Start An Affiliate Program

Monitize Your Web Site

Start an affiliate program -- when you start an online business.

When you start an affiliate program, you are not only selling your products and services - but you can sell the products and services of other businesses. Selling products and services of "affiliated" businesses can be a "force multiplier" for your on-line business - especially when the affiliate company allocates a large portion of their budgets to media promotion and advertising.

To start an affiliate or associate program - first, study the best!

We'll show you what makes a great affiliate program - and what doesn't! Agree with us or not, you'll get a TON of useful information.


What is an affiliate program, and how does it work is the first question to ask when you start an affiliate program.

  • A merchant has something to sell online, and has set up a great sales-oriented website to "make the sale" - and then will start an affiliate program. Besides using merchant's own efforts to promote their site to attract qualified buyers, merchants want to "hire" other on-line businesses to also refer targeted customers. So, merchant will start an affiliate program and agrees to pay a commission to webmasters whose referred visitors make a purchase. These other webmasters do not "sell" the merchant's product, they "PREsell" - "warm up" their visitor and send them to the merchant's Web site in an open-to-buy frame of mind.

    ** Important Concept **

    The web site of an affiliate should concentrate on PREselling...

    while the merchant's web site should concentrate on selling...

    Each is a specialized function and requires a different approach, style and construction techniques. One of the worst abuses we see repeatedly on the Web is not separating them clearly and effectively. Even large and expensive web sites make the mistake of either...

    - mixing and confusing both types of activities, or

    - not establishing either function.

    Both are fatal errors... simply because the visitor is not established on a clear path to the ultimate sale, so the visitor wanders or gets lost... and goes elsewhere!

  • The webmaster gets a unique code from merchant's affiliate program when he/she joins and that code is used to track the visitor when he/she goes to merchant's web site. Many affiliate programs just set the identifying cookie to last for a short period of time [perhaps 24 hours, some only for the duration of the visit to merchant's site]. If the visitor doesn't buy within the short time the cookie is set, the visitor is no longer identified with the referring web site and there is no commission paid to that web site.

  • The visitor buys a product and merchant pays commission to referring web site. Usually, the merchant looks after all the details, such as...

    • processing credit cards
    • shipping products
    • customer support

    When you start an affiliate program, what features should you look for in a good affiliate partnership?

    • Quality product. If you're an affiliate, why waste effort, time and money promoting something that is not high quality? You won't be able to build a solid and lasting business anyway because your visitors won't trust you. As a merchant, you won't be able to attract the best affiliates...
    • High commission. Should be in the 25 to 40% area. But beware, sometimes shoddy / over-priced products with no lasting value to your buyer offer much higher commissions.

      At the other end of the scale, many programs offer relatively low commissions. We are currently evaluating our experience with some of these programs.

    • Lifetime commission. Many affiliate programs just set the identifying cookie to last for a short period of time [perhaps 24 hours, some only for the duration of the visit to merchant's site]. If the visitor doesn't buy within the short time the cookie is set, the visitor is no longer identified with the referring webmaster and there is no commission paid to that webmaster.

      Good affiliate programs not only set the cookie for longer, up to a maximum of 10 years, they also use database tracking on the merchant's system. So, whenever a visitor that has been "tagged" and referred comes back to the merchant and buys, the merchant credits the referring webmaster and pays the commission. This long-term cookie and data-base backup enables the merchant to refer to providing you with a "lifetime customer" [as opposed to a short-term or single-visit customer, which the merchant almost NEVER MENTIONS, for obvious reasons].

      Now that really is looking after affiliates!

    • Lifetime affiliate team. So, we've looked at the rate of commission, and how long the visitor is identified as "belonging" to the referring affiliate... now there's one more really good feature to look for.

      A second tier or level of affiliate. In this situation, the first affiliate also brings other affiliates into the program, and these second level affiliates are identified as belonging to the first affiliates team. The first affiliate earns a smaller commission on sales that come from the second affiliates referrals.

      Ah-ha, you think... this is multi-level-marketing, and that is not good. Well, it is true that there is a second level - but that is where any affiliate program will stop. Beyond two levels puts things into a real legal quagmire here in the United States and in several other countries. But having just one additional level is both legal and good business if the product and commissions are good.

    • Support from the merchant. Here, you'll find that practice runs the whole range from...

      - "pick which banner[s] you want to plaster on your site and copy this code into your web page"

      - to banner code plus some helpful tips

      - to merchants that go all out to support their affiliates and help them succeed, including newsletters, promotional ideas, up-to-date information, even whole web sites devoted just to affiliate support.

    We've revealed our position on some that didn't impress us... in a few moments we'll introduce you to some that we think really "go the distance" in meeting the criteria.... but first, there is a sources of information that we must recommend to you...

    "The Associate directory helps you find the best affiliate programs or associate programs to earn money from your website."

    Allan Gardyne makes his living from affiliate / associate programs, so you'll be hearing from a master...

    The site is well worth a visit, and you can sign up right there for the weekly Associate Programs Newsletter.

  • Are you just beginning to develop a second income stream? Are you an established affiliate of several programs?

    Now, for the recommendations we promised you...

    Some Recommendations Based Upon Our Experience

    • Jim Daniels single-handedly operates a very successful online business. Make A Living Online! and its related site are two reference sources that we use regularly - a high quality product. A single product and onlly one level level probably account for the generous 40% commission, which is not on a lifetime basis. A "must have" for your own use and something that you will want to recommend to others...
    • Sam Robbins, with input from about a dozen other online marketing experts, has produced the Ultimate Cash Flow Reporter. Like Jim's, it is a valuable reference that we use regularly, and recommend highly to you for your own use. Both the book and its related site are constantly updated with new and revised material, thanks to being electronically published.

      Besides visiting the site, probably the best way to "get a feel" for the book is to download and browse the FREE Demo version - it contains the first article or so from most sections of the e-book.
      Click here to download FREE Demo [304k]

    • As good as Jim and Sam's are... we've found one that is even better!

      Several high quality products... solid commissions... lifetime customer... lifetime team building... Affiliate support that is second to none!

      CHECK OUT SBI - it is the best!

      Bottom line, when you start an online business, start an affiliate program too - we think it is a sure-fire strategy for you to consider!

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