Affiliate marketing websites have been around since the birth of the internet. Big brand companies, entrepreneurs and bloggers have all leveraged the power of affiliate marketing to generate an income from their piece of online real estate.
Why is this business model so attractive?
There’s a multitude of reason why affiliate marketing is so attractive, but fundamentally it has very low startup costs with the opportunity to earn huge amounts of passive income further down the line. Affiliate marketing is just one business model of many that can be used to create passive income streams.
You can check out my post “45+ passive income ideas that’ don’t suck” to learn all about passive income.
This post covers some of the most successful affiliate marketing websites on the internet. It’s worth bearing in mind that many sites do not post income figures so this list only covers the sites that actually post their earnings for the world to see.
Affiliate Marketing Is Booming!
Affiliate marketing can be lucrative as the operating costs of a typical blog or website are very low. This enables people promoting affiliate offers to enjoy large profits from their affiliate referrals.
Some interesting facts about affiliate marketing:
- 16% of US e-commerce orders were referrals from affiliate marketing websites, making affiliate marketing one of the four largest sources of e-commerce sales.
- 80% of brands utilise affiliate marketing
- Affiliate marketers alone generated $10 Billion in revenue on Amazon in 2015.
These stats highlight the fact that affiliate marketing isn’t going anywhere. It’s definitely here to stay and the industry as a whole continues to grow year after year.
Successful Affiliate Marketing Websites
I wanted to highlight the potential of affiliate marketing with some examples of people who have done really well in the industry. After all, results speak for themselves!
The majority of these websites are blogs, typically started by just one person. I’m warning you, some of these earnings will raise your eyebrows!
Smart Passive Income
Pat Flynn owns a blog about all things internet marketing, online business and entrepreneurship. Pat launched Smart Passive Income in 2008 with the goal of helping people start profitable online businesses by showcasing his own successes and failures. Since then his blog has taken off and become a wild success.
You’ve probably noticed the income report picture above and yes, that’s six figures in one month from a blog.
His income report for January 2017 was a total of $157,131.
$94,824 of that was purely from affiliate marketing referrals.
Here is a detailed breakdown of his affiliate earnings from January 2017, compared to the previous month:
Pretty staggering numbers huh? Pat represents a fantastic example of what is possible with affiliate marketing if you establish yourself as a brandable authority in your niche.
How do you do this?
By providing awesome content that overwhelms people with value. If you focus on producing amazing content and promoting that content, and you do it consistently, you can’t lose.
ShoutMeLoud is a huge blog that focuses on many topics like SEO, entrepreneurship and affiliate marketing. It’s owned by a guy called Harsh Agrawal. He started the blog as a hobby and it has since attracted an audience of over 872,000 people a MONTH!
Harsh is passionate about helping people quit the 9-5 job they’re stuck in and live life on their own terms. The main focus of the blog is showing people how they can generate an income through blogging and other online means.
The last income report published was in December 2016 and the blog pulled in $34,390.
Most of this money came from affiliate commissions as you can see below:
These figures demonstrate that Harsh has fully optimised his site for affiliate marketing. It also shows that when you’re first starting out with an affiliate marketing website, you can focus on just that. You don’t need to worry about monetising your website through any other means just yet. After you start generating a decent income from affiliate marketing then you can look at introducing other ways of making money.
It’s worth mentioning that Harsh started this blog in 2008, so he’s had roughly nine years to build it up to where it is now. So don’t expect to achieve results like this in a few months. That said, you can achieve a highly respectable income from affiliate marketing within a few short months if you approach it in the right way and have access to the right training.
The ShoutMeLoud blog has TONS of content and a powerful backlink profile. This is partly why it receives so much traffic every month.
Check out this snapshot of Harsh’s Google Analytics dashboard:
Yeah, you saw that right, that’s just under 800,000 people visiting his site for the month of December 2016 alone!
75% of those people are brand new visitors. I’m surprised a website with this amount of traffic doesn’t actually generate more revenue every month. That’s a HUGE amount of traffic being generated right there.
The hardest part of launching any online business is generating targeted traffic. It’s the thing people really get stuck on!
The actual formula for building a successful affiliate marketing website is fairly simple…
Great content + strong SEO = targeted traffic
Targeted traffic = $$$
This is probably the most simplistic way to describe generating an income online but when you break down all the pieces of the puzzle, it really does boil down to these fundamentals.
Matthew owns an internet marketing blog that has won many awards and has been featured on various big brand websites such as Entrepreneur and ProBlogger. Matt is known for producing outstanding high-quality content that sticks out from the competition. The blog specialises in producing high-quality tutorials and case studies that help with things like link building, social media and traffic generation.
Matt is a 28-year-old full-time blogger. His first website was launched when he was just 13 years old; A community-based gaming website where people could share little videos of them slaying their opponents with flair in shooting games.
His last income report was released in December 2016 and he grossed just over $23298.
Here is a breakdown of his earnings for that month:
As you can see above, just over 50% of blog income was generated from affiliate marketing. Where the other income comes from isn’t something that is revealed but Matt does mention that “it is technically affiliate income” so we know that it’s related to affiliate marketing.
Interestingly, Matt has achieved a similar monthly income (he grossed $33898 in November 2016) with MUCH less traffic, compared to ShoutMeLoud.
Check out the figures:
Just over 61,000 hits for the month of December 2016, compared to over 800,000 for ShoutMeLoud. This is probably partly due to the fact that ShoutMeLoud is an India-based blog and probably attracts a tonne of traffic from India that doesn’t convert well.
Matthew Woodward is based in the UK, which on average has a much higher average visitor value compared to countries like India.
When you’re starting an affiliate marketing website, you want to be targeting places like the UK, US and Canada. This is definitely where the most valuable traffic is.
This also proves that you really don’t need an insane amount of traffic to generate a great income from your website. It also depends on the kind of affiliate products you’re promoting but that’s a discussion for a different article!
Making Sense Of Cents
A personal finance and lifestyle blog with some REALLY impressive affiliate earnings.
Owned and operated by a girl called Michelle, she spends her time travelling the world and is currently touring North America and living in an RV.
Michelle left her day job as a financial analyst in 2013 and since then, the blog has attracted a lot of attention and mention from big companies like Forbes, The Huffington Post and Lifehacker.
She finished college in 2011 and managed to pay off over $38,000 of student debt in just seven months.
When she first started her blog, she was thinking even just making an extra $1000 a month would be amazing. Probably not too different from what you’re thinking right now 🙂
Michelle generated just over $160,000 in February 2017 from Making Sense Of Cents.
Check out the breakdown of affiliate earnings:
I know what you’re thinking, that amount in a MONTH is insane for a blog and yes it’s a heck of a lot of money but this is why I’ve written this post. To show people the power of affiliate marketing and prove that blogging really doesn’t have to be just a hobby.
Michelle has created a million dollar business from blogging about personal finance and lifestyle.
Isn’t that beautiful?
Beautiful that we even have the opportunity to do things we enjoy and not only get paid, but get PAID for it!
Affiliate marketing provides the opportunity for us to build a business around something we genuinely love. We don’t need to slave away at a job and work for someone else to achieve the lifestyle we want anymore.
Bringing things back to the blog, Michelle generated the bulk of her income from promoting an affiliate marketing course and Bluehost (a website hosting company) generating a total of $94,041 from these two things alone. Another $30,000 was generated from an affiliate launch and some other affiliate promotions.
The Power Of Email Marketing
Michelle mentions on her site that she has an email list of over 40,000 subscribers. A large email list of warm prospects is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your marketing arsenal.
Building an email list involves you having something valuable to offer to your visitors. Something that warrants asking for their details.
For example, Michelle offers a free email course on how to start a blog…
Once you hook your readers in with something of value that’s related to your content. You can then follow-up with them by providing additional value and building that relationship.
Essentially you’re helping your subscribers by giving them content they like so when it comes to you recommending a product, they will be more than happy to check it out.
It’s pretty easy to work out how email marketing can really explode your earnings. Let’s say Michelle emails her list of 40,000 subscribers about a product she’s recommending.
If 1% of people convert, that’s 400 sales! Many affiliate programs offer a tiered commission structure for products sold later down in the funnel.
This basically means that if 400 people purchased a training course on blogging and 50 of those people went on to purchase an upsell product offered by the same company, you’ll still get commissions from these sales!
In most cases, the first product sold is the cheapest and only a small percentage of people that purchase the first product go on to buy the next thing but guess what – the product is usually priced much higher so you’ll still get very good commissions.
It’s worth noting that I’m speaking in very general terms here but I’m doing so on purpose to give you a basic idea of how things work with affiliate marketing and how these bloggers are reaching these amazing monthly income figures.
Another lady that’s killing it with blogging. These girls are on fire!
Melyssa Griffin helps entrepreneurs and bloggers grow their audience, influence and monetise their passion. She has a beautiful website that provides webinars, e-courses and a Facebook community all centered around this very topic. Over 100,000 people have opted in to check out her library of free resources.
Did I mention, she has a beautiful website? I genuinely spent half an hour just ogling over the sexy design.
In 2013, Melyssa was working as an expat English teacher in Tokyo, Japan. Even though she was living the abroad adventure, she felt underpaid, isolated and creatively stifled.
You know that feeling when you just know you can do so much more?
Melyssa started her blog in the hopes of creating an awesome online community. Her blog quickly became her post-work obsession and three months after starting, she was able to quit her job, move back to California and focus on her blog business full-time.
Within three years of launching her hobby blog. Melyssa was generating over $1 million dollars a year.
Her last income report was for December 2016 and she generated a massive $283,680.
It’s worth noting that Melyssa has her own line of products that she has taken the time to create and this is what generates the bulk of her earnings on her website. This is something that you can do further along the line, once you’ve established your affiliate marketing business.
Of course, you don’t have the start with affiliate marketing, you can jump straight into creating your own product but I highly recommend affiliate marketing because it provides a low barrier of entry and you don’t need to create your own products from scratch.
Even though the majority of earnings came from e-course sales. Melyssa still generated a very respectable $25,572 in affiliate earnings.
To give you a more detailed breakdown of December’s earnings, here is an expenses and profit breakdown that she posted on her income report:
Why Affiliate Marketing Is So Powerful
I hope these results have given you a taste of the power and potential of affiliate marketing and online business in general. Many people are still under the impression that you need to come up with an amazing idea to make money when it comes to business.
Business models like affiliate marketing prove that this just isn’t the case.
Affiliate marketing is so powerful because it allows you to monetise something that normally wouldn’t be profitable. Who would’ve thought that personal blogs that start out as hobbies can end up generating so much income?!
It seems almost unreal when we compare average salaries from various industries (as well as how long it takes to actually attain some of those roles).
Starting an internet business through affiliate marketing blows it all out of the water.
One of the super attractive traits of affiliate marketing is that you don’t need to be an expert in anything to generate an income for yourself. You just need to find the right training, learn how to market to people and then start promoting products and services to people that want them!