You might have come across the Super Affiliate Handbook in your search for ways to make money online.
In this ebook, the author, Rosalind Gardner goes through the process of setting up an affiliate marketing website.
You probably want to know if this “Handbook” is worth your money and time. You will get the answers in this review.
The Super Affiliate Handbook was first produced in 2003 by Rosalind Gardner, who started affiliate marketing in the late ’90s.
She produced the book after she had earned $436,797 in one year, to teach others how to reproduce her success.
I find this a pretty incredible story, Rosalind or Ros, started without knowing anything about building websites or HTML. Back in those days, it wasn’t as easy to build a website as it is today.
When I built my first site in 2000 (it wasn’t an affiliate marketing site) it took a long long time and lots of work just to create a page. Ros started 3 years earlier. I can only imagine how hard it must have been!
Also, there weren’t the videos and tutorials we have today. Yet despite these hurdles to overcome, at the end of the first year, she was making $5000 per month.
Affiliate Marketing a Little History
The first concept of affiliate marketing was put into practice by William Tobin in 1989 with his company P C Flowers and Gifts. Followed by the CDNow online affiliate program started in 1994.
Amazon released its Associates program in 1996 selling books, music, and videos. Although not the first affiliate program Amazon was the first to attract interest from around the world.
Affiliate marketing existed before the internet but it’s the internet that made this business model available to a great number of people.
Now you have an idea of how Ros and online affiliate marketing started, let’s have a closer look at the Super Affiliate Handbook.
Owner: Rosalind Gardner
My opinion: An ebook written by a successful affiliate marketer that will give you a good foundation to build your own affiliate marketing business. First published in 2003 the book has been updated but needs further updating to be completely current. Full of useful tips and a low price. Recommended
- some good training
- low price
- no hype
- written by an experienced, successful affiliate marketer
- has not been updated for 3 years
- information that could harm your website
- no support
A Little About Rosalind Gardner
Ros started affiliate marketing in the late 90s and quickly started to make money. Two years after starting she was earning $10,000 per month and this enabled her to quit her job as an air traffic controller.
By 2003 she had decided to write The Super Affiliate Handbook to share what she had learned about earning money online.
She says that the book quickly became the primary training manual for affiliate marketers and many affiliate network managers use the book.
Since the book was published and due to her success, Rosalind has been featured on many websites, books, and magazines. She has also spoken at many industry events and conferences.
Apart from affiliate marketing Ros also has experience in dropshipping, product and software creation, training for bloggers, and online auctions.
Is the Super Affiliate Handbook Still Up To Date?
When I saw the book was first produced in 2003, I wondered if it was still being updated regularly.
It’s very hard to keep a training manual up to date when things in the online world change so rapidly. The last update was in April 2015 which is more than 3 years ago.
Unfortunately, this shows, with some links that don’t work and screenshots of the WordPress dashboard that are a little outdated. More importantly, there is some information that is not current with tactics that are now not recommended.
Overall the book provides some very useful content.
Inside the Handbook
The book is available as a download in PDF format. Made up of 198 pages with 8 sections devoted to building your online business plus other sections: a list of mistakes to avoid, some useful resources, a glossary of terms (which is very useful), and an about page.
The book is written to help someone just getting started. As such it will give you a great idea of what’s involved, what you need to do, and how to implement the different steps.
After reading the book you will have a good understanding of affiliate marketing and how to build your own online business.
Here’s a quick look at the sections related to starting your affiliate marketing business.
Introduction to Affiliate Marketing
A thorough look at affiliate marketing, why you should choose this money-making model, how it works, different ways you can earn money, and the 8 steps to building your business.
How to Find a Profitable Niche
Some very good pointers to help you choose your niche or subject of your website:
- Choose a niche about which you are knowledgeable, interested, or passionate
- Don’t promote something just for the money
- Don’t pick a niche that is too general – get more targeted
- Build a website that promotes products that are related don’t build a site that promotes anything and everything
- Check demand, trends, and competition
Plan and Install Your Blog
After choosing your niche the next step is setting up your site. Rosalind takes you through the process of choosing a domain name, for which she gives you some solid advice.
Next, are the different site-building options. Here Rosalind has 3 choices:
- Hire a designer or webmaster – building a website these days is really quite easy. It’s not necessary to hire someone to build your site unless you need some very special features. Additionally, for someone getting started I feel this would be too expensive plus it’s much better if you know how to update your website yourself. Ros does say this is the least attractive option.
- Site-Builder (SBI!) package deal. Although SBI offers a good platform for building a website and learning affiliate marketing, today there are many other options. Website builders such as Wix or Weebly have platforms that make it easy for a beginner to get a website online quickly – although you won’t get any training. There are also a few training platforms that offer hosting with easy to use WordPress site builders such as Wealthy Affiliate. Perhaps Ros will include other alternatives here if the handbook is updated.
- The last option is a do-it-yourself blog – this is my and Rosalind’s choice. She suggests building a blog with WordPress, a great choice!
You are given some hosting advice – don’t use free hosting and some recommendations for hosting companies.
Installing WordPress – this information is a little dated. With most hosting providers it’s now much easier to install WordPress.
Content is King
This section is about adding content to your site. Creating great unique content is the most important part of your site. This will bring good rankings, traffic, and conversions.
Rosalind goes through 6 different ways of getting content for your website. Of the ways, she mentions I would only recommend three – writing your own content, hiring a freelancer, and repurposing your content (make audio files or videos from your posts, turn your post into a downloadable resource).
The other ways she suggests are using:
- PLR (Private Label Rights) articles
- Obtain work in the public domain – articles or books for which the copyright has expired
- Use other authors work – some article directories let you use articles that have been posted to their website
The problem with these three ways of getting content is the risks of being hit with a duplicate content penalty by the search engines. I do know of some bloggers who use PLR articles but they change/edit the content to make it their own.
Also in this section Ros covers the essential pages, (About, Contact, Disclaimers, Privacy) you need for your site with examples you can use and runs through the process of adding a page.
Then she gives you some examples of the different content types you need – both informative articles and reviews.
Other items in this section are categories, keywords, how to add a post to your blog, and how to add images to your post.
The images of the WordPress dashboard are dated and this could confuse new users of WordPress. This is especially true with the latest update to WP 5.0 and the new block editor.
Ros also puts a lot of emphasis on the headline of your post. She’s right the headline is the most important part of your post, although often neglected. You might have written an awesome post but in the search results, it’s your headline and perhaps your meta description that will get people to click on your post.
The last items in the section show you how to add a new theme and Ros gives you a few useful design tips.
One of the shortcomings of an ebook like this, is if you have any problems where do you go for help?
A good online training course should provide help and support. Learning from The Super Affiliate Handbook means if you get stuck you will have to search yourself for the solutions. This could take time and in the end, you may get fed up and quit.
Monetize Your Site
You are shown the different methods of earning money from your site – how to install AdSense, how to join affiliate networks, and how to find a product to promote.
There is a list of questions you should ask before you join an affiliate program. You also learn how to add affiliate links.
Ros even gives you an example of what you can do if you find a product that you love but has no affiliate program. This may not happen very often but I have never seen this in any other training!
Ways to Attract Visitors to Your Site
The first part of this section is the most important and deals with optimizing your blog posts for Google. Overall the data is still relevant but some is a little outdated.
One piece of advice that is worth repeating is – write for your readers, not the search engines.
Of the outdated data, having a minimum word count of 250 words is the first. These days, in general, the longer your post the better. I would recommend a minimum of 600 words and research shows that longer posts rank better.
Ros recommends using the Scribe plugin. To my knowledge this plugin is no longer updated, so shouldn’t be installed.
I would also recommend installing one of the WordPress SEO plugins, Yoast SEO for WP or All in One SEO. These plugins aren’t mentioned but can help you make your sites as search engine friendly as possible.
Another omission is internal linking which is now an important SEO tactic.
Other methods Rosalind mentions are: letting your email list subscribers know when you have published a new post (she also gives advice on why you should start your email list as soon as possible), social media marketing, pay per click advertising, blog commenting, press releases, and participating in forums or groups.
There are also other more marginal strategies such as creating an email signature with your URL and social media profiles, placing classified ads, business cards, and more.
There are a couple of methods that should be used with caution:
- The first one is distributing your articles on article directories. Matt Cutts had this to say about article directories back in 2014.
- Link trading is another method Rosalind suggests but this can also bring you a penalty from Google if not done intelligently. Today, I wouldn’t use this method. You can see what Google says about link exchanges in their Console or Webmaster Guidelines.
Manage, Evaluate and Grow Your Business
Tips to help you organize everything to do with your business, ways to save time, and tasks you should carry out regularly.
What stats you should check, different calculations you can make, and checking your affiliate stats are covered in this section.
Ros also goes into some ideas to grow your business, she discusses – negotiating commission increases, using 404 pages to your advantage, how you might use currency fluctuations to your advantage, and translating your website.
Problem Solving and Avoidance
This is the last section that’s involved with your website and making money. In it, Ros covers problems you may have with affiliate programs you are part of, issues you may have with other affiliates or webmasters such as content thieves or commission theft
27 Mistakes to Avoid As An Affiliate
This list will help you to build a successful business. Knowing what you mustn’t do is sometimes easier to take in than knowing what you should be doing. Some of these mistakes could cost you your rankings or you may even start a business that has no chance of success.
In the list, the last three mistakes are very important:
- Not investing in an education
- Not taking action
- Giving up
To be a successful affiliate marketer get some good training, take action on what you learn and then keep working until you achieve success. This may take time so be determined and patient.
As Rosalind mentions this is not a get rich quick push-button system.
My Final Opinion
The Super Affiliate Handbook is a great book aimed at getting you earning with affiliate marketing. The biggest downside is that the book hasn’t been updated recently which means some information is outdated and some links don’t work. This is a shame!
After reading the book you will know how affiliate marketing works and also know the different steps you need to take to set up an affiliate website.
But to build a successful site today you will need to study either other courses or tutorials on youtube. This book is still a great place to start, much of the training is still relevant today and the price is very attractive. If you are interested you can get your copy here!
Rosalind has a website (http://rosalindgardner.com) that was updated a few months ago but I see she hasn’t got an SSL certificate for her site so I wonder if she intends continuing?
She also has an online course Affiliate Blogger Pro with step by step training – a future review? The course has more than 225 tutorials and 190 videos.
If the course is as thorough as her book and up to date it could be a great place to start. I prefer step by step training, it’s the best way for a beginner to start.
Today there are some good courses that are kept up to date and teach you step by step how to set up an affiliate marketing business and this would be my choice for learning. However, the prices are more than the $27 you will pay for this ebook.
If you’re thinking of starting affiliate marketing this ebook will give you a good idea of what is involved. Then if you decide to go ahead, sign up for a good training program that provides help and support.
Have you read the Super Affiliate Handbook? Did it help you start an affiliate marketing business? Let us know in the comments area below.