Affiliate marketing currently lacks industry standards for training and certification. There are some training courses and seminars that result in certifications; however, the acceptance of such certifications is mostly due to the reputation of the individual or company issuing the certification. Affiliate marketing is not commonly taught in universities, and only a few college instructors work with Internet marketers to introduce the subject to students majoring in marketing.
I realize my bias is already showing through, so I’ll get to what I DON’T like about Wealthy Affiliate below. But, as I’ve already stated, overall I don’t know of any other place that is better for new affiliate marketers to get started than Wealthy Affiliate. If you take a look around my site, you’ll notice I’ve spent a TON of time on it. I’ve spent years of my life building this site, and there are currently almost 500 posts here, all for free, for everyone. It is in my best interest to promote only the best training course and that training course is Wealthy Affiliate.
Warrior Forum WSO’s – This is the only option on the list I will actually tell you to stay away from. Warrior Forum WSO’s are almost always a rip-off and no amount of them will adequately teach you how to truly build a real online business. This forum community is owned by Freelancer.com and they will allow just about anyone to sell just about anything. The majority of them are very cheap, but once you give them your email address, get ready to be spammed. They also almost always include “upsells” where the initial product may only cost a few bucks, but all the other products they sell you within the first product costs substantially more. I could write all day about why you should never purchase a Warrior Forum WSO, but if you want to learn more, you can read my article about Warrior Forum WSO’s here.
Websites and services based on Web 2.0 concepts—blogging and interactive online communities, for example—have impacted the affiliate marketing world as well. These platforms allow improved communication between merchants and affiliates. Web 2.0 platforms have also opened affiliate marketing channels to personal bloggers, writers, and independent website owners. Contextual ads allow publishers with lower levels of web traffic to place affiliate ads on websites.
Solo Build It – As I stated earlier in this Wealthy Affiliate review, I initially learned how to start my own business with this service. Solo Build It is somewhat similar to Wealthy Affiliate as far as the training is concerned, but Solo Build It but I believe the training at Solo Build It is far superior. My favorite part about Solo Build It, however, is that they offer absolutely EVERYTHING you’ll ever need to grow your business online including domain registration, an intuitive site builder, research tools, hosting, and all the other tools you need are in one place with training on how to put it all together. You can learn a lot more about them by going through their video tour.
You can open a store without the burden of managing inventory. One of the ways in which you can use Amazon affiliate links is to populate your online store with third-party products. This spares you from having to produce, store, or even manage inventory. That’s all handled by the manufacturers. You only need to worry about maintaining your online store.
While these models have diminished in mature e-commerce and online advertising markets they are still prevalent in some more nascent industries. China is one example where Affiliate Marketing does not overtly resemble the same model in the West. With many affiliates being paid a flat "Cost Per Day" with some networks offering Cost Per Click or CPM.
Websites consisting mostly of affiliate links have previously held a negative reputation for underdelivering quality content. In 2005 there were active changes made by Google, where certain websites were labeled as "thin affiliates". Such websites were either removed from Google's index or were relocated within the results page (i.e., moved from the top-most results to a lower position). To avoid this categorization, affiliate marketer webmasters must create quality content on their websites that distinguishes their work from the work of spammers or banner farms, which only contain links leading to merchant sites.
The one thing to be aware of with WordPress Amazon affiliate plugins is that you don’t want to use one that offers link cloaking. This is a method used to protect affiliates from a threat known as affiliate link hijacking. However, Amazon expressly forbids the cloaking of their links, so you’ll want to avoid plugins that do that or always be sure to disable that functionality if they give you the option.
Amazon has spent years perfecting the art of online selling and you’ll learn a lot about online marketing by observing how they do it. They constantly test different ways of promoting products and have evolved their site quite a lot over the years. See what widgets they use to promote related products, watch how they use reader reviews, and see the way that they describe products.