Affiliate marketing can be a big source of revenue. The key to maximizing your affiliate earnings is to provide additional value and to engage your readers. Unlike traditional ads where you are paid for impressions or clicks, affiliates are only paid if or when a specific action is performed. The action might be something as simple as signing up for a newsletter to submitting their zip code information up to having a sale completed. Regardless, you are not paid until you've compelled your readers to take some type of action.
E-books represent about 20 percent of all book sales in the U.S. The good news is you don’t have to be a publisher with deep pockets to get in on the action. As a solo internet entrepreneur, you can sell ebooks directly from your own website. You can sell your own works or sell a public domain work. Simply upload it to your website (or seller account on Amazon) and start publicizing it on your social media platforms, on your email list, your blog, website, etc.
If you’re serious about making money selling things online, it’s pretty much impossible to not recommend Shopify. The platform gives you everything you need to get your online store up and running in less than a day including a custom domain, beautiful templates (so you don’t need design skills), secure payment options, and they can even take care of marketing and shipping for you. Whether you’re promoting your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
With the ability to rank organically in search engine queries, bloggers excel at increasing a seller’s conversions. The blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site. The blogger is awarded for his or her influence spreading the word about the value of the product, helping to improve the seller’s sales.
A fitness site can have numerous revenue streams. Create healthy eating plans and recipes and lock them away as premium content. Promote and sell a fitness training course, eBook, or a series of videos. Or advertise your own personal fitness services on your site. Topfithub is a good example of a fitness site with decent video content alongside product reviews.
A spin-off for web designers is to offer a landing page creation service. Well-optimized landing pages can be the difference between a successful and a failing business. And, as creating the perfect landing page isn’t easy, this is a service many businesses are prepared to pay for. I know people who are earning 6 figures per year and all they do is create landing pages for businesses. There’s serious money to be made.
Mistake #2: Using the “They must not be my people” excuse to be spammy. I’m not a fan of this common tactic. Here’s how it works: people send a huge number of sales/promotional emails to their list with no warning and with no easy way to opt out. When people complain or unsubscribe, they put it on them (“Oh well, they aren’t my type of subscriber anyway…”), instead of taking responsibility for the spam (let’s call it what it is). What ever happened to “treat others the way you want to be treated”?
Multi-vendor marketplaces, like ThemeForest, can be very successful. Chose a niche and create a vendor website for it. Your marketplace could be anything, from a platform for local artists to sell their work on, to an online digital product store. Once set up, invite people in that industry to sell their products on your site. You take a percentage of their profits when items sell.
Will my target audience realistically spend this amount for the product? Again, your reputation is on the line here. Is the product you are thinking of promoting priced reasonably for your audience? When I was writing my ebook, I was stuck on pricing. I asked around for opinions. A number of people suggested I price my ebook at $47! Their idea was to price according to value, not size. In my mind that was crazy. My network was composed of a lot of stay-at-home bloggers, and my collective audience was comprised mostly of people without a whole lot of disposable income. There was no way anyone was going to pay $47 for my 30-page ebook.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. 
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Are you a professional in a field that can help answer questions for people looking for your expertise? Websites like JustAnswer and LivePerson match you up with people looking for answers to technical or professional questions. You can make money online by simply answering these questions and providing the right information to people based on their individualistic circumstances.
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Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.
Not only will this multiply the money you’re bringing in in a serious way, but it protects you against any sudden changes in the market or in your business. Remember that old saying about putting all your eggs in one basket? A few hours a week committed to just one or two of the following opportunities will put you in a much stronger position to be financially safe and independent.
Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.
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Running and charging for webinars can be a great way to build a following in your niche, demonstrate that you are an expert in your field, and make a profit. Hosting a webinar can be hard work. They need to first be promoted, provide original and valuable information, and include interactive elements so your audience can ask questions and engage with your topic. However, once you have built up a large blog following, each webinar can be extremely profitable.
Buy and sell domain names. If you’re good at finding popular yet undiscovered domain names, you can make some cash on the side by buying and reselling websites. Think of it as digital real estate speculation. Domains are available on GoDaddy.com for as little as $2.99 per year, but are sometimes resold at far higher prices: According to Business Insider, the site MM.com sold for $1.2 million dollars in 2014. Once you find the perfect domain name to resell, you can market it on Flippa.com for a flat fee.
Hold a yard sale. If you have a yard or garage and plenty of items to sell, you can have a yard sale as early as tomorrow. By advertising your sale on local Facebook pages and Craigslist, you can also skip the paid newspaper ad and keep all of the profits for yourself. If you don’t have time to price everything, try asking patrons to “make an offer” or grouping similar items on tables with an advertised price (e.g. everything on this table is $5).
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Become a freelance writer or editor. If you have a passion for storytelling or a background in writing or editing, it’s possible to find freelance writing or editing work online. To search available job openings, check out sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net. You can also check traditional job sites such as Indeed.com and enter “telecommute” or “anywhere” in the location field.
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Leanne, that was great stuff. I saw some interesting delineators I’d never seen before, like how many subscribers you have making a difference in whether you should start with affiliates, at what level, etc. I appreciate the “ethical” angle you weaved throughout this, too, because affiliate marketing can/does have a bad reputation due to the way it’s been abused in the past. Your article will help educate current and future affiliate marketers, much appreciated!