affiliate marketing for beginners

I'm about to start up a new series here on SeraTune: Affiliate Marketing--A Beginner's Guide.  This is a pretty exciting way to make money online.

affliate marketing

Like everything else in the blogging world, this is something I'm late in discovering.  I'm by no means and expert, but I'd like to share what I'm learning.  Here are a few questions I'll be dealing with:

1.Small Review of PHP
2.Small Review of Asp.Net
3.Both are better, Choose according to your requirements
4.Where to Start ? from PHP or Asp.Net
5.Why Not Start from Asp.Net ?

As I mentioned in the start of article, I'm not an expert on this.  I just want to share what I'm learning--things I wish I knew when I first started blogging.

What is affiliate marketing?
Darren Rowse has described it this way at

"Perhaps the simplest way to explain affiliate marketing is that it is a way of making money online whereby you as a publisher are rewarded for helping a business by promoting their product, service or site."

So how does this differ from adsense and other cost-per-click programs?

Generally speaking, affiliate marketing requires something more than a click-through or an impression for you to earn money.

Most affiliate marketing programs work on commission--you earn when someone buys something you referred them to (there are some variations, which I will describe in another post).  This is why the earning potential tends to be higher than pay-per-click--you can earn a percentage of the money spent on the actual purchase.

The Pros/Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
Now it’s time for me to talk about the advantages of affiliate marketing. Keep in mind I’m referring to affiliate marketing from a blogger’s perspective, comparing it to other way of monetizing a blog (adsense, etc).

Two main advantages come to mind:

1. Profits: Generally speaking, affiliate marketing has much greater profit potential than other forms of monetization. The most my strength and fitness blog has ever made in one day with adsense is about 20 dollars. I can make more than that with one sale through affiliate marketing. Yes, there are plenty of people who click the ads and never buy anything. Yes, there are days that I don’t make a single sale. Regardless, it has been a much better use of advertising space for me.

2. Control: Affiliate marketing gives you (the blogger) control over what specific products you want to promote. This may not be an issue for your niche, but it was for mine. One major purpose of my fitness blog is exposing scams (bogus supplements, etc). I was getting tired of the “lose ten pounds in ten hours” ads showing up through adsense (I imagine most other ad networks would have given me the same dilemma).

These two advantages have produced a win-win situation: I refer my readers to high quality products and make more money doing it.

The Cons/Disadvantages of Affiliate Marketing
I discussed the pros/advantages of affiliate marketing before. Now I’ll mention the disadvantages, or challenges of affiliate marketing.

1. No Sale, No Earnings: As I mentioned before, affiliate marketing usually requires something besides a click-through on an ad for you to earn. Generally speaking, you only earn when someone buys something. This may mean you go days (or longer, depending on your traffic) without earning any money. This may be a challenge for you if you are used to seeing money trickle in daily from cost-per-click (CPC) advertising.

2. More Work Required: Affiliate marketing will also require more work than other forms of advertising. Adsense, for example, automatically chooses ads based on the content of your blog. Affiliate marketing requires you to choose, research, and promote specific products.

These are the main two challenges I see with affiliate marketing. There may be others, but I think they would somehow fall under one of these two general categories. One issue, for example, would be your reputation as a blogger—it would be damaged if you promoted a product that turned out to be low quality. This falls under #2—the need to carefully research what you promote.

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Programs
Like many other posts here, I'm writing about the stuff I wish I knew when I first started blogging.  With so many affiliate programs to choose from it is hard to know where to start.  I had a hard time figuring out which affiliate program I should try.

The "best" affiliate program depends largely on your niche.  If, for example, you write about dating and relationships, your best bet is to sign up with a dating website's affiliate program.

Having said this, let me tell you what has worked best for me and share my comments:

Clickbank has out-performed every other affiliate program I've tried.  Most of the products on clickbank were specifically designed for online affiliate marketing, which is a big advantage.  Many of the clients offer 75% commission to you, the blogger, for sales.  Clickbank also gives you a ton of valuable information in terms of analytics:  hops per order, etc.

Shopzilla has been a consistent earner for me as well.  It is sort of a modified pay-per-click program.  This means you get paid for clicks (vs sales), but the earning potential isn't as high as with commission affiliates.  I have a couple of pages/posts that regularly earn 3-5 dollars a day with Shopzilla.  This services is more of a slow, steady earner for me: the daily profits ad up. has one of the most well-known affiliate programs on the internet, and some bloggers do quite well with them.  I personally have not made much money with their program, but it is a good one to use for book and video reviews, etc.

Commission Junction is the program used by and several other well-known companies.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.  I'm just sharing some of the programs that have worked for everyone.

Here's something I've learned about doing affiliate marketing with your blog:  you have to be patient.  

You may go days with low sales (or in my case, no sales), then suddenly have a big day that makes up for all the slow ones.  Sometimes I get a little restless after a few slow days and start thinking about starting a new advertising campaign, etc. 

But I've learned to let the process work.  I'll keep getting traffic if I keep writing good content.  As long as I'm consistent, the money will eventually come. 

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