Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.

Hey guys. Great post with detailed, actionable content. I would like to add my ‘2 cents’ if that’s ok. You are absolutely right with offering a ‘free gift’ in exchange for someone’s name and email address but I have found short reports have worked best for me. If you give away too much information for free they don’t tend to get consumed so the trust isn’t built with your subscriber. Your free gift is the first point of contact with your prospect so it’s unlikely they will read an entire ebook but if you give them a short report which they are able to consume in about 20 mins and they get tremendous value from they are more likely to listen to you in the future and buy your recommendations. A big mistake i see a lot of affiliates make is the content they use for their free giveaway. They think just because it’s given away for free that they can just throw together some PLR material and use that. Unfortunately that doesn’t cut it these days and will damage your relationship with your prospect rather than strengthen it. The best way is to carry out some research in your marketplace and see what pains and frustrations your prospects have and create your free giveaway around that.
Sometimes, individual entrepreneurs with great products are worth a look, although you should check them out first and do some research. Entrepreneurs or companies may run their own affiliate program and you can apply directly to them to promote their products and services. Finally, Amazon is always an option as you can be an affiliate for just about any type of physical product on their network.
From there, results vary over time. Successful affiliate sites are updated regularly, have a clear focus that excites visitors, provide lots of useful content, and many affiliates find the their highest referrals when they invest in advertising as well. I generally write one 1,000 word article per day (minimum of 5 per week) on new sites and it usually takes at least 6 months before I earn my first cent. Most of my sites don’t start earning the ‘job quitting income’ until a couple years after I start them. You can learn more about how long it takes to succeed in affiliate marketing here.
For example, the content on Super Weddings is useful whether you're organizing a wedding today or next year. All the content on the site is created accordingly. To make things easier for the audience, it is separated into categories to make it very convenient for the reader to find what they're looking for. This, of course, is also very good for SEO. 
You don’t necessarily have to have a huge site or lots of traffic. Consider emailing an affiliate program’s contact person (look for contact info on the site or in affiliate newsletters) if you send a lot of leads their way, rank well in the search engines for a related keyword or have a high conversion rate. Make your email compelling. Read my tips here. You just have to be a good fit and provide excellent value to the merchant. Another good resource for this is here.
Amazon's commission rate is pennies from each dollar of merchandise that you sell. What many people don't know is that there are affiliate opportunities out there that pay commission rates that are much more favorable, from $20-$100 (and even more). Browse affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Share-a-Sale, Rakuten and Ejunkie for opportunities and their general commission rate.
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