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Affiliate marketing is, essentially, a performance based marketing strategy businesses use to compensate or reward affiliates for each visitor or customer brought to the site by their marketing effort. You promote a product or products for a company – typically they will give you an affiliate link or code with which to direct these customers to the site – and they reward you by paying you a percentage of the sales generated by your recommendation. There are many different general sites that you can sign up with to get started, and many more sites within different niches such as wellness, makeup, clothing and so on that you can apply to sign up for once you’ve gained momentum and found what niche you fit in most.
Will my target audience realistically spend this amount for the product? Again, your reputation is on the line here. Is the product you are thinking of promoting priced reasonably for your audience? When I was writing my ebook, I was stuck on pricing. I asked around for opinions. A number of people suggested I price my ebook at $47! Their idea was to price according to value, not size. In my mind that was crazy. My network was composed of a lot of stay-at-home bloggers, and my collective audience was comprised mostly of people without a whole lot of disposable income. There was no way anyone was going to pay $47 for my 30-page ebook.
An affiliate is like a salesperson who works on commission. If the salesperson introduces a potential customer to a new product, they will get paid only if that customer purchases the product. Most major online companies use affiliates as their sales force. This helps internet businesses to build a stream of traffic and it helps the affiliate to make money.

Affiliate marketing is still one of the most reliable ways to earn a recurring passive income online. It takes more work to build a profitable website than it did a few years ago, but it still can be done. You’ll need to put in a lot of effort at the beginning, but afterward you should be able to outsource most of the work and focus on other projects.
On one hand, long and ugly affiliate tracking links are a straight giveaway to people that you want to sell them a product (and people may be uncomfortable clicking on them). Therefore, making your link shorter and "nicer" looking will it give a more professional appearance. One of my favorite plugins for making links look "pretty" is the Pretty Links WordPress plugin.
Now as to your comment on traffic it is true, traffic is important. But the truth is, acquiring traffic is easier than converting it. Plus we have many posts dedicated to traffic generation on this blog. Simply check this post, this post or this post. But must importantly, the reason why people struggle with traffic is that they try to promote a sales page or a heavily biased piece of content. Nobody wants to share that, nobody wants to link to that, and as a result you don't get traffic and blame your lack of success on traffic (like you did in your comment above).
Considering that you have a finite amount of time, passive income should make up a large part of your work. And if you're serious about generating any semblance of income online, then passive income should be one of your sole goals and ambitions. Why? Simply this. Wouldn't you prefer to do the work one time and get paid repeatedly as opposed to relying on your time to generate that income?
Some good tips. I fully agree that it’s all about trust and it is always good to recommend an affiliate product that you have actually used. Why risk your reputation on a product you don’t know if it’s any good or not? If people buy one dodgy product from your site, they will probably never make that mistake again. That it why my blog strongly advocates ethical affiliate marketing. It’s the best long term stragey for affiliate marketing success.

Geno Prussakov of AM Navigator said: “In 2018, we will see significantly higher numbers of affiliate marketing programs run in truly smart ways. Their output will be increased through (i) continuous diversification of affiliate base (by now Google has done a great job teaching everyone “not to put all eggs in one basket”), (ii) extensive use of available technologies (for better attribution, wider reach, shrewder decisions), and (iii) lessons learned from deep(er) analysis of what’s really going on in the program (from the value that different types of affiliates bring throughout customer journey to lifetime customer value of affiliate-referred conversions).”

There is no shortage of products you’ll be able to promote. You’ll have the ability to pick and choose products that you personally believe in, so make sure that your campaigns center around truly valuable products that consumers will enjoy. You’ll achieve an impressive conversion rate while simultaneously establishing the reliability of your personal brand. 
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