Keep in mind, affiliate tracking links are only valid for a certain period of time. For example, when you sign up to an affiliate program that advertises a “30-day cookie”, that means you’re only eligible for a commission if your visitor makes a purchase within 30 days. If they buy something on day 31, you don’t earn unless they clicked the link again at some point.
The links fit anywhere a normal anchor link would go. But, in this case, the traffic is tracked by a network or software and the content creator gets a cut. You probably have plenty of products around your home that came about as a recommendation after watching a cool YouTube video – it’s very likely they sent you to the site through their affiliate link!
If you're focusing on inbound techniques like SEO, social media, and content creation for a preexisting website, the good news is you don't need very much budget at all. With inbound marketing, the main focus is on creating high quality content that your audience will want to consume, which unless you're planning to outsource the work, the only investment you'll need is your time.

Same here, this post kind of fell from the sky at such a great time. Been building a great community of readers over the years but reached a point where I’m losing money maintaining the site and newsletter. As you said, the ads don’t bring much -ironically I use Adblocks too but affiliate marketing always seemed like a weird and opaque subject. I’ve read many of Chris Guillebeau’s books in the last few months (this is how I discovered your site actually!) and I didn’t realize he had affiliate links for instance. Your post opened up a new window of possibility for me. Still need to process everything and do the work behind but a big thank you to you Sean!
While that may not sound like much, affiliate marketing can be surprisingly profitable for websites that have large, committed user bases that consistently return. After all, in affiliate marketing, every person you send to a company’s website is another chance to earn a commission. So it’s in your best interest to attract as many visitors to your site as possible so you can turn the biggest profit possible.
Before we dive deep, let's clear off one fact: both are perfectly viable business models. They both comprise checkered pasts of spammy misuse and high-quality effort. The difference is in their setup and infrastructure. Also, how you approach to manage your created business. It depends a lot on how much elbow grease you put in, and which model seems preferable to you.
Adam Enfroy is the Affiliate Partnerships Manager at BigCommerce. With 10+ years of experience in digital marketing, ecommerce, selling online courses, and web development, he is passionate about leveraging the right strategic partnerships and software to scale digital growth. Adam lives in Austin, TX and writes about affiliate marketing and building your online influence on his personal blog.
Those engaging with your company online via mobile devices need to have the same positive experience as they would on desktop. This means implementing a mobile-friendly or responsive website design to make browsing user-friendly for those on mobile devices. It might also mean reducing the length of your lead generation forms to create a hassle-free experience for people downloading your content on-the-go. As for your social media images, it's important to always have a mobile user in mind when creating them as image dimensions are smaller on mobile devices, meaning text can be cut-off.
Third, successful affiliate marketers measure beyond just money. How will you know that you’ve become a successful affiliate marketer? The number cruncher in you may raise your hand and say, “When I make X dollars per month every month for a number of years.” Hard to argue with that, since making money online is a strong motivator. However, why not measure success by the number of lives you touch in a positive fashion by introducing them to your affiliate products? Chances are that the money will follow…
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