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Introduction to Affiliate Marketing

Introduction to Affiliate Program

Affiliate marketing is one of the oldest professions — in internet years. And today it’s still one of the most popular ways of making money online.

Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing model between web site owners (affiliates) and merchants (who offer a product or service for sale). Affiliates are paid for performance, meaning that they make a small percentage of any sales they refer to the merchants.

Basically, it works like this:

  1. Sign up with an affiliate program.
  2. If the program offers more than one merchant, choose the merchants you’d like to promote and apply.
  3. Get links and banner that are coded with your account.
  4. Post the links and banners on your site.
  5. Invite visitors to click those links and make purchases.
  6. Watch the money add up.

The first affiliate program I joined (and, in fact, the first I ever heard of) was Amazon.com affiliate program in the mid-1990’s. This is an affiliate program set up specifically for Amazon.com and only offers those items found on their site. I am still an Amazon affiliate and it’s one of my favorite programs because (1) I love books and (2) they have tons of other great products. Since I will only recommend those items I really like, Amazon gives me lots of great choices. I can find almost anything there.

I also have accounts at a number of large affiliate programs that administer affiliate systems for multiple merchants. My favorite is ShareASale. They have a great selection of merchants you can promote and their interface is straightforward and very flexible. It’s easy to create any link I want and the reports are easy to create and understand.

Note: Your site visitors will not pay more if they buy a product/service after clicking your link. In fact, sometimes you get special links that offer great discounts and offers, so your readers can get real value if you watch the specials and only promote quality products and services. Make affiliate marketing a win-win for your readers!

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Dana March 17, 2010, 6:49 am

    And my affiliate earning is still zero. 🙁

    But i know that there is big potential in affiliate marketing, so i will try it with difference approach.
    .-= Dana @ Blogging Update´s last blog ..My 5 Current Ways of Make Money Blogging =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 17, 2010, 11:23 am

    Dana, your honesty is great. Maybe some questions will help:

    How long have you been blogging?
    What kind of traffic do you get?
    What do you promote?
    Do you personally endorse/use/like the products/services?
    How do you promote them?

    Maybe a brainstorming will help. 🙂

  • Gautam Hans March 17, 2010, 12:26 pm

    I have recently started earning affiliate income with themes and it seems to me that relevancy in terms of affiliate networks is really important for earning more money out of it.
    .-= Gautam Hans @ Blog Godown´s last blog ..Boosting your Google Adsense Earnings using Google Certified Ad Networks =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 17, 2010, 1:54 pm

    Gautam, thanks for the input. Can you elaborate on what you have done to find that relevancy? Maybe we can help Dana and the myriad other bloggers like him!

  • Keith Davis March 20, 2010, 3:59 am

    Hi Alison
    I set up my blog to give good solid advice to my readers but in the back of my mind was the thought that I might be able to earn a little money at the same time.

    Once my blog is established I was going to start looking at the revenue side and Affiliate Marketing was one of the ideas that I had in mind.
    Problem appears to be finding good affiliates and ones appropriate to your blog.

    “ShareASale” sounds good, do they have different catogories of affiliates to choose from?

    Plus… do you think that affiliate marketing can detract from the purpose of your blog? i.e. does it put people off?
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..A helping hand… =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 20, 2010, 12:53 pm

    Yes and yes.

    ShareASale has a variety of different merchants. Finding those that fit your blog is part of the challenge. The other is finding those that fit your blog and that will interest and benefit your readers. Surprisingly, sometimes those sets have only a small overlap.

    Absolutely affiliates and other promotion turns people off! Without question! They must be used judiciously and finding that balance is, really, a matter of trial and error combined with some common sense.

    I was about to write more, but I think the process warrants a post of it’s own. I’ll post here when I get that post done.

  • Keith Davis March 20, 2010, 1:02 pm

    Thanks for a detailed reply Alison
    Look forward to your post.
    .-= Keith Davis´s last blog ..A helping hand… =-.

  • bbrian017 March 23, 2010, 7:56 am

    I’ve never had much success with Affiliates advertising. perhaps it’s because I haven’t found the right products for my members but the point is I have failed so far and haven’t been successful. I’m currently with about 5 or 6 affiliate websites and none of them have attractive products for my target market.

    I’m not giving up but it’s also not looking so good. So far I have made the most from wordpress theme affiliates.
    .-= bbrian017´s last blog ..I’m working on my e-book everyone =-.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 23, 2010, 11:05 am

    Brian, affiliate marketing is my favorite and best money-maker next to, now, my new blog setup services. But it’s not as easy as some make it sound.

    I wish those who buy a product or service after hearing my recommendation for it would give me a courtesy click. I try to do that (just as I make a point to click on an interesting AdSense ad or two if I find a site useful). But the truth is, most people don’t. Banners are the least affective — for me at least — and actual product reviews with “boring” text links, the best. Personal recommendations work well, as long as they are honest and clear.

    Themes would seem an obvious fit for BlogEngage, so my suggestion would be to look at similar items.

    • Themes are specifically useful for beginning bloggers who already have a blog setup, but are trying to finish up their site. What products services would be useful for that demographic? Logo creation? Premium plugins? Blogging/writing courses?
    • Themes are specifically useful for current bloggers, who already have a blog setup, and are actively writing/promoting. What other products/services fit that criteria? Maybe autoresponders? Outsourcing of a business service?
  • Bryan March 20, 2012, 8:00 pm

    Believe or not, I have a big earnings right now by writing a blog. I have a sideline also as a tech support using remote desktop software or over phone via Ether. All of these are via on-line transaction.

  • Trung Nguyen May 27, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Affiliates marketing is a great way to earn money online, however, as other methods, it’s not easy way to make money for every one. We have to do it in a long time
    Read Trung Nguyen’s inCREDible post…How to Register a Domain Name – Step by Step GuideMy Profile

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