What Is Affiliate Marketing?  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Affiliate marketing has many descriptions, yet all have the same meaning. Affiliate marketing is a huge business piece on the Internet. It is a cooperative effort between merchants and an affiliate’s website. For many years now, affiliate marketing has proved to be a cost-efficient, measurable method of delivering long-tern results. It has become famous for Internet sites who are trying to make some extra or additional income for their site. Every day, people get interested to affiliate marketing and want to make money out of it. But in many cases, these new affiliates do not fully understand the affiliate world and make costly mistakes. In other words, affiliate marketing has often been misunderstood.

One of the common misconceptions that are being associated about affiliate marketing is “selling”, though selling is an important activity of affiliate marketing and the central function of a business operation. Another is that affiliate marketing is commonly linked with “advertising”. While the importance of advertising in marketing a certain product is not to be underestimated, the fact of the matter is, advertising like selling, is merely a part of the many functions of marketing.

In affiliate marketing, an affiliate is compensated for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer provided through his efforts. The said compensation may be made based on a certain value for each visit. The most attractive aspect of affiliate marketing from the merchant’s viewpoint is that no payment is due to an affiliate until results are appreciated.

Affiliate marketing is typically being run by affiliate networks and this affiliate networks are composed of two functional bodies, the group affiliates and the group merchants. Each has their special function and role when it comes to affiliate marketing. The affiliate network acts as a third party between the merchant and the associated affiliates. The network provides the technology to deliver the merchant’s campaigns and offers. The affiliate network also collects commission fees from the merchant and then pays the affiliates which are part of the program.

The merchant is any web site owner that wants or desires to take advantage of performance based marketing. The benefits to the merchant are many. First, the merchant maintains and operates the affiliate program. If it would be extracted, the merchant needs to do their part by researching interested affiliate websites to ensure that they are a good fit for that particular website. Finding a fit for their merchandise would be the key to more generated income. The merchant has access to markets and customers without him spending valuable time searching out. Banner ads on affiliate sites are not distracting to the site user. It might produce interest for that product and drive the consumer to the merchants’ website. It is also the merchant who decides how much he is willing to pay for each sale that results from a visitor sent from an affiliate.

The affiliate or the affiliate marketer also sees a lot of benefits. The affiliate is a web site owner that promotes one or more merchants and their affiliate programs. Affiliate marketing can generate a full-time income for the affiliate. But this is not an easy task to accomplish. The affiliate needs to have a better understanding with the merchant what the commission will be, expected payment method and time involved in the contract. The affiliate has also the responsibility to stand for the merchandise their user based would be most interested in. For example, if the site has a user base of mainly stay-at-home mothers, then on-line job openings such as surveys would be a good match for them. This group would also appreciate direct links to children’s products and informational sites. Merchandisers often provide targeted, best-seller items and personal support to their affiliate. They often offer sales promotions that will benefit the merchandiser as well as the affiliate.

Affiliate marketing is a great situation for both the marketer and the affiliate. If they would work together, they can be an advantage to both. Plus the fact that it seems to make sense, it is easy and inexpensive way to start, and you can be up and running within a few days. But there is one thing to consider, it is how to get traffic and make your offer different than all others.

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Top 3 SEO Tips of 2008  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Since 1998 I've spent the first several months of each year looking for the very best search engine optimization (SEO) tips of the previous year's end. This year I've come across the best SEO tips yet.

SEO Tip #1: Make Google Alerts Your Personal Online Spy

Google Alerts is a great way to let the world's biggest search engine be your personal online spy. This takes search engine optimization insider info to whole new level. Here's an excerpt straight from Google....

"Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.

Some handy uses of Google Alerts include:

* monitoring a developing news story
* keeping current on a competitor or industry
* getting the latest on a celebrity or event
* keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams"

As you probably guessed, it's the second one we care about most, "keeping current on a competitor or industry."

Here's how it works... Each time Google finds a reference to the query or topic you request you will be sent an email with the details. This is like having an online spy to make sure competitors are not using your protected keywords (trademarked names, company names, etc.) It's also an instant identifier to know when your site or product is mentioned in a news story or even when a topic is hot so you can take advantage of the situation. It's the easiest way in the world to stop competitors' dirty tricks and identify trends that you can take instant advantage of.

It's fast, free and works every minute of every day. Let Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) do your most time consuming legwork while you reap the rewards!

SEO Tip #2: Optimize Your 404 Page and Always Be Found

"Error 404: Page Not Found" is a blessing that most Webmasters curse. Why? Getting a visitor on any page of your site is fantastic! Don't blow the opportunity. Not only can you make your "404" page a valuable sales tool, you can use the following search engine optimization techniques to attract customers in droves.

A.) Use your main keyword in your title, add a "pipe" (usually above the Enter key) and then use your secondary keyword. Here's as example for an SEO site "SEO - Search Engine Optimization Tips"

B.) Add some keyword rich content using one to two keywords for the page. If you have less than 250 words on the page, just use one keyword and use it no more than three times total. Bold the first use and italicize the second or third use. Keep in mind this is an "inactive" page so simply tell the visitor what your site is about and whet their appetite with a good description. Something like this works well... "Thank you for visiting SEO (bold) Group, Inc. We are sorry you landed on a missing page but don't worry, if you're looking for the very best search engine optimizations tips (bold), you're at the right place..." This will go on for a couple paragraphs or as long as you'd like then end it with something to the effect of "Please Click Here (link) to visit our site map or click any link to the left."

C.) Add your site's standard navigation system (bar, column, etc.) as mentioned above.

D.) Make the look and feel of the customized 404 page match your main site as closely as possible with a template, matched palette, cascading style sheets, etc.

E.) Create a link to the site map page if available, and make the link easy to find. You want your visitor off the 404 page and into your main content as quickly as possible.

Setting up a custom 404 page link usually takes less than five minutes on most major Web hosting companies like Godaddy.com. But whatever it takes, it's worth the effort.

SEO Tip #3: Get (Even More) Serious About Linking

I saved the most important for last. If you want to do well on any search engine, especially Google, linking is THE single MOST important thing you can do. It's that simple.

Here are the five things you MUST do to make your site #1 on Google:

A.) Find the highest page rank sites linking to your site AND your competitors' sites.

B.) Run monthly link campaigns and snatch up the best of the above identified Web sites.

C.) Run regular checks on what pages are still linking back to your site. Alsomake sure they did not move you from a high page rank page to a lower one (don't get cheated!)

D.) Eliminate any penalized sites you link to; ASAP!

E.) Check your search engine ranking AND your competitor's for each of your keywords every week. Do this, at the minimum, for Google, Yahoo, MSN and Alta Vista.

Inside Tip: Keeping up can be a lot of work so a lot of SEO Consultants (myself included) use SEO Elite (http://www.SEOeliteWeb.com) to do all the most difficult and time consuming work.

One last thing to know is that Google was originally a college student's project created for the sole purpose of defining a Web site's value by the sites that link to it. Twelve years later this is still it's main job. Linking is EVERYTHING to Google.

These few SEO tips are the very best of the best so use them wisely. Best of luck!

By: Scott Jason

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The Affiliate Roadmap to Success  

Thursday, October 30, 2008

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to start making money online, consider joining one of the Web's free affiliate programs.

There are endless free to join affiliate programs available on the 'Net — in any category you might be interested in.

And joining an affiliate program is without a doubt the easiest way to start earning an online income.

Here's how it works.

You become an affiliate for another company's product by joining their free affiliate program. Then you promote their products or services on your website. Anytime someone you refer buys something from them, YOU get paid a commission.

And the best part is that it doesn't cost you anything to get started!

Most good affiliate programs will offer you free resources to help you promote their products effectively. Things like banner ads, salescopy, or product photos that in many cases have already been tested and proven to work.

You simply download them and use them on your website.

Why are they willing to do this?

Well, the better YOU are at promoting their products, the more visitors and sales THEY'LL receive. So everybody wins!

You're helping them get customers that they might not have been able to get otherwise. And you earn money for doing so!

The amount of money you can earn from affiliate sales will depend on a number of factors:

Commission amount. Companies will offer anywhere from 5% up to 50% of a product's sale price — a BIG difference.

Price point of product or service. A higher price point means a higher dollar amount for you, depending on the commission. This should be balanced with the commission amount.

Potential volume of sales you can make. Some highly specialized products can sell far more infrequently than others, limiting the number of sales you can make in a given time period.

How effective you are at promoting their products. The amount of time and effort you're willing to put into promotion is a HUGE factor. Techniques like building an opt-in list and using email marketing to build relationships with your site visitors can catapult your earning potential.

There are a number of ways to find free affiliate programs. But if you're just getting started, you might want to check out affiliate directories like AssociatePrograms.com and AffiliatesDirectory.com. They provide lists of credible free to join affiliate programs that have been pre-screened.

You can also sift through websites that sell products you're interested in. They'll tell you if they have a program they can join.

As an affiliate, you earn a commission for any sales made by people who click through from your website and purchase an affiliate product. So making money with website affiliate programs is dependent on maximizing the number of sales your site visitors make.

And in order to maximize sales, your website needs traffic -- and lots of it!

Here are some techniques that will help you send visitors to your website:

Achieve a high ranking in the search engines.

Make sure your website includes keywords that target your particular market. When the search engine "spiders" come to index your site, they'll boost your site higher in the rankings for those keywords. Ideally, you want your site to show up on the first or second page of search results.

Write short articles that will be distributed all over the Web.

All that's required is about 400 words on a subject related to the product you are promoting. Include your byline and a link to your website at the bottom of each article, then submit them to free article directories, like EzineArticles.com.

When other site owners who are looking for content for their own sites republish your article, your name -- and site link -- will be propagated all over the 'Net.

Buy pay-per-click traffic.

One of the fastest ways to drive additional traffic to your site is by advertising with pay-per-click search engines, like Google AdWords. All that means is that your link shows up in the section for paid advertisers. Then every time someone clicks on your link from a search engine results page, you pay a pre-determined amount.

Build a list of visitors' email addresses.

This allows you to contact your visitors again with valuable information that will lure them back to your website. Or, you can even promote affiliate products directly by email.

It's a great way to build relationships and trust, which translates into more sales over time.

Once you've got these tricks working for you, it is much easier to start making money online with affiliate programs.

By: Bjorn Brands

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Blogging For Profit; The Simple Success Strategies Of A 19 Y  

A blog is a simple but powerful tool which all marketers and businesses should be utilising to explode their sales, build credibility and improve customer retention.

I've been doing a lot of research with regards to blogging and came across a case of a 19 year old kid who was making something ridiculous like $50,000 a year with a blog on mobile phones, from his bedroom! This is an extraordinary case but clearly there is a good earning potential through blogs, however they do take time to grow and build up a readership.

Blogs provide a very simple, quick and easy means to add fresh content to your website. As I’m sure you’ve heard many times over ‘content is king’ from a search engines’ view point and by providing high quality, regularly updated content your website should benefit with regards to your search engine ranking.

By providing fresh, high quality relevant content you will gain an increase of both first time visitors and repeat visitors, they will come back to check out your new content. Providing it’s interesting, relevant and useful to them, you will begin to build relationships with your readers, increasing your credibility and building their trust in you and your business.

These repeat visitors will be exposed to your messages more and begin to trust you and your recommendations. This in turn will fuel sales and referrals. Just make sure you don’t recommend a product you haven’t tried, if it is bad you will lose all credibility.

Whenever you buy a new product, review it in your blog and be brutally honest, your readers will love you for it. Take a completely unbiased view point and talk about both the positives and negatives of each product. In essence you are providing more of an insight into the product than the sales page itself, this will help convert those prospects that are ‘sitting on the fence’ so to speak. As it has been shown that prospects are seven to ten times more likely to buy from a blog recommendation than from other sources!

There are many ways in which you can monetize your blog, for example, by using it as a tool to promote your own products or affiliate programs. Other ways that you can generate extra income through your blog are through the Google Adsense program, selling banner/link space as your traffic increases or by adding you own opt-in sign up form to which you send your newsletter or other targeted offers.

Your blog can be syndicated using RSS, enabling savvy webmasters to use your blog content on their web pages. This benefits them as they have regularly updated fresh content for their website and benefits you through increased exposure, free targeted traffic and extra inbound links.

To get the most benefit from my blog I use a technique called ‘blogging and pinging’, whereby every time I post to my blog, I ping Ping-o-matic.com to inform the search engines and blog directories I’ve updated my blog.

You should submit your blog feed to blog directories to gain more exposure. You can do this manually however, these are three automated sources that I have had the most success using and best of all…they are free!


Be passionate about your blog, love your blog. If you do not then it will become obvious through your posts and you are unlikely to be anywhere near as successful as you could be.

Add to your blog regularly provide good quality content and reviews and you will be on your way to blogging success.

by: Ian Canaway
Source: www.isnare.com

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Secret Search Engine Optimization Strategies How to Turn Keywords into Conversions  

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Are you focusing your search engine optimization efforts on getting tons of traffic from the search engines?

If you answered yes, then I am about to tell you something completely different from other Internet Marketers.

Forget about getting tons of traffic from the search engines. Get LESS traffic that converts MORE!

The Secret to Turning Keywords into Conversions is to Keep Your Keywords Focused

For example, if your site sells an all-natural remedy for acid stomach problems...

You start to do your keyword research and you discover that the keyword phrase "natural remedies" has 288 daily searches. But it has over 2,000,000 sites competing for it.

While the phrase, "acid reflux natural remedies" has 67 daily searches with just over 11,000 competing sites.

Do you want to spend all your time and effort trying to optimize your website for the first keyword phrase?

You may get more searches, but you'll never know how many of those searchers want to buy your stomach acid remedy. Not to mention the HUGE number of competitors the keyword has!

Or would you go for the second term, which only has 67 people searching for it -- knowing those 67 people are looking for EXACTLY what you offer? And, it has a MUCH lower competition number to boot!

Obviously, the second term is better!

Sure, you might get less traffic -- but the visitors you DO get will be MUCH more likely to buy your product.

Why You Will Make More Money with Less Traffic That Converts More

People search the Internet to find a solution to a problem and not necessarily to buy something. So what problems will they solve by coming to your website?

Think of a keyword as a "problem statement" that someone would type into the search engines.

When you can match your keywords to the exact problems they're trying to solve. You'll attract the BEST visitors to your site so you can focus all your optimization efforts on them!

Here are some more keyword research tips that will help you turn keywords into conversions…

Top Search Engine Optimization Tips for Finding Highly Focused Keywords That Will Bring the Absolute Best Buyers to Your Website:

Check your server logs. See what keyword phrases people are actually using to find your site. If there's something relevant that you've overlooked, build a page focused on that keyword phrase.

Also look for keywords that are causing people to leave right away because they're not finding what they're looking for. Ditch those keywords immediately.

Look for "intention." Say you sell cross-country ski equipment. People can come to your website looking for different things.

For instance:
They're looking to buy a specific product
They're looking for product reviews
They want information on how to get started in cross-country skiing
They want used or discount equipment
They want to know what kind of equipment will be best for them
They want to know what's new and hot in cross-country ski equipment

Same products -- far different intentions!

If you optimize a page (or pages) for each different problem people are trying to solve, you'll give them what they're looking for…

That means they'll stay on your site longer -- and you'll have a better chance of getting them into the sales process.

Check out your competition. What keywords are your competitors optimizing for, and on what pages?

You can spy on them by going to their websites and looking at their code!

In your web browser, just go to View on the main menu and click on Source or Page Source to "look under the hood" of any competitor's site. Then you can see what they're doing right and what you could do better.

Find your best keywords with pay-per-click advertising. This is the fastest way to find out just how well different keywords perform.

Pay-per-click lets you run ads based on two or three different keywords at the same time. This enables you can track which ones convert best. Make sure the ads click through to pages that relate directly to the keywords.

Focus your SEO efforts on the specific keywords that describe EXACTLY what problem each page solves. Don't be tempted by more general keywords with higher traffic numbers. They'll never send you the traffic you want.

Follow these search engine optimization tips and you will turn keywords into conversions.

Keywords: how to make money online, how to start internet business, ways to make money online, internet marketing course, online marketing course, internet marketing training course, web marketing course, how to start an internet business, e business strategy, online small business course
By: Derek Gehl

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