Affiliate Programs

Once you’ve built your website, you can add in some money making links. Perhaps the easiest way to make money on the internet is by joining affiliate programs. With a little effort on your part, you can offer all the products that you may have thought were the exclusive domain of the big time web sites by taking advantage of their affiliate programs.

The logic behind it is simple. In order to increase their market share, many of the major internet companies have started forming alliances with smaller web sites. These companies make it as easy as possible for you to sell their goods on your site. For many of these programs, all you need to do is provide a link to the company’s site and you will receive a 5%-25% commission on any purchases that your visitors make! Other affiliate programs will allow you to either sell their goods directly from your site, or create pages on their web site that looks just like your page so that your visitors will never know they’ve left your site. Either way, you will not need to accept credit cards or maintain the merchant site in any way to collect your commissions. What is expected is that you market your site to the best of your ability so that you generate profits for both yourself and the company.

Affiliate programs usually work through cookies. When one of your visitors connects to the affiliate site through your site, a cookie will be placed on their computer. Therefore, every time they connect to the affiliate site thereafter you will be credited with the referral. This will continue for as long as the cookie is valid, usually about a month.

There are currently several thousand affiliate programs available on the internet. For instance, if you wanted to sell books from your site, you could do it through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Powell’s, or one of dozens of other companies offering such services. Below we have listed a few of the affiliate programs that we have found to be the very best available in terms of ease of use and potential profits.

The next step above affiliate marketing is drop shipping. Like affiliate marketing, drop shipping allows you to sell products online without ever manufacturing or stocking any goods, but unlike affiliate marketing, drop shipping requires you to accept credit cards and provide customer service. Thus, drop shipping is a much greater effort than affiliate marketing, but can also provide greater profit margins. To learn more about drop shipping, visit our drop shipping page.

Commission Junction can be considered the king of all affiliate networks. They put over 500 different internet retailers into one program, including many of the best known stores in the country. As a CJ affiliate, you can choose among a vast number of merchants whose products or services you wish to market. The way the affiliate programs are structured and the commissions you’ll receive will differ from program to program. Commission Junction does not determine how the individual programs will be run, but acts as an impartial broker between the retailers and the affiliates. The advantage of this is that CJ members can sign up for multiple affiliate programs in a fraction of the time that it would take to do each one individually, members receive one check each month instead of many, CJ programs tend to pay top dollar compared to other affiliate programs. A Best Web™ is where many of us who used to frequent the CJU forums and find out the dirt on merchants have gone. Join us there for lively discussions on how to make money through Commission Junction as well as other affiliate programs.

ShareaSale.com — is a smaller network with trustworthy management. You’ll get paid on time. Most all of the merchants are smaller stores, so be prepared to take a good look at the merchant site to make sure that it looks professional enough to promote. Free datafeeds upon approval, RSS feeds of coupons and deals, direct deposit, and user-defined tracking options are some of the many perks available at ShareaSale.com.

Performics.com is an up and coming contender in affiliate networks. Solid tracking, name brand merchants, and a reputation for paying the checks all adds up to a superb choice in joining this network. The drawback is that the interface is less than easy to use, especially after Commission Junction.

Affiliatefuel.com is a new kid on the block. They also have someone with a great record working for them: Paul Grossman from what was Sponsorships.net before iBoost drove them into the ground. Basically AffiliateFuel is taking up the slack where once Sponsorships.net held supreme: high conversion pay per lead ads. Sites must be hosted on a top level domain and have a minimum of 2,000 unique visitors per day. Sites must be professionally designed, with substantial and appropriate content. Give them a try, and give your affiliate leads a tune-up.

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Partner for free with 500 of the Internet’s top online merchants at LinkShare.com. Again, easy navigation of affiliate categories, and a centralized clearing house for your nice fat checks from multiple programs at the end of the month. LinkShare has a pretty bad reputation due to not going after dishonest merchants. Choose your merchants carefully, though, and we know folks who earn money with them.

Less easy to navigate, but easy to set up the links is ClickBank. This site is also useful for setting upyour own affiliate program. For affiliate marketeers, they do claim that some of their affiliates are earning $5000/month. ClickBank consolidates your sales into one paycheck, which is very convenient. Information products sell well on the Internet, and ClickBank is home to many of them with affiliate programs.

Amazon.com has an affiliate program. The payout is only 5%, with a $10 cap on non-book items, and it is not 2-tiered. Payment is only quarterly. The advantage of Amazon is that the name is known and trusted, so you can sell more easily through them.

– While Google AdSense is not really an affiliate program (and Google is coming out with its own affiliate type of program in the near future), it is a way to make money from your content. You simply sign up, walk through the link making, cut and paste ads, and place them where you want on your site. If you’d rather write content than pre-sell, Google AdSense is for you. If you’ve already got a content site that attracts visitors but never makes sales, then Google AdSense just might help you pay the hosting bills or more.

Reading assignments — no you won’t be tested!

For a total manual on success in affiliate marketing, we recommend you start with Ken Evoy’s free email courses. Treat yourself to some top-notch marketing advice in your mail. Ken doesn’t spam or sell your email address, we know, since we ourselves have subscribed to several of these free courses. They’re delivered by autoresponder – just send a blank email to request one or all of these free courses:

Take some time to explore the SiteSell site and check out ALL their excellent resources. The job of an affiliate market master is to pre-sell a product and drive that pre-sold traffic to the merchant to buy, buy, buy. You will get excellent advice in Ken’s courses on affiliate marketing. We highly recommend the Affiliate Masters course!

More recommended reading on affiliate marketing

The following are just a few of the great resources available on affiliate marketing:

  • Discover insider secrets — Affiliate Marketer’s book 2002
  • by James Martell. A fellow webmaster had this to say about his book:

    Work at Home Net Guide.
    I ran across this site one night while searching for a way to make a living online.
    I had heard of other people doing it but couldn’t quite get a grasp of the mechanics of how to put it all together.
    I read the site over at least 5 times and was impressed by the fact that Mr Martell is actually willing to show you some of his moneymaking sites not hide behind his book like other marketers online.
    I hesitated before spending the money which is a lot for an ebook, however with a money back guarantee I decided to take a chance.
    I downloaded the book immediately and spent the next 3 hours reading it all 300 pages of it. I was duly impressed. Even though I am not new to the internet it was a very insightful book full of basic instruction for anyone wanting to get into the affiliate marketing world and be a success at it.
    He takes you step by every single step, from picking merchants, domain registration and hosting, to optimizing your site properly for the search engines for free traffic for maximum results.
    He shows you everything he does to achieve high search engine rankings and reveals all the nuts and bolts behind the scenes. There is no fluff in this book what soever only concrete examples of how he is making a ton of money.
    It is great for newbies, even advanced online marketers can learn a thing or tow form this book.
    I would recommend it highly for anyone who wishes to make a full time living online.
    Mr Martell is doing it and by following his step by step examples you can duplicate his success with a bit of work and patience.
    No secrets are spared in here, everything is revealed to help you be an online success..
    NoBoss from A Work At Home Job

  • The Adsense Code: What Google Never Told You About Making Money With Adsense (Hardcover) by Joel Comm. Joel is now quite well known for his expertise on Google AdSense.
  • My Life in Advertising and Scientific Advertising – Read this classic and you’ll see where Dunn, Evoy, Palmer, and all the guru’s are getting their tried and true formulae. This book was written at the turn of the century by Claude Hopkins, but it shines true as a classic in marketing.
  • Successful Affiliate Marketing for Merchants – Shawn Collins is a leader in the affiliate industry. Whether you’re thinking of going merchant, or are an affiliate trying to figure out the bigger picture, this book is a great resource.