An affiliate is simply a Web site that gets paid to direct traffic to a different Web site. You can refer people using links within your content or by displaying a large, banner ad on your site. Becoming an affiliate essentially comes down to finding a site that will pay you for this and is possible if yours is a business site or a mere blog.
Here are three suggestions on how to become an affiliate:
- Directly Court a Company With a Web Presence - You should already have an obvious connection to the company if you choose this route. For instance, if you run a dog washing business with a Web site, you might offer to become an affiliate of the producers of your favorite shampoo. If you write a relatively popular cooking blog, you could offer to include embedded links to cooking utensils of various manufacture or host ads for the cookbook whose recipe you are featuring.
You may want to browse the Web sites for which you are thinking of becoming an affiliate. Many will have a link to their affiliate program in the footer of their Web page or in the "About Us" section.
- Use an Affiliate Directory - This is the easiest way to go. There are many directories that list available affiliate programs, including how much the Web site in question is willing to pay. The merchants on these directories do not usually require that your site or business be related to theirs. Since affiliates are only rewarded for references or sales, not for containing the link, it is in your best interest to choose one related business for which to become an affiliate.
- Join an Affiliate Network - In both options 1 and 2, I advise you to find a business that is related to your site in some way. This isn't always possible. If your blog is mostly social commentary or humor, or if your Web site is a journal of contemporary fiction, there are few, if any, related products. Joining an affiliate network is ideal in this situation.
Affiliate networks work as middlemen between the Merchant and the Affiliate. They will give you access to a wide array of programs and make signing up for them easy. However, they will usually take a percentage of your revenue.
Keep in mind that most affiliates only pay you a commission on a sale. It can take thousands of views of a link to generate one sale.