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If you want to make money online, then affiliate marketing is a great way to achieve this in a relatively simple way.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
Affiliate marketing basically means that if you recommend someone to buy a product, you can get a cut of the sales. For example, if you get accepted into the Best Buy Affiliate Program and you write a blog entry that reviews a computer sold at Best Buy and you link to Best Buy in your blog, then if someone reads your blog, clicks on the link and buys the computer, you will get a cut of the profits. You can also make money through affiliate marketing by putting banners on your website. Then, when someone clicks on a banner from your website and makes a purchase, you can make money.
Why Is Affiliate Marketing Great?
Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money because there’s such a low cost of getting started. There are easy ways now for anyone to start a professional looking website without having to have any kind of computer programming background; you can look to start a website with Host Gator’s Website Builder, Weebly or a WordPress website.
On top that, since you’re helping promote someone else’s product you don’t have to have something tangible to sell yourself, so that makes your costs cheaper.
And since all of this is done online, this is a much better model to earn money without the possibility of you losing money because it’s not like you’ll be responsible for inventory that isn’t sold. What I mean is, this is a much better system then you having to purchase, say, makeup, you trying to sell it and then if you can’t, losing all that money. If you decide a few months from now you don’t want to do this anymore, you won’t really be out much money.
How Do I Find Affiliate Programs?
So now that you know there is a way to earn money online without having to invest a lot of money, I’m sure you want to get started.
There are a couple of different ways that most companies handle their affiliate programs.
- Through an affiliate network
- On their own
An affiliate network is sort of the “middleman” between you and the companies you’re promoting.
With the Best Buy example from earlier, the affiliate network Best Buy uses is called Rakuten Marketing.
Rakuten Marketing includes not just Best Buy but also a large number of companies that fall under 20+ broad categories (such as family, home & living, sports & fitness, etc). Other affiliate networks are similar.
So, if you want, you would first join the affiliate network, then apply for the various programs (like Best Buy) – more about that later.
The other way companies might run their affiliate program is by keeping it all in-house without the use of an affiliate network.
If you want to work with a specific company and you don’t see them in any of your affiliate networks, a good first place to check is in a sidebar or footer of that company’s website – they will often have a link to their affiliate program. You can also google the name of the company along with the word “affiliate”. If you still don’t see anything, you can always email them directly – I’ve done this before with mixed success, but it never hurts to try!
Here are some of the bigger name companies who have their own affiliate program that you’re probably going to want to work with no matter what your blog is about, because they sell virtually everything and you can probably find something to talk about that could include a link to one of these websites:
How Do I Find Affiliate Networks?
Now, if you are looking for affiliate networks where you can find companies (like with the Best Buy example), here they are:
*Please note that Awin does charge you $5 to join their program, but you can then get that money back once you start making money (think of it as a deposit). Since it’s only $5 it’s really not a big deal, but I did think I should mention that.
In order to start working with any company, you will need to be accepted into their affiliate program.
How Do I Get Accepted into Affiliate Programs?
So now I’m sure you’re wondering, how do I get accepted into affiliate programs? First of all, let me start by saying this may sound scarier than it actually is. Don’t assume that no one will want to accept you into their affiliate program
Well, the first piece of advice I would give you is start your website and make sure you already have content out there and blog posts before you contact anyone about affiliate marketing. Affiliate programs are less likely to work with a website with virtually no content; you want to show affiliate programs your website has something people want to visit.
Once you have established your website, you can go ahead and sign up for the affiliate networks I mentioned. Once you get into these networks, you can start looking for companies that fit your niche (example: if you run a blog about beauty tips, you might want to seek out beauty products). Don’t get discouraged if you get turned down; I have gotten turned down by affiliate programs at the beginning only to get accepted when I tried a few months later. Once affiliates see that you are making other affiliates money, they are more likely to want to do business with you. If you are having trouble getting accepted into affiliate programs, check out the more recently added programs with the affiliate marketing network. I have found that recently added programs are more likely to worth with you.
Once you are accepted into affiliate programs, you can start adding banners to your website and including links in your blog entries, which is not as hard as it may sound; for example, here is our video showing you how to add an Amazon Affiliate Link to a WordPress blog entry.