WHAT ARE THEY?
Affiliate programs are a great way to make your site pay for itself... (note the words I use "pay for itself") you probably won't make bucket full's of cash, but the money earned in by affiliate schemes can help to pay for hosting and further advertising for your site. An affiliate program is a scheme where by you place advertising links, banners, buttons or even text articles on your site. In return for this the company you advertise pay you some money depending on how many visitors you send to them. There are three main types of affiliate programs (and combinations thereof)
You get paid for each visitor you send to the affiliate site e.g. $0.04-per-click.
2) Per Lead
You get paid for each user who goes the affiliate, and signs up for more information, joins a club, scheme or mailing list etc. e.g. $1-per-lead
3) Per Sale
You get paid a percentage of sales that result from a customer you send to a merchant's site e.g. 20%-of-order-value.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
The key is to find a scheme that is related to your site, the affiliate schemes you choose should be of interest to your visitors. Its no good joining every program you find (amazon.com is a good example of this) because most people won't be interested! for example you probably came to this site for free-photographs or web-design tips... you're probably not going to be interested in a new Stephen King novel!
The other important factor is how you present a scheme to your visitors, Each program you join will provide you with banners and ready-made advertising materials. These are useful to an extent but it is best if you also augment these materials with your own unique personal review, description etc. of the product, persuade your visitors they want to make a purchase. Tell them how useful it will be to them (don't go over the top - people hate a hard sell!) then when you send them to the affiliate site, with a bit of luck, they will make a purchase.
photo credit: freeimageslive / gratuit
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