Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
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I’m sure there are people making lots of money from affiliate marketing, but these probably tend to be people doing launch jacking. If you have no conscience and you want to earn lots of money, go for it. I’m sure it’s not actually that difficult to learn. Jeff Lenney has a blog post all about it. By the way, he’s the guy who got taken to court by WA for daring to write a negative review [Craig, feel free to remove that bit if you want].
Earning income via Target affiliates, however, requires a bit of work. Cookies expire in just seven days, and commissions can be as low as just one percent, so you’ll need to be operating a high-traffic website in order to make serious cash with this program. But with Target’s much-beloved brand reputation and vast catalog, relevant product links can be a big earner for established influencers.
It’s a very clever con: Tell all members that WA is the best way to make money online, tell them to tell the whole world that too, get them to all help each other in the hope of some kind of reward, and suppress any negativity. What you end up with then is a site that appears on first look to be the best thing that has ever happened to anyone wanting to make lots of money online, but which in reality turns out to be a big disappointment.
Another seemingly free site you can make money from is Wikipedia. People who say it’s easy to edit Wikipedia have clearly never tried editing Wikipedia – it’s a pain. Thankfully it’s a pain for companies as well, so many of them are willing to pay editors to assist them in the editing process. You’ll become a bounty hunter in a way, choosing your own lines to cross and keep. If editing is something you like to do, and you’re willing to put in the work it takes to learn Wikipedia’s dispute process, roll up your sleeves and try this one out.
When I enrolled in WA, I almost immediately had misgivings, which I ignored at first, about two things: 1) using their platform to build sites, as you mentioned, and 2) the bootcamp, which had too much of a circular flavor for my taste – and for my trust. I was actually surprised that so many people would promote WA instead of developing a personal niche. Looking backwards, bootcamp sites are easy to spot: they all have a link at the top called “My #1 Recommendation” or something similar. So much for originality.
Then once you’ve got your domain name and hosting sorted out, it’s time to pick a CMS, or Content Management System, that will let you update pages, build your blog and integrate with all the other services you need. It’s hard to go wrong with WordPress—the CMS powering close to a quarter of the internet. Keep in mind that eventually as you start growing traffic to your blog, you'll be wise to invest in a managed WordPress hosting plan from a company with great service like Kinsta, where all of the settings are custom-tailored and optimized to work particularly well with WordPress-powered websites.
Hi Craig – Correct me if I am wrong, but your information about not being able to access your website after going Premium is also misleading. Your domain name is your own and you can move it to any other hosting company. When you quit your hosting from any company — including Wealthy Affiliate — of course you can no longer access your site from there. You make it sound like your site is “lost” or somehow WA makes it “disappear” when in fact all you need to do is pay someone else to host it and move your domain. You will pay for hosting no matter what, it is often $25+ per month for not even as many features as are offered by Wealthy Affiliate. This means that for an additional $25 you can access on-going training on SEO updates, social media, and other necessary services. This seems like a deal to me. Yes, Wealthy Affiliate makes it sound easier than it is to get to the money, but I would rather that people figure out that they are not willing to do the work for a $49 loss than for a $300-$1000+ loss as is the cost of other programs.
This is the bait-and-switch that Wealthy Affiliate pulls on new members. It is called WEALTHY Affiliate, wealthy being a synonym of RICH. So, everyone who signs up is indeed hoping to be shown how to make a lot of money, then they get told: sorry, don’t expect to get rich any time soon. It’s kind of like signing up to Weight Watchers and then being told, “It’s going to take you ages to lose weight. You’ll probably stay overweight for a long time. But since you’re here, why don’t you pass the time by chatting to the other overweight people.”
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only promote one merchant’s products, you are stuck with their commissions, their landing pages, and ultimately, their conversion rates. It is important to work with many different merchants in your niche and promote a wide range of products. This affiliate marketing strategy will diversify the amount of commissions you make and create a steady stream of revenue when building an affiliate website.
However…if you want to be a successful affiliate, don’t pick a broad and flooded vertical like ‘make money online’; instead, choose a niche you’re passionate about. This can be something you already know a lot about, or it can be a topic or product which you’d like to pursue. Either way, it has to be something you’re excited to work on and it has to offer value.
A few of the things that I really love about WA are the fact that you can connect and get help very easily. I also enjoy using their SiteRubix platform, it is very easy to build websites and I come from a Joomla background and I most likely won’t be going back. It is too simple and feature rich to use the website builder and all of the extra tools that one with it.