This article provides information on how to find
and use affiliate programs (marketing partnerships, associate programs,
referral programs or partner programs) in order to get the most
out of your website. If you want to make money with affiliate programs
the basic idea is to build a neat site, filled with valuable information,
and join affiliate programs to generate the needed revenue.
Don't think that you can simply build a site filled with nothing
but banners and then just wait for the money to pour in your pocket!
The days when this technique worked are long gone. Nowadays, joining
the affiliate programs is just a small
step in a rather long process.
Visitors are now searching for information and they're no longer
interested in mere advertisements. That's why you have to provide
the information they are looking for, or else... they will simply
leave your website. After you give them the information they were
searching for and prove that you're trustworthy, then - and only
then - you can recommend them good services or products from different
companies (having affiliate programs ,
of course). And you have to recommend them in such a way that you
will convince people not only to click the link that brings you
money, but to click it while being in an "open to buy"
From certain points of view, this kind of Internet business can
be even tougher to run than one based on marketing a product that
you produce or have the right to resell. It is however a lot easier
and faster to start! You will have to work hard to promote your
site, but the money required to start this type of business are
as few as possible. It can be started with a budget as low as 0
(zero) dollars (if you already have a PC and a (toll free) connection
to the Internet). The small cost is the greatest advantage of this
type of business. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars to
develop a new product. You simply join affiliate programs run by companies or people who already did that.
No overhead for you!
The starting point in this business should be whatever you love
to do, learn or teach! You should build your site around a theme
that you love. What you already know is usually the best starting
point. Gather more in depth information by searching for it on the
Internet. It's the best place to find information on almost any
theme. Then build your site!
This however is an over simplification. You have to find a market
too! It's obviously better if you choose a theme that a lot of other
people love. To get a little help in finding out if your chosen
theme is of any interest to others, go to wordspot.com
and subscribe to their free newsletter to receive the top 200 most
searched for terms in the search engines. Or go to wordtracker.com
and use their free trial. It's very instructive.
This will teach you how to select which are the most searched terms
and which are the most likely to be profitable! However, the theme
you chose has to be closely related with something that is actually
sold on the internet, because you have to find companies with affiliate
Now, being an affiliate means that your job is to provide customers
to other businesses. To be able to do this and have a reasonable
profit, you must have lots of visitors to your own site. The cheapest
traffic is free traffic. And free traffic in big numbers comes today
mainly from the free search engines. This is why you should tweak
your site's content to rank high in the search engines.
A significant percent of your site's visitors should and will come
from search engines, but only if you'll work on it. There is no
simple way of doing it. You will have to work-work-work to get as
much (targeted) traffic as possible. Again, you need traffic
to make money with affiliate programs .
It's all about the numbers!
There's a great site that can help you rank high in search engines
by teaching you what you should do in a step by step manner: selfpromotion.com.
Read it once, twice, even three times if you have to, until you
understand every aspect of promoting with search engines.
Besides search engines, you should try to get your site listed
in Yahoo and the
Open Directory Project.
In fact, if you get you site listed there, you'll get into most
search engines anyway.
Promote-promote-promote and provide great
content for your visitors! Then refer them to sites providing
valuable products and services and get your share through affiliate
programs . But get them to visit those
sites in an open to buy mood. This is another thing that you have
New visitors are always welcome, but making people revisit your
site is usually a great strategy too.
Offering good content and recommending top quality products and
services from respectable companies (with affiliate programs or not), is usually what makes visitors come
back to your site. A similar effect have the new articles that you
write. Write a new valuable article every month or so, review and
correct (update) older ones.
My personal search engine ranking advice: Don't care too
much about re-tweaking your pages to rank high! Do it right the
first time and you'll not lose time like I did. :-)
Write you pages like you feel they should sound in the first place.
Then optimize them a little bit for the search engines by introducing
the best (most likely to be profitable) keywords (keyphrases) a
few times in appropriate places. That's it! No advanced optimizing.
Write new articles built around new keywords; focus on other promoting
techniques, especially on exchanging links with other sites. You
will never keep up with the changes in search engines algorithms,
but valuable content, the value for the visitors, will always be
an asset. And as search engines try to better select web pages by
content, you stand a good chance to get high rankings in the future.
But enough about getting traffic for now! There's an entire article
that takes care of that. Instead lets concentrate on the techniques
you should use to build your site. And I mean those techniques that
work well with affiliate programs !
The first and the most important rule in an affiliate type of
business: Do not sell! Presell!
This is not my idea. It's Ken Evoy's. I learned from his e-books
that preselling is the way to go and it makes a lot of sense. What's
preselling? It's the process that makes a visitor come to a commercial
website in an open to buy mood. The content on your site proves
the visitor that you have a lot of knowledge in a certain area and
it also has the role to attract visitors from the search engines.
If a product is valuable to you, the expert, then it might be valuable
to me too, right?
In Ken's books and courses I found lots of ideas and resources
that I used and currently use. This site is built mainly by following
his advice. If some things about my site are not working the way
they should be, well... it's because I lacked the commitment to
do things the right way. :o)
Always remember that your visitor comes to your site in search
of content and not to buy stuff; this translates in a specific idea:
you have to convince your visitor that even for a person that has
a lot of knowledge (that's you) a specific product has a remarkable
value! After you've done that, lead him to the web site providing
Important! For your own good,
please be extra careful when selecting companies with affiliate
programs . Not all the companies running
affiliate programs provide quality
products. You have to make sure that you're joining affiliate programs
run by companies with products or services that you would feel OK
to recommend to your friends and relatives too. That's the amount
of respect you should have towards the visitor. He's a friend!
Where were we? Oh yeah... lead him to the company. Well, strange
or not that's all. There is nothing more that you can do. You
have to let the visitor decide if he/she wants to buy or not. Your
only job is to convince him/her to click that link and visit the
other website in an open to buy mood. That's all you have to do!
Things like "buy now" are usually not for you to say. They are
not part of your job. They are the job of the seller. Your visitor
must not feel that you're trying to sell because he's not visiting
your site to buy. He's visiting your site for content, for information.
That's what he expects to find and you have to provide that information.
If the visitor feels that you're pitching, he/she will resist and
you'll be lucky if he/she remains on your website.
Provide the information he was looking for and - at the right time
- present the products shortly (but convincingly) and lead the visitor
to the businesses with affiliate programs .
Again: do not let the surfer "smell"
a sales effort. Let the company that sells the product
do its part of the job and convince its visitors to buy. Your only
job is to convince people to visit the site in an open to buy mood!
If the seller is not capable to close the sales, it's not your fault!
It means however that you should pick another company to promote!
Give up fast on companies that seem unable to close sales. If you
know that you've done your job right, it can only mean that they
were not capable of doing theirs.
Create curiosity! Explain in a few words what a certain product
does and how it makes life easier. A personal
testimonial can do wonders, but
you have to use the product yourself to post accurate information,
to know exactly what to say and what benefits you had by using the
product. You'll also be certain that you're not saying
anything that isn't completely true! It might be tempting to lie,
but, in the long run, it will not do you much good. Unless you're
the perfect liar...
The best method to use is that of combining good and valuable information
with presell phrases. Learn to use the Internet to fill your site
with a lot of quality information. Read what other people have to
say about various subjects. Visit sites, read articles and e-books.
OK... back to recommending products. When you do this, use short
paragraphs and only a few sentences. If you write a lot about a
single product it will seem like you're trying to sell and people
will get suspicious. Keep the sentences short, few, and TRUE!
In certain situations, you'll feel that you have a lot to say about
a product or that you should say a lot about it to explain what
the product does. If this is the case, then you may choose to dedicate
a whole page for that product. Write a short paragraph in the main
page and put a link "for more information". Don't forget to fill
that special page with various valuable ideas and personal opinions
to encourage people to read all of it, and thus increase the probability
of them clicking on the links that bring you money through affiliate
Do not lie! If you get caught
you'll definitely lose. Big time! You should "Tell the truth
and nothing but the truth!". You're a witness: don't speak
about features or benefits that don't exist. Remember? The visitor
is a friend of yours. You definitely want the best for him!
Thus you'll not try to sell him! Instead you will tell him why you
like that product and even what you don't like about it. If you
haven't purchased it, then underline the motifs that made you love
the idea behind the product. Do that without considering the
25% or whatever percentage that you get from the sale! And don't
lie by telling him that you used the product if you didn't.
You should not copy, under any circumstances, parts of
the sales letter of the business you are affiliated with. Use it
only as an inspiration!
Do not use banners unless you
really-really have to! Link to all sites in a phrase, just like
when you're speaking with someone and you suddenly remember the
name of a shop.
Now please let me say this again: you
have to send the visitor to that site! Once he's got
there, he might consider buying, but before that, you don't stand
a chance to make a single dime!
A Rule: Don't promote too many
companies or products. Too many things to choose from
will make the visitor confused and might even lower your credibility.
Concentrate on a few items or companies! Really good ones! Take
special care not to ever feel ashamed because you are affiliated
with a certain company. The image of these businesses is a part
of your own image!
Select companies that give you a high percentage of the sales (15%-50%).
They must have competitive prices too! It's a lot easier to earn
25$ by referring one 100$ item than to earn 25$ from referring 5
items at 100$ with 5% interest for you. Don't follow the popular
myth that says it's a lot easier to earn 25$ by referring one 100$
item than to earn 25$ from referring 5 items at 20$. Use common
sense! Expensive products have a smaller market. Fewer people can
afford to spend those 100$. It doesn't matter on what product! If
this myth would be true, then we would all promote businesses that
sell diamonds! It's not the case though!
As you can see, I talked mainly about pay-per-sale affiliate programs
. That's because they are the ones
to choose in my opinion. If you want to learn more about the types
of affiliate programs read the "How
to promote a site" article.
Find affiliate programs
Speaking of affiliate programs , I
recommend you to use Commission Junction (www.cj.com)
to find businesses that run affiliate and associate programs. Commission
Junction is a highly respected company and you'll find there over
1000 affiliate programs to choose
from. A special advantage of using a site like Commission Junction
is the fact that you can join several affiliate programs and receive all your earnings in one check. You'll
raise the minimum amount (required to issue a check to you) a lot
faster and you'll receive your check sooner this way!
Other valuable sites: Amazon.com,
Please note that some of them accept only sites that have at least
3000 unique visitors per month.
Other places to search for affiliate programs are the various directories on the subject.
Here's a list with the most valuable ones (at the time when this
articles was written):
Hey! I never told you how much you could earn by joining affiliate
programs ! I read lots forum discussions
and I found that the potential revenue of an "affiliate business"
starts from 0$ to well over 5000$ a month. It all depends on how
much time, work and money you spend, and, unfortunately, on your
site's specific theme. To give you an example, the owner of www.associateprograms.com,
Allan Gardyne, makes a living by using affiliate and associate programs
Another thing! Should the visitor be aware of the fact that you
joined the affiliate programs of the
companies that you're recommending? God knows! But would you like
to be aware of the fact that a webmaster earns a few bucks if you
purchase a certain product? I think I would! Simply because I like
to know everything that has to do with me. On the other hand, they
might dislike the fact that you'll take a part of what they spend
and thus decide not to visit the site you're recommending. Or, worse,
take a look at the link to the company and fill it in without the
part that lets the company know that you referred him.
What's that link thing again? Well, lets' say that you joined the
affiliate programs from the website
www.websitename.com. To let the company know that the visitor comes
from your website you will be provided with a link more or less
like this: www.companyname.com?yourname.
But the visitor might decide he doesn't want you to get paid. So,
instead of clicking on the link, he will simply type "www.websitename.com"
in his browser, causing you to lose a hard earned commission. Now
that you know what can happen, decide for yourself. It's not an
easy decision, I know!
PS. If you want even more info on using affiliate programs
I recommend you a free 200 pages course
that teaches how to start an affiliate web business. Ken Evoy, the
man behind this wonderful course, will take you by the hand and
show you exactly what to do: step by step.
Click here to download
Ken Evoy's "Affiliate Masters Course" for free
How to advertise your website
E-commerce and sales letter guidelines