There's no magic formula or quick fix method of making money online as an affiliate marketer. Although it might be possible to make an 'accidental' affiliate sale, to make repeating sales and thus to create a residual income isn't possible overnight. Affiliate marketing is hard work, time consuming and it's not for everyone.
Have I put you off yet? I hope not... with persistence and effort, anyone can succeed and make money as an affiliate marketer.
Of all the ways that I've managed to make money online, by far the most satisfactory (and lucrative) has been as an affiliate. I've made plenty of mistakes along the way though - I've tried 'get-rich-quick' shortcuts that get me nowhere and do nothing but cost me time and money - I've carpeted low-traffic websites with affiliate links and awaited the rewards (in vain) - and I've tried to market products based entirely on the amount of commission they pay without giving any thought to the audience... or even trying the products myself.
On this last point, it's important to point out that you've got a much better chance of selling something that's you actually believe in... And you can't believe in it unless you try it for yourself. When I've familiarised myself with a product or service that is of direct use to me and then marketed it as such, I've done very well.
When coming up with a concept for a website, it essential to write about what you know if you have any chance of:
a) creating something that others will find of use
b) coming across as competent and believable. For me, the obvious topic was working in graphic design, which is something I've done my whole working life.
Over the last 20 years, my graphic design studio has hired a lot of designers. Every time a graduate designer starts work, I find myself going over the same time-consuming training. It's always amazed me how much student designers aren't taught during their time at college. At least they had a good time...
It's frustrating having to fill the gaps left by design instructors - and I found that I was going over the same ground time and time again. The logical thing to do was to write a training manual for the studio.
The sections of the manual expanded... and expanded... and expanded. I ended up spending so much time on the project that it became clear that the number of people that would benefit from it was so small in comparison to the time spent that the next logical step was to put it online. Why not share it with the world in an attempt to help new designers understand what would really be expected of them?
The result was this website - Graphic-Design-Employment.com
The basic premise of the website is that if an inexperienced graphic designer learns and understands everything on it, they'll survive their first week in the job with ease - and hopefully teach their co-workers a thing or two.
I hoped that the site would attract a modest amount of traffic... but I was unprepared for the massive amount of interest it would attract. At the time of writing it is in the top 0.5% of the most visited websites in the world, ranking in the top 100,000 sites in the USA and top 132,000 sites worldwide.
The site receives an average 4,000 unique visitors every day - and I've managed to monetise it, generating a healthy residual income from the affiliate links sprinkled around its pages.
There are a few reasons that I've managed to get decent traffic on my training website:
Ever heard of 'Banner Blindness'? Trust me, it's a thing. After successfully applying for affiliate partnerships, the temptation will be to carpet a page with a massive in-your-face banner that can't possibly fail to bring in conversions.
Don't do it.
People ignore banners. They're everywhere. We're all used to them, so we all subconsciously filter them out when browsing a page. A far more effective method is to identify a truly useful product or service and refer to it in a contextually relevant place using a simple hyperlink. One of my most successful pages is here - and you won't find a single banner ad on it.
The SBI Brainstormer is a remarkable system that help you identify potentially profitable key phrases that you can build your site around. The system also helps you identify potential affiliate partners and ways to monetise a page based on the key phrase you've selected.
So my advice would be to take a look at SBI - it worked for me. That's the best testimonial I can give it - and (full disclosure), the link in this sentence is my own affiliate link for SBI, which means if you click it and end up buying, I'll get a commission.
The short list below demonstrates different ways to make extra cash - but they all have one unifying factor - once you've set them up and created your products (or set up an account through which to sell others), they're fun to monitor and exciting to watch as you track their progress - but you have to put the work in first.