The purpose of this website is to explain to people how I personally go about making money online. I’ve touched on topics of networking, Adsense, creating niche websites, article marketing, etc. – with the assumption that everybody that comes to my website has a clue what half of that stuff even is. I assume that the readers already know what a niche website is, or are already familiar with the eBay partner network or Adsense, or that they already know why article marketing is important to help generate backlinks to your website (and what the hell is a backlink anyway?).
The Blog Tyrant says it best in his recent article Why Your Readers Might Be Dumber Than You Think:
Something that a lot of bloggers and online marketers forget is that 80% to 90% of your readers are straight up beginners.
This fact was further emphasized on Pat’s February monthly income report that he posted today when a commenter asked the question:
You discuss and talk a lot about affiliate marketing. I’m lost – I’ve been searching the site and am still uncapable of how to ‘obtain’ affiliate marketers…if that makes any sense? Do you just e-mail the website/product owner and ask for a referral code?
This guy is reading Pat’s latest income report (in which he made $24,000 in one month!), yet he doesn’t even know what the hell affiliate marketing is. He’s basically already reading the end of the book before he’s even figured out how to find the first chapter.
So this got me to thinking… I will often times post links to my latest blog posts on my personal Facebook page – trying to inspire some interest in some of my friends and show them that they could be making some extra money on the side if they were only doing the same things that I am doing. But what I fail to realize is that some of my posts may not make sense to these people if they don’t have some of the basic understandings of what affiliate marketing even is. They may read and see that I am making money, yet I have no idea how I am doing it. Or worse, they may think I am just trying to show off and/or think I’m full of shit and it’s all just a scam.
The purpose of this article then is to explain what affiliate marketing is and explain how it can be used to start making some extra money from sitting at home. Instead of stalking your ex on facebook, you could be WINNING like Charlie Sheen!
The Definition of Affiliate Marketing
The definition according to Wikipedia is “Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.”
In basic terms, I create a website which is focused on a specific topic or product (a “niche”). I then sprinkle affiliate links throughout my site to promote various 3rd party products. These links will generally take the visitor to another website where they can sign up for a service or purchase a product. If they purchase that product as a result of following the link from my website, then I will be paid a commission (an affiliate commission). The commission is usually some percentage of the final cost of the sale. This percentage will vary from site to site and can sometimes increase based on the number of sales that you make per month or the quality of traffic that you send to the 3rd party site.
How Do I Go About Finding Companies to Affiliate With?
There are various ways to go about finding a company or product that is right for you to market on your website or blog. One method which I have mentioned a few times on this website is Clickbank. Clickbank is a marketplace for digital products (eBook, software, online services) – Many of the products that you will find being marketed to you on internet marketing websites are Clickbank products. I would not suggest promoting Clickbank products if you are a beginner, because of the simple fact that there is a lot of competition for these products (lots of people promoting the same products) – and the requirements to get paid do not favor beginning internet marketers. The one nice thing about Clickbank is that there is no approval process, so anybody can sign up and start promoting and attempting to make money right away.
Another method of finding companies with affiliate products is a portal type site such as Commission Junction (cj.com) This site is a marketplace for all kinds of big-name companies in various categories. These products range from digital products to insurance and financial leads, to any type of product that you can find in a local store… tires, shoes, books, cell phones, etc. No matter the niche that your website is geared toward, you should be able to find a company on Commission Junction to sell products for and make money. Unlike Clickbank, some of these companies will manually approve websites. Some companies are very picky about who their affiliates are, so in order to sell some products, you should ensure that you have a quality website. On the other hand, there are some companies that auto-approves – so it’s just a matter of finding a company and applying to their program and waiting to see if you are approved. Other websites that are similar to cj.com are linkshare.com and shareasale.com
In addition to the two methods above, some bigger websites will run their own affiliate programs. Two of these include Amazon.com – which is called the Amazon associates program, ebay.com – which is called the eBay partner network. If you are on a website and wonder if the company has an affiliate program, the best place is to look for a link in the footer of the homepage. There will usually be a link with wording such as “Affiliates” or “Partners” – and this will give further instructions on how to apply to their program. As is the case with Commission Junction, these sites all vary in the ways in which they accept websites into their affiliate program. The eBay Partner Network is one that is notorious for being tough to get accepted into and there are various blogs out there with tips on how to get accepted.
I Got Accepted to a Program, Now What?
Once you have been accepted to one or more programs, the next step is to place a link on your website. Each program will vary with how you need to link back to them. Look for text such as “Get Code” or “Linking Code” or “Affiliate Code” – this will be the code you need to paste into your website to track affiliate clicks. Some programs will give you one simple link, to do with as you please, while others are more sophisticated and will give you all sorts of links, banners, and flash ads to choose from. Some programs such as Amazon will give you code to link to specific products.
Ebay is actually my favorite, and the program I have been most successful with to this point. They give you access to an RSS feed which gives you the capability to search for any item that is for sale on ebay.com. This means that you can focus a niche website on any of the millions of items listed for sale on eBay at any given time. Figuring out how to parse that RSS feed and display it on your website is the tricky part. But thanks to some 3rd party software packages (niche site platform and PHPBay), that process is made very simple.
Hopefully, that is enough to get you started. If you are brand new to the concept of affiliate marketing, I hope that explanation is helpful. If you already knew about everything I mentioned above, then I would not expect you to have read this far
Any questions? Ideas for my next post? Leave them below.
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