1. Don’t spend much on Group Buys, these are distractions only. I know (and it applies to me as well) you don’t need every thing out there. If you are an affiliate marketer, Genesis, Lifestyle, Minimum Old and Prose is all what you need. I have ranked tons of sites using Genesis, I believe, clean code of a Wordpress theme does help in ranking.
2. Be a master of few tools. Don’t stuff your PC or VPS with all the backlinking softwares out there. Trust me, you won’t be using most of them (ask yourself right now, how many tools do you use regularly).
3. I have been in affiliate marketing for like 2 years now. And I just have got to say this, YOU MUST TARGET PRODUCT NAMES TO MAKE REAL MONEY. I know, I know, some people may have been killing it in adsense or CPA but I always made money with review style sites focused on a product name.
4. If you are tight on a budget, be partners, like one guy invests and the other guy does site setup, backlinking etc (its like one guy is investor, and one is builder). I made less money when I was alone, I found such a partner (who is my one of the best friend online now, like real brother) and he would invest in content buying, domain buying etc and I would be his SEO guy. And you know what; we crossed $5k per month mark in like 3-4 months.
5. Don’t listen to what people have to say. You gotta be brave enough to make your own decisions with your common sense (its another thing that common sense is a sense that is not so common). You gotta test it yourself rather than listening to others. Lets say you go, open a thread, and ask, does contextual links from high PR pages work (they work) and you know what, every Tom, Dick and Harry gonna come and tell you no man, do this or do that and I tell ya (95% of those people have never used such backlinks themselves, they have just read about it)
6. If you are in SEO, PUT ALL YOUR EFFORTS in getting contextual links from high PR pages. They are the real cream of backlinks. Be partners, make yourself a small network for your own use.
7. Now (it may sound like a pitch but in reality it ain’t, I get no personal financial gains in any form whatsoever), if you wanna learn SEO inside out and really wanna be damn knowledgeable about ranking a site, check this http://tutorials7.com/experienced-backlinking-strategy-seo-video-tutorials-and-lessons (no affiliate link). After this course, you don’t need to read anything and I mean anything. You certainly can rank in search engines at your own will. It’s expensive but as they say money makes money.