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What Are Affiliate Programs?

(c) 2003 by Cheryl Williams Levey,

Recommended resources:

The Affiliate Masters Course

"The Super Affiliate Handbook" by Rosalind Gardner

This ebook is incredible. If you are interested in building a money-making affiliate website about something you love, this ebook is mandatory! Rosalind literally gives step-by-step instructions, including how to find all the resources you need, to building a profitable website. Get this book NOW if you are serious about making a big affiliate income!

Basically, you become an affiliate when you sign up and agree to promote a product or set of products from a particular company -- or even a bunch of companies that have complementary products. You may or may not be required to purchase one or more of the products before you can become an affiliate. However, purchasing at least some of the products is important so that you can provide actual first-hand information about the products. If you won't buy them, why should other people buy them from you?

When you become an affiliate, most companies will give you an affiliate ID, which is usually a number. That number becomes part of the URL the affiliate tells you to promote. When you promote that URL, people who click onto the company's site from it are identified as having clicked on the URL with your ID number, and if they buy anything, you earn a commission. If they become an affiliate under you, some companies pay a commission to you from their sales as well.

Earning a good income from affiliate programs is possible, but it does require a constant marketing strategy. Grouping similar affiliate programs and promoting them from a website is a great way to increase income.

People who are looking for information on, for example, dog breeding, can come to your site and choose among your offerings. Many of those people will decide to purchase more than one product--so having them grouped by topic can be a great way to earn more commission sales.

Affiliate sites are gaining in popularity.The basic idea is that you build an informative website about a subject that interests you, and include links to relevant affiliate programs. You will find them on most of my sites, including this one. You can build affiliate web site (s) for any subject you can imagine.

But what is an affiliate program? It is basically a business arrangement in which you promote and sell someone else's products and then receive a commission from each sale.

Some programs offer "lifetime commissions," which means that if you sell a service like a membership, you get part of the monthly fee every month as long as the person you sold the membership to remains a member. Other affiliate programs pay commissions on one-time sales, a percentage on a tier (usually two-tier), a flat amount per sale... gee, there are a lot of different kinds of affiliate programs. So be sure you understand the terms when you sign up for one.

When you sign up for an affiliate program you can either promote the products and services through an affiliate site they will assign you, or you can promote the products and services through your own website, which is an infinitely better option.

The website an affiliate program gives you is the same as all of their affiliates - you'll need something original to set you apart and to help build trust in what you say. Also, you can't just slap a bunch of affiliate web links on a web page and expect anyone to buy anything. You have to provide something of value on your website for them to want to buy from you.

There are differing views about what works -- some recommend building a large site, and some recommend mini-sites. Choose for yourself! Have several of each even.

Affiliate programs can provide a lucrative income if you promote the right programs in the right way.


Cheryl Williams Levey owns, a site
dedicated to showing you how to save time and money
while growing your home business. Do you have what
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