You’ve got the content (Chapter 1). You’ve created a business plan for your site (Chapter 2). You’ve learned how to drive traffic to your site (Chapter 3). You’ve optimized your site for search engine placement (Chapter 4). Now, where’s the money?
This chapter explains how to make money from your website by having your site work as a virtual “sales rep.” You become a sales rep for another site, often called a merchant, by becoming an affiliate, sometimes called an associate, of the merchant.
With affiliate programs, your site provides links to a merchant’s site. You make money if—and only if—visitors you send to the merchant’s site make purchases. If this sounds easy, it can be. You don’t need to stock inventory or worry about fulfillment, shipping, and returns. And you still make money—sometimes very good money—when the product sells. Best of all, the visitor doesn’t necessarily need to make a purchase right away.
However, selling on the Internet is very competitive; there are always multiple avenues for a consumer to buy anything. Furthermore, there’s nothing to stop consumers from bypassing your site completely and going directly to the merchant. You’ll only be successful with your affiliate links if the goods provided by the merchants you are associated with are relevant to the content of your site. Specificity also helps. There must be a good connection between your site content and specific offerings of the affiliated merchant. ...