Once you have started to build up a reasonable database of visitors it is time to start thinking about generating revenue from the site. Affiliate marketing is an excellent starting point because is simple to set up, do not require credit card processing, order processing, or delivery, and yet will earn your site an income, and if properly monitored will give you valuable information about the interests and spending patterns of your visitors.
Once you have started to gain the trust of the visitors to your web site and have persuaded a significant percentage of them to reveal their identity and give you their e-mail address, the next step is to use this trust to start generating some revenue for your site. The best way to do this is to take part in some of the affiliate programs run by a great many companies on the web.
Affiliate marketing is basically a system whereby you sell products for other companies on a commission basis. The commission is usually between 5% and 20%, and rarely enough to retire upon, but it does allow you to generate some revenue without having to process credit cards, stock and deliver goods. Indeed affiliate programs which do not compete with your online offerings are always an excellent way of maximizing the profitability of your web site, by allowing you to sell products you would not otherwise consider selling.
An excellent starting point for selling products via an affiliate site is to sell books. If you have good informative content on your site then offering your visitors the opportunity to buy books related to the content of your site is a natural extension of the site’s function as an information provider. By giving book reviews on your site you can also enhance the information content of your site as well as generating commission from any sales of those books to your visitors.
Amazon offer probably the best book selling affiliate program which is both easy to set up and easy to administer and will pay up to 15% on named books. To join their affiliate program simply access your local Amazon web site, in the UK this is Amazon.co.uk, in Germany Amazon.de, and in France Amazon.fr. and on the home page look for the link to their affiliate program section of the web site. Once there just follow the instructions to join.
Once you have joined Amazon’s affiliate program it is simply a matter of putting a link on your book review page to the book’s entry in the Amazon database, do this by following the instructions provided by Amazon and incorporate your unique affiliate id into the link code. One you have done this, and put the book review page on your site, then you will earn a sales commission from anyone who clicks on the link and buys the book.
As you can see affiliate programs are simple to both set up and administer. Not only do they generate a small amount of revenue but they can also be used to find out more about the interests and buying habits of your visitors, information which will help you to improve your site so as to attract yet more visitors, and equally importantly to keep them coming back. There is also the additional benefit that well selected affiliate products will also help increase your visitor’s trust for your web site.
Once you have started generating affiliate income with one affiliate partner, and have gained some familiarity with the concept, you can start looking for other affiliate programs. You can use one of the affiliate directories to search for suitable companies. Choose companies which sell goods or services which are compatible with the content theme of your site but who are not direct competitors of your company.
Do not overdo the use of affiliates, one or a two partners is probably about right. If you use too many it not only becomes difficult to administer all of them but there is a danger that your site will be overburdened with sales messages, and that your visitors will start to object.
If you choose your affiliate partners and the products you promote carefully so that you can assure your site visitors of both product quality, and reliability of delivery, and that the products you choose support the themed content of your site, then affiliate programs are an ideal first step into the world of online business.