Affiliate marketing is when a company pays an individual for his marketing efforts on the company's behalf. Affiliate marketing works like this: a website owner uses his site to drive traffic to another website which is selling a product or service; this second website pays a commission to the owner of the first website, thus earning money for the owner due to his successful marketing of that company. This is one of the most common ways for people to make a little supplemental income from their websites. Many people think that affiliate marketing is an easy way to make money...in a sense this is true, but you have to keep in mind that if you want to make money you have to invest a little extra time in your site.
In order to get started with affiliate marketing, you will need to research the different companies and products out there until you find ones with which you are comfortable, and that you are willing to link to your site. There are so many different options, ranging from regular department stores and adult-themed companies to toys and magazines, and more. While you are researching the many different programs, pay attention to the products and to the commission that you would receive. You want to market something that will interest visitors to your site. Also keep in mind that it's usually best to avoid high-end companies; if the items for sale are too high priced then you may be advertising items that are too far outside of the average person's price range, and you won't make any commission at all.
You will need to invest a little money in order to make money. To properly participate in an affiliate marketing program, you will need your own website and an auto responder. This will cost some money to start up but the payoff will be worth it once you start generating regular commission checks. Set yourself a budget when setting up your website, and stick to it.
Be patient with the process. If you are just starting out, you're not going to see much cash rolling in right away. Just be patient and stay motivated, after some time passes you'll see your hard work paying off.
Promote your website so that you drive lots of traffic to it. One of the best ways to do this is by offering a link exchange with higher ranking websites. You can also include information about your website and the products that are offered on blogs which offer similar products.
Becoming an affiliate marketer does often give a little bit of a return on your investment, but you will need to keep learning in order to stay up with the times and to generate real revenue. Consider taking the time to learn a little bit about search engine optimization to keep your site as high as possible in the search engine rankings. You can also write a regular, free blog that refers to your affiliate marketing site on a fairly regular basis; this will eventually drive additional traffic to your site, and increase the chance that you'll earn more commissions. The internet world is always changing so in order to keep those high commissions rolling in you'll want to keep up with all of the new ways to promote your sites.