So much of what we read is put forward by proponents of either Adsense revenue OR Affiliate revenue but it doesn't need to be either / or it can just as easily be both. It is true that both options can work individually for many people, with perhaps one or other working better depending on the nature and content of your site while making it difficult to follow the money.
What seems to apply to niche sites is that there isn't always a suitable affiliate programme that fits with your niche topic, so it appears that if you want to follow the money, your only option is to monetize your site by liberally sprinkling Google AdSense advertising all over it.
However the greatest barrier to a successful revenue-generating niche site is the unique content that brings visitors and search engines to your site. Creating the content which attracts high-paying Adsense ads and therefore the revenue you are seeking can be very demanding and time consuming, although sources such as EzineArticles.com can pull you through with vast numbers of free-reprint articles.
So my question is this: Do you want to follow the money i.e. build some revenue? Or are you flattering yourself that your (non revenue-generating) niche site is just a labour of love?
In general an affiliate programme will pay more than Adsense for the same number of clicks, if it converts well and complements your site topic. But why rely solely on complementary affiliate programmes? Some topics apply to just about everybody who is on the net.
There is always someone interested in say losing weight or getting rid of spyware; there are people interested in astrology or self-improvement, lots of people are keen to quit smoking or prepare a new Resume or CV and all of these people will look at links that are of interest.
So if you really want to follow the money you don't need to be an affiliate of just one or two products, why not be an affiliate for ALL of them? Using a source such as Clickbank marketplace you can do just that. And still have Adsense on your site. Take a look at my site and see how it can be done, try it this way and you can really follow the money. From business to money, from health and fitness to fun and entertainment, Clickbank Marketplace offers something for everyone.