If you do business on the internet, you have probably heard of affiliate programs. Also called Associate Programs, these allow merchants to pay other websites to spread their products throughout the internet using ads and links. But, unlike a normal ad campaign, these ads are not (normally) paid for up front, allowing the merchant to mitigate expenses by only paying when someone fulfills a certain requirement, such as clicking on the ad or buying the product. But how can you harness the power of this process? How can you turn your business into an affiliate powerhouse? Simple answer is “carefully”, but there are quite a few things to know before you start in on this useful system. Without further ado, here are a few ways you can make money by using affiliate programs.

3. Remember, Quality is Key

No matter if you are becoming an affiliate site or creating your own, you need to make sure the content of your site is up to par. If you set your site up as an affiliate farm (i.e. your main purpose is to make money off of affiliate networks, rather than providing a service for your guests), then you are setting yourself up to fail. Not only is this going against Google’s terms of service, it also could make your site look like spam. This will dissuade customers from purchasing/clicking the links, and, effectively, end any chance you’ll have of making money from your affiliate program. The best way to become a merchant affiliate is creating a site which offers a useful service and high quality content to real guests, before adding in the merchant advertisement as a supplemental component. This way you’ll garner trust from your website visitors, and increase the flow of profit from the ads you have placed. There is no shortcut when it comes to affiliate networks; remember that!

2. Think before Paying for an Affiliate Program

If you are a merchant trying to acquire affiliates, the easiest thing to do is join an affiliate network; unfortunately, the easiest thing is also the most expensive. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself spending upwards of $5,000(!) in order to get your business into these networks, which may or may not pay dividends in the end. In my opinion, the best way to acquire affiliate sites is creating your own affiliate network, which you manage yourself. You will need to pay a bit of money for affiliate tracking software, but the price is normally in the $100.00 range, and the dividends will start paying a lot quicker in the end. Just remember; this is the more technical option, and it can be difficult to run your own affiliate network. But, if done right, you can make a ton of money and spread your brand faster than ever before. Here is some good affiliate program software to get you started, if you decide to take this route.

1. Choose Affiliates/Merchants that are in your Vertical

The biggest mistake prospective affiliates and affiliate merchants make is choosing affiliates which don’t relate to your business. If you don’t listen to anything else in this article, listen to this: do NOT choose affiliates or affiliate ads which do not pertain to the service you offer on your site. Not only are you less likely to convert any sales or acquire any clicks to the ad (a result of not catering to your audience), you’ll also have a big, unattractive advertisement that completely lowers the quality of your site, making you look like a spam site more than anything else. Just stick to your vertical, and cater to your audience; you’ll definitely be happy you did.

Overall, affiliate programs are a great way to spread your product or to make a bit of extra money on the side; but, they are completely useless if you don’t know how to manage one. Just follow these tips if you decide to set one up or join one. It may save your business, and it might just make you a bit of money at the same time!

Tyler Fleck is a writer who also makes money from an affiliate program on his website. He one day hopes to have enough passive income to retire and move to St. Kitts.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Melbourne Web Design & Online Marketing.