When people first come online, hoping to work from home, they face many many options, and ways they can proceed. They can go the route of Network Marketing. They can set up a shop on Etsy and sell their own handmade items. You can also set up a blog or some space online and sell things that other people sell.

When I say sell what other people sell… I mean just about ANYTHING someone else sells, can now be sold by you for a commission.

That is affiliate marketing.

In it’s simplest terms affiliate marketing is basically selling for commission. Say you have a blog about parenting toddlers. There are many things that you use during your normal course of the day with your toddler. Whether it’s toys, or clothes or food, or learning things. All of those things can now be purchased online. If something can be purchased online chances are it can be purchased somewhere that provides an “affiliate program”.

An affiliate program is simply a way the stores allow you to sell their stuff and you get to make a commission. You join the affiliate program, and when you do they will give you a special way to create a link to the site, or to a specific product. The link you create has a special identifier in it. When someone clicks your link to get to the product sales page you are given credit if they make a sale and you make a commission.

The really cool thing, is you can find just about anything you can imagine for sale somewhere that has an affiliate program… the biggest of which is probably Amazon.com. Now that amazon sells so many things you can almost always find the thing you’re talking about there. All you have to do is create a link to the product, and when people click it they will be taken to Amazon. If they buy, you get a commission. Commissions at Amazon are paid once a month, straight to your bank account. Easy Peezy.

There are numerous affiliate “networks” which are simply sites that house affiliate programs for multiple stores. You become a member of the network and you then have the ability to see all the different products and stores in the network. An example of an affiliate network would be Linkshare, or Commission Junction. Β Each store will have its own commission percentage, so sometimes it pays to look around and see if you can find the product somewhere that offers a higher rate of commission.

Affiliate Marketing Tips:

You can do affiliate marketing any way you want, but here are some tips to help you make it work for you.

1. Keep your products relevant and related to your site.

If you have a parenting site you’re going to want to offer parenting related products… you will not want to sell the “thesis theme” or “hostgator hosting”. People aren’t coming to your site to look for those things, they’re looking for parenting stuff.

If you keep your readers and their needs in mind when choosing products to promote you’ll be fine.

2. In content links work better than banners (no matter how pretty they are)

You’ll find links within the content of a post are the most effective. You may be pulled to add a bunch of banners and images to the sidebar of your site, but it’s probably going to be counterproductive. You’ll make the site much more cluttered and it will be harder to find and concentrate on your content, which is what people have come for.

Here’s an excellent example of seamless affiliate marketing.

You’re talking about a kids activity idea for St. Patrick’s day. You go through and show all the steps for the activity, with great pictures. You talk about St. Patrick’s day as you work on the project. At the bottom of your post, you show a couple books that are all about St. Patrick’s day ~ on the same age/reading level the activity is geared toward. Β The book images are linked up to Amazon, so if someone clicks through and buys you’ll make a commission.

This is perfect affiliate marketing, for a few reasons.

1. You know your target audience… parents who want to do activities with their kids.

2. You’ve got a specific topic… activities about St. Patrick’s day.

3. You’re giving them a way to further the activity/learning… providing more resources ie. books.

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to break into making money online. It can be done seamlessly, without making you feel like you’re “selling” to your audience. All you have to do is keep in mind your readers, needs and give them what they need. It’s a win/win. They get what they need and you get a commission as well.

I’d love to hear how you might be able to add affiliate marketing to your business… please, share in the comments.

thanks to Pen Waggener for the fantastic image.

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