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How To Be An Affiliate
Learning How To Be An Affiliate That Succeeds
Are you brand new to affiliate marketing or still learning? Here's a "basic" review of how to get started in affiliate marketing for someone brand new to it. Many people enter the affiliate marketing business wanting to learn how to be an affiliate so they can make lots of money working from home, and they have a variety of ideas and expectations, some of which may not be true and often expectations are too high.
Affiliate marketing is really just a partnership between a small group of people and when everyone works together, every partner wins and is happy. There's the merchant or retailer, you know, the person selling the final product. The Merchant wants help selling their products and services and pay you to do that. There is often a middle man (the Network) who serves to ensure that vendors and affiliates work on the same page and that everyone (including the customer) gets what is promised to them (think ClickBank and Commission Junction). Of course there's an Affiliate (you). And then there's the Customer who everyone hopes will make a purchase.
Learning how to be an affiliate means more than skipping straight to the money making part, you need to understand the customer if you hope to have any success. You can't start a marketing project and THEN hope to learn about the customer; that truly is getting the cart before the horse. So before you do anything find your niche, that part of the market you intend to market products and service to, or write for. Then you can start to get an idea of what it is you want to sell or market, and evaluate which segment of your niche market (very specifically, which people) would have an interest in it and why... what does it do for the customer, how much is it worth, do they need it or want it, and why should they get it from you? Answering these questions will help lay a solid foundation on to which everything else is built.
Overview of Affiliate Marketing
Learning how to be an affiliate is really simple, but the work that goes into being a successful affiliate (one that earns a sizable income) isn't necessarily easy... but it can be fun and rewarding. First have a good understanding of the relationship between the four main partners involved in affiliate marketing. Each partner relies on the others in one way or another, and it's important to partner only with people and companies you can trust and which aren't likely to damage your business reputation. Likewise, treat your customers well and only direct them to products or services you think can really benefit them. While you don't have to purchase every product or service you sell (most affiliates don't), you should spend some time reading reviews and the Merchant's website(s) to ensure you like what you see and can comfortably recommend it. Plus it just makes sense to know as much as you can about the products you're selling.
Identify a niche (a very specific segment of the consumer market) and keywords that you will build your site and articles around. The more specific the better. A site selling beach towels will be buried beneath MILLIONS of websites selling beach towels, some of them with much higher page rank, website age, back links, etc... than you. But, if you get very specific like, say, Hanna Montana Beach Towels, and use that keyword richly throughout your content, then you'll have a fair shot of ranking. The niche and keyword(s) you select will be what you use to determine which products and services you will market to the customer base in that niche. You will of course research the niche to get to know your customers before attempting to market to them. If there's one thing everyone learning how to be an affiliate should know it's know your customers (which means you understand their needs and motives).
To sell the products you are affiliated with you'll either design a website or blog, or write articles to market them. There are many variations and additional methods to market, but for the sake of this beginner's lens we're sticking with the basics. On your website or blog you will write quality content "directly" related to the specific niche market that you've selected. This step is important because Google (and other search engines) will evaluate your site based on objective algorithms which attempt to determine the number of words (and related words) which appear most frequently, and those which are most common are used to form your "theme" and the market where Google places you. But don't try fooling the search engines by spamming keywords; their algorithms are now quite advanced and they can tell if the content you provide makes any sense and is "natural." So it's imperative that your content be designed around your niche, your keywords and the products you are selling. It used to be the case that you could identify yourself what your site's keywords were, but due to excessive spamming Google now evaluates your site content itself and determines what your keyword (or target market) should be, based on the content YOU provide.
Finally, after all of that you have to get your content, your website or blog, in front of the customer, and the only real way to do it (for free) is to get ranked highly on Google and other search engines so people find YOU when they search for your product. Besides the quality content we spoke of already, Google uses other methods to evaluate your site. For example, it looks at backlinks as an indicator of a site's popularity. A backlink is simply your website being listed (linked to) on another website. There are entire lenses written just about backlinks, so you will certainly need to dig more into this more as you move forward. My intent is to give you more information about what's involved in affiliate marketing. For a great intro also check out Wikipedia's article on how to be an affiliate.
Nuts & Bolts Of Affiliate Marketing
How To Be An Affiliate - What's Involved
As an affiliate your goal is to attract and direct customers to a Merchant who you have an agreement with. You may receive a percentage of the sales or a flat commission. Most of the large retail companies like Sears, Amazon and even Dick's Sporting Goods, offer you a percentage of the sales for all customers you send their way. You can be an affiliate for almost every product or service imaginable, from vitamins to music. Almost all of the companies use tracking cookies to ensure that you get credit for sending a customer to them, even if the customer waits a day or two to make a purchase. Other Merchants you may team up with through ClickBank or other Network will likely offer you a flat percentage of the sale, and they also (for the most part) use tracking cookies to ensure you get credit for sending them a customer. You can use a variety of means to get customers to your affiliated Merchants, from text links and banner ads on your own sites or articles, to e-mail marketing and advertising with places like Google Adsense. Many, if not most, of the Merchants provide you with banners and text ads that are ready for you to use.
A Look At The Players
The Customer: They are searching the internet for something to solve a need they have, to fix a problem or to fill a desire. Your job as you learn how to be an affiliate marketer is to figure out what those needs, problems and desires are and to serve them. Think of your own experience as a customer- when you're treated well you may come back, and you may even tell your friends about it. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. But knowing all of that STILL doesn't get them to click your ad or banner, you have to learn some basics about consumer motivation, what gets them to act. Specifically you'll want to make sure that your call to action inspires action. Plenty of affiliates have found themselves in a high traffic situation only to be befuddled by a low click through. I had one website sitting on page one of a high volume keyword and wasn't getting the traffic that I should, and after re-evaluating my website's description (what the customer see's in Google search) I discovered that I wasn't meeting the needs of the people searching using that keyword... it all comes down to your keywords, the people searching with that keyword, and what it is THEY want, and finally what will make THEM take action.
You, The Affiliate: You want to earn a nice income, passive and residual if possible. Whatever your circumstances, whether you're working part-time as an affiliate or making a go of it full-time, you want to make money from your efforts and you want your efforts to have long lasting (residual) effects and you want your work to serve as seeds that grow and allow you to earn passively (without much maintenance from you) after you've planted those seeds. That means completing all of the steps we'll discuss later in this 'how to be an affiliate' lens. In some instances you may be referred to as the "publisher." You will design and promote a website and/or blog, write quality articles for various articles directories and maybe even other peoples blogs, promote your websites and articles across the web, advertise your business for free by using keywords to get your website and articles ranked high on Google searches, or advertise your business by paying for advertising to get customers to your site. And yes, you can be an affiliate without a website or blog; at least one person I know of makes a VERY nice income (over $100,000 a year) from doing nothing but writing articles everyday on the same niche and directing customers to her affiliate landing page.
It's A Partnership For Success
The Network or Middle Man: This may be ClickBank, Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network (GAN has since closed), LinkShare, ShareASale or any of the dozens of others you can choose to work with. (See Network List Below) Most of the reputable companies strive to keep everyone honest and behaving like professionals, and make sure that everyone gets exactly what they were promised. Most of them also have training available to help you as you learn how to be an affiliate and to make money. These networks are the backbone of the industry and choosing who you are going to work with isn't something to take lightly. The right companies will protect your reputation and help you earn pretty good money... and the wrong ones can trash your reputation and kill your hard work. As an example, lets say a Merchant guarantees a customer that they can get their money back if not completely satisfied but when the customer tries to get a refund they get no where; this ultimately reflects back on you because you sent the customer there. A good Network would intervene on behalf of the customer to ensure them a refund, as promised, thereby protecting their own reputation and yours.
If you work with a Network you will almost always be paid by them since they require all sales to go through their checkout, which ensures that the Customer gets their product (proof of purchase), the Affiliate (you) gets their commission and the Merchant gets their part of the sale. Virtually all of the Networks require you to fill out an application and provide some personal information, which includes things like your date of birth and Social Security Number (for US affiliates, varies in other countries). They need this information because they are hopefully going to be paying you commissions and have to report your earning to the government for tax purposes. Most of the networks are also free to join; they earn their money by getting a portion of all sales. I wouldn't join a Network that wanted me to pay to work for them. It's worth noting that many (if not most) of the Affiliate Networks require you to have a website before they'll approve your account. So you may have to design a website or blog beforehand (you can of course change it all you want afterward).
As you can see in the diagram below, while it looks very busy and complicated, the bottom line is that every partner in the affiliate marketing relationship really does touch or interact with each of the others in one way or another. It's not important to discuss the how or why at this point of your journey, just that you understand why its important to know and trust who you're affiliating with, and that you treat your customers well.
The Merchant: This is the person or company who is ultimately selling a product or service that you are trying to get customers to purchase. The merchant can be an individual selling a proprietary product or service, a small company or a large retailer like Amazon.com or even giants like Sears. The commissions vary greatly- many retailers pay a percentage ranging from 4 - 15% of the sales you generate, while some of the individual or company merchants pay upwards of 75% commissions (on a $50 product, for example, you can see that earning a nice income isn't too awfully hard). Choosing who you want to work with is an important decision because you are staking your name and credibility on the Merchant you promote and send customers to. If customers get scammed or are otherwise unimpressed with your recommendation (where you sent them), you may never see them again and before long you can forget having success as an affiliate. Learning how to be an affiliate means understanding these relationships and what each of them means to you; understanding this will keep you on track and moving towards the prize... a nice income from affiliate marketing.
Working In Affiliate Marketing - Eliminate The Learning Curve
So many people enter the writing/blogging/internet marketing arena in the hopes of making extra money or even a full time income, only to find that they can't quite get there. The problem isn't necessarily with the venue; there are a lot of people making a lot of money doing the same things others fail at. The problem is in the delivery and execution, and making your work count in the right ways and right places, AND knowing that it takes time. Most affiliates give up when they don't start earning quick enough. Stay focused and work hard... it'll all fall together and you'll love the rewards.
Follow The Path Of Affiliate Success
Finding What Works
You can tread your own path, for sure, but there have been so many people take the journey that you now find yourself on that it only makes sense to seek out and learn from their experiences and tips (here on Hubpages and across the web). The learning curve can be quite significant, so significant in fact that many people attribute it to the vast number of those affiliates who never make any money and ultimately give up. That being said, no matter how you approach your new career as you learn how to be an affiliate marketer you will need to do certain things if you hope to have any success... these are the basics of network marketing that are not only tried and true, but represent the only legitimate way to make real money as an affiliate. For example, when people talk about niches and keywords there's a reason for it... keywords are literally your "key" to the traffic you hope to attract. And a niche is a specific segment of a market. People don't type in a search box (for the most part) something generic like 'food recipes.' Instead they generally type in something more specific like 'best Hungarian recipes.' Besides, it's easier to build content around a specific niche than a broader subject (usually) and it's easier to get specific traffic for a niche website.
The internet is based on names and numbers- the only way that people can find information or that you can get it to them is using names and numbers in one form or another. The customer types a name or phrase into a Google search box, for example "How To Do Wood Working," and the results that Google provides them is nothing more than information that people like you and I have provided in our articles, websites and blogs. Google ranks all known information they have indexed based on a number of factors, and that is the point of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and your goal, your primary objective (unless you're doing paid advertising) is to have YOUR website or information on the first page of Google so people searching for your type of information find YOU and not someone else. SEO is something you will become much more familiar with as you move along on your journey. Some argue that SEO is over-rated and that content is King. I would agree that content is king, but without at least giving SEO some consideration no one will ever know about your kingdom.
If you have a website about wood working and your research leads you to believe that people who type in the phrase 'How To Do Wood Working' will be your primary target, then that is one of the keywords you list for your website and which you will build into the content of your website or articles. More about that coming up. The main thing you should know right now is that while you CAN make money as an affiliate marketer, it takes time. In fact ideally you should give yourself a full year before you expect to see any significant income as an affiliate working on your own and learning as you go.
As an affiliate make sure you have a reasonable expectation and stick to your plans. It takes time to see it, but the rewards really are worth it for those willing to put in the time and effort.
The Reader's Pulse
Either from personal experience or your expectations based on what you've read here or elsewhere, which of the following is the leading reason that new affiliates make less money than they could?
How To Be An Affiliate - Putting Together The Pieces
Step 1 - Scratch The Niche
Let's roll up our sleeves and put some of these basic pieces together so you have at least a better understanding of what it means to work as an affiliate.
This is the first step for a person looking to break into affiliate marketing. Some would argue to find something that interests you to market first and then build your keyword list around that, but I feel like you can always find the right product or service for a niche, getting the right keyword that you can work with, within a niche, is more tricky. And as someone just learning how to be an affiliate you run the risk of getting too subjective if you attach too closely to a product too soon... remember, your goal is to make money, nothing more. Ok, that is unless you're doing this for pure fun or philanthropic reasons.
Think of your Keyword as the address to your niche website, it's how most people find you. The term "Keyword" could be referring to a single word or a phrase; whatever it is that someone might type into a Search Box that you want to be found for. If your Keyword is 'best coffee makers' then it is one of 10,000,000 websites targeting that Keyword, too... how difficult do you think it will be to get on page one of the search results? But if your Keyword were more specific, say "best coffee makers with thermal carafe" then you would only be competing against 350,000 other websites. It's true that customers will find you in other ways, but for this entry level 'how to be an affiliate' lens we'll stick with Google searches. As we've already discussed, keywords are what helps Google determine the relevancy of your website or article, and if Google thinks that you're highly relevant to the search term (your keyword) then you'll have a better chance to be on the first page of the search results, and THAT is how you get people to your site.
So your site or article must be filled with great, unique content about the keyword(s), the subject you're targeting, and also heavily use the actual keywords in your titles and throughout the body, so when Google scans your site it knows exactly what you are about. Use the Primary Keyword in your page title, headers and of course sprinkled throughout the body of your page(s). You also want to use variations of your keywords so it looks natural to Google and they'll be more likely to rank you better. For example, if your Keyword is Blue Beach Towels then you'll want to use Blue Towels, Beach Towels, towels for the beach, towels, beach towels in blue....scattered throughout the site. Lame examples, maybe, but you get the idea. Here's an article I wrote about Friendship Bracelet Patterns. You'll notice that the titles use the keyword or a variation of it, and I've used my keywords throughout the article body. Here is another great example of an article which uses appropriate keywords throughout.
Looking for your niche and keywords takes some time and a fair amount of skill. You will need to know about and use Google's Adwords Keyword Tool. Just click on Tools and Analysis and then Keyword Tool. From this screen you'll see an area to enter a "Word or phrase" and so enter something to see how popular and competitive it is in Google searches. The data box below the area you entered your word or phrase in will contain data like Competition, Global Monthly Searches, Local Monthly Searches, and Approximate CPC.
"Competition" gives you an idea of how many people are competing (in terms of advertising) for the keyword; the more competition it has the more difficult it will be to get ranked high in Google searches, and if you're just figuring out how to be an affiliate for sure stick with low competition keywords (I do anyways, it just makes more sense). Just below that Google shows you similar keywords and their values and that is where you'll find most of your gold. If you search for 'help with wood working" but find it very competitive, and below you see that Google also provided data for a similar keyword that isn't competitive and has high traffic, say 'wood working tutorial," then you may be better served with that keyword instead. Remember the saying: Riches Are In The Niches
"Global Monthly Searches" & "Local Monthly Searches" tells you how many people are searching every month (an average) using that specific keyword either globally, or locally if you entered in specific search terms like United States and English (the local results would only include searches from within the United States).
"Approximate CPC" (Cost Per Click) is also an important number because it helps you understand how competitive a keyword 'really' is. If a word has a CPC of say $10, then advertisers are paying Google roughly $10 for every person who clicks on their ad which is based on that keyword. But here's the real important thing about this data, in my opinion. Knowing the CPC for a keyword you now know how much money you can make from having Google Adsense advertisements on your page if you target that keyword, too. If the keyword is 'Blue Bahama Beach Towels" that people are paying $10 per click for, I might be tempted to compete for that keyword "IF" there's enough traffic to justify it and it's not overly competitive. Some keywords only have a $1 CPC and you can see that it takes a lot of clicks to make any real money like that.
So when you're selecting your keyword and niche make sure that there's 1) enough traffic to justify your hard work (and it IS work getting ranked and visible), and make sure you can realistically get ranked for that keyword. If you type in 'laptop computer' in the Keyword Tool you'll see that it has a VERY high competition rate (.89), and when typed into a Google search you find that there are 47,200,000 webpages which Google thinks might be a match for that keyword.... the chances of YOU getting on page one of a Google search for 'laptop computer' are very slim, and certainly for someone just now learning how to be an affiliate or without spending some money to get there.
Step 2 - Serve Your Customers With Content & Offerings
Alright, you have your niche and keywords chosen now you have to think about your customers. Imagine it as if you've invited them over for dinner, what will THEY expect and what will YOU give them? You want to match their expectations as closely as possible, because if the come to your house for a backyard BBQ and find that instead you're having a shirt and tie social, they won't be too pleased with you. As I stated earlier, rule number one for anyone just learning how to be an affiliate is get to know your customers.
You can find out what your customers are looking for (those who use the keyword you're targeting) by looking at the pages of your competition; those who already rank on the first page of Google for those same keywords. The internet isn't new, if people are ranking on page one then most likely they are meeting the needs of that customer base. So you want to be creative and convince these customers that YOU, not the other guys, are the one who can give them what they're looking for. You need to start by developing rich content that helps them solve a problem or answer a question. If you skimp on quality content you won't last long. Why? Because you may very well get ranked on page one of the search results page to start out, but if people click on your page and "quickly" leave because you had nothing to offer, then Google will see that bounce rate and drop you in the rankings. Plus word of mouth can help your site, yes, but it can really hurt your site as well. If you studied your competition then you can see what these customers are looking for, so lay it on and show them they came to the right place (your site).
But let's say you do manage to get these people to your website or blog (or article you've written like this one), what do you have that they might be interested in buying or learning more about? The products and services you offer MUST match the customers needs, wants or desires or you are wasting your time. If your Keyword is "iPhone 4s" then your article or website must have a lot of content relevant to that Keyword, AND the products or services you're offering should reflect what someone searching for "iPhone 4s" might be interested in. There are exceptions but this is a basic guide for new affiliates and I'm not going to confuse the issue by going too deep.
When you begin selecting a product or service that you want to market, you'll likely join ClickBank or one of the many other Affiliate Networks. From the member pages most of them offer a description and analysis of their products that you can offer to your customers, and specifically you'll want to look for which products are already having success... there are plenty of crap products and merchants, so save yourself some time and trouble by sticking with what you know works. Even at places like Commission Junction, when you look at specific retailers you might want to partner with, they will show which specific ads or campaigns are having the most success within their portfolio. The bottom line is match your customer's need with high quality products and services, and stick with partners who have a proven record of success. As you're already seeing, there is a lot of work in learning how to be an affiliate, but like with most things the hard work you put in now will pay off in the long run.
When you sign up with a Merchant you'll be given a unique link which is how the Merchant or Network can make sure the right affiliate gets credit for a sale they referred. This link will direct customers to a Merchant landing page (or sales page). This is where the Merchant connects with the customer and describes the service or product that's being sold. Because almost all of these landing pages are sales pitch heavy, typically you're main goal is to get qualified customers to visit the landing page (by qualified I mean I people who might legitimately be interested); you can't have an add that reads 'Win $1million Here' and then direct them to a landing page for a woodworking training manual.
List Of Affiliate Networks
Here's a list, albeit a short one, of some of the more well known Affiliate Networks. I personally use ClickBank, Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, Amazon Affiliate Network, Pepperjam Network and several national retailer's affiliate programs. You'll have to check them out to see which ones offer programs, products and services you like. Always remember that as many Affiliate Networks as there are, there are many more opinions about which is best.... the best one is the one that works best for YOU. These are all non-referral links.
· Clickbank - http://www.clickbank.com/
· Google Affiliate Network (Google has dropped this program)
Step 3 - Build Your Site
You now know what your niche is and the keyword(s) you'll be targeting, and you know what your customer profile looks like and so have decided on a group of products to offer them and have some solid ideas about the content you'll use to attract them. Now it's time to build a home in which you can put all of that together. Many successful affiliates use a free blog as their platform (it might be a good idea, too, for someone just now learning how to be an affiliate). WordPress is perhaps the most popular. You can host it for free at WordPress.com. You can also use some of the other free blogging platforms like Blogger, which is popular, too.
Alternatively, and the best solution in my opinion, is to create and register your own domain (www.yourname.com) because it gives you a degree of respect (though how much is questionable)- both Google and customers may see you as more legitimate and established if you have your own domain. Additionally, and more important to me, is that you can use your keywords in your new domain. So if your keyword is "Blue Beach Towels" then you would try and get the domain www.blue-beach-towels.com. Always use hyphens when possible in your domain and in the article url when you have the choice. Why? Search engines view bluebeachtowels as one weird word, while blue-beach-towels is viewed as the three words it is; so it gives you an added use for your keywords. Just don't get too carried away... blue-beach-towels-embroidered-and-fresh-from-puerto-rico might be taking it too far.
If you choose to go with your own domain, you can use a service like Netfirms which only charges $7 or $8 for a yearly domain registration and has really good customer service... I use them myself (if you do a coupon search you can usually even save another 10% or more at Netfirms). Once you own your own domain you have to choose a web host... I have to emphatically say that you should NOT be putting your heard work, your investment into your future, in the hands of a free web host.
There are lots of reasons, but read this article on how to start blogging for a better idea of exactly why its important to get a reliable host. In summary, related to web hosts... for $3 or so a month there is NO reason to risk all your work on a free web host, don't do it.
Now that you have your domain you'll have to decide what platform you're going to use- a regular website or a blog. If you go with a regular website you'll need to decide how you're going to design it... do you have the skills and tools (web design program) to do it? I've never been formally taught on how to build web pages or WordPress blogs, I just rolled up my sleeves and dug in. If you decide to build your own website I can tell you that I bought and used CoffeeCup Visual Site Designer early on; it is REALLY limited (but easy)... you're pages won't impress anyone. I then bought Microsoft's Web Expression Design 4 hoping to get more features. It is robust and quite capable, for sure, but I didn't like the feel of it for a novice (me). Then I found xSitePro and I'll never go back to any of the others. For someone like me who doesn't know the technical stuff of making a website, xSitePro is awesome (but expensive).
Blogs are increasingly the most popular, and easiest and most affordable choice (and my preference). I feel like Google gives them preference, too. You can have someone build your WordPress blog for you. Fiverr.com is really good for that kind of outsourcing and I used it early on to get help with my WordPress installs (now it's a breeze and I zip through it myself). If you haven't used Fiverr before, basically people are offering their services (for whatever you can think of) and they charge only $5 to do it. So you can easily get someone to set up your blog on the host you chose and with the domain you've registered. You'll probably find that Fiverr.com is great for many other things as well, like very affordbale backlinks and SEO services. Be careful not to get your website blacklisted by Google for unsavory backlinking practices, but there are some Fiverrs with pretty good gigs.
If you do go it alone setting up your own blog (go ahead, give it a shot) here are easy install instructions for WordPress and you'll see that its really simple. WordPress is essentially just the platform, or structure of the blog. You personalize it with a theme (like a skin) and plug-ins that help you do certain things. Setting it up with themes and plugins may be more challenging for a newbie, but the good thing is that since you're learning how to be an affiliate, that as you grow your business and start setting up more and websites and blogs you'll be able to do it quickly.
You can become an affiliate without any website at all simply by writing high quality articles (frequently) and directing readers to your affiliate landing page(s). The affiliate I referred to earlier who makes over $100,000 a year from article writing alone says she writes at least one article EVERY DAY. So you can see that after a year of non-stop writing on her very specific niche she would have had over 365 articles and become an expert in Google's eyes, ranking number one for her keyword (or close to it). But that is ALL she does and those articles will never go away, so she's created nice residual and passive income from her efforts. As I mentioned earlier, most Merchants will provide their affiliates with tools such as banners and images to use in their articles and on their websites.
If you are the determined sort, and someone who really digs in, you can make yourself a 1 year challenge. Each day of the week, Monday through Friday, write one blog post on your own blog, or one Hubpages article related to (and tied in to) your blog and your specific niche. If you follow good SEO practices, using keywords and good content, within 1 year you will have an established blog earning you a nice, long term and residual income... of that I am almost certain.
Your approach in article marketing is the exact same as if you were building a blog or website... choose a niche and keywords, get to know the customers in that niche, choose products or services to market, then write very high quality articles around that niche and keyword(s) and direct customers to the landing page(s). Some article directories do not allow you to direct customers directly to an affiliate landing page (the Merchant's sales page), for example Ezine Articles doesn't allow it, so you may ultimately need to create a one or two page (though 4 or 5 would be better), quality content website and refer your article readers there to your website, and from your website refer them to the affiliate page. And there are dozens of Article Directories you can write for, like Hubpages here (a favorite), Squidoo and Infobarrel.
Finally, search out the people who are having great success and try to learn from them. Some are in the form of free blogs, others are paid services. If you visit my article about the Amazon Money Machine you'll learn more about how to find success without taking out a loan to get there.
Article Directories You Can Submit Your Articles To
Here's a list of the top article directories based on Alexa Traffic and Page Rank. I've omitted the sites that do not offer "do follow" backlinks since good backlinks are important to most affiliate marketers. Source: http://www.vretoolbar.com
Which Is YOUR Top Affiliate Network
Let's get an idea from the Hubpages community which networks you're using the most. Which of the networks that I've listed would you say is your top performer or which you prefer the most? Thanks.
Step 4 - Take It To The Masses
Not following up now with proper advertising and social awareness techniques is like getting all dressed up and having no where to go. Your great website and all that awesome content does little good if you can't get it ranked in Google or get people to it.
You've Researched, partnered and built... now you have to take it to the masses, you know, let everyone know that you're online and ready to go. Many people just learning how to be an affiliate mistakenly think that once they've done all of this hard work and have their site online that traffic will start to filter in. Sadly, it doesn't and it won't. It is up to you to advertise and market your site. There are countless ways to do it, and on Hubpages there are a lot of sites dedicated to this very topic (driving traffic to your website) so search here and you'll easily find enough detailed resources to get you through it.
In this guide for beginners I'm only touching on the surface of what you'll need to do. Right now, getting the word out about your site, will be the make or break for your efforts. If no one knows about you, or cares to visit your site, nothing else matters because you'll never earn a cent. So assuming you put in the time and effort to pick an appropriate niche and keyword(s), wrote quality content, designed a nice appealing website (or blog), now getting the word out will be the crowning moment of your efforts and something you shouldn't slack off on. From bookmarking your site(s) or article(s) on social bookmarking sites to getting your friends and associates to like it on Facebook and Tweet about it, you have some work to do now to make sure people see your content.
But the good news is that you've now completed your first cycle as an affiliate marketer and now you can repeat this over and over, of course learning and polishing your abilities as you go. Regardless of which method you choose to promote your affiliate programs (website, blog or article marketing), learning how to be an affiliate that finds success really comes down to one thing... rolling up your sleeves and putting the work in. There is no magic pill or quick fix for making a lot of money in affiliate marketing. The people who have had a lot of success are the ones who have worked really hard it. Will you join the ranks of the ultra-successful affiliates?