Among the rush of money-making opportunities that have swept the web in the last couple of years, affiliate marketing has been by far one of the most hyped-up, as well as one that has been least understood for what it really is. Keep reading to learn more about what affiliate marketing actually is, how it works, and how you can start using it in a legitimate way to make yourself a bit of money.
To start with, you will need to understand what affiliate marketing actually is. Basically, online retailers and sellers of informational products need to get people to their sites to purchase their goods. Generating this traffic is where affiliate marketers often come in handy. An affiliate marketer will use his or her own existing website to promote a product or offer by providing a link to the site that is selling it. In turn, when a sale is made to a customer who reached the seller’s website by way of the affiliate marketer’s link, that marketer will receive a commission on that sale. This is a great way for sellers of all sorts to bring traffic to their sites, as well as an awesome opportunity for bloggers, webmasters, and even casual website owners to make a little bit of extra money off of their websites.
So, now the question is, how can you implement it for your own uses? Many sources of information about affiliate marketing make it sound like an instant goldmine. There have also been claims that sites can be created specifically to promote one or two affiliate offers, and in a short period of time will be generating a steady income. Neither of the above statements is even remotely true. The reason sellers are even willing to offer affiliate deals is to get traffic from affiliate sites on to their own. If the affiliate site has no traffic to begin with, then there is no source of revenue. In order to use affiliate marketing effectively, you must either implement it on an existing site with decent traffic, or create such a site with the plan in mind to monetize it with affiliate offers. Ideally, the site you are going to put your affiliate links on should be full of real, useful content, into which you can then incorporate those links. The benefit to this is twofold. Firstly, this will make your site appear real to the viewer, instead of looking like one huge advertisement. Secondly, this will keep people coming back to your site, so that you have more than one chance to put your affiliate links in front of them.
Once you have the website you want to use, you should seek out products or offers that will actually be valuable to the people who visit that site. Remember, don’t put a financial offer on a website dedicated to guitar lessons. The more closely the affiliate offers you present your readers with line up with the content you are providing, the more likely they are to find value in it, and therefore to purchase it. That will benefit you in the long run, since more purchases means more payouts. Also keep in mind that you should work your affiliate links in to your content, not let it be taken over by them. Nobody wants to read an article that they know is just one big ad.
From there, you can continue to grow your website, and add value to it along the way by offering various affiliate promotions. You’ll probably never strike it rich with affiliate marketing, but many bloggers and writers do make a nice bit of supplemental income off of it. The best part is that once your links are up, your work (beyond promoting the site, which you should be doing anyway) is largely done. A customer could purchase a product through your link in a year, and you could make a profit without having to do much else. Just remember, don’t let your expectations run away with you. This is a good chance to make a little money, but very unlikely to make anyone a full time and liveable income.