How to Make Money With Affiliate Programs

An affiliate program is when a company gives a marketer a specific tracking code that follows any and all sales (known as “conversions”) that come from the code given. For every conversion, a percentage of the sale is given to the affiliate marketer. Codes can be placed on your website, YouTube (or other video websites), and websites that allow guest blogging.

Benefit of Being an Affiliate

The largest benefit to being an affiliate is that you can personally recommend products, whereas with an advertisement, you have to almost act like it isn’t even there. With Google AdSense for instance, you cannot write the word “Recommended” or support in any way for the user to click on the advertisement. Even if the ad is in a place Google may think causes “invalid clicks”, you may have to write the words “Sponsored Links” or “Advertisements” above the ad.

With affiliates, you have the right to place the ad wherever you want and highly endorse the product or service. Amazon Affiliate Page Example

Affiliate Ads

If you ever notice with Adsense Ads, the ads must be placed in areas that do not recommend or encourage clicks, but as you can see in the image of the Affiliate Links, there is a comparison chart of “best-selling treadmills” with direct links to the Amazon page where an individual may purchase the treadmill. If the individual makes the purchase, the website owner makes a commission.

Best Affiliate Programs

1. Conversant (Formerly Commission Junction)

Otherwise known as “CJ”, this website is the largest directory of affiliates, having niches in almost every industry on the web. The website shows how much each affiliate pays per conversion and you can apply right on the website to the company you would like to recommend on your site.

How to Sign-up

Step 1 – Go to This Webpage and scroll towards the bottom and click on the button titled ‘Free Publisher Sign-up‘.

CJ Affiliate - Free Publisher Sign-Up

Step 2 – On the next page, click the green button titled ‘Sign-up Today‘.

CJ Affiliate - Sign Up Today

Step 3 – First, choose which language you prefer by clicking the drop box and selecting your language. Next, input the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • and Email

then check the box stating ‘I’m not a robot‘. You will then be prompted to do a “reCAPTCHA” test, which typically involves you identifying certain pictures in order to prove you are indeed not a robot. Once you have passed the reCAPTCHA test, click ‘Next‘.

CJ Affiliate - Become a CJ Publisher

Step 4 – You will then receive an email from CJ Affiliate to confirm your email address. Click ‘Create My CJ Publisher Account‘ to advance to the next step.

CJ Affiliate - Confirm Email

Step 5 – You will arrive at the “PUBLISHER SIGN UP FORM” page, which you will need to fill out with the following information:

Account Settings:

  • Country
  • Currency

Contact Information:

  • Phone
  • Password

Company Information:

  • Company Name
  • Address
  • City
  • State
  • Zip Code
  • Phone

Website Information:

  • Website or Newsletter Name
  • Website URL
  • Describe Your Website
  • Category
  • Current Monthly Unique Visitors

Step 6 – Read the “Service Agreement”. If you agree to the terms, check the following boxes:

  • The first box which states that you accept the CJ Publisher Service Agreement, and agree to be bound by its terms.
  • The Software Publisher Policy
  • The Privacy Policy
  • The Age Certication(must be 18 years of age)
  • and the Certification of Authority

Now that you have checked all the required boxes, click ‘Accept Terms‘.

CJ Affiliate - Agreements

The application may take a few days to process as CJ will take a look at your website to verify the content is a good fit for their advertisers. When you are approved an e-mail will be sent.

After approval, you will be then allowed to view all the affiliates on the site. Although, some may require further approval as they may be very strict about which websites they would want linking to them.

Tip – If your activity on the site is not active for more than 120 days, they have been known to shut down your membership status.

2. Amazon, the largest U.S. online retailer, offers programs where an affiliate can earn up to 10% of the sale if an individual purchases a product. The affiliate has a choice of getting specific links that can be used in a standard text link format or banners of different sizes. To start, first you must sign-up.

How to Sign-up

Step 1 – Go to This Webpage and click the yellow button titled ‘Join Now for Free‘.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Join Now for Free

Step 2 – Below the sign in section, click the button labeled ‘Create your Amazon account‘.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Create Your Amazon Account

Step 3 – The next step requires you to provide certain information. Input the following information:

  • Your Full Name
  • Email Address
  • A Desired Password(Which will need to be re-entered below)

Once you have filled out all required fields, click ‘Create your Amazon account‘.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Create Account

Step 4 – Now, enter the following account information:

  • Payee Name
  • Address
  • City
  • Select a state
  • Zip or Postal Code
  • Country
  • and Phone Number

After entering the information, Select “Who is the main contact for this account”. It can either be “The payee listed above” or “Someone else”. If it is someone else, you are going to have to input their information as well.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Account Information

Step 5 – Enter the website in the available space that you plan to display ads on, then click ‘Add‘ (You also have the option of entering the “Mobile App URL(s)”, but this site will just focus on the website portion.). Once you have listed your website(s), click ‘Next‘ to proceed.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Website and Mobile App List

Step 6 – You will then be asked if any of the websites that you listed above are geared towards children under the age of 13. If so, you will not be eligible to display Amazon ads on your website. You must provide this information. If not, select ‘No‘ and click ‘Confirm‘.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Website and Mobile App List(Any of the Sites Listed Directed Towards Children Under 13)

Step 7 – You will then arrive at the “Profile” portion of the signing up process. You must enter the following information:

  • Your Preferred “Associates Store ID”
  • What your website is about
  • Select a primary topic that describes your website(you can also select a secondary topic and even add more topics if you wish.)
  • Choose the items that you wish to advertise on your website(try to select items that are related to your website).
  • Select a primary type that describes your website(you can also select a secondary type and even add more types if you wish.)

Amazon Affiliate Program - Profile

Step 8 – The next section is “Traffic and Monetization”. You will be asked to provide following information:

  • Select the ways you drive traffic to your website by checking the boxes of the methods that apply to your website.
  • Choose a primary way you utilize your website to generate income(if any). You also have the option of choosing a secondary method and even adding another.
  • Select the method you use to build links.
  • Select the primary reason you are joining the Amazon Associates Program(typically being to monetize your site).
  • Select one of the options that best describes how you heard about this site.

Once you have made all your selections, enter the code below into the available space, then click ‘Next‘.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Traffic and Monetization

Step 9 – You will now be asked to verify your identity. Enter your telephone number in the space provided(be sure to enter the full number and include the country code if using an international phone number). Once the number has been entered, click ‘Call Me Now‘. You will then receive a four digit pin and a call from Amazon. An automated voice message will ask you to enter the four digit pin using the dial pad. After you have successfully entered the pin, you will receive a message stating that you have successfully verified your identity.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Identity Verification

Step 10 – Now that your identity has been verified, it’s time to review and agree to the terms and conditions. Click “Associates Program Operating Agreement” to review the terms and conditions, then check the box to the left if you agree. Now click ‘Finish‘ to complete the process.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Identity Verified

Step 11 – Congratulations! You have completed the application process. You will be presented with your unique Associate ID and granted full access to “Associates Central” while Amazon is reviewing your application. You are given the option of entering your payment and tax information now or later. Click ‘Now‘ to advance to the next step.

Amazon Affiliate Program - Application Complete

Step 12 – Choose the method you would like to receive your payments through. You have the following options:

  • Pay me by gift card($10.00 minimum earnings)
  • Pay me by direct deposit (United States Based Associates Only, $10.00 minimum earnings)
  • Pay me by check($100.00 minimum earnings)

I personally prefer direct deposit because it automatically transfers to my bank account. Select your desired method and click ‘Submit‘.

Amazon Associates - Your Payment Method

Step 13 – Once you arrive at the “Tax Information Interview” page, you will be asked to provide the following information:

  • Who will receive income from Amazon or its subsidiary?(An individual/sole-proprietor or Business)
  • Are you a U.S. person?(Yes or No)
  • Your Name(as shown on your income tax return)
  • Federal Tax Classification(individual/Sole Proprietor/Single-Member LLC)
  • Your Address(if different than the one you listed during sign-up)
  • Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Do you consent to provide an electronic signature for your IRS Form W-9?(Yes or No)

You also have the option of selecting a different language towards the upper right hand side of the screen.


Amazon Associates - Tax Information

Step 14 – Once you have filled out all the required fields, read the following information within the gray signature square. If you certify the following information, input your signature in the available space, then click ‘Submit‘. You will now receive documentation that provides tax information at the end of the year.

Amazon Associates - Tax Information Signature

Real-Life Affiliate Story

We have a website that offers power of attorney forms, specifically forms in Adobe PDF and Microsoft Word. We noticed that on the internet there are sites like LegalZoomRocketLawyer, and a smaller law form website that allows the user to fill-in forms line-by-line on their computer in a simple and easy way without payment (technically without payment, they make them type in their credit card and if they do not cancel they have to pay a monthly subscription).

LegalZoom and RocketLawyer were pretty straightforward offering 15% off a one-time conversion that you bring to them. On the other hand, the smaller affiliate had an e-mail listed and an owner who was open to “discuss” an arrangement. I e-mailed and applied to all, awaiting approval/feedback.

I was approved by LegalZoom and RocketLawyer, but they offered affiliate ads that did not match my site’s colors and I could not request a change. On the other hand, the smaller affiliate offered a better deal, matched my site’s colors, and was able to structure a payment schedule a bit different than the other two (as he is a smaller and more personable operation).

In addition to making money with advertising, we have these beautiful affiliate banners that match our site well, (and convert much better) that on our customer service e-mail, people would send us messages all the time thinking that we were FormSwift (the smaller affiliate company we chose over LegalZoom and RocketLawyer).

The lesson here is that sometimes going with the biggest company is not always the best deal, but having a partnership where the user does not know it is an affiliate is the most ideal situation. Remember, affiliates are about converting, and this begins with getting the clicks, then followed by the customer’s wants/needs.

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