Copyright © Charlie Page

Affiliate Success Checklist

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Have you struggled to make real money promoting affiliate products? I did too until I learned what you will learn in the next few minutes.

Most people do struggle, and many simply give up. That’s a shame because affiliate marketing can be both simple and very rewarding when done right.

One of the reasons I see for people struggling with affiliate marketing has to do with the decisions they make BEFORE they promote.

Let me explain.

There are eight simple factors that can you put you light years ahead in the affiliate marketing race.

If you consider these factors before you spend your time and money promoting a product you will save loads of heartache, disappointment … and cash. 

Sound good? Then let’s get started.

But first, a personal note.

  • This is the checklist I used when I finally broke through and started earning a full-time income.
  • It’s the same checklist I use today.

Because I have a successful online business, I am approached every week by people who want me to promote their product or do a joint venture with them.

This is the also checklist I use to evaluate those requests.


It’s logical really — if your passion is embroidery, you probably won’t do too well selling exercise videos or spare parts for 18 wheeler trucks.

The key here is to follow your passion.

Even if you are a big-truck aficionado who lives to embroider, you’re better off pursuing your main passion first.

Once you learn how to promote on the Internet, move on to different products.

Learning the process of marketing will be easier, and more fun, if you are promoting something you know and love.

This is true for two reasons.

  1. If you promote something you know about you don’t have to learn BOTH the process of marketing and gain product knowledge at the same time.
  2. Being passionate about a product (or subject) means you will know automatically who will make a good customer and what their interests are — because they will be like you!

Here’s a bonus reason for you — it’s easier to stay motivated when you are promoting something you believe in.

Getting and staying motivated is a big key in any successful endeavor.

So let’s say you have found a product you want to promote.

What’s next?


The key now is to look for quality.

You see …

The quality of the products you promote matters greatly.

Here’s why.

You are going to build a list of buyers of your product (yes, this can be done as an affiliate) and so those customers need to be happy with you AND the product.

If they are happy, they will buy again. And those sales will be the easiest you ever made in your life. Now you are a trusted friend, advising them about how they can benefit from your recommendation.

Ask yourself this question: is the product or service you are promoting something you would bring to your best friend?

  • If yes, move ahead.
  • If not, you may want to keep looking.

When it comes to products you can promote they are plenty of great products out there. The topic is so important that I have entire teachings about choosing profitable products inside my membership sites.


Here is a radical idea.

You should be able to talk via email to the person who owns the company BEFORE spending your hard earned money and precious time promoting their product.

And I’ll go one step further — that person should be helpful in their reply.

When you can contact the owner, or his or her staff, and get real help and answers you will have found a company that cares about affiliates.

And that is what you want.

So now you have chosen a product, feel confident about the quality and have had your questions answered by a real person.

The next step is vital – you need to know how well the product converts.


Conversion simply means that for every 100 people who visit the site a certain number buy something. It is usually expressed as a percentage like 5% or 15%.

So if 100 people visit the site and 5 of them buy that would be a 5% conversion.

You need to ask how well the product or service you will be promoting ‘converts’.

For most established products you will promote you can expect this number to range from .5% to about 10%. Anything higher or lower and you need to be careful about them telling you the truth.

Sadly, some product owners will misrepresent their conversion by cooking the books or just outright make it up.

There are MANY variables that affect conversion (I cover some of them here) and many ways for you to be lied to, so you need to be careful here.


Most affiliate programs track using ‘cookies’ that are set on the visitor’s computer.

A cookie is simply a small file that is downloaded to the visitor’s computer. This cookie identifies you as the affiliate so you will be paid the commissions.

That’s one very important cookie!

You need to know two things about this cookie.

  1. How long does it last? (Cookies generally expire after X days)
  2. Can it be overwritten?

The reason this is important is that it will change how you market.

  • For example, if a company has a short cookie duration then you want to focus on ads that make the sale now. Your advertising needs to focus completely on them buying now.
  • If they have a longer cookie duration you can use other methods that are more passive and seem less intense and pressured.

For example, with a long-cookie-duration product, you can encourage people to get free information to learn more knowing that your affiliate cookie likely will not expire before a buying decision is made.

You also want to know if the cookie can be overwritten. This is called a “last affiliate” policy.

What that means is that the LAST link clicked will get the sale.

So if someone who first learned about product X from you clicks another person’s affiliate link to buy that person gets the commission, not you.

This is a common practice in affiliate marketing.

Neither of these factors is necessarily good or bad (Amazon has an incredibly short cookie but people still make fortunes as affiliates for them), but they are worth knowing.


“Backend” commissions mean you get paid when someone you refer buys a second product.

This is good if you can get it but it’s less common.

  • The merchant will feel that he or she is doing the work for the second sale so they should not have to pay a commission.
  • The affiliate will feel that the merchant would never have had that customer if not for them and so they earned the commission.

Both valid points.

Some people will not promote if this is not in place. Others look for a middle ground. You will ultimately have to decide what works best for you.

Some sites even promise “lifetime” commissions where you earn on every sale the customers you send ever make.


This is another hotly debated issue that deserves your attention.

While you can’t control many of these things, knowing about them gives you the knowledge you need to make wise choices.

The key question to ask is this – if you send someone to a site where they pay a monthly or quarterly fee, do you get paid every time or just once?


You should expect the program you join to provide marketing tools as well as some training on how to sell their products.

You should expect reasonable support from an affiliate program, just as you do when you buy a product.

What is reasonable support?

  • Providing pre-written ad copy.
  • Providing banners and other graphics.
  • Providing email “swipes” you can send to your list.

What is unreasonable support?

  • Them building an entire funnel for you at no cost.
  • Them writing custom ads for you whenever you ask for it.
  • Them paying you an above-normal commission before you have actually made any sales.

Most affiliate programs are designed to help you succeed. Use what they offer well and you will be able to ask for more (including higher commissions) and get it.


There are many ways to find affiliate programs.

One of the best is to think about a product you love and visit their site to look for an affiliate program link.

Another option is to visit affiliate program portals like the following. You will find many products that can earn you commissions ranging from 5% to 100%!

Forums are excellent resources to learn what really works because you can often communicate with people promoting a particular product right now.

To find a forum in your niche just Google your main keyword and the word forum with both words in quotes.

  • For golf, it would be “golf forum”
  • For knitting, it would be “knitting forum”

You can even drill down a bit if you like. Let’s say you are interested in dogs and especially dachshunds. For that you would search for “dachshund forum”.

POWER TIP: Forums are a great place to find products to sell AND to find prospects for your products as well. Be sure to always follow their promotion rules and all will be well.


The best way to start is to think about the programs or products you have been promoting or want to promote and see if they qualify for your involvement by using the criteria above.

If they do, jump in with your whole heart.

When you find products you love, and you can make money sharing information about those products with other people, your work becomes play.

Your days are filled with passion as you think up new and better ways to help people succeed, as you have, with your favorite products.

You make money by helping people get what they want in life.

And that’s a beautiful way to make a living online.

Charlie Page Signature
Charlie Page

Happily married for 45 years, Charlie is the dad to two wonderful daughters. He is the author of 12 books on Internet marketing and creator of over 40 membership sites. You can see all Charlie offers using this link Click Here

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Thanks Charlie. That info was very helpful. I have a question though. What’s the least amount of money one should expect to earn as an affiliat?

    Charlie Page

    That is a good question. The answer really depends on how much it costs you to market the product. If you know how much it costs to get one visitor and know how well the site converts, you can quickly determine how much you can afford to spend on marketing.


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[…] It’s the same checklist I use today.  I am approached every day by people who want me to promote their product or do a joint venture with them.  This is the checklist I use to evaluate those requests.”  Read more from Charlie Page’s Affiliate Success Checklist here! […]

Gordon Appleby

Excellent article, Charlie! I’ve been both “Affiliator” & “Affiliatee”, so I really enjoyed the indepth stuff. Wasn’t a Guru or anything, & wasn’t all online, but made a lot of money in both roles. Launched a couple of national guys. At least one still sells the 2 products he recorded live in my bukding as his 1st 2 seminars.

The overarching message of your post is this (to me)-you can make a fulltime living as an affiliate, but treat it like a business. Be aware of how they set their cookies. Think quality-no exceptions. Understand how you will be paid (front end only? back end too? Recurring?) I once had an offer to promote a $97 class where I could keep 100%, but the back end was a $25,000 mentoring program where I got nothing. I passed :-). My list was too valuable to take that much money out of it per sale without being compensated.

Best part of all? Those last few paragraphs that talk about jumping in wholeheartedly and living a life of passion and joy.

Good job, as always.

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Mark Mansfield

Hey Charlie, awesome stuff, every time I read your blogs I get all enthusiastic about Internet Marketing. Thanks Mark M

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I Love your article!
But I totally dislike the little green arrows that make a new distracting announcement appear…
It is another distraction I do not need. I have already much enough info to deal with.
Michel Gagnon

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Great article, Charlie. As a guy just getting into affiliate marketing, I find your site and the information you provide invaluable in keeping me focused. It’s so easy to get distracted and overwhelmed, and to begin to question whether or not what you’re doing is actually getting you anywhere. As you know, success doesn’t come overnight, and staying motivated in the early stages is key, so when I start thinking, “what am I doing here?”, I can go back to your articles, knowing that you’ve taken these very same steps to achieve your success.

Thanks so much for sharing!

    Charlie Page

    Thank you for your kind words. I’m happy you found it helpful and will refer back to it as you need to.


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Gregg Anderson

I know nothing about ezine affiliate mktg, am 60 yrs old and have no desire to go back out into the marketplace of “employee.” Can becoming a member teach me a new way to make a living online in a short amount of time? I realize this is a pretty broad question with many qualifications, but please try to give me something to work with.

    Charlie Page

    It is a very broad question. All of my sites are designed to teach people how to succeed with a specific marketing method – the Directory of Ezines for ezines, Follow Up Selling Systems for email marketing, etc.

    As to the timing, this will have more to do with you than me. If you are ready to get to work I’m ready to be there to help.


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You add value eveytime I open your emails! I dont know which product to buy from you, I have a list of 100 people that are in my mlm and I’m ready to buy advertising.

    Charlie Page

    If you want to buy advertising then Directory of Ezines would be the best choice.


Very nice article.Let me try all the ways and I hope I will reach there.

Joe Pheto

Thanks Charlie for a great blog, i learn alot from your articles and hope to make it Big is South Africa following in your footsteps. For now some of the technicalities involved in just making linkages and websites work is still very difficult for me and I think you will agree with me that to overcome that handicap I need to have a team of people knowledgable in IT. I like this opportunity and very keen to join DOE and grow with it
Thanks and God bless

How to Get Fit

Thanks for this advice Charlie.

You make things sound so easy. In reality, this article only really talks about product selection, but that is something that can be an extremely important part of the whole process. The reasons why one makes a particular selection can definitely be the make or break of any campaign, and you have highlighted this very well.

I do enjoy reading your posts and have learned a lot from you.


Donnie Johnstone

Charlie This is a mixed emotion reply to your check-list The list hit me hard mainly because you are right! I know you have earned that position. I have only been online 2 years and promoted, built some WP websites, affiliate mktg although I never went for my passion. Before anyone judges that statement I would like to say I always had the intention of coming around into that area after I got my feet wet with skills, lingo all around ‘stuff’ about online mktg. Here it is two years this month my passion is still on the back burner. It’s a large niche with its own type of customer I know much about the subject but did not know about online per subject. Is this check-list calling me to be accountable?
I am a mature divorced woman children grown and married, I am single live by myself an like it that way most of the time. I am happy to say after I have met so many people been screwed so many times finally I have some relationships with other marketers not trying to sell stuff all the time they are friends, we have things in common plus I can ask questions if I need concerning IM market. Charlie your check-list has stirred-up the ‘fire’ that know one knew about. I guess that was suppose to happen I do not know what I will do about this situation? You know I could continue the way I am headed. But what will that serve? How do you just change gears? Why should it matter?
Thank You for going deeper than others and most of all your honesty with the way it is in affiliate mktg. Being on your list has taught me a lot it is easy to see and tell that you are a people person and like to help others, I thank you for that.


Great checklist Charlie! Thanks that you share this with us.


Awesome advice, Charlie – as always!

    Charlie Page



Hi Charlie:
There is always something new to learn from you articles.
Thanks for this information. It will surely help in my future
affiliate marketing.


    Charlie Page

    So glad you like it. Thanks for leaving a comment.


Thanks, Charlie,

I find checklists like this one far more powerful than step-by-step, hold-my-hand video training.

Why? Because I can train _myself_ in operational details through small trial & error experiments, but I cannot get a lasso around* an entire problem very easily without making possibly fatal mistakes or wasting A LOT of time.

* “Get a lasso around” is my attempt as a Massachusetts-based Web marketer to relate to the operator of this blog, who lives on South Texas Avenue in College Station, TX.

    Charlie Page

    I agree – it’s much easier to personalize a checklist although I’m not much of a list guy myself. Appreciate the personal touch with the “lasso around”. That was a wicked good touch. 🙂 I don’t live on Texas Avenue but I do get my mail there.

steven guy

Thanks charlie for your honesty and great info i was very happy to learn from your info you gave on this blog , just though i would say thanks so much. Steve

    Charlie Page

    Happy you liked it! Thanks.

James Blackstone

Great advice as usual Charlie. Your last article about hops and clicks that lead to nothing struck a chord with me. No list building means no trust.

Then sometimes when you do make a sale there is the dreaded refund. That means I picked the wrong product to promote.

    Charlie Page

    Choosing the right product is very important. But there are entire environments and markets online that are refund-happy and that makes succeeding hard. More to come about that soon. Thank you for your comment.

Seng Sotharith

Hi Charlie,
Thank you once again for useful articles. It is great tips to learn from.
Although, I have not been a DOE yet, you always share me great tips of online marketing.
Best regards,

Seng Sotharith

    Charlie Page

    I always appreciate your comments. Look forward to working with you when the time is right on your end.

Dave Strayer

Great information, Charlie. Your first point is one that I think too many new affiliate marketers miss, or maybe I’m just projecting because I certainly did. I’m putting a copy of this in the inside pocket of my affiliate marketing notebook so I’ll set it first every time! Thanks!

    Charlie Page

    Good idea. I keep my copy in Evernote! 🙂

Connie Potter

Hi Charlie,I’ve been enjoying all the emails that you’ve sent to me about affiliate/online marketing with starting a business and I’m a newbie to this and the only product that I was thinking about promoting, is making money with Anthony Morrison and I’m thinking that’s somewhat over saturated at the time with just starting out slowly and without paying bigger $$ with his high profiting programs with all his emails that he’s sent to me and I don’t have many $$ to start anything right now and I don’t have a website as of yet and I can see that you’ve been in the online marketing business for a long time and I’m wondering if you help me to get started out with a joint venture so that I can make some $$ to get started and go forward with making more in time with doing what I need to do? My hubby & I are barely making ends meet with our full time jobs at rental car Co’s that don’t pay very well and we need to make more $$ and I’ve been involved with MLM programs many years ago and had very little success and I can see that online marketing is much easier and it always takes money to make money and that’s very very hard for me right now,so I’m hoping and praying that you can help. I appreciate your help sooooooooooooo very much!! Please Reply. Thank You very much!! Sincerely,Connie Potter

    Charlie Page

    Thank you for writing. I’m sorry I can’t do a joint venture with you at this time. I am so happy you and your husband have jobs. Many don’t. I try very hard to provide enough free information on my blog that a person can learn the skills they need to make money online. My paid products go deeply into the topics on which they are based, like ezine advertising or email marketing. But many have been helped greatly by the information on my blog, which is free.


I’m interested in learning the process of getting people to affiliate with MY products. Will you do an article or training for that?

    Charlie Page

    I’m doing an entire course on affiliate marketing later this year. It will include both sides of the equation – being an affiliate and recruiting affiliates to sell for you and then helping them succeed. I will be happy to put some articles here on the blog for you as soon as time allows.

Bryan Knight

Excellent checklist — obviously the voice of experience.

    Charlie Page

    Happy you liked it. Experience is great to have but sharing that with others is where the real joy is to be found. Thanks!

Maria Simone

Great practical and use friendly information. Thank you!

    Charlie Page

    Glad you liked it!

Lilach Bullock

Great post Charlie:) Affiliate marketing is a great way to make an income but it’s also not as easy as many people think plus it’s overwhelming with which product to promote as there are sooo many out there!

I only promote products if I actually have some kind of relationship with the owner, I need to know them and trust that their product is going to add value to my list/contacts etc.

    Charlie Page

    You are on the right track. Only promoting products that meet your own standards is a big part of affiliate success. The people on my lists know that if I am promoting someone else’s product I have bought it (I don’t take free products in exchange for promotion) and that it worked for me and I can help them make it work for them. I’m so glad you are on a similar path. Thanks for commenting.


Hi Charlie, this is a great checklist. I like everything on it. I haven’t heard of two of the forums you mentioned. I should check them out.

    Charlie Page

    Glad you liked it. Forums can be a mixed bag as there can be a considerable amount of heated discussion. But posting questions there, or just observing as others discuss, can be great intelligence for making wise decisions. Thanks!

Comments are closed