get started freelance writing online.
If you’d like to specialize in medical transcription, there are certification courses you can take; you can also benefit from having healthcare-related experience so you’re familiar with the terminology. The same applies for legal transcription – you can do a certification course, and it’s helpful if you know legal lingo or even have legal reference materials at home. If you’d like to do law enforcement transcription, that most often has overlapping requirements with legal transcription.
Offering specific online SEO services is also another online freelancer role that businesses are crying out for. If you know how to improve a website’s SEO by doing keyword research, creating content that can rank in search engines, adding metadata/schema to posts and pages, and building backlinks to a domain, to name a few tasks, then this could be a great line of work for you.
Walk around your neighborhood or town and I’m sure you’ll see tons of great local businesses with terrible design. However, with increasingly easy-to-use tools like Adobe Illustrator, Venngage, Stencil, and Visme, just about anyone with a creative mindset and a good amount of motivation can start making money online by being a graphic designer for local companies.
You’ve probably heard the overused term “pivot to video” at some point, which is both a joke about and an acceptance of the fact that many publishers are pushing their resources into video. Video advertisements are more expensive to buy than banner ads because they lead to higher click-through rates, which means a business can potentially make a lot more money through video than through other forms of content. So, if you can create great videos that make people want to watch and that drive ad revenue or subscriptions back to a website, you can become a very valuable asset.
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs. 

I always add an HTML table of contents to posts to make sure they are long and structured. This has been a HUGE help for me (and my readers) and there are tons of benefits: better chance of getting “jump to links” in Google (see below), increased average time on page, decreased bounce rates, and it makes it easier for readers to navigate through your content.

Now that you’ve decided on a niche and affiliate network, you probably have a good idea of the products you’re going to feature on your affiliate site. Before you go on a publishing spree, make sure you create a workable strategy and put it on writing. This doesn’t have to be perfect, since you can adjust it as you go along, but it makes a whole lot of difference if you follow some sort of guide.
If you have skills that are in demand, you can always pick up odd jobs around your neighborhood, networking in the real world to find real-world jobs. But don't stop there! There are now so many ways to use the Internet to find small jobs. Short task sites offer diverse ways to find skilled and unskilled jobs both online and in the real world--shopping and performing price checks, cleaning, repairs, writing, editing, translation, transcription, data entry, website usability testing, social media tasks, surveys, and online research. 
Thirsty Affiliates tracks, cloaks, and categorizes your affiliate links. Once you’ve signed up for your program(s) grab your affiliate links and add them to this plugin. This can take time if you will be linking to multiple pages on your affiliate’s website (which in many cases, you should). The pro version comes with statistics but I don’t even use it and I’m quite the analytical person.
You can become an affiliate eBay within a few clicks of your mouse. You just need to scroll down to the bottom of the eBay home page and find the affiliates link. Click to the link and you will be redirected to fill out the application. One great thing about eBay is that you can either decide to sell new products or items that you no longer use another trick that can help merchants is to buy items at a lower price then resell them at a higher price. The affiliate marketers also benefits in a number of ways. First you can earn money by just persuading people to register with eBay or refer them to purchase items on this site.
ClickBank is known for handling the affiliate programs of digital products like ebooks, software and even membership sites. So if you wish to promote toys, clothing, or other products on your website, ClickBank wouldn’t be the most appropriate network to join.Amazon Associates continue to be the choice of people new to affiliate marketing, since Amazon has thousands of products readily available at any given time.

Like Airbnb, becoming a ridesharing driver for companies like Uber, Lyft or Sidecar is a way to join the shared economy. And though it is not technically earning money from home,  it allows the same kind of flexibility and it is a way to use an asset you already own (i.e. your car) to make money. There are things to keep in mind, though, about driving other people such as whether your car insurance will cover you and how you pay taxes on your earnings. 

Amazon offers a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which can be extremely useful for arbitrage sellers, or others selling their own products. If you opt for FBA, Amazon will store, pick, pack and deliver your products. That means you can scale your arbitrage business quickly as you don’t have to store products in your own home or waste time with postage.
Great post and right on target. I found that if you blog and/or do videos that sharing little stories will help connect you to potential leads. I do how-to videos and posts and I always tell personal stories or my own experiences that relate to the subject. It works and I get personal messages from people about it. It makes you more real and down to earth in the viewer's eyes. Once they like you and trust you they will become a lead and hopefully a sale. They may very well become a regular buyer because you will be their go to person. For best results it's best to blog daily and do at least one video a day.
SEO: getting consistent traffic by writing AWESOME content about your keywords (there’s a phrase “length is strength” in SEO and this paid off big time for me). Maybe you’re doing videos or an eCourse, but I found blog posts WAY easier to update which means less maintenance. The biggest factor by FAR was the time I spent meticulously creating my tutorials… which eventually resulted in a sudden 3x increase in SEO traffic
You may NOT earn affiliate commissions on the following items: signing up for your own account, sales earned through PPC advertising for branded (Jungle Scout, Jumpsend, Fetcher, or Jungle Market etc.) search terms, or coupon/discount style sites. We reserve the right to make the final decision whether a commission falls into one of these categories. Any affiliates found breaking these terms will be permanently banned and any pending commissions will not be paid out.
Once you’ve chosen your interest and you’ve create a website where you can write about it, the next step is to pick out the affiliate programs that will advertise on your site. It’s tough to start affiliate marketing without a monetization plan! With over a million products and services to pick from, you’re bound to find something related to your interests, so feel free to go crazy with ideas like underwater basket weaving and scuba lessons if your interests lie with the ocean, or organic food and organic conditioners if you prefer to discuss how to stay beautiful with only organic plant extracts.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Instash, Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.
How established is your site/blog/social media following?  Do you already have an audience of 1 million or are you just getting started?  Early on in your affiliate marketing journey you will probably want to have multiple options to make sure you can cover a broad field. You might want to become an Amazon Associate as well as joining one of the networks so you will have a product link to drop into any posts you do.  An easy place to start is to promote the services you are using if you are enjoying their product - web hosting or email management systems like Aweber.
If you have skills that are in demand, you can always pick up odd jobs around your neighborhood, networking in the real world to find real-world jobs. But don't stop there! There are now so many ways to use the Internet to find small jobs. Short task sites offer diverse ways to find skilled and unskilled jobs both online and in the real world--shopping and performing price checks, cleaning, repairs, writing, editing, translation, transcription, data entry, website usability testing, social media tasks, surveys, and online research. 
Hey, thanks for the great post. I’ve been following Pat Flynn and love his “give and it shall be given unto you” attitude..my perception anyway. At 50, with a high school education, I’m trying to learn affiliate marketing from information online. What I’ve gleened so far is to focus on giving the best, most honest information, like your Parents would give you. In exchange for your efforts rewards will come.
Hi Melissa, I am really enjoying your Blog, and would like to get into Affiliate Marketing. The problem is I just can’t seem to get them on my Blog. I seem to be the only one to have this problem. I’ve searched for an answer, with no success. I must be the only one out there that can not figure this out. Could you possibly help? Please tell me how this is done. Thank so much, Donna
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Recent corporate changes and folding 2Checkout into a larger company that is involved in payment processing and e-commerce means that the affiliate program can sometimes feel somewhat neglected. But the ability to generate custom coupon codes and the comprehensive knowledge base make 2Checkout a good option for experienced affiliates with an established user base. But if you’re just entering the affiliate field for the first time, 2Checkout might not be where you want to start.
Tip 1. Have the correct mindset before you go off building an affiliate marketing business. I see it happen all the time, people going off creating a site to promote affiliate offers when all they care about if the money. You must come to understand there’s so much more than just money when it comes to affiliate marketing. Let’s say you make a bunch of money for the sake of argument, just because you make loads of money doesn’t mean you will be happy with your business.
Your Price. When establishing a price for your classes, start by calling around and finding out what other choices your clients have. If you plan to offer cooking classes, call some commercial establishments and other in-home teachers. Compare your own talent and experience to what they’re offering, and set a price accordingly. You should always come in a little lower than classes offered by commercial establishments as that will be one of your selling points: expert information for less money.

Google Autocomplete – go to google.com, start typing a phrase and look at the dropdown autocomplete results. You can use the underscore character “_” to have Google fill-in-the-blank. Just make sure the last character you type is an underscore. Try using plurals and change the word ordering to see different results. This is how I find 90% of my keywords.
In my (unpopular) opinion, getting a raise is harder than getting a promotion. Think about it from your boss’s perspective, would you rather a) pay more money for the same service, or b) pay more money for additional responsibilities. Alas, if you feel you’re overdue a raise, check out Dr. Randall Hansen’s article on Getting the Raise You Deserve. There are some really useful strategies there.
This post was so helpful! I launched my blog in January and just started to try and monetize it in June. I’ve added some affiliate links for a few of the programs you recommended, so hopefully, I will see some results soon. I’m realizing that this is gonna be a harder journey than I originally thought, but thanks to bloggers like you I have great resources to guide me! Twitter.com/Disfordollars
MaxBounty works exclusively with digital products, usually about giving one’s email or signing up for a newsletter. MaxBounty has CPA, Pay-per-call, and CPL campaigns that you can choose from. MaxBounty is involved in a large number of verticals, including market research, real estate, social games, finance, dating, and diet, but is primarily designed for marketers seeking to acquire new leads.

StudioPress itself is somewhat of a niche product as it is targeted to existing WordPress users who found setting up and managing a WordPress site too difficult or time-consuming. StudioPress prides itself on being easy to use, but their main claim to fame is that their hosted websites are “faster and more secure” than other WordPress hosting companies as well as using the “Genesis framework” which is supposedly more SEO friendly than other WordPress builds.
If you are more confident in your skills, you can also market directly to websites and blogs. You can contact the sites by email to market your services. That will also enable you to select the specific types of sites that you are more comfortable working with. Since there are literally thousands of websites and blogs on the web, the potential market is limitless.
If you have the skills you need to work from home, scope out the best scam-free resources to help you find jobs that are a good fit. Of course, FlexJobs is the premier source for avoiding job scams in your search for hand-screened, home-based jobs that are 100% real and legitimate. Many of the jobs below can be done on a part-time, flexible schedule, or freelance basis.
In short, both the affiliate marketer and the merchant will benefit in this program as the merchant will sell more goods and the affiliate marketer will get a commission for every product bought through his/her website.  Many affiliate marketers earn a nice monthly income from selling other peoples’ products!  Later, YOU TOO could be producing your very own products and collaborating with one of the top 10 affiliate programs below to enlist an army of bloggers and website owners to help you become financially free.
Hi Melissa, I am really enjoying your Blog, and would like to get into Affiliate Marketing. The problem is I just can’t seem to get them on my Blog. I seem to be the only one to have this problem. I’ve searched for an answer, with no success. I must be the only one out there that can not figure this out. Could you possibly help? Please tell me how this is done. Thank so much, Donna
If you are a professional photographer or have a real flair for photography, then selling your images on other sites could be an idea. This could be done alongside your own photography site, as it is a good way to help get your work viewed by a wider audience. There are numerous stock image websites to contribute to, but choosing a popular high-end site like Shutterstock should ensure your photographs make you some money.

Again, if your blog has a large reader base, then businesses may be interested in paying you to review their services or products. Not only will you get a free trial using whatever these businesses are selling, but you will also get a fee for writing them a review and posting it to your site. Paid reviews (and other paid and sponsored content) can be big money, so advertise this service on your contact page to generate business.


There’s no limits to the number of affiliate programs you sign up for so applying for one today will not prevent you from picking another one later on.  In fact, being a member of more affiliate programs simply gives you more options in terms of products to promote plus they’re pretty much all free to join.  You can always leave a program if it’s not working out for you or there are no products you want to promote.

Again, if your blog has a large reader base, then businesses may be interested in paying you to review their services or products. Not only will you get a free trial using whatever these businesses are selling, but you will also get a fee for writing them a review and posting it to your site. Paid reviews (and other paid and sponsored content) can be big money, so advertise this service on your contact page to generate business.
Regarding “convincing someone to buy your product is not that easy”, I do agree with you, but at the same time, I remember all those products I’ve bought online. I did not search on Google for those products neither I went to the company websites to get information and buy. They were affiliate people and their blogs that inspired to buy them. PrettyLink Pro, SEO Pressor was recommended by Kimberley, I bought Profits Theme, WP Zon builder because Alex Whaley recommended. Similarly I bought CommentLuv Premium because Ileane, Kavita, Steve and many others were talking good about it.

Acorns works by essentially rounding up the spare change from your everyday purchases (to the nearest dollar) and then invests the difference into the stock market. If you’re clueless about how the stock market works, but still want the highest return you can possibly make on your money, this is the perfect way to start investing. You can read our full Acorns Review here.
Take the hobby you love and do it for money...from home. The number of possible types of crafts you could make is endless--knitting, jewelry, scrapbook, pottery, ornaments, textiles and so on. To make this work, though, you have to not only create a quality product but you need to know how to market it. You can go the old-fashioned route and take your wares to craft shows and flea markets or use the Internet to expand your options. With online options like Etsy and eBay, your potential market is worldwide, but so is your competition. 
You’ll also need to have some technical know-how if you want to be marketable as an online writer. You don’t need to be Bill Gates, but you should at least know how to add a link and crop a picture. You can practice some of these skills by playing around with a free WordPress site, experimenting with features and publishing a few stories. That way, you can gain experience and create a small portfolio of articles you can share with other businesses when you want to start applying to writing jobs. According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a writer in the U.S. is about $48,000.

I always add an HTML table of contents to posts to make sure they are long and structured. This has been a HUGE help for me (and my readers) and there are tons of benefits: better chance of getting “jump to links” in Google (see below), increased average time on page, decreased bounce rates, and it makes it easier for readers to navigate through your content.
There are also shopping apps like ibotta, MobiSave, and checkout 21 that give you money back for shopping. And the Walmart app has a savings catcher feature where you take a picture of the barcode or upc at the bottom of your receipt and they search all surrounding store and if a lower price is found they give you the difference back. I have made about 50 bucks total from this app and 20-30 from things like ibotta.
Create a writer website or blog. A website not only demonstrates your technical ability, but it also creates an online hub that allows clients to connect to you. Keep the design of your website clean and uncluttered. Include examples of your work that demonstrate the kind of writing you do. Make the samples easy to find and to read, and make it easy for visitors to figure out how to contact you.[23] .
A lifestyle blogger writes about their everyday life, hobbies, and interests. From fashion, beauty tips, and male grooming, to food, restaurants, and travel, anything that you experience can be blogged about. And famous lifestyle bloggers can make big bucks. Once you have built up a following, there are many ways to make a profit. Add affiliate links to your website, promote sponsored services, create your own product range, and much more.
If you have experience as a personal assistant, secretary, admin assistant, or something in a similar field, then becoming an online PA may be a great role for you. Many professionals want someone to help organize their business and personal affairs. Jobs could include sending emails, managing financial affairs, booking flights and arranging day-to-day activities. If you are interested in this line of work there are many PA agencies that are crying out for reliable assistants.
The fit must be right between you and the merchant who is going to benefit from your promotional efforts, or it simply won’t work. The easiest way to begin with affiliate marketing is to select an affiliate network. Many affiliate networks exist, some which are tied to well-known companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple, while others specialize in specific types of products and services.
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