How to Make Money with Clickbank offers a good, basic overview to how Clickbank works and about what you, as an affiliate, have to do to leverage it to make money for you. You can't just throw up a squeeze page or website or send out a mass email and rake in money with Clickbank, no matter what the so-called "experts" tell you. It isn't that easy and, frankly, not every digital product is a good fit for Clickbank. Michael Greene offers up a reality based primer here that lays out what steps you need to take to successfully profit as a Clickbank affiliate but the rest is up to you.
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.
Now next, you’ll want to pick a WordPress theme from somewhere like ThemeForest, Elegant Themes or OptimizePress. This is the barebones design of your site, which you can then customize with your own branding, copy, and images. That being said, you don’t want to cheap out. It costs less than $100 to buy a theme that will make your website look professional (and you can upgrade to a completely custom design once you get the business going).
Some advertisers offer multi-tier programs that distribute commission into a hierarchical referral network of sign-ups and sub-partners. In practical terms, publisher "A" signs up to the program with an advertiser and gets rewarded for the agreed activity conducted by a referred visitor. If publisher "A" attracts publishers "B" and "C" to sign up for the same program using his sign-up code, all future activities performed by publishers "B" and "C" will result in additional commission (at a lower rate) for publisher "A".
So while I think affiliate programs are great and potentially offer up a lot of benefits, I’d also advise anyone thinking of starting one to consider the fact that as it grows so does your commitment to managing it. Resources will have to be diverted from your core business to support your network of affiliates as well as time spent preventing fraud or other problems that can arise.
If you’re looking for inspiration, my friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of the website Making Sense of Sense has become the expert on all things affiliate marketing. Michelle earns more than $100,000 per month from her blog and the bulk of her income comes from affiliate sales. Michelle has had so much success with affiliate marketing that she even has her own course called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing.