by Penny George
Affiliate programs are one of the easiest and quickiest ways to earn income from your web site's traffic. Businesses recognize that our sites are getting hits and they are eager to direct this traffic to their online storefronts. Affiliate programs are also known as reseller, referral and associate programs. Affiliate programs are a revenue-sharing idea that aims to give retailers much needed traffic and also give website owners opportunities to get paid for advertising. They are easy and risk free to set up and maintain.
All affiliate programs vary in how they operate, particularly with commissions and payments. Information about these different features is available at the retailer's web site, so read it carefully before joining.
On our New Webmaster's Resource Website, we have included a list of links to the affiliate programs that we are currently working with at www.saltspring.com/art/Target.htm. This list may change depending on how they perform, so check back with us to see how they are doing and what new ones we've added. There are many affiliate programs to choose from, so when choosing one, it's important to consider the content of your site and look for a company that best fits it. . Banners and buttons that don't relate to your site, will often be ignored and can also make your site look too commercial. Select banners that integrate nicely with your site. For example; if your site is health related, search out companies selling herbs, nutritionals or fitness equipment. Most affiliates do not require you to make a purchase in order to join. However, several programs offer excellent products and services that will help you become successful. The best one I've come across so far, is Declan Dunn's book, it's our No1 affiliate.
The process of joining an affiliate program is straight-forward. Registering with the retailers is done on-line at their web site and is followed by e-mail confirmation. Some will want to visit your site to check it out, and most only require the URL of the page where you intend to place their banner or link. They will supply you with the necessary HTML code to copy and paste into your web page. Make sure this is copied exactly as typed. Any errors will result in a link that doesn't work. A selection of company banners or buttons is usually available for you to choose from. Copy these to disk by clicking the right button and "save image". Many programs will store the banner on their site, remotely, and they will automatically appear on your site, when it is viewed on- line. Sites that store their own banner usually change them frequently.
Included in the HTML code will be your identity number. The retailer uses tracking software to record your identity number, number of hits, purchases and commission payable to your account. Associate programs are set up to give you real time, on-line access to your account information. If not, they should e- mail your stats to you regularly.
Some programs do not mail out your commission check until you have earned a certain amount, usually $100.00. Other programs will mail you a check each time you generate a sale.
If you select affiliate programs that are two-tiered, you will make commissions on sales made by the people who sign up under you; so if you sign up one or two real go-getters you could be getting more commissions from them than from your own efforts!
Once you have set up your affiliate site, you need to concentrate on trying to get people to your site. The more hits, you get to your site, the higher your chances are of getting commission checks.
Internet marketing is often referred to as a "numbers game". Out of the total number of visitors to your site, a portion of those will click through to the affiliate site. In turn, a certain percentage of those visitors will make a purchase. So if you want to make money, with an affiliate program, your efforts should be directed to getting traffic to your site.
Of course, as a webmaster, you were planning on doing that anyway, right?
©1999 by Penny George. All rights reserved.
Penny George's is an agent for West Coast artists and promotes their work on Cyberrgal Art. She also offers web design and women's resources. Contact Penny at [email protected]
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