Affiliate programs are a simple way that anyone - even if they don't have a website - can make money by advertising a link to another website. This link is called an affiliate link because it contains some extra characters which record the details of the affiliate so that when a sale occurs the affiliate can be paid their commission
An affiliate program is simply a commission only arrangement where a set percentage commission is paid depending on the sale price. This could typically be anywhere from 25 to 75 percent, although there are many products which carry a 75 percent commission payout.
How Affiliate Programs Track Your Sales
How affiliate programs work is that when someone clicks on an affiliate link they are sent to the merchants website where the product is sold. This product will often be a digital downloadable product of some kind such as an eBook, software, videos, templates, graphic files etc. The extra codes in an affiliate URL - typically the affiliates nickname - are used by a tracking system which saves the data in a cookie, which is often recorded temporarily on the computer of the web visitor. When this person then goes to pay for the item, this affiliate information is then used to record which affiliate was responsible for the sale
Is it Easy to Make Money with Affiliate Programs?
It can be both very difficult and very easy to make sales as an affiliate. This is partly due to the fact that selling anything online is a lot more difficult than it might at first appear
You will have no doubt have noticed that there are thousands and thousands of websites, many with products for sale, or at least links to products for sale. Although it might look as if all these products are selling like hotcakes, nothing could be further from the truth, with many websites struggling to make any sales even after the website has been online for months - maybe even years. Often what happens is that most websites will sell just a small amount of product - this means that taken altogether, the amount of products sold online is large and growing, but each individual website sells very little
Fortunately there are exceptions to this - some big websites like amazon.com and ebay.com etc - these websites outsell many thousands of other websites combined. This fact should prove to you that if you can position your website correctly in the right niche, you could easily be selling several hundred dollars at least every month
So What Is The Best Way To Get Started Selling With An Affiliate Program?
The key to being successful and closing your own sales and earning yourself a nice monthly commission is to follow a few simple successful strategies
Here is my six-point plan that will work for you:
1. Find a suitable "niche" or theme for your website
This means doing some keyword research so that you don't choose a theme for your website that has already been chosen by millions - yes millions! - of other websites. In general this means finding a two or three word key-phrase. You can start by searching under your main keyword theme and then seeing if you can find another word that can sensibly go with it from the search results e.g. if "holidays" were your main theme, you might find that "holidays abroad" or "spanish holidays" might work for you. This could mean doing quite a bit of checking until you find the right niche or theme for your website
2. Check that your chosen "niche" or theme will be profitable
You can do this by doing a search on the search engines and seeing how many pay per click advertisers have ads running for your niche. As it costs quite alot of money to get onto the first page of a search engine as an advertiser, often as much as $5 or more per click, then this advertiser must be succeeding with their advertising otherwise they will just bankrupt themselves. You might also check for how long these ads have been running - or just watch how long these ads are running, simply check every week and see if the ads are still running
3. Make a list of all possible page headings or titles
These will be individual content pages on your website. These should be based on keyword phrases you might already have come across from your research. You can then create articles that will match these headings, and the search engines will start indexing your content especially if you write all the articles yourself and therefore everything on your website is unique to you
4. Join as many forums for your niche or theme
Find out about and join as many forums related to the niche or theme of your website and start making comments or providing answers to other peoples questions, making sure you leave behind a link back to your website within your signature file. This can be easily set up with the UserCP part of your account on the forum. One way to find all these forums is to simply search on the search engines adding the word "forum" to your search e.g. "affiliate program forum"
5. Start an email list
This means adding a bit of code to your webpages so that people can signup to your email list and start receiving a preset series of emails all related to the theme of your website. You can add as many emails as you like to the system - referred to as an autoresponder - and the idea is to send interesting article like content which will be interesting to your readers, but will also have a link to some online resource - e.g. a product or service for which you are an affiliate. The emails must be written in an informational style without any attempt to "pitch" people or try and sell anything directly. If you send overt sales pitch type emails you will simply lose all your email list subscribers and you will have wasted your marketing efforts
6. Post Articles to free article directory sites
Once you have answered a few questions on forums and written some interesting articles on your website for individual content pages, plus written some useful emails, you are bound to have lots of content that you could split up and use for syndicated articles. Posting these articles will help you further by providing more traffic to your website, and establishing you as an "expert" in your field
These are just six easy ways you can get started making sales for any affiliate program or product you have in mind. If you follow these steps I am sure you will be well on the road to turning your dream of earning hundreds of dollars at least into a reliable monthly income online. I do understand that following these steps might take you a bit of time, but when you have done it once, you can then go on and produce more niche themed websites, and gradually increase your online affiliate empire, not to mention your monthly earnings.
Tim Fulcher is the author of Affiliate Programs Cash Generator, a free guide thats shows anyone how they can make money with affiliate programs. You can download his eBook from his website at: [affiliate-programs-cash-generator.com site can’t be reached].