Affiliate Marketing and How To Use It

Your site has great content, a brilliant design and a mass following. You’ve reached the point where you think it might be time to start making some money off of it but where do you begin? The concept of those “tacky” ads taking up space and ruining the well thought out design of your site doesn’t appeal to you, but do you really have any other choice? The answer is a resounding and emphatic, “yes”. There are many ways to monetize your blog, however, one of the most painless ways appears in the form of affiliate marketing.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing refers to the act of promoting another company's product on your site. It is based on the concept that you will receive a share of the profits if anybody follows the advertising on your site and buys the product. This may sound like both a technical and laboured process but it actually functions extremely efficiently. Sites such as http://www.clickbank.com/ provide an extensive list of companies who are looking for their products to be promoted on other platforms and make it extremely easy to set up a relationship with a company. When it comes to the Internet one is always wary of a scam – no one wants to go out of his or her way to promote a product and then not be paid. However, it is actually extremely secure as sites such as ClickBank don't only set up the relationship between you and the company but facilitate all transfers of payment as well. To put it simply, the company you’re linked to doesn’t get paid unless you get paid.

Fatal Flaws of Other Money Making Methods:

So why should affiliate marketing be your go-to money making method? In short, it offers you all the earning potential with very little site design sacrifice. For example, sponsored ads generate very little income and can potentially turn your site into a flashing mess of spam. Let's be honest, sponsored links simply don’t look good and, furthermore, ask yourself this: when was the last time you actually (intentionally) clicked on one of those links? The answer for most people is probably leaning strongly towards, “never”. It’s a generally accepted fact that sponsored ads are, at the very least, seen as an annoying hindrance by most Internet users. Sponsored Ads have one other costly attribute: if clicked on they direct readers away from your site. If this redirection happens before they read your content then you might never see that reader again. Another option when it comes to monetizing your blog is to ask readers for donations towards your creative cause. This can be quite a rewarding strategy but it does pose the problem that you will always have to rely on other people’s generosity for your income which, to be honest, is really no way to live. Thus, we arrive at affiliate marketing.

The Benefits of Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing (when done correctly) really doesn't affect your site’s design or put constraints on your creativity. In fact, affiliate marketing can actually be quite beneficial when it comes to generating new content ideas, and has one very big advantage over other monetizing options, it gives you the power to promote goods that blend seamlessly into your site’s philosophy. For example, if you were running a gym and fitness blog, promoting certain supplements certainly wouldn't seem out of place and might even be appreciated by the reader. The trick to affiliate marketing is to only promote goods that you both believe in and fit the vision of your page. People simply won’t take your page seriously if you promote goods out of context of your site. For example, if you’re running a finance blog and start to promote muscle supplements, then you’re more than likely to start losing readers.

Be Warned!

Affiliate marketing is a powerhouse money-making method when done correctly but people should always be aware of how it can be used against them. The online world is filled with distrust, as it is exceptionally easy to be scammed. This is why reviews are so important when it comes to online business transactions. No person is ever going to buy a product offered online if 100 other previous buyers rated the good as less useful than a glass hammer. At the other end of the spectrum, if a product averages 5 stars per consumer review, is it safe to buy it? The answer is no, or more accurately, not always. Online sites have identified reviews as a key factor in a person’s decision to buy a product or not, and have thus begun to intentionally corrupt the review process. Major companies hire thousands of people to troll through the Internet and award their products high review scores in an effort to attract more customers. At its core, this is just another form of affiliate marketing. When buying a good it is vitally important to not only look at the average rating from previous buyers but to also read the actual individual reviews. If almost all of the 5 star reviews contain short generic descriptions such as ‘great!’ or ‘awesome!’ then it might not be a bad idea to treat that item like the plague or, at the very least, to get an informed second opinion on it.

On a fundamental level, the presence of affiliate marketing means that one should never accept something on the Internet at face value. In fact, everything should be treated with some degree of suspicion. For example, have you ever logged on and read a blog that assures you that a certain product will change your life? Affiliate marketing – almost definitely. It’s a sad state of affairs but, when it comes to the Internet, cynicism is almost always your friend.

Affiliate marketing really is a double-edged sword as it can make you money with very little risk attached but it has also played a fundamental role in the corruption of online markets. In short, remember only to promote goods that you believe in and to never treat a ‘’Life changing” Internet deal with too much enthusiasm. Be safe out there!

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