Always disclose your affiliate relationship. Most visitors will probably understand that graphic ad will lead to your getting paid, but if you write a review or use an in-text link as a recommendation, you want your readers to know that may lead to compensation as well. This ensures you retain transparency and trust with your readers, but also, it's required by the FTC's endorsement rules.

That’s a great tip Sean, thanks! I was thinking about what you said in your post about some companies not putting that they have affiliate links and you having to do some digging and there are couple of companies/authors who made products I love and keep using, but I’m not sure how to go ahead and ask about the affiliate link. I read the post you linked below about asking for guest blogging, which I thought was a must-read, and so, if you think of doing a follow-up on this one, would love to read some of your tips and do’s and don’t about this. Thanks again, Sean, you’re doing some very inspiring work here!
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.
These add review stars to snippets and increase click-through rates. I have tested many rich snippet plugins over the years and my favorite (and what I use now) is the WP Review Pro Plugin by MyThemeShop (view the demo). It’s fast, looks great (here’s a page I use it on), comes with 16 pre-styled designs, supports user reviews, and is well-supported by the developers at MyThemeShop. I was previously using WP Rich Snippets but the developer abandoned the plugin and hasn’t updated it for 2 years, and All In One Schema lacks customization options.

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:


After signing up, you'll be provided with text links, banner ads, and other marketing materials you can use to promote ClickMeter. When someone clicks through your link or banner, a cookie is set to remember that you referred that customer. If they sign up for an account within 90 days and become a paying customer, you'll earn a commission for that referral.
One of the most beautiful and exciting qualities about blogging is that you can create a blog that deals with any subject area that you are either knowledgeable or passionate about (and preferably both!). You can write about personal finance, careers, real estate, getting into business, technology, cooking, travel, personal health, or just about any topic you choose.
Anyone who has ever googled “work from home” or “make money from home” knows that the web is overflowing with sites proclaiming you can make thousands from the comfort of your living room, most of the time requiring you to first buy a book, CD, or DVD to learn how.  Since there is so much of this garbage out there, it can be frustrating looking for legitimate ways to work from home.  Below are some reasonable ideas to consider.

To get started with Amazon affiliate marketing you will need to sign up with Amazon Affiliates. Then subtly market products on your site that are relevant to your niche and will be of interest to your audience. Make sure you only endorse high-quality products. If your visitors make a purchase on your recommendation but are not impressed with the item, you could quickly lose followers.
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.
ShareASale offers pay-per-sale, pay-per-lead, and pay-per-click programs, with a minimum payout of $50. ShareASale is my favorite affiliate program network because of their large marketplace (they have tons of blogger-friendly affiliate programs) and the ease of use. If you want to make money through affiliate marketing, I highly recommend you give ShareASale a try.
Consider your expertise. If you take the time to reflect on your experiences, you will realize that you have more knowledge about which to write than you might think. Begin by listing three assets that define you, such as your profession, a special hobby or a personality trait. Next, list three things that inspire you, such as religion, education or charity. Finally, list three of your dreams, such as getting married, traveling or spending more time with your children. These three lists should give you many ideas of topics about which you can write.[13]
Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.
Using the money you already have to make more money is usually a pretty smart move. A service like Lending Club is a great way to act as a lender and earn interest on your money. Essentially, you act as the bank, which is pretty neat. Lending Club is the world’s largest online credit marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. Definitely something worth looking into!

Who knew you could be paid to listen to music? Slicethepie is the largest paid review site on the internet that pays you to listen to music and write detailed reviews. How much you'll earn per review varies by the quality of your review. A.k.a. the more detailed and constructive, the better. The minimum payment is $10, so once you've reviewed enough songs to earn at least $10, your money will be sent to you via a direct payments on PayPal.
This is extremely helpful information for somebody who is a newbie blogger! I’ve been looking for an all inclusive “guide” to explain affiliate marketing and this is the best I’ve found. Quick question for you – when you talk about the cookie expiration date, is that from the date that you post your review/recommendation or from the date that the reader clicks on the link? For example, the affiliate links you posted in this post are well over 90 days old but if I click on one of them now and buy that product, do you still get paid? Just curious how that works.
This was a wealth of helpful information, thanks. In the first section you described how you found your niche. Any more suggestions on how I would find a niche that would be profitable? I understand you probably want to find something that you can write good content on, but what steps would you take to make sure to validate that it will be a good niche to work on? Thanks for any help Tom.
Traffic to your site. Without people there’s no business, that’s why it’s important that your site has visitors. The more traffic your site has, the more sales you’ll make. Getting traffic to your site is something that takes time and will depend on the content you provide and the keywords you use for that content. You can also try PPC (Pay-Per-Click) to get traffic, but I don’t recommend it if you’re on a tight budget.
The products and services you will be promoting to your audience must be relevant and good quality. Make sure you believe in them and know everything about them, because this will be crucial to you delivering the sales pitch to your audience. You need to build trust with your audience so make sure the products and services you choose to promote are trustworthy enough. 
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