The concept of affiliate marketing on the Internet was conceived of, put into practice and patented by William J. Tobin, the founder of PC Flowers & Gifts. Launched on the Prodigy Network in 1989, PC Flowers & Gifts remained on the service until 1996. By 1993, PC Flowers & Gifts generated sales in excess of $6 million per year on the Prodigy service. In 1998, PC Flowers and Gifts developed the business model of paying a commission on sales to the Prodigy Network.
If you’re a skilled worker in a specific niche, like marketing, design, or software development, there are specialty marketplaces that cater just to you. These are amazing places to make money online as you know that the people visiting them are looking specifically for the skills you have. Check out places like 99Designs or Dribbble for designers, Cloudpeeps for marketing and SEO professionals, and TopTal, Crew, or Gigster for high-level software developers. Once you've built up your development skills, you can begin building a brand for yourself as a higher-value consultant and start charging brands for larger projects like implementing an entire WordPress security overhaul or migrating a website from http to https.
If you add up all the services you get, the premium membership is a steal. For example, you’ll notice they include unlimited keyword research with a membership. Other paid keyword research tools sell for $49 or more just by themselves. Add in website hosting, and there’s another $10 / mo. Add on the website security package, and there’s another $10 per month (I’ve paid as much as $29 / mo just for website security). Just based on those things alone, Wealthy Affiliate is a great deal with all of the resources and tools you need in one convenient place. Not to mention all of the training, tutorials, and support that is included with the membership.
The premium Wealthy Affiliate membership is where you get access to absolutely everything. If you’re serious about building an online business, I have never in my 8 years in this industry seen such an amazing community full of help, tools, and resources. I’ve been a member at several other online marketing sites, but this one blows the rest of them out of the water.
LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
Find a profitable niche. Starting with your interests, write down as many niche ideas as you can. Think about topics people might search online. Ideas include passions (like surfing or body building), fears (like spiders or speaking in front of crowds) and problems (like getting out of debt). Do keyword research to see it others are interested in the topic. Find out if a domain name is available that matches the keyword 100 percent. 
If you want the full story, you can check out my about me page (it’s a pretty cool story if I may say so myself). The short version is that I got started with affiliate marketing back in 2009 and was able to go full-time in 2011. I now own more than a dozen websites in several different niche industries. You can see a listing of most of my sites at RogersConcepts.com.
Find your niche partners, collaborators, and champions: As you’re creating your course, look for notable people who are also creating content in the space. Look att how their businesses operate and incorporate that into your own plan. You can also reach out to any influencers and make them affiliates for your own course. This way, they’ll be incentivized to share your content with their own audiences (which can be a major way to generate your first sales—it helps if you're using one of the best CRMs for small business—and start building your own community!)
First off, I’m a blogger so it seems wrong not to mention it, but more importantly, it’s a legitimate way to make money. It’s quite possibly the least straight-forward way on this list, but it’s very doable and it’s also quite possibly the funnest way on this list. I love blogging and I know hundreds of bloggers who feel the same. So let’s talk about making money blogging and what it really means.
I would personally agree with linkshare.com as a great affiliate marketing platform to join as a publisher. Here’s why. Back in 2005 when I knew nothing about affiliate marketing and was using blogger.com as a free blogging platform without any experience whatsoever and joining Walmart.com as my first official affiliate program, I was able to insert Walmart affiliate in its in my blogger blog and earn a $72 commission. I was onto affiliate marketing for life from there.
I first joined Wealthy Affiliate in June of 2016 mostly to just see what it was all about. I signed up for a free account at Wealthy Affiliate but upgraded to their paid Premium membership the very next day. After 7 months at Wealthy Affiliate, I decided it was finally time to write a Wealthy Affiliate review with my findings on whether this is a good program to sign up with or not.
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