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Have you been hearing about affiliate marketing, but aren’t quite sure how it works or where to begin? Well, you’re in the right place m’dear.

Let’s start with what affiliate marketing is…it is earning a commission by promoting someone else’s company or product. You find services and products you LOVE, promote them and earn a little piece of profit each time a sale is made from your promotion.

Easy peasy right? Let’s get started…

Here is more info on how to use affiliate marketing to make a passive income (AND help your readers too):


Step 1: Before you begin, remember: keep it classy

Please note that as you build a trusted following you want to be sure to only recommend products and services that you actually use yourself.

Splashing a too many ads on your site/blog, especially for stuff you don’t even use yourself, is a guaranteed way to lose loyal readers.

Keep it classy + honest and make a few bucks here and there by doing so. #keepitclassy

Step 2: Research advertising options

Research the following advertising groups (they host a bunch of merchants/companies per group) and choose the best fit for your website/blog’s audience, niche and current statistics. Here are a bunch of options to consider:

CJ Affiliates

CJ Affiliates has been around sine ’98 and has a large group of advertisers to choose from. I chose to work with them for the variety of travel related merchant partnerships that they offer. The merchant’s ads are updated regularly and as a promotor you have a decent selection of ad type.

They do require an application process to be approved as a promotor so make sure your website isn’t brand new when applying. Get some content and followers before submitting an application for any of the suggested partners on this article to increase your chances for approval.


AvantLink is another network of affiliate merchants that I use mostly for action/adventure type travel products and services (REI is one of their merchants). There is an application process required to be an affiliate so be sure your blog/site has been up and running for a bit before applying. Merchants are throughout the US, Canada and Australia.

Google AdSense

Google Adsense is another free way to earn money by displaying targeted ads (text, image, video, interactive media) that are run by Google. Overall, Google has so many helpful programs related to your site/blog being found and I think having an ad account with them in good standing is always a good idea.

The Amazon Associates Program

The Amazon Associates program is a great way to promote all of the products you use to your readers without having to signup for each product company directly. It is free to join and quite simple to use with some link customization options and even a customizable widget. Profit varies greatly by product so read up on their terms and conditions to be sure that it fits your needs first.

Rakuten Marketing (previously Link Share)

 I do not use personally this program, but know of respected fellow bloggers that do. They offer recognizable large name businesses as merchants, however they just weren’t business that I necessarily would use for a mostly travel related blog. Therefore, they just weren’t for me. But definitely check out their lists of merchants and see either is a good fit for you!

Shop Style Collective

ShopStyle Collective is a monetization platform that enables original content creators to generate personalized affiliate links. I love their widget creator too. This might be most relevant for anyone needing fashion related merchants and products.


Mediavine is a full service ad management company that requires your site to have at least 25,000 sessions a month (per Google Analytics) and be in good standing with Google AdSense too. Be sure to read all of their publisher requirements before applying.

Step 3: Make a list of your fav products

What products do you use that your audience would greatly benefit from knowing about? What content do you write about most that would be relevant to suggest helpful products for?

Make a list of products that make sense and see which ad groups work with those brands the most. If you aren’t finding a lot of your fav companies listed, see step 4 below.

Make your blog post extra awesome and super consistent with this free planner

Step 4: Reach out to your favs

The bottom line is that it never hurts to ask or research affiliate options for your favorite products, services and companies.

If you are a beauty blogger, for example, who wants to recommend a certain product to your readers but cannot find it on an affiliate program like the ones listed above, then reach out to the company directly. See if you can be a guest blogger for them or get an ad campaign directly.

Especially if there is a service, ebook, product or course that helped you grow your business…you should see if the creator offers an affiliate/referral option. Then you are truly helping your followers, you’re promoting a fellow business buddy/blogger AND getting a lil’ compensation all at once!

I recently paid to get my customized birth chart created and was so blown away by the results and what I learned about myself, that I reached out to the company that created it and we have since created an affiliate program from scratch! We are now helping each other and hopefully spreading the word about this cool resource to a bigger audience.

Step 5: One more reminder…

If you die over the product or service then your readers should know about it. And if there is not a way to earn a commission from it that’s obviously okay too because…


No matter what. Honest content is the primary goal ALWAYS and if you can earn a buck or two from it, even better.

Affiliate marketing is such a win/win for all parties. Your reader gets a helpful resource, you earn a lil’ bit of cash or trade for the referral and you are promoting a company or service you truly believe in. It really is an amazing marketing tool!

I just learned how to use affiliate marketing to help my readers AND earn passive income from this helpful article! #heckyah Click To Tweet

Do you use an affiliate program that I missed? Have any specific companies that you love working with? Please let me know in the comments below.

*Happy Affiliate Marketing M’dear!* -Amy


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