Category Archives: Affiliate Marketing

How to make your qualifying sales as an amazon affiliate.

How to Make Your Qualifying Sales as an Amazon Associate

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.


To a newer blogger the Amazon Associate program looks like an untapped gold mine ripe with ore. Who doesn’t like Amazon? They announced >310 million users in 2016, with 562,382,292 individual products as of Jan. 2018, and it’s only gone up since then. Everyone can find items to market within their niche. In most cases all you have to do is search for your keywords and Amazon will find items for you. Amazon will find products for you even if you can’t narrow down your niche. A search for the word “Blog” returned 20 pages of items. This is why the Amazon Affiliate program is often the first affiliate program new bloggers sign up for, because it appears to be a sure thing.



Even with all of that going for it, I see conversation threads every day about people not making the necessary sales to qualify for the program. If you don’t make three qualifying sales in 180 days, your application to the program is rejected. Hell, I didn’t make my three sales the first time around.

In a prior post “Tips for Amazon Associates” I went over some of the pitfalls I had fallen into. So when I received the notice that I did not qualify I was disappointed but not surprised. I had a pretty good feeling I wasn’t going to make it. So I took a week off from “selling”, and wrote about “Experiencing Life.” Over the next week or so I examined my past posts and selling techniques, identified some of the problems, and tried again.


After a few weeks and a few posts, I wrote a post, reapplied to the Amazon Associate program, added links to the new post, and posted it the same day I reapplied to the program. Within a week I had my sales. All it took was a little research, a little self-evaluation, and some passion.


How do you make your first qualifying Amazon Affiliate sales?


To start off you can’t be nonchalant about it. I insert quotes in a lot of my posts. In “Look Out for Sharks” I quoted “Rounders”, so I inserted a link to buy the movie. That link didn’t get even one single click, much less a sale. Just dropping a link for the sake of the link doesn’t convert. It’s not much different than putting a food display next to the bathroom. It may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but no one wants to eat food stored near the toilet. It’s not an extra opportunity to make a sale, it just makes you look desperate and untrustworthy. A blog isn’t like a convenience store, you aren’t going to get many impulse buys. People ended up on your site because they were looking for something specific. Try to keep your advertising along those lines.



Take this into account when placing advertising banners in your posts also. Keep the banners related to the content. If you have written a post about the 5 best mountain biking places in the Midwestern U.S., don’t include a banner advertising Amazon’s Baby Registry Bounty Program. Which I didn’t know they had by the way. Again, it just looks desperate for a sale. If your readers trust you, they will take your advice and purchase products you say are worth their money. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. That’s why you write to a niche in the first place. If I wanted to get into mountain biking, and I just read that post I would take your opinion into consideration when purchasing a mountain bike. However, I would have no reason to click on your baby registry banner. If I’m looking to go ride the 260 mile Sheltowee Trace in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky, I probably don’t have a baby on the way.


You have to be deliberate. Once you are 100% approved for Amazon’s Associate program you can open up your options a bit. Until then you need to pinpoint your best options to make a sale and target your audience.


I came across a post last week that was titled “10 best books for Bloggers” or something similar. Naturally I wanted to see what those books were. When I got to the page I saw that it was comprised entirely of 10 hyperlinks. That’s it. No reviews, no descriptions, no actual text at all. Just 10 book titles that linked to amazon. I immediately closed the page. How am I supposed to know those are the 10 best books for bloggers? It didn’t tell me anything about the books. I’ve never been to that site before so I didn’t have any reason to trust it. Not only did it not sell me any of those books, I didn’t even have a reason to believe the post author actually read the books he/she was trying to sell.


You have to intentionally sell the product to your readers. That doesn’t mean you have to resort to sleazy tactics, or a used car salesman persona. Actually it’s the exact opposite. It’s easier by far to sell an item you have used and believe in. I made my qualifying sales from “The One Thing Every WordPress User Should Own”, because I was open about the problem I had, and how the book helped me overcome that problem. I realize it may not be possible to try out every single item you want to promote, but you damned well better do your research. I don’t mean just read the first 3 articles after a google search. You should know everything about the item, and report on its flaws as well as its features. It never hurts to be honest, people will only trust you more.


Writing a post specifically to promote a product or multiple products is essentially a long form sales ad. Identify a problem or question your audience may have, then offer them a product that answers their questions or solves their problem. Keep your language simple, and write conversationally. Write like you are speaking to your readers face to face, almost exactly like you would speak in person. There is no reason to use sesquipedalian words, but you don’t have to use a monosyllabic tone either. See what I mean? It’s obnoxious, and irritating.


Use multiple links to the item in your post. You never know which paragraph or sentence will convince someone to buy the item you are promoting. When it happens you don’t want them to have to search through the post for your link. A link every other paragraph or so should be sufficient, if you are mentioning the item. Don’t try to unnaturally shove posts in the text. 3-5 hyperlinks is enough for a 1000-1500 word post. You don’t want to spam your readers either, it’s a delicate balance. Try to be sure a link is always on screen as you are scrolling through the post.



The last tip I have to make your sale in the 180 day time-frame, is make sure you have a CTA (Call to Action) on your posts. You didn’t just write all of that for the sake of writing it. You want readers to purchase the item you are promoting. So, tell them so. Even something as simple as “Click Below to Buy One Now”, or “Get Yours Here” will help convert. You want a clear and concise CTA instructing readers exactly where to click and why.


Also, please make sure you adhere strictly to Amazon’s Terms of Service. It’s an awful lot of work to go through to make your three qualifying sales, to end up being rejected for violating the ToS. I have a post here, about common mistakes Amazon Associates make when first starting out. Be sure to check it out if you have any questions or doubts.

List-building Tips

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.

We know this has been a long journey for me, and I had to learn a lot to get this site up. While I know the site isn’t perfect I have had to do quite a bit of research to get it going. When you are researching building an online business a phrase you will see often is “The money is in the list.” Your list primarily consists of blog and newsletter subscribers.

So how do you go about building a list? There are many techniques used for list building, I cannot attest to which one may be best, yet. However I can talk to you about email opt-in tools. I had to do pretty extensive research to figure out which one I wanted to use. In the end it came down to a choice between Bloom by Elegant Themes, and OptinMonster for me. I believe that based on features, ease of use, and cost it should come down to that decision for pretty much everyone.



Bloom and OptinMonster have a lot of similar features. They both have Lightbox Popups, Slide in scroll boxes, Sidebar campaigns, Inline/After post campaigns, Content lock opt-in’s, and Two Step opt-in’s. They are also both customizable to fit your needs and your site. It’s not complicated to link either one to your auto-mailing system, like MailChimp, or AWeber. So why should you choose one over the other? Well let’s get into their differences and see if we can figure that out.



-has a signature Exit-Intent® technology. Which was a huge selling point for me. It’s what causes the pop-up right as you are about to leave the page. This ensures that your pop-up doesn’t come too soon and annoy the reader, but also doesn’t show too late and miss them. Studies show that a reader decides within 10 seconds if they are going leave your site. If your pop-up timer is set for 20 seconds, or bottom of post you will miss a large percentage of visitors. However with Exit-Intent® technology, everyone who visits your site sees your email opt-in as they leave.

-does not slow your sites load time, or utilize storage space. You build all of your campaigns on the OptinMonster website instead of using the WordPress dashboard. As a standalone app it can be used on any website, not only WordPress sites.

-is more than an email opt-in tool. You can create many different marketing campaigns, such as promoting seasonal sales, or advertising free shipping.

-has an option for sub-accounts for multiple users.

-has Full Screen, Floating Bar, and Sound Effects in campaign options. You can also create your own forms from scratch using OptinMonster Canvas technology.

-has Event Countdown Timer, and Evergreen Countdown Timer.

-has a Shopify app.

-has three packages at $19.99, $29.99, $49.99 a month or $9/mo. billed annually, $19/mo. billed annually, $29/mo. billed annually respectively.



-is extremely easy to use, set up, and modify. It takes only minutes to start a campaign.

-is not a standalone plug-in. You gain access to all of Elegant Themes plug-ins, themes, and layouts.

-is $89 a year or $249 onetime fee for lifetime access.

I know there is a huge imbalance in the lists above, but it is that imbalance that helped me make my decision. When I was doing this research my site wasn’t even live yet. There was so much to learn and consider. I didn’t know enough to know what I needed to know. Not to say that I know everything now, but I knew much less then.

I believe Elegant Themes is perfect for people like me. Beginners. It allowed me to get an email opt-in form up and running immediately, without the need to learn to much more about the program itself. I also use the highly recommended theme Divi, and both other plug-in’s they offer. As a beginner the ease with which I was able to pick up on how to customize both the theme and Bloom was quite important to me. The price made the decision that much easier.


Divi WordPress Theme


Not to say that Bloom is perfect for everyone however. I plan on switching to OptinMonster by next year. All of the customizable options aren’t nearly so terrifying any more. As a matter of fact, they seem quite necessary if my site keeps growing at the rate its growing. OptinMonster offers great options for CTA’s, and I would like to try some of the campaign options that Bloom does not offer. OptinMonster is more expensive, but as your site grows and starts to pay for itself, then it is well worth the cost.

Whether you are a stone cold beginner or a hardened veteran, you should be building your list. Hopefully this helped make it a little easier.


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin


Writers Work - Get Paid to Write

Tips for Amazon Affiliates

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.


If you have explored this site at all you know it’s still pretty new. If you have been to the Introduction page than you know I hope to help new bloggers like myself, and monetize this site using mostly affiliate links. So, I’m going to give you a few tips now that I wish I had when I started. Yeah, I know, we just established that the site is still pretty new. However, I started working on it and building it long before it went live, and that’s where some of my mistakes started. If you made any of the same mistakes, hopefully we can catch them here and get them corrected before trouble sets in.


I got the idea for this post from my email. Specifically an email from Amazon saying they were going to be closing my affiliate account in 90 days if I did not make 3 sales within that timeframe. At first I kind of freaked, I am still building my site and audience base. I didn’t even plan to start seriously working on selling for a few more months. I’ve dropped a few links here and there, but only because they were for books I have read that just happened to fit with the post. They weren’t methodically placed in the post, they mostly set at the end of the text as a “Hey, by the way.” At least one link, the one in Look Out for Sharks, was meant to be ironic. Now I have to try to figure out why my account was getting shut down, which took all of 5 minutes research that I should have done three months ago.


From the beginning I have been going about this whole process backwards. I jump head first into the crystal clear pool, then muddy the water while trying to learn how to swim. I read that the Amazon Affiliate program was one of the easiest ways to monetize your site, and I signed up immediately. Problem was all I had was a domain name with no site attached to it. It took me almost two and a half months to get the site off the ground.


In my 5 minutes of research I learned that you have 180 days from date of sign up to refer three qualified sales (defined here) or they close your account. Actually I learned that they close accounts every day for all kinds of reasons with no warning or way to dispute it except for applying for arbitration. According to Amazon made 178 billion in 2017. Divided by 365 that comes to 487,671,233 a day, not exactly accurate mathing I know, but you get my point. They don’t care about you, your business, or how much you have come to rely on income from their affiliate program. Their priority is protecting their name and their brand, rightfully so. If you step outside of the Terms of Service even a little bit, they cut you, no questions asked or answered. With one exception, if you are cut from the program because you did not meet sales requisites you may reapply at a later date. All other bans are lifetime bans.


Let’s go over some of the most frequently made mistakes here.

  1. We already touched on the first one, but let’s follow up. You must make three qualifying sales in your first 180 day period. Every other article I found says one sale in the same timeframe. However, this is a snippet of the email I received.

Thank you again for joining the Amazon Associates program. We are reaching out to you because we have not seen qualified sales activity on your account.  As a reminder, Associate accounts that have not referred three required sales to within 180 days of sign-up will be automatically rejected. At this time, you have 90 days left to drive qualified sales and avoid termination and closure of your account.

  1. You CAN NOT, under any circumstances, use your own affiliate link to make purchases on Amazon. You can’t beat the system. Just don’t do this. Even if you only have one day to make one more sale, just don’t. If you don’t make your sales, you can reapply. If you do this you are out for life. Also, be careful testing your links. If you click one of your own links to make sure it’s working you will still get the tracking cookie. If you make a purchase from Amazon in the next 24 hours, it will look like you just used your own link.


  1. The affiliate links you receive from Amazon are for your website only. When you apply for the Amazon Associates program, they ask you for your website address, and all of your links are for that address. Do not post your links on sites you do not own, the exception being social media if you use the share button from your Affiliate Account. You also cannot insert affiliate links into emails, e-books, or PDF’s. Amazon ToS states that you cannot use links in “offline promotion or in any other offline manner.” Emails, e-books and PDF’s can all be downloaded and read offline.


  1. You can have only one account. If you have multiple websites, you can get multiple User ID’s, up to 100 of them to be exact. If you want to keep the earnings of many sites separate for accounting reasons you can assign each its own User ID.


  1. Do not mention price of items, or offer incentives. Everything you say about the product you are advertising must be accurate and true. The prices of products listed on Amazon fluctuate frequently. If the list price is now different from what you’ve posted, you are violating ToS, and may be banned. You also may not offer deals or incentives, to Amazon it’s akin to bribing people to click your link. This is from their ToS- “You will not offer any person or entity any consideration, reward, or incentive (including any money, rebate, discount, points, donation to charity or other organization, or other benefit) for using Special Links. For example, you cannot implement any “rewards” or loyalty program that incentivizes persons or entities to visit the Amazon Site via your Special Links.”
  1. You must identify yourself as an Amazon Associate. This is a big one. You already have to have an Affiliate Disclosure on your site to be FTC compliant. Amazon requires you to have their specific disclosure. This is from their Terms of Service- “You must clearly state the following on your Site or any other location where Amazon may authorize your display or other use of Content: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.”


These are just a few of the pitfalls in the extensive Amazon Term of Service. I only chose the most common mistakes by beginners to list here. I may have pushed multiple similar offences into one category. I thought the information was more important than how many items I listed. Please be aware that these ToS are being updated and changed often. It’s important that you stay updated. It’s a crappy job, but it’s part of the responsibility of running your own business.



We have touched on a few things not to do if you are an Amazon Associate. Now I would like to go over a few things you should do, if you don’t mind. I know this is quickly working its way to being one of my longest posts, but it’s important information, especially if your just starting out. If you are completely new to affiliate marketing you should read this book by Chris Guthrie. If you already have some experience you may not learn much, so I would only pick it up if you get a good deal.


The first and single biggest tip towards being a successful Amazon Affiliate is, diversify your income. There are many affiliate programs out there. I am a member of that helps you find other programs. You should also try google AdSense or a similar ad programs. The point is you don’t want your income coming from only one source, especially one you have no control over. A policy change or algorithm update could wipe out your income. For example, in Feb. of 2017 Amazon changed its compensation policy. It went from a tiered commission, the more you sold the more you earned. To a standard percentage based on the category your sales come from, with some categories, such as video games and consoles, dropping to 1%. There were Associates that went from making thousands of dollars a week, to only making hundreds a month because of the niche they sold in. Don’t get caught in the same sand trap, have many income sources.


Long-Term Success Building WordPress Websites for the Amazon Affiliate Program is a book for the more experienced marketer. It talks about building multiple niche websites on WordPress and running a larger business. Which brings us to our next tip, quality content. You can’t just toss out page after page of “copy content.” You have to write meaningful content that provides value to your readers. Posting “copy content” that just feels like sales ads for your links, wont convert well, could result in Google penalties, and Amazon suspending your affiliate account because crappy content besmirches their good name. The name of the game is writing content that gets clicks. Just get people to Amazon and let them do the rest. Amazon is well trusted seller, and they know their shit. They lure you to what they believe you will buy, and they do it well. Write product reviews in your niche, or do a monthly best sellers list, again, in your niche. Get readers to Amazon and let them do the work for you. If they click your link, anything they buy for 24 hours is attributed to you. The tracking cookie lasts 90 days if they put an item in their cart. Create content people can trust, and the sales will come.


There are many books out there on creating Amazon Affiliate sites. To be honest you can get most of them for free or very cheap on kindle books, and as fast as terms change, that’s really the best way to go. Remember, do your research, Amazon Terms and Conditions is almost 25 pages and changes often. Don’t lose the opportunity to be an Associate just because you didn’t want to read it all.

Look Out for Sharks

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.


If you are trying to start a copywriting business, or a blog, or virtual assistant, or any of the many options that tie into this list, there are a million different ways you can go at it. In just a few minutes on Facebook you will find a hundred people willing to give you advice and help you get started. You will find free e-books, articles, and newsletters. You will be invited to join groups and sign up for mailing lists. Everyone will have your best interests at heart, and genuinely want to help.


The sharks begin to circle the fresh fish, they smell blood in the water.


This is the dangerous reality of getting into this business that everyone neglects to tell you. The art of copywriting, and it is an art make no mistake about that, is the ability to use your writing to sell products and services. It is Bushido, words wielded with deadly accuracy, sharp and beautiful, pushing and pulling you to act as the author wants.


The first hit is always free.


How do you separate? How do you find the cost? Everyone wants to help, everyone has advice, and it always seems to lead to a link that they just happen to have handy. A product that you need to pay for, from which they get a commission. A class that they just happened to have co-authored. The mailing lists are sales funnels. The e-books are long form sales pitches. The newsletters are full of products to purchase.


“If you can’t spot the sucker in your first 30 minutes at the table, then you are the sucker” –Rounders


This is a business. You want to learn how to do it so you can make money, work from home, or just because you hate your current job. Well, everyone giving you all of this free advice also needs to make money. Some of them may already be doing this full time and this is their only source of income.

Liquid Web Managed Cloud Hosting: Starting at $99/mo


So how do you separate? How do you figure out who is just trying to make money off of you, and who actually believes in what they are telling you. It’s hard. It’s near impossible to gleam someone’s intentions at first glance. You have to protect yourself. Just you. No one can do it for you. The person telling you not to listen to someone else because they are just trying to sell you something, may actually just be trying to sell you something, or they may be newer at this than you are and not know their elbow from a hole in the ground. DO YOUR RESEARCH. I don’t know how to make this any clearer. Hold on. Let’s try this.



This is a point I can’t stress enough. You want to learn from people who know what they’re talking about? Learn this. I bought a copywriting course from a link in a newsletter I have been getting for over a year. I learned many lessons from this, and I will do my best to lay them all out for you.


1st. I read the ad, clinked on the link, and I bought the course. Look at what’s not there. See the missing steps. I did no research. I mean none. If you read my Introduction, you know that copywriting was completely new to me, and yet I did not one second of research. I took my wallet, and threw it off a cliff. Since that day, I have found all of the information contained within said course for free on the internet.


2nd. It doesn’t matter how long you have been working with someone, or how well you know them, do not trust everything they offer to sell you. I’m not saying everyone will rip you off eventually. I’m saying business is business and an ad is an ad. Your trusted website or newsletter is trying to make money too. Someone paid them for that ad space. They may not even know what they are advertising. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Just because you have been getting a newsletter for years doesn’t mean that they have vetted all of their advertisers, and are selling you a premium product. Don’t jump on the bandwagon without hearing what they are playing, you may not be able to dance to it.


3rd. If anyone tells you they can make you X amount of money in X amount of time, tell them to Sod Off. It is a bold and bullshit claim. The only one who can control how much money you make in how long is you. “But they will teach me what I need to know to make that kind of money”, bullshit no they won’t. Experience and hard work is how you make that kind of money. The best case scenario is they teach you copywriting, or blog writing, or whatever. No matter what they tell you, they Can Not control how fast you find clients or build your business. You may do everything they say exactly to the letter and it may not work for you. You may have chosen a niche that is too competitive. You may not be able to reach the client base you need from your area. You may have 4 kids and not have the time to devote 8 hours a day to your new business. There are a whole host of variables that contribute to your success that some class has no control over. I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it. This is not a get rich quick scheme. You will not get rich, and you will get not rich very slowly.


Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am not telling you not to take courses, or accept help. All I’m try to say is please be careful, DO YOUR RESEARCH, and protect yourself. Everyone learns differently. We all have separate goals, and dreams. If buying an online course helps you achieve yours, then by all means, don’t let my opinion slow you down in the slightest. To be honest, if I had not made that initial impulsive mistake, you probably wouldn’t be reading my words now. But. Since I spent money, I have to follow through. It can’t sit like so many dreams on a back shelf, dusty and old, fading away slowly, being rewritten by my waking consciousness. The act of spending money on it, for me, keeps it vivid and in the forefront of my mind, like a neon sign pointing to my future.


There are going to be two types of people trying to take advantage of you. The intentional and the unintentional. There are going to be times that you ask a question in a public group and the only answer you get is “buy my course, and it will teach you, and its only $3,000 today for you.” Then there will be times that you ask a question and you will get “use this one that I am using, I have an affiliate link.” Often the second one is just trying to help you and still make a little money towards their business. DO YOUR RESEARCH. While the second person is being genuine, they may also be wrong. They may have just recommended a plug-in that will crash your site, or just doesn’t do what you need it to do. It’s not intentional. They make money from the link so it’s the first answer that popped into mind, but they don’t always have all the information. Maybe you weren’t clear in your question, maybe they were distracted and didn’t read it correctly. You just spent three days trying to get a new plug-in to do something it won’t do based on this persons’ word, and now you feel like they only gave you advice so they could catch the commission. That isn’t the case, and well, you didn’t research the product.


There are a lot of pitfalls in starting a new online business. The people you meet along the way will be your biggest allies, and your biggest hurdles. Most will do their best to lift you up, because if I lift you up, you pull me up with you. A few see you as competition and do their best to beat you down and climb up on you. There is more than enough business out there for all of us, but you are swimming with the sharks now. It’s ok though, because you are now a shark too.

Beginners Affiliate Marketing

This was originally written as a guest post on a Blog about ways to make money from home. Unfortunately the partnership did not workout, but I did not see a reason to waste a perfectly good article.  

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.

My goal is to get rich while sharing my writing with the world. My new goal is to list all of the problems with that last goal. My name isn’t Steven King or J.K. Rowling, so selling my novels for untold riches is unlikely. Impossible is nearer to the truth. And well, I haven’t actually finished any novels, but that’s a minor hurdle compared to selling them when they are finished. You could also point out that my Blog has fewer views than the picture of my dog… on my cellphone. So, in order to be more realistic I have implemented another plan.

This is how almost all bloggers make money. It’s how the blog you are reading this article on was monetized. It’s how I make my supplemental income. It’s called Affiliate Marketing.

Affiliate Marketing is when you put a link to my product into your article or blog, and for every one that sells you get a percentage. Well, that is the simple definition anyway. If you can write you can become an Affiliate Marketer.

There are many ways to sell products this way, but we are going to talk about building a website or blog specifically for this purpose. The idea is, you pick a niche you want to write in, for the purpose of this article we are going to go with extreme sports. So we do a little research and write about “The Dangers of Mountain Biking.” You talk about major wipeouts, and resulting concussions. Then you go on to talk about the best new thing in helmets, and every time you mention this new awesome helmet, you insert a link to buy the helmet. If you wrote with passion and intelligence, you will sell the helmet. Passion is kind of important, so it’s best to choose a niche you actually enjoy.

Selling this way is getting easier every day. It used to be that you had to find an item you wanted to sell, petition the company that owns the item to allow you to sell it, and if they deemed your site and writing good enough, they would sign you up for their program. Now you can just sign up for Affiliate programs with Amazon, and eBay and between the two link practically anything you can think of. I was part of Amazons Affiliate program before my site had any content.

Now, you have to understand. This is not a get rich quick scheme. You will not get rich, and you will get not rich very slowly. This technique works for many people, however, it requires work and dedication. You have to build an audience, and you have to keep them entertained. If your writing is not interesting, they will not stick around long enough to click the link. As a matter of fact, here is an example of Affiliate Marketing now. Affiliate Marketing: Launch a Six Figure Business with Clickbank Products, Affiliate Links, Amazon Affiliate Program, and Internet Marketing (Online Business) by Noah Gray and Michael Fox and This book will teach you how to write better by Neville Medhora will help you start out if this is something you want to get into.

Crash Course in Digital Advertising

This post contains affiliate links, which mean if you use these links to purchase an item or service I receive a commission at no extra cost to you. Visit my Affiliate Disclaimer page here.

Hopefully you read my Introduction and you know what’s going on. If you haven’t the short of it is, I am trying to start a web based career, and I am letting you in on all of my secrets as I go.

Ok, so here we go. I have no secrets. I also have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve read some books and I’m taking some online courses, both of which we will get into later, and everything else is seat of my pants business planning. Which isn’t to say that I don’t have a plan. I think I have a great vision, but I’m sure everyone thinks that their idea is just the best idea ever conceived. I also have no idea how to get to the end goal. I know exactly where I want to be, but I don’t have a GPS, or even a map, and I keep getting lost along the way. It’s like following the yellow brick road, only a tornado has come through and scattered the bricks all over, and I’m hopscotching across the path with no idea if I’m going the right way or taking the steps in the correct order. But I guess that’s the joy of this Blog. You may learn what to do, and what not to do. You may also be thoroughly entertained as I fall flat on my ass. Together we will learn what works and what doesn’t.


Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite


As I said I have a great plan, at least what I believe to be a great plan. I’m not going to tell you what it is. Well, not yet anyway. I’m sure there are many of you reading this that have already been through what I’m going through, and already tried what I’m going to try. And, well…I just don’t want you spoiling the surprise just yet. I don’t want to know how, or why my plan is going to fail. If I fail I want it to be under my own doubts and fears, and not the ones you give me.

Fear. There it is. “We cannot fail what we never begin.” I know that feeling all too well. I have lived a large chunk of my life under that maxim. This is it, this is where I look fear straight in the eye… then go cower in a corner. Because this shit is terrifying (I can’t reread this sentence without hearing Negan say it). I’m trying to reorganize and rearrange my whole life, and for what, just to pursue a dream I didn’t even know I had till a few months ago. I have always wanted to write. I used to make my friends read snippets of paragraphs I had written, but fear always knew better. Some people say it’s “the inner critic” but I don’t really see it that way. It’s not another voice inside my head telling me what a failure I am, cause fuck that guy. I know, somewhere, that that guy is full of shit. And even though I know this, my own fear has me staring at the floor agreeing with him. Fear of failure, even worse the fear of success, that’s a big one. Fear that even if you succeed that you can’t ever really succeed because you’ll just screw it up anyway and lose everything. If it were just the critic, I think I would be ok, but it’s not. It’s really hard to fight off the critic, and myself, being the type of guy who has punched himself in the face while drunk, I can speak from experience.

I have always wanted to write, and just a few months ago I discovered, quite by accident, copywriting. Well, I guess not by accident. It was an ad on an email for a mailing list I signed up for. The Writer Magazine, if you are at all interested in creative writing, which I am, I highly recommend it. And the angels sang, AAAHHH, I didn’t know this was a thing. Looking back now, I don’t know how I didn’t know. It seems quite obvious. Someone has to write this stuff. I want to write, and I want to help people. And there it is. I want to write copy for local charities and non-profits. I’ve had some experience working with a group or two over the last few years. Not writing for them, more manual labor kind of stuff. The people I worked with were so selfless. I want to be much more like them. However, most of them were retired, and I still need to make a living, and don’t forget, I want to write.

So I started reading articles, and signing up for mailing lists. I started buying the books that professional copywriters recommended. I even signed up for a copywriting course. A good majority of these articles said one of the best ways to get started is to make a website and write a blog. This way you can get samples of your writing out there, and give people a way to contact you, and hire you.

I can see the wheels turning. I know what you are thinking. “I thought you were going to teach us, and show us the way. Why didn’t you tell us what courses? Why didn’t you tell us the name of the books, or link the articles?”

For multiple reasons actually. One, because this is a business, and a business is intended to make money. As I said, I have no intention of trying to sell you anything of my own creation, at this point. I do intend on advertising. I don’t want to just throw up random ads on my page. It may come to that but I’m trying to avoid it. I do however want to use affiliate ads (I will tell you the difference and why I think one is better than the other). Two, I haven’t finished reading the books, or taking the course. I don’t know if they are worth the money spent on them. I don’t want you running out and signing up for courses or buying books because “The Ragged Writer said they were good”, until I can in fact say if they are good. Three, it is only 4 days past New Years, and I don’t plan on going live till March. I have every intention of coming back and adding some links, if I can figure out how, and listing some book titles. I’m incredibly sorry if that didn’t happen. If this line is still in the post, I guess I didn’t make it back. Trying to start a business while still working a fulltime job can be exhausting.

So, Ads. There are 2 main types of ads. There are algorithm generated random ads, I’m sure that’s not the technical name, like Google Ad Sense. Those are the ads that are on the side of most websites. What ads you personally see depend on googles translation of your internet usage. We can all go to the same page at the same time and see different ads. You can sign up for this through google, and you make a little bit every time someone clicks on the ad. This is call Pay Per Click, or PPC. It’s usually a few cents a click and you need high traffic to make much money from it. The other is Cost Per Impression, CPI or CPM which is Cost Per Mille. Mille is Latin for thousand, so it would be Cost Per Thousand Impressions. An impression is someone just seeing the ad. So basically you get paid for every 1000 people that see it. You need extremely high traffic, or many of these per page to make real money this way.

The other one is Affiliate Ads, which I plan on utilizing the most. An Affiliate Ad is a link to whatever is being advertised, like a book, or another copywriting website. When you follow that link, the advertiser gets a percentage of any money spent there.

The advantage of Affiliate Ads, I believe, is that I can advertise only things that I believe in and have used. Only books that I have read and believe contains relevant information. This will allow you, the reader, to just jump to a site to purchase the item being discussed. I’m not saying that you should buy everything I talk about, I’m just trying to live up to my promise of telling you exactly what I had to do to get to this point. There will be times that I tell you about a book I bought that it turns out didn’t help me with my current objectives. The idea is get us all up in running, if this is what you want to do, with as little money risked as possible. I’ve seen copywriting courses listed for thousands of dollars. Maybe those courses make you a copywriting God, maybe they are complete scams. It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me, because I don’t have that kind of money to invest. I mentioned that I have enrolled in a course, it wasn’t thousands of dollars, and I jumped in on a sale day around the beginning of December, but it was still a pretty substantial cost to me. I’m not going to talk about that until I finish it. I don’t want anyone mistaking a casual mention for an endorsement then running out and spending their hard earned money on a course that may or may not turn out to be worth it.

Remember, I am learning this as I go, just like you. If you are already well versed in the things I am discussing, please, do not hesitate to send me a message if I have made mistakes. I hope to make this a journey of mutual discovery.
We come this far and not even touched on the topic I had in mind when I sat down to write this morning. I believe that topic will be a whole post on its own so I guess we will pick up there.

This post was written long before the home page. I apologize if some things don’t make sense, however I felt the story flowed better with those parts in, and if you didn’t visit the home page, then you will never know the difference.