Send An Invoice Through PayPal

The accounts payable department at Living Direct has agreed to pay affiliate partners through PayPal. At this time, they require partners to send an invoice to be paid. I realize this an unwelcome step for some, but the news is it only takes a couple minutes once you get the hang of it. Here are the steps:

1. Login to PayPal with the same email listed in the Living Direct Affiliate Program.

2. Click invoicing under Tools on the left hand side of the page.

invoicing with paypal


2. At the top of the page, click Create an Invoice.


paypal invoice


3. When you fill out the invoice form, only the amount field and email field are important. The recipient’s email address should be

paypal invoice


That’s it!


Getting Started As An Affiliate

I’ve been an affiliate manager for several years now. As a result, I have a tendency to forget how starting as an affiliate can be a confusing process. This article is intended to serve as a beginners affiliate guide to help you start earning commissions.


Finding Your Affiliate Tracking Links

You’ve registered and been approved for the Living Direct Affiliate Program. What’s next? The first thing to do is to find your unique tracking links. This process will vary slightly depending on whether you registered for the in-house program using HasOffers or the network program on Commission Junction.


Finding Tracking Links With The HasOffers In-House Affiliate Program

1. Login at

login to the in-house affiliate program


2. Once you login, you can either click on Browse / Search on the left or scroll through the Featured Offers section until you find the site that you want to promote. Clicking on the site under Featured Offers is a more direct route.

hasoffers affiliate portal


3. If you clicked on Browse / Search on the left side of the page, you then need to click on the site in the name column.


hasoffers find links


4. The next page has your default tracking link for a given site. I’ve already written an article about how you can link to any product page with our in-house affiliate program. In short, after you click on the site you want to promote, you take the end the default homepage link starting with the ? and place that at the end of the new product link. The main thing to remember is that a link should only have one ? at the end of it. Otherwise, parameters should be connected by the & symbol. If you are ever confused about how to make a link, please email your affiliate manager. They will be glad to help.


tracking link hasoffers


Finding Tracking Links With The Network Program On Commission Junction

1. Login at:


cj login


2. Click on the Links tab. Type Compact Appliance in the advertiser search bar on the upper left and the word default in the keyword search bar. This method renders results for homepage links for the entire Living Direct Network affiliate partners can promote.

default links cj


3. If you want to link to a page other than the homepage, click Get Code next to the default link of the site you plan to promote. Then select your website from the drop down, change the destination URL, and select Update Code. The updated href is the link you will use on your site to link to the desired page.

cj deep linking


Finding Affiliate Topics That Convert

A lot of new affiliates think all they have to do is join an affiliate program and add a banner to their site to generate revenue. While this can work for some sites with either substantial traffic or highly targeted niche focus, it won’t work for most sites. The best method to generate affiliate revenue is to write unique content with keywords people search for when they are in buying mode. Examples of these keywords include:

  • best x
  • top 5 or 10 x
  • x reviews
  • x buying guide

Examples of highly lucrative affiliate sites include /, (owned by USA Today), Even Gawker sites (Lifehacker and Gizmodo), use affiliate links. E.G.


gizmodo affiliate link

Given the large and varied players using affiliate links today, I tend to chuckle internally when a website tells me they are either too large or have too much editorial superiority to use affiliate links. Some of the old media folks need to join the real world. If they are going to link to a product anyway, they might as well use an affiliate link. Their company most likely always accepted advertising. They could have been just as tainted by that as using an affiliate link.

Other good topics are those that answer questions. For example, how to make an expensive wine cooler into a cigar humidor is a great topic. It adds to the richness of the Internet and stands a good chance of selling wine coolers.


Best Affiliate Example

I highly recommend looking at the strategy used by if you want to learn how to be a highly successful affiliate. The first thing you will notice on their site is that almost all the topics use the ultra high converting “best” keyword.

the sweet home topics


The next aspect worth noting is how long their articles are. They are usually in the 4,000 to 8,000 word range. The search algorithm is especially kind to extremely long articles now. I realize most of us don’t have the endurance to write 4000+ word articles. I’d recommend writing at least 1,000 words if you want to rank in the search results. Having high quality content is still an important part of this mix. If you produce 4,000 words of garbage, it isn’t likely to convert.

the sweet home article length


Using Google To Find Content Ideas

Another good way to find content ideas is to use the keyword tool at It will both provide an estimate of how many people search for given keywords and provide alternative phrases.


adwords keyword planner

Here is an example using best dehumidifier. We can see that the search volume is strong, particularly during the summer months.

best dehumidifier

And when we ask the kind Google gods to give us alternative phrases, she kindly complies.

dehumidifier alternative phrases

The Dark Side Of Affiliate Marketing And The Search Algorithm

In what some might categorize as the glory days of affiliate marketing before 2012, it was extremely easy to trick the Google algorithm by building low quality backlinks with highly targeted anchor text. Article directories and blog spam were some of the main methods to do this. The Penguin update in April, 2012 dramatically changed how this game was played. Here is a common traffic trend a of site hit hard by Penguin:

penguin trend

I still consider this the dark side of the algorithm because I still see many example of sites playing this same game. The difference is I don’t expect these sites to maintain their overly inflated positions for more than a few months. An example that currently hits close to home is when you search for Compact Appliance Coupon a site called Goodsearch ranks number one.

goodsearch number 1 ranking

I know that they are gaming the algorithm because when I look at their backlinks for this page a whopping 90% of the anchor test is for Compact Appliance Coupons.

good search anchor text

I point out this flaw in the system more as a cautionary example as opposed to what you should do. This strategy will doom your site in the end, and your traffic trends are likely to look like this at the end of the day:

bestvpnservice traffic


I hope you now have a better idea of how to earn money as an affiliate. It isn’t an easy way to make a buck, but it can be highly rewarding both mentally and financially. The skills learned from affiliate marketing can make you a wizard at any Internet marketing.


How To Add A Banner With The HasOffers In-House Affiliate Program

How to add a banner with the HasOffers affiliate platform is one of the questions I am most commonly asked. It requires using the link section at the top of the offer page in combination with the banners at the bottom. Here are the steps.


1. Login at


login to living direct affiliate program


2. Select the Offer / Website you want to promote.


select the offer

3. Select the page where you want to refer traffic from the drop down. If it isn’t in the drop down, you can use the instructions in the link to any page with Hasoffers tutorial.


tracking link from drop down


3. Scroll to the bottom of the offer page to find the banner you want to use. When you find the right banner, you can click Get Code to generate the HTML for your site. Conversely, you can download the banner if it would be easier to simply host it on your site.


get code


4. Here is an example of the HTML code I selected displays on this site:


Since I am using WordPress, I had to change from the Visual tab to the Text tab to paste the HTML.

visual text


If you are new to WordPress or simply uncomfortable with HTML, you might consider using a banner plugin. There are numerous free and paid options to accomplish this task. You can find a lot of free options by searching at The alternative way I know how to add a banner is to go into the Editor. I don’t normally like to do this because I am not especially comfortable with HTML / CSS.

banner widget search

Should An Affiliate Use Merchant Content?

I had a good question today. The affiliate said that they liked some of the articles on our blogs and asked if they could use the content on their site. I knew from my rudimentary knowledge of SEO that this wasn’t the best practice from an organic perspective. I still sent the question to our SEO manager to see his take.


Affiliate Question:

My question is I have noticed a number of articles on the CA site that pertain to the appliances that you sell and ultimately that I will be selling. Can these articles be used by me as an affiliate to post on other information and etc sites to help drive traffic to my and ultimately your website or are these articles simply for customer information once they get to your site? Just asking because I want to start posting articles about the many appliances that you carry that apply to tiny house living and would love to use them if possible.


SEO Manager Response:

Yeah… that wouldn’t be wise. Mainly for her.

Since she’s an affiliate, I would assume she would be taking our content and adding affiliate code to the links? That’s gonna make her look like a spammer from Google’s perspective, as she’s basically just taking other people’s content  (scraping, stealing, borrowing, etc) and then use it for monetary purposes. That’s likely to get her site banned from Google’s index, as well possibly hurt our site. While it’s unlikely that it will hurt us, as we can’t control what other people do, with CA currently suffering from a penalty, I don’t think it would be a good move or help the site at all.  


What she should do

Her best course of action would be to rewrite the articles to make them 100% original and unique, and then link to us with her affiliate code.  Obviously, that’s more time consuming.


What she can do

If she does use our content, she would need to keep the articles & links intact (not add affiliate code to them).  As well as add a link to the original article at the very top of the article with the anchor text that says something along the lines of – “Originally published by Kara Zorn on”.

Or, instead of using the whole article, she can just use an excerpt of it,  say the first 250 words of the article… and then below that put in large font, “Read Full Article on” with a link to the original article.

Either way, taking our content and adding affiliate code to the links is not the best idea.

How To Find and Accept A Pending Offer In Commission Junction

I frequently extend offers to affiliates who look like they would be a good fit for the Living Direct / Compact Appliance affiliate program. I find some of these users by searching for keywords using the Beta publisher search tool. In other cases, I extend an offer to an affiliate who might have initially been declined. In this latter case, we are likely to accept your application if you seem well intentioned.

How To Find And Accept A Pending Offer In Commission Junction

  • Login to Commission Junction

login to commission junction

  • Look for a section on the Commission Junction homepage that says “Review Offers Pending Approval.”

review pending offers in commission junction

  • Find an offer from Compact Appliance (2138908). Hover over the symbols on the right side until you find the one that says Accept Offer. After you accept the offer, you will instantly become part of the Living Direct / Compact Appliance Affiliate Program.

accept a pending offer in commission junction


At this point, you can find your unique affiliate links to Compact Appliance through any number of means, including by clicking on the Links tab and searching for Compact Appliance in the advertiser search box on the left or doing a product search for our products. In a previous post, I’ve mentioned how you can use the deep linking tool within to Commission Junction to link to use any landing page on our sites.

If you have any questions about this tutorial or the Compact Appliance Affiliate Program in general, please feel free to email affiliates at living direct dot com.

Link To Any Page In Commission Junction

Linking to any page in Commission Junction (CJ) is referred to as deep linking. The process is straightforward as long as the merchant has deep linking enabled. Fortunately for you, Compact Appliance provides their affiliates with the ability to easily link to the landing page of their choice. Here are the steps involved.

1. Login to Commission Junction.

cj login

2. Click on the Advertisers tab, search for Compact Appliance in the top left search box, and click the Get Links button on the right.

commiission junction get links

3. Expand a link in the list, update the destination URL box to your preferred landing page, and click Update Code. The HREF in the box above Update Code will change. This is your new URL to the preferred landing page. The HREF / URL in the example screenshot below is: Since this is a live link, you can click on it and see how it redirect to the portable air conditioner page.

cj deep link


Quick Note About Deep Linking in CJ

When selecting the link to deep link from, please select the default URL If you pick a promotional link that is scheduled to last for a limited amount of time, the deep link redirect will only work until the link is archived. This is a bit of a puzzle to me, but unfortunately, it is how their system. works.

If you remember this caveat the system is simple enough. This strategy allows you to link to any page on the Living Direct Network. If you have questions, please feel free to email our affiliate managers using affiliates at

Want to know how to link to any page using the in-house HasOffers platform?

Click here to learn that process.

Link To Any Page With HasOffers

Our HasOffers implementation uses direct links. This style of linking makes it easy for affiliates to link to any page on the Living Direct network of sites. Most category pages are pre-loaded, so you can find your specific link from a drop down menu.

Find An Affiliate Link

1. First, login to the affiliate portal at:

login to hasoffers

2. Once you are logged in, click on Browse / Search, My Offers, and the name of the store you want to link.

hasoffers step 2

3. You will now be presented with a dashboard that has a Landing Page box. You can click on the box that says Default URL and adjust to various pre-loaded pages. As you adjust the land page box, the your tracking link box will change. This is the URL that you will add to your website, newsletter, or social media. In the screenshot, the example tracking link is:

hasoffers 3


Link To Any Page With HasOffers

At this point, you might say that’s all fine and dandy if the link is pre-loaded, but what do I do if the link isn’t already added. You have two options:

1. You can email your affiliate manager. affiliates at livingdirect dot com is the catch all distribution address.

2. You can create the link yourself.

To create your own link, you will take the ending from the ? of the default link and add it to the landing page you would like to use. In the aforementioned link, this would be:


It is critical to note URL syntax. The additional parameters on a link should start with a question mark and each additional section should be connected with an &. Said another way, you should not have multiple ? at the end of a link. This is critical because the Living Direct websites can add information that isn’t critical to the end of a link. Examples:

In this instance, you only need Therefore, your tracking link is

In this instance, you only need Therefore, your tracking link is

I realize this part can be tricky because of the additional parameters the site sometimes adds. My advice is to ask your affiliate manager if you have any questions whatsoever.



Setup A New Website

Knowing how to setup a website is essential to being a successful affiliate. Thank goodness content management systems, like WordPress, have dramatically simplified the process in recent years. Some of you might even be fortunate enough to have a webhost with 1 click WordPress installs. For those of you who happens to be less fortunate, simply want to learn or want to find a cheaper way, read ahead.

To operate a website, you will need a registrar and webhost. Most registrars also offer webhosting, but it usually costs a little more to use the webhosting offered by the registrar. I personally use Namecheap to register my domains and Stablehost for hosting. You can use coupon code livingdirect to take 40% off your 1st Stablehost billing cycle should you decide to use these service. While I sincerely believe Namecheap and Stablehost are inexpensive and reliable, I am agnostic to which companies you select.

Step 1

So you have the perfect domain name selected to sell millions in compact appliances, kegerators and wine coolers? Hot damn! First, go to your registrar and see if the URL is available. A quick search will let you know if the domain can be yours. The search tool will also suggest numerous other names. Exact match domains used to be a big deal. This is less and less the case as the search engine algorithms evolve. I personally would still stick with a .com, .net or .org domain. Some connection between your domain and content also tends to increase conversion rates.

namecheap registrar

After you purchase the domain, the registrar will ask if you want a private or public registration. Public domain registrations mean your content can be viewed on whois lookup websites. If your registrar charges for a private registration and you don’t want your information to be public, I recommend filling in the boxes with words like blah and 555-5555. Get those nosey devils off your trail! Then again, you might want to make it easier for affiliate managers and other advertisers to contact you.

Step 2

Select a webhost. If you use your registrar as your webhost, this part is pretty straight forward. Otherwise, you will need to update the DNS or name server settings in the registrar control panel. Don’t freak out. This is far easier than it sounds. In the Stablehosting example the name servers are:

You can almost always find these with a Google search for host + name server.

namecheap name server settings

If your webhost has 1 click WordPress installs, you are likely good to go at this point. I am what the kids would probably callold school nowadays, so I use a somewhat tedious yet still simple process.

Setup Webhost

Login to the control panel, otherwise known as cpanel. The first time you do this you’ll need to use the login provided by the webhost. After you are setup, you can access it by typing This assume they use the cpanel interface, but it is pretty darn common.

cpanel login

cpanel 2

Once logged in, I go to addon domains.

cpanel addon

Take note of the username and password you select. They are how you can access your website files using an FTP program. I recommend using CoreFTP. It is free and easy. Cpanel comes with a web based FTP interface, but it isn’t any good.

addon domain 2 cpanel

The next step is to create your database. It is the next row in the cpanel interface. I always select MySQL Databases, although the wizard will also work fine.


Your objective here is to create a database for the site and match a username to this database. These settings are very important because WordPress will ask you for these values when you first install it.

username database

At this point, I am done with Cpanel. Now I download the most recent copy of WordPress and fire up my FTP. I transfer the WordPress folders to the empty website folder we just created a few steps earlier.

add wordpress to new site

We are almost done now! The only thing left is to open a web browser, enter your new domain, and configure WordPress be entering the database and username you created a few steps earlier. The settings in the following screenshot are for a separate website I made, but they illustrate the comparisons between the MySQL database settings you will need from Cpanel for your WordPress configuration.

wordpress config cpanel database settings

wordpress configuaration database

Soon you will be seeing All right sparky!

wordpress all right sparky

I hope this tutorial on how to setup a new website with WordPress in fewer than 50 simple steps helped.