How to Make Money Online as an Affiliate

January 21, 2012 | By | 4 Replies More

QUESTION on How to Make Money Online as an Affiliate:

I am a 51 year old professional in New York who had to take early retirement because of a very serious disability. In order to supplement the SSI payments, and to remain as active as possible, I am contemplating starting an Internet business run by myself. Initially, I would like to sign up with several Affiliate businesses where I would put their products on my web site, and when an item is purchased, the item would be shipped from that company to the customer.

I would be paid a commission. I would like some assistance with the following:

1. Do I need to set up a Company; if so which type would be best for me?
2. I live in New York, do I have to register and incorporate there?
3. If not, for my kind of company, what are the advantages/disadvantages of doing it there?
4. What other things will I need to do?
5. Could you suggest the best way, and in what order these things should be done.

– Andrew (Tampa, Florida)

ANSWER by Isabel Isidro

Dear Andrew,

The Internet has allowed many retired and nearly retired folks, including those with disabilities, to earn money. The key, however, is having the right type of website for earning money.

Let us start first with your business model. Affiliate marketing, where you sell items for other businesses for a commission, is one of the most popular business model on the Web. However, you did not mention the most important element – your content.

The content will bring in the visitors, who hopefully are interested in the products offered by the affiliate programs you’ve participated in. Without unique, interesting or informative content, an affiliate-focused site is nothing but a hodgepodge of affiliate banners put on a page. This type of website has no value, and as such, will be difficult and expensive to get traffic. After all, why would the visitor come to your site and not the company running the affiliate program? Hence, income is going to be minimal and, unfortunately, disappointing.

The right approach is to think of the content of the website first. Decide on a focus; say, a website on cameras where you write reviews about different makes and models of cameras. The audience this type of website attracts are those consumers looking to buy a camera, professional photographers wanting to learn the new equipment in the market, and other camera enthusiasts.

Once you’ve identified the market the site will attract, the next step is to think of what types of products they may be interested in – and then you find companies offering such affiliate programs. One such company is Associates program, as Amazon offers cameras for sale as well as photography books that camera lovers would want. A good affiliate program could also include photo developing and sharing sites such as or Kodak Gallery or

Senior man working from home with a laptop

Affiliate programs only give you commission if the visitor does their desired action – whether it is a sale or a lead. The goal, therefore, is to find targeted visitors who will be responsive to the advertiser’s call to action.

As for business setup, you can start as a sole proprietorship, which is simpler and less costly to start. You will not be running a service business, which has a high likelihood of getting sued and therefore best to incorporate right from the start or start a Limited Liability Company (LLC). You can register your business with your local county or city, and once the business actually demonstrates its income generating potential, then you can consider changing your legal structure and maybe even incorporating.

As for setting up a business in New York, you may want to check out our page on How to Start a Business in New York, which contains links to state government prepared guides on starting a business in the state.

However, the first step is to think what you need to do given your special circumstances, and be open to other ways you can earn money from the Web. You may want to read USA Today’s article “’Gray Googlers’ strike gold”, an article that talk of how retirees are earning well from the advertising program of Google called Adsense.

Aside from affiliate programs, which many find to be harder to rely on as the main source of income, you may want to consider the following ways to earn from a website:

1. Join an advertising network. Advertising networks are organizations that aggregate Web sites that offer advertising space, and sell banner ads (and other advertising options) across them. Traffic requirement is often a minimum of 5,000 monthly impressions, although many do not accept sites hosted by free page services.

Burst Media
Tribal Fusion

2. Participate in contextual advertising networks. Contextual advertising are text ads delivered based on the content of the web page using an automated system.

Google Adsense
Vibrant Sponsored Listings
IndustryBrains (Marchex)

3. Sell advertising for your site directly. This is admittedly a more difficult route for a small business site wanting to earn advertising revenues. But hey, as they say: “no pain, no gain!”

Hope the above resources help!

Isabel Isidro

Recommended Books on How to Make Money Online:

Article originally published December 8, 2007. Updated January 20, 2012

Isabel Isidro

Isabel Isidro is the co-founder of A mom of three boys, avid vintage postcard collector, frustrated scrapbooker, she also manages Women Home Business, Starting Up Tips and Learning from Big Boys. Connect with her in Google +.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube 

GD Star Rating
GD Star Rating


Category: Affiliate Marketing, Make Money Online, Q & A

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. francesca_51 says:

    Awesome issues here. I am very happy to peer your
    article. Thank you so much and I’m taking a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  2. Susan Bowman says:

    i like the links you gave for the different choices. I will also look into the recommended books. Thanks Isabel!

  3. Wiley McKeel says:

    Racing to your fortune is going to require some work on your part, but if you are serious and determined, you will make money – guaranteed. Think about your potential readers and what they want to know. However, when you are first getting started, find pay per click sites that offer free traffic so you can try it out first.

Leave a Reply


Send this to a friend