An affiliate website is a pretty basic model. Simply put, the affiliate website attempts to sell products or services of other businesses. In return you are paid a commission for either direct sells or in some cases just for referrals or leads. The great thing about this model is that you don't have to worry about inventory or customer service. The bad thing is that you are limited as to what percentage of the profit you make from a sell.
After you decide what you want to sell, to get started you need to address three areas. First you need a website. Second you need products or services you can refer visitor so. Finally, you need people to visit your website. The great thing is that you can get all of these things for little to no money.
Selecting what you want to sell is an important first step. While the topic for another article, it is important that you select products or services that will be in demand and deliver buyers. Choices range from niche products that have relatively small but loyal buyers, for instance Yankees memorabilia fans, or a large buyer pool, for instance baseball memorabilia. Make sure you research the topic, find out who your competitors will be, and think about how you will best get buyers to come to your site.
Once you've decided what to sell, the first thing to do is get a website up and running. This can as simple as a blog site or as complex as a custom hosted website. While there are reasons for both ends, I recommend 'cutting your teeth' with a simple, free (or almost) website. Consider a free blog site from Google Blogger, or WordPress. You can get a relatively unique domain name for free and set-up is extremely simple. As an alternative, consider registering a domain with a hosting service like 1and1 or GoDaddy. You can get a basic website of a few dollars a month and have the advantage of having a completely unique domain like (your-products.com). If you have a website already, consider adding complementary affiliate links to the existing site. For instance in the Yankee's example, if you have a 'stats' site already in place, consider adding memorabilia affiliate links.
You've now got a place to sell your affiliate products now it is time to get products and services that you can sell. There are essentially two ways to go here. First you could find the products and services you want to re-sell and establish an affiliate relationship directly with the merchant. For instance maybe there is an artist who sells Yankee's lithographs. Directly established relationships likely will have a number of disadvantages, such as a lack of prepared marketing graphics or automated affiliate tracking. The advantage may be a higher referral fee. An alternative I recommend is to use an affiliate management service like Linkshare, Commission Junction or Shareasale. These services provide affiliate business site owners with affiliate relationships with potentially thousands of products, services and merchants. These services offer ready-made marketing and automated tracking of referrals and sales. The disadvantage is that the management service becomes a 'middle-man' who will get a small piece of referral profits. Again, for your first affiliate website I would definitely recommend using a management service.
Finally, you need traffic. Unfortunately, you are not the only person or business that will be selling whatever you are selling. That means you will have to compete for traffic. Again, there are whole articles, websites and books on the topic but you have to market your website to get traffic. Getting traffic to your website is an ongoing effort as for any business. You'll need to use a combination of marketing alternatives ranging from publishing free articles on sites like ArticleDashboard to paying for traffic through services like Google Adwords. While getting traffic to your website can take both time and money, any business has to consider this an investment in the business.
By creating a new website or adding affiliate links to your existing website affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn revenue. Get started with products or services you think will be valued by others. Set up a storefront to display your affiliate products and then drive traffic to the website. There are lots of great information sources on each component of an affiliate business. Take the time to explore these sources to get the most benefit.
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