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!
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.
So as an affiliate marketer, you have to build a compelling website, attract traffic to that website, and retain a consistent audience in order to sell ads. Then, you join an affiliate network like Amazon or eBay, and they show ads on your site. It’s important to note that affiliates don’t earn money by simply serving ads. They have to direct qualified traffic to a company’s site so that the company can earn more in sales.
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…