Aside from offering advertising, affiliate programs are an excellent way to make money on your web site without producing or selling a product of your own. Before going any further, let’s clarify the definition of an affiliate program in this context.

“Affiliate marketing is a web-based marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s marketing efforts.” –Wikipedia

Affiliate programs can expand the value of your web site for your visitors, becoming a one-stop shop for the services that they use. However, the wrong affiliate programs can annoy your users and lead them away from your web site. When considering whether to add particular affiliate programs, a careful evaluation of the programs available is important. The following are four ways to help you choose the right affiliate program for your web site.

1. Reputation

Is the affiliate program reputable? This is by far the most important criteria when choosing affiliate programs. Not only do you need to know whether the program is reputable for payment purposes, but also whether the program will deliver on its promises when you send your own visitors elsewhere. If a visitor is not happy with a product that they received from your referral, that reflects poorly on your web site. Be sure to ask the right questions and get all the information before committing to an affiliate program. For every industry, there are several reputable affiliate programs. If you have doubts about one affiliate program, don’t hesitate to try others.

2. Compensation

Most web sites make compensation their first priority when considering affiliate programs. Certainly, your compensation is important, but you also must consider the type of products that you are selling in the affiliate programs and how likely your users are to buy these products. Even if your return for a computer-related affiliate program is great, you probably are not going to get much return on the affiliate program if your web site is about pets.

3. Service

How responsive is the affiliate program to problems and issues? How quickly do you get paid? Are your payments on time? Some of these issues are learned the hard way through trial and error, but once again, you can learn a lot by asking the right questions of your affiliate. Service may not seem like a huge issue before choosing an affiliate program, but it is definitely an important consideration as you start to generate revenue from the program.

4. Attractiveness

More than likely, your affiliate program has banners. These banners are meant to sell the products from the affiliate programs and drive traffic to the vendors. Like any other advertising, if the banners or messages are attractive, they are more likely to bring traffic. If your marketing message or advertising banners posted on your web site are unattractive, you could simply be wasting space. The same can be said for the landing pages and overall web site design of the seller.

May 2008 TNI Test: Theaudiobookstore.comĀ 

May 2008 TNI Test: GoodCheapWineGuide.comĀ 

Seth Trachtman is a Web Marketing Account Manager for The Net Impact Web Design St. Louis.

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