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:
- Sign up with an affiliate program.
- If the program offers more than one merchant, choose the merchants you’d like to promote and apply.
- Get links and banner that are coded with your account.
- Post the links and banners on your site.
- Invite visitors to click those links and make purchases.
- 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!