by Kathryn Lively
For the Internet user who want to turn a simple website into an effective income generator, the buzzword to know these days is "affiliate." Browse the more popular merchant sites like Amazon.com, Overstock.com, and other big players and you may notice everybody is offering an affiliate program. Sign up today and earn a percentage of sales attributed to your site, read the promotional ads. You might think to yourself that it is too good to be believed, but in truth a well-constructed website can earn its owner money.
If enough thought and investment is put into the site, one may easily earn enough to devote energy to the site on a full-time basis. It may seem like a dream, but one must note that becoming a "super-affiliate," a person who is sustain solely through affiliate earnings paid out by different merchants, requires work. Being an affiliate involves more than just setting up a website and waiting for the profits to roll in. First, you must know what to do, what to sell, where to get the products, and how to sell them. Thorough research of the world of affiliate marketing will give you the knowledge you need to succeed on the Internet.
Learning About Affiliates
In the Internet world, an affiliate is somebody who signs on with an online merchant to sell products from his website, e-mail newsletter, or online forum. An affiliate doesn't have to buy and store product at home, but merely adjust his Web space to include point of sale links to the different products for which he wishes to earn money. The owner of a baseball website, for example, may join affiliate programs for sporting goods stores or sports collectibles stores, and provide links and graphics for baseball cards, equipment and memorabilia. Visitors who click-through to merchant sites from the affiliate sites are tracked by special HTML code, and as each visitor buys from the merchant, the affiliate gets a percentage of the sale.
Seems like easy money, but in reality a number of affiliate programs offer 10%-20% of the sale price to affiliates. For a website owner to make money as an affiliate, visitors must be compelled to visit often and buy often. Affiliates must choose products wisely, and offer enough content on site to keep traffic high.
Setting up Shop
It is important for your affiliate site to look as professional as possible. Purchase a domain name conducive to your selling points, and webspace. Free site space is already cluttered with ads, and long URL strings are difficult for visitors to remember. Choose a template and color scheme that is attractive yet not distracting, and present your links and sale banners for the products you wish to sell visible and working properly.
Maintain a focus on one style of product as you sell. Let the Amazons and Overstocks of the world remain the clearinghouse. Select one corner of the pie as your own for promotion. Whether you choose health products, sporting goods, books or food, design your site around the products. Entice potential customers with strong content and articles. Employ SEO tactics like site submission, good META data and a weblog for regular updates about your products and related topics. Become an expert on the products and topics and write articles for other sites, encouraging them to link back to you for popularity.
As you foster your affiliate site, you may see traffic grow and eventually sales attributed to your work. The important thing to remember about building an affiliate site is to not treat it as merely an overgrown link to a product on another site, but as a database of knowledge, a place visitors can view more than once, and buy again and again.
Kathryn Lively is a writer and affiliate manager for Nutranique, Inc. She helped start the affiliate programs for FlowCushion, the alternating air pressure seat cushion for travel, for RainFloresta, distributors of acai and other products from the Amazon, and for Compuslim, offering hoodia appetite suppressants.