By Debraj Khanal, [email protected] www.freeobiz.com Entry Level Affiliate Marketers.What are affiliate programs? Affiliate programs (also called reseller programs, associate programs, commission based programs or profit sharing) are programs where you (webmaster) advertise another website on your site. This is usually done by placing banners, buttons, pop-up windows, text-links or/and promotion articles with your affiliate link on your site. Anytime you send someone to your affiliated website, you can make money. Sometimes there are pay per click, pay per sale or pay per lead options that pay various amounts to you.Affiliate programs aren’t get-rich-quick businesses, but rather more deeply rooted business systems which can make long term incomes for the website owners.There are other kinds of affiliate programs such as 2 tier systems and multi tier systems, which you can read about with the links on the top left of the page.There are hundreds of thousands of people marketing affiliate programs online these days. Amazon.com alone has more than 100,000 affiliates. There wouldn’t be that many people doing this if nobody was making money with it. However, not every affiliate will make bucketloads of cash. It takes a little work and desire to constantly learn to be really successful. If you take your affiliate program business seriously, it can easily surpass the income generated from a 9-5 job. It really depends on the market you are going after, how popular your site is (number of visitors you get), how targeted your ads are to your visitors and so on.Try to keep your affiliate links targeted toward the visitors of your site. Many people try to send offers to their visitors for things they are not interested in. Not only does this reduce your clickthrough rate to your affiliate partner sites, it also makes you look like you are a random and useless website. Chances are you will not get return visitors, which means you will make less money from them.If you want to have many target markets, build a separate website for each market, and target smaller niches with each site. Even though you will get less traffic and income from a smaller site, you will have several smaller sites working together, which combined will earn more than one massive, end all site. Many small streams create a large river. Same things are true with multiple small revenue streams.Too many webmasters fall for the hyped claims and signup with several affiliate programs without any consideration. Here are a few things to check for before joining a program: – Check the websites Alexa Rating. Although it does not always determine whether a site is legit or not, it can help you find more established partners. To learn more about Alexa ratings, check out alexa.com. Download the free toolbar and begin checking out sites. The lower the alexa number, the more established a website tends to be.- Buy whatever you are going to be promoting first. The only way to know if the product you are promoting is good or not. You don’t want to ruin your reputation by promoting bad products.- Study the terms of the affiliate agreement carefully. See how often they pay their affiliates, if there are any minimum requirements to get paid, etc.- If an affiliate merchant offers more than one product on his web site, be sure that you will be paid commission on ALL your referral sales of ALL products. – Make sure the affiliate program you join gives you the ability to check your earnings statistics. Many these days offer real-time stats, where you can log in and check how much you have made up to the minute.- Does the affiliate partner site offer support to their affiliates? Try to find partners that care about their affiliates (changing banners, giving you good marketing help, etc).- Try to find out the partner website’s conversion rate. How many sales do they make per 100 visitors? The higher the conversion rate, the more you should make.- Avoid any program that tried to make you pay to be an affiliate. These are almost always scams. Why should you have to pay them to sell products FOR THEM. They benefit just as you do from an affiliate relationship. Don’t pay for the “oppotunity” to sell for them.Where should you place the affiliate links and banners, etc?We have found the best way to market affiliate programs is to try to make the affiliate links look the least like advertisements as possible. Internet users are naturally skeptical when purchasing online. You want to reduce that skeptisicm as much as possible.Try to write a review of a product and convice your visitors how great the product is, rather than have them click on a flashing banner. Your sales conversion rate will increase dramatically.