Building an Online Business with Affiliate Programs

What is an affiliate program?

You enter a partnership with a merchant where you send visitors from your web site to theirs using whatever creative marketing idea you develop. The merchant tracks those visitors from your link. If the visitor buys, you receive a Commission. This is also known as revenue sharing.

Affiliate programs are a very low risk option for you. The merchant handles the merchandise, the ordering, shipping and returns. Affiliate programs are free to join. All you need is a web site and Internet connection. There is one affiliate that doesn't require a web site for approval.

The merchant will supply the affiliate with the proper marketing tools such as banners and links. Some merchants will give you content to use on your site. Others take it even further and provide training tips and ideas on how to market their merchandise. The more information and support the merchant offers, the greater your chances of success.

Being an affiliate, You can make the mistakes by using some one else's products and a lot about eBusiness in the process. I learned quite a bit about business management by managing others businesses. So when I started mine many years ago, I avoided many of the mistakes start up businesses made. I wish I could have avoided all of them but that is how we learn.

You can start your affiliate business in your spare time since the merchant handles all the nitty gritty aspects of the business. No need to quite your current job.

If you already have an online business, you can use affiliate programs to enhance your current site.

A well planned affiliate program is a win-win for both the merchant and affiliate.

There are some facts you should know before starting your affiliate-based business.

Many people don't make money from their sites. They expect "money for nothing" They create a site of tacky banners offering no value or content. Don't believe the hype that all you need to do is put a banner and the cash will flow in. We learned that one the hard way.
Referrers must always click through your site for you to get credit. If the visitor doesn't buy the first time, you could loss the commission. Visitors rarely buy on the first visit. A few merchants offer to credit the purchase if they come back within 30 - 90 days after the first visit. Only one that I am aware of has genuine lifetime customers.
Merchants can terminate a program anytime.—Bummer! There goes your income after all that hard work.
Merchants can change commission structure. eToys recently did this to their affiliates. Their original commission was 25% then it dwindled to nothing in a two year span. Their last offer was $5.00 for any new customer. Affiliates retaliated by dropping eToys and signing up other toy merchants for their sites. Coincidentally, eToys stock dropped dramatically.
Affiliate programs are still an excellent option for an online business despite some the drawbacks. There are some excellent affiliate programs out there that are dedicated to their affiliates and want to help them succeed.

What can you do to determine the right affiliate program for you?

We have a Seven Point Check List on our site that you can use to evaluate the program and figure out if it worth your time and commitment. Print it out and go affiliate shopping. The majority of affiliate programs will be at least 3 points. Exceptional ones will have more then 3 points. If it has less than 2, run away from that program.

We have a section of some of the best affiliate building resources: Affiliate Reviews

How do you build an affiliate business with a substantial income ?

Stay Focused!!! What is the ultimate goal and purpose of your site. WRITE IT OUT. This helps when making decisions about programs, marketing, etc.
Build a Web site that SELLS with deadly effectiveness.
Develop a theme and a concept that leverages what you already know and love to do.
Take your check list and evaluate each program for fit and potential profit.
Read the agreement thoroughly.
Keep ONLY the best programs.
Attract targeted customers to your site
Offer value to your visitors. This keeps them coming back.
Become a Student. Learn. Read. Review. Always look for ways to improve your site, selling and writing skills, marketing, anything related to growing a business. This includes personal development.
Affiliate programs are not Get Rich by Doing Nothing.
Affiliates programs are not easy quick money.

They do offer you a way to take advantage of the eCommerce explosion.. Especially if you don't want the hassles of developing a product, taking orders and shipping. They cost very little to get up and running.

Are your ready to build a profitable Affiliate business?

Take our FREE Affiliate Master Course by sending a blank eMail to