If I have a blog that is getting 100,000 page views a month that means that I’m probably getting at least 50,000 people to the site (most blogs will do between 1.2 to 1.4 pages per session). That means I have to try and get some small percentage of those people to buy something from me if I really want to do well. If I can’t get them to buy something then (in some cases) I have ads running on the site that will make me money anyways.
As someone who's been immersed in a number of online industries for quite some time, I know a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in this arena. However, just like you, I started at ground zero with little knowledge, but a great deal of passion. What I learned along the way were some invaluable lessons from failure that hurt at the time, but helped immensely in the grand scheme of things.
I have a free WordPress website with 1000-2000 visitors/month. I was trying to place Amazon Affiliate ad links last night and failed/flailed mightily. I would paste the links into my posts in the HTML mode, switch to Visual mode, and could see the image. However, every time I tried to save or update the post, the image reverted to the gangly hyperlink. As some suggested, I tried cleaning the links of any formatting from the copy and paste with text edit. No dice.