In February 2000, Amazon announced that it had been granted a patent[14] on components of an affiliate program. The patent application was submitted in June 1997, which predates most affiliate programs, but not PC Flowers & Gifts.com (October 1994), AutoWeb.com (October 1995), Kbkids.com/BrainPlay.com (January 1996), EPage (April 1996), and several others.[9]
While this won’t get you rich by any measure, you can sell products online using sites like Craigslist, Alibaba, eBay and even the Amazon Marketplace. In fact, these are some of the top online destinations where you’ll be able to easily reach the masses. Instead of building your own ecommerce shop, selling products on these marketplaces, can be an instant boon for you.
We have a wealth of brilliant articles on our website covering the many various aspects of affiliate marketing in depth, however, for those of you who are completely new to the concept, I’m going to go back to basics and explain in detail exactly what affiliate marketing is, what it takes to succeed and how you could become a successful affiliate marketer, too.
If you’ve got a way with words and expertise in a niche, there are plenty of sites that will pay for articles and content you write. Think of the sites you read regularly. What can you contribute to them that would be interesting? Research your niche and then look for ways to pitch articles. Many sites will simply have a submission or contact link in the footer. To get started, check out my full guide to becoming a freelance writer on the side and then submit your articles to places like Listverse, TopTenz, A List Apart, International Living, FundsforWriters, and Textbroker.
If you offer freelance services or have a physical services business, then creating a blog is a must. On your blog you can write about the services you offer and how they will benefit your clients. Importantly you can add a ‘Services’ page, outlining the services you provide, what they include, and any other important information potential clients may need. This is an effective way to promote your services, generate leads, and increase your revenue.
If you love to travel and find yourself randomly searching for airfare sales or browsing Lonely Planet, why not carve out a niche for yourself as a private travel agent? My friend, Mark Jackson did just that, making extra money online with his travel consulting side business. Start with word of mouth recommendations from friends who know they can count on you for the cheapest flights, and then move on and create a Facebook or LinkedIn group to invite people who want to stay on top of the latest deals. Eventually you could spin this into a full-time consultancy teaching people how to make their dream trip a reality.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.
If you’re looking for more serious work, you could try your hand at a site like Upwork, where you can find bigger projects in the web and graphic design arena. Again, competition here is also fierce with many people attempting to undercut others. If you don’t have a solid portfolio and track record, you’ll find it difficult to make very much money at all.
Once you’re signed up, complete your personal consultation interview. You’ll then get access to your own affiliate mentor plus our Academy training course. Here you can learn everything from how to build your first website through to optimising it for greater conversion rates, plus everything in-between. Written by our affiliate management team, the guides are in-depth and super helpful.
Great tips! Since I just started blogging in January I am still really just getting my toes wet in affiliates. However, I did notice that pictures and real life demonstrations of the product really help. For instance, I have several food posts where I talk about my favorite cook books and show what I have cooked out of them, and then included amazon links, sure enough I sold a few cook books.
Do you have zero interest in an expensive mountain bike the company you are an affiliate of sells? Well, you probably don’t want to feature it on your blog, as it is extremely difficult to persuade readers (or anyone for that matter) that they should buy something you wouldn’t be caught spending a single penny on. When you are passionate about a product or–at the very least–interested in learning more about it, this will come through to your readers, engage them and better coax them to buy
Etsy: While Etsy's popularity has declined recently, it's still a great resource for selling handmade items online. No need for complex ecommerce sites or merchant accounts or any sort of automation. The company takes a commission of every sale and charges a small listing fee per item. But many still use Etsy as their primary source of income. The best part is that you can also sell digital products on here such as poster designs. 
Sponsored posts work much in the same way as paid guest posts, but they are posted by big businesses instead of individual bloggers. Therefore, the scope for fees is much higher, as businesses have larger marketing budgets than humble bloggers. Having sponsored posts by large companies will also help promote your site as reputable and as a leader in its field.
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Some commentators originally suggested that affiliate links work best in the context of the information contained within the website itself. For instance, if a website contains information pertaining to publishing a website, an affiliate link leading to a merchant's internet service provider (ISP) within that website's content would be appropriate. If a website contains information pertaining to sports, an affiliate link leading to a sporting goods website may work well within the context of the articles and information about sports. The goal, in this case, is to publish quality information on the website and provide context-oriented links to related merchant's websites.
The money is most certainly in the list. If you're at all interested in online marketing, setup email software and create a lead magnet that you can use in your sales funnel. Then, build up that list. It's often said that you can expect to earn about $1 per subscriber per month. If you have a list of 10,000 subscribers, that means you can earn roughly around $10,000 per month. You will need to deliver value and not pitch them on every email, but it is a very achievable goal in a short period.
If you’re crafty (and I mean that in more than one way, wink wink), you’ll enjoy Etsy. Handcrafted items are the bread and butter here. Plenty of people make decent side money on the site, which is basically an EBay for crafters and artists. Set up a sellers account with Etsy, and you’ll be asked to set up your virtual storefront and put up at least 5 goods for sale.
Take good pictures. Some of the options below don’t require you to actually take the picture and sell the product, but for the ones that do, make sure you take a clear picture that makes your product stand out from the others.  If you’re going to be taking a lot of pictures, set up a small “studio-like” area in your home with a backdrop and proper lighting to really make your pictures come across as professional. And of course, you’ll want a good camera too.

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 selling your own products, designs, or curating other products for people in your niche, Shopify is the best option for powering your online store.
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