Affiliate programs can help your site make money. You simply place a link on your site which sends the affiliate traffic. The affiliatepays you for one or all of the actions the consumer who sees the link on your site completes:
A simple click on the link, sending the consumer to the affiliates site is counted as a ‘click’. Filling out a questionnaire or profile on the affiliate site, subscribing to a newsletter or agreeing to receive marketing offers are actions or leads; and of course a sale is a purchase by the consumer from the affiliate.
You will of course get more for a sale (pay per sale /commission) than you will for a lead (pay per lead), and more for a lead than a click( pay per click). Some sites offer ongoing commissions for subsequent purchases from a previously referred consumer (residual) or if you manage to recruit other sites to be affiliates (two-tier programs).
Once in a while you see pay per view programs, which basically pay just for visitors coming to your own site and viewing the banner (pay per impression) but these are few and really more like an advertising agreement than being an affiliate. These are being pushed out by banner exchange sites.
Larger affiliates (like Amazon or eBay) have their own affiliate program, and also work in tandem with other large companies to form a larger affiliate network. Networks are sometimes OK if you are developing a fairly generic site, but the real money making opportunity is to sign up for affiliates that have a high relevance to your site. If you are running a small niche, affiliate marketing is well worth the time – a generic site can waste a lot of time and not gain much from affiliates.
The goal with affiliates is to encourage customers’ interest in them, so don’t deal with any affiliates you wouldn’t personally use, unless you are a good faker and don’t mind fudfging facts. If a customer buys a product from an affiliate after being directed there from your site, and then has a bad experience with the product or company, you don’t want fallout affecting you.
If you actually believe in all your affiliates, you will have no problem promoting their products on your site. This will make it easier to add articles and content that nudges customers in that direction. The key is to give your consumers confidence that you are pointing them in the right direction.
If ads are displayed right there on your site,the hope is that the customer is intrigued and clicks for some more pics and info from the affiliate site. (You will want to make sure all of these open in a new window, so the consumer doesn’t leave you completely – otherwise they may not find their way back!)
The main trick with affiliates is to optimize for teh target customers and have well done landing pages that have a link to the affiliate. Affiliates done right can be a huge moneymaker!