James W.D. Stewart

James W.D. Stewart

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Have you ever thought of making your hobby or interest a real source of income?  I'm sure that you have.  There's a moment in any blogging career when you realize that it's high-time you started milking that cow…  And, by cow, I mean your writing talent; of course.

However, if launching a Web site of your own is a long-cherished dream of yours, then it's time you browsed through the diverse collection of templates, crafted to meet the most daring requirements.

The most appealing thing about affiliate programs, is the fact that they've already proved to be the easiest and most convenient way of monetizing your Web site, which is what you are looking for…  Aren't you?

I know, I know…  Everyone would love to get money from nowhere.  But, let's be realists.  It always takes a bit more effort.  However, it doesn't have to be a chore though!



How to Get the Most of Affiliate Programs

Count Words — Reading Time
by James Stewart
Updated:    Spelling
Location:  Greater Sudbury Public Library, 74 Mackenzie St., Sudbury, Ontario, P3C 4X8, Canada


Have you ever thought of making your hobby or interest a real source of income?  I'm sure that you have.  There's a moment in any blogging career when you realize that it's high-time you started milking that cow…  And, by cow, I mean your writing talent; of course.

However, if launching a Web site of your own is a long-cherished dream of yours, then it's time you browsed through the diverse collection of templates, crafted to meet the most daring requirements.

The most appealing thing about affiliate programs, is the fact that they've already proved to be the easiest and most convenient way of monetizing your Web site, which is what you are looking for…  Aren't you?

I know, I know…  Everyone would love to get money from nowhere.  But, let's be realists.  It always takes a bit more effort.  However, it doesn't have to be a chore though!

If you fall into the category of true advocates of labour-saving, an affiliate program is a thing for you.  Just think for a moment, how many blogging accounts and Web sites emerge every day.  For some people, it even became a perfect substitute for full-time employment, while bringing profits higher than the office job that no one likes.  How is it even possible?  The answer again, lies in affiliate programs.

Intrigued?  Go on reading, to find what makes affiliate marketing so good, and to learn more about the pros and cons of the most popular affiliate programs on the Web.


What's affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing consists in the system of rewards that a company's affiliate may get as a result of bringing new customers to the company.  Hence, a win-win situation…  A business attracts new clients without spending a fortune on traditional advertising campaigns, whereas a committed affiliate, enjoys a promotion fee each time that they're successful in making the prospect click "buy".

Such systems are comprised of four main players:

  • The affiliate.
    • The one that assumes the role of an advertising channel for a company.
  • The customer.
    • The core element of any business, at which all marketing activities are targeted.
  • The retailer.
    • A company that decides to promote its goods and/or services with the help of affiliates.
  • The network.
    • Both the available choice of offers for the affiliate and the payment and tracking system.

Thus, if you're willing to launch a Web site with relevant and up-to-date quality content, an affiliate program will serve you just fine.


How, Exactly

Your task could not be simpler.  All that you need to do, is to choose the most suitable affiliate program with the most beneficial terms of use, and continue delivering a sort of content that will make your page stand out from the range of similar ones.  This will help you to attract more visitors to your Web site…  And, consequently, increase your earnings.

Moreover, there's no need to transform your Web site into a wall of ads if this is what scares you off.  A couple of affiliate adverts on a Web page will suffice.  Especially, if you've already gathered a big group of loyal subscribers.

However, the problem with affiliate programs is that they directly reflect your organic ranking.  Thus, if your Web site loses its position in Google, your earnings may also drop.  Thus, it's quite risky to count on affiliate programs alone.


What to Consider when Selecting an Affiliate Program

Deceptively similar, they are.  Although many affiliate programs are often considered totally interchangeable, they may in-fact be completely different regarding prospective revenues as well as ease-of-use.  The following are just a few aspects that should be taken into account.


Method of Payment

One of the most striking differences between various affiliate programs consists in the model by which affiliates receive their advertising fees.  While choosing a program for your Web site, this aspect should be paid the most attention.  Below, are the most frequently used models, for your consideration:

  • Pay per Click (PPC)
    • As may be inferred from its name, PPC is all about paying a commission according to the number of times that your site visitors follow the advertised link; irrespective of actions they take after that.
  • Pay per Lead (PPL)
    • The retailer pays you a fixed commission, each time a lead from your Web site makes a certain action (i.e. fills out a form, registers, requests a trial, subscribes to a newsletter, etc.).
  • Pay per Sale (PPS)
    • This time, you receive a percentage of all sales generated through your Web site.  A model pretty similar to how sales managers get a substantial part of their incomes.



Commission is the actual amount of money that you're to get from a successful usage of affiliate advertising.  So it's vital that you compare the available options before going for a particular program.  Well, the significance of this aspect can't be over-estimated.  It's the commission that tells you whether the whole idea of affiliate marketing is worth the candle.

Commission may differ according to the payment method in-force since it's obvious that a simple click on the affiliate link is less effective than closing a deal with a customer.



More subjective than the aspects above, relevance still plays a crucial role in affiliate programs.  What does it mean?  Well, to achieve the desired effect and generate more "clicks", you have to make sure that things you're advertising is in-line with the content on your Web page.  Otherwise, it would be really difficult to find your target audience.

Therefore, it's crucial that you watch the competition thoroughly.  You'll notice that products that are promoted the most are the most popular among the public.  So, it's really in your best interest to advertise them as well.  Especially, at the beginning of your business, when you don't have your loyal subscribers yet.


Top 3 Affiliate Programs

We both know how time-consuming it is to look through the whole plethora of options when trying to opt for the most suitable one.  The motive is clear…  Everyone is eager to get the most out of the available.  I've made a choice easier for you, by selecting the top three affiliate programs; one of which, will meet your needs.  So, here's the shortlist.


Google AdSense

One of the greatest advantages of Google AdSense, is that it holds the largest base of online ads.  Which, makes it so attractive to Web site owners.  Indeed, there's a plethora of options to choose from, which enables you to.  However, this naturally results in the highest competition for an ad position among advertisers.  On the one hand, the cost-per-click increases with the growing competition, and if you manage to get the much-desired ad, you'll probably enjoy pretty high rates.  On the other hand, your Web site must stand out from the range of similar ones if you want to advertise through AdSense.

The problem with Google AdSense is that its commission is paid solely for the clicks.  Which may sometimes be quite disappointing, for example, if your Web site brings them a $500 sale.  So, in essence, it cannot be called an affiliate network…  One of the defining characteristics of which is a percentage of sales paid to the affiliate.

On the contrary, AdSense works similarly to ad network where your site plays a role of a cheap advertising channel.  Not that interesting, right?

Perhaps, the biggest issue with Google AdSense, is the nine circles of Hell that you have to go through in order to sign-up.

Your Web site has to be in-line with its policies, which can be changed at any time, making the whole platform unpredictable and unstable.  Even the application has to be submitted in a strictly prescribed form.

To be considered eligible for participation in Google AdSense, you have to follow a great number of rules.  Including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Clicking on your links or asking others to do so is prohibited.
  • Monitor your organic traffic.
  • No modification of the Code of Implementation Guide is permitted.
  • You must provide interesting and relevant content for your visitors.
  • You should maintain a good balance between original content and ads.
  • Your content must be original.
  • Your content should be family-friendly.  Thus, no explicit materials can be shown.  Read more.
  • Your Web page layout must be understandable.  Hence, no deceptive ways to obtain extra clicks.

Many of AdSense rules seem pretty ambiguous as there's no clear line as to what is OK and what isn't.  This may lead to policy violation warnings and a great deal of other problems.

Frankly speaking, the positives of Google AdSense don't seem to come even close to outweighing its negatives.  Which, makes the program unreasonably complicated and inconvenient.  If that doesn't scare you off, let me give you a heads-up on how to work with it.

If you think that you can sign-up to AdSense and start making money out of their ads right away, don't count your chicken before they're hatched.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that.  But, I've got you covered and am more than happy to describe the main requirements that you need to comply with.


Follow the Policies

That's the most basic requirement.  I don't think someone would be surprised, that in order to sign-up for some program, they need to follow a bunch of rules.

Check the terms and conditions page to see if your project is abiding of their policies.  Google allows you to select your country-of-origin to be sure that you're familiar with all of the up-to-date terms based upon your geographic location.

It's also important to understand that, once you're approved, you need to continue to follow these policies.  Otherwise, your account will be disabled and as the AdSense Beginner's Guide states, your payments may be refused.


Good Content

You should always keep the idea of the original content in your mind and follow it as your own White Whale.

This is an essential rule.  Web sites without original content will not be approved.  If you just simply copy-and-paste some other stories from the Internet, AdSense will not want to work with you, since you don't generate productive and useful content.

At this point you should understand the main point.  If you have content with 0% of originality, you have zero-chance of getting approved.


Required Pages

Google Adsense wants for every Web site to have the following pages:

  • About
  • Contact
  • Privacy Policy

Basically, all three pages will help AdSense to understand that your Web site isn't a fraudulent project.  Let me walk you through each page, so that you have a basic understanding of what you need to put out there.


Privacy Policy

I'm sure that you all have seen the privacy policies on big Web blogs, sites, and stores.  This is one of those things that you won't get approval without.  If you don't have a privacy policy page, you shouldn't even bother hoping that AdSense will check the rest of the requirements.  They check the policy first and go from there.

Nowadays it's rather easy to generate a privacy policy for your blog or store.  There are plenty of online resources to do that.  I'll give you a few of them:


About Page

This is the page where you can describe your project and about yourself a little bit.  This helps Google to see that you're not a fraud and that you're not holding anything back.

Actually, this is the easiest one; and, there are no required guidelines to follow.  Just be sincere and tell your audience about the Web site which you run.


Contact Page

A page with your contact information will show Google that you care about your clients/readers and that you're always ready to help them.  No matter what issue and/or question that they have, they'll be able to get in touch with you.

While writing this paragraph, I had an epiphany…  If you don't have a contact page, you not only lose out on the Adsense approval, but you also lose a lot of potential partners who want to get in touch with you.  So this page isn't only essential for Adsense compliance, but it's a must for any self-respecting blogger and/or entrepreneur.

Don't forget to make use of a serious e-mail, such as [email protected] instead of a free e-mail account (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).  It shows how serious you are about what you do.  It's not a playground, it's business.


Beautiful Design

Appearance matters, no matter what you've been advised by a hippie whose only business is selling drugs on the street and sleeping in his van.  That's why I strongly advise getting yourself a premium theme and/or design your Web site yourself, if you have all the necessary skills.

The clean and good-looking template will be always appreciated by Google.  Be sure to check out the amazing WordPress themes and Web site templates.  Pick yourself something to represent your appearance on the Internet.


Visitors and Web Site Age

At first, you may think that these requirements are too harsh.  That may be true, but you more than likely won't be approved if you don't have a minimum of 50+ visitors per day.  And, there's even more…  You shouldn't apply for the Google AdSense if your Web site is less than 6 months old.

Yes, it sounds as though AdSense is picky.  However, let's be honest…  How are you planning on getting money without traffic and/or clients?  Who's going to click on the ads, your grandma?


Sitemap Matters

Google is a big fan of these, so you've got to prepare them and make sure that you actually have them.  Setting it up is quite easy.  Especially, with the help of lots of good plug-ins out there.

Once everything's ready on your end, and you're sure that you comply with all of the requirements, feel free to apply.  The process is relatively easy and user-friendly, as with all of the Google services.  The most commonly requested information regarding AdSense can be found on their support page and/or discussed in their community.

If you follow all of the guidelines from this article, you should be approved without any problems.  So, just apply and go get yourself a cup of coffee.


Template Monster Affiliate Program

The affiliate program works on a PPS basis, making you not just a mere advertiser, but an active participant of the company's sales process.  What makes this program so special is the progressive commission system, which says, "the more you sell, the more you earn".  Starting at 30% for 0–19 sales per month, you can potentially earn up to 50% commission; provided, that your Web site generates more than 500 sales.

Yeah, I know…  It may sound like an astronomical number, but in reality, it's not that difficult; given the quality of the products provided.  According to numerous cases, the most active sales are seen during the 6th week of active participation in an affiliate program.

If it's your first attempt at setting up an affiliate program, Template Monster offers life-long support from professionals that will help you overcome all of the inconveniences you may happen to come across.

What's more, Template Monster offers a referral system, by which you're welcome to recommend the affiliate program to your friends and enjoy an additional 5% of their sales ever-after.

Besides, the Template Monster affiliate program supports all kinds of the most popular payment systems.  Including Payoneer, PayPal, Skrill, Webmoney, etc.  This makes their program even more user-friendly.

Finally, one of the greatest benefits of the program, is a vast range of extra affiliate tools.  You'll surely find the most suitable solution to make it impossible for the visitors of your Web site to miss the affiliate link.  Besides, it will make your work much simpler.


The Tools
  • Banners, landing pages, and widgets.
  • Presets.
  • Ready-made showcases.
  • RMS (ready-made shop).
  • WebAPI.
  • WordPress plug-in.  It helps to automatically advertise the templates corresponding with your articles.

Special attention here should be paid to RMSs, which allow you to run your store of Web site templates without worrying much about launching a new Web site or other technical aspects.  RMS provides you with a bunch of different shop templates with a user-friendly, customizable design, easy-to-use admin panel, and responsive framework.

The initial RMS launching will take you no more than half an hour.  And, after that, you'll have the perfect opportunity to earn up to 50% of each item sold from your RMS.  Seems pretty profitable, doesn’t it?

Let me show you how to join the big affiliate team and start earning commissions by selling premium themes!

The first step should be applying for the Template Monster affiliate program.  Once you follow the link, you'll need to enter your e-mail address.

Then, fill-in the main information (i.e. first name, last name, etc.) about yourself and choose your affiliate username.  This username will be used in the affiliate link that you'll be able to generate in your profile later.

Once you're signed-up and you've confirmed your e-mail address, you'll be able to generate your own referral link.  It will help to determine that the sale has been landed by you and you'll get the commissions out of it.

Aaaaand, that's it…  Yes, it's that simple!  Now, you can go to the 'Tools' section and choose what tool works best for your Web site.

Template Monster always strives to help their customers land more sales.  So, they post a lot of useful articles on their blog, telling their clients how to boost their sales and take all of the advantages of the Template Monster affiliate program!


Amazon Associates Affiliate Program

Being the biggest online retailer in the world, Amazon provides an affiliate program that has expectedly become one of the most popular of its kind.

With > 1 million products available in the shop, you may be sure that you'll find something that fits your Web site subject and style.  Moreover, thanks to customizable product preview, you can yourself decide how the ad will look like in practice.

Similar to Template Monster, Amazon has a range of responsive online tools aimed at facilitating the use of the program.  By the way, another common feature between the two programs is that they both provide a possibility to open a fully-fledged online shop.  So, if you ever feel tired of your constant content creation, there will always be an option to shift to eCommerce completely.

However, despite all of the benefits, Amazon Associates isn't perfect…  Its commission is quite poor in comparison to many other programs using the same PPS model.  Moreover, commission fees differ a lot according to the category of goods.  The rate begins with 1% for video game console products to the maximum of 10% for game downloads and Amazon Coins.  Apart from that, there are also special bounty fees that you may receive if an eligible customer performs a specific action considered a "Bounty Event" (i.e. registration for Amazon Prime Free Trial, registration for Amazon Student, etc.).  The bounty rate may vary from $0.50 to $25.

It's important to bear in mind that there are additional restrictions on the maximum commission rate for certain products.  All personal computers and similar items, for example, may bring you no more than $25 per sale.  Whereas, regarding fine art, this amount is limited to $200.  So, if you were considering the promotion of fancy goods on your Web site, mind that your earnings will fall far behind.

Overall, Amazon Associates seems to be a good option on paper.  Yet, in practice, it turns out to be a stingy billion-worth store, unwilling to share its revenues.  So, even if you're attracted by the range of goods available for advertising, consider your prospective incomes before jumping into the program.

Amazon is one of the biggest eCommerce players out there and we all know that millions of customers all over the world give this store a one hundred percent trust.  I've bought around 5 items over the past 3 months myself.  So, you see what I'm saying.

I'm not telling you this for no reason.  Since Amazon is a trustworthy store, your Web site visitors will not have any trust issues with the referral links that you put in your blog.  Amazon Associates has its benefits and they make this program worth, at least, trying out.


Easy to Join

The process is much easier than with AdSense.  You'll be able to complete your registration process within a few minutes.


A Lot of Products to Choose From

It doesn't matter what kind of niche Web site that you own, you'll definitely find a product to advertise and sell.


Payments for Completed Orders

Once your Web site visitor follows your referral link, there is a 24-hour window in which to close the sale.  The best part is that you'll get commissions for the full order, not only for the product that your customer clicked on.  So, sometimes a customer follows your link, then they decide to click on a more expensive product, adds it to their cart, adds more products, and completes the order.  In this case, you'll receive commissions for all of the products in their cart.

If this one sounds interesting to you, make sure that you try it out by signing up here.  Pay attention to the fact that Amazon offers you to select the marketplace that you want to join.

Basically, if you don't live in any of the listed countries, you should select "United States".  Why?  It's quite simple…  Many of the other marketplaces simply don't offer international shipping.  So, if you're not from one of those, there's no sense in joining them.

In order to start an account with Amazon Associates, you'll have to answer a lot of questions.  Let me show you step-by-step, how to sign-up for this affiliate program, and give you some hints on how to start earning money with it properly.

On the main page of Amazon Associates, click on "Join Now for Free".

Create a new account by entering your e-mail address, name, and password.  Enter the name of the person Amazon should issue the check to.  Address, city, province/state, postal/zip code, country, and phone number.  Enter the address of your Web site and/or a link to the mobile app you want to advertise Amazon products in.  You'll also have to let Amazon know if your Web site or mobile app is directed, primarily, at children under 13 years old.

At this point you have to select your preferred Associates store ID and fill-in the general information about your Web site and/or mobile app.  Amazon also wants to know how you advertise your Web site, how many visitors you usually have on a monthly basis, and what's the reason that you decided to join the Amazon Affiliate program for.  The final step, is the 'identity verification'.  This is a very simple process that involves you, your phone, and the PIN code provided by Amazon.



Despite all the drawbacks of affiliate marketing, it remains part-and-parcel of any blogging career.  No matter what content you focus on, affiliate programs provide a wide array of ads applicable in any context.

Anyhow, the biggest problem with them lies in this diversity; given the fact that your primary task as an affiliate consists in selecting the goods which will complement your overall content strategy.  Although the chosen three programs cannot represent the entire competition in the market, I listed them according to the principle of "two popular ones & one dark horse".

The analysis of their competitive advantages speaks for itself.  The lesser known Template Monster affiliate program turns out to be far more attractive.  Especially, given its sound payment model.  However, the other two cannot be completely neglected, since they have a greater diversification of products available for promotion.

Well, I know that I've given you some good food for thought.  But, I hope that it will help you to make the right choice.

Categories:  Business, Money, Technology  
Tags:  How to

Syndicated to:


  1. AdSense program policies
    by Google Referenced: 
  2. Adult Content :: Content Policies :: AdSense
    by Google Referenced: 
  3. Affiliate Program :: Template Monster
    by Template Monster Referenced: 
  4. Terms and Conditions :: AdSense
    by Google Referenced: 


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