There are several advantages to using affiliate programs to make money on the internet.
First of all, however, just what IS an affiliate program?
One of the first and best known affiliate programs was offered by Amazon.com. They offered individuals the opportunity to link to their site, and paid commissions for sales generated through these links. The concept spread, and while some companies, such as Amazon.com, still run their own affiliate programs, many partner with organizations such as CommissionJunction, Linkshare, Clickbank, or ShareASale which handles the adminstrative side, hosts banners, etc.
One of the best ways for a beginner to use affiliate links is to first prepare a web page or web site based on a theme, providing lots of pertinent information on a given subject. It could be anything from the ever popular subject of weight loss or something as esoteric as hair removal!
In addition to, or in place of information in the form of articles or essays, the site may provide updated statistics on a subject, links to other pertinent sites…use your imagination.
Once the site and subject are in place, the next job is to find companies which provide products or services that someone visiting the site would find to be of interest. Since someone theoretically arrived at the site because of an interest in the subject, they might be interested in additional information or related products. For example, at http://cat-and-kitten.com/ there are links to PetSmart (Linkshare), a natural pet health store (Commission Junction), pet health insurance (Commission Junction), and several downloadable ebooks on the subject of cats (Clickbank).
There are several benefits and advantages of affiliate marketing:
1. No selling: Isn’t that great? You can really provide pertinent content that helps people and benefit from sales that they choose to make.
NOTE: Don’t know a lot about anything, or can’t write? There are plenty of sites such as JustArticles.com where you can hire people to write articles for you. Other organizations such as Niche-Content-Packages.com provide articles, images, and keyword analysis,
2. No large investment required: You can register a domain name and host a site for less than $50 a year! I know because I did it for my brother-in-law yesterday. Site design may be a little tricky, but if you have your information, you can get a site designed for less than $100. In fact, with a little study of html, you can design the site yourself! There are also programs such as FrontPage which allow you to create a web page or website with little or no knowledge of html or web page design.
NOTE: Have information on a subject but don’t have the money to hire a designer and can’t afford to register a domain name and host a site? Create a blog! That’s usually free, and, if your information is even of a little value, you can soon have lots of traffic – people interested in your subject.
3. No inventory. Your job is simply to send potential customers to the company that actually handles everything else, including warehousing and distribution.
4. You don’t deal directly with customers. Once your site is up with links in place, any sales generated, along with any processing, returns, or follow-up will be handled by the company with which you affiliated.
5. Earn while you sleep. Your website, with links, is up 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and someone in Bombay may order at 2 AM your time, and you won’t know a thing about it until you check your stats or get your check. By the way, many services such as Commission Junction will make deposits directly into your account if you select that option. Believe me, it’s great to open your bank statement and find that money has been deposited to your account from one or more of these services. If you’re out of town a lot like I am, it’s a great option
There are many ways you can send traffic to your website, and that’s another article entirely, but submit your site to search engines and directories, advertise in newsletters relevant to your subject, visit forums on your topic and make sure you leave a link to your site in your signature. These are just a few ways of advertising your site.