Affiliate marketing for beginners

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Affiliate programs guide

Affiliate Networks

Affiliate (programs) Network is a company. It is some kind of Market Place for affiliates, where affiliates can find products for promotion, and promote chosen product using supplied affiliate links. Payment for affiliates is, in most cases, consolidated and sent (check, paypal, wire transfer) from network. Consolidated payment means, if you are promoting more than one merchant, all your earnings are going into one account (sum), and, depending of minimum, payment is sent.

Some affiliate networks are functioning on a little different way. They are providing tracking, but payment is issued from merchant. For affiliate beginner, this is not recommended. If you are promoting one merchant only, and you can earn monthly check, that is not a problem. But, if your plan is to promote more merchants, some of them can go out of business before you reach minimum payment. Beginners, stick to the consolidated payment model first.

Same is with InHouse affiliate programs. InHouse affiliate program is when merchant is using their tracking software and they also pays you. Join InHouse affiliate program only if merchant is "trusted", and you have a good results with that kind of product using affiliate networks.

Pay Per Lead Affiliate programs

Pay Per Lead (or CPA) affiliate programs are the first (logical) step for beginner in affiliate marketing.
Products listed on CPA affiliate networks are not products, they are "offers". Pay Per Lead means "merchant" pays you for visitor info (email, street address...), used for membership or for product marketing purposes. Average affiliate commission is from $0.40 to $2. In offers category is also "free sample" offer, where merchant is giving something for free, and customer pays only small shipping expenses. In this case, merchant gets customer with Credit Card, and it is an potential buyer. Commission here vary from $2 to $6, in some cases over $20. For other offers, pays for surf, accepting offers to get free gifts, surveys, and similar stuff, average commission is $1 - $2 per email, or ZIP code only.

Got a picture? You need to send visitor to merchant site, and if he/she signup for something, you will get commission. However, that is $1 here, $1 there, and also, good way to test profile / interest of your visitors.

Here are a few trusted PPL or CPA affiliate networks I am using for years:

NOTE: For every affiliate program (network) listed below, if you want to join, you need to have web site with top level domain. They are not accepting free hosted sites. Membership is free and your application is reviewed inside 24-72 hours. For all details, check FAQ / Help on their sites

Every CPA affiliate network listed above is truly recommended. Period. For beginners, better to start with MaxBounty. Simple affiliate interface will help you to start faster, and there is enough different and simple CPA offers, so you can check what kind of CPA offer is best for your site. For advanced affiliates, AzoogleAds is recommended. Although application is little complicated, that is their defense from fraud, after you are in, you can find highest paying CPA offers. Link to the AzoogleAds review is above.

These above are only a few (recommended). You can find more newest networks, many of them are using DirectTrack technology, and they are looking practically the same (affiliate interface). Although some networks have exclusive offers, in main, offers are similar (if not the same) on all networks. Sometimes, difference is only in commission.

Why to join to more than one network?

There is a small difference in commission between networks, it is not worth to join new network only because of that. But, another problem is present here. All these offers are expiring after some period of time, or there is simple limit in number of leads. One offer is usually promoted on a few networks. If it is limited by number of leads, and that number is reached, it can expire on one network and still is active on other. So, if that offer is going good on your website(s), and if you are member of that affiliate network, you need only to replace affiliate link.

Little help for choosing and comparing offers is on How to find and compare CPA offers page.
Some programming knowledge is required here, this is DIY, but free and result are useful reports.

For those who are already promoting CPA offers, or your plan is to do that, take a look at CPA arbitrage

Pay Per Sale Affiliate programs

Difference from Pay Per Lead is :
Your commission is percent of product sale price.
They are offering many products, it is not problem to find matching product(s) or group of products for your website. It is possible to use product data feed and you can set mini-mall on your site. For product data feeds - at some networks they are free, at another you need to pay to get it. While on Pay Per Lead only affiliate networks, you don't need to be approved from every merchant, you don't need even to apply, here is the situation little different. You can be automatically accepted, but, in most cases, they will approve you manually, after visiting your site.

These affiliate networks below are the most popular, along with "Pay Per Sale" affiliate programs, there are "Pays Per Lead" (or CPA) and "Pays Per Click" affiliate programs there.

One more network is worth to mention here - Clickbank affiliate program
Difference between Clickbank and these networks above is that Clickbank is selling only "digital" products, what means e-books, software, memberships. Advantage of digital products is that they can be delivered immediatly after payment. Because there are minimal expenses (no shipping, handling..), there is almost no expenses for merchant, commissions are often very high, even 75% . To Join Clickbank, link is above, membership free. And here is Clickbank guide for affiliates, some stuff you cannot find in official ClickBank FAQ.

Pay per Click affiliate programs - Google AdSense

One well known and very popular at this moment is Google AdSense. If you already have a website, just apply for Google AdSense (approved for 1-2 days), add "boxes" to your site, and you could see instant revenue. True, you cannot expect any big earnings for the first time, but with good targeting (optimizing pages) and blending ads in content (like they are part of site) it is possible to get very high CTR (click-through ratio). Signup is free, and while you are waiting for approval, it will be good to learn more tips and tricks, or performing research using search engines about adsense sites tactic, or checking current top ebooks about adsense in our recommended ebooks for affiliates page.
More, you should use free adsense tool to target adsense ads better

How to find a good affiliate network?

On this page, how to find the best affiliate network are some guidelines, and for a few real examples of affiliate rip-offs, read affiliate rip-offs page. Related with this is CPA scrubbings and shavings , reading that page, you can maybe find reason for your low conversion ratio problem.

Where to start?

If you are beginner in affiliate programs, go with Pay Per Lead affiliate program first. It is true that commission from sales could be higher, but it is also true that selling product is harder. Starting with leads, you could see results very fast and that is very important factor. Starting with selling, without necessary experience, you could be disappointed, very fast.

For beginner, RESULT is important. That is your award for effort. That it what is pushing you. It is not important if your first sale/lead commission is $1, that is your first result. Like in any other job, you need to start from the bottom and learn.
Friendly advice.

Next part is about affiliate links Affiliate links guide

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