A Beginner’s Guide to Affiliate Marketing

by mihaelaschwartz

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online. Here are some tips to help you start.

Affiliate marketing is a widely used monetization strategy. The principle behind it is rather simple: you have to build a website through which you can promote various merchants’ products and services by means of affiliate links. However, the implementation is not as easy as it might seem. Let’s take a closer look at the main concepts affiliate marketing involves and at the best practices in this area:

Affiliate Links

affiliate links

These are the links by means of which you redirect visitors from your own website to the merchants’ pages.

Most retailers provide their affiliate partners with ready made commercial tools that generally take two forms: banners and text links.

Both of them incorporate a tracking code that enables the merchant to detect traffic coming from your website in order to calculate the financial rewards you are entitled to. 

Rates and commissions

affiliate marketingThe common practice is that affiliate partners are paid when a lead they send towards the merchant’s website generates a sale.

The percentages vary greatly, ranging from 2 to 50% off the final price. There are also incentive payments.

Most advertisers have a tiered commission structure, offering higher rates to their most lucrative affiliate partners. 

How to find affiliate programs

The easiest way is to sign up with the big networks like Commission Junction, ClickBank, Google Affiliate Network or ShareASale. Once you are in, you will see that they provide quite an impressive number of products, all grouped into categories so that they are easy to use even for a beginner to affiliate marketing like you.

Then, depending on the niche you chose for your website, you can look for retailers offering their own affiliate program. The advantage is that you have more flexibility when creating deep links. However, both the networks and the stand alone advertisers have a minimal threshold beyond which they do not issue a payment. This is important especially at the beginning, when your earnings will be lower. If you are dealing with the big networks, the commissions will be calculated together, and it will easier for you to reach the threshold. 

How to promote affiliate products

make money onlineThere is a set of golden rules to follow when promoting affiliate products:

  1. Promote only products issued by merchants you trust.
  2. Don’t lie! Don’t say you have tried the product if you haven’t. One you get caught, your lie’s consequences can harm greatly your online reputation and trustworthiness.
  3. Don’t exaggerate! All advertisers say their products are the best. Even if the ones you promote really are top of their range, explain why.
  4. Don’t be mysterious! People want to know what to expect. Even those who like surprises prefer to invest their money in something safe.
  5. Call for action! Tell your visitors what to do! Guide them or they will bounce back to the search results page.
  6. Be original! Even if the advertiser provides you with detailed information on each product, don't upload it as it is on your website. You don’t want to be just a voice in a choir. Duplicate content will hurt your SEO and will discredit you in front of your readers. Create great content! It will pay out. 

Well, now that you master the basics, go for it! Start building your website today. Insert the affiliate links tomorrow and you will soon cash the benefits. 

Updated: 12/25/2012, mihaelaschwartz
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Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
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