Your website is growing in popularity and your visitor stats are doing well. Most likely you started monetizing your website by adding Google AdSense, but now you seek ways to complement your income. Adding Affiliate Links can be a great way to do so.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate Marketing revolves around commissions. You as a website owner can promote and even sell products for another business, and get paid for the revenue you generate. You can select what business and which products you promote. The beauty is in its simplicity (you don't need to invest in creating and selling products, you only need to promote products) and in the resulting win-win situation (you make money, your partner makes money and your visitor finds his product).
Sounds easy, right? Well, yes and no. It is incredibly easy to set up, but earning a substantial amount of money with it is difficult. You will need to experiment and find out what works for you.
The biggest advice I can give you is to be very careful at what products you promote, and how you do this. I only promote products/companies that I am familiar with and I never push my visitors to buy something. Not following this advice can greatly damage your reputation.Oscar, starttomonetize.com
There are different methods of Affiliate Marketing available to you:
Pay per Sale
This is the most common method and if someone refers to Affiliate Marketing, this is what they most likely point at. You get your commission when one of your visitors clicked on an affiliate link on your site and purchases products from your partner. Only when the purchase is completed will you get your share. Depending on what agreement you have with your partner, you get your share for the product you promoted on your site, or for the entire order that is made.
Pay per Lead
In some industries it makes sense to reward webmasters for generating leads instead of sales. A lead can be many things, but most often this means that after clicking one of your affiliate links, your visitor leaves his contact details with your partner. You get a fixed revenue per lead.
Pay per Click
Very similar to Google AdSense is the Pay per Click option; you get paid per click.
Selecting your Affiliate partner / Affiliate Marketing programs
There are tons of programs where you can register and select Affiliate companies and products. I am sharing with you the most important ones:
Amazon is absolutely huge and offers pretty much anything you can think of. Because your visitors will know and trust Amazon, promoting them is relatively easy. Amazon's commission program is named Associates. They offer a commission depending on how many revenue you generate, normally this means anything between 5 - 10%. This is less than you will get elsewhere.
Click here to sign up for Amazon's Associates program.
CJ is short for Commission Junction and they offer the biggest network of Affiliates. Their reporting tools are very convenient and will help you in your experiments to find out what works best for your site. If you don't find what you want to promote on your site here, good luck finding it elsewhere :-)
Click here to sign up for CJ Affiliate.
Share a Sale
Similar to CJ Affiliate, this is a big network with all the possible partners and products you will need. Their reporting is not as good though, so if you are just getting started perhaps you better try CJ first.
Click here to sign up for Share a Sale.
LinkShare has been around forever but is not as big as CJ and Share a Sale. A feature I like about their service is Ad Rotation. This means you can let LinkShare decide which ads work best for your site. If you don't mind spending time experimenting, pick one of the others.
Click here to sign up with LinkShare.
How to make money with Affiliate Links
As I said in the introduction, information about making money with Affiliate Marketing is quite difficult to generalize. One thing is obvious though; Affiliate Marketing works best if you promote products that you use and love. The more you are involved with these products, the better you will be at explaining why your visitors need them too!
You will need to experiment with what products do well on your site and how you place your Affiliate Links. Most important, you need to balance your quest for monetization with keeping your visitors happy.
Affiliate Marketing methods
There are several options available to add Affiliate Links to your site:
Specific product link
You have a product you like and in one of your articles you talk about it. This is the perfect example of how Affiliate Marketing can do wonders; you recommend a product and add a link to a store that sells it. The link is of course an Affiliate Link, so if one of your visitors clicks it and ends up purchasing the product, you get a commission. It depends on your partner agreement if you also get a share on other products that your visitor might purchase.
Instead of linking to an exact product, you link to a website that sells products/services. If your visitor buys anything through your referral, you get your share.
Depending on what your startup is doing exactly, this could be a very good option. Instead of recommending a product/service on an external website, you show products inside your own website, using a Shop-in-site. Amazon offers this option and it is quite easy to set up.
Specific product links and website links can also be added to your newsletters, and if your newsletters are popular, this could be very lucrative. Do check your agreement if you are allowed to do so though.
What products to offer
Affiliate Marketing has grown so big that it is safe to say that anything that sells on the internet can be promoted/sold from your website with Affiliate Links. The key to success is to offer the right products at the right spots. Take a good look at your website and decide, per page, what would fit there. I personally only add Affiliate Links if it really makes sense and only promote services/products that I like. This prevents visitors being annoyed because my website is too commercial. Finally, I can't recommend Pat Flynn's website enough for more information on all this, especially for his great posts on Affiliate Marketing.
On my website I talk about some of the products I love and if possible I use Affiliate Links to monetize these products. These are the best performing Affiliate Links on my site.Nils, trustmeimapsychotherapist.com
Affiliate Marketing; got it!
Well done! You are making great progress in monetizing your website.
Next up, bringing your startup to the next level. Time to grow big!