How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing In 2022: I’ve Been Hitting $150k/Year And Want To Show You How

How to make money with affiliate marketing

I never thought this would happen to me.

In 2 years I went from making $20k to $80k, and am now hitting about $150k/yr (see PayPal report). I did this by dropping all my clients and tried making money with affiliate marketing.

So what do I do? My about page has my whole story, but here’s the gist:

I write tutorials on WordPress speed optimization and how core web vitals are a ranking factor in Google. Speeding up your website involves hosting, cache plugins, CDNs, lightweight themes, and other services that happen to offer affiliate programs. I show people how to speed up their website (with very detailed guides), then they buy stuff through my affiliate links. It’s a win-win.

But there’s one big problem. Affiliate marketing has gotten more competitive. And the amount of bloggers/YouTubers creating affiliate content is insane (people have also become skeptical). So how do you stand out? How do you get people to trust you? I’ll explain all of this.

This guide includes a comprehensive list of 50+ affiliate programs.

$150,000/year did not happen overnight. I was broke for a couple years while creating content. But it literally changed my life… I moved out of my parent’s house into a nice apartment in downtown Denver, bought my first car (a Mercedes c300), adopted 2 kitties, and my credit raised 45 points. I also donated $6k to GoFundMe campaigns and 6k to my parents. I’m a humble dude but in affiliate marketing, the numbers do the talking. Now I have 0 clients and 100% freedom. There’s a lot of BS out there on affiliate marketing – which is why I wrote this.

About My Blog

  • I write about website speed (and some SEO/affiliate marketing).
  • I spend a lot of time in Facebook Groups learning about my industry.
  • I try to publish original content and not regurgitated crap like a lot of blogs.
  • I have about 3,000 visitors/day, 90% is from Google (I’ll show you some SEO tips).
  • It took blogging full-time for several months with minimal income to see results. I’ll bet you 90% of people don’t start because they’re scared their work won’t pay off. Just do it!
Tom with monkey
Affiliate marketing has given me the time/money to travel and be financially comfortable

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
You partner with a company selling products/services you would like to recommend to your audience. If they buy something using your affiliate link, you get a commission from the sale. There are other types of affiliate programs, but this is the most common and is also what I do.

 

1. Find Your Niche

My career journey went like this: online marketing > web design > WordPress web design > WordPress SEO > WordPress speed optimization. Now I’m focusing on WordPress hosting.

While I was doing WordPress speed optimization I noticed lots of people needed it, but very few people supplied it (there were a lack of services and tutorials when I researched Google). I also knew hosting was the #1 factor of website speed and hosting companies paid up to $200/sale. Hosting is a competitive space but the commissions and lack of supply enticed me.

I expanded my SEO blog and started writing about hosting, cache plugins, and other relevant topics… while recommending Rocket.net in many guides. I added proof like Facebook threads and performance benchmarks. Each tutorial was super detailed (like this one) and tons of people found them helpful – many get 100+ visitors/day since great content = higher rankings.

Once I found my niche (WordPress speed optimization), a solid hosting company with a high commission affiliate program (Rocket.net) and created tutorials around topics people in my niche would find helpful (and might want to change their host), that’s what got me to $150k.

Once you find a niche with high demand, little supply (do your Google research), and a reputable affiliate with high commissions… and you have patience to wait for financial results while creating your assets (I’m talking about content), you should take the leap!

Blog niche

 

2. Start A Blog Or YouTube Channel

A blog and YouTube channel are completely different, not just because one is writing and one is shooting videos. But each of them are different in terms of SEO, conversions, time, and the cost.

Blogging vs. YouTube Videos

  • Competition – the SEO competition in YouTube is often less than Google.
  • Ownership – you own your blog, you don’t own YouTube (or their policies).
  • SEO Traffic – it takes longer to get SEO traffic to a blog than YouTube.
  • Cost – YouTube is free, blogs require domain, hosting, development costs, etc.
  • Content Updates – it’s easier to update a blog post than to remake a video.
  • Coupon Codes – YouTube is great if your affiliates let you use coupon codes.
  • Time – it takes longer to set up a blog, but starter templates have made this easier.
  • Expectations – in your niche, do people prefer watching videos or reading articles?

Start A WordPress Blog

  • Domain – GoDaddy or Namecheap.
  • HostingRocket.net, Cloudways, or NameHero for the win.
  • WordPress – what I recommend building your website/blog on.
  • ThemesGeneratePress and Blocksy are solid choices. They use the Block Editor (Gutenberg) which is much more lightweight than Elementor, Divi, and other page builders, yet still easy when you use GenerateBlocks. I built my site in the GeneratePress “Search” theme and am very pleased. Kadence theme is good too but also very expensive.
  • Have A Developer On Hand – I’ve been working with the same overseas freelancer since 2011 who has saved me a lot of time when I can’t do things. Here’s his freelancer profile if you need help setting up your website. His name is Pronaya and he’s from Bangladesh.
Generatepress website library
I use GeneratePress for my WordPress theme

 

3. Sign Up For Affiliate Programs

Hosting, Amazon, and affiliate programs related to “making websites” are very popular.

Websites – if you’re in the “how to make a website/blog” industry, I’ve accumulated a list of affiliate programs for WordPress, hosting, themes, plugins, SEO, email, CDNs, and services. Remember that to get approved, some companies require you to be somewhat established.

Affiliate Program Category Commission Recurring 2 Tier
A2 Hosting Hosting $55 – $125 x
All In One SEO Pro SEO 20% x x
Astra Themes 30% x x
Asset CleanUp Pro Plugins 20% x x
AWeber Email 30% x
Beaver Builder Themes 25% x
Blocksy Themes 30% x x
Bluehost Hosting $65+ x x
BunnyCDN CDN $20 credit x x
Cloudways Hosting $50 – $150+
Convert Pro Plugins 50% x x
Constant Contact Email $105 x x
Divi Themes 50% x x
Elementor Themes 50% x x
FlyingPress Cache Plugin 20% x
GeneratePress Themes 30% x x
GoDaddy Hosting 15% x x
GreenGeeks Hosting $50 – $100+ x x
GridPane Hosting 1 free month x x
Kadence Theme 20% x x
Hello You Designs Themes 20% x x
Hostinger Hosting 60% x x
HostGator Hosting $65 – $125+ x x
JohnnyVPS Hosting 2x monthly price x x
KeyCDN CDN 100% of 1st payment x x
Kinsta Hosting $50 – $500 x
LearnDash Plugins 35% x x
Long Tail Pro SEO 30% x
MailChimp Email $30 credit x x
NameCheap Hosting 35% x x
NameHero Hosting $50 – $125+ x x
Ninja Tables Plugins 20% x x
NitroPack Plugins 20% x
OceanWP Theme 30% x x
OptiMonster Plugins 20% x x
Perfmatters Plugins 20% x
Pretty Links Affiliate 25% x x
Rank Math SEO 30% x x
Refer WordPress Other 20% x x
Restored 316 Designs Themes 20% x x
Rocket.net Hosting $150 x x
Scala Hosting Hosting $50 – $200 x x
Schema Pro SEO 30% x x
SEMrush Analytics $200 x x
ShortPixel Plugins 30% x
ServerPilot Control Panel $25 x x
SEOPress SEO 20% x x
SiteGround Hosting $50 – $100+ x x
SpinupWP Control Panel $25 credit x x
StackPath CDN $20+ x x
StudioPress Themes 35% x x
ThemeForest Themes 30% of 1st payment x x
Themeisle Themes 55% x x
Thirsty Affiliates Affiliate 30% x x
TubeBuddy Other 30% – 50% x
UpCloud Hosting $50 credit x x
Whitespark SEO 20% x x
WP Coupons Affiliate 40% x x
WP Engine Hosting $200 x
WP Johnny Other 25% x x
WPX Hosting $70 – $100+ x x
WP Rocket Plugins 20% x x

Affiliate Marketplaces – these have hundreds of merchants to choose from. It’s nice to login to 1 place and check the performance of multiple affiliates without going to each individual portal on their site. Many programs aren’t part of a marketplace though. I use ShareASale and Impact.

Affiliate Marketplace Number Of Brands Popular Brands
ShareASale 15,200+ Hewlett Packard, Sears, LovePop, Grammarly, Daily Harvest, NameCheap, WP Rocket, WP Engine, Envira Gallery
CJ Affiliate 3,800+ Overstock, GoDaddy, Zappos, Walgreens, TurboTax, QVC, Newegg, Hotels.com, HelloFresh, TeamViewer, Guitar Center
Impact 800+ Airbnb, AppSumo, Constant Contact, Envato Market, HostGator, InMotion, Lending Club, Levi’s, Squarespace
Rakuten Marketing 50,000+ Udemy, Walmart, Macy’s, StubHub, Hulu
Favorite affiliate network
Source: Anil from Bloggers Passion Facebook Group

Other Online Retailers

  • Ebay – 5 – 7% (roughly) based on categories, only 24 hour cookie tracking.
  • Etsy – 4 – 8%.
  • Target – 4% in most categories.
  • Walmart – 4% in most categories.
  • Aliexpress – 3% for electronics, 7-9% for everything else.
  • Newegg – 0.5 – 1%.
  • Overstock – up to 6%.

Do the math – to make $300 in a day, I would need to refer about 2 people to hosting, 10 people to themes, or 30 people to plugins. Before deciding on a program, ask yourself a few questions. I personally have roughly 3,000 readers/day and make about 2-3 sales per day at $150 per sale.

  • What commission will you get?
  • How many sales will you need per day?
  • How much traffic will you need to get those sales (roughly)?

 

4. Be Careful With Amazon

Amazon’s commissions are based on categories and you’re only making 0-5% unless you’re referring people to Amazon games, Luxury Beauty, or Amazon Explore. Otherwise you will need a lot of sales to actually make a living and will likely need to refer people to big ticket items (video equipment on YouTube is a big one especially if you’re into cameras, lenses, lights, etc).

Amazon affiliate commission rates

But be careful with Amazon’s affiliate program.

They have a long history of reducing commissions and writing content that competes with affiliates (and most people go directly to Amazon). I don’t recommend being an affiliate for any monopoly. You could very well end up getting trampled on, like most Amazon affiliates have. However, if you get lots of views, many affiliates are making “how to do something” YouTube videos and listing their equipment in the video description. A million views can make it worth it.

Amazon decreases affiliate commission rates

Examples of people making money with Amazon:

How he makes money – at 1m26s he focuses on his video equipment. The video description includes links to geniuslink.com. This is a website that showcases different stores (e.g. Amazon) where people can buy the equipment (using his affiliate links). Genuinely helpful video though.

How she makes money – at 40s you will see the video is sponsored by Skillshare and she also uses an affiliate link in the video description, as well as affiliate links to Amazon for the video equipment she uses. Another person recommending video equipment (that’s a hint for you).

How he makes money – he found a keyword on YouTube “best gadgets on Amazon” which has a lot of searches. People are searching this on YouTube (not Google or Amazon) which means they’re looking for a video review of the best gadgets, otherwise they would have gone directly to Amazon. His Amazon affiliate links to each of the gadgets are found in the video description.

Conclusion: a lot of people are making money by referring people to video equipment they use.

 

5. Learn How Affiliate Programs Work

One Tier – get a commission when a sale is generated from your affiliate link.

Two Tier – get a commission when you refer other affiliates and they start making sales (think multilevel marketing). An example is WP Engine’s program where I tell my readers about their WordPress hosting, they start making sales, and I earn $50/sale from each sale they generate.

Climbing Tiers – increased commissions as you get more sales.

Siteground affiliate program tiers

Recurring Commissions – usually happens with subscription services… you continuously receive commissions as long as people are signed up. AWeber and SEMrush are examples.

Sitewide Commissions – get a commission no matter what people buy on the affiliate’s website. Amazon’s affiliate program does this.

Pay Per Lead – get a commission based on the number of leads (e.g. contact form fill-outs) you send to a business. Be sure to set up your analytics to track this and have a solid, written agreement with your affiliate. You don’t want to spend tons of time and get burned like I have.

Cookies – amount of time after people click your affiliate link you will receive a commission if a sale is generated. Usually 30-90 days but shouldn’t be a deal breaker when choosing affiliates.

Individual Affiliate Programs – affiliate programs that are located on their website.

Individual affiliate programs

 

Step 1: Sign up and get approved. You usually need a decent amount of traffic (or a history of sales) before getting approved. If you have a large following somewhere else (i.e. YouTube), you may be able to convince affiliates to approve you. Otherwise, you need to generate traffic first.

Step 2: Get your affiliate links. Login to your affiliate dashboard and grab your affiliate links. With most individual affiliate programs, they assign you an affiliate ID which you can add to any URL on their website to turn it into an affiliate link. In affiliate marketplaces like ShareASale, they preassign affiliate links but also have a custom link generator. Use these to add deep links.

Cloudways affiliate link
Add your affiliate ID (mine is ?id=262128) to any URL on their website to create an affiliate link
Impact affiliate link
Custom link generators are found in some affiliate programs/marketplaces like ShareASale

Step 3: For blogs, install an affiliate link management plugin (I use Thirsty Affiliates) and add your affiliate links here. This lets you organize, track, cloak, nofollow, and add affiliate links.

Affiliate links
Import your affiliate links into the Thirsty Affiliates plugin

Step 4: Configure the Thirsty Affiliate plugin settings.

Thirstyaffiliates settings
Configure the Thirsty Affiliate settings

Step 5: Add affiliate links to posts. If you’re using the classic editor like me, use the Thirsty Affiliates button to add affiliate links. When you do it this way, all the attributes you configured in the settings (cloaking, nofollow, sponsored, etc) are automatically added to the affiliate link.

Add affiliate link to content
Use the Thirsty Affiliates button to add affiliate links
Amazon video affiliate links
Or add them to YouTube video descriptions

Step 6: Use your affiliate dashboard to track sales, statistics, and get to know your affiliate dashboard because it can be very helpful (especially when trying to increase conversion rates).

Cloudways affiliate commissions
Take advantage of features/statistics in your affiliate dashboard

Banners – banners don’t work well. They’re easy to throw up, but distracting and probably won’t get great results. If you try them, be sure to show specific sidebar banners based on the type of content people are reading on your blog (for posts that fall under my SEO category I would show a banner related to SEO, and for posts under my website speed category I would show a different banner). You can control sidebar banners using a plugin like Widget Logic.

AdSense – It’s easy to throw up AdSense on your blog, but good luck making decent income. It is NOT personalized whereas affiliate links involve people taking YOUR recommendation on very specific things. AdSense makes your site slower than a turtle. Not good for monetization.

 

7. Be A “How To Start A Blog” YouTuber

Want to know why this topic is so popular?

  • Refer people to hosting = $$$
  • Refer people to WordPress theme = $
  • Refer people to Elementor products = $
  • Total income if one person signs up for all three: $200+

The bad news: the industry and keywords are super competitive.

The good news: the amount of people looking to start a blog is enormous. You just need a slice. Many hosting companies pay up to $150/sale once you start generating a good amount of sales.

People are also searching for how to start a food, fashion, travel, and lifestyle blog. You don’t have to limit yourself to 1 single keyword. Learn about hosting, self-hosted WordPress, and Starter Sites. I could literally start a WordPress blog in 10 minutes. Show people how to do that.

Youtube seo keywords

Let’s take a look at some examples:

How he makes money – at 66s, you can see they created their own domain search on their website. When people search, it’s followed by a “get hosting” button which leads to GoDaddy.

How he makes money – he begins his hosting pitch at 4m34s, but at 9m31s he presents his HostGator coupon code which not only saves viewers money, but it credits him for the sale (without people even having to click any affiliate link). That’s why coupon codes are so powerful for YouTubers. Don’t use HostGator though; they’re cheap but a slow/terrible hosting company.

How she makes money – she begins her hosting pitch at 4m48s for Bluehost, but only uses an affiliate link in the video description (no coupon code, no domain search on her website, and no timestamps to help people navigate the video). She could probably increase sales if she did one of these, but Bluehost doesn’t let affiliates create coupon codes so an affiliate link is necessary.

 

8. Use Coupon Codes

It’s a huge bonus if your affiliate lets you create coupon codes.

Since your coupon code is attached to your affiliate account, you will get credit for the sale if anyone uses it. So in YouTube videos, people don’t even need to click your affiliate link – just give them your coupon code to save them money, and you will get your affiliate commission.

Coupon-code

 

9. Get Traffic Before Sales

One of the biggest mistakes bloggers make is focusing on money first.

This is bad for a few of reasons:

  • No traffic = no sales
  • Most affiliates require you to have some traffic
  • Your authenticity is ruined if you’re too salesy from the start

But it definitely helps to have money in mind when you start. That way, once you get traffic and are approved by affiliates, you can easily add affiliate links to blog posts where you already mention your affiliate products/services. Don’t focus on money first, but have it in your plan.

Blogging affiliate marketing mistakes
Source: Blogging Newbs Facebook Group

 

10. Master SEO

Most affiliate marketers get most of their traffic from SEO (or Pinterest which I’ll admit to knowing nothing about). But I do know SEO is a more popular way to get consistent traffic.

The key steps to SEO are:

  • Researching a keyword, its search volume, and competition.
  • Creating in-depth content that is better than whoever’s in the top results.
  • Making content user-friendly (YouTube chapters, table of contents on blog).
  • Using your keyword in the right places (title, description, content, video file name).
  • Increasing click-through rates (titles, custom thumbnails, Google’s featured snippets).

Researching A Keyword – find a keyword in YouTube’s autocomplete dropdown (or Google Autocomplete for blog posts). You can use the underline character _ to fill-in-the-blank. Broad keywords have more searches but are more competitive. The best keywords are broad (lots of volume) with weak content in the top results. vidIQ helps you learn a keyword’s competition in YouTube and MozBar helps you learn competition in Google. I find the competition in YouTube is much less than Google, so choose broad keywords for videos and specific keywords for blogs.

Review Keyword Examples

  • Apple MacBook Pro 16 review
  • What is the best WordPress hosting
  • SiteGround WordPress Hosting review

Solution Keyword Examples

  • How to do yoga at home (recommend a yoga mat)
  • Why is my website slow (recommended faster hosting)
  • How to connect laptop to TV (recommend an HDMI cable)

Youtube amazon seo keywords

Creating In-Depth Content Around Your Keyword – 10+ minutes for YouTube videos and 1,500+ words for blog posts depending on how extensive the topic is. Extensive yet concise! If your content is long, make sure to include timestamps in your video descriptions or create an HTML table of contents for blog posts so viewers can jump to specific sections of your content.

Long content word count

Making Content User-Friendly – the two easiest ways are to use timestamps in video descriptions and an HTML table of contents in blog posts (see below). Get a good camera, invest in good hosting to make your site faster (for blogs), and design nice, crisp graphics using Canva.

Use Your Keyword In The Right Places

For YouTube videos, use your keyword in the:

  • File name (before uploading)
  • Video title (find a balance between using the keyword and making it catchy)
  • Video description (about 2-3 times), the description should be decently long

For blog posts, use your keyword in the:

  • Post title
  • Permalink
  • SEO title (in your SEO plugin)
  • Meta description (in your SEO plugin)
  • Content body (about 2-3 times, once in the first couple sentences)

Increase Click-Through Rates – for YouTube videos, it’s all about catchy titles and thumbnails. For blog posts, it’s all about a catchy SEO title and meta description (in your SEO plugin), getting in Google’s featured snippets (photo below), and using rich snippets like review stars and FAQs.

Featured snippets can be achieved by answering a question keyword in a very concise way (usually with a paragraph or list from the content). Lists are usually pulled from your table of contents or h3 subheadings. To get a featured snippet for my keyword “how to make money with affiliate marketing” Google will likely use my TOC or maybe (let’s see), this paragraph:

To make money with affiliate marketing, set up a blog or YouTube channel and find relevant products/services to refer your readers to. Sign up for affiliate programs, create affiliate links to products, and add them to your content. Most affiliates rely on SEO or Pinterest to get traffic.

Designing a nice image with your exact keyword helps too!

Featured snippets

List featured snippets

How To Rank YouTube Videos:

  • YouTube SEO relies heavily on engagement signals.
  • Find a keyword in YouTube autocomplete with good search volume.
  • Research the keyword’s competition by looking at videos’ number of views, likes, comments, and other signals top videos have (vidIQ Chrome extension is great for this).
  • Cover the topic extensively – aim for 10 minutes and be concise (scripts/editing)!
  • Label the video file (on your computer) as your keyword, and upload it to YouTube.
  • Craft a nice title that entices people to click your video, with your keyword in front.
  • Write a long description with timestamps, links, and use keyword in first sentence.
  • Review the transcript automatically generated by YouTube, then make corrections.
  • Upload a custom thumbnail (1280px by 720px) that gets people clicking the video.
  • Always respond to comments, and embed the video on your blog if you have one.
  • Incorporate your video in your blog, email, social media, other marketing channels.

How To Rank WordPress Blogs:

  • Use Rank Math Pro and learn how to use it for schema.
  • Use SSL from the start, most hosts have free Let’s Encrypt SSL.
  • Choose a fast host + WordPress themes (I like Rocket.net + GeneratePress).
  • Use post name permalink structure in WordPress under Settings > Permalinks.
  • Create content around keywords from tools like Google Autocomplete.
  • Learn about image optimization, internal links, lightweight plugins, OG images.
  • Add publish dates to blog articles to make content look fresh and increase CTRs.
  • Use multimedia – whether it be videos, infographics, or audio clips – people love them.
  • Set up Google Search Console and use it to track rankings, CTR, impressions, etc.
  • Make your WordPress site load fast (FlyingPress + Perfmatters are both solid plugins).

 

11. Create The Perfect Pitch

Mine looks something like this:

Rocket.net with their free Cloudflare Enterprise will outperform any “mainstream host” since you get 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM, NVMe storage, Redis, and Cloudflare’s full page caching + Argo Smart Routing. I use them and average a <150ms global TTFB (or click through my posts).

12 things to know about hosting/TTFB

  1. Hosting is the #1 factor of site speed.
  2. TTFB is a key indicator of hosting performance.
  3. TTFB is part of core web vitals and is 40% of LCP.
  4. TTFB also affects INP (since latency is part of TTFB).
  5. SpeedVitals tests TTFB in 35 locations – use this tool!
  6. Test your site 3 times to get accurate numbers in SpeedVitals.
  7. Doing this ensures your caching and CDN are working properly.
  8. Check your average TTFB worldwide in your 3rd SpeedVitals test.
  9. Google flags your TTFB if it’s over 600ms, but under 200ms is better.
  10. PageSpeed Insights (and other testing tools) only test TTFB in 1 location.
  11. WP Hosting Benchmark also tests hosting performance (here are my results).
  12. Combining a good host/CDN is arguably the best way to improve TTFB (using a host with improved specs on top of Cloudflare Enterprise hits 2 birds with 1 stone).

Omm ttfb speedvitals 1

Mainstream hosts (like SiteGround, Hostinger, and WPX) don’t have a lot of CPU/RAM, use slower SATA SSDs, and are shared hosting with strict CPU limits which force you to upgrade plans. Cloud hosting is faster, but Kinsta still uses SATA SSDs with low CPU/RAM, PHP workers, and monthly visits (Redis also costs $100/month). Cloudways Vultr HF is who I previously used, but again, they start with only 1 CPU + 1GB RAM on slower Apache servers, PHP-FPM, and GZIP.

Here are Rocket.net’s:

All plans use 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM with NVMe (faster than SATA), Redis (better than memcached), LiteSpeed’s PHP, and Brotli (smaller compression than GZIP). They have no PHP worker limits since only about 10% of traffic hits your origin due to their Cloudflare Enterprise.

SiteGround Hostinger Kinsta Cloudways Vultr HF Rocket.net
Hosting type Shared Shared Cloud Cloud Private cloud
Storage SATA SATA SATA NVMe NVMe
CPU cores Not listed 1-2 12 1 32
RAM (GB) Not listed .768 – 1.536 8 1 128
Object cache Memcached x Redis ($100/mo) Redis (Pro) Redis
Server Nginx LiteSpeed Nginx Apache Nginx
PHP processing FastCGI LiteSpeed FastCGI FPM LiteSpeed
Compression Brotli Brotli Brotli GZIP Brotli
CPU limits Very common Low memory PHP workers Average None

 
Why you need Cloudflare Enterprise

Because you get Enterprise features like 270+ PoPs, prioritized routing, full page caching, HTTP/3, WAF, and image optimization. 3 problems with most CDNs are their small network (PoPs) and no full page caching or image optimization. For example, WP Rocket’s RocketCDN uses StackPath which was removed from cdnperf.com and doesn’t include image optimization with a mediocre Tbps speed of 65+. SiteGround’s CDN only has 14 PoPs. QUIC.cloud CDN (for LiteSpeed) and BunnyCDN are good, but they still don’t beat Cloudflare Enterprise. Sure, you can pay $5/mo for Cloudflare’s APO, but you’re still missing out on all other Enterprise features.

3 popular hosts with Cloudflare Enterprise

Rocket.net’s Cloudflare Enterprise is free, setup automatically, and uses full page caching (unlike Cloudways). And unlike Kinsta’s, Rocket.net has Argo Smart Routing (specifically good for WooCommerce sites), load balancing, and image optimization. Rocket.net CEO Ben Gabler also used to be StackPath’s Chief Product Officer and went as far as building Rocket.net’s data centers in the same locations as Cloudflare’s. And unlike both hosts, Rocket.net doesn’t limit PHP workers (there’s no CPU limits) and monthly visit limits are 10-25 times more than Kinsta’s.

Cloudflare Enterprise (Kinsta) Cloudflare Enterprise (Cloudways) Cloudflare Enterprise (Rocket.net)
CDN PoPs 270 270 270
Prioritized routing
Full page caching x
HTTP/3
WAF
Argo smart routing x
Load balancing x
Image optimization x
Automatic configuration x x
Price Free $5/mo (1 domain) Free

 
Problems with mainstream hosts

I’ve written some pretty bad reviews about SiteGround’s slow TTFB, CPU limits, and why SG Optimizer does a poor job with core web vitals (they also control several Facebook Groups and threaten to sue people who write bad reviews). Hostinger writes fake reviews and is only cheap because you get less resources like CPU/RAM. Kinsta and WP Engine are way too expensive for how many resources, PHP workers, and monthly visits you get. Along with major incidents like WPX’s worldwide outage and SiteGround’s DNS getting blocked by Google for 4 days (both WPX and SiteGround denied responsibility). One thing is clear: most mainstream hosts appear to be more interested in profits than performance. Please do your own research before getting advice.

Getting started

Step 1: Create a Rocket.net account and you’ll be prompted to add a coupon. Sign up with coupon OMM1 to get your first month for $1 (renews at $30/mo or $25/mo when paying yearly). If you sign up with my coupon or affiliate links, I get a commission which I seriously appreciate.

Rocket. Net omm1 coupon

Step 2: Request a free migration. They did this the same day and let me review my website before it was launched with no downtime. For the record, their support is better than Kinsta’s and you can reach out to Ben Gabler or his team (via phone/chat/email) if you have questions.

Step 3: Upgrade to PHP 8.1 and ask support to install Redis (they use Redis Object Cache). These are the only things I did since Cloudflare Enterprise and backups are both automatic.

Step 4: Retest your TTFB in SpeedVitals and click through your pages to see the difference. You can also search their TrustPilot profile for people mentioning “TTFB” where they’re rated 4.9/5.

Kinsta to rocket. Net migrationMoved to rocket. Net vs sitegroundRocket. Net positive review

Rocket. Net facebook review 1Rocket. Net vs kinstaKinsta to rocket. Net ttfb redis

Namehero cloudways rocket. Net
I agree with this for the most part

I was previously on Cloudways Vultr HF which was great, but their Cloudflare Enterprise doesn’t use full page caching (yet) and is $5/mo with annoying challenge pages. Even if their Cloudflare Enterprise was identical, Rocket.net still outperforms them with better specs like more CPU/RAM, Brotli, and LiteSpeed’s PHP (plus better support, easier to use, and usually pricing). While Cloudways is a big improvement than most hosts, you’re already spending $18/mo for Vultr HF’s lowest 1 CPU plan with Cloudflare Enterprise. At that point, the extra $7/mo you’d be spending at Rocket.net is worth it. Rocket.net’s dashboard is also much easier.

For small sites on a budget, NameHero’s Turbo Cloud plan is similar to Hostinger between LiteSpeed, cPanel, and pricing. However, NameHero’s Turbo Cloud plan has about 1.5x more resources (3 CPU + 3GB RAM) with NVMe storage. NameHero’s support/uptimes are also better shown in TrustPilot reviews. This is one the fastest setups on a budget… you get a LiteSpeed server + LiteSpeed Cache + QUIC.cloud CDN, and email hosting. The main con is their data centers are only in the US and Netherlands. If these aren’t close to your visitors, make sure to setup QUIC.cloud’s CDN which has HTML caching (ideally the paid plan which uses all 70 PoPs).

Cpu cores on litespeed hosting plansLitespeed cache litespeed server

Ram on litespeed hosting plansNamehero vs siteground feedback

…something like that!

And by the way, Rocket.net pays $150/sale through their affiliate program without having to climb tiers. Ben is also great to work with.

 

12. Get Involved In Facebook Groups

My conversion rate went from 2.5% to 8% just by including Facebook polls where Cloudways was rated #1, along with a few Twitter screenshots of migration results and conversations from Facebook Groups. Whether it’s Amazon reviews or Facebook polls, you NEED to include unbiased reviews. That’s why I don’t like collecting reviews on my website – they look biased.

People want evidence, not opinions.

There’s a Facebook Group for everything. For me, I mainly use the WordPress Hosting, WP Speed Matters, and WP Speed Up Facebook Groups to keep track of the web hosting industry.

Search facebook groups

 

13. Bookmark Affiliate Statistics In Your Browser

Go to your affiliate dashboard(s) and bookmark the “statistic” page so it saves to your browser. This saves time especially if you’re someone who likes to constantly check sales/performance.

Bookmark affiliate pages

 

14. Set Up Email Alerts When A Sale Is Made

This only works if the affiliate sends you an email when a sale is generated. Any time I make a hosting sale, I get a custom notification on my phone. It is very ENCOURAGING to get these.

Create custom alerts on your phone for affiliate sales – if you use Gmail, go to your settings and create a filter so all emails with “SiteGround Affiliate Sale Generated” in the subject line go into their own folder (tweak the subject line to match whatever email notification your affiliate sends you). Then set up a custom alert on your phone using the Gmail app so whenever you generate a sale, you get a custom alert (here’s a tutorial for Android and here’s one for Apple). I have different notifications for Rocket.net, Cloudways, others. It makes your day a little better :)

Custom gmail filter

 

15. Build Your Community

Respond To Comments – some of my articles have 400+ comments. It’s hard to keep up sometimes but this is a key part of building a community and allowing readers to ask you questions and leave their feedback. You should especially respond to YouTube comments because they are a ranking factor and encourage even more people to leave more comments.

Respond to comments

Build That Newsletter – I use Mailchimp and can’t stress how important it is to build your email list from the start (it’s free until you reach 2,000 subscribers). Once you create an account, add an email sidebar on your blog or create a dedicated newsletter page where people can sign up.

Be Open, Not Salesy – I hold back zero information on my blog, don’t recommend anything I don’t truly believe will help my readers, and try my best not to recommend hosting on every single post I write (only where it makes sense). Valuable information first, affiliate sales after.

 

16. Avoid Google Penalties

  • Follow Google’s guidelines for affiliate marketing.
  • Avoid short, thin pages that offer little value to readers.
  • Don’t always list affiliate products first – Google knows!
  • Don’t overuse affiliate links in your posts, drop them where it counts.
  • Avoid too many “list posts” where you just list a bunch of affiliate products.
  • Write an affiliate disclaimer (you’ll see mine at the very bottom of my blog).
  • Consider writing a review of your affiliate’s product/service and linking to that post (instead of using an affiliate link) to reduce the amount of affiliate links on your site.

Google affiliate guidelines

 

17. Monitor Conversion Rates

The way you endorse a product or service and the social proof behind it (Facebook polls or maybe reviews from other customers) are the main reason I was able to go from 2% to 8%+. If you don’t see these in your affiliate dashboard, use Thirsty Affiliate’s pro version to see them.

This is from 2017 when I started hitting it hard. Look at that CR (conversation rate) increase!

Siteground conversion report

 

18. Use An Affiliate Disclaimer

Here’s mine:

Affiliate disclaimer

 

19. Mistakes I Made

In my Google Analytics graph you’ll see a sudden drop in traffic followed by a long flatline in 2015/2016. These were pretty tough years for me and I hope I can save you from making a few bad mistakes I made, which resulted in years of financial hardship. Here are a few simple tips.

Google-analytics-organic-traffic

  • Don’t hire a sketchy link builder to boost rankings.
  • Get links from great content or hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
  • Don’t skimp on a free WordPress theme, cheap hosting, or use bloated plugins.

Don’t set a goal to write 3 blog posts a day… set a goal to write 1 blog post a week and make that post super helpful, long, and filled with information that is so valuable you will say “yeah, people will link to that.” 90% of my traffic/affiliate income comes from just 20 tutorials, many of which are 5 years old, but I constantly update content to make it better.

Do this and you should see consistent “small spikes” in your Google Analytics.

 

20. Donate To Charity

Once you’re financially stable, I hope you start giving back. It feels good and people like the idea of supporting a good cause (they will be more likely to click your affiliate link). This also means you don’t have to use as many links in your content. In total, I have given $6,000 to GoFundMe campaigns and $6,000 to my parents who let me live in their house while I worked on my blog.

Feels good to give back :)

Feeding denvers hungry gofundme

Mom-and-i-scaled-e1586227774941

Arizona-road-with-dad

 

21. Share Your Story

This is now the #1 visited post on my blog! I knew I could outrank all the fakes.

How to make money with affiliate marketing top page

 

22. Promote Black Friday Deals

Many companies have Black Friday + Cyber Monday deals (usually for about 2 weeks) and you can easily make 3x your normal sales during this time if you promote it right. I’ve made $2,000 in a single day during Black Friday season. You can make a “Deals” page but what I like to do is use the Better Search Replace plugin to bulk update all pricing screenshots to a screenshot of each company’s new Black Friday prices. Then when Black Friday is done, I just run another search/replace to change the screenshots back. Doesn’t take much time, but it’s very effective.

Black friday cyber monday wordpress deals

 

23. 2021 PayPal Report

Most affiliates pay through PayPal but some of them pay directly through your bank (ShareASale, Impact, many affiliate networks). Nonetheless, I added these for the skeptics.

Paypal report

A few months from 2011:

Cloudways affiliate commissions

I  made almost $400,000 with SiteGround before I stopped promoting them.

Siteground sales

Got affiliate of the month back in July, 2017 :)

Siteground-affiliate-of-the-month

What is affiliate marketing?

Affiliate marketing is when you refer people to products or services from a merchant who agrees to give you a commission when a sale is made through your unique affiliate link.

How do I make money with affiliate marketing?

The most common ways are to set up a blog or YouTube channel, grow your audience, then sign up for affiliate programs that make sense to refer your viewers to.

How fast can you make money with affiliate marketing?

It can take anywhere from a couple months to several years to make consistent money with affiliate marketing. It depends on your ability to drive traffic, build trust, and successfully promote your affiliates.

What are the highest paying affiliate programs?

Web hosting programs like Rocket.net, Cloudways, WP Engine, and Bluehost typically pay $150/sale once you start making a lot of sales. That's why the space is so competitive.

Is affiliate marketing passive income?

Affiliate marketing income is not 100% passive income. You still need to create content, keep content current, and adapt to your industry while monitoring sales and conversions.

How much money can you make with affiliate marketing?

Some affiliates make a couple hundred dollars per month while other super affiliates make $10,000+ per month. You will get there quicker if you make it your full-time job and create awesome content on a consistent basis.

How do you get paid in affiliate marketing?

Most affiliates get paid through PayPal or directly to their bank account. Typical affiliate programs make payouts each month or once you reach a specific amount in commissions.

How can beginners make money with affiliate marketing?

If you're a beginner, you can make money with affiliate marketing by setting up a YouTube channel and teaching people how to start a blog while referring your audience to hosting. This is the most popular way beginners start making money.

What are the best affiliate programs to make money?

Amazon and hosting companies are two of the best affiliate programs to make money. Amazon is the most popular online retailer, and hosting affiliate programs offer some of the highest commissions. Bluehost, SiteGround, and HostGator are a few examples.

How do I make money with affiliate marketing without a website?

Setting up a YouTube channel is the easiest way to make money with affiliate marketing without a website. It's free, easy, and you can start creating videos instantly. Once you grow your audience, sign up for affiliate programs and promote products on your channel.

Is affiliate marketing worth it?

Yes, affiliate marketing can be well worth your time. But you need to have a plan on where you will promote products, which companies and products you will promote, and a strategy for getting traffic. Traffic is where most affiliate marketers fail.

How do YouTubers make money with affiliate marketing?

Most YouTubers add affiliate links in the video description or mention promo codes in their video which credit them the sale.

 

Final Thought: It’s A Long-Term Investment

This is the 1st car I have EVER purchased myself at age 29 (I was broke until then and leased from my parents). But the time committed to affiliate marketing and creating great tutorials and YouTube videos was worth it… I work for myself, there is virtually no limit on how much I can make, my schedule is flexible, and I collect enough passive income to live the life I want.

My mercedes
It’s no lambo, but I did buy a c300 Mercedes with my affiliate income
Tom dupuis and cats
Me and the cats (Valencio on the left, Sonic on the right)
Thailand elephant
Spending 4 weeks in Thailand without worrying about money was awesome

If you have any questions or need help getting started, I am more than happy to help with whatever I can. Just leave a comment below and I promise to respond as soon as I can! Best of luck in your affiliate marketing journey and I genuinely hope this tutorial was super helpful :)

Cheers,
Tom

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344 thoughts on “How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing In 2022: I’ve Been Hitting $150k/Year And Want To Show You How”

  1. Hi Tom.
    I was about abandoning my blog until i read this epic article and this article gave me a ray of hope.

    If you won’t mind, is there a way i can reach out to you. I’d like you to take a look at my blog and tell me exactly what I’m doing wrong. Please.

    Reply
  2. This is such a helpful , easy to navigate and humble post. I’ve read it a couple times and it really inspired me that if I’m persistent I can also help people through my writing and expertise while making a living at it. I’ve been trying to churn out 2 blogs a day and kind of wiped out so it’s great to know I can shift focus to writing less better and sharing more.

    I was wondering if you could expand on your strategy with Facebook groups?

    And do you use Instagram at all?

    Thanks !

    Reply
    • Thanks Manisha!

      For Facebook Groups, I use it a few ways: staying on top of news in my industry (i.e. many companies post updates here). I also look at things like Facebook polls, people’s hosting migration results, and other “tends and social proof.” For example, I saw a lot of people were moving to Cloudways, so I gave them a try and really liked them and started promoting them (same thing with FlyingPress/Rocket.net). It also seems people here are more careful with the accuracy of what they say compared to a random blog you find in Google. Obviously it depends on the group, but I just find the information more helpful/trustworthy especially if you find a solid group with knowledgeable people. Some groups do Facebook live events, Q&A’s, and other stuff like that too.

      I don’t use Instagram or really any social media. Never seem to find the time since I’m writing all day so I’m not one to give advice on that :/

      Reply
  3. This is truly better than the fakes. You made everything look so really with your detailed and honest explanations. I really appreciate the way you explain the process.

    I’ve been adding lots of affiliate links to my blog. I’ll try to do it manually now. Or like you said, link to my review of the product I am trying to promote

    Reply
  4. Hi Tom Dupuis- apologies if this is an obvious question, but I’ve made my list of long tail keywords using answer the Republic, soolve. Once I post my content how do I rank? Like what do I do next other than promote it? A bit confused, you write the article and then what? How do you get traction?

    Appreciate the help!

    Thanks!
    -David Bailey

    Reply
    • Hey David,

      I do very little to no promotion. Sharing it in an email list/social media is really the main thing you want to do. Some people post answers on Quora and link to their article. But I would rather spend that time making the content better.

      Reply
  5. Hi Tom – super helpful read!

    I’m interested in sharing back affiliate commissions with the readers that led to those commissions. (e.g., Jane clicks my affiliate link, makes a purchase, I receive commission, Jane then gets a reward based on the size of the commission). Have you seen anyone do this successfully, or do you have any ideas whether this could be possible.

    Thanks,
    Jeff

    Reply
    • Hey Jeff,

      I know some affiliate programs already have this built-in (I refer you to someone and they get $100 in credits, you still get a commission). Some can also create a custom coupon code (upon request) which is attached to your affiliate account (I refer you to Cloudways, you use my promo code, I get a commission while you save money).

      You would have to read up on their affiliate TOS but some companies don’t let you “share commissions” other ways. It depends on the program but if they wanted you to do this, it would probably already be built-in to their program or they’d be willing to create a coupon for you.

      Assuming it’s actually OK with them, since the tracking is built-in the affiliate program, you would need to find out who signed up using your affiliate link. Either some kind of partnership with the company or just tell them during your pitch. For example, “anyone who you signs up with my affiliate link gets a $50 PayPal credit. Fill out this form and attach XYZ details to confirm your purchase.” Something like that…

      Reply
  6. OMG! GREAT article! I was using GoDaddy and read this and tried out Cloudways… WOW what a difference! I just move ALL of my websites and client websites to my new Cloudways servers.

    Thanks for your awesome advice!

    Lauren

    Reply
  7. Good day and good read. I am looking for a way to track brick and mortar affiliates. I reside in southern California and see a need to help local MMJ Delivery Services to promote and advertise their website and service through brick and mortar locations.
    So when a person enters the store, scans the NFC tag that takes them to the “company” website under a specific pin that is assigned to the affiliate, they then make a purchase and a % of commission is set aside and paid out every 30 days.
    I am not looking for online affiliate marketing, just brick and mortar offering website NFC tags. What would you recommend to use?

    Reply
    • It sounds like the way you’re promoting affiliate links would be different through NFC, but each company would still need an affiliate program setup on their website so you can track sales, commissions, etc. This might be easy if all the websites were the same and built in WordPress where you could just streamline it using a plugin, but they’re probably not. Setting up an affiliate system for each company sounds tedious if it can’t be streamlined, but I don’t have much experience with that.

      That’s why websites like Grubhub, etc basically just import the restaurant’s menu into their system so it can be tracked instead of messing with the company’s website.

      Reply

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