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Jul 29, 2008

What is an Affiliate Program and How Can it Make Me Money?

You may have heard the buzz terms, ‘affiliate programs’ or ‘associate programs’.  Chances are your think of them in one of two ways, either – it’s got to be another one of those Internet ‘work at home’ scams.  Or, “That’s just out of my league.”

Promoting affiliate programs is in fact an attractive and viable way to initiate multiple residual income streams.  It’s not a get rich quick scheme.  In fact, to be successful it takes a great deal of work and persistence.  It also requires flexibility and an inquisitive nature that embraces trying new ways of marketing until you find something that works for your target audience.

What is an affiliate program?  Thousands of established businesses set up affiliate programs in order to have people like you promote their products or services.  When you sign up for an affiliate program you are given a link with your own unique id embedded into it. 

With your own unique link it then becomes your job to promote the affiliate program and drive traffic to the businesses website.  You never handle sales or products, but each time an interested prospect visits the website through your link and actually purchases something you earn a commission. 

One of the most effective ways to promote affiliate programs is to find a subject that you are passionate about.  Something that (humility aside), you may even consider yourself an expert of.  Take that subject and develop a website that is devoted to it.

Building a website does not have to be intimidating.  There are a tremendous amount of resources available to you to help you build one.  You could also have the template of a website designed for you, or you could purchase a website at a price that may surprise you. 

Once you have your website built, you will submit it to the major search engines and every day set some time aside to promote your website.  At the same time, find affiliate programs that complement your content and ad their banner ads or text links to your website. 

Working with a subject you love insures that you won’t become bored with the website.  The more content that you add to your site and the more you promote it, the more traffic you will get.  It could take a good year to get the site to the point where you are actually surprised at how well it is doing.  At that point, it seems to almost effortlessly improve itself.

The key is to draw your visitors to the website because you have terrific content.  It is even more effective to offer a newsletter that your visitors can opt-in to.  This way you can send them monthly newsletters with articles that will interest them, convincing them to frequent your site over and over again.  You can also include the affiliate program links in your newsletters as well.

In the end, you have indulged in promoting a topic that you are knowledgeable and passionate about; while at the same time have initiated a residual income from. 

Now you will have even more expertise and confidence, and the next site will be a piece of cake!

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