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Ahmad, Great post and great information. I have some more specific questions for you relating to my personal company and how affiliate programs can tie into it. Is there a chance we could talk sometime soon? I think you may have the answers to several of my questions on whether affiliate marketing is what I am looking for or not. And if it’s not what I am looking for I think you can direct me in the direction I need to go.

So no, it isn’t easy in the least bit. In fact, from the people who talk about the TRUTH behind affiliate marketing, it CAN be a great way to make money, but only after you’ve spent months or even years putting content out there and already have a VERY solid viewer base. That’s great that you worked your way up so fast, but for your one blog that makes as much as you claim, there are countless others who wasted months or even years on blogs and get little to no return on it. So, your website neglects to cover the most difficult part of the topic. And that’s not pointing the finger at you – it seems like that is where 99% of the people discussing affiliate marketing fall short. They talk about the finish line rather than the path to GET to that finish line.
Affiliate networks are intermediaries between merchants that sell products and affiliates that promote them. Joining one benefits merchants and affiliates alike. Affiliate networks allow publishers the ability to search through merchants (advertisers) and join them in one place. Furthermore, they allow merchants to reach a larger audience and promote them to all affiliates in the network.
When the payment is “recurring,” it doesn’t just occur once, but repeatedly as long as your commissioned user is still a paying customer. Recurring income programs pay their commissions monthly because of the customer retention rate. Most recurring programs are software as a service (SaaS) advertisers whose platforms require a monthly subscription.
“ShareASale is solid. Been using them since 2013. Biggest problems with them is the interface is a little dated / wonky. It’s also difficult to deal directly with the advertisers. You think you’re speaking to an advertiser rep, but it’s really just someone from SAS. You have to use a special (hard to find) contact form to contact the advertiser….and it’s rare you get a direct response from them.”
This is a great list. I need to bookmark this article. Thanks for sharing! I have been making money through Commission Junction using my own blogs. But you should make CJ at the first of the list as it is more promising than Shareasale affiliate program. Because you’ll be easier to find certain products and affiliate marketing programs that fit your blog niche CJ. There are various product types from tons of advertisers you can find on CJ to choose from.

Hello Adam. Thank you! After months of searching and reading how to start a blog, I decided to stop procrastinating and take the plunge…just get started! I signed up for three years with Bluehost using the link at the site of one of the MANY bloggers I came across in my search (didn’t want to miss out on the low cost). I have joined MANY courses for beginner bloggers. Yours has been by far SUPERIOR! Thank you for laying out the information so simply, for providing all the links for more information, but BEST of all, for providing the FULL course, in such detail no less, at the start! My blog is almost three months old, but I have gone back through using the steps in the checklist you provided. THANK YOU!


Turn your passion into a thriving online business with Wealthy Affiliates. Simply follow their proven process easy to use tools to launch a website, attract visitors, and most importantly, earn revenue. Wealthy Affiliate was created by Kyle and Carson, who in 2005, launched the Wealthy Affiliate platform to help other people succeed online. Since then Wealthy Affiliate community has grown to over 800,000 internet entrepreneurs. 
Powered by Commission Junction, TripAdvisor's affiliate program pays a 50% commission off the revenue generated from a user clicking on links and/or ads that send them to a TripAdvisor partner site. Which means, unlike most other affiliate programs in this list, you don't have to wait for your referral to make a purchase to earn your commission. As soon as someone comes from your website and clicks on one of the ads or links on the TripAdvisor website, you get paid.
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