I have been making money online for over a year now. Not in the big time yet, still consider myself to be learning my craft. I was doing it really ineffectively (using adsense and amazon along with a t shirt affiliate deal) and driving traffic almost exclusively though facebook. Probably averaged about $800 a month over the last year, mostly because Christmas brought an absolute ton of t shirt sales)
Ask for VIP (sometimes called “tiered”) commissions. Many affiliate programs have different commission levels. Usually the standard commission level is made public, but higher commissions are offered to higher performing affiliates. Sometimes you may be bumped up to “VIP affiliate” status by the advertiser, but most times you have to ask if there’s a higher tier and how you can get there.
Over the last 20 years, I have seen lots of training courses. I agree with most of your experts. Site Build It was the first good training course I took shortly after Ken Envoy launched it. I have gone the Affiliorama route and thought it was a good program for beginners. At the time I took the course, there weren’t many options for niches. I have heard good things about Chris Farrell’s program but personally have not taken it. Wealthy Affiliate is by far the best program. Members learn to build an online business regardless of the niche(s) they select. Wealthy Affiliate also has a very strong support system in place. The active community of members means people can get their questions answered quickly.
An affiliate marketing program is a lot of work, and in most situations there's a lot of competition so you're not going to be bringing in money immediately. Business owners and entrepreneurs suppose that all you need do is setup a site and choose an affiliate to associate with and then just let it run its course. But according to Three Ladders Marketing, only 0.6% of affiliate marketers surveyed have been in the game since 2013. That means that affiliate marketing takes time and effort to build and make money.
Cost per action/sale methods require that referred visitors do more than visit the advertiser's website before the affiliate receives a commission. The advertiser must convert that visitor first. It is in the best interest of the affiliate to send the most closely targeted traffic to the advertiser as possible to increase the chance of a conversion. The risk and loss are shared between the affiliate and the advertiser.
Understand where people are at in the buying cycle and promote accordingly. Spend the most time sharing affiliate links where people are ready to buy. For example, you can share affiliate links on Pinterest, but most people are not on Pinterest to buy but to look. As such, focusing your affiliate marketing strategy on Pinterest might not be the best use of your time. Review posts, for example, might be better at tipping people over the line into buying.
Most businesses require startup fees as well as a cash flow to finance the products being sold. However, affiliate marketing can be done at a low cost, meaning you can get started quickly and without much hassle. There are no affiliate program fees to worry about and no need to create a product. Beginning this line of work is relatively straightforward.