Affiliate Marketing: Choosing The Best Model For You

by Sté Kerwer · 33 comments

This is a guest post by Sté Kerwer from

Affiliate marketing means you use a special link to send visitors from your blog or website to a merchant’s website. If the visitor makes a purchase on that site, you earn a commission.

For example, you might use an affiliate link on your blog and send your reader to a coffee maker at Amazon. If that reader then buys that coffee maker, you earn a percentage of the sale.

There are millions of different affiliate programs you can use to make money online which will completely eliminate the need of getting online loans or payday loans. Almost every online retailer has an affiliate link you can use to send traffic their way and earn a commission on sales you help generate.

But when you take a look at all of those programs they fall into two major business models – they either pay you earnings on the number of clicks you generate or the number of actions you generate.

Here’s a breakdown on Cost Per Click and Cost Per Action affiliate programs to help you choose the best model for you.

Cost Per Click Marketing

When you use a cost per click program you’ll be paid each time someone clicks the advertiser’s link you’ve placed on your blog. It doesn’t matter if they buy anything or submit their email address. All you need them to do is click the link and you’ll earn a commission.

Of course, it’s harder than it sounds. And you usually don’t make a lot of money per click. However, if you do it right, you can get a lot of clicks and make it up in volume.

You have to pay close attention to your keywords and content to make sure they’re relevant to the ad. For example, you may have a blog about dog training and all of your blog posts are about dogs and training tips. You’re using keywords to attract searchers who are interested in dog training, which is the right thing to do. But then you decide to place a banner in your sidebar for a free numerology reading because you think numerology is cool so you think everybody else will be interested, too. Besides that, if someone clicks on it you’ll make a whole $2.

Wrong! No one is going to click on that banner because everyone who comes to your blog is interested in dog training, not numerology. The affiliate ads you run on your blog or website need to be relevant to your readers. If they’re visiting your blog to learn about dog training tips there’s a good chance they’ll click on ads that have to do with dogs – dog food, dog collars, dog training videos, etc. But they’ll more than likely just ignore that numerology ad because that’s not why they’re visiting your blog. You already know they’re interested in dogs, so use dog-related affiliate programs.

Cost Per Action Marketing

Cost per action marketing is a little different in that your reader has to complete some sort of action before you earn your commission. They may only have to submit their email address or zip code but they might also be required to make a purchase. You still need to take the same steps to match up your content and your affiliate program but generally the commissions are much higher with CPA marketing because you have to put forth more effort to entice your reader to complete the action.

Choosing the best model depends more on the type of traffic you have. If you have a relatively new site with not much repeat traffic yet, you may have more success with CPC marketing. Your readers are visiting for the first time and they’ll be more likely to click on an AdSense advertisement to search for more information than they would a banner ad that leads to a sales page.

But if you have a more established blog with lots of repeat traffic, your readers will be closer to the buying stage and you’ll have a better chance of them clicking through to complete a sale or other action. Either way, you need to have good quality, relevant content to attract the best targeted traffic.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular online methods for earning money. You don’t have to worry about stocking inventory or shipping and handling, you don’t have to worry about customer complaints or returns, and you don’t have to worry about taking care of the money. All you have to do is learn how to choose the right product and create great content that sends your reader to the merchant’s sales page. After that, you just sit back and collect the money.

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About Sté Kerwer

Sté Kerwer is the guy behind He blogs about affiliate marketing, making money online, email marketing, SEO, mindset for success, WordPress and a lot more. To read more about Sté you can either grab his RSS feed or follow him on Twitter @dukeo.

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Jonas September 10, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I would say that doing PPC with CPA is one of the most profitable things you can do if you know what you are doing since it generally converts better than other things that people have to use their credit card for, but that having a website and promoting an amazon/clickbank product is pretty darn nice as well, if your website is high up on google from SEO you can make some pretty nice commissions, and when the site is up and already converting you will have money coming in pretty much on autopilot which i’ll never complain about 🙂

Mukesh Dutta February 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm

CPA is best for newbies who are starting with their affiliate marketing career because in CPA one gets paid for even an email lead or a sign up. This is easy as visitors do not need to think of their credit card at that moment. On the other hand, if commissions are only for sale, it becomes tough and one needs more expertise to sell.

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