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Getting Started In Affiliate Marketing

 
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AffiliateCavern  >  Articles  >  Getting Started In Affiliate Marketing

   

Getting Started In Affiliate Marketing

The beauty of the Internet is that it allows people all over the world to communicate, exchange and share information with an unparalled and unprecented ease. Whereas once it was only possible for the largest media corporations to reach millions of people, today, thanks to the worldwide web, it is possible for almost anybody to do it from the bedroom or study. As might be expected, the emergence of this revolutionary communications medium, has had profound effects on our society, including of course the world of business, marketing and commerce.

One of the lessons of the Internet so far, is that while new methods of communication open up businesses to a whole new world of potential customers, they also open them up to new worlds of competition. Merchants and retailers have discovered that it isn't enough to have a web site - they also need a way to draw people to their web site. One of the most effective ways of doing that is for a merchant to start an affiliate program - the merchant pays other sites, known as "affiliates" commissions based on them referring sales (known as "pay per sale"), leads (known as "pay per lead"), or visitors (known as "pay per click").

If you're not a merchant, just a person with a computer and a desire to make money online, the opportunity here is to become an affiliate and earn those affiliate commissions. The beauty of this business is that you don't have to deal creating products, shipping products or customer service - all you have to do is send web surfers to a merchant's site.

You should however be aware that the reality is that the vast majority (as much as 90%, or sometimes more) of affiliates are not very good; they send only a handful of referrals, and earn very little either for themselves or for the merchant. That said, there is usually also a percentage of affiliates who take their business very seriously, and can generate great commissions for themselves (and significant increases in sales for the merchant) - and without getting ahead of ourselves, if you want to earn a full-time living by affiliate marketing, this is your eventual goal.

The question then is how to get started. Here is one method:
  1. Identify one or more topics that interests you. Don't do the first thing that pops in your head, or something that everybody else is doing, but think about it seriously. You want to find something that you are not going to tire of, but that you will still be interested in six months, a year, or even five years from now.

  2. Look for merchant's with affiliate programs that relate to your topic. Don't forget that in aggregators like Commission Junction and ClickBank there are a huge number of different merchants to choose from. You can also use links to things like books, software, music and electronics at Amazon, or posters at AllPosters as merchant links. And, of course, there is always the option of using Google AdSense on your site - this will display pay per click ads that relate to your site content, for most eligible sites.

    There is of course a possibility that you may not find enough good merchants. For example, based on personal experience, it's a lot easier to find good merchants for about personal finance or web design, than it is to find them for a site about (say) history. Anyway, if you can't find enough merchants to be comfortable with, you perhaps ought to reconsider your topic.

  3. Find and register a domain name for your site. This is the name which identifies your site, for example, affiliatecavern.com. You should do this step yourself and keep the domain password secret. This is very important, because if you use a hosting company to register a domain name, it is not unknown for them to become difficult about releasing it back to you if you later wish to change hosting company.

  4. Now go and choose a web host. This is the company that stores your web site on their servers, thus making it accessible to the world. If you are even slightly serious about affiliate marketing, you should look for a company which offers multiple domain hosting, as this allows you to run lots of websites without paying a hosting fee each time.

  5. Now start creating your site. That means creating lots of quality content, perhaps adding a discussion forum, may be creating an email newsletter, etc. Over time, you want to build up your site with more and more content, perhaps add product reviews and recommendations (using your affiliate link for these) and so on. You can also include straight-adverts (such banner adverts) or text links in your pages, but don't go overboard. The idea is to become a leading authority site on your topic, as this generates buzz and word-of-mouth marketing, and also encourages people to trust the product recommendations on your website and in your email newsletter.

  6. As you gradually expand your site, you should also be marketing and promoting it, because the more people that you attract to your site, the more money that you will make. You should in fact beginning promoting your site as soon as you have a basic site up and running - do not wait until you have added every last possible feature. From then on, you simply expand your site (being careful to always keep it working after each stage of expansion), and continuing promoting. There are of course many ways to market and promote a web site - far more than we could hope to cover in a brief article - but you can find many ideas at www.traffic4me.com (117 Ways To Increase Web Site Traffic) and www.searchenginerocket.com (Increase Search Engine Traffic).

  7. When you have your first site up and running, it's now time to start your second (on a different topic). When you finish that, you start your third, and so on. You shouldn't completely forget any site once it's done - return to it every once in a while to promote it a bit more, or add some more content. An advantage of creating multiple sites is it takes time for new sites to be indexed by the search engines anyway, and it providing insurance in case one of your site's income dries up (because it loses search engine position, a key merchant ends their affiliate program, etc.).

  8. As you build up a portfolio of several sites, you should monitor each site's statistics and use that to focus your efforts on those sites which offer the greatest financial return on investments of your time.


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